Editorial Style Guides, Manuals, and Dictionaries for Beginner Editors

Editorial Style Guides.Editorial style guides. I could talk about this topic endlessly.

In a previous blog post, I outlined 5 Easy Steps to Becoming an Editor. Step three underscored the importance of professional development, which included reading, what can be termed, the classics of editing.

Looking through my bookshelves, it was with great difficulty that I managed to narrow down my extensive list into a top 9 list of editorial style guides, editorial classics, manuals, and dictionaries for newer editors.

Please note that these books have been particularly helpful during my personal editing journey, as a copy editor. It all depends on what you would like to accomplish and what you choose to specialize in.

That said, these have also remained my “go-to’s” throughout my editing journey. You may need to tailor these to your particular needs, but they offer a great start.


Editing Classics

The Elements of Style: Classic Edition by William Strunk Jr.

  • The Elements of Style is well-known and has been well-regarded over the years in the editing world. A must-have for all beginner editors, as well as a go-to reference guide for editors of all experience levels.


Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dryer

  • Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style offers beginner editors insight into the nuances of English language.


The Copy Editor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications by Amy Einsohn

  • The Copy Editor’s Handbook remains one of my top recommendations for new and experienced copy editors.


The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller

  • Similarly, The Subversive Copy Editor is one of my personal recommendations for copy editors.


Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing by and about Indigenous Peoples by Gregory Younging

  • Elements of Indigenous Style is a must-have for editors who are interested in learning about best practices and suggestions for working with Indigenous authors.


Style Guides, Manuals, and Dictionaries
  • Dictionaries and Style Guides are a bit more difficult to narrow down. This is because editors and authors may have preferences, or this may depend on geographical region. As a Canadian editor, I enjoy working with The Chicago Manual of Style, as well as the Associated Press Stylebook.
  • In terms of dictionaries, as I often work with Canadian authors, I prefer The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, however, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary remains a staple.



What’s your favourite editing book? For stylistic editing projects, please visit my stylistic editing page, which lists my experience and rates. Questions? Comments? Contact me for more information about your project needs.

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