University style guide

If your job involves working with words, whether writing a report, producing a printed publication or creating web pages, then this style guide will help you produce accurate and consistent content. Produced by External Relations, it sets out the University’s ‘house style’ for grammar, spelling and punctuation, with guidance on some specific University of Glasgow terms.

  • Consistency is key. If there are two correct ways to spell a word, be consistent within your document, publication or set of web pages.
  • Proofread your material thoroughly and don’t rely on spellcheckers.
  • Make sure your spellchecker is set to UK English and not US English.
  • Remember to check headings and captions as this is where errors can often be missed.
  • Use single spaces between sentences and not double spaces.
  • Keep capitals and italics to a minimum as this interrupts the flow of text and causes the reader to pause.

If you have any questions or suggestions about the guide, please email mrio-publications@glasgow.ac.uk.

Quick reference guide

See relevant sections for further information

The University

  • Use University of Glasgow, not Glasgow University. For informal communications such as social media, the abbreviated UofG is fine, but never shorten to GU or UoG.

Abbreviations

  • Don’t use full stops after abbreviations, acronyms and contractions, and don’t leave a space between the letters.

Capital letters

  • Avoid capitals by using lower case wherever possible. Excessive capitalisation can slow the reader down.

College, school, programme and courses titles

  • Use initial capitals and ampersands (&) in the titles of colleges, schools, programmes and courses, eg College of Science & Engineering, School of Physics & Astronomy. 

Dates

  • Write calendar dates as day, month, year without punctuation: 2 May 2020.
  • For date ranges, use unspaced en dash, eg 1939–45.
  • For decades,use an apostrophe when the decade is abbreviated: their friendship stretches back to the ‘50s.

Degrees

  • Don’t use full stops between letters, eg MA, PhD, PgCert.
  • Use initial capitals for types of degree, eg Honours, Designated.
  • Use full stops in numerical degree classifications, not colons, eg 2.1, 2.2.
  • Use initial capitals and hyphen for written degree classifications, eg First-class Honours.

Numbers

  • Write numbers out in full up to and including ten. For numbers over ten, use figures although there are exceptions to this rule.

Quotation marks

  • Use double quotation marks for direct quotes.

Time

  • It’s fine to use either the 12-hour or 24-hour clock, but choose one format and use this consistently within your content or article. If communicating with an international audience, the 24-hour clock is preferable.
  • If using the 12-hour clock with am and pm, don’t use full stops or spaces, eg 9am, 2pm, 3.30pm but 12 noon.

URLs

  • Omit the https or www at the start of University web addresses, eg glasgow.ac.uk.

 

A

Abbreviations, contractions and acronyms

General rule: close up spaces between letters and don’t use full stops after any abbreviations, contractions or acronyms.

Abbreviations and contractions are formed by omitting letters from the end or middle of a word..

  • Dr (Doctor)
  • SocSci (Social Sciences)
  • Hons (Honours)
  • BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council)
  • km (kilometres)

Acronyms are formed from the initial letters of each word and pronounced as a word.

  • UNESCO
  • NASA
  • AIDS

Unless using a very widely understood acronym, write out the words in full at first use with the acronym in brackets afterwards.

  • BASIC (British American Security Information Council)

For subsequent references use the acronym alone.

  • BASIC believes in making progress on nuclear disarmament.

Note: only use the acronym if it is used subsequently in your text, otherwise write the words out in full without the acronym afterwards.

• Latin abbreviations

Don’t use full stops between or at the end of commonly used Latin abbreviations such as

  • eg
  • ie
  • etc
  • et al
  • am
  • pm
  • c (for circa, eg c1914)

• Money and measurement abbreviations

For money, you can abbreviate thousands, millions or billions from £3,000 to £3k, $3 million to $3m and £1.5 billion to £1.5bn.

Common measurements can also be abbreviated from metres to m, kilometres to km and miles per hour to mph, for example.

Note: there is no space between the figure and the abbreviation when written out in full.

• Name abbreviations

Middle initials should appear without punctuation and with no spaces.

  • Professor HNS Brown

• Telephone, email and web abbreviations

If you are giving contact information, the following options are acceptable, but ensure you are consistent with your choice of abbreviations.

  • Tel, tel or T
  • Email, email or E
  • Web, web or W

 

Academic terminology

Always refer to the University as the University of Glasgow, never Glasgow University.

