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Subject:list of *good* books From:David Ibbetson <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 18 Jan 1996 01:06:43 -0500
Frederick Falk wants to know what reference books I most use:
Let it be known that I am officially retired and I do not work as a
technical writer except when I try to get this housing co-op's bylaws and
procedures into English. They get revised erratically by whichever
committee feels most involved and presented to a General Members' Meeting
where the members further revise them with motions from the floor and either
accept them (when they are engraved in stone until next time) or refer them
back for further work. Sometimes I'm asked to sort out a convoluted
sentence, more often not.
"Editing Canadian English" is very useful on occasion, but unlikely to be of
much use to somebody working in the States. The same problem limits the use
of the (Toronto) Globe and Mail Style Book and The Economist Style Guide.
The first two help me when Canadian usage and meaning differ from UK
practice. (I've only been in the country about 23 years and I still think of
a pavement as where the pedestrians walk!) Either style book serves when I
have to explain that 'enormity' has no reference to size, as does a good
dictionary. (I use an English one, but any good dictionary will serve.) The
Globe and Mail book helps when somebody claims that it's different in
Canada. "Gage", the only genuine Canadian dictionary can be useful for
Canadianisms, but the real problem here is that nobody knows whether they
should be writing Canadian or US English. The Federal Government decided
over 100 years ago that they would use British English. Most newspapers use
US English. As noted The Globe and Mail has its own style which is a mixture
of the two. &c. &c. &c. (end of rant)