Top 8 Free Online Style Guides in English

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"Sensible" is probably the highest praise that can be given to a style guide. Neither a comprehensive documentation manual (such as the MLA or APA guides) nor a self-improvement book (along the lines of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style), a publisher's style guide should provide practical and consistent advice about matters ranging from abbreviations and preferred spellings to punctuation standards and acceptable terminology.

If you're not already committed to one particular code of conventions—such as The Associated Press Stylebook, "the journalist's bible"—consider befriending one of these free online style guides. Each has its eccentricities and limitations, and no two of them agree on every fine point of usage. But they're all sensible and reasonably consistent. 

American Styles

  • National Geographic Style Manual Online since 1995 and frequently updated by a team of editors, this is an alphabetically arranged guide to "preferred National Geographic Society style and usage."​
  • The Tameri Guide for Writers: Generalized Stylebook Maintained by Susan D. Schnelbach and Christopher Scott Wyatt, the Tameri Stylebook is "based on the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the primary style guide for reporters and editors at daily newspapers and many periodicals."​
  • Wikipedia: Manual of Style This style guide for all Wikipedia articles is intended to help editors "write articles with consistent, clear, and precise language, layout, and formatting."

British Styles

  • The BBC News Styleguide (pdf) Written by John Allen, a BBC reporter and editor for the past 40 years, this popular manual "is not a 'do and don't' list but a guide that invites you to explore some of the complexities of modern English usage."​
  • Style Guide John Grimond's online guide is based on the stylebook followed by journalists at The Economist magazine. The 11th edition of the paperback version of the guide will be published in 2015.​
  • The Guardian and Observer Style Guide Edited by David Marsh and Amelia Hodsdon, this is the online version of Guardian Style. The third edition of this witty handbook was published in December 2010.​
  • Telegraph Style Book Augmented by monthly "style notes" from associate editor Simon Heffer, this is the "official guide to house style" for The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, and

Canadian Styles

  • The Canadian Style Compiled by the Canadian government's Translation Bureau, Canadian Style includes "useful advice for drafting letters, memos, reports, indexes and bibliographies" along with "concise answers to questions concerning written English in the Canadian context."
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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Top 8 Free Online Style Guides in English." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 25). Top 8 Free Online Style Guides in English. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Top 8 Free Online Style Guides in English." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).