Use initial capitals and ampersands for names of colleges, schools, programmes and courses: College of Science & Engineering, School of Modern Languages & Cultures, MSc in Geospatial & Mapping Sciences.

• Common academic terms at the University

A-level hyphenated and lower-case "l"
alumni plural for group
alumnus masculine singular
alumna feminine singular
Emeritus Professor Use Emeritus Professor rather than Professor Emeritus when referring to someone at the University of Glasgow, but note that this may vary where the title has been awarded at another university.
higher education always lower case
honorary not honourary
graduand person about to graduate, used to describe a student on graduation day prior to the ceremony
masters lower case m for masters if talking generally; capital M for Masters if referring to a specific course, but for the plural, the apostrophe follows the "s" as in masters’
postgraduate student not graduate student and don’t hyphenate postgraduate
Professor always in full and not abbreviated to Prof except in informal communications such as social media if appropriate
semester 1
year 2
not semester one or year two
National 5
Higher
Advanced Higher
initial capitals and numerals
Vice-Principal
Senior Vice-Principal
Vice-Chancellor
Pro-Vice-Principal
initial capitals and hyphenated
(to show they are linked)

• Professorships

Professorships at the University can take either of two forms: an established chair or a personal professorship. Refer to the chair when talking about the position but not when talking about the person.

  • The Regius Chair of Botany was established in 1818.
  • Regius Professor of Chemistry Lee Cronin said …

See also Degrees

 

Acronyms

see Abbreviations

 

Ampersands (&)

Use ampersands (&) to replace the word “and” in names of colleges, schools, programmes and courses. This helps to avoid confusion or extra punctuation when we are referring to two or more units in a sentence.

  • College of Science & Engineering
  • Colleges of Arts and Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences
  • MA Health & Social Policy

Don’t use “&” to replace “and” in other instances

✓ She took her bag, purse and umbrella.
✗ She took her bag, purse & umbrella.

 

Apostrophes

Use ’s to indicate possession  

  • Anne’s presentation
  • Mrs Gaskell’s novels

but not for possessive pronouns  

  • hers
  • its
  • yours
  • theirs

Use s’ for simplicity and ease of communication, rather than s’s, to indicate possession in names ending in s 

✓ James’ friend decided to apply for a new job
✗ James’s friend decided to apply for a new job

Note: When something belongs to more than one person or thing, then the apostrophe goes after the s.

  • The students’ assignments are being graded. (the assignments that were written by the students)
  • The lecturers’ handbook is being prepared. (the handbook for the lecturers)

Apostrophes should not be used for plurals

NGOs not NGO’s
1980s not 1980’s
PhDs not PhD’s
the Smiths not the Smith’s

 


B

Book titles

see Titles

 

Brackets

Brackets are a form of parentheses which can be used to add extra information or an explanation. However, the preferred form of parentheses is commas as brackets slow down the flow of reading.

If an entire sentence is enclosed in brackets, keep the punctuation within the brackets as well. When the final punctuation belongs with the sentence in brackets, it comes before the closing bracket.

  • Most buildings at the University are open from Monday to Friday. (The library is open seven days a week.)

When only part of a sentence is enclosed in the brackets or the final punctuation does not belong with the content in brackets, it comes after the closing bracket.

  • You can take a guided tour of the University Library (which is open seven days a week).

see also Parentheses

 

Bullet points

see Lists

 

C

Capitals

General rule: Avoid using capital letters wherever possible, as they can disrupt the flow of text.

• University of Glasgow

Use the capital letter U when referring to the University of Glasgow, even where the full name of the University is not used.

  • The University is embarking on a new project.

When referring to university in a general way, use lower case u.

  • Students can choose to study many subjects at university.

• Colleges and schools

Capitalise the full names of University colleges and schools.

  • Many of the schools in the College of Social Sciences are based in the Adam Smith Building.
  • The School of Physics & Astronomy is based in the Kelvin Building.

When referring to a college, school or other University unit and its full name is not being used, use lower case letters.

✓ Staff in the college are attending a meeting.
✓ The school is developing a new resource for students.
✗ The new Centre was formed last month.  
✓ The new centre was formed last month.

• Text

Text that appears all in capitals can be difficult to read as there are no ascenders and descenders, so unless text is very short it is advisable to use sentence case (ie, put the first letter of the sentence in capitals, with the rest in lower case, except for proper nouns and acronyms).

