Editorial Style Guide

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(Laurie Smith-Frailey)

Why an editorial guide?

This compilation of guidelines and resources is designed to help writers, editors, and proofreaders in the Office of Communications and Donor Relations (ComDor), MIT Department of Resource Development, in the production of quality print and Web-based communications for MIT.

Even though the activities we undertake here are many and varied, it’s important to try to be unified in the way we present the Institute to the outside world. Spelling and grammatical mistakes, and inconsistencies in style, can distract readers. Our collective goal is always to maintain the highest standards in communications for the Institute.

This guide is based in large part on two widely respected reference works—The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition—and is also full of terms that are uniquely MIT. If we have missed any, please let us know.

In fact, since style—like the English language—is dynamic, think of this guide as a work in progress. Our plan is to update it often, both to reflect current usage and to keep up with changes on campus. We hope others will also find it useful, and in fact encourage input from all members of the MIT community as to how to make it more relevant and/or complete. Many thanks.

—Laurie Smith-Frailey

 

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Last updated May 21, 2007

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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E-mail comdor-editguide@mit.edu