Re: Grammar Guides, Dictionaries, etc.

Subject: Re: Grammar Guides, Dictionaries, etc.
From: Michael Lewis <lewism -at- BRANDLE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:09:24 +1100

These are ideal basic choices. (BTW, in response to Linda Sherman, I've
found that American Heritage is widely adopted as a house standard by
the US clients I've had, and I consider it more academically rigorous.)

On top of those, the Harbrace College handbook (or whatever its latest
name is) from Harcourt Brace is admirable for ironing out those points
of detail that we often argue about. (Remember the thread on who / whom
recently? Just because we're all professional writers doesn't mean we
all know all the answers!)

If you want a thesaurus, pick the biggest one you can find, but make
sure there's a house rule in place: if you find a word in the thesaurus,
check it in the dictionary before you use it! I've seen wonderful
instances (esp in student essays) where someone's used a synonym for a
homophone -- examples escape me right now, but consider "hypocrisy" as a
synonym for "cant": great, unless you mean "cant" as in "tilt".

Dick Margulis wrote:
> Tracey,
> Okay, I'll throw this list out for starters. Note that I tend to be
> paper-oriented when it comes to references; others may weigh in with a
> bunch of CD-ROMs or online resources:
> Dictionary:
> American Heritage Dictionary
> Get one copy of the desk edition and then get a college edition for
> everyone. One of my avocations is collecting and critquing dictionaries
> and I strongly recommend this one over Merriam-Webster for your
> purposes.
> (You may also want specialized technical dictionaries, but I don't know
> much about them.)
> Style guide:
> Chicago Manual of Style
> If you deal with the Federal Government a lot, you may prefer to go with
> the Government Printing Office Style Manual instead; otherwise go with
> Chicago.
> In addition, I would assume you are hiring writers who have a grasp of
> basic grammar and have their own libraries. You should not have to buy
> them copies of the Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, or Warriner's
> Handbook of English.
> You do, however, need to work as a group to establish your own rules for
> those things that are still discretionary so you can al be consistent.
> This would include things like whether to use a comma before and, how to
> spell catalog(ue), and so forth.
> Tracey Moore wrote:
> >
> > Anyone have any suggestions for grammar guides, thesauruses, and
> > dictionaries for technical writers? I need to purchase either books or
> > software for our company, so your input is greatly appreciated.
> >

Michael Lewis
Brandle Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia
PO Box 1249, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012
Suite 8, The Watertower, 1 Marian St, Redfern 2016
Tel +61-2-9310-2224 ... Fax +61-2-9310-5056

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