by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2016
Books to Help your Writing
by various authors
Don't Trust Your Spell Check is a reasonably lighthearted look at the issues and skills surrounding spell checking which, importantly, scores the various spell checkers on applications such as Microsoft Word. The warning is very clear, most of them are hopeless! The need for human proof-reading is as vital as ever if you are to prevent spelling CHILE 'CHIIE' on your five pesos pieces (Oh yes they did!).
The Guardian Style Book is something of a folk law standard in regard to spelling and word useage. This will prevent you typing that 'meatloaf sings' when only Meat Loaf does. It will also inform you that a bellwether is a sheep which leads the herd (should you need to know!).
Eats Shoots and Leaves is a satirical book about miss-spelling and punctuation which shot the author to fame when it came out. The later editions come with an 'apostrophe repair kit' so that apostrophe pedants can amend signs and posters but be careful, some guys in New York were fined for correcting signs in Central Park.
Some posters in our experience would run you clean out of corrective stickers at the first attempt.
The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors is a dictionary which, rather than listing the meaning of every word in the English language, it throws in frequently used foreign words (so that the French can have a word for entrepreneur) along with common abbreviations. It's basically full of stuff that people often get wrong or need to look up.
The Oxford Style Manual is a sister publication of the above and runs to a whopping 1,033 pages. It tells you all about punctuation, book layout, copyright and lots more. It contains the dictionary above at the back so don't buy both! It is rather over the top for an occasional writer but if you need accurate answers to repel a spelling or grammar pedant it comes in handy (it's quite heavy).
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