Guidance Notes


Please refer to The Oxford Writers’ Dictionary or the Oxford English Dictionary. We prefer to use UK English spellings.


  • Dates are written 1 March 2004, 3 December 1975. Do not use 1st, 3rd, 5th, nor March 1 2004, December 3, 1975.
  • A range of dates is written 1899-1962, but 1963-65 is also acceptable.
  • Use 19th century, not nineteenth, and 3rd century not third century.
  • 1990s not 1990’s.


  • Please write out numbers one to nine in full words.
  • Numbers 10 and onwards go into figures.
  • Use 3,000 not 3000, ie with a comma separator.
  • Use numbers in figures only when followed by % eg 7%.
  • One to three months but 10-14 years, nine to 13 ft.


  • Abbreviations and acronyms are used without full points eg UK, USA, BBC, AG, Mr, HM, EC, Dr. Only use & in trade names: otherwise use and.
  • Note: eg, ie, para, p, pp and etc. None of these take any punctuation but all should be followed by a single space. A comma should separate ‘eg’ and ‘ie’ from the preceding clause.
  • Do not begin a fresh sentence with these abbreviations: write them out in full.
  • Where terms, bodies, etc are abbreviated, it must be clear to the reader. Our usual convention is to refer to the term in full the first time it is mentioned in a chapter, followed by the abbreviation in brackets. You may then use the abbreviation throughout the rest of the chapter.


Please use abbreviations after figures, eg 7 m, 9 km, 6 lbs, with a space before.


Avoid using capitals too much, but please note that we do use them for eg European Community, State, Parliament.


  • Use italics for foreign words eg ibid, op cit, per se.
  • Use italics sparingly in the text for emphasis, and do not use bold type.

Quotation marks

  • Use single quotation marks only, except for a quotation within a quotation, where double quotation marks should be used.
  • If material of more than three or four lines is quoted, it should be indented, with a line space above and below to set it off from the surrounding text.
  • Note: No quotation marks are needed for indented quotations.


  • Avoid too many short paragraphs of only two or three sentences: these look abrupt and confusing on the page. Also avoid overly long paragraphs.
  • Keep sentences short, clear and concise.


  • Avoid too many of these except where appropriate.
  • Code them with bullet points, (1), (2), (3) or (a), (b), (c).
  • Keep small Roman numerals eg (i), (ii), (iii) to an absolute minimum.
  • Use a tab between the bullet and the text.


We use three dots only, with a space at either side ie ‘ ... ‘.


Introduce hyphenation only to avoid ambiguity, and be consistent.


An en-rule (ie, an extended hyphen) should be used to split sentences (when it is used with a space either side - as shown here) and figures, eg pp 59-60.

References to the world wide web

  • When referring to an internet address beginning ‘www.’ do not include ‘http://’
  • Where the address does not begin ‘www.’, do include ‘http://’


© 2007