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Manual Labor – Booking Through Thursday

Before I get to the BTT question for this week, please, if you haven’t read my post about Amy, please do so now. Amy is a fellow book blogger who is in the hospital for cancer treatment. I’m organizing a package be sent to her of gifts and well wishes…you can just write her a note and tell her she’ll be in your thoughts and prayers.

On to BTT…

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

Erm, I don’t have any of these books and I’ve never read them. The English language makes sense to me so if I ever wonder about something I look it up and I rarely need to reference it again. Except for when to use who and whom. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have a problem with this? Can you explain it to me?

WAIT! I do own a dictionary. I like my dictionary. My boss bought me Eats, Shoots & Leaves, but again, do I really want to be reading about grammar and punctuation unless I have a specific question (in which case it’s annoying to look up in ES&L)? I think…no.

Ya know, this brings up an interesting point. I was doling out phone books today, and someone said, “NO! I don’t want a phone book! We shouldn’t have so many phone books when we can find most of that information online. It’s a waste of trees…blah blah blah.” I think she has a point. Are we getting to the time when these kinds of books are obsolete when you can easily find this information online?

I guess that’s my answer. I can’t WAIT to see what y’all say about who v. whom and whether these types of books are obsolete. Don’t forget to check out my post about Amy…reaching out to her can cost you as little as $.41 (if you hurry! $.42 if you don’t hurry).


21 Responses to “Manual Labor – Booking Through Thursday”

  1. Ann Darnton

    I take the point about phone books and trees, but I do worry about getting that sort of information from the web. My experience is that on a number of sites you can’t rely on the accuracy. Maybe this will get better with time, but at the moment I prefer the paper copy.


  2. Ann Darnton

    I take the point about phone books and trees, but I do worry about getting that sort of information from the web. My experience is that on a number of sites you can’t rely on the accuracy. Maybe this will get better with time, but at the moment I prefer the paper copy.


  3. Melody

    Hey Trish! Just to let you know I’ve just sent the mail (for Amy) to you today!

    Yeah, I do think phone books are obsolete, although they might be useful if one doesn’t own a PC or the latter is down! 😛


  4. gautami tripathy

    Phonebooks are obsolete as phone numbers keep changing here!

    However, dictionaries are not. I love my old copies!

    Mine is up too!


  5. Megan

    I read a lot of writing books, but not on grammar! True I do have some old text books laying around but I rarely search out the placement of my commas!

    I have a few dictionaries. I like them. I like unique ones. I have an old one that is like a foot thick. I have another one with word origins in them, but since everything is on the web now I rarely crack them open.

    My mom did use the really big and OLD dictionary to press flowers last summer. So it is getting some use!


  6. Lynda

    I still prefer paper to the web for many things ;0)


  7. Rebecca

    I LOVE grammar, but I don’t own many guides or dictionaries anymore. Here’s my response. As for who versus whom, here’s grammar girl to help.

    For those of you who don’t want to read all of her post, here’s grammar girl’s the quick and dirty tip: “Like whom, the pronoun him ends with m. When you’re trying to decide whether to use who or whom, ask yourself if the answer to the question would be he or him. That’s the trick: if you can answer the question being asked with him, then use whom, and it’s easy to remember because they both end with m.”


  8. Mikko

    I have a dictionary, but I don’t use it. I just check online, so I don’t have to walk all the way to the bookshelf and take the big and heavy tome from the top shelf…

    I do like to read books about grammar and language in general, and I’m currently hunting for some writing guides.

    Phone books are such a waste, I agree, I haven’t used one in years…


  9. Jennifer

    Yeah I tend to agree about the phonebook thing too. If you can get it online, it’s probably easier. I definitely find that with dictionaries and thesauruses (thesauri?).

    I’ll take a stab at the who/whom thing. I looked it up recently myself. According to my computer dictionary, ‘who’ should be used as the subject of a sentence, while ‘whom’ should be used as an object.
    ‘Who decided this?’ but ‘Whom should we vote for?’
    It also says that most people just use ‘who’ all the time now, except maybe in formal contexts.

    I’m still confused though. I just use ‘whom’ if it sounds right!


  10. Chris@bookarama

    Yeah, I only use an online dictionary.


  11. Mo

    Use “who” as a subject of the sentence (“Who doesn’t know that?”) and “whom” as the object of a sentence (“To whom are you refering?”) Easy, right?!

    I’m actually kind of addicted to (devoted to? obsessed with??) my thesaurus!

    Happy reading!!


  12. Mo

    Oops! Sorry, didn’t read Jennifer’s response first, obviously.


  13. Lesley

    Good point about the phone book. And those dreadful free ones that get hurled at your front door without a by your leave, full of businesses and ads that you’ll never need nor look at in a million years. Poor trees …


  14. mervih

    Well, not everyone has or can afford to have an internet connection or a computer. Not everyone wants either. Wanting everything to go on-line seems quite, well, self-centered to me.

    I do use usually on-line dictionaries as long as I know that they are trustworthy.


  15. jeane

    For a whole two years I haven’t used a phone book. It’s so much faster to look up stuff online. But there’s always the problem Ann mentioned- out-of-date info. But then I just call 411. It still beats finding and lugging out that heavy volume of thin paper that tears too easily.


  16. softdrink

    I’m hopeless with the whole who/whom thing. Neither one ever sounds right (or is that correct?) to me.


  17. Kat

    I just use whichever sounds better at the moment. 😀 I suppose the reason why I have so many grammar books is because English, though spoken by almost everyone here, isn’t really the main language. Though I’ve got tons hehe.

    I haven’t had a phonebook in years. 😀 And I truly trust an actual printed dictionary than an online one.

    Here’s mine


  18. Literary Feline

    I can relate to the person who didn’t want a copy of the phone book. I work for a very large agency with many different offices. Some people like to keep a binder with the all the lists tucked inside, but it’s so much more convenient and practical to just refer to the online database when we need a number. The printed lists go out of date quickly and as a result it’s a huge waste of paper to constantly be printing the updated lists.


  19. Nithin

    I prefer online dictionaries to paper ones. When it comes to grammar, I usually avoid using such books. It’s too difficult to find a specific topic about punctuations or about the who/whom problem you mentioned. I usually go with whatever “looks” correct to me.


  20. KittyCat

    I don’t go for grammar books either 🙂 Sorry to hear about your friend, Amy. I’d just lost my Dad to cancer and can imagine what she’s going through.

    Bring her some cheery reads, ok? The best of my fighting spirit to her!


  21. wordlily

    I have quite a few style guides around; I need them because some of the information they contain actually isn’t available online (at least not free), and when I’m editing professionally, “right” can vary depending on what the text is. I make the manuscript conform to a specific set of rules. I also still use a hard copy dictionary, although I also use online dictionaries and thesauruses (?) quite often.

    In our small town, the phone book’s information isn’t online, either. While the paper version is practically useless, it does have a few numbers I reference occasionally.

    Oh, and have you read Eats, Shoots and Leaves? It’s a great read, I laughed out loud several times while reading it. Not much of a reference book, just a fun book. 🙂


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