  • Study of a Scottish artist
  • Iconic buildings and inspiring architecture
  • On the road to NASA

Don’t capitalise nouns unless they are proper nouns such as place names or the name of a college or school.

• Capital “The”

There are a few instances where “the” appears with a capital T in text: formal royal titles, some organisations, some newspapers and place names.

  • HM The Queen, HRH The Princess Royal
  • The Hunterian
  • The Glasgow School of Art
  • The Hague, The Gambia but the Netherlands

This can sometimes look odd in the middle of a sentence, so try and avoid where possible.

✓ The Hunterian’s display of Mackintosh is of international importance.
✗ The display of Mackintosh at The Hunterian is of international importance.

• Directions

Use a capital letter for compass directions only when referring to a recognised geographical or political entity: the Earth, the West, the West of Scotland, the West End.

Don’t use capitals as part of a general direction: further west, eastern China.

• Government

Use a capital when specifically naming the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly but no need to capitalise when talking generally about the government.

• Others

  • Capitalise the Earth when referring to the name of the planet but not when referring to the ground or soil.
  • Capitalise Zika.
  • Don’t capitalise wi-fi.

 

Commas

Use commas to separate items in a list, but not before 'and' or 'or'.

  • The only sandwich left contained bacon, lettuce and tomato.
  • She had to decide whether to go to Stirling, Edinburgh or Dundee for the weekend.

The Oxford comma is a final comma inserted in a list of items before the final and. While not incorrect, we have chosen not to adopt the Oxford comma to reduce the amount of punctuation in sentences. However, the Oxford comma may sometimes be necessary to make the meaning of a sentence clear.

✓ Among those attending the function were the Professor’s daughters, the Queen, and Prince Philip.
✗ Among those attending the function were the Professor’s daughters, the Queen and Prince Philip.

It is not usually necessary to use commas around a name or names when these have a defining rather than descriptive role.

  • The speech was given by her son Edward and her daughter Catherine.
  • University Principal Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli welcomed visitors to the opening ceremony.

Commas are used when the name is given by way of additional information and has a descriptive rather than defining role.

  • The Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, will address the audience.
  • His sister, Angela, lived in Australia.

D

Dates

• Calendar dates

Write as date, month, year without punctuation: 7 May 2020.

If the day of the week is given, write it in full and place comma after:
Thursday, 7 May 2020.

If day or month is not given, use ordinal numbers such as 1st, 3rd, 15th, and don’t use superscript (to prevent problems with line spacing).

  • There was a meeting on the 17th.

If using from with a start date/time, always use to to indicate the end date/time rather than an en dash (the character “–“ which is produced by hitting Ctrl + minus on a PC or Alt + hyphen on a Mac). Alternatively, use an en dash without from or to.

  • The working week runs from Monday to Friday.
  • The working week runs Monday–Friday.

Don’t mix from and en dash

✗ The working week runs from Monday–Friday.

• Spans of years

For spans of years, use unspaced en dash and don’t repeat centuries: 1939–45, 2020–21.

If spanning two centuries, use unspaced en dash and all digits: 1990–2020.

If writing as part of a sentence, do not use en dash: Sir Charles Wilson was Principal from 1961 to 1976.

• Decades

Don’t use an apostrophe before the letter s

✓ 1870s
✓ the 1940s
✗ 1990’s

but use one when the decade is abbreviated to denote the missing century

  • their friendship stretches back to the ‘50s.

• Centuries

Use number and write century in full without hyphenation if used as a noun: the 19th century.

Hyphenate when used as adjective: 19th-century poetry.

• Epochs

You can use either BC/AD and BCE/CE (“Before Common Era”/”Common Era”), depending on the context. For example, AD/BC can be used in academic writing with historical or religious references but BCE/CE may be more suitable in materials such as annual reports or for modern references.

Write BC, BCE and CE after the date and AD before the date: 155 BC or AD 899.

 

Degrees

Don’t use full stops in the middle or at the end.

  • MA
  • PhD
  • PgCert

Use initial capitals for types of degree.

  • Honours
  • Designated
  • Ordinary

Use full stops in numerical degree classifications, not colons.

  • 2.2
  • 2.1

Use initial capitals and hyphen for written degree classifications.

