A colleague gave me a copy of the ninth edition of “Style Guide” from The Economist newspaper. Here is the advice that I found in the “grammar and syntax” entry:
Try not to be sloppy in the construction of your sentences and paragraphs.
Yes! That sums it up.
The “Style Guide” has other good advice:
* pair and couple: Treat both pair and couple as plural.
* fund: (verb) is a technical term, meaning to convert floating debt into more or less permanent debt at fixed income. Try to avoid it if you mean to finance or to pay for.
The book also has a section on the differences between British and American English (petrol vs. gasoline, power point vs. electrical outlet) and a section titled “Useful Reference” including calendar differences and administrative districts in countries around the world.
This is a useful book. That’s the highest praise I can give. The book, published by Profile Books, is available online. You can also find it at Amazon for $17.79.
The Economist has an online style guide too.
This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.