A Style Guide For An Sionnach Fionn

With An Sionnach Fionn open for submissions on a range of subjects, I have decided to produce a short style guide or manual for potential writers, one illustrating the preferred “house style” of the website. So what is a style guide? Nikki Marshall was the editor of the Guardian’s popular online manual for several years and she explains its purpose in this interview with Seán McManus:

“We want the words we use in the Guardian to work as hard as they can, which means the language we choose must be clean, contemporary and consistent. Inconsistency is distracting and only gets in the way of what we’re saying, and the style guide exists, quite simply, to help us communicate with readers.

Many of its entries shape the language we use when dealing with, for example, race, gender, illness and disability, to reflect both the paper’s values and the point of view of the people we’re writing about. The guide also warns against common errors of grammar and fact…”

My own bare bones guide draws bits an’ pieces from the Guardian’s manual, as well as that of University College Cork (UCC), the Reuters Style Guide and some specifically Irish republican phrasing. The ASF manual is not intended to be prescriptive. Rather it is exactly what it purports to be: a guide. Hopefully it will grow and expand over the coming years.

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5 comments

  1. The best style guide for any political writer is the prose of George Orwell, examples such as his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language”..As for the Guardian I object to their policy of no longer wishing to pay contributors and now promote the false term ”Citizen Journalist” to contribute copy at no cost to the newspaper.

    1. The Orwell is still relevant. Good point. I can understand small outfits seeking writers on a no-fee basis, especially activist or niche publications, but with big media it is a bit of a stretch.

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