Pro Tips: What’s your style? AP or Chicago?

All good writing should be consistent in style.  “Style,” in this case, does not refer to whether you like Chanel suits or Air Jordans.  Instead, it refers to a set of rules governing how punctuation, capital letters, and the like are used.  There are several different options in this department with the two most popular being Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook.  The latter is most commonly abbreviated to “AP Style.”

So what exactly are these styles, and just why do they matter?  Obviously, AP Style is going to be used for journalistic endeavors such as newspapers, magazines, and other media.  Chicago style is quite often used in fiction and publication of other books.  In business writing, there are many times when the choice of style doesn’t matter.  However, what is important is to pick one style and stick with it.  Even a relatively untrained eye may notice that you used a comma before the “and” in a sequence in one paragraph, but didn’t use a comma before an “and” in the next sequence.  Or perhaps you hyphenated a word in the introduction of your document, then failed to hyphenate that same word in subsequent uses.  Whatever style you choose, consistency is the key for looking professional.  If you do not pay attention to these details, a potential client may think that you will be lax with other details concerning your work.

A variety of online stylebooks are available for a yearly fee.  Those fees are worth it, when you want to look like you’re on top of your game.  Please see the links below, if you are interested in navigating these styles for yourself.  Otherwise, you can always hire a professional writer to navigate them for you, and save yourself some time.