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					                         I: Wikipedia: Manual of Style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia’s Manual of Style. Editors should follow it, except
where common sense and the occasional exception will improve an article. Before editing this page,
please make sure that your revision reflects consensus.

This is the Wikipedia Manual of Style. For the article about manuals of style, see Style guide.

The Manual of Style, often abbreviated MoS, is a style guide for Wikipedia articles. This article
contains basic principles. The menu to the right contains links to Manual of Style articles that
explore topics in greater detail. If the Manual of Style does not specify a preferred usage, discuss
your issues on the talk page of this article.


       1 Consistency
       2 Article titles, headings and sections
             o 2.1 Article titles
             o 2.2 First sentences
             o 2.3 Section headings
             o 2.4 Section management
       3 Capital letters
             o 3.1 Titles
             o 3.2 Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines and their adherents
             o 3.3 Calendar items
             o 3.4 Animals, plants, and other organisms
             o 3.5 Celestial bodies
             o 3.6 Directions and regions
             o 3.7 Institutions
       4 Acronyms and abbreviations
       5 Italics
       6 Non-breaking spaces
       7 Quotations
       8 Punctuation
             o 8.1 Quotation marks
             o 8.2 Brackets and parentheses
                        8.2.1 Sentences and brackets
             o 8.3 Ellipses
             o 8.4 Serial commas
             o 8.5 Colons
             o 8.6 Hyphens
        o   8.7 Dashes
                  8.7.1 En dashes
                  8.7.2 Em dashes
                  8.7.3 Other dashes
        o 8.8 Spaces after the end of a sentence
        o 8.9 Slashes
        o 8.10 And/or
        o 8.11 Question marks and exclamation marks
        o 8.12 Punctuation and inline citations
        o 8.13 Punctuation after formulas
   9 Chronological items
        o 9.1 Precise language
        o 9.2 Times
        o 9.3 Dates
        o 9.4 Longer periods
   10 Numbers
        o 10.1 Numbers as figures or words
        o 10.2 Large numbers
        o 10.3 Decimal points
        o 10.4 Percentages
   11 Units of measurement
        o 11.1 Which system to use
        o 11.2 Conversions
        o 11.3 SI symbols and unit abbreviations
        o 11.4 Unnecessary vagueness
   12 Currencies
        o 12.1 Which currency to use
        o 12.2 Formatting
   13 Common mathematical symbols
   14 Simple tabulation
   15 Usage
        o 15.1 Possessives
        o 15.2 First-person pronouns
        o 15.3 Second-person pronouns
        o 15.4 Contested vocabulary
        o 15.5 Contractions
        o 15.6 Instructional and presumptuous language
        o 15.7 Subset terms
        o 15.8 Plurals
        o 15.9 Ampersand
        o 15.10 National varieties of English
                  15.10.1 Consistency within articles
                  15.10.2 Strong national ties to a topic
                  15.10.3 Retaining the existing variety
                         15.10.4 Opportunities for commonality
             o 15.11 Foreign terms
             o 15.12 Identity
             o 15.13 Gender-neutral language
        16 Images
             o 16.1 Images as text
        17 Captions
        18 Bulleted and numbered lists
        19 Links
             o 19.1 Wikilinks
             o 19.2 External links
        20 Miscellaneous
             o 20.1 Keep markup simple
             o 20.2 Formatting issues
                       20.2.1 Color coding
             o 20.3 Scrolling lists
             o 20.4 Invisible comments
             o 20.5 Pronunciation
        21 Other resources
        22 See also
        23 Notes


One way of presenting information is often just as good as another, but consistency promotes
professionalism, simplicity and greater cohesion in Wikipedia articles. An overriding principle is
that style and formatting should be applied consistently throughout an article, unless there is a
good reason to do otherwise (except in direct quotations, where the original text is generally

It is inappropriate for an editor to change an article from one guideline-defined style to another
unless there is a substantial reason to do so; for example, it is unacceptable to change from British
to American spelling unless the article concerns an American topic. Edit warring over optional
styles is unacceptable. If an article has been stable in a given style, it should not be converted
without a reason that goes beyond mere choice of style. When it is unclear whether an article has
been stable, defer to the style used by the first major contributor.[1] However, edits which correct
deviations from written style guidelines should not be reverted.

