Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

Just like fashion, style changes but good writing never goes out of style

Majorman mused in his blog about the writing style of the Economist in the blog post “Is there some new rule that the period…” regarding the placement of periods inside or outside of quotation marks.

If you read a variety of newspapers and magazines you’re sure to run into all kinds of styles of writing that conflict with what you have been taught.    I must have four or five style guides sitting in my office and they are all different.

What to use?  Are you a media type, perhaps you use the Associated Press style guide.  A college student, perhaps MLA, APA or Chicago.  A fan of William Safire; use his style.  The federal government even has its own style guide and many departments have their own style guide within the federal government’s.  In the previous sentence is the correct punctuation federal or Federal?  If you know the answer write it the box below and which style guide you used.

Ultimately I think that language is living entity.  New words are invented every day.  Some thrive and others fall into the trash bin of words quickly. Did you type Internet in 1988?  For some interesting new words or to find out the definition some slang words you don’t know check out the Urban Dictionary.

Just as words change so does how we write and use punctuation.  So my advice is to write and use punctuation as you were taught, wherever you were taught.  When everyone comments about how your prose is old school remember a well written sentence lasts forever.

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July 9, 2008 - Posted by | social media

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