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Marshall Writers' Guild Style Sheet 2017
Carole Kays Schaefer
Abbreviations
  • Use WW I or II and PM and AM without periods.
  • Street addresses
    Examples: W Arrow St; N Lafayette Ave; the Square or Marshall Square
  • Use USPS abbreviations for all the states.
    Examples: MO, NY, KS.
Capitalization
  • Capitalize family terms such as Uncle, Aunt, Cousin when used as a proper noun, but not when used with a possessive pronoun such as her, their, his, my.
    Examples: I saw Aunt Sarah dancing all night. She saw her aunt Sarah last night. Once you use my mother in a writing, thereafter just say Mother.
  • Do not capitalize the seasons unless they are personified.
    Examples: Spring's warm touch. We left in the spring
  • Capitalize points of the compass and regional terms when they refer to specific sections or when they are part of a precise descriptive title.
    Examples: the East; Mid-Atlantic states; North Pole; Central Missouri
  • Do not capitalize terms when they are suggesting direction or position. Examples: central states; south of town; eastern Australia
Commas
  • Use after the state when city and state are in the middle of a sentence.
    Example: He was born in Des Moines, IA, in 1960.
  • Place a comma after the year when dates are written as m/d/y within a sentence.
    Example: Your letter of July 4, 1776, answers all my questions.
  • No commas required for a defining (restrictive) necessary phrase. The economist Milton Friedman described inflation as the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
  • Commas are required for a nonrestrictive phrase immediately following the word it explains or when the phrase is nonessential.
    Example: My mother, the family historian, found some startling information in the 1890 Census.
Italics or Quotation Marks
  • Use italics for whole works, such as books, magazine, newspapers, movies, plays, and reports.
    Examples: Romeo and Juliet; Gone with the Wind; Marshall Democrat-News; The New Yorker; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Use Roman regular type and quotation marks for short works such as titles of articles, chapters, poems, essays, and similar short works.
    Examples: "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer; "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson; Chapter 12, "The Human Factor"
Numbers
Numbers as figures:
  • Use figures with numbers 100 and above.
    Example: My efforts to cut out 50,000 words may sometimes result in my adding 75,000.
  • Use figures when numbers both below and above 10 refer to the same subject.
    Examples: 5 of 20 employees; from 6th to 12th grade
  • Use figures when numbers refer to parts of a book.
    Examples: Chapter 9; Figure 5; Page 75; Table 1
  • Use figures when numbers refer to time periods.
    Examples: 21st century; 50-year plan
  • Use figures when numbers precede units of time, measurement, or money.
    Examples: 18 years old, 9 PM or 9 AM, 3 hours 30 minutes 12 seconds; 2 x 4 inches, 1/4-inch pipe, 10 yards; $1.50, 25-cents, $4 million
  • Use figures with decimals and percentages.
    Examples: 2.7 grade point average; 13.25% interest
Numbers as Words:
  • Use words with numbers 1-99.
    Example: All you need is fifty lucky breaks.
  • Use words with round numbers or decades.
    Examples: Several thousand people; in her eighties; the Roaring Twenties
  • Use words in fractions standing alone or followed by of a or of an.
    Examples: One-fourth inch; two-thirds of a cup; one-half of an apple
  • Use words to clarify back-to-back modifiers.
    Examples: Three 8-foot planks; six 1/2-inch strips
Parentheses and Quotations
  • Place the punctuation mark outside of the last parenthesis if the enclosed words are not a complete statement.
    Example: If I arrive late (and it's quite likely), I'll let myself in.
  • Place the punctuation mark inside the last parenthesis if the enclosed words are a complete statement.
    Example: (Don’t expect me until nightfall.)
  • With quotations place the punctuation inside the last quotation mark.
    Example: The teacher asked, "Who left this book?"
  • With decades, use no apostrophes.
    Example: 1930s
Editor's Note: Be frugal with the, that, my, of and prepositional phrases. Use "find" on your computer to search for excessive use of these words.
 
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