Creating a Style Guide

Subject: Creating a Style Guide
From: Martin Bosworth <martinhbosworth -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 10:06:05 -0400

In my new job here at Walter Reed, I've discovered that the
developers' documentation is generally solid and easy to understand,
but it's rife with grammatical errors and inconsistent style usage
that defeats the purpose...things like capitalizing "telepsychiatry"
when referring to the general profession, rather than a particular
department. (Imagine capitalizing "psychiatry" every time you referred
to it in a sentence.)

The primary app developers do not speak English as a first language,
so they often miss contextual cues and best standards, such as using
"he/she" constantly as opposed to "they", or avoiding gender-neutral
language altogether.

I've been pondering whether or not I should create a style guide for
the department to refer to, both to improve their skills and free me
up to concentrate on more creative projects. But I have never done
this before. Is it the right course of action to take, and if it is,
what're some good suggestions or resources I can use in its creation?


Martin H. Bosworth
Technical Writer, Telemedicine Directorate
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (
Writer/Editor, (


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