Monday, December 8, 2014

Okay, Now You’ve Really Confused Me! By Linda S. Glaz



While researching this morning, I found myself more confused than ever. I know…I know…not difficult for me. But I was researching the capitalization of pet names/terms of endearment, and by the time I was done, I was more confused than ever.
Two editions of my reference didn’t address it at all, and then third edition was so ambiguous as to be more confusing than when I started.
How do you handle your grammar issues when none of the “experts” seem to agree?
For those of you, like me, who grew up having teachers with names like Tilda and Myrtle (I am sooo dating myself), you know what I mean. There was one way to write everything. You did not deviate, not an iota. There is the right way and then all other ways.
This was only reinforced when I joined the military. There’s the civilian way and the right way.
Okay, so those of us over the hill used copious amounts of commas, and all other matters had one answer.
Today? How we used capitals, commas, etc. all depends on the edition of our reference book. We read that …once it was customary to…but today, it is seldom written with ( a comma, a cap, italics).
What’s a girl to do?

9 comments:

Davalyn Spencer said...

Confusing? Yes. Depends on where/what you're writing--journalistic, fiction, academic. Oh the joy of all my references. However, a good quick take that helps banish the confusion is Kathy Ide's Polishing the Pugs.

Linda Glaz said...

That sounds interesting!

Tom Threadgill said...

Wow. You're talking to a guy who still struggles to NOT put two spaces after a period. Good luck!

Kathy Ide said...

Thanks for the reference to my book, Davalyn! Actually, what used to be "Polishing the PUGS" has turned into "Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors," which released in January 2014 from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (thanks to my AWESOME agent, Diana Flegal!). In addition to some great tips from multi-published authors on proofreading for typos, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies, it includes a section on which reference book to use for what type of writing, and sections on what the reference books for writers say about punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling (PUGS).

In the section on capitalization, it explains that the older (15th) version of The Chicago Manual of Style (the go-to resource for book publishing) recommended lowercasing terms of endearment (honey, sweetheart, etc.). The Associated Press Stylebook (for journalistic-style articles) and The Christian Writer's Manual of Style both recommend lowercasing them as well. CMOS-16 does not include this rule. They now leave it up to author/publisher preference.

Is it any wonder things like this are so confusing? :-)

Kathy Ide said...

Tom, I struggled with the "one space instead of two between sentences" rule for a long time myself. But then I learned that you can do a "search & replace," with two spaces in the first box and one space in the second box, then click "replace all" until the count gets down to zero. No need to retrain your fingers after all!

Linda Glaz said...

I struggle with the changes with commas. Commas,,,,,,make me crazy!

pattisjarrett said...

I know what you mean. I've been finding things are not what they used to be. And we worked so hard to remember them all!

Rick Barry said...

Give it your best educated guess, and then trust the publisher to tweak the punctuation to match their house methods of doing things.

Linda Glaz said...

Patti and Rick, yes, things are diff and we should leave it to the editors, but I've seen a few really bizarre tweaks recently. Hmmm...