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Stylebooks
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual
  • The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage
  • The Washington Post Deskbook on Style
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Wired Style
  • Words Into Type
  • The Wall Street Journal Stylebook
  • The MLA Handbook
  • The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage


  • The AP stylebookThe Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual
    What's wrong with AP? There's plenty about that at The Slot. What's right with AP? Lots. You can't be all things to all newspapers, but the AP stylebook comes pretty darn close. No other newspaper stylebook is as comprehensive, and no journalist should be without a copy. This is the 1998 update -- if your copy is older, you should trade up.

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    The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage
    William G. Connolly and Allan M. Siegal have completed a thorough and readable update to the Gray Lady's Son of Sam-era stylebook. One quibble: The "millennium" entry appears to give wide latitude to writers and editors who choose to begin the 21st century a year early.
    The Times stylebook

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    The Post stylebookThe Washington Post Deskbook on Style
    It's limited in scope and it's in need of an update, but my employer's stylebook still ranks among the most thoughtful examples of the genre. Before "Lapsing Into a Comma," it was the only place I know of where you could find a thorough discussion of why "Clinton Says Proposal Bad" is not an acceptable headline. Note the bargain price and order a copy before it goes out of print.

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    The Chicago Manual of Style
    What the AP stylebook is to the newspaper business, Chicago is to, well, just about everybody else. If you need a copy, you know who you are.
    The Chicago Manual of Style

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    Words Into TypeWords Into Type
    "Words Into Type" is similar to the Chicago manual, with writings on how to do just about anything you might want to do in print. I like to keep it around for its well-packaged advice on usage.

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    More Stylebooks

    Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age
    I disagree with a lot of its advice (it's awfully quick to smush compounds together), but the ambitious techie stylebook is invaluable if you're dealing with computer-ese (and who isn't these days?), both to present the geeks' perspective and to explain it all to the non-geeks.
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    The Wall Street Journal Stylebook
    If you deal with business news, you'll want to have this around.
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    The MLA Handbook
    Still doing research papers, or helping a loved one with them? You'll need this.
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    The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage
    Perhaps a better choice than the name-brand stylebooks for the amateur wordsmith.
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