Article titles, headings and sections

         Main articles: Wikipedia:Naming conventions, Wikipedia:Lead section,
         Wikipedia:Layout, and Help:Section

Article titles
This guidance applies to the titles of Wikipedia articles, not to the titles of external articles that are

        Article titles should conform to Naming conventions, including Use English.
        Titles are generally nouns or noun phrases (Effects of the wild, not About the effects of the
        Titles should be short—preferably fewer than ten words.
        The initial letter of a title is capitalized (except in very rare cases, such as eBay).
         Otherwise, capital letters are used only where implied by normal capitalization rules
         (Funding of UNESCO projects, not Funding of UNESCO Projects).
        A, an and the are normally avoided as the first word (Economy of the Second Empire, not
         The economy of the Second Empire), unless part of a proper noun (The Hague).
        Special characters such as the slash (/), plus sign (+), braces ({ }) and square brackets ([ ])
         are avoided; the ampersand (&) is replaced by and, unless it is part of a formal name.

This guidance also applies to Section headings below.

First sentences

        If possible, an article title is the subject of the first sentence of the article; for example,
         “The Manual of Style is a style guide” instead of “This style guide is known as ...”. If the
         article title is an important term, it appears as early as possible. The first (and only the
         first) appearance of the title is in boldface, including its abbreviation in parentheses, if
         given. Equivalent names may follow, and may or may not be in boldface. Items in
         boldface are not linked, and boldface is not used subsequently in the first paragraph. For
         example: “Vienna (German: Wien [viːn], see also its other names) is the capital of
         Austria and one of that country’s nine states.”
        If the topic of an article has no name and the title is merely descriptive—such as
         Electrical characteristics of a dynamic loudspeaker—the title does not need to appear
         verbatim in the main text; if it does, it is not in boldface.
        The normal rules for italics are followed in choosing whether to put part or all of the title
         in italics (“Tattoo You is an album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1981”).
        If the topic of the article may be unfamiliar to some readers, establish a context. For
         example, instead of “A trusted third party is an entity that facilitates interactions
         between two parties who both trust the third party”, write “In cryptography, a trusted
         third party is an entity that facilitates interactions between two parties who both trust the
         third party”. The context in this example is that the topic covered by the article is the use
         of that notion in the field of cryptography.

Section headings

         See also the guidance in “Article titles”above, which also applies to section headings.
      Section names should preferably be unique within a page; this applies even for the names
       of subsections. The disadvantages of duplication are that:
             o after editing, the display can arrive at the wrong section; see also below; and
             o the automatic edit summary on editing a section with a non-unique name is
      Section names should not normally contain links.
      Section names should not explicitly refer to the subject of the article, or to higher-level
       headings, unless doing so is shorter or clearer. For example, Early life is preferable to His
       early life when His means the subject of the article; headings can be assumed to be about
       the subject unless otherwise indicated.
      Unspaced multiple equal signs are the style markup for headings. The triple apostrophes
       ( ‘‘‘ ) that make words appear in boldface are not used in headings. The nesting hierarchy
       for headings is as follows:
             o the automatically generated top-level heading of a page is H1, which gives the
                  article title;
             o primary headings are then ==H2==, followed by ===H3===, ====H4====, and
                  so on.
      Spaces between the == and the heading text are optional (==H2== versus == H2 ==).
       These extra spaces will not affect the appearance of the heading, except in the edit
      A blank line below the heading is optional. If there are no blank lines above the heading,
       one line should be added, for readability in the edit window. Only two or more blank lines
       above or below will change the public appearance of the page by adding more white

Section management

      Headings provide an overview in the table of contents and allow readers to navigate
       through the text more easily.
      Change a heading only after careful consideration, because this will break section links to
       it within the same article and from other articles. If changing a heading, try to locate and
       fix broken links; for example, searching for wikipedia “section management” will yield
       links to the current section.
      When linking to a section, as a courtesy, go to that article’s section and leave an editor’s
       note to remind others that the title is linked. List the names of the linking articles, so that
       if the title is altered, others can fix the links without having to perform exhaustive
       searches. For example:
       ==Evolutionary implications==<!--This section is linked from [[Richard Dawkins]] and
       [[Daniel Dennett]]--> .
      As well, consider a preemptive measure to minimize link corruption when the text of a
       heading changes by inserting an {{anchor}} with an alternative name by which to link to
       that heading section. For example:
       ==Evolutionary implications{{anchors | RDawkins | DDennett}}==<!-- This section is
       linked from [[Richard Dawkins]] and [[Daniel Dennett]] --> .
        When referring to a section without linking, italicize the section name (italicize the actual
         section name only if it otherwise requires italics, such as the title of a book); for example,
         the current section is called Section management.
        The standard order for optional appendix sections at the end of an article is See also,
         Notes (or Footnotes), References, Further reading (or Bibliography), and External links;
         the order of Notes and References can be reversed. See also is an exception to the point
         above that wording comprises nouns and noun phrases. For information on these optional
         sections, see Wikipedia:Layout#Standard appendices and descriptions and
         Wikipedia:Citing sources.

