That’s right – after 60 blog posts, Coles & Lopez is finally embracing the listicle. Here are five websites/pages we think every writer and editor should know about.
There’s an ongoing battle in the lexicography world between descriptivism and prescriptivism – in other words, whether a dictionary’s role is to describe the way we use language in the real world or to instruct us how to use language “correctly”. The OED, in my opinion, offers the best of both worlds. It is proudly descriptivist, but it includes usage notes warning us when certain words or usages are frowned upon (see the entry for “irregardless”).
The rules around writing numbers in fiction are complex, to say the least. This comprehensive blog post by editor Beth Hill covers dates, times, fractions, decimals, weights, percentages, dollar amounts, ordinals and more, including the different rules for dialogue and narrative. I’ve sent the link to many an author, and I refer to it myself whenever I need a refresher.
As we discussed here and here, there are some hard and fast rules around hyphen use. But there are also plenty of cases where to hyphenate or not to hyphenate is a style choice. For example, the Chicago Manual hyphenates “log-in”, “shout-out” and “tip-off”; the AP Stylebook prefers “login”, “shoutout” and “tipoff”. Since Chicago is, for the most part, my style guide of choice, this reference sheet has been a godsend for me.
Again, how to capitalise titles is a style choice, and it can be hard to remember the various rules. With this website, you can choose between APA, Chicago, AP and MLA style and then copy and paste your title to have it automatically capitalised. For example, here’s how different style guides would handle a current headline from the listicle-lovers at Buzzfeed:
APA, Chicago and MLA: 37 Drag Race Memes That Will Go down in Herstory
AP: 37 Drag Race Memes That Will Go Down in Herstory
If you want to know why AP handles the word “down” differently, you can scroll to the bottom of the page for a helpful summary of the rules.
This is a good one for all the academics out there. WorldCat is a gigantic database that contains the publication details of more than two billion books and articles. Anything that makes checking citations slightly less painful deserves a spot in your Favourites list, right?