For a lot of the questions I'm seeing on ELaU, it seems the answer is ultimately arbitrary and unlikely to be resolved by poll. Since style guides exist to settle the question for people who care not what sounds better, but just want to get with the program and follow a uniform convention, what manual of style should I use for technical writing for US Federal Government documents?

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    Interesting question, but this is really about government work, not English language usage. You could just as easily ask which brand of pen to use while doing government work, or what make of car to lease.
    – Pops
    Aug 6, 2010 at 19:16
  • @Torgamus. I disagree, your comment would make a good meta question though. Someday someone is going to ask a question about the Chicago Style Guide or try to answer a question by appeal to it. Should we close those for being related to the tools of the trade of a journalist? Aug 6, 2010 at 19:35
  • Shoot, I can't edit comments. Anyhow factual error in my comment. Chicago Style is a tool of the trade of a University Press in Chicago. Associated Press Stylebook is the tool of trade of journalists in the US. Aug 6, 2010 at 19:50
  • could you use @Lord or similar in the future? @Torg doesn't trigger the notification system. I asked the meta question per your request, it's at meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/35/…
    – Pops
    Aug 6, 2010 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


Well, before my question gets closed I better answer it.

U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual is one of the better known style guides.

More recently there has been a lot of talk about plain language, and this sometimes shows up in legislation. The plain language publications tend to have a lot more about English usage.

There are agency specific guidelines, but I'll let someone more ambitious than me track them down.

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    I was just reading some Federal websites, and you were correct about the "plain language" initiative, which has picked up momentum in the past year. But your answer remains correct. Nov 15, 2011 at 5:38
  • The link to the Style Manual does not work :(
    – Juan M
    Nov 7, 2016 at 9:43
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    @JuanM fixed the url Nov 7, 2016 at 15:53
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    URL seems to have changed again: govinfo.gov/collection/gpo-style-manual?path=/GPO/…
    – Stuart F
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:59

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