Capital letters

         Main article: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)

There are differences between the major varieties of English in the use of capitals (uppercase
letters). Where this is an issue, the rules of the cultural and linguistic context apply. As for spelling,
consistency is maintained within an article.

Within articles and other wiki pages, capitals are not used for emphasis. Where wording cannot
provide the emphasis, italics are used.

         Incorrect:    Contrary to popular belief, aardvarks are Not the same as anteaters.
         Incorrect:    Contrary to popular belief, aardvarks are NOT the same as anteaters.
         Correct:      Contrary to popular belief, aardvarks are not the same as anteaters.


        When used as titles (that is, followed by a name), items such as president, king and
         emperor start with a capital letter: President Clinton, not president Clinton. The formal
         name of an office is treated as a proper noun: Hirohito was Emperor of Japan and Louis
         XVI was King of France (where Emperor of Japan and King of France, respectively, are
         titles). Royal styles are capitalized: Her Majesty and His Highness; exceptions may apply
         for particular offices.
        When used generically, such items are in lower case: De Gaulle was a French president
         and Louis XVI was a French king. Similarly, Three prime ministers attended the
         conference, but, We know that the British Prime Minister is Gordon Brown.
        For the use of titles and honorifics in biographical articles, see Honorific prefixes.

Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines and their adherents

        Religions, sects and churches and their followers (in noun or adjective form) start with a
         capital letter. Generally, the is not capitalized before such names (the Shī’a, not The
         Shī’a). (But see also the style guide and naming convention for the Latter Day Saint
      Scriptures (religious texts) are capitalized but often not italicized (for example, the
       names of the Qur’an, the Talmud, the Granth Sahib, and the Bible). When the is used, it is
       not capitalized. Some derived adjectives are capitalized by convention, some are not
       (normally biblical but Koranic, for example); if unsure, check a dictionary appropriate to
       the topic, and be consistent within an article.
      Honorifics for deities, including proper nouns and titles, start with a capital letter (God,
       Allah, the Lord, the Supreme Being, the Great Spirit); the is not capitalized. The same is
       true when referring to major religious figures and figures from mythology by titles or
       terms of respect (the Prophet, the Messiah, the Virgin, a Muse). Common nouns denoting
       deities or religious figures are not capitalized; thus the Romans worshipped many gods,
       many Anglo-Saxons worshipped the god Wotan, Jesus and Muhammad are both
       considered prophets in Islam, biblical scholars dispute whether Mary was a virgin for her
       entire life, and her husband was her muse.
      Pronouns and possessives referring to figures of veneration are not capitalized in
       Wikipedia articles, even when they traditionally are in a religion’s scriptures. They are
       left capitalized when directly quoting scriptures or any other texts that capitalize them.
      Broad categories of mythical or legendary creatures do not start with uppercase capital
       letters (elf, fairy, nymph, unicorn, angel), although in derived works of fantasy, such as
       the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien and real-time strategy video games, initial capitals are
       sometimes used to indicate that the beings are regarded as cultures or races in their
       fictional universes. Names or titles of individual creatures are capitalized (the Minotaur,
       the Pegasus) as are those of groups whose name and membership are fixed (the Cherubim,
       the Magi or the Three Wise Men). As with terms for deities, generalized references are
       not capitalized (cherub-like, the priests of this sect were called magi by some, several
       wise men were consulted).
      Spiritual or religious events are likewise capitalized only when they are terms referring
       to specific incidents or periods (the Great Flood, the Exodus, but annual flooding or an
       exodus of refugees).
      Philosophies, theories and doctrines do not begin with a capital letter unless the name
       derives from a proper noun (capitalism versus Marxism) or has become a proper noun
       (lowercase republican refers to a system of political thought; uppercase Republican refers
       to one of several specific political parties or ideologies, such as the US Republican Party
       or Irish Republicanism). Physical and natural laws and parodies of them are capitalized
       (the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Theory of Special Relativity, Murphy’s Law; but
       an expert on gravity and relativity, thermodynamic properties, Murphy’s famous
       mock-law). Doctrinal topics or canonical religious ideas (as distinguished from specific
       events) that may be traditionally capitalized within a faith are given in lower case in
       Wikipedia, such as virgin birth, original sin or transubstantiation.
      Platonic or transcendent ideals are capitalized (Good, Truth), but only within the
       context of philosophical doctrine; used more broadly, they are lower-case (Superman
       represents American ideals of truth and justice). Personifications represented in art, such
       as a statue of the figure Justice, are capitalized.

