The style sheet is a description of the copy editor's work. It ensures internal consistency when there are two correct ways of expressing something, such as when to use roman numerals, arabic numbers, or the words for numbers. The standard style books, such as the Chicago Manual of Style and Words into Type, and proprietary style manuals produced in-house by publishers, cannot cover all contingencies and are not suitable for all subjects. For example, most standard dictionaries give morning glory, two words. However, in agriculture, nearly all weeds are considered a single word, and morningglory is a weed to most farmers. Also, some authors strongly prefer expressions other than the ones the style books prescribe. In these cases, the style sheet reflects deviations from the style book, reflects the decisions the copyeditor has made, and allows a general review of the copyeditor's work without actually reading the document.
This sample style sheet is distilled from the many that Kate Daly has generated in the course of her work. It is not a description of the way she always does things; it merely shows how she has done them sometimes in the past. Most of the time Kate follows the author's style unless the publisher takes strong exception; however, sometimes it is necessary to override the author, and in such cases, the style sheet not only reflects the changes but explains them.
Style sheet for Example Book, published by Daly Web and Edit, 2002.
Sources: Previous edition of Example Book, American Heritage Dictionary (usage), Webster's 10th Collegiate Dictionary (spelling), Stedman, Medical Dictionary, American Medical Association style book.
acclimation, not acclimatization (first use in manuscript)
air space (pneumonology; airspace is what airplanes have)
alternate, occurring in succession, taking turns;
alternative, second possibility (in strictest sense, limited to two options)
assure, set the mind at rest; ensure, make certain; insure, buy a policy
at risk for; the risk of
in behalf of: for the benefit of; on behalf of: as the agent
beta-carotene (not Greek letter)
bodybuilder (Webster's 10th)
Cholesterol: HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol;
not HDL-C, LDL-C.
common sense, n; commonsense, adj.
die of; death from
ECG, electrocardiogram (not EKG)
e.g. in tables and parentheses only; otherwise for
empathic, not empathetic
fractions: two-thirds of subjects
health care practitioner
-ical, not -ic, endings
ISOTOPES: technetium 99m; 99mTc (AMA style
lipoprotein(a), closed up, per Stedman
motor neuron, not motoneurone, motoneuron, or
Newton, very bright guy; newton, unit of force
P < .0001
Paco2, arterial carbon dioxide tension (note
small cap co, inferior 2)
Percent ranges: 10<en>50% but between 10%
State names written out in text and parentheses; postal
type I, type II
U.S., adj; United States, n.
washout, n. (Webster's 10th)
workload, work rate, work site
Notes on Style
Numbers: Rule of 9: spell
out all numbers up to 9; spell out round numbers above 99;
spell out cardinal numbers to 99: 99 bottles of beer on the
wall; Ten thousand attended; the twenty-seventh
edition. Exceptions: Street numbers always figures, figures
with units of measure except time: 5 miles, but five
Greek letters written out (beta-blockers)
Standard two-word phrases (those found in Stedman or
Webster) are not hyphenated as precedent adjectives: real
Unit abbreviations are used only with figures: 10
mL/min/kg, but expressed in milliliters per minute
Hyphens in phone numbers: 800-555-5555 (phone book
Author used micron, which is obsolete;
micrometer has been substituted throughout per
publisher's strong preference.
Subtitles are preceded by a colon, not a dash: Advance One
and Sum: Look-Ahead Algorithm