User:Tony1/Simplified Manual of Style

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This Simplified Manual of Style is an overview of basic points of style taken from Wikipedia's Manual of Style and its subpages (MOS). MOS is a critical tool for shaping articles into a cohesive resource for our readers; it often settles time-wasting arguments. MOS takes precedence over this simplified version.

Green examples are good; red examples are not good. Click the "" link to read more detailed guidelines about a point.

General principles[edit]

  • Consistency. Keep style and formatting consistent within an article.
  • Quotations. Generally, don't apply MOS guidelines to directly quoted text or the titles of sources.
  • Stability. When a MOS guideline offers a choice of style, use one alternative consistently throughout an article; unless there's a very good reason, don't alter a choice that has already been made.

Varieties of English[edit]

The major national varieties of English—e.g. US and British English—differ slightly in spelling (center vs. centre), vocabulary (soccer vs. football), and grammar. While Wikipedia as a whole prefers no particular variety, two principles are used to determine the variety in which an article is written:

  • National ties. An article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking country uses the variety of that country.
  • Retain the existing variety. If a topic has no strong ties to a country but one variety has predominated in the article, retain that variety.

Capital letters[edit]

Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization.

  • Sentence case. Don't automatically upcase article titles, section headings, and picture captions: Tips and pointers, not Tips and Pointers.
  • Personal titles. Obama is a 21st-century American president (generic), but Three prime ministers shook President Obama's hand (President is a title); she is the chief engineer, but Chief Engineer Jobsen; Capetown University, but the university.
  • Concepts. Don't capitalize laws, theorems, hypotheses, principles, rules, or proofs (Marconi's law); capitalism ...
  • Chronological items. The 18th century (not The 18th Century); north; summer.
  • Flora and fauna. Don't capitalize the names of plants, animals, or birds (with a few exceptions).


  • First occurrence. Unless very well-known (BBC), write out in full followed by the abbreviation in parentheses; thereafter, use the abbreviated form.*DVDs; never DVD's.
  • Dots. Abbreviations are usually not dotted (NASA, not N.A.S.A or N A S A); however, such usages as Hon. and Dr. persist (less so outside North America).
  • US (or the optional exception U.S.), but not USA.
  • Expanded caps. Don't use initial capitals in a full name just because capitals are used in the abbreviation (We used digital scanning (DS) technology, not We used Digital Scanning (DS) technology, unless it's a commercial name).
  • Plurals. DVDs; never DVD's).
  • Ampersand. Don't use the "&" sign, except in official names like AT&T.

Italics and bold[edit]

  • Emphasis. Use italics sparingly for emphasis (avoid ALL-CAPS, underlining and boldface).*
  • Titles. Italicise the titles of works of literature and art, such as books, paintings, feature-length films, television series, and music albums. * Italics}}
  • Mentioning a word. The term panning is derived from panorama. For a whole sentence or more, use quotes instead.
  • First occurrence of an article topic. Bold it, usually in the opening sentence.

Apostrophes and quotation marks[edit]

  • Straight not curly. Straight ( ' ), not curly ( ’ ). " and ', not “ ” and ‘ ’. Apostrophes}} – Quotation marks}}
  • Doubles, not singles. But singles within a quotation: needs example
  • Possessives. Both James' house and James's house are correct. read more ...
  • Quotation-final punctuation. The word carefree means "happy". But She said, "I'm feeling carefree." (This differs from standard U.S. conventions.) read more ...


  • -ly. Don't use a hyphen after a standard -ly adverb (a newly available home). read more ...
  • High-level meeting, longer-term reactions,hand-fed turkeys, two- and three-digit numbers.
  • pre-industrial, non-negotiable
  • a 9-millimetre gap, but when the unit is abbreviated, drop the hyphen: a 9 mm gap
  • Re-dress means dress again, but redress means set right.


A dash is not a hyphen.

  • Interruptions within sentences: WP – one of the most popular web sites – has the information you need; never WP - one of the most popular web sites - has the information you need. Avoid --
  • Time ranges: June 3, 1888 – August 18, 1940, June 3 – August 18 (both spaced), but June–August 1940 (no comma) and June 3–9, 1940. 1826–1902, not 1826-1902.
  • Other ranges: pp. 211–19, not pp. 211-19; 64–75%, a New York–London flight
  • Parallel relationships: blood–brain barrier, 4–3 win in the opening game, male–female ratio.
  • To substitute for to or versus (4–3 win in the opening game, male–female ratio). read more ...
  • Use an en dash, not a hyphen, between numbers: pp. 14–21; 1953–2008. Sometimes an en dash is to be used where certain other style guides prefer a hyphen: red–green colorblind; a New York–London flight. read more ...

Minus signs*[edit]

  • Use the Unicode character for the minus sign (, keyed in as −).
  • Spacing. Negative signs (−8 °C) are unspaced; subtraction operators (42 − 4 = 38) are spaced.**

Other punctuation [and signs?][edit]

  • Ellipsis points. Three separate dots (middle of example, here ...) ... with a single space before and after. read more ...
  • Spacing. just give example ... Semicolons (; ), colons (: ), and question and exclamation marks are normally spaced to the right and not to the left. % and $
  • Upper-case letters. Colons and semicolons don't normally force a capital letter in the subsequent word.
  • Slashes. Avoid joining two words by a (forward) slash ( / ); in particular, and/or is often awkward and sometimes ambiguous. Reword if possible.**
  • Number signs. The album was Number 1 in the charts or No. 1 in the charts, not № 1 or #1.*

Dates and numbers[edit]

  • No. 1 or no. 1, but not #1. Comic books are an exception. read more ...
  • 12,000 for twelve thousand, never 12.000. read more ... Decimal points here ...
  • Both 10 June 1921 and June 10, 1921 are correct. Use one style consistently in an article. [[wp:mos#choice of format|}}
  • 400 AD and 400 BC are correct; but so are 400 CE and 400 BCE. Use one style consistently in an article. read more ...
  • Use one, two, three, ..., eight, nine in normal article text, not 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (although there are many exceptional circumstances; and some other numbers may be written as words also). [[wp:mos#numbers|}}


Use wikilinks, but only for words and phrases that are most likely to be helpful if clicked. Make sure each link goes to an article on the intended subject, and not to a disambiguation page or some other incorrect destination. Links}}


See also[edit]