Writing Style Guide

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There are enough writing style guides out there to keep most people so busy that, were they read to them all, they'd have no time left to write anything themselves. Naturally, not all of these guides are of equal quality. Some don't even offer a creative repackaging of the material found in a litany of other books. Still, folks continue to buy them, which means the demand is strong for proper writing tools.

One of the most popular writing style guides around is the AP Style Guide. As its name implies, the AP (or Associated Press) Manual, is the first resource most journalists consult when they have style questions for print publications. While the majority of newspapers adhere to AP style, there are many companies that follow "house" style, which consists of rules specific to that organization's product, be it a paper, web site, or magazine.

Other Writing Style Guides

The Chicago Manual of Style, which is now in its umpteenth version, is another fixture on the shelf of writers and editors. Not only does the Chicago Manual contain rules on style and usage, it offers countless indices and appendices with frighteningly detailed information. That's why this venerable red tome takes up about four spots on the average bookshelf.

In addition to AP and Chicago, The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, is a booklet with which almost every college student is familiar. The antithesis to Chicago, Strunk and White, as the text is known, fits into the back pocket of most people's jeans. For a few dollars, this writing style guide hits all the major points from proper punctuation to understanding and using English grammar. Some critics, however, find this particular writing style guide unduly strict and intimidating for its insistence on a singular set of rules to govern all writing.

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