What is consistency?
Consistency in writing makes sure that specific words or phrases and/or specific grammar or punctuation rules are followed at all times throughout a document.
It means that, for example, when the word ‘six’ is used in a sentence, consistency ensures that the word ‘seven’ is also used – not the number 7.
Or, if preferred, numbers 6 and 7 are used – not ‘six’ and ‘seven’.
Many people, one voice
In a large business or organisation, many authors can contribute to one document.
If each individual uses their own preferences in their writing the final document will be inconsistent and confusing.
To the outside observer this could make the organisation appear to be chaotic and unprofessional – with each team or department ‘doing their own thing’.
A style guide helps everyone
A style guide is an effective tool for eliminating inconsistencies.
It can iron out lots of minor problems which would add up to hundreds of corrections at a later stage.
This is especially useful where different people work on one document so that the same errors do not re-appear when new staff produce material.
If a writer is unsure how a specific word or term should be written or a designer is uncertain about how visual elements should be applied, a comprehensive style guide will provide the answer.
Consistency and proofreading
When proofreading, we identify inconsistencies and, if no guidance has been given, can highlight them as comments or external notes.
If you already have a corporate writing style, we can ensure this is applied throughout your documents or web sites.
If not, we can help you develop a style guide, making sure it covers points relevant to your material.
This will be useful for the people composing the text as well as the proofreaders who check it.