Ampersands

Should only appear as part of a recognisable name, e.g. Marks & Spencer), or where you have limited space and need to make maximum impact. Like in a social media post, heading, or table.   

Brackets

Use (round) brackets for everything except legal references and footnotes, where we use [square].  

Dashes

We use en dashes (–) when formatting dates, times, and number ranges. See Formatting and styles for details. Please note, these are slightly longer than hyphens, and there is no key for them on typical keyboards. You can produce an en dash by:

  • copying and pasting from here: –

  • Googling ‘en dash’, then copying and pasting from there

  • in Word, doing the following:

type word>space>hyphen>space>word>space and your hyphen will convert to an en dash.

Occasionally, we use en dashes to break up a sentence – perhaps to add emphasis, or instead of brackets. Note: only use this where simply splitting it into two sentences won’t work, so we can keep our copy concise.

Elipses (...)

TBC

Exclamation points

Less is more. Use for emphasis, sparingly.

Oxford commas

Use these only where necessary, where the meaning of a sentence would be unclear without.

e.g. We’re meeting with the housing ministers, Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson.

This implies that Hancock and Johnson are the housing minister. Adding an Oxford comma here would make clear that you’re meeting them in addition to the housing ministers.

e.g. We’re meeting with the housing ministers, Matt Hancock, and Boris Johnson.

Quotation marks

Use single quote marks as standard, then double for quotes inside a quote. 

  • quoting complete sentences: include full stop before closing 

e.g. She said: ‘We shouldn’t have to live like this.’ 

  • quoting part of a sentence: close it before the full stop 

e.g. She said that ‘life is very hard’.  

  • for long passages of speech: open quotes for every paragraph, and close quotes only at the end of the final paragraph

Slashes

No spaces, e.g. 2008/09.

Spaces

Use single spacing between sentences, so only one space after your full stop.


Speak the same language using our digital glossary

Contact us

Have a question or comment? Found a bug? Or maybe you’d like to contribute to the framework? Use our contact form to get in touch.