Hart's Rules

Hart's Rules

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.


Publishing history

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 four times (with corrections)—the last in 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. From this version was adapted New Hart's Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors, first published in September 2005.

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.

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]

See also

  • Style guides (for corresponding American and other usage guides)
  • The King's English
  • Fowler's Modern English Usage


  1. ^ Specification at UNESDOC
  2. ^ Preface, New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors OUP (2005)
  • The Oxford Manual of Style (OUP, 2002) Introduction
  • The Meaning of Everything (OUP, 2003)

External links

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