How much it will help my writing is yet to be determined and I probably should not admit to it publicly, but I finally took the plunge and purchased The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. I have a reasonably firm grasp of the English language and grammar, but a printed reference will be nice to have.
I don’t think the typical genealogist needs to have it. I also don’t think a genealogist’s analysis of a problem is invalid if a few comma splices have been sprinkled in their argument. If their argument falls due to a few grammar errors, then it was not that strong of an argument in the first place. I’ve probably spliced a few commas myself upon occasion. But there are times when I do want to know the “correct” way to do something and TCMoS is one place to find out. And my personal preference is to have a printed book over an electronic resource.
This doesn’t replace Evidence Explained–not by a long shot. Evidence Explained has templates for the citation of genealogical references not covered in TCMoS. Evidence Explained also has a nice discussion of the research process and evidence analysis and, in the discussion of specific citations, provides a broad background on the specific item being discussed.
So watch out comma splices, I’m getting prepared!