  • First-class Honours

When writing text about the degree, use MA with Honours.

  • You can apply for the degree of MA with Honours.

Use the shorter version after a graduate’s name.

  • Emma Brown, MA (Hons), graduated from the University in 2003.
  • Emma Brown (MA 2003)
    (Note: don’t insert a comma between the degree and year.)

• Main undergraduate degrees awarded at Glasgow

Bachelor of Accountancy (BAcc)
Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
Bachelor of Divinity (BD)
Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
Bachelor of Music (BMus)
Bachelor of Nursing (BN)
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
Bachelor of Technological Education (BTechEd)
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (BVMS)
Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Arts (Social Sciences) (MA(SocSci))
Master of Education (MEduc)
Master of Engineering (MEng)
Master in Science (MSci)

• Main postgraduate degrees awarded at Glasgow

Doctor of Education (EdD)
Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Practical Theology (DPT)
Engineering Doctorate (EngD)
Doctor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (DFA)
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)
Master of Letters (MLitt)
Master of Music (MMus)
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Master of Research (MRes)
Master of Science (MSc)
LLM by research (LLM)
Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)
Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)

• Honorary degrees awarded at Glasgow

Doctor of Divinity (DD)
Doctor of Engineering (DEng)
Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Doctor of Music (DMus)
Doctor of Science (DSc)
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (DVMS)
Doctor of the University (DUniv)

see also Academic Terminology

 

Directions

see Capitals

E

Ellipses

An ellipsis is a set of three dots which indicates the omission of a word or words, or draws attention to a pause in speech. You should type an ellipsis with a space before and after the dots.

  • we shall … never forget them.

 

Email addresses

Write email addresses in lower case without underline.

  • name.surname@glasgow.ac.uk

Exclamation marks

The exclamation mark is used for emphasis, to indicate strong feelings or a high volume. It may be appropriate to use exclamation marks in informal writing such as emails or social media posts, but use with care, and avoid using in formal or academic writing.

F

Foreign words and phrases

Use italics for foreign words and phrases, eg fin de siècle, except for those that have become accepted into English usage, such as ad hoc, alma mater, en route, et al, ex officio, versus.

Don’t use accent marks on foreign words which have been anglicised or are widely used: cafe, facade, elite.
 

H

Honours

see Titles

 

Hyphens and dashes

General rule: Avoid hyphenating words when you can, as this slows down the reader. Disable the automatic hyphenation in your software.

Note: Only use the hyphen for hyphenating words. Use the longer en dash (–) to represent a span or range of numbers, dates, or time. There should be no space between the en dash and the adjacent material. Depending on the context, the en dash is read as “to” or “through.”

  • 1939–45
  • The conference takes place 4–6 July 2021

The en dash can also be used between words to represent conflict, connection or direction.

  • The liberal–conservative debate.

And the en dash is used to report scores or results of contests.

  • The president’s nominee was confirmed by the Senate, which voted 62–38 along party lines.

The keyboard shortcut for an en dash is control + minus (from the numeric keypad) on PCs and alt + minus on Macs.

• Hyphen dos and don’ts

Use hyphens if two words are used together as a compound adjective modifying a noun.

  • well-developed plans
  • up-to-date records

But don’t use hyphens when the phrase follows the noun.

  • the plans were well developed
  • the records are up to date

Don’t use hyphens after adverbs ending in ly as there is a general move away from this.

  • recently launched project
  • newly discovered species

Words with a prefix, which ia an addition to the start of a word which changes its meaning, usually don’t need hyphens and are written as one word, unless to avoid confusion or to aid pronunciation.

multicultural
offline
redesign
    
but

mid-August
pre-date
pre-eminent
pre-war
re-entry
re-form (to form again)

Compound nouns such as fieldwork or touchscreen do not require a hyphen unless they are unusual or original and it would cause confusion not to hyphenate.