Calendar items
       Months, days of the week, and holidays start with a capital letter: June, Monday, the
        Fourth of July (when referring to the U.S. Independence Day, otherwise July 4 or 4 July).
       Seasons, in almost all instances, are lowercase: This summer was very hot; The winter
        solstice occurs about December 22; I have spring fever. When personified, season names
        may function as proper nouns, and they should then be capitalized: I think Spring is
        showing her colors; Old Man Winter.

Animals, plants, and other organisms

        Main articles: Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life#Article titles and Wikipedia:Naming
        conventions (fauna)

Scientific names for genera and species are italicized, with a capital initial letter for the genus but
no capital for the species; for more specific guidelines for article titles, see Wikipedia:WikiProject
Tree of Life#Article titles. For example, the tulip tree is Liriodendron tulipifera, and humans are
Homo sapiens. Taxonomic groups higher than genus are given with an initial capital and are not in
italics; for example, gulls are in the family Laridae, and we are in the family Hominidae.

Common (vernacular) names of flora and fauna should be written in lower case—for example,
oak or lion. There are a limited number of exceptions to this:

    1. Where the common name contains a proper noun, such as the name of a person or place,
       that proper noun should be capitalized; for example, The Amur tiger may have a range of
       over 500 square kilometres, or The Roosevelt elk is a subspecies of Cervus canadensis.
    2. For specific groups of organisms, there are specific rules of capitalization based on
       current and historic usage among those who study the organisms. For example, official
       common names of birds are normally capitalized.
    3. In a very few cases, a set of officially established common names are recognized only
       within a country or a geographic region. Those common names may be capitalized
       according to local custom but it should be understood that not all editors will have access
       to the references needed to support these names; in such cases, using the general
       recommendation is also acceptable.

In any case, a redirect from an alternative capitalization should be created where it is used in an
article title.

In articles that cover two or more taxonomic groups, a consistent style of capitalisation should
be used for species names. This could involve:

       using scientific names throughout - often appropriate for articles of a specialist nature.
       using title case for common names of species throughout (per WP:BIRDS) and lower
        case for non-specific names such as eagle or bilberry, which may work well for articles
        with a broad coverage of natural history.
       using lower case for common names, which may work well for non-specialist articles that
        happen to refer to various different taxonomic groups.
Celestial bodies

       Sun, earth and moon are not capitalized generally (The sun was peeking over the
        mountain top). They may be proper nouns in an astronomical context but only when
        referring to specific celestial bodies (our Sun, Earth and Moon): so The Moon orbits the
        Earth, but Jupiter’s moon Io.
       Other planets and stars are proper nouns and start with a capital letter: The planet Mars
        can be seen tonight in the constellation Gemini, near the star Pollux. Where a name has
        multiple words, it is treated like other proper nouns where each leading letter is
        capitalized: Alpha Centauri and not Alpha centauri.

Directions and regions

       Directions such as north are not proper nouns and are therefore lowercase. The same is
        true for their related forms: someone might call a road that leads north a northern road,
        compared with the Great North Road. Composite directions may or may not be
        hyphenated (northeast and north-east, Southeast Asia and South-East Asia), depending on
        the general style adopted in the article.
       Regions that are proper nouns, including widely known expressions such as Southern
        California, start with a capital letter. Follow the same convention for related forms: a
        person from the Southern United States is a Southerner. Regions of uncertain
        proper-noun status are assumed not to have attained it.


