Thursday, May 15, 2014

Staying in Style

Day 2 / 30-Day Writing Challenge (and blog post #101)

Some things never go out of fashion. A strand of pearls, an Eames chair, Shakespeare. Clear and concise writing makes the list, too. Writing that delivers the intended message with 100% comprehension has long been a fashion leader.

That's why publications (print, digital, and otherwise) have style guides. The Associated Press Stylebook is one of the best known guides. It sets the standard for newspaper writing. For example: state abbreviations, writing out numbers or using a numeral, and the use of titles such as M.D. and Ph.D.

Style guides enable consistency, a real plus in clear and concise writing. Their purpose is not to dictate what's correct and incorrect but to guide a choice when many options exist. Think about all the ways to write a.m. or pm or A.M. or PM.

Check out Grammar Girl's opinion on style guides. She may inspire you to make a style guide for your posts, Web site, and other writing.

I'd put a style guide as the most important fashion accessory for any publication, document, or Web site. I'd put a strand of pearls as a jewelry box basic.