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!

Wordcrafts' Quotes

Player Piano

"Grammar is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. The picture tells you how to arrange the words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture. Nota bene.

It tells you.
You don’t tell it."

— Joan Didion

Fear of Fiction

"A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not."

— Roald Dahl

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