It’s like Christmas in February.
Recently, a colleague and I were talking about style guides and about the differences among all the style guides we’ve used in our careers. A few days later, he brought in a copy of an in-house style guide he’d used at a previous job.
It’s entrancing to read what’s included in the style guide and why—entrancing to think about the stories behind the entries. (There’s a section in this style guide titled “Pet Peeves.”)
Of course, it’s also reaffirming to realize that others have the same style issues that we do—serial commas, health care as two words, the use of utilize.
Here are a few things I’ve learned so far.
An alumna is one woman. Alumnae are women.
Alumni are men and women. An alumnus is one man.
Beside means (1) at the side of (Sit beside me.); (2) to compare with (Beside Patrick O’Brian, all other authors fall short.); (3) apart from (That’s beside the point.)