Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Christian Writer's Manual of Style - Oh Yeah!

Okay, I know that I'm a geek, but I finally got around to ordering my style manual - and I love it! I really ordered it because I couldn't get a definitive answer to a few style questions via Google search, and I needed (okay wanted) to know the right way. What were those two troubling things that cost me $20?

#1 - The correct way of writing "amen". This little word seems to be very troublesome to the Christian author. Each book I read seems to deal with it a different way, so I've been on a search for this answer for quite some time. I have my own way of doing it, which, come to find out, wasn't 100% correct - but that's why I bought the book! So what is the correct way? Is it capitalized? Not capitalized? Does it stand alone as it's own sentence, or does it need ...more? How about all of the above?

If you use "Amen!" as an interjection, it is capitalized and stands alone. If you are using it within a sentence, then there is no reason for it to be capitalized. The style guide shows the following as an example: " Jesus' name we pray, amen." Which I had come to believe was completely in correct. Funny, huh. I'm still a bit unsure of this, as 'amen' means "so be it" or "may it be so", thus I'm trying to decide if it would be proper to use a comma, or a semi-colon - as I have been doing - or maybe no punctuation between the two at all... -Thoughts?

#2 - Do you capitalize 'Him' and 'He' when referring to God? I know that I like to, but I'm not sure it's proper. And if it is, should I also be capitalizing 'You' when referring to God? ...As of yet I have not found the answer to that question addressed in this book. :( Do you by chance know the answer?

Even though those were the specific reasons that I ordered this book, I'm eager to read through it in it's entirety. :) I know, it sounds nerdy, but I find it fascinating! Sadly, while reading this book I have actually encountered a few typos... For a book like this, I was really disappointed by that. But I guess it just goes to show that no one is perfect. I think the biggest issue is that some of the words run together. Sometimes it's just like they forgot to put a space between the words, but other times the letters actually overlap, which makes me think it's more of a printing or formatting issue...


  1. Personally I captialize 'Him' and 'He' as well as 'You' when referring to God :)

  2. I've seen it several different ways several different books. I just want to know the "right" way!!! ...Sorry, it's been driving me bonkers for months now.

  3. I found it today! :) Technically it's not suppose to be capitalized. I understand their reasoning, but they gave instances when it would be okay... I'll probably write a blog post about it later :)

  4. I also want to reinforce that technically it should not be capitalized. The best source of reference is in the Bible itself. You will not find God pronouns capitalized in the majority of versions. I find that people have taken this a step farther and capitalize anything referring to God like: God is Love Who has given me Faith. (It can get a bit dicey quickly. Though many Christians find it disrespectful to not cap the God pronouns, as an editor, I've come to terms with it and find the most important thing is to be consistent in your piece.

    1. Ah, but then that depends on which translation of the Bible you are using. The NIV does not capitalize references to God, but the NASB does. So if that's your theory, you'd have to pick which translation would set the rule - and then, that would open a whole new can of worms.

      Since I wrote this post (almost 2 years ago) I've learned that the only thing that's important is consistency. If you capitalize something in your writing, you need to do so consistently as you said. So if you want to capitalize it, go for it, just make sure you always do so.


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