Through a meandering trail of links which I cannot begin to recall, I stumbled across the Chicago Manual of Style Online. Browsing their Q & A section is not only educational, but downright entertaining. Here’s a good example:
Q. Is it correct to use parenthesis to indicate the possibility of a noun as singular or plural? Example: Child(ren).
A. I wouldn’t. It’s not so much an issue of correctness as of ickiness.
I love Jeff Sexton like a brother. But sometimes I feel like a mildly slow, older brother. We have very interesting Skype chats where he uses some awfully big words. I often find that I’m forced to just play along and occasionally grunt in monosyllabic agreement as he expounds on some exacting detail of this, my only language. Glib, I am. (I actually had to look up the word “glib” when someone in an online forum used it to describe my writing.) In high school, my teacher gave up on ever getting me to successfully conjugate the verb “to be”.
As a zen-like Master of Glib, my natural inclination for drafting this post was to simply write, “Heh, heh. Cool. Check it out.” But, you’d probably think I was trying to Rickroll you.
So, I was thrilled to read some of these priceless questions and answers without actually having to fork over $30 to get access to the real meat and potatoes of the style guide. Behold! You can subscribe to all of the newest questions at the low, low price of FREE!
If you’re not careful, you might learn something that will keep “ickiness” at bay in your writing.
Have a look at the Q & A section. What’s your favorite?