You Could Look It Up

Q. What is the proper way to write the commonly used speech abbreviation “twenty-four seven” (meaning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)? Would one write “24-7” or “24/7” or something else?

Q. Would you ever use “styleguide” as a single word?

Q. I wanted to ask if the word golly is used in the Chicago style guide. Thank you.

Q. I am editing a short-story anthology. One of the submissions contains this phrase: “barb wire fence.” My instinct tells me that a hyphen is needed between the first two words, yet I cannot locate an example from a reliable source. What do you recommend, please?

Q. In the early 1930s, my grandmother won a citywide crossword puzzle contest in New York City, earning the $1,000 prize at a time when money was tight. The winning word was qobar, a word that no longer appears in even unabridged dictionaries. Once a word is a word, isn’t it always a word?

Q. I’ve always followed this advice in Chicago: “If, as occasionally happens, the Collegiate disagrees with the Third International, the Collegiate (or its online counterpart) should be followed, since it represents newer lexical research.” We subscribe to the online Unabridged (which also includes the Collegiate), and lately this advice no longer seems to apply consistently. Merriam-Webster seems to be updating entries in the Unabridged and leaving the Collegiate with the older version. For example, the Unabridged has life-span while the Collegiate has life span. Typically, the hyphenated version would be the more up to date.

Q. Is impactful a word and can it be used in place of influential?

Q. Hi—I have researched this but would like a definitive answer. Is it “cell phone” or “cellphone”? Merriam-Webster shows it as “cell phone” but “smartphone” is one word.

Q. Hello. I wonder where in the CMOS might lie hidden the answer to the following question: should I refer readers to “Table 1, in contrast to Tables 2 and 3,” or to “Table 1, in contrast to tables 2 and 3”? In other words, should all items in a numbered series such as tables, sections, chapters, etc., be capitalized in such references? A minipoll among colleagues has yielded mixed results; hence my appeal to the Ultimate Authority in Such Matters.

Q. Is sizable or sizeable the preferred American English spelling? Our searches have come up with conflicting answers.