What is 'style'?
In the language of publishing, 'style'
is not the way we walk and talk or the way our publication
looks. 'Style' is the way we consistently use the
A typical example of a
publication's style: Dates.
Imagine all the ways we can write a
January 1, 2002
Jan. 1, 2002
Jan. 1st, 2002
January 1st, 2002.
And you can think of lots of other
ways to write dates. So how IS a date supposed to be written?
The fact is, all of the above examples are correct,
none more correct than the other. But, it isn't
professional to use a date any way it suits our fancy
on one day or another.
Publications adopt a style to answer
questions such as: How do we use dates in articles?
As a practical matter, a firm style
ends lots of arguments, too. Even a matter as common as
the use of a comma can start a debate. Style resolves
these questions once and for all. We have a style and
there is no issue about how to use commas or dates.
Fortunately, there are organizations
that have long ago debated these questions and formulated
a style that your organization can adopt. Among the stylebooks
Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers,
Editors, and Publishers (14th Edition) --
Once you adopt a stylebook to serve
as your basic guide, you can adapt that style to suit
your needs. Remember that consistency is everything.
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