Finding the #Write #Words? No. 20: New Hart’s Rules

Continuing the description of books on words and language listed in the introductory post, which you’ll find here.

Book 20: New Hart’s Rules:

Hardback, 464 pages. Subtitled, The Oxford Style Guide, it was first published in 2005 by Oxford University Press. Mine is the 2014 edition and I paid £14.99 for it. The book is a completely revised and enlarged version of the old ‘Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers’, which I reviewed here in post 16 of this series.

I bought it because, as a writer, I feel I owe my readers as complete a knowledge of the tools of my trade as I can manage. Much has changed in the worlds of publishing and writing since I acquired the older version of this invaluable volume.

The book begins with a detailed description of the ‘parts of a book’, which explains how a book is constructed. This relates mostly to the way a nonfiction book is built, but there are elements of interest to fiction writers, too. I’ll list the other 20 chapters, as they will provide an idea of what the book contains:

Preparing copy; Spelling and hyphenation; Punctuation; Capitalization; Names, Italic, roman, and other type treatments; Work titles in text; Quotations and direct speech; Abbreviations and symbols; Numbers and dates; Languages; Law and legal references; Science mathematics, and computing; Lists and tables; Illustrations and artwork; Notes and references; Bibliography; Indexing; Copyright and other publishing responsibilities; US and British English. There are also sections on Proofreading marks, and Glossary of printing and publishing terms.

If you’re a writer, and think you can manage without this sort of information; good luck!

The book is, of course, written in British English, including the spelling.

It’s a significant improvement on its parent, providing a huge amount of current information. I certainly recommend this book for authors of all types.

English is a complex language, made up of words from many countries, and it borrows rules of grammar, punctuation and even style from those originating lands, which makes it interestingly familiar to learners but also frequently frustratingly baffling to the same students.

Those learning the English Language will find help on pronunciation here. And you’ll find a friendly group on Facebook through this link.

Post 2 is here, post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6, post 7, post 8, post 9, post 10, post 11, post 12, post 13, post 14, post 15, post 16, post 17, post 18, and post 19 here.

8 thoughts on “Finding the #Write #Words? No. 20: New Hart’s Rules

    1. HI Tom, not a replacement: Harts’ deals essentially with British English and follows the style rules set by the Oxford University Press (a subsidiary of Oxford University). Strunk and White (which I’ll be featuring in this blog stream later) is essentially the same thing, but dealing with American English, generaly in the style of the New York Times (which, decades ago, was considered the ‘go to’ journal for American writers). Hope that helps.

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            1. Here in UK, We’ve had a day of rain, bright intervals, snow, sleet, brooding cloud, and high winds in a mood. More or less what the whole of February has been like! But at least our temperatures have rarely plunged below -1C, so Climate change is keeping us warm, at least! No doubt there’ll be plenty of the ignorant, ill-informed, or fools with a vested interest in fossill fuels to cheer the increased temperatures!


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