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The Economist Style Guide Hardcover – May 3, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; Tenth Edition edition (May 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846681758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846681752
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,011,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The tenth edition of this bestselling guide to style is based on the house style manual of The Economist newspaper. It is an invaluable companion for everyone who wants to communicate with the clarity, style and precision for which The Economist is famous. The first section, which has been revised and updated to reflect current usage (or misusage), gives general advice on writing, points out common errors and clichés, offers guidance on the proper use of punctuation and grammar, helps with spelling and hyphens, and much more.

The second section highlights the important differences between American and British English syntax and punctuation, spelling and usage and has been thoroughly revised and updated.

The third section contains a range of useful reference material, which has been checked and revised, covering everything from business ratios and stock market indices to chemical elements, US presidents and British prime ministers. Some new additions are the Greek alphabet, mathematical symbols, the winter Olympic games and the solar system.

An essential book for anyone who writes reports, articles, books, letters or memoranda— or even shopping lists—The Economist Style Guide will enlighten, educate and amuse.

  • Aggravate means make worse not irritate or annoy.
  • Alibi An alibi is the fact of being elsewhere, not a false explanation.
  • Anticipate does not mean expect. Jack and Jill expected to marry; if they anticipated marriage, only Jill might find herself expectant.
  • Born, borne are both past participles of the verb bear. Born is used in the sense of giving birth: She was born in April. Borne is used for supporting or putting up with (The victims has borne enough pain) and for giving birth in active constructions (She had already borne six children).
  • Compare A is compared with B when you draw attention to the difference. A is compared to B only when you want to stress their similarity, as in Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
  • Continuous describes something uninterrupted. Continual admits of a break. If your neighbours play load music every night, it is a continual nuisance; it is not a continuous one unless the music is never turned off.
  • Council, counsel A council is a body of people, elected or appointed, that advises, administers, organizes, legislates, etc. Counsel (noun) means advice or consultant, or lawyers who give legal advice and fight cases in court.
  • Discreet, discrete Discreet means circumspect or prudent. Discrete means separate or distinct.
  • Forgo, forego Forgo means do without; it forgoes the e. Forego means go before.
  • Healthy If you think something is desirable or good, say so. Do not call it healthy.
  • Jargon Avoid it.
  • Journalese and slang Slang, like metaphors, should be used only occasionally of it is to have effect. Avoid expressions used only by journalists, such as giving people the thumbs up, the thumbs down or the green light.
  • Political correctness Avoid, if you can, giving gratuitous offence: you risk losing your readers or at least their goodwill, and therefore your arguments. But pandering to every plea for politically correct terminology may make your prose unreadable, and therefore unread.
  • Proactive Not a pretty word: try active or energetic.
  • Ring, wring (verbs) bells are rung, hands are wrung. Both may be seen at weddings.
  • Short words Use them.

About the Author

The Economist is one of the world's most notable magazines. Circulation in the United States and Canada is now more than 700,000 weekly.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mud Man on August 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eriudite, concise and finely-pointed. The Economist is economical with words-and rich in meaning. If you following their style guide you can improve your writing. Their relentless focus is on maintaing clarity-yet they provide for the extra dimensions of nuance and allusion. Because is why you do something. Since refers to the time passed between the deed and now. The difference between expecting and anticipating is action: if Jack and Jill anticipate their marriage, only Jill may be expecting. This guide puts forth the rules and conventions that create the style that makes the Economist so readable, and it can make your dispatches better read as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CaRaPr on August 4, 2013
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The prologue of this book must taken as creed by all who intend to write well. The rest of the book, however, borders on the common sense. If you have the money to spare, it should be bought only for it prologue, which should be memorized as psalm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allison on November 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had to get this for school and it's really helpful. A lot of it is common sense but some of the referencing information is really valuable.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael on December 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a decent source of information. However, it isn't something I would recommend too strongly. It contains some valuable information to keep in mind as one writes. But, it is presented in an alphabetical format that doesn't quite fit.
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3 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Snavvy on April 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately, the Economist Style Guide adopts some conventions that make language less precise, not more so.

For example, it discourages the use of commas in sentences that contain a series of items (a practice that introduces ambiguity into such sentences).

It exhorts

"Do not put a comma before and at the end of a sequence of items unless one of the items includes another and. Thus The doctor suggested an aspirin, half a grapefruit and a cup of broth. But he ordered scrambled eggs, whisky and soda, and a selection from the trolley."

This practice introduces ambiguity as to whether the last two items of a series are actually a grouped item (as is normally indicated by the conjunction "and") or whether they are two independent items in the series. Punctuation is meant to reduce ambiguity; this practice espoused by the Economist serves to increase ambiguity.

In short, this style guide often panders to language laziness and cultural conventions even when those conventions degrade linguistic precision. This lessens its worth as a style guide.
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