on August 5, 2010
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.
on August 4, 2013
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.
on April 29, 2011
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).
"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.