The run-down on online style guides, usage guidance, and other helpful tools to turn to when you can't decide whether or not to hyphenate.

  • Our personal style favorite, The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Ed., offers an online edition (a free trial is available). The editors of CMS maintain an online Q&A and the opportunity to submit your style questions.
  • The online edition of “the journalist’s Bible” – The AP Stylebook – is available for an annual subscription fee. If you’re looking to get by on the cheap, you can print out this AP cheat sheet from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. Or pony up and buy the paperback edition. And if you’re really stumped on a style question, you can Ask the AP Editor or search existing Q&A.
  • A favorite of anal-retentive English majors everywhere, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style is now available free and full-text at Bartleby.com.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used widely in academic publishing in the liberal arts and humanities. Purdue University offers a good summary of MLA formatting and style.
  • Science writers frequently turn to the APA (American Psychological Association) stylebook. The APA is kind enough to provide some general (and free) style assistance. They also have useful guidance on citing electronic media.
  • Medical journals and other clinical pubs typically use AMA (American Medical Association) style. Medical writers should invest in a copy, but if you use it infrequently, Dr. Abel Scribe (nice!) provides this comprehensive downloadable cheat sheet, AMA Medstyle Stat!

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