Style and writing references (English)

JTS English Style and Writing References
and Other Fun Books to Wander ( Wonder) Through

This document started out as a list of references I could present to JTS’s customers to show them that the conventions we follow and recommend are not off the cuff or arbitrary, but grounded in accepted practice.

I’m in the process of updating and reorganizing the page’s content.

Lists updated: April 2018.
References whose names have been struck have been discarded for age or lack of usefulness.
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Style Manuals

Standard works: primary/secondary references

  • The Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition, 2017. Also, visit the CMS’s website.
    • This is the grand-daddy of style manuals in the American publishing industry, and in general you can’t go wrong by following the conventions this book sets. An absolute must.
  • Microsoft® Manual of Style, fourth edition. Microsoft Press, 2012 (JTS uses the 2015 printing.)
    • This manual is especially useful for high-tech/IT documents thanks to its extensive handling of subjects and topics relevant to IT fields.
  • Merriam-Webster’s Manual for Writers & Editors. Merriam Webster, Inc., 1998.
    • This is a revised version of Webster’s Standard American Style Manual (1985). It contains lots of good advice and is a good complement to Chicago; but I recommend getting the following first, if not only because it covers business documents more thoroughly.

  • Merriam-Webster’s Guide to Business Correspondence. Merriam Webster, Inc., 1985.
    • This is an excellent reference for a variety of situations: It even points out differences in style required by specific types of document. In this sense, the title is almost a misnomer. This book also contains a lot of information on forms of address and the like, which can be very helpful if you find yourself translating correspondence. If you have limited financial resources at the moment, I recommend that you buy this reference first.
  • U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual. USGPO, 1984.
  • The Economist Style Guide, 1998.
    • This is more of a fun read than a useful reference. It’s also good if you want to learn more about differences between BrE and AmE.
  • The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, 1999.
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2002.
  • The Wall Street Journal Guide to Business Style and Usage, 2002.

Good English Guides: primary/secondary references

  • Handbook of Technical Writing (7th ed.). Brusaw, C., Alred, G. & Oliu, W. St. Martin’s Press, 2003. ISBN 0-312-39323-7 (paperback), 0-312-39323-6 (hardcover).
    • Note that this book is republished almost annually, so be sure to hunt down the latest edition.
  • Strategic Writing—Multimedia writing for public relations, advertising, sales and marketing, and business communication. Marsh, C., Guth, D. and Short, B. Pearson, Allyn and Bacon, 2005. ISBN 0-205-40573-8.
  • Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy. Usborne, Nick. McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN 0-07-138039-6.
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grammar and Style, Second Edition. Rozakis, L. Alpha Books, 2003. ISBN 1-59257-115-8.
    • Don’t be fooled by the title: this is a serious book.
  • The Handbook of Good English. Johnson, 1991.
    • My favorite for just reading about effective punctuation and the like.
  • The Sense of Style—The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Pinker, Steven. Penguin, 2014
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Truss, Lynne, 2003.
    • An entertaining little book about a panda who reacts to misplaced commas by shooting up cafés and leaving them in a huff.
  • Sin & Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose. Hale, 1999.
  • The Copy-Editing and Headline Handbook. Barbara G. Ellis, 2001.
    • Very helpful if you translate (or write) magazine articles, press releases, pamphlets, and other such documents where you want to hook browsers into reading something.
  • The Writer’s Handbook of Editing & Revision. Wilber, 1997.
  • Elements of Article Writing Series: Structure & Flow. Fryxell, 1996.
  • The Princeton Review Grammar Smart: A Guide to Perfect Usage. Villard Books, 1995.

Older works

  • The Oxford Guide to Writing—A Rhetoric and Handbook for College Students. Kane, 1983.
  • The ABC of Style: A Guide to Plain English. Flesch, Rudolf. 1964.
    • So outdated and opinionated that it’s hackneyed, but many people consider it a classic.

Classical works

  • The Elements of Grammar (Shertzer)
  • The Elements of Style (White)
  • The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Design and typography

  • Alphabet Stories: A Chronical of Technical Developments by Hermann Zapf. Zapf, Hermann. Mergenthaler Editions, Linotype GmbH, 2007.
  • The Elements of Typographic Style, version 3.2; since “upgraded” to version 4.0. Bringhurst, Robert. Hartley & Marks, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0881792119.
  • Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. Lupton, Ellen. Princeton Architectural Press, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-1-56898-448-3.


Spelling, hyphenation, and italicization

  • Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, electronic edition of the Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition and Collegiate Thesaurus. Merriam-Webster, 2000.
    • This is more-or-less an abridged version of American publishers’ standard spelling and hyphenation dictionary, the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, which is also available online together with its larger sister dictionary, the Merriam-Webster Unabridged, and thesaurus. All three are even more conveniently available if you have a always-on internet connection.
  • The American Heritage™ Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition (『アメリカン・ヘリテイジ英英辞典 第5版』). Houghton Mifflin Company (online version)

Current jargon

  • Buzzwords: The Jargon of the 1990s
  • The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (humor, but nonetheless useful)
  • BusinessSpeak (Schaaf & Kaeter, 1993)
  • American Slang (Chapman, 1987)
  • Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Allusions (Webber and Feinsilber, 1999)
  • American Slang, 2nd Edition: The Abridged Edition of the Dictionary of American Slang (Chapman and Kipfer, 1998)
  • NTC’s Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs and Other Idiomatic Verbal Phrases (Spears, 1993)
  • NTC’s American Idioms Dictionary (Spears, 2000)
  • 『現代英米情報辞典』 (Kenkyusha’s Dictionary of Contemporary British & American Life and Culture) (飛田重雄, 2000)


  • The Economist (business, economics, and political weekly; London)
  • Harvard Business Review
  • Scientific American
  • New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian など各紙のWeb版も必要に応じて参照する。


  • Japan Style Sheet: The SWET guide for writers, editors and translators, Revised Edition. Society of Writers, Editors and Translators, Tokyo. Stone Bridge Press, 1998. ISBN 1-880656-30-2
    • If you do work that deals with Japan, you need this.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Japan (講談社, 1993; and electronic version, 1999)
  • 『対訳・日本辞典』 (講談社)
  • A History of Japan (Mason, Caiger, 1973)
  • Japan: An Anthropological Introduction (Befu, 1971)
  • A History of Japan (Sansom, 1963 [date of writing unknown])
  • Japan: A Short Cultural History (Sansom, 1952)
  • The Cambridge History of Japan, Vols. 1–6 (Cambridge University Press, 1988–1993)
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan (Bowring and Kornicki, eds.; 1993)

Japan-Specific Economic Terms

  • The MIT Encyclopedia of the Japanese Economy, Second Edition. Hsu, Robert C. The MIT Press, 1999

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