Below are some commonly used words, showing when to use or not use hyphens

anti-intellectual
cooperate
coordinate
coursework
crossdisciplinary
cutting-edge
decision-making
email
evidence-based
fieldtrip
fieldwork
first-hand
first-year
four-year
full-time
goodwill
healthcare
interdisciplinary
long-term
multidisciplinary
multimedia
multinational
multi-ethnic
no-brainer
non-negotiable
north-west
offline
ongoing
online
policymaker
policymaking
postdoctoral
postgraduate
post-war
problem-solving
Pro-Vice-Principal
redesign
reopen
reuse
self-assessment
self-assessment
semi-professional
six-month
spin-in
spin-out
state-of-the-art
teamwork
touchscreen
two-thirds
undergraduate
under-represented
up-to-date
Vice-Chancellor
well-behaved
wellbeing
wi-fi
world-changing (but see World Changing Glasgow)
worldwide

 

E-words and phrases

Email should be unhyphenated as this form is in widespread usage. All other e-words and phrases should be hyphenated as this is still the most common form: e-book, e-commerce, e-journal, e-learning etc.

I

Italics

We use italics to bring emphasis to parts of a piece of text or to denote titles of works. Avoid using italics for full sentences, headlines or sub-heads as this disrupts the flow of text.

• In photo or illustration captions

The preference is for italics not to be used in captions but if you do so, aim to
make your content consistent.

• In foreign words and phrases

Use italics for foreign words and phrases, for example fin de siècle, except for those that have become accepted into English usage, such as ad hoc, alma mater, en route, et al, ex officio, versus.

See also Titles

 

J

Job titles

see Titles

 

L

Lists

General rule: Any list containing three or more items is best displayed with bullet points rather than in a sentence, as it is easier to read.

Use as little punctuation as possible. For example, in a bulleted list there is no need to have a colon to introduce the list or use semi-colons to separate each bullet.

If the bulleted list forms a complete sentence, don’t capitalise the start of each bullet unless it is a proper noun and use a full stop at the end to denote the end of the sentence.

The ways in which teaching is delivered in this school includes

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • practicals or laboratories.

• Complex lists

Punctuate a more complex list exactly as if it were a normal sentence or sentences. In some cases, it will be a full sentence.

This masters is a new and innovative programme.

  • You will benefit from being taught by academics at the forefront of their field.
  • Our optional courses are built around real research scenarios. This will give you practical experience that will enhance your employability
  • During your course you will gain valuable insights from alumni and industry leaders.

Our careers service can help you find work experience and give advice on securing your dream job.

  • We give one-to-one guidance from professionally trained managers.
  • We have access to internships and work experience employers.
  • You will have opportunities to meet global recruiters on campus.

• Colons and semi-colons in a list

If you have a list and are not using bullet points, there are two options available.

You can introduce your list with a colon and separate each item except the last one with a semi-colon.

  • The ways in which teaching is delivered in this school includes: lectures; tutorials; seminars and practicals.

Note: there is no semi-colon between the last two items.

Alternatively, you can separate the items in the list using commas. This option is preferable as it uses less punctuation.

  • The ways in which teaching is delivered in this school includes lectures, tutorials, seminars and practicals.

Note: if any of the items in the list already contain commas, the first option is preferable.

 

M

Measurements

When deciding whether to use metric or imperial measurements, consider your audience. Are they scientific? Are they international? Whichever version you choose, remember to keep your content consistent. For all measurements, use figures and not words.

✓ The prototype travels at speeds of up to 200mph. It will travel along a 40-mile route.
✗ The prototype travels at speeds of up to 200mph. It will travel along a 70-km route.

Use numbers, even when under ten

  • 5kg
  • 500MB
  • 5 metres
  • rated 7 out of 12

To denote spans of measurements, use an en dash

  • The weight of those in the control group was 50–70kg.

File sizes in computing are expressed as KB (kilobytes), MB (megabytes) and GB (gigabytes).

Members of Parliament

see Titles

 

N

Numbers

General rule: Write numbers out in full up to and including ten. For numbers over ten, use figures as the words written out in full start to become too long. For numbers above 999, use a comma to express thousands: 1,000, 10,000, 900,000.

• Exceptions to this rule 

Measurements and currency: use numbers, even when under ten

  • 7kg
  • 200MB
  • £5,000

Where a phrase contains two or more numbers, then use figures for all of them

✓ 3 out of 12 of the plants are toxic
✗ three out of 12 of the plants are toxic
✓ the labs are on levels 2 and 11
✗ the labs are on levels two and 11

Where a number starts a sentence

  • Twenty-seven options are available.

Alternatively, rephrase if possible.

  • There are 27 available options.

• Telephone numbers

Use the international code, in this format: +44 (0)141 330 2000.

