We’re sure you know how to use punctuation so here are just a few things we regularly edit, as a guide:
Do we use the Oxford comma? Yes, yes, and yes!
Ampersands should not be used in titles or copy.
Using apostrophes to represent omitted letters/numbers
Use of verb contractions and omitted letters? That’s ok with us! You don’t have to go crazy with contractions, however, it’s something we like to do to create a light and casual tone.
The En Dash, Em Dash and Hyphen
Use an en dash with no spaces in between (–) for a fixed range of numbers. Like this: 2018–2019.
The em dash can be used in place of commas, brackets and colons. One example is as follows: By the time the article was written—3 days later—the editor was desperate to get it published.
Shortcut tip (on a Mac):
- For an en dash:option –
- For an em dash: shift option
Unlike the en and em dashes, a hyphen is used to link words together. For example, when joining two or more adjectives to modify the same noun (a compound adjective), e.g. She is a highly-respected product manager. Compound adjectives can also include numbers e.g. The 30-minute mtpcon keynote was excellent.
Hyphens can or must also be used for compound words e.g. editor-in-chief and some prefixes, such as “mid,” “re, and “ex,” (ex-husband, re-read, mid-point).
Dates and numbers
For numbers below 10, spell it out in full. Otherwise, please use numerals.
Our house style is to default to UK date and time formatting and regardless of localised formatting, dates should always spell out the month to avoid confusion. For example:
- Dates: e.g. 10 October, 2020
- Times: 6:00pm and 5:30am
- Money. £10.50
Numbers with more than three digits get commas:
Abbreviations and acronyms
Avoid going overboard with abbreviations and acronyms and, if you do use them, be sure to define them first. For example: Everyone has their own interpretation of what minimum viable product (MVP) means to their organisation and, while the specifics of an MVP definition may vary, this blog explores what an MVP really is.