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Style guide

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Title: Style guide  
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Style guide

A style guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization, or field. (It is often called a style sheet, though that term has other meanings.)

A style guide establishes and enforces style to improve communication. To do that, it ensures consistency within a document and across multiple documents and enforces best practice in usage and in language composition, visual composition, orthography and typography. For academic and technical documents, a guide may also enforce best practice in ethics (such as authorship, research ethics, and disclosure), pedagogy (such as exposition and clarity), and compliance (technical and regulatory).

Style guides are common for general and specialized use, for the general reading and writing audience, and for students and scholars of various academic disciplines, medicine, journalism, the law, government, business, and specific industries.

Contents

  • Varieties 1
    • Sizes 1.1
    • Topics 1.2
  • Updating 2
  • Examples 3
    • International 3.1
    • Europe 3.2
    • Australia 3.3
    • Canada 3.4
    • United Kingdom 3.5
      • General 3.5.1
      • Journalism 3.5.2
    • United States 3.6
      • General 3.6.1
      • Academic papers 3.6.2
      • Business 3.6.3
      • Law 3.6.4
      • Journalism 3.6.5
      • General publishing 3.6.6
      • Web publishing 3.6.7
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Varieties

Style guides vary widely in scope and size.

Sizes

This variety in scope and length is enabled by the cascading of one style over another, in a way analogous to how styles cascade in web development and in desktop publishing (e.g., how inline styles in HTML cascade over CSS styles).

A short style guide is often called a style sheet. A comprehensive guide tends to be long and is often called a style manual or manual of style (MOS or MoS). In many cases, a project such as one publishing company, whose content is usually called house style. Most house styles, in turn, cascade over an industry-wide or profession-wide style manual that is even more comprehensive. Some examples of these industry style guides include the following:

Finally, these reference works cascade over the orthographic norms of the language in use (for example, English orthography for English-language publications). This, of course, may be subject to national variety such as the different varieties of American English and British English.

Topics

Some style guides focus specific topic areas such as graphic design including typography. Website style guides cover a publication's visual and technical aspects, along with text.

Style guides that cover usage may suggest ways of describing people that avoid racism, sexism, and homophobia. Guides in specific scientific and technical fields cover nomenclature, which specifies names or classifying labels that are preferred because they are clear, standardized, and ontologically sound (e.g., taxonomy, chemical nomenclature, and gene nomenclature).

Updating

Most style guides are revised periodically to accommodate changes in conventions and usage. The frequency of updating and the revision control are determined by the subject matter. For style manuals in reference work format, new editions typically appear every 1 to 20 years. For example, the AP Stylebook is revised annually, and the Chicago, APA, and ASA manuals are in their 16th, 6th, and 4th editions, respectively. Many house styles and individual project styles change more frequently, especially for new projects.

Examples

International

Several basic style guides for technical and scientific communication have been defined by international ISO 215 Documentation — Presentation of contributions to periodicals and other serials.[1]

Europe

The European Union publishes an Interinstitutional Style Guide—encompassing 23 languages across the European Union. This manual is "obligatory" for all those employed by the institutions of the EU who are involved in preparing EU documents and works.[2] The Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission publishes its own English Style Guide, intended primarily for English-language authors and translators, but aiming to serve a wider readership as well.[3]

Australia

Canada

United Kingdom

General

Journalism

United States

In the United States, many non-journalistic professional compositions follow The Chicago Manual of Style.[10] Journalism generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook. Scholarly writing often follows the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.[11] A classic style guide for the general public is The Elements of Style.

General

Academic papers

Business

Law

Despite the near uniform use of the Bluebook, nearly every state has appellate court rules that specify citation methods and writing styles specific to that state - and the Supreme Court of the United States has its own citation method. However, in most cases these are derived from the Bluebook.

There are also several other citation manuals available to legal writers in wide usage in the United States. Virtually all large law firms maintain their own citation manual and several major publishers of legal texts (West, Lexis-Nexis, Hein, et al.) maintain their own systems.

Journalism

General publishing

Web publishing

Guidelines for citing web content also appear in comprehensive style guides such as Oxford/Hart, Chicago and MLA.

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Economist Style Guide, 10th edition (2010), ISBN 1-84668-175-8. Online version as of May 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Times Style and Usage Guide (2003) ISBN 0-00-714505-5. Online version as of May 2011 via archive.org
  9. ^
  10. ^ June Casagrande, Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite (New York: Penguin, 2006).
  11. ^ "What Is MLA Style?", Modern Language Association, 2011, Web, 31 January 2011.
  12. ^ Library of Congress Catalog Record for The Business Style Handbook, 2nd edition: http://lccn.loc.gov/2012033481

External links

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