Hart's Rules

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Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford was an authoritative reference book and style guide published in England by Oxford University Press (OUP). Hart's Rules originated as a compilation of rules and standards by Horace Hart over almost three decades during his employment at other printing establishments, but they were first printed as a single broadsheet page for in-house use by the OUP in 1893 while Hart was Controller of the University Press. They were originally intended as a concise style-guide for the staff of the OUP, but they developed continuously over the years, were published in 1904, and soon gained wider use as a source for authoritative instructions on typesetting style, grammar, punctuation, and usage.

It has been revised and republished under different titles, including The Oxford Guide to Style (2002), The Oxford Style Manual (2003), New Hart's Rules (2005), and New Oxford Style Manual (2012).

Publishing history[edit]

After their first appearance, Hart's rules were reissued in a second edition in 1894, and two further editions in 1895. They were continually revised, enlarged and reissued, and had reached their 15th edition by the time they were eventually published as a book in March 1904. New editions and reprints continued to appear over almost eight decades, until the 39th edition (1983) which was reprinted fifteen times—the last in 2000. Three of these reprints included corrections: 1986, 1987, and 1989.

In February 2002, Oxford University Press published a new and much longer edition (the fortieth) of Hart's Rules under the title The Oxford Guide to Style, promoted as "Hart's Rules for the 21st Century", which is of more value to editors than to typesetters.

The Oxford Style Manual (2003) combined in a single volume of 1033 pages The Oxford Guide to Style (2002) and The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2000).[1] It again provided considerably more information about editing style than Hart's Rules did, but also less about typography.

From this version was adapted New Hart's Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors, first published in September 2005.

The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, compiled by Robert M. Ritter, was earlier published as a separate companion volume, in line with the eleven editions of its famous predecessor the Authors' and Printers' Dictionary by Frederick Howard Collins (first published in 1905 and renamed in 1983). A freshly compiled successor, published in 2005, returned to the "traditional small handbook form" and is titled The New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors. It is intended for "people who work with words—authors, copy-editors, proofreaders, students writing essays and dissertations, journalists, people writing reports or other documents, and website editors."[2]

In 2012 Oxford University Press published a new edition in 2003, the New Oxford Style Manual. It includes The New Oxford Dictionary of Writers and Editors and New Hart's Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors, both from 2005.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Specification at UNESDOC
  2. ^ Preface, New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors OUP (2005)

External links[edit]