Besides providing a quick searchable reference to related AP style, StyleGuard interactively checks an extensive set of the AP Stylebook rules for potential issues within documents and emails as well as providing context sensitive information.
The following is a sample of the issues detected by StyleGuard:
- Capitalization – First Lady should be first lady; Professor Grant should be professor Grant
- Abbreviation – Bell Ave. should be Bell Avenue; January 12, 2013 should be Jan. 12, 2013
- Compound words – in as much as should be inasmuch as; sweat shirt should be sweatshirt
- Hyphenation – African American should be African-American and Latin-American should be Latin American
- First and second references – the definition for ABM (anti-ballistic missile) should be defined somewhere in the article and the definition of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) should be defined before any usage of the abbreviation
- Easily confusable words – that versus which; accept versus except; more than versus over
- Easily misspelled words – Master Degree should be master’s degree; MD’s should be M.D.’s
- Unnecessary or redundant words – definitely should be avoided; on preceeding a date could be omitted when its absence would not lead to confusion; 9:00 PM this evening should be 9 p.m.
- Word preference – axe should be ax; cancelled should be canceled but cancelation should be cancellation
- Word with unintended meanings – admit should be acknowledge to avoid mistaken implication of wrongdoing
- Numeral – two-year-old should be 2-year-old; two years old should be 2 years old; four % should be 4 percent
- Headline – BOSTON, Mass. should be BOSTON; Spokane, Wa. should be Spokane, Wash.
StyleGuard is designed to be easy to use with tight integration with Microsoft Word and Outlook as plug-ins. It provides dynamic feedbacks to the users without duplicating existing spelling and grammar checks that Microsoft Word already provides. For example, Word accepts both cancelled and canceled as valid while StyleGuard advises using canceled to conform to AP style. On the other hand, Word already auto-uppercases Europe so StyleGuard doesn’t have to duplicate that check.
StyleGuard also checks for punctuation errors. For example, it checks:
- Dates with missing comma such as Dec. 23 2012
- Missing commas following i.e. and e.g.
- Missing apostrophes from terms such as childrens and bachelors
- Misplaced commas and periods outside ending quotation marks such as “Stop”, he said instead of “Stop,” he said and “Stop”…. instead of “Stop.” …
- Periods followed by two or more spaces
We continue to refine and add rules to StyleGuard to improve its error checking capability and provide relevant information for writers to conform to AP style. With the assistant from StyleGuard, we hope it is easier for writers to make the correct decisions and avoid unnecessary mistakes.