What is this guide?
At some future date, this style guide will be introduced with a paragraph of florid and pompous bluster enumerating the many virtues of strict adherence to the publishing protocols painstakingly developed to make the writer’s job easier, and their prose more consistent.
For now, just be aware that we generally follow the style guide maintained by the Associated Press. We differ at a few key points, some of which I don’t even think about anymore, but will try to add here as they come to me.
Example: AP Style includes no italics. Because titles of books, works of art, and other elements of writing are greatly clarified or emphasized with ital., we use them as needed. In this distinction, we align more closely with the Chicago Manual of Style. Despite its history of brutally difficult navigation, the guide is a treasure trove of language explanation. I have not explored the online version, but I bet it’s searchable and wicked cool.
Another deviation, this time from both AP and Chicago style, is the arts world. The Association of Art Editors has its own style guide, and I believe we’ll use that as our starting point for developing our in-house rules for covering the arts. If it’s not in our style guide, fall back on theirs.
Large organizations may also have their own style guides, which they make available to the public and journalists. The Greylock Glass mentions the University of Massachusetts rather a little bit, so it’s convenient that they have a ready answer for just about any spelling, capitalization, or formatting question you might have on their website.
If you happen to be a publishing wonk (like me), and get in the mood to obsess over AP vs. Chicago styles, why not head on over to AP vs. Chicago?
We follow AP Style with state abbreviations:
Example: Massachusetts —–> Mass.
Businesses, institutions, and organizations should be identified by their correct, official full names on first reference in body text. Subsequent references can make use of commonly accepted shortened names.
Example: The ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance —–> The ’62 Center
The University of Massachusetts Amherst —–> UMass Amherst
People should be named by first and last name on first reference. Title or position within an organization should be included on first reference, if relevant.
Example: Emily Williams, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCLA, says many solutions exist…
…Williams, who spearheaded the program almost five years ago, says that she is pleased with the results.
Witnesses, bystanders, or the “Wo/man on the street” should be named by first and last name and town of residence on first reference. Street identification should only be used if relevant. Subsequent references should include last name only.
Example: Colton Parker, of Clarksburg, says he has no problem with the extraterrestrials taking up residence in the park…
“…As long as they keep coming in to my store for beef jerky and Red Bull every afternoon,” laughed Parker, “I don’t care if they’re from Planet 9 or Uranus.”
We capitalize Spring, Summer, Autumn (or Fall), and Winter. This goes for the holidays of both Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice and Spring Equinox and Autumn Equinox. Obviously, all holidays tied to the seasons are likewise capitalized; for example, Yule, Beltane, Samhain, and Imbolc.
We capitalize the C in century names; in other words, we are currently living in the 21st Century. If you can superscript the st, all the better, but it’s not required.
Numbers zero through ten should be written out in full, in most cases
Don’t start sentences with numerals unless that numeral is a proper noun, and even then, try to rewrite the sentence to avoid it.
The Glass typically only uses superscript for exponents; for example, “Berkshire County is approximately 946 mi²,” though “946 square miles is preferred.” We do not use superscript for dates; in other words, “My birthday is June 25,” not “My birthday is June 25th.”
Time format: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Note the use of en-dash, rather than hyphen.
Serial (Oxford ) Comma. We use it for reasons of clarity, consistency, and readability.
Note the comma between consistency and and.
Thanks to Karen Yin, founder of AP vs. Chicago, for her wisdom.
Observe that two-word abbreviations have no space after the first period; e.g., W.Va. or S.C.
District of Columbia: District of Columbia
New Hampshire: N.H.
New Jersey: N.J.
New Mexico: N.M.
New York: N.Y.
North Carolina: N.C.
North Dakota: N.D.
Rhode Island: R.I.
South Carolina: S.C.
South Dakota: S.D.
West Virginia: W.Va.