Editorial style is a set of rules that tell you what to do when there’s more than one “correct” way to write something. Examples include spelling a number out versus writing it as a numeral, capitalizing the words in a headline and hyphenating words that have prefixes. Without a clear-cut set of style guidelines, writers often address these situations in ways that contradict each other and themselves. The resultant inconsistencies can make your writing look amateurish, sabotaging your credibility.
NC State’s editorial style is based on The Associated Press Stylebook, with exceptions and additions as noted. When this style guide conflicts with AP style, follow this guide. To resolve questions of spelling, AP recommends using Webster’s New World College Dictionary. We give key recommendations from AP interspersed with guidelines specific to NC State.
To obtain maximum value from these rules, you should follow them far more often than not; but situations may arise when bending a rule makes more sense than following it. In all matters concerning editorial style, consistency and clarity are the most important considerations.