       Proper names of institutions (for example, the University of Sydney, New
        York-Presbyterian Hospital, George Brown College) are proper nouns and require
        capitalization. Where a title starts with the, it typically starts with lowercase t when the
        title occurs in the middle of a sentence: a degree from the University of Sydney.
       Generic words for institutions (university, college, hospital, high school) require no

        Incorrect (generic):     The University offers programs in arts and sciences.
        Correct    (generic):    The university offers ...
        Correct    (title):      The University of Delhi offers ...

Acronyms and abbreviations

        Main articles: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (abbreviations) and Wikipedia:Edit summary
Write out both the full version and the abbreviation at first occurrence
        When using acronyms, initialisms and other abbreviations, it should be remembered that
        readers are not necessarily familiar with their meanings. Good practice is to name an item
        in full on its first occurrence, followed by the abbreviated form in parentheses. For
        example, The New Democratic Party (NDP) won the 1990 Ontario election with a
        significant majority (first mention of New Democratic Party in the article), and The NDP
        quickly became unpopular with the voters (subsequent mention).
        Initial capitals are not used in the full name of an item just because capitals are used in the

        Incorrect (not a name):     We used Digital Scanning (DS) technology
        Correct:                    We used digital scanning (DS) technology
        Correct    (name):          produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

         If the full term is already in parentheses, use a comma and or to indicate the abbreviation;
         for example, They first debated the issue in 1992 (at a convention of the New Democratic
         Party, or NDP).
Plural and possessive forms
         Acronyms and initialisms are pluralized by adding -s or -es as with any other nouns (They
         produced three CD-ROMs in the first year; The laptops were produced with three
         different BIOSes in 2006). As with other nouns, no apostrophe is used unless the form is a
Periods (full stops) and spaces
         Acronyms and initialisms are generally not separated by full stops (periods) or blank
         spaces (GNP, NORAD, OBE, GmbH); many periods and spaces that were traditionally
         required have now dropped out of usage (PhD is preferred over Ph.D. and Ph. D.).
         Periods are not used in units of measurement (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and
         numbers) for more information).
         Truncated (Hon. for Honorable), compressed (cmte. for committee) and contracted (Dr.
         for Doctor) abbreviations may or may not be closed with a period. A consistent style
         should be maintained within an article. A period is much more usual in American usage
         (Dr. Smith of 42 St. Joseph St.); and no period is commonly preferred in British and other
         usage (Dr Smith of 42 St Joseph St, though one or other “St” might take a period, in such
         a case). Some British and other authorities prefer to drop the period from truncated and
         compressed abbreviations generally (XYZ Corp, ABC Ltd), a practice also favored in
         science writing. Regardless of punctuation, such abbreviations are spaced if multi-word
         (op. cit. or op cit, not op.cit. or opcit).
         US and U.S.
         In American English, U.S. is the standard abbreviation for United States; US is becoming
         more common and is standard in other national forms of English. In longer abbreviations
         incorporating the country’s initials (USN, USAF), periods are not used. When the United
         States is mentioned along with one or more other countries in the same sentence, U.S. or
         US can be too informal, and many editors avoid it especially at first mention of the
         country (France and the United States, not France and the U.S.). In a given article, if the
         abbreviated form of the United States appears predominantly alongside other abbreviated
         country names, for consistency it is preferable to avoid periods throughout; never add
         periods to the other abbreviations (the US, the UK and the PRC, not the U.S., the U.K.
         and the P.R.C.). The spaced U. S. is never used, nor is the archaic U.S. of A., except in
        quoted materials. U.S.A. and USA are not used unless quoted or as part of a proper name
        (Team USA).
Do not use unwarranted abbreviations
        The use of abbreviations should be avoided when they would be confusing to the reader,
        interrupt the flow, or appear informal or lazy. For example, approx. for approximate or
        approximately should generally not be used, although it may be useful for reducing the
        width of an infobox or a table of data, or in a technical passage in which the term occurs
        many times.
        See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) for when to abbreviate units of
Do not invent abbreviations or acronyms
        Generally avoid the making up of new abbreviations, especially acronyms. For example,
        while it is reasonable to provide World Union of Billiards as a translation of Union
        Mondiale de Billard, the former is not the organization’s name, and it does not use the
        acronym or initialism WUB; when referring to it in short form, use the official
        abbreviation UMB. In a wide table of international economic data, it might be desirable to
        abbreviate a United States gross national product heading; this might be done with the
        widely recognized initialisms US and GNP spaced together, with a link to appropriate
        articles, if it is not already explained: US GNP, rather than the made-up initialism
HTML elements
        The software that Wikipedia runs on does not support HTML abbreviation elements
        (<acronym> or <abbr>); therefore, these tags are not inserted into the source (see


