How To: Choose a Style Guide
A style guide or manual of style is a set of standards for how writing and the design of documents must meet within a field of study. A style guide creates consistency for all writing, such as spelling and language. The benefit of adopting a style guide is that it puts guidelines in place to ensure consistency across all documents that go out the door.
Types of Style Guides
- Most non-journalistic professional writing follows The Chicago Manual of Style
- Scholarly writing may follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
- A classic style guide for the general public is The Elements of Style
- Journalism generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook
What to Consider
- Know the audience who will be reading the final draft. How much technical jargon and how formal or informal the writing style is will change the style guide used.
- The readership for the piece will be a determining factor – if your readers are regular subscribers or if the document is a press release or a help manual.
- Your personal preference will also determine the style guide to use if one is not recommended. Use one that is organized and you one you are familiar.