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Style and Usage
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PLEASE NOTE: I am happily retired in Port Townsend, Washington. I have deactivated Garbl's Writing Resources and am no longer adding, revising, or updating writing resources in this section or any other section. But please continue to visit and use my free Editorial Style and Usage Manual, Consise Writing Guide and Plain English Writing Guide. I update their content occasionally.

Garbl's Style and Usage Links is an annotated directory of websites with tips to help you improve your writing, reduce writing errors, increase consistency and figure out the mysteries of abbreviations and capitalization. It also includes a list of online style manuals and a section on Avoiding Bias.

Garbl's Editorial Style Manual--This alphabetical style guide can help answer your writing questions about abbreviations, capitalization, grammar, numbers, organization terminology, punctuation, spelling and word usage. Other organization Style Manuals and Guides are listed in an annotated directory below.

bullet alt.usage.english--A newsgroup on the English language.

Participants discuss how particular words, phrases and syntactic forms are used; how they originated; and where in the English-speaking world they're prevalent.

bullet The alt.usage.english FAQ File--Mark Israel.

Answers frequently asked questions about the newsgroup and comments on recommended language books, pronunciation, usage disputes, punctuation, word and phrase origins, spelling and other topics.

bullet Common Errors in English--Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman.

An alphabetical listing of words and phrases that are frequently misspelled, used incorrectly and confused with other words or phrases.

bullet Copyediting--Phoenix, Arizona.

Articles on language-use issues and practical editorial advice in the Copyediting blog. Newsletter also available.

bullet The Elements of Style, 1918 edition--William Strunk Jr., published on line by the Bartleby Project, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

The classic original text covering rules of usage, principles of composition, a few matters of form, words and expressions commonly misused and words commonly misspelled.

bullet Grammar Slammer--Online version of a commercial product by English Plus+ of Shelton, Connecticut.

Grammar and writing rules and tips using the familiar Windows Help file format.

bullet Guide to Grammar and Style--Jack Lynch, assistant professor of English at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.

An excellent miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style and suggestions on usage. Lynch's book, The English Language: A User's Guide, is a revised and expanded version of this online guide.

bullet A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices--Robert A. Harris, professor of English, Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa

Definitions and examples of more than 60 traditional rhetorical devices, all of which can be useful to improve the effectiveness, clarity and enjoyment of your writing.

bullet Language Corner--Merrill Perlman

Regularly updated columns on style and usage from the bimonthly Columbia Journalism Review.

bullet Online Technical Writing: Power-Revision Techniques--Sentence-Level Revision--David A. McMurrey, instructor, Technical Communications Department, Austin Community College, Texas

Article covers seven of the most common problems: weak verbs, overnominalization (noun stacks), redundant phrasing, expletives (there is, it is), passive voice, subject-verb mismatch and sentence length.

bullet Revising Prose--Center for Communication Practices, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.

Eighteen clear suggestions with examples of faulty usage and better usage.

bullet Sentence Clarity Presentation--Purdue University Online Writing Lab, West Lafayette, Indiana

This presentation is designed to teach students about common sentence clarity problems, including misplaced modifiers, dangling modifiers, and passive voice, as well as strategies for combining sentences together.

bullet Sharp Points--Bill Walsh, copy desk chief on the business desk at the Washington Post and author of Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them.

"I guess you could call these rants. I'm not actually foaming at the mouth, but if you watched me on the job you'd probably see me slap my forehead and gaze skyward each time I run into these all-too-common writing problems."

bullet Technical Writing--Ronald B. Standler, Ph.D., Concord, New Hampshire, attorney and former professor of electrical engineering

Style manual for technical writing in physics and electrical engineering.

bullet Thirty Tools for Writers--Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar at The Poynter Institute and director of the National Writers' Workshop.

A list of tools for working with sentences and paragraphs, language, effects and structure.

bullet Words on Words--American Copy Editors Society, Huntington, New York

Comments and tips on editing, headline writing, cliches and bad writing from journalism professors and newspaper editors.

bullet Writer's Web--Writing Center, English Department, University of Richmond, Virginia.