       Further information: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting)
       Italics are used sparingly to emphasize words in sentences (bolding is normally not used
       at all for this purpose). Generally, the more highlighting in an article, the less the effect of
       each instance.
       Main article: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (titles)
       Italics are used for the titles of works of literature and art, such as books, paintings and
       musical albums. The titles of articles, chapters, songs and other short works are not
       italicized, but are enclosed in double quotation marks.
       Italics are not used for major revered religious works (for example the Bible, the Koran,
       and the Talmud).
Words as words
       Italics are used when mentioning a word or letter (see Use–mention distinction) or a string
       of words up to a full sentence: “The term panning is derived from panorama, a word
       coined in 1787”; “The most commonly used letter in English is e”. For a whole sentence,
       quotation marks may be used instead: (1) The preposition in She sat on the chair is on, or
       (2) The preposition in “She sat on the chair” is on. Mentioning (to discuss such features
         as grammar, wording and punctuation) is different from quoting (in which something is
         usually expressed on behalf of a quoted source).
Foreign words
         Wikipedia prefers italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words
         that do not yet have everyday use in non-specialized English.
Quotations in italics
         For quotations, use only quotation marks (for short quotations) or block quoting (for long
         ones), not italics. (See Quotations below.) This means that (1) a quotation is not italicized
         inside quotation marks or a block quote just because it is a quotation, and (2) italicization
         is not used as a substitute for proper quotation formatting.
Italics within quotations
         Italics are used within quotations if they are already in the source material, or are added
         by Wikipedia to give emphasis to some words. If the latter, an editorial note “[emphasis
         added]” should appear at the end of the quotation (“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night
         sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest” [emphasis added]).
         If the source uses italics for emphasis, and it is desirable to stress that Wikipedia has not
         added the italics, the editorial note “[emphasis in original]” should appear after the quote.
Effect on nearby punctuation
         Italicization is restricted to what should properly be affected by italics, and not the
         punctuation that is part of the surrounding sentence.

        Incorrect:    What are we to make of that?
        Correct:      What are we to make of that?
                            (The question mark applies to the whole sentence, not just to the
                            emphasized that.)
        Correct:      Four of Patrick White’s most famous novels are A Fringe of Leaves, The
                      Aunt’s Story, Voss and The Tree of Man.
                            (The commas, period, and and are not italicized.)

Italicized links
         The italics markup must be outside the link markup, or the link will not work; however,
         internal italicization can be used in piped links.

        Incorrect:    The opera [[‘‘Turandot’’]] is his best.
        Correct:      The opera ‘‘[[Turandot]]’’ is his best.
        Correct:      The [[USS Adder (SS-3)|USS ‘‘Adder’’ (SS-3)]] was a submarine.

Non-breaking spaces

        See also: Wikipedia:Line break handling and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and
        numbers)#Non-breaking spaces
       A non-breaking space (also known as a hard space) is recommended to prevent the
        end-of-line displacement of elements that could be awkward at the beginning of a new
             o in compound expressions in which figures and abbreviations or symbols are
                 separated by a space (17 kg, AD 565, 2:50 pm), including scientific names of
                 species where the genus is abbreviated (C. elegans);
             o on the left side of spaced en dashes; and
             o in other places where displacement might be disruptive to the reader, such as
                 £11 billion, 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, Boeing 747, and the first two items in 7 World
                 Trade Center.
       A hard space can be produced with the HTML code &nbsp; instead of the space bar, or
        by pressing the key combination option–space bar on a Mac: 19&nbsp;kg yields a
        non-breaking 19 kg.
       Hard spaces can also be produced by using the {{nowrap}} template: {{nowrap|8 sq ft}}
        produces a non-breaking 8 sq ft. This is especially useful for short constructions requiring
        two or more hard spaces, as in the preceding example. Template {{nowrap}} has the
        disadvantage that if the enclosed text starts or ends with a space, these spaces are forced
        outside in the resulting HTML, and unpredicted breaks may occur. If &nbsp; occurs right
        before {{nowrap}}, or at the start of text within {{nowrap}}, some browsers allow a
        break at that point.
       Unlike normal spaces, multiple hard spaces are not compressed by browsers into a single


