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Style guide

Consistency in writing removes distracting interference, providing readers with clear messages. Following set guidelines in MU's written communications reinforces professionalism and strengthens the Mizzou brand.

All messages and materials produced by the University of Missouri should follow the conventions of standard written English, with careful attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation. Editorial style guides help to establish consistency and to answer questions not governed by the accepted rules of grammar and usage. Components of style guides can include abbreviations, official names, idiosyncratic spellings, jargon and terms specific to the institution.

Mizzou follows two style guides:

  • MU Style Guide, covering MU-specific issues
  • Associated Press Stylebook, with universally accepted rules commonly used in journalism and strategic communications. Call Publications at 573-882-7357 for more information.

The official MU Style Guide is every campus communicator's best friend. Bookmark it. Use it daily. Check it frequently for updates.

If a discrepancy exists between the two styles, the MU Style Guide takes precedence.

In some fields, writers and editors might also follow discipline-specific style guides, such as Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. Regardless of the field, in communications produced by university information specialists for general audiences, the MU Style Guide and the Associated Press Stylebook take precedence over academic style guides such as the MLA Style Manual.  

Recommended grammar and usage books

  • Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
  • Working with Words: A Handbook for Media Writers and Editors by Brian S. Brooks, James L. Pinson and Jean Gaddy Wilson