Friday, March 02, 2007

My fascination with the CMOS Q&A

I've asked myself why I like reading the Chicago Manual of Style's Q&A page so much. The answer isn't that I'm fastidious in matters grammatical. (To phrase it awkwardly.) I never get a manuscript back from a copy editor without realizing that I have caused that person to do a lot of work.

As with my heavily marked-up manuscripts, I do always learn something when a new Q&A is posted on the CMOS's Web site. But that's not the attraction.

Alas, I must admit that what I really enjoy is reading the entries where the "Q" is posted by someone who is high dudgeon over the perceived misuse of some phrase, term, or punctuation mark by his or her colleagues, and in the "A" the questioner is told -- in the politest way, of course -- that he or she is trying to force others to adhere to a rule that doesn't exist.

Kind of a double-reverse schadenfreude on my part, I admit, but there you have it.


Louise Ure said...

My manuscripts come back looking like someone committed seppuku on the page.

Jan Burke said...

You need not feel alone.

And I'm not really very adult about it at all times. Tim has learned to give me a wide berth for the first 24 hours after the CE manuscript has arrived here.