         See also: Italics and quotations and Quotation marks
Minimal change
         Wherever reasonable, preserve the original style, spelling and punctuation. Where there is
         a good reason not to do so, insert an editorial explanation of the changes, usually within
         square brackets (e.g., [for example]). If there is an error in the original statement, use
         {{sic}} (which looks like [sic]) to show that it is not a transcription error.
         The author of a quote of a full sentence or more should be named; this is done in the main
         text and not in a footnote. However, attribution is unnecessary for quotations from the
         subject of the article or section. When preceding a quotation with its attribution, avoid
         characterizing it in a biased manner.
Quotations within quotations
         When a quotation includes another quotation (and so on), start with double-quotes
         outermost and working inward, alternate single-quotes with double-quotes. For example,
         the following three-level quotation: “She disputed his statement that ‘Voltaire never said
         “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
         ‘“ Adjacent quote marks, as at the end of this example, are difficult to read (e.g.: “‘“)
         unless spaced apart slightly with CSS; use the {{“ ‘}}, {{‘ “}} and {{“ ‘ “}} templates for
         this purpose: ...your right to say it.{{“ ‘ “}} Do not use plain or non-breaking space
          (&nbsp;) characters, as this corrupts the semantic integrity of the article by mixing
          content and presentation.
        Unless there is a good reason to do so, Wikipedia avoids linking from within quotes,
        which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged,
        and mislead or confuse the reader.
Block quotations
        A long quote (more than four lines, or consisting of more than one paragraph, regardless
        of number of lines) is formatted as a block quotation, which Wikimedia’s software will
        indent from both margins. Block quotes are not enclosed in quotation marks (especially
        including decorative ones such as those provided by the {{cquote}} template, used only
        for pull quotes). Block quotes can be enclosed between a pair of
        <blockquote>...</blockquote> HTML tags, or {{quotation}} or {{quote}} can be used.
        Note: The current version of Wikipedia’s MediaWiki software will not render multiple
        paragraphs inside a <blockquote> simply by spacing the paragraphs apart with blank
        lines. A workaround is to enclose each of the block-quoted paragraphs in its own
        <p>...</p> element.

<p>And bring us a lot of horilka, but not of that fancy kind with raisins, or with any other such
things—bring us horilka of the purest kind, give us that demon drink that makes us merry, playful
and wild!</p>

<p>—[[Nikolai Gogol]], ‘‘[[Taras Bulba]]’’</p>

          The result appears indented on both sides (and, depending on browser software, may also
          be in a smaller font):

And bring us a lot of horilka, but not of that fancy kind with raisins, or with any other such
things—bring us horilka of the purest kind, give us that demon drink that makes us merry, playful
and wild!

—Nikolai Gogol, Taras Bulba

          The {{quote}} template provides the same semantic HTML formatting, as well as a
          workaround for the paragraph spacing bug and a pre-formatted attribution line:

{{quote|And bring us a lot of horilka, but not of that fancy kind with raisins, or with any other
such things—bring us horilka of the purest kind, give us that demon drink that makes us merry,
playful and wild!|[[Nikolai Gogol]]|’’[[Taras Bulba]]’’}}

          Which results in:
And bring us a lot of horilka, but not of that fancy kind with raisins, or with any other such
things—bring us horilka of the purest kind, give us that demon drink that makes us merry, playful
and wild!

—Nikolai Gogol, Taras Bulba


Quotation marks

        See also: Quotations

The term quotation(s) in the material below also includes other uses of quotation marks such as
those for titles of songs, chapters, and episodes; unattributable aphorisms; literal strings;
“scare-quoted” passages and constructed examples.

Double or single
         Quotations are enclosed within “double quotes”. Quotations within quotations are
         enclosed within ‘single quotes’.
Inside or outside
         Punctuation marks are placed inside the quotation marks only if the sense of the
         punctuation is part of the quotation. This system is referred to as logical quotation; it is
         used by Wikipedia both because of the principle of minimal change, and also because the
         method is less prone to misquotation, ambiguity and the introduction of errors in
         subsequent editing.