 

P

Parentheses

For parentheses, use commas rather than brackets, as brackets can slow the reader down too much. Avoid using dashes as parentheses for online content as they can confuse the reader by appearing on screen in ways you have not intended.

 

Plural nouns

Plural nouns such as criteria, data, group, media, stadia and team should take a singular verb.

  • The group is publishing its report in June.
  • The team is meeting at 12 noon.

Note: in some scientific contexts, data is still treated as a plural noun: the data were collected.

 

Q

Quotation marks

• Direct quotes

Use double quotation marks for direct quotes of all kinds.

  • The Principal said: “I would like to welcome our visitors to the opening of our new building.”

When a word or phrase is quoted within a sentence or a phrase already in double quotation marks, use single quotation marks for the inner quotation (but try to avoid this type of sentence).

  • James said: “The driver has announced, ‘The train terminates at the next station, but a connecting bus will take you to your destination.’”

It may be preferable to rephrase this as

  • James said: “The driver has announced that the train will terminate at the next station, but a connecting bus will take you to your destination.”

A full stop or other punctuation that belongs to the quote itself, as the first comma below does, should be placed inside the closing quotation mark.

  • “When I start to read a book,” Sarah said, “it means I become immersed in a completely new world.”

Use a full stop outside the quotation mark if the word, phrase or quote is only part of a sentence.

  • Alice said that the book was “without pictures or conversations”.

When quoting more than one paragraph from the same source, repeat the opening quotation mark at the start of each paragraph, but use only one closing quotation mark, at the end of the quotation.

  • Professor McInnes said: “The Henry Baxter Scholarship will support the first project of a new programme of research to address long-term questions for the human future.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to undertake this project.

“Working with colleagues, we will investigate new ideas to push back desert margins through engineering interventions.”

We recommend that a colon is used to introduce a direct quotation, though a comma is an option. Whichever you choose, keep your content consistent.

Note: when the quote is broken up then you should always use a comma.

  • “Alongside my colleages,” said Professor Tait, “I am honoured to be chosen to represent the University at the international forum.”

S

Social media

We use the following handles for our various social media channels.

Facebook: @UofGlasgow
Twitter: @UofGlasgow
Instagram: uofglasgow
YouTube: /universityofglasgow
LinkedIn: /university-of-glasgow
Snapchat: UofGlasgow

For informal communications such as social media, the abbreviated UofG to refer to the University is fine, but never abbreviate to GU or UoG.

Spelling

Use British English spellings such as the ending -ise, not -ize, in words such as organise, categorisation, internationalisation. We advise you to change your settings in Microsoft Office to UK English as the default.

Note: Some organisations use -ize in their names (such as the World Health Organization, International Organization for Migration). As a courtesy you should use their -ize spelling when referring to their name.

Preferred spelling forms

adviser not advisor
ageing not aging
cafe not café
convener not convenor
dispatch not despatch
elite not èlite
enquiry but inquiry for an official investigation
focused not focussed
judgement not judgment
medieval not mediaeval
naive not naïve

Commonly misspelled words

accommodate  
benefited  
budgeted  
centred  
commemoration  
complement verb and noun: to make complete, that which makes complete
complementary combining to make complete (as in complementary medicine)
compliment verb and noun: praise
complimentary given free of charge
dependant noun, a person who relies on another
dependent adjective
forbear to refrain from
forebear an ancestor
foreword  
forgo to do without
fulfil  
embarrassed  
indispensable  
install  
instil  
kilogram not kilogramme
licence always -ce when a noun
license licensing, always -se when a verb
millennium  
practice always -ce when a noun
practise practising, always -se when a verb
precede preceding
proceed proceeding(s)
principal adjective and noun: chief, chief person
principle noun: fundamental truth, basis
programme program only in a computing context
questionnaire  
side effects not side-effects
skilful  
stationary not moving
stationery office supplies such as paper, envelopes etc
supersede  
supervisor not superviser

 

T

Time

Use either the 12- or 24-hour clock, but don’t swap around, keep it consistent within your content.

If using the 12-hour clock, add in either am or pm, without full stops or spaces

  • 9am
  • 2pm
  • 3.30pm but 12 noon.

If using the 24-hour clock, omit punctuation such as full stops between the hour and the minutes: 0900–1700.

Titles 

• Knights/dames

You should always use first names with these titles, whether or not you are using surnames as well.

