Using a style guide is a fundamental skill for a proofreader. We often blog about it, and place a lot of emphasis on style in our proofreading course
We recommend the Guardian style guide, although our American students prefer using the Chicago Manual of Style
Our online proofreading course gives step-by-step instructions on how to use a style guide and implement the rules when carrying out proofreading jobs.
But some people find it difficult to use one, especially if style is a new concept to them.
Some people have trouble finding what they are looking for, which is common considering the vast amount of information in the guide.
So, we recommend starting by checking under a likely heading, such as ‘capitals’ or ‘colons’ etc.
If you find nothing, try a general Google search, such as: ‘Guardian style guide colons’ and sift through the results.
Some students ask whether they should check the dictionary and the style guide for every word.
We tell our proofreading course students to check every single word first against the style guide, then the dictionary – we use Collins, as the Guardian style guide recommends it.
They should never leave anything to chance, and never use their ‘instinct’.
This is because they may have been taught to express things in a certain way at school, and the Guardian style guide may be different.
To begin with, it’s painstaking time consuming work, but with practice you remember the main style points and can correct them without having to look anything up.
See our proofreading courses