New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors
RM Ritter, Oxford University Press, 2014, revised edn, 448pp, £14.99 (hbk), ISBN 978 019957 001 0
Reviewed by Michèle Clarke
This book was reviewed jointly with New Hart's Rules.
There has been much talk on SfEPLine regarding these two new editions, so important for an editor's bookshelf. There was uncertainty about what had been updated, although Anne Waddingham, the new overall editor for Hart's Rules, did mention some parts that had been overhauled. The original editions of these books were reviewed in the SfEP's Nov/Dec 2006 newsletter, and I note that some of the comments made there have been taken on board. The advertising blurb probably helps us.
NODWE has returned to a smaller handbook size, with freshly compiled text from the English Corpus and Reading Programme. Spellings and forms are consistent with the OUP's range of dictionaries, and it contains many words not found in normal dictionaries. There are nine very useful appendices for such lists as chemical elements, mathematical symbols, prime ministers and presidents, to name a few.
The previous review noted that my hated word ‘guineapig' was split into two (always painful), but ‘guineafowl' was one word. Now both are split – at least that is now consistent! It is a useful handbook for all sorts of reasons, with many abbreviations and proper names included.
New Hart's Rules has ‘increased focus on … publishing in the digital age … An entirely new chapter exploring the differences between UK and US English … [and a] fully revised chapter on the presentation of scientific, mathematical, and computing material in published formats.' It has a good index, and there is a fully updated chapter on indexing per se!