For a fine collection of on-line writing guides and Twitter feeds, check out this column by Erin McKean. Erin is the founder of Wordnik, which is billed as “the most comprehensive dictionary in the known universe.”
I’ve posted before about The Economist Style Guide, but that was more than four years ago, so a refresher won’t hurt. And since Johnson recently reminded me of the ESG’s existence and usefulness, now is as good a time as any for a refresher. So if you haven’t done so by now, check it out. And if you like what you see, bookmark it for future reference.
At Daily Writing Tips, Maeve Maddox has assembled a fine collection of free on-line style guides. So now you too can write like someone from, say, the BBC or the National Geographic. Just go there, browse around, and bookmark your favorites.
If you write in Spanish, then you'll want to bookmark the U.S. Government's Spanish Language Style Guide and Glossaries. "This new Spanish Style Guide is a resource for government employees, translators, and communications professionals who work with the government to improve the way we communicate with the public in Spanish. The guide contains information on grammar and style issues as well as glossaries to standardize the use of Spanish across government." (Hat tip to beSpacific.)
These notes are a miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage I put together for my classes. Nothing here is carved in stone, and many comments are matters of personal preference — feel free to psychoanalyze me by examining my particular hangups and bêtes noires. Anyone who can resist turning my own preferences into dogma is welcome to use this HTML edition. Feedback is always welcome.
- The top 10 signs of bad legal writing.
- A dictionary of legalese,including:
- hideous prepositional phrases and their plain English alternatives.
- hideous phrases ending with prepositions and their plain English alternatives.
- bad ways lawyers start sentences.
- sexist words and their nonsexist alternatives.
- words used only by lawyers and their plain English alternative.
- Concise guide on writing critically about anything.
(Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog.)
The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual offers free, on-line advice on capitalization, spelling, punctuation, and many other areas of style. Its About page says, "The Style Manual is the product of many years of public printing experience, and its rules are based on principles of good usage and custom in the printing trade." The on-line version allows you to browse the table of contents or search for specific words or topics.
Everyone who's every taken any sort of course in writing probably knows about The Elements of Style, the little book originally written by William Strunk Jr. and expanded by E.B. White. What you may not know is that Bartleby.com has an on-line version of this book as originally written by Prof. Strunk. The Suranee University of Technology also has an on-line version of the book. (Of the two, I prefer the Bartleby version because it's searchable.)