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Revised 'Tongue and Quill' now available online

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFPN) -- What started as a research paper here nearly 30 years ago has become the Air Force’s leading reference on writing and speaking.

In 1975, then-Air Command and Staff College student Maj. Hank Staley submitted as his research paper the first version of what is now “The Tongue and Quill.”

The latest revision of the handbook is now available online, said Sharon McBride, an ACSC writer and editor who headed the revision effort. A hardcopy version will not be published.

“School officials liked the work so well they continued using the paper as a course study project,” she said. “Within a couple of years, the Air Force decided the ‘T and Q’ was valuable as an all-encompassing guide for the Department of Defense, and because it was born here, it stayed here.”

For the most part, the 2004 edition retains most of the writing and speaking tips of past editions. Revisions include improved organization of the information, a rearranged layout, updated quotes, art and word lists, and new information on writing and speaking such as persuasive communications, meetings, briefings and electronic communications.

Many changes came from reader feedback and from talking with people who do a lot of writing and public speaking, Ms. McBride said.

“I often get e-mails and feedback sheets from people saying, ‘Sharon, we aren’t doing it that way anymore,’” she said. “I encourage customers to use the feedback sheet found in the book to make suggestions that will help us produce a better product in the future.”

Ms. McBride and a team of researchers in the department of communications studies at ACSC started work on the revision in 2000. The last version of “The Tongue and Quill,” known formally as Air Force Handbook 33-337, was published in 1997 with 100,000 printed copies. The next revision is scheduled for 2007.

The current edition is available online at the Air Force Publications Web site at www.e-publishing.af.mil. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

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