What is editorial style?
Editorial style is about consistency. It’s about spelling or treating the same word in the same way throughout a document or project.
For example, when multiple writers contribute to a document, such as an annual report, they each bring their own spelling and punctuation preferences and habits. This results in a lot of inconsistencies and distractions, and the published report ends up looking unprofessional.
If all the writers use the same editorial style guide, then it’s more likely it will be consistent and at a professional publishing standard.
Some examples of the types of inconsistencies we encounter when style guides are not used are below.
Should we write travelling or traveling?
That depends on whether you’re in the Australia or the US.
Should an ellipsis have a space before it? Like this …? Or not, like this…?
You might be surprised to hear that the former is an English convention that is used in Australia, and the latter is an American convention that a lot of people mistakenly use in Australia.
Do we use a possessive apostrophe on Mother’s Day or not?
That depends on current editorial convention, which at the moment says we do. You might be interested to hear that style changes over time – but there’s no need to be concerned because our editors are all over style changes.
Do we use that or which?
That depends on whether the information is essential or non-essential to the meaning of the clause. Sound complicated? Don’t worry this is one of my bugbears and I’m an expert spotter!
For more on when to use which and that, check out our blog post: Which is that pronoun.
Why consistency is important
We mentioned the importance of consistency. That’s why for Australian content we use the latest edition of the online Macquarie Dictionary for all word spellings.
Our editorial style decisions are based on the Australian Government Style Manual (sixth edition) – except where decisions for online content have been based on my digital experience.
For overseas content we use the editorial style that is aligned with that area of the world. For example, for U.S. content we use U.S spelling and editorial conventions. We are well-practised working in this way when required.
Some of our clients have their own editorial style guides, and we’re happy to adhere to them. In fact, we love to because it means we’re more closely aligned with the way they want their content to read and look.
The content we create for you
Click on the photos to learn more.