Page 9 - April 2017
P. 9

for the book which once bore his      of reference and quotation marks in the
       name. The fi rst, slim (8-page) edition   22nd edition were politely described
       appeared exactly 124 years ago this   in the trade press as ‘not commending
       month, in April 1893, but Hart
       had created his own guide for
       the use of staff  at Woodfall &
       Kinder as early as 1864. Rules
       has remained in print since
       1893, with over 40 editions
       and constant revisions, most
       recently to its title. For example,
       the 1978 edition (the 38th since
       1893) updated the spelling of
       Moslem to Muslim, program
       (for computing) rather than
       programme and adapter instead
       of adaptor (for literary works but
       not electrical gadgets). It was
       Hart’s guide which persuaded
       printers and journalists to
       change portmanteau words
       such as week-end and to-
       day into the more familiar,
       unhyphenated versions we have
       today. The publication always
       kept up-to-date, refl ecting and
       sometimes leading changes
       in the use of language and the                Horace Hart
       evolution of punctuation. Hart’s Rules   themselves to printers generally’. In 1914
       may sometimes seem pedantic, but      air-man became airman and air-ship also
       they are based upon logical criteria.   lost its hyphen. In 1967 (37th edition),
       So, for example, the name of a ship   connexion became connection and 1978
       or submarine (Cutty Sark, HMS         saw the plural referenda modifi ed to
       Dreadnought) should be italicised but   referendums (Hart’s helpfully pointed
       the type of vessel or aircraft (Spitfi re,   out that the change was necessary as
       Lancaster, Flying Fortress) should NOT.   referenda had never been etymologically
       Hart’s helpfully pointed out that Enola   correct). The same year saw the addition
       Gay – the aircraft which dropped the   of new words inputting, routeing and
       atom bomb on Hiroshima – should not   transsexual, refl ecting then current
       be italicised as its name was not ‘offi  cial’.   changes in technology and medical
       The book is crammed with similar lip-  practice. A note in promotional material
       smacking fare for the hungry pedant.  for the 38th edition states that an
         Every edition introduced controversial   attempt to have gipsy changed to gypsy
       changes and not all were popular. Hart’s   had been rebuff ed by the editor.
       ‘innovations’ in punctuation and the use     Horace Hart retired from OUP on
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