A handbook that includes advice ranging from sentence structure and punctuation to editing for clarity and style.

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Style Manuals and Guides

bullet AAA Style Guide--American Anthropological Association, Arlington, Virginia

Based on the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, this alphabetical guide (PDF) is an outline of style rules basic to AAA's journal editing.

bullet AP Stylebook--The Associated Press, New York, N.Y.

Take a site tour of this Web-based edition of "The Journalist's Bible," a searchable version of the latest AP Stylebook. You (or your organization) can customize entries and examples to meet your interests and concerns. An annual individual subscription costs $20; annual site licenses vary based on size of organization.

bullet The Chicago Manual of Style Q&A--manuscript editing department at the University of Chicago Press.

An online column of frequently asked questions posed in emails about the Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers.

bullet Writing for and About WMU--Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

This style guide is offered to bring consistency to correspondence and print and electronic publications written for and about Western Michigan University. It addresses many of the more commonly asked questions about style and several of the more common errors.

bullet Corporate Style Guidelines--Scriptorium Publishing Services Inc., a technical writing, editing, training, and consulting firm in North Carolina.

A suggested internal style guide in two sections: mechanics and usage (such as when to capitalize and when to use bold type) and frequently misused words.

bullet CU-Boulder Style Guide--University of Colorado at Boulder

This reference document helps communicators adopt a style that is consistent and appropriate for university use, especially when they write for an external audience.

bullet The Economist Style Guide--John Grimond,, London, United Kingdom

Based on the expanded hardback version, this free online guide gives general advice on writing, points out common errors and cliches, and offers guidance on consistent use of punctuation, abbreviations and capital letters.

bullet English Style Guide (PDF)--Translation Service of the European Commission

The comprehensive guide of rules, reminders and handy references covers spelling, punctuation, numbers, abbreviations, correspondence and other topics. A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission

bullet Garbl's Editorial Style and Usage Manual--Gary B. Larson, Seattle, Washington

Based originally on the Associated Press Stylebook, this alphabetical style guide provides advice for abbreviations, capitalization, grammar, internet terminology, numbers, organization terminology, punctuation, spelling and word usage.

bullet NLRB Style Manual (PDF)--National Labor Relations Board

A Guide for Legal Writing in Plain English (PDF)

bullet Style Manual 2008--United States Government Printing Office

Searchable and presented in both HTML ASCII and PDF files, this manual provides comprehensive information on form and style for printing and binding, and the material and the style of type used.

bullet Writer's Style Guide--Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Based mostly on the Associated Press Stylebook, this alphabetical list of guidelines aims to achieve a clear, consistent, contemporary style of writing in non-academic documents and publications.

bullet Writing Style Guide--Office of University Publications, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne

Alphabetical listing of preferred styles to standardize writing, based on The Associated Press Stylebook and other dictionary resources.

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Avoiding Bias

bullet Beyond the AP Stylebook: Language and Usage Guide for Reporters and Editors--Ragged Edge Magazine Online, The Advocado Press, Louisville, Kentucky

It begins with two rules for writing about people with disabilities: Avoid cliches and cliched constructions. And use "value-neutral" terms and constructions.

bullet Disability Etiquette: Use Words with Dignity--Community Resources for Independence Inc., Erie, Pennsylvania

Lists words that have strong negative connotations and words that are more affirmative and reflect a more positive attitude.

bullet Gender-Free Legal Writing: Managing the Personal Pronouns (PDF)--Arthur Close, British Columbia Law Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Excellent advice--not just for the legal profession--on writing techniques and guidelines that include both structural solutions and generic solutions.

bullet Writing with Gender-Fair Language--Center for Communication Practices, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.

Discusses "the generic he/man problem."

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Creativity | Writing Process | Grammar | Style and Usage | Reference Sources | Words Fat-Free Writing |Plain Language | Action Writing | Word Play

Home ] [ Writing Resources Home ] [ Style Manual ] [ Plain English Guide ] [ Concise Writing Guide ] [ Writing Bookshelf ] [ What's New ]

Created by Gary B. Larson of Port Townsend, Washington,

Updated March 5, 2016.