House style, how dull?

I’ve been ploughing through a 125-page science report this week to cross the i’s and dot the t’s. And it struck me that an editor’s job can be pretty tedious, so I’m not surprised that most people ignore the entire concept of ‘house style’.

But here is my question: does consistency really matter? If you are writing an e-newsletter or a press release, does it make any difference whether you write ‘cooperate’ in one paragraph and ‘co-operate’ in another?

My suspicion is that few people, except copy editors and pedants (are they the same thing?), would even notice.

But then, the whole issue of house style is almost a non-issue because Word can automatically sort it all out for you. The ‘Auto Correct’ function can be set so that it will automatically replace ‘cooperate’ with ‘co-operate’ (or vice versa) whenever you type then ‘wrong’ version.

I will soon make available a simple template that will populate your version of Word’s Auto Correct with a long list of words that people tend to write inconsistently. I will also deal with US vs. UK spellings. So watch this space – and feel free to send me your suggestions for your house style watch words.

Filed under: Tips | Tags: , , | By Edwin on February 5, 2010 at 8:30 am