Roll-your-own style guides?

Subject: Roll-your-own style guides?
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 04:54:21 -0700

Sarah Wigser is <<...really at a loss for how to start writing a
company-specific [style guide]".

My standard response to this is "why reinvent the wheel?" There are
countless style guides available, depending on the industry you work
in, and although each has its merits and demerits, not a single one
will cover every point specific to your company. A few key

1. Pick a guide relevant to your industry (e.g., APA for psychiatry,
CBE for biology, Chicago for academic publishing, AP for newspapers,
ACS for chemistry, IEEE for electronics, "Read me first!" for

2. Spend a few hours looking through your publications to identify
the types of problems _not_ covered in the style guide you've
selected. In particular, identify all the really, really (really!)
common problems writers face and come up with answers for these
problems first. Forget about minutae about weird aspects of grammar.
Create an in-house guide that says something like "These are our
style guidelines: [well-organized, well-indexed list]. For anything
you don't find here, see [name of big published guide in the library,
such as Chicago]; better still, come see the editor, since that's one
big reason why we have an editor".

3. Remember the ***GUIDE*** part of "style guide".... it's not a
"style rules", and you'll almost never see a "style rulebook" these
days. There's a good reason for this: there will always be situations
not covered by the guide, and a truly superior guide provides tools
to help you come up with a solution, not rigid rules carved in stone.
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

Previous by Author: PowerPoint problem and SR-2
Next by Author: Style guides, take II
Previous by Thread: Mail Undeliverable: Failure Detected
Next by Thread: Re: Roll-your-own style guides?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads