Style Guides

… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

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Concept description

A style guide is a set of standards for writing.

Style guides can be developed for specific publications, organizations, or fields and can deal with design as well as spelling and grammar.

An excellent example for general writing in public management is The Economist Style Guide (reference below and link to right) which opens by citing George Orwell’s six elementary rules:

  1. Never use a Metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do (see Short words).
  3. If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out (see Unnecessary words).
  4. Never use the Passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a Jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous (see Iconoclasm).

The Canadian government’s Translation Bureau has produced a very useful online style guide called The Canadian Style (reference below) with 17 chapters, including:


Style Guide, The Economist, at, accessed 10 April 2016.

The Canadian Style, Dundurn Press Limited, in cooperation with Public Works and Government Services Canada Translation Bureau, at, accessed 10 April 2016.

Atlas topic and subject

Writing to Persuade (core topic) in Communication Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 10 April 2016.

Image: Twitter, @econstyleguide, at, accessed 10 April 2016.