A Short Look at Style Guides

While editing an 80 paged document, I came to appreciate the Style Guides I had developed for my employer. An ever growing document, it provided me with the basic answers to my ever present editing questions – does this company prefer Canadian spelling over American? Which accents are regularily used when referring to Carmenère? Saint-Émillon? Which words are regularily italicized and which are not?

Some of these questions have standard answers – you can consult any grammar reference, make a note of it and then move on. But in some cases, such as with the region Saint-Émillon, there is more than one correct answer. In an 80 paged document, it’s not surprising to find that region referred to in multiple ways: St. Émillon, Saint-Emillon, Saint Emillon, St. Emillon… trust me, when there are several words with many correct spellings, ensuring consistency within your document can get rather frustrating.

Style Guides are almost never complete – as a method of providing consistancy within a document and within all documentation produced by a company, it grows as language grows to include any discrepancy conceivable. Sometimes, the discrepancy has to happen in order for it to be included in the Guide; other times it is recognized before any inconsistencies occur.

Find this interesting and want to know more about Style Guides? Let me know! I would love to hear from you.