If you’re looking to employ an editor or editing service, you need to know what editing style to request. There are literally dozens of English editing style guides to follow. Which should you use? And when?
Here’s a list of the top editing style guides and when it’s best to use them:
The Chicago Manual of Style—CMoS, or CMS, for short—is the standard in book publishing. It is also commonly used for history and the arts. One of the first American English style guides, it was originally published in 1906 by the University of Chicago Press and has since released updated editions every seven to ten years. CMoS is a comprehensive reference guide for grammar, citation, preparation, and everything in between. It’s often called “the editor’s Bible.”
CMoS online: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
*At Elite Editing, we truly do consider CMoS to be the editor’s Bible. It is our default style guide, and we edit to CMoS unless another style guide is requested.
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association—or APA for short—was first developed by the American Psychological Association in 1929. Originally established to ensure consistency among papers in the psychology field, it quickly expanded and now is commonly used in social and behavioral sciences. APA focuses on simplifying the style, from tables to citations to abbreviations to the structure of writing.
For a complete description of APA, check out our blog article: Beginner’s Guide to Writing in the APA Style
APA style online: http://www.apa.org/
Available on Amazon: The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
Not to be confused with APA, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (a.k.a. the AP Stylebook, or AP) is published by the Associated Press. This style is used in journalism, but is also widespread in marketing, PR, broadcasting, and corporate communications. It was first published in 1953, although the style has been around for about a century. AP is notable for its sparse style, including dropping the Oxford comma and using figures for all numbers above nine. The purpose behind the brevity of style is to save space in print and on the web.
AP Stylebook online: https://www.apstylebook.com/
Available on Amazon: The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing is an academic style guide most commonly used for in the liberal arts and humanities in academia, particularly in English studies and literature. The Modern Language Association of America has published this manual since 1985. MLA style is geared toward collegiate and graduate students as well as professionals. The Modern Language Association also publishes a companion style guide, the MLA Handbook, which is used primarily by secondary and postsecondary students.
Available on Amazon:* The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
*Please note that the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing is currently out of print.
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, by Kate Turabian, known simply as Turabian among professionals, is a modified version of The Chicago Manual of Style. This style guide is specifically meant for academics and contains changes to citations, formatting, and references.
Available on Amazon: A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
In addition to the most popular style guides listed above, here is a brief list of additional industry-specific guides:
AMA Manual of Style: for medical writing; published by the American Medical Association
The ACS Style Guide: for scientific papers; published by the American Chemical Society
The Bluebook: a citation guide to legal writing
IEEE: for technical fields, particularly computer science
New Oxford Style Manual: an editing manual used widely in England
For a complete list of English language style guides, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_style_guides.