Editorial style guide - P

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Use one line return in between paragraphs. Don't indent at the beginning of paragraphs.

Keep paragraphs short, about 45 words, especially when writing for the web.


Lower-case P, unless you're writing Houses of Parliament in full.

part time

Hyphenate only when used before a noun.

We offer six part-time courses in the department.

This course is part time.

passive voice

Avoid using the passive voice. In most cases the active voice is best. The active voice is concise, direct and makes your writing more engaging.

The professor will present her research at the conference.
Research will be presented by the professor at the conference.

per cent

Write out in full as two words, not one symbol (%). Symbols can look untidy or get lost in large blocks of text.

You can use the symbol for headlines, illustrations, tables with numbers and in places where the word count is limited, for example on social media.

Percentage is one word.

per day

Also per year, per month and so on.


Lower case initial.

The first peregrine egg of the year has been laid on the St George's church nesting platform.


Not PHD.

phone numbers

See contact details

Plain English

Aim to be as clear and concise as possible. Using plain English does not mean 'dumbing down'. It just means delivering your message in the clearest way possible.


The forum exists in order that students can communicate issues or concerns about the quality of their learning experience that they feel are important and/or make suggestions for ways in which course programmes or modules might be better delivered and structured. In other words it is designed to give the student body a voice in the way teaching is managed and delivered. (62 words)


The forum gives students a say in the way their courses are run. (13 words).


See space


Avoid using platitudes, for example:

The University welcomes international students.

Cut the sentence altogether or replace it with evidence that the University provides a welcoming environment.

policy maker

Two words.


One word, not hyphenated.


'Practice' is the noun, 'practise' is the verb. 

I practise law.

Practice makes perfect.

President and Vice-Chancellor

Use the full title, including Vice-Chancellor as two words, hyphenated.

Our President and Vice-Chancellor's full, formal title is:

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts

In body copy, particularly when his name and title is repeated, you can use any of these:

  • President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts
  • President and Vice-Chancellor Koen Lamberts
  • Professor Koen Lamberts

professional services

Use a lower case p and s.

All professional services staff are invited.


Two hyphens.


See ampersand, brackets, comma, colon, en-dash, full stop, hyphen, Question mark, Semi- colon. For advice on punctuating quotes see quotation marks.