Please report any errors. Once reported, they will promptly be listed in the "Exceptions to Common Grammar, Usage, and Spelling Rules" section of Ralph's Manual of 


 About Ralph


Although Ralph's Manual of Style is already up and running, Ralph himself is still under construction. We apologize for any inconvenience.



Disclaimer :

Don't try this at the office.

Copyright, 2000, 2005 

by Ralph.
All rights reserved.


































Numbers: Words or Numerals

Write out all numbers between one and sixty-seven point three two, with THIRTY-FOUR through FORTY-SIX set in small caps. For numbers above sixty-seven point three two, numerals should be used, preferably Arabic, though Lydian numerals look stylish with certain oldstyle typefaces. (Call your Adobe dealer today to order your copy of Garamond with Lydian numerals.)

Numbers 101

Usage: compare to vs. with

Use compare to when likening something to a summerís day and compare with for all other uses.

A: Hey, Fred! Compare thy new

   Buick to a summerís day!
B: Gee, Ralph, itís a good thing
   you didnít say compare with,
   or you would have really been
   in trouble.

Usage Guide

Who/Whom: The Etymology

As for the origin of the who-whom distinction in English, scholars believe that its roots are in the ancient proto-Indo-European tongue, which one night was burned by a hot chicken leg at a barbecue and, injured, started getting in the speaker's way, forcing her to close her lips some of the time when she made the ooo sound, thus creating the word whom from who.

Usage Guide


Usage Guide

The definitive guide to usage, grammar, and turnips. With Ralph's Usage Guide, you'll be able to write paragraphs like the one below.

Sitting across the room, it looked to he and me like it was going to be a long, problem, distasteful evening. More importantly, I was bound to compare what I was seeing to real life in order to quickly find the differences, due to the fact that my mind is more unique than other people's. Hopefully, I had reckoned wrong about all this, but, the fact was, was that I likely had not. The fact that I thought so was proven.







Doctors, lawyers,

and  accountants

live like kings (and

queens), while copy editors are left to cross their t's.


The problem

is  clarity:  Copy

editors are, by virtue of their trade, too well understood.





THINK!  If people easily understand what you are paid to produce, then they are going to wonder why it is that they

are paying you

to produce it.


If, on the

other hand,

they can't grasp

a single word that comes out of your mouth (see doctors, lawyers,  and,   yes,

accountants),  then they will think you have some special, elite   knowledge

that  warrants  a

home in Beverly

Hills and, of

course, a




the  thick

volumes that

archive our trade knowledge hold just as  many   important- and foreign-sounding words  as  those texts of  other  professions (words   like   pluper-

fect, subjunctive and Starbucks) . . .  these very volumes ensure the general  public will   be   able  to

understand     the

end product with little more effort

than they spend watching TV.






Manual of

StyLe (RMS)

is guaranteed 

to confuse even those with multiple PhDs. Once the pub-

lishing world turns to RMS,   people   will have to hire a copy editor just to inter-

pret their TV



So throw

away all the

other books that

litter your shelves and  follow  Ralph's exclusively,  and  in no  time  at  all,  you will be able to afford a BMW, a Beverly Hills home, and possibly even

the services

of a doctor,

a lawyer,

or an