Well-known style guides, and what they’re used for

We’ve talked before about what a style guide is, but did you know that there are some famous ones that are used for specific purposes?

The Chicago Manual of Style is a style guide for American English, and was started in 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. It’s used by a variety of publishing organisations, and often by private businesses, too.

APA Style is the style guide for publications of the American Psychological Association. It’s used as a standard by many scientific and academic organisations, especially for referencing of sources and publications. You may well have come across APA style when studying, and used it for referencing.

The AP Stylebook, short for Associated Press style book, is a style book created and used by American journalists.

The Oxford Style Manual (not available as an online resource) is a professional writing resource, as opposed to the University of Oxford Style Guide, which is designed for use by students of the University. The Style Manual is a style guide for UK English (others are listed in this question on StackExchange if you’re interested in looking further into this), and includes Hart’s Rules, a well-known UK English style guide published by Oxford University Press in the late 19th century.

Historically, New Zealand government departments and ministries followed the style guide published by Government Print. You may find copies of these in secondhand book shops still (called New Zealand Government Printing Office Style Book, The New Zealand Style Book, or Style Book – A Guide for New Zealand Writers and Editors); however they are now quite dated and while they will give some guidance, there is no coverage of modern concepts and words (such as internet or email) or usage.

Writing and editing businesses regularly create generic style guides for general use, or individualised ones for their business clients. If you’d like a style guide created for your business, I’m always happy to chat – do give me a call!


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