Summary of UK Style Guides

Subject: Summary of UK Style Guides
From: Grace Fielder <gfielder -at- typemaker -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 12:23:40 +0000

Thanks to everyone who replied to my query.
Mike Bygrave said:

Not really - I haven't found one.

Having said that, for some things The Guardian newspaper site
( has their style guide on it. Should be
helpful for British spellings etc.
Mick Robinson said:
Not as large as the Chicago MoS but very useful is "Hart's Rules for
Compositors & Readers at the University Press Oxford" ISBN 0-19-212983-X. In
fact, it's tiny - 182pp. Like Fowler (same press) it prefers -ize spellings
but it's about the best I know for the UK.
Kat Nagel said:
OUP used to have a style/usage guide. I'm not sure of the title---possibly
"The Oxford Guide to ...". You should be able to find a listing for the
book on the OUP web site. Also, I believe there is an online style guide
for The Economist, but I don't have the URL here at the office.
Harry THOMPSON said:
I saw your request earlier and hope that the enclosed link will help at
least part of the way towards finding the necessary elements for a UK biased
style guide. You¹ll find a PDF and a word version of the guide. I¹ve found
it helpful in the past for English usage questions.,5817,,00.html
David Farbey said:
The Economist also publishes a Style Guide.

See and follow the link on the left
to Reference books.

It's also available through
Damien Braniff said:
In over 15 years writing the only UK style guides I've come across have

military guides
one or two house styles

In most cases they were so wooly as to next to useless - a lot of it was a
matter of interpretation. At one place I worked we got around this by:

creating a model chapter detailing how heading, body text, lists etc
were done. This was the main reference -in essence it was a template
that eveyone followed. (Being for the MoD we got it signed off

A list of preferred spelling, abbreviations etc.

This was initially going to be the basis of a style guide but it never got
far - what was there worked fine and nobody saw the need (or had the time!)
progress it any further.

If you're creating your own in-house guide then I'd suggest you sit down and
decide exactly what you NEED in it, what you'd LIKE in it and go from there.
Geraldine Barnes-Hampton said:
The Australian Government has a Manual of Style which is quite good. You
can find it here:

ISBN 0644297719 Style manual for authors, editors and printers. 5th Edn
Canberra : AGPS (AustGovPubSvce), 1994.
Siân Petersson said:
I have worked in several places here in Sweden and we have always used
British spelling (well, I happen to come from Britain). A couple of months
ago we purchased Sun's "A Style Guide for the Computer Industry" and I can't
say I found anything in it contradicting my ideas on style. The spelling
differences are already well-defined in dictionaries so that is not what I
need help with when I look in a style guide.

So. I don't see any problem with consulting style guides that are produced
in the US. Or am I missing something?
Russ Meades said:

Hart's Rules - for Compositors and Readers
at the University Press

Thirty-ninth Edition

Oxford University Press 1983
(200 pages) Hardback
ISBN 0 19 212983 X

The Oxford Guide to Style for Writers and Editors

ISBN: 0-19-869175-0

Currently out of print. Next release - 21 June, 2001.

Your library may have an earlier edition.

Try also and search for key words.
John E. Riutta said:
The Economist magazine publishes its style guide and sells it through its
website. I keep one at the office and one at home - as it is one of the best
I have seen.
Kevin McLauchlan said:
Maybe you should hold off a few weeks.

I just read in our local paper (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
that UK schools were now encouraging/permitting students
to use US spellings in several contexts. It seems that
most technical subjects are awash in US usage anyway, due to
the global US influence. Certainly US researchers publish
a lot of stuff, in part because there are so many of them
doing it. In addition, scientists and engineers in
non-English-speaking countries often publish in English
in order to reach the world audience... and they tend to
use US English when they do it. Students are allowed to use
the spellings they encounter in the bulk of their reading.
Many British scientists and engineers now publish using
US spellings, in order to keep in step with the rest of
the world.

As well, in reaction to the UK language-purists, there's a
counter-movement afoot to discredit and mothball many of the
arcane UK spellings, since they do not reflect current pronunciation,
and have not done so for years... centuries in many cases.

So-o-o-o-o-o... if you hold off for just a little longer,
mayhap your problem will solve itself.

(And if anyone cares, my tongue (tung?) was mostly NOT in
my cheek, when I wrote this.)
Gerry Gentle said:
In the new ISTC handbook "Professional Communication and Information Design"
there is a chapter on creating a style guide.

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY. or 800-646-9989.

Sponsored by SOLUTIONS, Conferences and Seminars for Communicators
Publications Management Clinic, TECH*COMM 2001 Conference, and more or 800-448-4230

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