Did you know most publications, print and online, use a “style?” (Did you know websites also are considered publications?) A style is a set of guidelines or rules that a publication follows to maintain consistency. Do you capitalize this? Do you italicize that? Do you write out this abbreviation? Do you use a comma after the second item in a series of three? Or not?
These are the kinds of questions that a style or style guide answers, and which editors and writers go to the style to find answers about. There are different styles: Associated Press (AP), Chicago, American Medical Association (AMA), even Yahoo! has a style guide.
Most publication staffs develop deviations from the particular style their publication uses. These sometimes turn out to be pet peeves or general preferences. Style can be a combination of a professional style such as those mentioned, and a list of preferred styles from a publication’s staff. A hybrid style, per se.
Recently the writers for this blog had an interesting discussion on just which style we would use for the Web Editors blog. We had pretty much narrowed it down to AP Style and Yahoo!. (See comparison of AP and Yahoo!) There were advantages and disadvantages to both, and writers weighed in for both. While there are many similarities, the differences were negligible, so you may not notice much difference. We finally decided to be brave and flexible. Even though we decided to make AP the official style of this blog, writers are permitted to use Yahoo! style if they prefer. As long as the individual writer chooses either AP or Yahoo, and sticks to that particular style, that’s fine.
So if you happen to notice some minor deviations between writers’ styles, that’s okay. We hope you won’t mind if we’re a little more stylish than most publications.