[ Technical Communication ] Chicago Style Q&A

Probably the only readable style guide (By readable I mean not interchangeable with sleeping pills). A majority of time it is just another guideline. But look closer, we will find hidden jems like we all did in Nintendo games.

Snippets from this month’s guide.

Q. Is the word “how” necessary in sentences such as “Learn how to bake breads and cakes”? In some cases, it sounds better with the word “how,” but it seems unnecessary in this case.

A. Learning to do something isn’t necessarily the same as learning how to do it. If I say “I learned to turn off my cell phone at the opera during act 4 of Otello while Desdemona was singing that soft, wrenching aria and hoping Otello wouldn’t strangle her,” it doesn’t mean I was learning how to turn it off. So use the word “how” whenever it’s needed to make your meaning clear.

Is it possible not to learn how to use how after reading something like this? It is now a  book! Woo!
Too bad the original guide is not this readable. It is now available both online and in book form. The point of consuming even more pulp? It is impressive (to the owner’s mindset).

Bonus: It has become a book.
P.S. One more from last month’s Q&A.

Q. Dear Manual of Style : My friend and I are having a disagreement about whether or not “smoking gun” must be hyphenated when used as an adjective (i.e., smoking-gun evidence vs. smoking gun evidence). He believes that it is appropriate to hyphenate, citing rule 7.90 of CMOS15. I believe that when the hyphen is unnecessary to help a reader differentiate a compound adjective from two adjacent adjectives that each independently modify the noun, it is unnecessary to hyphenate (e.g., chocolate chip cookie, high school teacher). Which one of us is correct?

A. I agree with you, but someone has to decide whether the adjectives are safe without the hyphen. If you want to be absolutely sure that no one will think the teacher is high on something or the evidence has been set on fire, you should add a hyphen to “high school” and “smoking gun.”