My Wednesday posts are devoted to all things wordy - grammar, etymology, writing, the works.
If it involves language, I'll be talking about it here.
Athletes have rule books. IT professionals have operating manuals. Writers have style guides - sets of standards for how to write and format headlines, sentences, paragraphs, lists, etc. Style guides are used as one-stop reference guides where writers and editors can find rules for spelling, grammar, punctuation and style.
Style guides help writers to provide accuracy, consistency and uniformity in the style and formatting of their work. National news agencies publish style guides for their journalists, and specialized guides are commonly used in disciplines that employ unique terminology, including medicine, law and government. Large companies sometimes create their own "house" style guides that contain company-specific information such as the names and titles of their employees.
Most guides are updated periodically, to reflect changes in spelling, conventions and usage. Consider, for instance, how the word email has morphed over the years, from E-mail, to e-mail, to email.
"English is a fluid language, but it's bound by complicated rules of grammar. Working reporters and editors don't have time to research decisions on vocabulary and capitalization and grammar every time a problem arises. A stylebook presents such decisions in a logical, handy form."
The Most Popular Style Guides:
- The CP Stylebook and its companion guide, Caps and Spelling - a guide to newspaper style in Canada, maintained by the Canadian Press
- The Chicago Manual of Style - a style guide for American English, published by the University of Chicago Press
- The AP Stylebook - a usage guide for newspaper writers in the United States
- The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association - outlines the format for academic papers, commonly known as APA style
- The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White - a classic style guide employed by the general public