“Charles’s favorite book, the one about Claudius’s epic quest to destroy Carlos’s magic hat, is missing.”
For the last thrity years I’ve had sentences like that corrected. No, not because it’s long and confusing, but because of all the ‘s – but no more!
I am vindicated!
Okay, not really vindicated, but they have “changed the rules”, as they do periodically. Or at least, the The Chicago Manual of Style: 16th Edition has. According to Mary Keeley of the Books & Such Literary Agency, the goal was on consistency with this edition, hence the final vindication of the possessive ‘s’ after names that end in ‘s’. There were lots of other changes, too. Commas can now follow other punctuation (how would that work?), website is one word, prepositions in headlines are now always lowercase, no matter the importance of the word, and more.
What’s my opinion on it? Hm. They say that as writer’s we should keep up on every subtle change in order to show our commitment to our readers and our craft. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of good grammar or punctuation, but I wonder how many average readers buy – or read - The Chicago Manual of Style? Is it a commitment to our readers and our craft, or a commitment to proving to the other authors/industry people that we’re “with it”? After all, how many average readers would know whether website had been officially ruled one word or two? Until you read this, did you?
You can read the rest of the article here: http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/news-from-conferences-grammar-shrammar/
(Special thanks to Barbara G. Tarn for finding the link to this article!)