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The Economist's Style Guide [pdf] (static-economist.com)
129 points by thepangolino 40 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

This .PDF is incomplete. My edition, an earlier one, has 96-pages.

A google search on "site:cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/store" returns a folder full of Economist Guides, truncated at 15-25 pages.

Thia is an incomplete document - a quick comparison with its own Table of contents proves it.

Full, but perhaps not the current edition, can be found and downloaded on


The most recent, full guide is available on Amazon for $2.99 on Kindle, and a reasonable $17 or so for the paperback.

I'm not sure that this version is legal to host, though it is an older version.

Legitimately asking: Outside of working at The Economist, why is spending $17 on this worthwhile?

That’s a reasonable question.

I bought The Economist Style Guide shortly after university and I’ve used its recommendations regularly over many years. It’s had a massively positive payback for me. It’s surprisingly versatile advice, whether crafting emails, reports, proposals, or proofing the work of others.

The Economist Guides are all excellent.

There are several good style guides around. It might not matter which of the good ones you use. If you use one consistently, though, your writing will improve over time.

Whether this will help you in your concrete work/life for a value >17USD is another matter. Good written communication is helpful in most knowledge work, though.

For entries like this:

> Frankenstein: was not the monster, but its creator.

Among my favorites:

> Short words: use them.

for garner it says 'means store and not gather'. OED says gather or acquire. Not sure how they distinguish this in articles or interpret it.

It’s a great addition to your faux “I’ve read all these books” backdrop for video calls.

Indeed just buy it!

Or if you can't afford to buy it use one of the free style guides!

If you like this sort of thing you should also check out the Chicago Manual of Style.


avoiding verbing and adjectiving nouns. Try not to verb nouns or to adjective them. So do not: critique style guides

I am not sure what to make of the section on Americanisms, which is quite scathing regarding its usage. I have grown 'overly' fond of some of them.

The Guardian/Observer style guide is more forgiving. https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-a

I always like to take these opportunities to remind my fellow Americans that the US Government has its own writing guide, and that it’s pretty good. www.plainlanguage.gov/guidelines/

It is interesting that for scientific units it contradicts the SI brochure. For example The Economist recommends no space between the number and the unit (eg, 11kg) but the SI does.

I've worked in a few places where the space was removed to guard against bad line breaks, where the number could end up orphaned at the end of a line and the unit abbreviation was at the start of the next one. Non-breaking spaces were often too fiddly to deal with, so removal was a decent compromise.

I'm a big fan of the Economist style guide (and Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language, which informs the guide) and have used it shamelessly as the basis for guides I've written in newsrooms over the years.

I think The Economist would optimize for conciseness of the representation instead of just following SI. Ex: 1.1t of a thing instead of 1100kg is better in the middle of a paragraph.

I've got their paperback style guide, it's 276 pages.

I'm only seeing "a" -- am I missing something?

No, same here. The document above is definitely truncated.

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