In my job as a Technical Writer, I often refer to this manual for style, grammar, usage, and formatting standards in writing. I love it. It has it all. I rely on it to make sure I’m accurate in my work. However, as I read through Section 8 on Compound Words, the erosion of standards stood out to me…
“As in other areas of style, authorities do not agree on the rules. Moreover, style is continually changing:”
“terms that continue to appear in different ways. Is it Inbox/Outbox, in-box/out-box, or inbox/outbox?” “E-Mail, email, or e-mail?”
My thoughts in reading through this: “Where will it end?” The slipping and sliding of how we write words, how we speak…why would the standards be allowed to keep changing? Why would the way someone else writes a word change the guidelines in how it should be written? It seems the guidelines aren’t actually firm at all, but rather blow with the most popular wind of the time and then that leads me to ask: how can it then be called a standard or guideline?
“Common usage” means: however the majority are writing the word…people who just didn’t want to look it up, didn’t care, or didn’t know, and wrote it how it seemed best to them at the time. This is how we decide how we are to write words? How can this be what guides our “Guide”, which tells us the proper writing of a word? What others have done poorly becomes what is proper?
In reference to how compound words are to appear, Gregg’s suggested the internet and most common appearance as our source of guidance in how to write the word… it’s a little disturbing that the internet is becoming the source of all truth…
So, of course, in reading this I started to draw connections to my faith.
As a believer in Jesus, my life’s “Style, Grammar, Usage, Formatting Guide” is the Bible:
- Style, being that of the inner man’s heart condition and behavior, rather than the outer mans name brand clothing or make-up.
- Grammar, being the words coming out of our mouth being of the Bible instead of the World.
- Usage, the how to walk and live the Word, victoriously.
- The Formatting of our life, the editing out of who we once were and the inserting in the new Text of who are and will become.
So, as the Church, the Body of Christ, are we looking to the internet to define what the latest and best are in our Spiritual Style, Grammar, Usage, and Formatting? Do we allow the Truth of the Bible to slip in accordance with the most popular usage? Do we allow others to define the bible truths for us by how they apply it or don’t apply it?
As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to be a peculiar people, set apart…we aren’t to look to and ride the slippery slope of what is common, or popular. The Bible doesn’t slip and slide along with the latest trends. The Word is alive, but it isn’t changing its standards based on popular opinion or most common usage.
“When you notice that a certain term is appearing in different ways in actual usage, how do you decide which version to select?”
The world will present to us different versions, watered down versions, empty versions, and the question is the same as above…”how do you decide which version to select?”
Everything goes back to Jesus…the Word, the Bible. The Book remains the same; as does the Word therein. The Holy standards don’t blow with the wind, or shift with the sands…it stands firm when all else fails and falls.
As the Church, the Body of Christ, we have the Truth, the Life, and the Way. We must continue to ask, seek, and knock to know what the Word says. We can’t allow whats common, the media, popular opinion to dictate our faith, we must go back to the Bible and what it says.