A couple of weeks ago, my daughter came home with a less-than-stellar grade on her history test. When I asked about it, her reply came as a shock to me: “Why do we even need to learn history? We need to look to the future instead of the past.”
Now, I am all for forward thinking, but as someone who has spent most of her life thinking and learning about what past cultures have done, thought, and written – mainly in the context of language and literature – and how this has impacted and influenced modern thought, language, and literature, I had to stop and really think about what her reply means.
Is my daughter’s view indicative of this new generation? Are we failing to impart the importance of history in school and in the family setting? I began to worry and plan a “history intervention.”
What is your style guide? Armani? American Eagle? Ralph Lauren?
Maybe when it comes to your fashion choices, but when writing for publication, business, or academic purposes, you need a set of guiding standards to ensure that your important work is presented in a consistent way, so that your reader can focus on your crucial message and is not distracted by the fact that “New York Times” appears within quotation marks on page 4 and in italics as New York Times on page 120. (Are you referring to two different publications, the reader may ask herself?) If you cite (Brown 2001, 120) on page 45 and (Brown, 66) on page 56, is it the same reference? And minor variations like “the United States Government” in one place and “the US government” in another will simply irritate your reader.
A style guide provides a standard set of rules on usage in order to maintain consistency and aid reading comprehension.
What Is “Style,” When It Comes to Writing, Editing, and Publishing?
Of course your writing “style” may refer to your chosen tone, level of writing, or sentence structure. However, for our purposes here, “style” refers to consistency in grammar and syntax usage, and “rules related to capitalization, spelling, hyphenation, and abbreviations; punctuation, including ellipsis points, parentheses, and quotation marks; and the way numbers are treated” (Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., 2.49). The way you handle your sources and citations, both in notes and in a bibliography, is determined by a set “style.”
(Did you notice that my subheadings, above and below, are capitalized headline-style and not sentence-style? That is because my preferred style guide, Chicago Manual [2.18], tells me so.)
"Click. Add note to replace text. Add text box with notation for typesetting. Strike through text. Insert correct source at cursor." I am working in Adobe Acrobat on page proofs, preparing them for publication with a university press. I have been invested in this project from:
A Different Kind of Manuscript
Twenty years ago, however, you would have found me in the venerable Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan or Biblioteca Statale of Cremona in Italy, perusing a different kind of manuscript – ones written by hand on vellum or parchment paper in the late Middle Ages. I imagined a life of research, studying the written treasures hidden within the pages of such medieval manuscripts – accessible only to those trained to read the cryptic script and qualified to handle the fragile pages – and teaching Latin to university students. How did I end up working on modern books, on digital platforms, for other scholars?
I am Carla DeSantis, and welcome to my blog! I love language and words and books, and have turned this love into a business, helping others to perfect their written message.