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Writing style guide

Names

People have capital letters, their titles don’t. i.e James Crichton-Smith, communications manager. I am not a board member, housing association, or prime minister.

Numbers

  • Millions and billions: eight million and £8m

  • Spelling out 1 - 9, using numericals for 10 onwards.

  • Using the % sign for number 10 onwards and spelling percentage out for use with numbers 1 - 9. i.e one percent, 1%

General typing

  • Don’t use double spaces after a full stop. We aren’t on typewriters anymore! Double spaces can cause odd things to happen with text layouts.
  • Avoid using justified text for body text except on legal/government-related documents as it causes issues for readability.
  • Avoid using centred text except for titles or posters.

Times

  • Please use 12-hour clock times when written and ensure you have the am/pm, e.g.: 9:15am.
  • Please use colons to delineate hours/minutes, e.g.: 4:44pm.

Pandemic

  • Covid-19 or the coronavirus

  • vaccines are great but they don’t get capitalised, either.

  • The pandemic doesn’t get a capital letter

Authority

  • Welsh government

  • UK government

  • prime minister, first minister

  • housing associations (lower case h and a)

  • Labour party - not Labour Party

Organisations

  • Community Housing Cymru (CHC) - when referring to in a sentence, CHC is, not are, making improvements to housing. The Welsh government is doing its best etc. etc.

  • If organisations have acronyms, then spell out the org first, before using acronyms subsequently.

Strategic delivery groups

Referred to by their full names (lower case) first and then SDGs after. Don’t assume people know what an SDG is.

Task & finish groups

Lower case and use ‘&’

Legislation

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. Could be referred to as RHWA after initial reference in text.

Our members

  • ‘members’ where at all possible

  • ‘users’ when referring to website accounts

BAME (taken from Guardian style guide - this is a suggested usage of BAME)

Black, Asian and minority ethnic; spelled out in full at first mention, but where possible it is always preferable to be more specific and to avoid using BAME in furniture [<----newspaper term!]. Other alternatives are person/people of colour, or minority ethnic people. However, when using an alternative always check that it doesn’t change the accuracy of the story, eg the term minority ethnic in its broadest sense includes white people, such as Travellers and Gypsies, so if a story citing BAME research is actually only about people of colour, use of the term minority ethnic would be incorrect. Likewise, avoid using people of colour when the BAME research in question may include minority ethnic white people. (See also black.)

Not sure what to do?

If in doubt, a good rule of thumb on many style points can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-b

A vast amount of the work has been done!