Style across the shores

Rachael Dullahide Writing style

American style is already evident in Australia, and fast becoming the norm in some sectors. So, we asked a colleague working in the US for her tips on what’s happening in American English. In other words, we wanted to know about the trends there that will eventually hit our shores.

On her advice, we discovered the style mecca that is the Associated Press Style Book. This evolving style guide is filled with the latest advice on word use and spelling in the States. For us, it is a treasure box that reignites our interest in style editing.

Most clients call for us to focus on the communication values of text, and the structures that uphold readability and persuasiveness. These are valuable tasks. But the AP Style Book returns us to the roots of editing—consistent and accepted style.

And we want to share what we find. When we see a new style in the AP Style Book that we know will work in Australia, we will write about it here. Of course, style decisions belong to the writer. But isn’t it nice to think other writers share our approach and even applaud it?

To dip our toes into American waters, we offer lower case ‘internet’. And, while we already use lower case ‘web’, we may now write webpage and webfeed without a space, as we do for website.

Whether these changes appeal to you is a moot point. At some point, your editor will argue for them, and you will feel compelled to adopt them. And, of course, the trickle of such changes will become a flood. Hopefully, you will find resources such as the AP Style Book make the journey a conscious and uplifting one.