Communicate — Influence — Explain
My style guide is your initial reference point for how I create a piece of work. I always aim to write in a clear and accessible way, with excellent spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax.
Every project is different, but my general principles for good writing include using the active voice where possible, blending simple and more sophisticated sentence structures, and keeping the text layout spacious. Usually, one or two lines per paragraph allows the reader to digest information easily.
I aim to match the tone of your organisation in everything I write for you — and if you are still discovering that voice, I can help you find it.
I’ve laid out here the detail of how I present my work, and the standards to which I write, as a starting point for our agreement on the right approach for your project. You may also have specific requirements or a house-style you would like me to follow.
I use New Hart's Rules: The Oxford Style Guide OUP 2nd edition (2014) as my primary reference point, to ensure that I prepare copy for print or electronic publication to the highest standard.
I format text in Calibri font, 11pt high, with 1.5 line spacing. Headings, sub-headings and body text relate to each other, so that it's clear to the reader where they are in the document. I use left alignment, rather than justifying the body text. Hyphenation is used generally for compound nouns or adjectives (such as train-spotter, or state-of-the-art) and prefixes / suffixes.
Referencing and Numbers
Referencing follows a standard academic format of Book Title Author, Publisher (Year). Numbers follow a simple pattern of using the written word (one, two, three) for numbers one to nine, and integers from 10-999,999. Numbers higher than this are referred to as £1m, $5bn, for money or other quantities or inanimate objects; people or animals are 3 million Americans, 4 billion bumblebees, etc. Dates and fractions are denoted as first, second, third up to ninth, and then 10th, 21st, millionth.
Bold text calls attention to individual words or emphasises ideas; italics indicate a non-English word, or may be used for a short quotation. Longer sections of quoted text will be indented, and set inside double quotation marks. If the quote is attributed, it’s set in italic, right aligned to the right margin of the quote.
I write in standard UK English, using the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary OUP 5th edition (2002) as my arbiter.