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The Oxford Style Manual - Hot or Not?
Thread poster: Andrew Rennison

Andrew Rennison
Local time: 22:53
German to English
+ ...
Oct 4, 2006

Hi guys,

Just wondering if any of you own or use the Oxford Style Manual? Presumably it reflects more UK English than US English.

How does it shape up against the Chicago Manual of Style?

I need to get a style guide but thought I'd ask around first before making a decision.

Thanks for any input!


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:53
Italian to English
It depends... Oct 4, 2006

Hello Andy,

I use both.

Some of my clients have style preferences or in-house manuals. For those who don't, I find out whether they want US or UK conventions, which generally depends on the target audience, and propose Oxford as a benchmark if they want UK and Chicago if they want US. It helps tremendously to have clear guidelines at the start of a project - some customers might not get around to considering the issue until they have the translation in front of them.

I'm not American and don't claim to write US English but for certain clients it can be important to avoid UK typographical conventions that US English speakers might find distracting, and vice versa. BTW, there are plenty of other excellent UK (Cambridge, MHRA, etc) and US (Webster, etc) style guides knocking around.

That said, the main differences between the two dialects are in vocabulary and idioms, for which you might want to consult one of the in-house style guides that concentrate more on usage (BBC, The Economist, etc).

HTH

Giles


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:53
German to English
+ ...
Handy Source Oct 4, 2006

This is a handy guide. It is targeted to German writers of English scientific prose, but contains some useful pointers which would also come in handy to many writing in/into English. There are also many useful links in it (section 5) to online style guides, such as here. (Whoop - the second red link didn't fire up. Let's try again: http://alt-usage-english.org/intro_b.shtml#WritingandGrammarGuidesOnLine.

Cheers
Chris

P.S. Giles - your new image is a style guide in itself!

[Edited at 2006-10-04 14:02]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
comparison Oct 4, 2006

andyrennie wrote:

Hi guys,

Just wondering if any of you own or use the Oxford Style Manual? Presumably it reflects more UK English than US English.

How does it shape up against the Chicago Manual of Style?

I need to get a style guide but thought I'd ask around first before making a decision.

Thanks for any input!


I have the Oxford Style Manual, it's very complete.

I don't know the Chicago Style Manual, except via online access on a trial basis, so maybe the thing to do is to use this, then some day in a bookshop, browse teh Oxford.

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Both good...some notes about Chicago ... Oct 4, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:

I don't know the Chicago Style Manual, except via online access on a trial basis, so maybe the thing to do is to use this, then some day in a bookshop, browse teh Oxford.

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html



Being a U.S. editor (of texts written in Eng), I "cut my teeth" using the Chicago Manual of Style, but I'm sure the Oxford one is equally good. As Giles says, it depends on your target audience or the publisher you are working with.

The value of a manual is that you don't waste time wondering about the "right" choice. There really is no such thing as "a right choice," but being consistent helps a reader. So, if you adopt a set of rules, it speeds up the time it takes to edit a manuscript because you aren't waffling: "Should I punctuate it this way? Should I punctuate the other way?" (etc.)

And I'm glad Lia pointed out that CMS is on-line. The CMS is 1000 pages long, and it can be confusing. When it was updated a few years ago, some rules changed, adding another layer of confusion.

By being able to search on-line, you can get hits for all the entries on a given topic -- rather than turning to the sub-chapter on the topic and then missing the footnote on p. 733

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure it will be good.

Also, CMS has a marvelous Q&A FREE service, where you can (once you've checked the manual) write to them with style (and limited grammar and usage) questions that are ambiguous.


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:53
German to English
+ ...
CMOS Oct 4, 2006

I've ordered CMOS and have been waiting for it for about four months now. The new edition was supposed to be out in August (it didn't happen). New versions of the last edition are also unavailable.

Maybe I should purchase the Oxford Style Manual, which I've never used (I usually write for a US-audience).

[Edited at 2006-10-04 15:09]


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Andrew Rennison
Local time: 22:53
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CMOS - an interesting one Oct 4, 2006

Thanks very much to everyone who replied. I might go for the Oxford manual being a Brit.

Derek - I had some fun with the latest version of CMOS too.
I tried to order the CD-Rom version only to be told the following by a company called jpc (www.jpc.de):

Leider muss ich Sie enttäuschen: Das von Ihnen bestellte Buch wird nicht mehr hergestellt. Da wir über keinerlei Restbestände verfügen, können wir den Artikel somit nicht mehr liefern.

Interesting comment.

Firstly, it's a CD-Rom of the book, not a book. Secondly it's just come out onto the market (according to the publisher's website).
Amazon now has it but the one review on there doesn't rate it too highly so I might go for the paper version to be on the safe side.

Oxford or Chicago....hmmm....decisions, decisions.....


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:53
German to English
Have you tried "search the book" on Amazon.com? Oct 5, 2006

You can't yet look in the Style Manual, but you can look in one of the books it is made up of:

Oxford Guide to Style
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0198691750/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-5845628-1258559#reader-link

The other book is the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, which is a dictionary, as the title suggests, of correct spelling, abbreviations and comments on meanig for words which are often used the wrong way.


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:23
German to English
+ ...
CMOS Oct 6, 2006

The CMOS is now available and shipping at amazon.com as a CD-ROM. There's no difference in content between the paper and the CD version, so I wouldn't go by the review which doesn't rate the CD version highly. If anything, the CD version is in all probability far easier to use. I've never seen the paper version, so I can't compare for sure.

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