Style Guides and Tools
Online guides to writing style
- Associated Press Styleguide requires a paid subscription. American English but AP is a contributor to many news publishers. The 2018 edition, without legal briefing, is available on Amazon Kindle Unlimited.
- BBC News style guide at the BBC Journalism Academy
- Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is the definitive US style guide. It is available in print and also online by subscription at https://chicagomanualofstyle.org/.
- Economist Style Book is no longer on their website but it is still available in print and they still publish the Johnson articles on language.
- Google developer documentation style guide, including a word list of words to avoid or to use with care.
- Gov.uk web site style guide from the UK Government Digital Service. The guide covers style, spelling and grammar conventions for all content published on .gov.uk.
- The Guardian newspaper style guide
- Google HTML and CSS style guide
- Hart’s Style Guide and other proofreading and copy-editing resources are discussed in the page on communications.
- New Yorker videos by the Comma Queen, Mary Norris, covering interesting and contentious matters of grammar and copy editing. Most of the videos are a couple of minutes long. The videos are available on YouTube. There is a web site with Mary Norris’s blog and details of her book.
- Telegraph newspaper style booki, includes a list of words to avoid using.
- Web Style Guide by Patrick J Lynch and Sarah Horton. Known as the Yale Style Guide. The web site includes an online version. The print version is in its third edition.
Tools to improve writing style
- Gender determination from writing style is claimed by some software tools that analyse reading difficulty. One paper that discusses this using texts from the British National Corpus is http://u.cs.biu.ac.il/~koppel/papers/male-female-text-final.pdf, Argamon, Koppel, Fine and Shimoni: Gender, Genre, and Writing Style in Formal Written Texts, 2003. This and other papers are also available from Shlomo Armaon's academia.edu page [registration required].
- Matt Might at the University of Utah has produced a set of
bash scripts, intended for use with TeX. After years of reading student’ PhD theses, Matt wrote these
scripts to detect three categories of stylistic problems:
- abuse of the passive voice,
- weasel words:
- Salt and pepper words that look like technical words, but convey nothing. For example ‘various’, “fairly’, ‘a number of’.
- Beholder words that tell the reader how to react, such as ‘interestingly’, ‘surprisingly’.
- Adverbs, which have no place in technical writing.
- lexical illusions.
- Plagiarism checker at SmallSEOTools.