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10.-THE APOSTROPHE (')
The apostrophe is used to denote the possessive case, which is made in the singular by adding s with an apostrophe, as also in the plural of nouns that do not end in 5-as, man's, men's. The plural possessive, when the plural already ends with an s, is formed by adding an apostrophe after the word—as, horses' teeth; that is, “the teeth of horses.'
11.—THE CARET (4)
The caret is used only in writing, to denote where omitted words or letters are to be inserted.
12.—THE DIERESIS ( ")
The dieresis or dialysis consists of two dots placed over a vowel.
(1) It is placed above one of two vowels when these follow one another, to show that they do not form a diphthong-as, Danäe.
(2) It is used sometimes (but, in general, modern practise discards it) over the second vowel in words where the vowel is doubledas, zoophyte. The “Standard Dictionary” discards the dieresis altogether.
For the explanations of other signs used in etymological punctuation, see page 41.
An index, or alphabetical list of matters discussed in a book or set of books, showing where each subject is to be found, is one of the most valuable adjuncts to a book. The best book in the world would lose much of its worth as a practical literary tool if devoid of an index. “The worst book," says Horace Binney, “if it had but a single good thought in it, might be kept alive by it."
So important did that eminent jurist, the late Lord Campbell, consider an index, that he suggested that the British copyright law should be amended in such a way as to deprive any author who published a book without an index of the protection afforded him by the Copyright Act.
A good index is a pass-key to the contents of a book, a pilot through strange seas of thought, without which few readers, no matter how venturesome, would care to sail. A book without an index is like a ship without a rudder.
Pope has declared that he who knows how to make a good index “holds the eel of science by the tail," and we may add that he who knows how to consult it knows how to dissect the eel. To consultants of works of reference or of treatises expounding the sciences an index is as necessary an implement as is the pen to the scribe or the chisel to the carpenter. “Those authors whose subjects require them to be voluminous would do well,” says Henry Rogers, “if they would be remembered as long as possible, not to omit a duty which authors in general, but especially modern authors, are too apt to neglect—that of appending to their works a good index.”
HOW TO MAKE AN INDEX The making of an index is an art in itself, and on the care given to its compilation depends much of its value as a short cut to the contents of the book indexed. The author who takes pride in his work will endeavor to prepare a comprehensive one, and will find that the best method to follow is to compile it from the page proofs of the work as they reach him from the printer. To assure a strict alphabetical arrangement, an index should be compiled on cards or on small sheets of stiff paper, one card or sheet to be devoted to each subject which the author desires shall stand in alphabetical order. On this card or sheet the compiler should write, in addition to the subject, the number of the page of the book on which the subject is treated. This plan should be followed throughout the entire volume; then the cards or sheets should be collated, alphabetized, and filed for verification.
On general principles it is advisable to avoid making cross-references, for these frequently lead to confusion and save little space. If an entry of the nature of a cross-reference to another entry is worth recording it is at least worthy of direct record. Why send a reader from pillar to post to find what he naturally expects to find, and has the right to find, at first-hand.
At the same time, steps should be taken to guard against over indexing, a practise as pernicious as that of under indexing, and a good example of which is cited by Walsh in his “Literary Curiosities." This example is taken from the index to Mivart's
Origin of Human Reason,” and relates to a brief story concerning a cockatoo : Absurd tale about a Cockatoo .
136 Anecdote, absurd one, about a Cockatoo
Mr., and tale about a Cockatoo
136 Wonderfully foolish tale about a Cockatoo 136
136 136 136
136 136 136
Such over indexing can not be too emphatically condemned; an item of the kind might be dismissed after a single entry under the word “ Cockatoo.”
After the last sheet of the book has been examined for indexing, the index should be put through the process of verification. To guard against all possibility of error, this should be done by the aid of the plate proofs, with the folios of which every entry in the index should be verified, as in the course of printing the pagination is sometimes changed through the addition or deletion of matter. As soon as this work has been completed, the cards or sheets should be pasted on sheets of paper of the same size as the original manuscript, one beneath the other, in strict alphabetical order. This matter may then be used as copy, and sent to the printer for composition.
Some authors, having compiled the copy for their index from pages in course of revision, have been known to leave the matter of verification until they receive galley-proofs of the index, a course which often leads to a large number of costly corrections. This practise the author who seeks to foster his interests will not follow.
In general, works of fiction not based on history need no more than a table of contents, but all other books, especially such as treat of human