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Great post. I am an AP Stylebook junkie. I’ve read it cover to cover and use it as my editorial bible. (Looked up “bible” in the AP Stylebook before writing that last sentence. LOL) There are some entries I don’t agree with, so I may have to start my own book, The Maria Stylebook. I think it’ll be a huge hit.
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Joe should appreciate Chicago’s completeness though; Chicago often has information that isn’t in other stylebooks. For example, in his question, Joe shortened the name of the book to Chicago instead of calling it The Chicago Manual of Style. As I was writing this article, I needed to know how to format a shortened book title. That information wasn’t in the AP Stylebook, but it was in Chicago. (I learned that you treat a shortened title just as you would a regular title--you and italicize it, or in the case of Grammar Girl style, it goes in quotation marks because listener questions are already italicized).
I used to use the print books, and I often had a hard time finding the information I needed. A few years ago, I started subscribing to the online versions of The Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook, and now I can search and find the answers I’m looking for in seconds. It’s a little more expensive than buying the print books, but for me, and I imagine for many people who write for a living, it’s worth it for the convenience.