Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Kansas State University
301 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-4004

785-532-5633 fax

K-State Research and Extension Style Guide

What is a style guide?

A style guide is a set of standards intended to clarify written or electronic communication. It helps ensure consistency within organizational communications by providing standards for capitalization, punctuation, spelling, terminology, and usage. Here is Kansas State University's Style Guide.


4-H A-B C-E F-J K-M N-P Q-S T-Z

Why do we need a style guide?

 Units within K-State Research and Extension produce a variety of materials — some printed, some electronic. Whatever the medium, organizational messages must be professional and consistent. The style guide provides answers to common questions that arise in writing, recording, editing, producing, or publishing information or educational materials. It is for the use of scientists, agents, specialists, office professionals, communicators, administrators, Web authors, and others who represent the organization. 

How to use this style guide

Sections include:

  •   style and usage guidelines
  •   writing help

  •  copyright information

Entries are arranged alphabetically, and each covers one style issue. Some extended entries provide examples.

The guide highlights common questions of specific interest in written or electronic material from K-State Research and Extension, the College of Agriculture, and Kansas State University. Other suggested references include a current dictionary, subject-matter references, and other style or usage guides. The online reference is intended to be updated regularly.

The following references were consulted in developing this style guide and are recommended sources:
TheAssociated Press Stylebook 2009 (especially for news writing)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition
Working with Words: A Handbook for Media Writers and Editors
, by Brian S. Brooks, James L. Pinson, and Jean Gaddy Wilson (any recent edition)
The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (for general writing)
The New Oxford American Dictionary
The Elements of Internet Style: The New Rules of Creating Valuable Content for Today’s Readers
, by the editors of EEI Press
Garner’s Modern American Usage, by Bryan A. Garner, 2003 edition
See the end of this guide for complete bibliographic information and additional resources.

This guide was prepared by members of the publishing unit of the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education: Editors Jennifer Alexander, Linda Gilmore, Gloria Holcombe, Donna Sheffield, and Mark Stadtlander; Graphic Designer Pat Hackenberg; Electronic Document Librarian Amy Hartman; and Unit Leader Nancy Zimmerli-Cates. We gratefully acknowledge assistance from News Media and Marketing Services Leader Elaine Edwards, Assistant to the Dean and Director Steven Graham, Marketing Coordinator Pat Melgares, and Department Head Kris Boone.

Contents of this publication may be freely reproduced for educational purposes. All other rights reserved. In each case, credit Department of Communications, Style Guide, Kansas State University, October 2010.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service
K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, as amended. Kansas State University, County Extension Councils, Extension Districts, and United States Department of Agriculture Cooperating, John D. Floros, Director