AHDI-West wants to show you how to use the AHDI Book of Style 3rd Ed.
Am I the only one who thinks that if AHDI had done a good job in layout and design, we wouldn't need lessons on how to use the book?
I was doing some research for updates to the MT Reference Style Guide this last week and discovered why people may need lessons on how to use the book.
There are confusing discrepancies and contradictions between the text and the samples.
I'm interested to see how they address that in a webinar.
If you have the book, look at section 10.3.9 Money (pp. 246-248).
For numbers less than one dollar, use numerals; spell out and lowercase cents. Do not use the decimal form. Do not use the dollar sign ($). Do not use the cent sign (¢) except in tables.
8 cents not $.08 or 8¢
20 cents not 20¢ or $.20
It then notes an exception for tables and moves on to:
For amounts over one dollar, use the dollar sign ($) preceding the dollar amount, and separate dollars and cents by a decimal point. Do not use a decimal following the dollar amount if cents are not included.
$40 not $40.00 (unless listed in a column with other amounts that include cents)
Are you with me so far? Stay with me while we cover ranges in money values (bottom of page 247).
For ranges, repeat the dollar sign or cent sign, but do not repeat the word forms. Use to instead of a hyphen with a dollar-sign or cent-sign forms.
$4 to $5 not $4-$5.
10¢ to 15¢ not 10¢-15¢
I had to read this about 20 times to figure out that NOW there's an exception to the “do not use the cent sign except in tables” instruction at the bottom of page 246. Because apparently, it should read: “do not use the cent sign except in tables and ranges.”
I'm starting to understand why a webinar might be necessary.
Moving on to the top of page 248:
Use to with word forms.
4 to 5 dollars not $4-5 dollars.
10 to 15 cents not 10-15 cents.
Wait a minute. Back on page 247, it says we use the dollar or cent sign in ranges. Why are we spelling it out now?
I hope they cover that in the webinar.
More confusion on page 248:
Do not use the possessive form with compound adjectives.
a 2-dollar bill.
Again – why are we spelling out the word dollar? According to the instructions on page 247, amounts over a dollar use a dollar sign ($).
I'm confused and this is only 3 pages. I'm beginning to wonder if 2 hours is enough time to explain everything.
In contrast, I refer to section 4 of the Gregg Reference Manual, which clearly states:
An isolated, nonemphatic reference to money may be spelled out.
two hundred dollars
nearly a thousand dollars
a twenty-dollar bill
like a million dollars
That might provide some clarity to the examples used – if there was an explanation in the AHDI BOS. But there isn't. And why should you have to refer to both books to get some clarity?
Of course, this could be just a sales pitch for the book. Attendees are advised that they should have a copy before they attend the webinar. I wonder if AHDI-West gets an affiliate percentage of the books sold as a result of this webinar.
The bottom line is that because the book is in print and not electronic format, it can't be changed. The solution – give a webinar and charge people $45 to learn how to use the print version of the book after they've paid $50 (members) or $70 (nonmembers) for it. I hope you don't mind making notes in the margins – you're going to need them. Alternatively, you can pay $30 a year to get the electronic (searchable) version. I'm also wondering if they're going to do a webinar on the electronic version or if there are plans to update it to clear up any errors or confusing text and examples.
I'm thinking I need to spend more time on the MT Reference Style Guide so MTs have a free, searchable, updated style guide that is comprehensive and complete. Shameless plug: Feel free to participate in the style guide creation. Your comments and feedback on the content is welcome and appreciated.