Just as our design guide helps us create an overall look for the University, editorial style helps us to achieve a cohesive and professional impression in the written materials sent out to our various audiences. This guide is intended to answer many common questions about correct usage and style. By using it on a regular basis, we will upgrade the content of all the letters, postcards, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, Web pages and other communications from Eastern University.
The Eastern University Communications Office uses The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage (1999, Three Rivers Press, New York) as its guide. This is the official style guide used by the writers and editors of the world’s most authoritative newspaper. It was chosen because it is clearly written and easy to use.
The final step in creating professional quality publications is careful proofreading. No written message should leave any of our offices without being proofread by at least two individuals. As a University, we have an obligation to uphold the highest standards of writing, grammar and style. When readers see obvious misspellings, grammatical errors or omissions, or poorly written sentences, they make assumptions about the academic quality of the University as a whole. That’s why the final step, proofreading, is one of the most important steps in any project. If corrections are to be made by a printer or other vendor, use the standard proofreading marks shown on page.
Any written material should be proofread by someone other than the writer. Develop your proofreader’s eye with the Three-Step Technique:
- Scan for obvious errors and typos.
- Read sentences backward to catch misspelled words or missing words.
- Read for content to check meaning, structure and punctuation.
- Computer Spellcheckers are a good start, but they will miss when the spelling is correct but the word is used incorrectly (such as buy and by, break and brake). The computer cannot determine context!
- Double check all addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses
- Double check all dates, times and locations
- Are names spelled correctly?
- Are abbreviations and acronyms explained the first time they are used?
- Is there consistency throughout the document?
- Are there extra spaces or inappropriate word breaks?