un Magazine style guide for writers

By Henry Thompson,2014-04-01 19:11
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un Magazine style guide for writers

Post Magazine style guide for writers

    You can gloss over this document. The correct formatting of your text is welcomed, but not integral. We once cut an article down by 2000 words passing it from editor to editor until it was as polished as polished could be. It was a good article, but it wasn‟t really the author‟s article. So, hey, if you want to avoid that, you‟d best listen up.

Avoid extraneous formatting, if at all possible.

    10 point font-faces

    Single font face (Blackletter Gothic = bad idea)

    Single line spacing

    Italics for titles of cited works (if any)

    Single line for paragraph breaks

    One space between sentences

    No bold type or underline

Save your article as an ordinary word document and attach to your email. Make sure it is followed by the suffix .doc.

    Please do not alter the formatting when resending your edited text.

Abbreviations and acronyms

    1. The first time that an abbreviation is used, it should be written out in full and followed by the abbreviation. The abbreviation alone can then be used in sentences that follow.

    2. A contraction is the shortened form of a word that begins and ends with the same letters as the original word and does not require a full stop. Eg. Dr dept St Eg


    Bio-lines are welcome they help us contextualize your piece. They won‟t necessarily be published – we think the

    work should stand on its own merits, not on the nature or identity of the author, but any personal history is interesting.


    Remember, over capitalisation slows down reading speed and is uncomfortable on the eye. 1. Use initial capitals for proper nouns and names.

    2. Always use lower case for rough descriptions or references.


    Please provide captions for images at the end of your text. Include the full title, location, date and any photo credit.

Endnotes not footnotes

    For simplicities sake, please keep these to a minimum and insert at the end of the body text. We do not mind if your article utilizes foot-notes, but you‟ll have to cope with seeing them re-formatted. POST‟s end-

    note system is as follows:

Page, Title, Author, Publisher, Date


    Do not use italics for emphasising words in the text. Well, unless you really, really have to.


    1. Write out in full:

     numbers from zero to nine and numbers used figuratively: I've told them a hundred times. • numbers in definitions unless from 10 and above: four per cent, five miles, 15 miles

    2. Use digits for: numbers from 10 and above numbers below and above nine in the same sentence. There were 8 students in one class and 11 in the other. centuries and dates: 21st century, 30th birthday sums of money: It cost $15,000.

    3. Never start a sentence with a number. Write the number in words instead or turn the sentence round. Eleven

    pupils were excluded. The number of exclusions was 11.

8. Spell out per cent instead of % Exclusions have fallen by five per cent.


    1. Use punctuation practically, not to decorate the text. Try to minimise it by using shorter sentences.

    2. Semi-colons are used to mark a pause longer than a comma. Don't overdo them. 3. Avoid the use of brackets and exclamation marks.

    4. Do not use / (forward slash) to mean 'or'. Do not use 'and/or'. Moreover, it brings back terrible memories of the


Commas use sparingly

    1. Do not use a comma before 'and'.

    Children, teachers and parents will benefit. Note that there are exceptions for reasons of sense. There were lots of pies

    including beef, apple and plum, and pork.

    2. Do not put commas after question marks, even when they would be separated by quotation marks: "What

    do you think, Professor?" he asked.

    Colons use sparingly

    1. Use a colon to complete a sentence.

    They wanted to deliver the goods: better teaching and better results.

    2. Use a colon before a whole quoted sentence, but not before a quotation that begins mid-sentence. She said:

    “It will never work”. He retorted that it had “always worked before”.

    3. Use a colon for antithesis or contrasts. Man proposes: God disposes.

    Inverted commas

    Only use inverted commas if you are defining a new term or using a term in a completely different way to its usual

    meaning. But avoid them where you can it‟s so 80s!

    En dashes (not hyphens)

    En dashes (also called en rules) are longer than hyphens. Hyphens are used for words and en dashes are used for sentences. Hold down option and the hyphen key to make an en dash.

    1. Spaced en dashes are used for parenthesis. Use in pairs, but not more than one pair per sentence, ideally not more than one pair per paragraph.

    2. Unspaced en dashes are used to mean 'to' in certain phrases:

    19909, MarchApril, pp 150, LondonBrighton road. The en dash should not be used with the word 'from'. from March to April

    3. The unspaced en dash should not be used together with hyphens.

    5- to 11-year-olds


    1. Use the normal possessive ('s) after singular words and names that end in s. Professor Jones's

    2. Use the normal possessive ('s) after plurals that do not end in s. children's, women's, media's

    3. Use the ending s' on plurals that end in s, including plural names that take a singular verb. Bosses',

    Joneses', Reuters', Barclays', Smith Brothers'

    4. Use an apostrophe for the meaning 'worth of'. He has six years' experience.

    5. Do not put apostrophes into decades. The 1990s or the nineties

    Brackets or parentheses

    1. Do not follow a bracket with a comma.

    2. If a complete sentence is enclosed within the parentheses, include a full stop inside the bracket. 3. Avoid the overuse of brackets.


    1. Use spaces and no full stops between personal initials: G A Kelly

Quotes and quotations

    1. Use double quote marks when quoting direct speech, or for quotations within a quote.

    2. Note that the quote marks should come before the full stop if a partial sentence is quoted and after the full stop if

    a full sentence is quoted.

    He said during the lecture "offices will be available for all students".

    „There will be another office for the students this year.‟

    3. Use single quote marks when quoting from books or texts in general.

    4. Titles of artworks and exhibitions are in italics without quotation marks. 5. Titles of festivals or events are in normal type with initial capitals for proper nouns and names and without quotation marks.

    6. For quotations over 30 words (try to cut) otherwise introduce an indented block paragraph without quotation

marks and place a colon at the end of the body text.

Post Magazine would like to thank UN magazine for the kind use of their style-guide, and their collected and

considered advice.

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