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Guardian Style: Third edition
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2011
I'm almost scared to write a review of Guardian Style (or guardianstyle, a title style which they should abandon because it's no longer very stylish), or indeed of anything else, having perused it and scored about a 20% failure rate on all those bleeding obvious traps I thought I'd so cleverly avoided over the years, and that only the ill-educated could possibly continue to get wrong. It combines 1950s schoolmarm (I'm sure that must be unacceptable for all kinds of reasons), Stephen Pinker's beloved language mavens, some amusing and rather touchingly resigned pieces on usage that is just too complicated for most of us and which we should therefore abandon to professional philosophers (`begging the question' is a good example), and an assorted pile of linguistic and spelling horrors that have slimed under the door and into the everyday writing of most smart alecs, including myself (cusp, immaculate conception - how could we have got that so wrong for so long? - epicentre, lay waste ...). The list of cliches (no accent please) is bound to include several that you thought were nothing of the sort - actually rather clever, really - and the glib, sloppy, pompous and woolly are sought out and their necks shaken vigorously.

Sadly, it seems as if the motley Guardian writing crew never seems to learn these lessons (which is always encouraging for us amateurs), but surely this is an area where technology could be the salvation of the daily corrections column: shouldn't all copy be automatically fed through the style guide, to emerge wholesome, non-judgmental, comma-perfect and with everyone's titles, in all their gruesome complexity, fully consistent?

By turns it charmed, intrigued and frightened me. Keep it by you to slyly consult when you get that feeling you've just written something that's not quite right, which should happen more often once you've read it through. And for those who think that Guardian Style is the newspaper equivalent of military intelligence etc, I suggest trying to get through the first 20 pages of the current Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition, no less) to sample its unremitting head-banging neutral tedium and misery, numbered paragraphs and all. I almost guarantee you won't make it, and then you can be truly grateful for this delicious slim volume of serious language fun.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2007
While it sounds dry and obvious to say that this is the guide to grammar and word usage for the newspaper The Guardian, that is what this is.

However, the result is far far more compelling and enjoyable than the description. This book is like a mad cross between the 'Grammar is important' ethos of Eats Shoots and Leaves and the random fun of Schott's Miscellany and is better than either.

While I could continue to describe the contents of the book, citing my favourite entries, whatever I say is going to sound boring. Trust me, if you enjoy language you will enjoy this book a lot (not alot).
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
For a foreigner or an English stududent, in order to better your skills, I recomend to use this book. It is a good, and at some points funny, way to deep inside the Enlish language. In addition, I will personally start the university in Manchester, and I am originally from Spain. That could be a disadvantage but not for me nor my interests because with this book, I will make my understanding of the language with more accuracy.
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on 14 December 2012
It doesn't matter if you're in a word-based trade or still in education, this is an absolutely essential purchase for anyone who needs to write good current English. It's clear, easy to follow, and full of really good advice about avoiding cliches.
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on 21 January 2013
I agree with all the praise for the style guide. But I do wish they hadn't chosen to print it on that horrible scratchy paper that sets my fingertips on edge every time I consult it.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2009
An honest, readable directory of how to write well. The Guardian encourages accurate writing, and gives excellent advice on abbreviations, spelling, punctuation and other necessities. While I have a few issues with The Guardian (why do they insist on calling Bombay 'Mumbai', the local right-wing nationalist name for the city, while continuing to call Myanmar 'Burma'?) but generally, the guide is consistent and sensible.

The Guardian has always encouraged intelligent journalism, and this volume not only contributes to good style, it is also the sort of book you can study for hours.

A great guide. Please Daily Mail journalists, read this. Not only will it make your articles more readable, it will also improve your general knowledge. Then maybe one day, you could get a job with a proper, grown-up newspaper!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2010
I always like to contrast media style guides with the actual practice of journalists.

Style guides, as it were, are a mark of aspiration. What comes out in actual practice is another thing altogether.

The Guardian has a very strong brand image but in actual fact its journalists come from all over the shop. Newcomers have to assimilate Guardian style very quickly but that is what you are paid to do as a journalist. Next day some may be off to a tabloid. They may assume a new writing personna.

This leads me to wonder what standing this document has in the actual world of the Guardian because there is more stylistic diversity within the paper and web site than David Marsh's book suggests. If you want to know where the internal tensions are within the Guardian look to see where aspiration does not match actual practice.
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on 15 October 2014
A good book for journalists or writing for the media.
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on 30 October 2014
Brilliant, thanks
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2014
This book sets out to give the guidelines for journalists writing for The Guardian. IMO it's not very good. The main problem is that it is compiled as a set of entries in alphabetical order but many of the entries are just too skimpy. By comparison The Economist Style Guide gives more explanation for its rules and is IMO much better. And if you are really serious about writing well, then you'd do better to get either The New Oxford Style Manual or The Chicago Manual of Style.
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