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What is style?

December 9, 2011

This was an easy question to answer at the beginning of the semester. My original definition, as I remember it, was something related to whatever someone or someone’s editor thinks is correct. I still think that’s true, but there is more to it than I originally thought.

Before starting the course, I really had no idea that stylistic aspects were around going  back to ancient Greece. Things like clarity, while most definitely important in today’s style, was just as important then. While their writing and conversation wasn’t as… simplified?… as it is now, learning how aspects like that were utilized in such a primitive time was very interesting.

Style can be what you make of it. For example, look at our creation of a writing technology assignment. Everyone’s “style” was drastically different, and it proved how different the word is to everyone. While I think of style as a guide for writing, style is how you talk, how you communicate with someone, how you write, and even how you make a cheap online video for a project.

Everything we do has its own style. It’s what differentiates us from someone else. Where a style guide is different based on publication, each person’s style differs on a plethora of different factors (age, upbringing, friends, etc…)

If someone asked me what I learned in the class, I’d probably say something like, “I learned that style goes far beyond the AP Style Guide.” I say this because of all the different guides we read, some relating to sex, some relating to vampires, and some so old they’re barely useful today. Even when we made our own guides (which I had a blast doing, by the way), everyone’s take on it was so different — but they were all accurate.

Every way we talk, every way we write, every way we communicate utilizes what we think style is. There’s no one specific answer, none right or wrong, which is why I think the best answer is that style is what you want it to be.

I learned way more in this class than I thought I would. While my essays might not do the best job explaining how things relate to a reading, I feel I did do a fairly good job explaining how my thoughts and interpretations of what style is changed from project to project. It was a fun class to take, and one where I’ll actually take something and apply it to my life outside of the classroom.


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