Should “blog” be capitalized? Does the title of a blog go in italics (like a book title) or inside quotation marks (like a magazine article)? Is “login” one word or two?
Are you sure there’s no period in Dr Pepper?
Nagging little questions like those can really slow down anyone’s writing or editing. But there’s an easy-to-use reference book that answers those questions quickly and easily, and helps you write with more authority and confidence.
With over 5,000 A to Z entries, the Associated Press Style Book is one of those indispensable resources for writers of all kinds — including business people who write proposals and reports. It defines usage, spelling, and grammar, and makes the difficult job of writing a little easier.
It will be reissued (or should that be “re-issued”?) in a new, updated edition in July. If you write or edit anything from a company newsletter to a blog, keep one of these 400-page reference treasures at your elbow. For less than fifteen bucks you’ll quickly finds answers that will let you get back to churning out the words. (Oh, and keep you from looking like a doofus.)
Dan Santow thoughtfully listed some AP-approved standards of spelling and usage in his “Word Wise” blog, a portion of which I will shamelessly reproduce below, along with a few parenthetical comments of my own:
- cyberspace, cybercafe, etc. (One word, no hyphen)
- dial-up (So that’s where the hyphen went)
- e-mail, e-book, e-commerce, e-business, etc. (Yup, still hyphenated after all these years)
- Internet (A proper name, so it’s capitalized)
- intranet (A generic term, so it’s not)
- login, logon, logoff (nouns)
- log in, log on, log off (verbs)
- megabyte, megahertz
- the Web
- VoIP (Lower case “o”)
- Web log (Two words, although”blog” is one. “Web” always gets an upper-case “W.”)
- Web site (Not “website” or “Website.” Two words.)
- webcast, webinar, webmaster, webcam, etc. (Only one word. Go figure.)
- World Wide Web
- Yahoo (not Yahoo!, no matter what the Yahoo people say)
PS: Another favorite of mine is the Wall Street Journal’s Guide to Business Style and Usage. Many corporate clients seem more impressed by citing, “This is how the Journal does it.” And now I see Amazon is selling used copies of this 2002 gem for as little as $1.50 each. Go get one!