Grammar and punctuation
Single space after a period.
Apostrophes ( ‘ )
The apostrophe has two main functions:
- To indicate the omission of letters or numerals
- To form a possessive
- It is almost never used to make a plural
Colons ( : )
The colon is most often used to introduce:
- A table, list or illustration
- An element in a series
- A long quotation
- The second part of a heading or title
Do not capitalise following a colon, excepting when quoting.
Exclamation points ( ! )
- Use them very sparingly for emphatic expression, as overuse means it loses its impact
- If the exclamation point ends a quotation, do not use a comma or period after the exclamation point
Question marks ( ? )
- Use a question mark for a direct question: How are you feeling today?
- Do not use a question mark for indirect questions (which are typically worded as statements): She asked how I was feeling today.
The ampersand ( & )
Avoid using this unless it's the name of a company. Use the word "and" instead.
Use single quotation marks for:
- Defining words
- Referring to words and letters
- Expressing irony
- Setting off long modifiers
- Setting off the titles of some works
- A quote within a direct quote
Use double quotation marks for:
- Direct quotations: the exact words of a writer or speaker
- i.e. Right Reverend Lorna Hood, Moderator of the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland said: "It was a wonderful privilege to represent The Church of Scotland and be part of this spectacle of tradition and inspiring music."
- End the punctuation inside the quotation mark.
Abbreviate, capitalise and treat titles consistently.
Acronyms and other abbreviations
- An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase
- An acronym is a specific type of abbreviation, typically formed by the initial components of a longer name or phrase (UK, EU, SNP)
No matter how familiar an abbreviation may seem to you, some visitors may be unfamiliar with the term. If the shortened form of a word may be unfamiliar to your readers, spell it out the first time it's used. (i.e. World Council of Churches (WWC))
If the shortened form is better known than its spelled out form, then use the shortened form. (i.e. USB)
- Where possible use email Forename Surname as the link (i.e. RSVP by emailing Jane Doe)
- Avoid using firstname.lastname@example.org
Website names and addresses
- Try to refer to a website by its name as opposed to the URL
- Use the preferred capitalisation of the website itself
- Where you must use the URL don't include http:// at the beginning
- Don't include the trailing slash (/)