Effective communication in writing requires consistent form and structure. Professional business writers develop their own style through years of writing. Business organizations want their business documents to have a consistent form and structure, so they will use style guides. A style guide sets outs the rules and conventions of writing so that every writer following the style guide will produce documents that maintain the same form and structure.
Some business organizations will have their own style guides and others will follow mainstream style guides. The primary style guide for most businesses is the Chicago Manual of Style that was originally published by the University of Chicago in 1906. Like many style guides, Chicago is regularly updated and is in its 16th edition. Other style guides are used in academia, the press, and in professional fields. Some style guides are informal and others are developed for specific government agencies.
I have worked with all of the popular public style guides and with many style guides for private business. What follows is an alphabetical list of some of the style guides I have used in writing career.
- The Associated Press Stylebook
- Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Guide to Legal Citation
- Chicago Manual of Style
- The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society Style Guide
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000, ICS 31, ICS 73
- Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)
- Reuters Style Guide – Reuters Handbook of Journalism
- California Department of Finance Style Guidelines