Style Guide

Note: JCharlton Publishing, in general, follows the Oxford Style Manual – 2003 Edition.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

  • Standard abbreviations, familiar to your audience, can be used throughout: e.g. UK, USA.
  • Less familiar abbreviations should be written out in full on their first mention with the abbreviations in brackets: e.g. Restorative Justice (RJ).
  • No full stop after units of measurements, and put a space between numbers and units: e.g., 20 kg, 2 g. Exceptions: degree sign, 14C and per cent sign, 20%.
  • In text units of measurement are abbreviated when used with a numeral, 5 kg, but spelled out otherwise: e.g. ‘that is a kilogram’.
  • No full stop after contracted abbreviations where the contraction ends with the last letter of the word: e.g. Mr, St, Ltd.
  • Time of day: 6:00am, 6:00pm, 12:00 noon, 12:00 midnight.
  • Historical period: 1066 CE, 300 BCE.
  • ed (for edited in references), eds (editors), edn (edition), no. (number), vol. (volume). Note, none are italicized.
  • Figure is spelled out and capitalized: e.g. Figure 1.

Capitalization

  • Use an upper case initial capital for all proper nouns.
  • Capitalize throughout acronyms and initials: e.g. NATO, except for those that have become words, such as Oxfam.
  • Titles and ranks are capitalized when they accompany a personal name; for example, ‘Prime Minister Stephen Harper’, ‘President Barack Obama’. The titles would not be capitalized in the following: ‘the prime minister of Canada is off to see…’
  • Other examples would be to capitalize trade names: e.g. Pepsi, Coke.

Dates

  • Use the following format when writing out dates:
  • On Aug 4th 2012 (Month-Day-Year, no commas).
  • From August 4th to December 10th 2012.
  • From August to December.
  • From 1980 to 2010.
  • 1980-96 or 1980-2010 when century rolled over.
  • 5th century, 18-century painting.
  • 1900s, 2000s (no apostrophes)
  • 1966-7, 123-4, 113-14.

Foreign Languages

Use italics for words or phrases given in a foreign language. Add translation in parenthesis: e.g. doppelgänger (double).

Italics

Italicize foreign words or phrases consistently (not just at the first mention).

Also italicize:

  • titles of published books.
  • titles of periodicals.

Numbers

  • Spell out numbers if less than 10, unless as a unit: e.g. ‘two’ and ‘2 mg’.
  • All numbers that appear at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Use numbers for the following:

i >10: e.g. 100 years.

ii numbers with a decimal: e.g. 0.5, 28.8.

iii numbers with million or billion: e.g. 1 million, 2.5 billion (if you use abbreviations, 1 M, 2.5 B, be consistent).

Currencies

  • Always use numbers to express currency.
  • There is no space between symbol and number: e.g. $1.00
  • Symbol should precede the number. Punctuation Commas
  • Use a comma before a conjunction when the conjunction is used to merge two sentences into one: e.g. ‘He is a great swimmer, but he prefers to play golf’.
  • When there are more than two items in a list, they should be separated using commas. The last item is usually preceded with a conjunction. There is normally no need to put a comma before the last conjunctions: e.g. ‘Chrysler, Ford and GM are known as the Big Three’.

Punctuation

Commas

  • Use a comma before a conjunction when the conjunction is used to merge two sentences into one: e.g. ‘He is a great swimmer, but he prefers to play golf’.
  • When there are more than two items in a list, they should be separated using commas. The last item is usually preceded with a conjunction. There is normally no need to put a comma before the last conjunctions: e.g. ‘Chrysler, Ford and GM are known as the Big Three’.

Hyphens

  • Always use hyphens to join two or more words serving as a single adjective fore a noun: e.g. ‘well-known author’. However, when compound modifiers come after a noun, they are not hyphenated: e.g. ‘the author was well known’.
  • Use a hyphen with compound numbers: e.g. forty-six.
  • Use a hyphen to avoid confusion: e.g. re-sign vs. resign.
  • Use a hyphen with prefixes: e.g. ex-wife.

En (and em) dashes

  • Use en dashes in constructions that include two separate but equal components: e.g. ‘student-teacher’
  • Use em or en dash (but consistently) to separate parenthetical comments: e.g. ‘Blah – parenthetical comment – blah’.

Possessives

  • For singular possessives ending with an –s that has a ‘s’ sound, use –s’s: e.g. Jefferson Davis’s home.
  • For singular possessives ending with an –s that has an ‘eez’ sound use –s’: e.g. Ramses’ tomb.

Spelling

We use Oxford –ize spelling for words where acceptable in UK English. If in question, consult either the Concise Oxford English Dictionary or their on-line function ‘Ask Oxford’.