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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why Would Anyone Use The Chicago Manual of Style ... and Other Editorial Guides?

In a recent blog post, "Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty responds to the question  of the headline about the Chicago Manual of Style. I use Chicago occasionally and value its comprehensive content. But it's only one of several style manuals that sit on my desk for easy reference. Fogarty's column mentions the others:
  • Associated Press Stylebook
  • Garners' Modern American Usage
  • Gregg Reference Manual.
Under the heading "Different Style Guides Have Different Uses," Fogarty writes:
If I had to peg down The Chicago Manual of Style, I'd say that its primary audience is book authors, but as you might have gathered by now, I think Chicago is great for everyone.
I agree. With my background in journalism and public relations, though, my first preference is the AP Stylebook. It's not as comprehensive as the other manuals listed above, but it covers the most common style issues--and it's organized in an easy-to-use alphabetical format. I recommend it for all general uses.

And despite what some people say, especially if they haven't used AP's manual very much, most of its preferences are similar to the preferences you'll find in other mainstream manuals. As Fogarty notes, the AP manual has a online version by subscription, and I'm a subscriber.

I think Garner's excellent manual is the modern-day equivalent of old writing guides by Follett and Fowler. It's also more comprehensive than AP, but like AP it's organized alphabetically. I love that! Highly recommended for everyone.

The Gregg manual is commonly used in offices; its advice on formatting office documents and correspondence is excellent. But it also covers other style matters in a very comprehensive way. Recommended too! And it has an online version as well.

Finally, I've consulted all those manuals (and others) in developing my online resource, Garbl's Editorial Style and Usage Manual. Like AP and Garner, I've arranged it in alphabetical order for easy usage.
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Fogarty's blog post is featured today, April 20, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices, available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.
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