✓ Sir Kenneth is always a good public speaker.
✓ Dame Sarah Brown is the chair of this committee.
✗ Dame Brown is the chair of this committee.

The wife of a knight is known as “Lady [surname]”. A knight’s wife should never be addressed with the inclusion of her forename unless she is also the daughter of a duke, marquess or earl. The husband of a dame does not derive a title from his wife.

When a male professor is knighted, the academic title and honour can be combined as Professor Sir John Green. A female professor can also combine titles, eg Professor Dame Anne Smith.

Use the full name and title for the first mention and for subsequent references use either the academic title or the honour title, depending on the context, but not both.

✓ Professor Smith or Dame Anne
✓ Professor Green or Sir John
✗ Sir Green

• Royalty

  • HM The Queen
  • HRH Prince Charles

To find out more about forms of address see debretts.com/expertise/essential-guide-to-the-peerage/courtesy-titles  

• Lords

For information about Lords’ titles and the way to address them, see the House of Lords website, where you can search for an individual.
https://parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords 

• Members of Parliament

Members of Parliament or Members of the Scottish Parliament use the abbreviations of MP or MSP after their names: Anne Smith MP, James Green MSP.

• The Right Honourable

Members of the Privy Council have the prefix of The Right Honourable before their names, often shortened to The Rt Hon in text. The prefix is used without Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr: The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Do include Sir or Dame if the individual has been knighted: The Rt Hon Sir Andrew Jones MP, The Rt Hon Dame Jane Smith.

Use the full name and title for the first mention and for subsequent references use either their first name only or their title and surname (be consistent throughout your text, don’t refer to one person as Dr Brown and another by their first name).

To find out who is a member of the Privy Council see privycouncil.independent.gov.uk. 

• Honours

Honours should be listed in order of superiority. According to www.gov.uk these are

  • Companion of Honour (various classifications)
  • Knight or Dame (various classifications)
  • Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
  • British Empire Medal (BEM)
  • Royal Victorian Order (RVO)

See gov.uk/honours/types-of-honours-and-awards    

Note: Individuals are appointed KBE/OBE/MBE, not made/received/got: John Smith was appointed Order of the British Empire for services to music.
Peers are created, not appointed: Harold Macmillan was created Earl of Stockton.

Titles of works 

Use a capital for all significant words in titles of books, newspapers, films, TV series, plays, musical works, and for the first word of the subtitle.

  • Lives of the Artists
  • Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

We recommend that you use italics rather than quotation marks in titles of works such as books, newspapers, films, TV series, plays, musical works etc as this reduces the clutter of unnecessary punctuation.

  • The BBC is recording an adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace

Also use italics for works of art and species.

  • Vermeer’s The Astronomer is on display in the Louvre in Paris.
  • The common magpie, pica pica, is found in wide regions of Europe and Asia.

Job titles

Use capitals for job titles where the person is named.

  • Welcome to John Smith, Senior Lecturer.
  • He introduced Senior Lecturer John Smith.
  • Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Head of School Jane Jones was the keynote speaker.

Don’t use capitals where the job title is used in a general way.

  • There are 45 senior lecturers in the college.
  • The survey identified trends in the job descriptions of university principals.

U

University

Always refer to the University as the University of Glasgow, never Glasgow University.

Use the capital letter U when referring to the University of Glasgow, even where the full name of the University is not used.

  • The University is embarking on a new project.

When referring to university in a general way, use lower case u.

  • Students can choose to study many subjects at university.

W

Web addresses (URLs)

Write URLs in lower case, don’t underline and don’t include https:// or www at the beginning of University of Glasgow URLs: glasgow.ac.uk. For simplicity, you will probably be able to avoid using these prefixes at the start of most URLs, but be sure to check that links will still work without them. For print, URLs should be written in lower case and not underlined.

Use a full stop if the web address appears at the end of a sentence. If a line break is necessary, try to break after a slash, percent sign, question mark or underscore.

We see a web page, not visit.

  • For further information, see glasgow.ac.uk.

World Changing Glasgow

Our core brand message WORLD CHANGING GLASGOW appears as a graphic device using capital letters and without punctuation. However, in full sentences, where world-changing is used as a compound adjective modifying a noun, a hyphen should be used as normal.

  •  Our researchers have a long history of making world-changing discoveries.

Download our style guide