Prentice Hall writer's style guide

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Prentice Hall, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 286 pages
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I use this style guide professionally and encourage its broader use. Here's why.
In recent years, writing standards have become looser and spellings more compact, abetted by the costs of
publishing and the desire of editors to cram as many words as possible into a column inch. The Associated Press style guide (for one) caters to this need, and many of the computerized spelling and grammar checking software programs have adopted this commercial approach. They sacrifice grace and tradition for efficiency. Meanwhile, every major university (MLA, Chicago, Oxford, etc.) and professional organization (APA, AMA, etc.) seems intent on publishing its own style guide with little wrinkles, especially in footnoting, peculiar to its own organizational interest. Amateur and professional writers are left in a quandry by this diversity and often confused by conflicting claims of authority. The unfortunate tendency is to regard stylistic standards as varying and parochial at best or to disregard stylistic standards altogether.
The Prentice-Hall Writer's Style Guide by De Vries is, in my view, an excellent general style guide that nicely compromises these competing interests. It retains, for the most part, traditional spellings of words (the double consonants in occurred, preferred, and omitted for example) and provides sensible and easy to use guidance with respect to troublesome usages, such as compound and hyphenated words, representation of time and numbers, lists of common prefixes and suffixes, punctuation, elements of style, abbreviations, and the like. One might quibble with a few outdated examples -- such as the preference for "life-style" over the now accepted "lifestyle" -- but taken as a whole, this guide is a splendid reference and one I heartily recommend.



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