This document serves as the living style guide for Audacious Fox, and I consider it a personalized list of rules that are a superset of those found in the New York Times Manual of Style. The goal of this document is to bring a consistent voice to all the writing on this site.
If you run a web column, please feel free to remix or copy the contents here for your own personal use. If you feel so obliged, a link back to this page is appreciated, but not required. This document will continue to evolve over time, so please check back occasionally.
If you do any sort of writing, particularly online, you should be using a style guide. Having some sort of reference for how you write will help you make consistent editorial decisions, and it will help bring a level of polish to your work that many miss out on.
Style & Tone
Go read “The Elements of Style” by Strunk & White. Brevity and clarity are paramount. Try to avoid didactic language. Write with purpose.
Establish the context of a person, place, or thing without making the reader feel stupid. Ex. “K.Q. Dreger, a writer from Ohio, created the Audacious Fox Style Guide, a resource he hopes is copied by bloggers everywhere.” Don’t be a jerk. Always make it clear who and where you’re quoting from. Quote things exactly as they appear.
“Be sparing with quotes. Direct quotes should be used when either the speaker or what he said is surprising, or when the words he used are particularly pithy or graphic. Otherwise you can probably paraphrase him more concisely.” — Economist Style Guide
apostrophes. Following a word that ends in an ’s,’ “The Moss’ house.”
books. Titles go in quotes, with principle words capitalized.
back up (v.).
Buzzfeed. A normalized capitalization of news site BuzzFeed.
capitalization. TitleCapitalization.com. Capitalize all verbs, nouns and pronouns, and all words of four or more letters. The following words may be left lowercase: [a, and, as, at, but, by, en, for, if, in, of, on, or, the, to, v., vs., via].
commas. For placement of a comma with other punctuation, see Parenthesis; Quotation Marks; use the serial comma.
defunct, now-. No longer existing or functioning.
esports. Competitive video games.
gamification. To make oft mundane activities exciting and addicting by adding game-like elements.
go-to. My go-to song is ‘Shake it Off’.
headlines. Written in simple English and should be able to be read as a sentence if all words removed for copy fitting are restored. Words that would normally be italicized (titles of books, video games, etc.) should be set in apostrophes.
Internet, the. This term (uppercase) refers to a global system of networked devices. Use the web when referring to content that can be found on websites or online services.
iOS. Apple’s mobile operating system, which runs exclusively on iPhones and iPads.
lock in. Being forced to use a certain type of product.
MacOS. Apple’s desktop operating system, which runs exclusively on Apple-made computers.
names. First reference. K.Q. Dreger. Subsequent references. Mr. Dreger.
Note 7, Samsung. Samsung’s flagship smartphone, released in 2016, that was later recalled due to safety concerns. Please note the space between ‘Note’ and ‘7,’ which differs from marketing materials that use ‘Note7’ in their copy.
pull quote. A block of text, taken from another source.
quotation marks. Any added punctuation goes outside.
real time. Two words, denoting this.
Retina. Apple-branded displays with very high resolution.
roundup. A collection of things.
siriously (exclam.). To express surprise, disappointment; spoken softly under one’s breath as you stare, baffled, at a response from Siri.
style guide. A quintessential tool for any writer. It helps enforce a consistent standard of writing and language across multiple works.
TidBits. A normalized capitalization of Apple news site, TidBITS. (For you, NH.)
tvOS. Apple’s TV operating system, which runs exclusively on Apple TV.
WatchOS. Apple’s mobile operating system, which runs exclusively on Apple Watch.
weblog. One word. An online blog.
website. One word. A collection of pages on the Internet.
Yahoo. Internet search and advertising company; to be referred to as “Yahoo”, without the “!” at the end.