Style Guide

Style Guide by The Economist
Style Guide by The Economist (Economist Books)

Style Guide by The Economist offers sound advice for business writers, particularly for people writing articles.

  • Catch the attention of the reader and then get straight into the article. Do not spend several sentences clearing your throat.
  • Readers are interested in what you have to say. The way you say it will cause them to read on or give up.
  • Introduce facts as you tell the story.
  • Don’t tell readers what they should think, persuade them.

A consitent syle of communication across an enterprise fosters confidence and clarity. Consequently, employees and contributors need guidance.

In-house style guides range from a simple style sheet of formatting instructions to broad resources drawn from The Gregg Reference Manual.

Our language is a living thing. It undergoes constant change and our online style guides have to keep up.

Confidence

American business writers can learn much from this guide—despite its emphasis on British English.

This book is organized alphabetically.  Listed under “P” we find the word propaganda, often mistakenly used as a synonym for lies. The accurate meaning is a “systematic effort to spread doctrine or opinions.”

This guide is full of opinions, mostly sensible, such as this one: Do not imagine that you can disguise the absence of thought with long words, stale metaphors, or the empty jargon of academics.

Style Guide wags its finger at times. Don’t be chatty, over-familiar, or stuffy. It says, avoid using ought and should.

This reference will give writers confidence and accuracy in their use of language. The Economist has a global reach, and its guide is especially useful for anyone writing for an international business audience.

Style Guide shows differences in British and American usage. It explains that a public school in the United States is free, run by the state and local districts.

In the UK a public school is a private fee-paying institution.

Clarity

Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought, says the Guide.

“A scrupulous writer”, observed Orwell, “in every sentence that he writes will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

What am I trying to say?

What words will express it?

What image or idiom will make it clearer?

Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

The Economist (2015-06-23). Style Guide (Economist Books) (Kindle Locations 114-118). Public Affairs. Kindle Edition.

Every writer and editor needs a style guide. Consistency matters. Whether you’re writing articles, a book, blog, or magazine, find a style and stick to it.

Disclaimer: Christopher Richards is a business book ghostwriter and has no affiliation with the editors or authors of this book.