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Help:Introduction to the Manual of Style/5

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The MoS
A vast resource

Article sections
Making articles readable

Images and refs
Enriching the text

Linking
Tying the encyclopedia together

Consistency
Final little things to think about

Summary
Review of what you've learned



The MoS contains extensive guidelines on all manner of stylistic points. Below are a sample of the sorts of things you can search for advice on.


Language

The English Wikipedia prefers no major national variety of the language over any other. These varieties (e.g. US English, British English) differ in vocabulary (soccer vs. football), spelling (center vs. centre), and occasionally grammar. For consistency, only one variety should be used in a given article.

Avoid words like I, we, and you, except in quotations and names of works.

Avoid phrases like note that and remember that (which assume "you" for the reader); and avoid such expressions as of course, in fact, and obviously.


Dates and numbers

Avoid phrases that will go out of date with time (e.g. recently).

Do not write #1; number one works instead. Comic books are an exception.

Write 12,000 for twelve thousand, not 12.000; conversely, decimal points are thus: 3.14, not 3,14.

Both 10 June 1921 and June 10, 1921, are correct, but should be consistent within an article. A comma is not used if only the month is given, such as June 1921. Avoid inserting "the year" before a year, and avoid "of" in items such as "April of 2008".

400 AD and 400 BC are correct, but so are 400 CE and 400 BCE. Use one style consistently in an article.

Use one, two, three, ..., eight, nine in normal article text, not 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (although there are many exceptional circumstances; some other numbers may also be written as words).


Capital letters

Seasons (e.g. winter) and plant/animal names (e.g. bald eagle) are not capitalized. Exceptions include scientific names (Felis catus) and proper nouns occurring as part of a name.

Names of scriptures are capitalized (e.g. Bible and Qur'an, but not biblical). Always capitalize God when it refers to a primary or only deity, but not pronouns that refer to deities: he, not He.


Abbreviations

To indicate approximately for dates, the non-italicized abbreviation c. (followed by a space) is preferred over circa, ca., or approx.

Write US or U.S., but not USA.

Use "and" instead of the "&" sign, except in tables, infoboxes, and official names like AT&T.


Punctuation

Use straight quote marks " and apostrophes ' as available from the keyboard, and not alternatives such as “ ” and ‘ ’.

Italicize names of books, films, TV series, music albums, paintings, and ships—but not short works like songs or poems, which should be in quotation marks.

Place a full stop (a period) or a comma before a closing quotation mark if it belongs as part of the quoted material (She said, "I'm feeling carefree."); otherwise, put it after (The word carefree means "happy".). Please do so irrespective of any rules associated with the variety of English in use.

The serial comma (for example the comma before and in "ham, chips, and eggs") is optional; be sensitive to possible ambiguity arising from thoughtless use or thoughtless avoidance, and be consistent within a given article.

Avoid comma splices.

Picture captions should not end in a full stop (a period) unless they are complete sentences.

Avoid using a hyphen after a standard -ly adverb (a newly available home).

A hyphen is not a dash. Hyphens are used within words or to join words, but not in punctuating the parts of a sentence. Use an en dash (–) with   before, and a space after – or use an em dash (—) without spaces (see Wikipedia:How to make dashes). Avoid using two hyphens (--) to make a dash, and avoid using a hyphen as a minus sign.

Use an en dash, not a hyphen, between numbers: pp. 14–21; 1953–2008. An en dash is also used to connect parallel terms: red–green colorblind; a New York–London flight. Use spaces around the en dash only if the connected terms are multi-unit dates: January 1999 – December 2000.


Non-breaking spaces

Line breaks between words can be prevented by inserting a non-breaking space instead of an ordinary space by using the code   or {{nbsp}}. This avoids lines breaking in the middle of expressions such as 17 kg, AD 565, £11 billion, November 2020, 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, Boeing 747, and World War II.


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