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Editorial Styles
Editing and Proofreading

When a document is required to follow a given "style," this typically pertains to editorial style as opposed to writing style. By defining editorial style, a standard can be established among all written material that helps clarify the writing and impose uniformity. Editorial style dictates the following areas:

  • Heading Selections
  • Manuscript Elements
  • Punctuation
  • Abbreviations
  • Table Construction
  • Reference Citations
  • Statistics
  • And more

Outlined below are the most common editorial styles that can be found in today's publications. While some are associated with specific fields, others are more universal.

  • APA Style - American Psychological Association

Common among the behavioral and social sciences, APA Style was established by the American Psychological Association as a uniform editorial style which is applied to all books and publications the society publishes.

APA Style is more commonly used for its system of citations in reference and text format; if you have been instructed to use APA Style, clarify the boundaries within which the requestor wants you to adhere.

The guidelines of APA Style can be found in the society's reference book, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

  • MLA Style - Modern Language Association

Frequently seen among the humanities, language, and literature fields, MLA Style--one of the simpler editorial styles--has been embraced by academic institutions for decades. MLA Style helps fields of research uniformly document scholarly borrowings and can be found in use all over the world.

The guidelines of MLA Style are thoroughly described in the society's two reference books:

  1. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, and
  2. The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
  • CMS - Chicago Manual of Style (or CMOS)

Developed by the University of Chicago Press staff for social science and historical journal publications, the Chicago Manual of Style (aka CMS or CMOS) dates back to 1906 as one of the first editorial style guides published in the United States. It helps standardize research and citation methodologies, with an emphasis on American grammar and usage.

The guidelines of Chicago Style are thoroughly described in the society's reference book, The Chicago Manual of Style.

Other editorial styles gaining wider acceptance include:

  • AMA Manual of Style by JAMA and Archives Journals
  • Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications

For more information about editorial styles, such as APA, MLA, CMOS, and others,
please contact The Proofreaders.


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