Tip: Check optional spellings in your style guide

Check optional spellings in your style guide. Writing tip from Contented.com
Many words have optional spellings: several versions are correct. Which one will you use?

Online or on-line? web or Web? realise or realize?

In such cases, consistency rules. Your personal preference is irrelevant.

Somewhere in your (client's) organisation is an inhouse Style Guide. It's a publication that nobody reads except the people in Corporate Communications. Most likely you'll find a copy there, although someone did give you one when you were first engaged.

Listed there (or should be) are the definitive spellings you must use. Otherwise chaos rules as everyone makes it up as they go along.

What's wrong with chaos? Well, it unsettles your readers, and tortures you, the writer, with numerous fiddly little choices.

Oh dear, what if you can't find a Style Guide and nobody seems to care anyway? Use the dictionary approved by Corporate Communications... and in extremis, use your own dictionary.


Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine

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3 Comments

Lucy Smith
Lucy Smith

January 25, 2010

I’m actually considering writing my own style guide for my business. That way, it can satisfy my own pedantry, make my writing consistent, and should I outsource in the future, I won’t have to spend ages picking through and editing copy before sending it back to the client.

rachel
rachel

January 25, 2010

Excellent plan, Lucy! Larger clients may insist on your using theirs, mind you.

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January 25, 2010

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