Making a Personal Style Sheet

September 26, 2013

I was asked by someone recently to look over their Web site and let them know if I found any spelling or grammar errors. No matter the quality of your writing and spelling, we all make these type of mistakes. I’m sure loyal readers find such mistakes in nearly every post I write. Having an outside editor does help catch the pesky errors that you just overlook.

But today I want to discuss the issue of using consistent wording throughout whatever is written. That may be something as small as an ad or brochure or it could be a lengthy book. No matter the length, you need to define how certain words or phrases will appear so that are the same everywhere.

In the Web site I was editing, I saw the term “website,” “websites,” “Websites,” “web site” and probably a few other variations. I can give you a reason why “Web site(s)” is the correct term, but others could probably give you reasons why the others are correct. The most important thing is to use the same term everywhere!

I use “Web” because to me it is a personal noun, a short version of “World Wide Web” and the “site” is a separate word. So I do my best to always use the term in that manner. I’m sure I accidentally spell it different every now and then. As you put together your personal style list, think of all words or phrases that can be spelled in different ways. Pick the spelling that you feel is correct and go with it. Your list may only have 2-3 items on it, it could have hundreds.

Go ahead and start your list now and make “Web site” or the variation you prefer the first entry. Each time you encounter a new word or phrase, add it to your list. Soon you will find you have a good list to apply against the text in your projects.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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