Full writing style guide A-Z
Ensure that 'County' or 'Co' is used to indicate a county as follows:
'Co' is to be used in addresses.Do not use full stop after 'Co'.
'County' is to be used within body text. You can refer to the 'a county player' or 'across the county'.
Do not use unless it's part of an official course/company title. Use 'and' in normal text.
1990s, 1980s etc do not take an apostrophe. Be careful in general about misuse of apostrophes, eg omitting them when they are necessary ('Its one of the best courses') or using them when not necessary ('it's beautiful surroundings make it special').
Only plurals end with 's' for the possessive ('tourists’ cars', 'visitors’ feedback'). But for one visitor, the apostrophe goes before the s ('visitor’s feedback'). Where 's' is the last letter in the word ('James') add on the apostrophe s at the end ('St James’s Street', 'William Butler Yeats’s poetry').
Don't overuse. Only use for proper nouns. Don't capu up all the words in a headline.
DO NOT WRITE SENTENCES ALL IN UPPERCASE as it is more difficult to read online.
It’s commonplace (but wrong) to uppercase words unnecessarily to denote importance. Best practice to ease the reader experience is to lowercase words unless they are proper nouns i.e. a proper name for something.
Headlines and subheadings should never be written like this: National Award for School of Engineering Lecturer
Instead words that are not official titles should be lowercase like so: National award for School of Engineering lecturer
When in doubt, take the capital letter out.
Use two commas, or none at all, when inserting a clause in the middle of a sentence
NOTE: In some cases using two commas to create a sub-clause is still incorrect. You know it is incorrect if, when you remove the sub-clause entirely, the sentence does not make sense
Omit 'Ltd', 'plc' etc – it is not necessary
Do not follow with 'of'
Use format: Tuesday, 3 February 2009. Note comma after the day.
Use full stops for consistency.
No hyphen, lower case unless at start of sentence ('Email us at' but 'You can email us at').
No full stop
Lower case unless at start of sentence.
Keep to a minimum.
No hyphen, lower case unless at start of sentence.
Use upper case for full titles, lower case for other references ('The Imagine Arts Festival takes place in October. The festival attracts visitors from...').
Use words for nine and under except with addresses, distances, percentages, weights and measures ('three years', 'four mountains' but '1km', '8kg', '3m' (metres), '5m2' (BUT '3 square miles')).
Use figures for 10 and over ('27 years ago', 'over-60s'). Same rule applies for 'seventh, ninth, 21st'.
Exception: any number used at the start of a sentence should be written out in words even if it is 10 or over ('Seventy-five visitors attended the exhibition').
If using millions or billions, use the full word not 'm' or 'bn' and do not write out the full figure including all the zeros ('8.7 million units', £1.5 billion').
For large numbers, use commas ('2,996' not '2996').
Forward slashes ('/')
Do not insert a space before or after ('Waterford / Dungarvan' should be 'Waterford/Dungarvan').
No need to ever use word 'originally' before this.
Lowercase if used in a general way or to describe part of something larger ('project working group') but uppercase if part of the title of a major organisation ('Kerry Group').
Words beginning with 'h' take 'a' when the stress is on the first syllable ('a history', 'a hospital') but 'an' when the stress is on the second ('an hotel', 'an historic occasion').
Include when two words are tied together to make an adjective ('top-class accommodation’, 'business-oriented approach). Also, a building is three years old but it is a 'three-year-old building’.
Use full stops for consistency
Avoid where possible, as they are harder to read on screen.
In most cases the person’s title will take precedence to their name, so putting title first and then name is usually most appropriate ('WIT Job Title Firstname Surname today said').
Uppercase job titles 'Chief Executive’ unless talking about 'chief executives' in general, which would be lowercased.
An overused word ('this project will be a key focus for 2018'). Try: 'this project will be a focus for 2018'.
All one word.
Less v fewer
Use 'fewer' when referring to individual items grouped together ('fewer events’), otherwise, use 'less' ('less space').
The first is a noun ('a licence'), the second is a verb ('licensing the premises').
Just use 'meet'. Same applies to 'sell off' – just use 'sell'.
Uppercase for noun whether full title or generic ('The Minister for Education, 'Government Ministers') but not adjective 'ministerial'.
€10 not €10.00.
Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Dr, Prof
No full stop after. Same goes for 'St Stephen’s Green' – no full stop after 'St'.
Write as written here.
All one word. Same goes for 'website'.
Often used when 'more than' would be better ('more than 60% of visitors' not 'over 60% of visitors').
Use symbol ('1%'; '15 to 20 %'). Or at least stay with the one style whatever you opt for.
Period of time
Just use 'period' or replace with the actual length of time ('several years').
United States is a plural so 'The United States are'.
But most other entities - countries, companies etc - are singular, so treat as such (‘the organisation was planning’ or ‘WIT is on hand to’).
WIT is singular.
Uppercase if referring to the President of a country; otherwise lowercase.
Use single quotation marks -
- In headlines, sub headings and picture captions
- For a quote within a quote (The Chief Executive said: “This is a big improvement on what was described in the report as ‘an inefficient system’.”)
Otherwise use normal, double quotation marks.
If omitting some text from the middle of a quote, use three stops and a space after ('He said: "It filled me with optimism that young people can develop skills… to move forward in their careers in tourism.”)
Lowercase and separate e.g. south east
Use uppercase for the name of a report, but lowercase otherwise
Takes 'of' not 'from' after ('representatives of').
Ensure there is one space after every full stop before start of next sentence.
Titles (of plays, books etc)
Avoid italics and quote marks. Just say 'Ulysses by James Joyce', 'Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett'.
Lowercase words such as 'a', 'an', 'and', 'at', 'for', 'from', 'in', 'of', 'the', 'to' unless they are the first word of the title/sentence.
Do not use. So 'modernize' should be 'modernise'. Use s instead of z. Similarly, 'remodeled' should be 'remodelled' and 'meters' should be 'metres'. Remove the dot after Dr.
Just use 'vital'.
Lowercase unless at the start of a sentence.
All one word and lowercase unless at the start of a sentence.
All one word and lowercase unless at the start of a sentence.
'Which' or 'that' for things [including the Government, companies, councils, etc]; who for people. So 'the company that has worked hard' but 'the employees, who have worked hard'.
Not 'whilst'; if you mean although, use 'although'.