Conscious Style Guide

The Conscious Style Guide helps writers of all kinds make their language more universal, inclusive, and respectful of the spectrum of identities amongst our readers. A must-read for anyone who prefers their words to be "tools instead of unwitting weapons."

From the guide

Know your intention, and evoke and provoke skillfully

The idea behind creating a style guide dedicated to conscious language unfolded during autumn 2011. Karen Yin, the writer/editor behind the popular AP vs. Chicago, wanted to feature work on kind, compassionate, mindful, empowering, respectful, and inclusive language in one place. Increasing access meant increasing awareness; increasing awareness meant increasing use.

Many of us—writers, editors, educators, students, to name a few—seek people terminology that is more accurate, logical, and reasonable but don’t have the time or the will to comb through the Internet. Though many marginalized communities had published media guides, locating these was another story. And once you found one, it might not capture opposing perspectives. Conscious Style Guide will help you form and polish your rationale to make educated choices.

The point is to peel back the layers and invite you into the discussion. Conscious language is tipping because we are pushing.

What Is Conscious Language, Anyway?

Conscious language is the art of using words effectively in a specific context. Who is your audience? What tone and level of formality do you want? What are you trying to achieve? Some words are more apt than others.

The most important part of conscious language is the conscious part—our intention. Good writers consciously use disagreeable language to strike a dissonant tone. The goal is not to be inoffensive or politically correct (whatever that means), because even language intended to be inclusive and considerate is deeply offensive to many. If you’re interested in conscious language, then know your intention, and evoke and provoke skillfully.

As with life, have fun with language.

Dive in to the Conscious Style Guide