ClearTips: Edit yourself

Style sheet

To be consistent in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, capitalization, and writing numbers in words or numerals, keep a style sheet. Indispensable for writing by one person, and imperative for writing by more than one person, a style sheet is a simple tool that can save time and avoid confusion. It is made by drawing a few lines on a sheet of paper and writing groups of initials in each box. Each time you write or see a word that has more than one acceptable style, write it in the appropriate box; for example, write decision making in the ABCD box, traveling in the QRST box. When you run into these words elsewhere, you can check the style against the style sheet (rather than having to flip through ail the pages to see how you spelled them the first time). For long pieces it often helps to keep a style sheet for each of the common areas of inconsistency: one for spelling (especially that of names and terms), one for hyphens, one for capitals, one for numbers, and one for initials.

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