Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Consistency Is Key

While today is National Grammar Day, we need to acknowledge another important fundamental skill in writing: consistency.

Of course, I'm not talking about consistently spelling words wrong and comma splicing, but sticking to a consistent writing style that uses proper grammar. This will:
  1. help you define your own writing style
  2. and your editor (if you have one) will be grateful.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, if you're not following a standard style (AP, MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) or you're writing for your own pleasure (a blog, maybe?), at least be consistent with capitalization, numbers, dates, etc. 

Some organizations have their own style guides. My current employer has an unwritten style guide. While I've mostly taken to it, I also inject some standard AP style. My supervisor and I have compromised on a few things:
  • He prefers AM/PM + I prefer a.m./p.m. = I caved and we write AM/PM
  • He always writes dates in their entirety + I abide by AP style: March, March 2014, Mar. 4, 2014, Mar. 4 = he caved and we abbreviate dates
We also have a specific way to write the opening the statement of a press release, which is standard across both football and non-football releases. But I occasionally spice it up in non-football releases and he lets me get away with it.

Next time you're writing, stay consistent. Don't like the AP rule numbers less than 10 are written out? Then don't abide by it. However, either write out all numbers or always use digits. 

First step grammar, next step consistency and third step writing voice.

Keep on writing, kiddies!


1 comment:

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