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Editorial Style Guide

Introduction

These guidelines are intended to promote clarity and consistency in materials produced by and for Purchase College. Questions of style, unlike many questions of grammar, usually do not have a “right” or “wrong” answer. However, the hallmark of any style is consistency. Establishing a preferred editorial style is helpful so that a consistent presentation can be maintained throughout an array of materials produced by many individuals.

This guide addresses topics specific to Purchase College that may not adequately be covered in the standard published style guides, as well as instances where the college style supersedes those guides. It does not cover scholarly publishing, which calls for other criteria, including adherence to widely recognized standards for citing other authors and their publications.

In most instances, this guide is based on the most current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Stylebook, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

A note about writing for online publication:
The Yale Web Style Guide Online is recommended as the reference for everyone who writes for online publication. As noted in its section on editorial style:

Documents written to be read online should be concise and structured for scanning. Most online readers are at some point “scanners” who skim web pages rather than read them word by word. Even methodical readers will appreciate your efforts to accommodate online reading patterns rather than forcing readers to slow down and pick their way through your pages in order to glean information. That said, keep in mind that much content is not well suited to the telegraphic style that works well for online documents. Web authors often cut so much out of their presentations that what remains would barely fill a printed pamphlet. Concise writing is always better, but don’t dumb down what you have to say. Simply make printing easy for those who prefer to read offline, and you can use the web to deliver content without cutting the heart out of what you have to say.

References and Resources

The most current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and Yale Web Style Guide Online are recommended as authorities for issues not covered in this guide.

chicago manual of style on facebookThe Chicago Manual of Style
The most detailed style guide and the one regularly followed by book publishers; also widely used for brochures, catalogs, reports, and websites.

AP stylebook on facebookThe Associated Press (AP) Stylebook
When producing materials for use by the news media, follow journalists’ commonly preferred Associated Press style. AP style is a streamlined, fairly informal convention that uses no italics, less capitalization, and fewer commas than some standard styles.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
Not as comprehensive as Webster’s Third New International Dictionary; however, because it is updated more frequently, it contains recent usage changes.

Yale Web Style Guide Online: Editorial Style section


Editorial Style Guide, Purchase College, 2012

Prepared by
Ross Daly, Associate Professor of Journalism
Theresa McElwaine, Director of Communications for Academic Affairs

Guides from a range of colleges and universities were reviewed during the development of this editorial style guide, including: Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Michigan State University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, SUNY New Paltz, University of California–Berkeley, University of Cincinnati, University of Notre Dame, Williams College, and Yale University.

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