Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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October 31, 2017

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Deborah

Dear Lynn,

I'm not in an editorial team but while reading this, one question kept coming to my mind. How does one chose which style guide to follow? Should I be consistent and follow always the same one?

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Deborah,

Good question. It depends on what you are writing, editing, or proofreading. The most comprehensive guide is "The Chicago Manual of Style." The easiest to use is "The AP Stylebook," and the most computer-oriented is "The Microsoft Manual of Style." "Garner's Modern English Usage" has the most interesting explanations, and it shows how rules change.

I suggest choosing one guide. If you find that one of its rules is awkward for your business, check other guides (perhaps at the library if you don't want to buy them). Then you can make an exception, if warranted, following a different guide for a particular usage.

If you use a guide for every choice, your choice will always be defensible rather than whimsical.

Lynn

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