For those of you who edit or proofreader, how often has this happened to you?
You are reading through a draft of an RPG or board game manual, and you come across a paragraph that just doesn’t read right and the punctuation seems out of place? Complicating the sentence structure of the paragraph is a series of colons and semicolons. When was the last time you utilized a complex sentence structure with : and ; correctly? Further along the document, you have to remember if the period should be inside our outside the quotation marks. Then there are those pesky Oxford Commas to utilize correctly. Do you remember the rules?
If you are a writer, editor or proofreader, having a quick laminated reference sheet of the major elements of the Chicago Manual of Style in easy reach could be quite helpful, especially since it is the most commonly accepted style guide. Amazon.com recently suggested the Chicago Manual of Style Guidelines (Quick Study) while I was ordering other items, and it intrigued me. Since it was inexpensive I ordered it and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. Turns out it is a very nice refresher and quick reference for the Chicago Manual of Style. Since I recently wrote a post regarding Style Guides, I thought I would discuss this item in more detail.
This laminated, tri-fold reference is based on the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style and organized into these sections:
- What is CMS?
- Preparing a Manuscript
- Copyright & Fair Use
- Style & Usage
- Tricky Words
- An Introduction to Grammar
I have already found the Style & Usage and the Tricky Words sections useful in a proofreading project. Semicolons and Commas can be some of the greatest challenges within a document you are proofreading or editing. It is always best to confirm with the publisher if they want you to follow the Chicago Manual of Style for punctuation or if they have their own custom style guide preference. Tricky Words are always worth a refresher when you are reading pages and pages in one sitting. I normally will do specific word searches in a document after I finish my first proofreading pass just to focus on those words. Having this Tricky Words list is a great starting point for these searches.
Overall, I find this quick study reference very informative and its format simple and fast to use.
Are there references you specifically keep on hand at your desk to help with editing, proofreading or writing? Do you prefer physical printed references or digital resources?