        Correct: Arthur said, “The situation is deplorable and unacceptable.”
                           (The period is part of the quoted text.)
        Correct: Arthur said that the situation was “deplorable”.
                           (The period is not part of the quoted text.)
        Correct: Martha asked, “Are you coming?”
                           (The question mark belongs inside because the quoted text itself was a
        Correct: Did Martha say, “Come with me”?
                           (The very quote is being questioned, so the question mark belongs
                           outside; any punctuation at the end of the original quote is omitted.)

        When quoting a sentence fragment which ends in a period, some judgement is required: if
        the fragment communicates a complete sentence, the period can be placed inside. The
        period should be omitted if the quotation is in the middle of a sentence.

        Correct: Martha said, “Come with me”, and they did.
Article openings
         When the title of an article appearing in the lead paragraph requires quotation marks (for
         example, the title of a song or poem), the quotation marks should not be in boldface, as
         they are not part of the title:

        Correct: “Jabberwocky” is a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll.

Block quotes
         As already noted above, we use quotation marks or block quotes (not both) to distinguish
         long quotations from other text. Multiparagraph quotations are always block-quoted. The
         quotations must be precise and exactly as in the source. The source should be cited clearly
         and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in
Straight or curly?
         There are two options when considering the look of the quotation marks (that is, the

              Typewriter or straight style: “text”, ‘text’, text’s
              Typographic or curly style: “text”, ‘text’, text’s

        (Emphasis added to better distinguish between the glyphs.)

              Grave and acute accents or backticks (`text´) are neither quotation marks nor
                 apostrophes, and must not be used in their place.
              Foreign characters that resemble apostrophes, such as transliterated Arabic ayin (ʿ )
                 and alif (ʾ ), are represented by their correct Unicode characters, despite possible
                 display problems. If this is not feasible, use a straight apostrophe instead.

       The exclusive use of straight quotes and apostrophes is recommended. They are easier to
       type in reliably, and to edit. Mixed use interferes with searching (a search for Korsakoff’s
       syndrome could fail to find Korsakoff’s syndrome and vice versa).
       Whenever quotation marks or apostrophes appear in article titles, make a redirect from
       the same title but using the alternative glyphs.
Other matters

       A quotation is not italicized simply because it is a quotation.
       If an entire sentence is quoted in such a way that it becomes a grammatical part of the
        larger sentence, the first letter loses its capitalization: It turned out to be true that “a
        penny saved is a penny earned”.
       If a word or phrase appears in an article in single quotes, such as ‘abcd’, Wikipedia’s
        search facility will find that word or phrase only if the search string is also within single
        quotes. This difficulty does not arise for double quotes, and this is one of the reasons the
        latter are recommended.

Brackets and parentheses
If a sentence contains a bracketed phrase, the sentence punctuation comes outside the brackets (as
shown here). However, where one or more sentences are wholly inside brackets, their punctuation
comes inside the brackets (see further details below). These rules apply to both round “( )”
brackets, often called parentheses, and square “[ ]” brackets. There should not be a space next to a
bracket on its inner side. An opening bracket should be preceded by a space, except in unusual
cases; for example, when it is preceded by:

        An opening quotation mark

         He rose to address the meeting: “(Ahem) ... Ladies and gentlemen, welcome!”

        Another opening bracket

         Only the royal characters in the play ([Prince] Hamlet and his family) habitually speak in
         blank verse.

        A portion of a word

         We journeyed on the Inter[continental].

There should be a space after a closing bracket, except where another punctuation mark (other
than an apostrophe or a dash) follows, and in unusual cases similar to those listed for opening

If sets of brackets must be nested, use the contrasting type (normally, square brackets appear
within round brackets [like this]). Often, it is better to revise the sentence to reduce clutter, using
commas, semicolons, colons or dashes instead.

Avoid adjacent sets of brackets—either put the parenthetic phrases in one set separated by
commas, or rewrite the sentence. For example:

         Incorrect:    Nikifor Grigoriev (c. 1885–1919) (also known as Matviy Hryhoriyiv) was a
                       Ukrainian insurgent leader.
         Correct:      Nikifor Grigoriev (c. 1885–1919), also known as Matviy Hryhoriyiv, was a
                       Ukrainian insurgent leader.
         Correct:      Nikifor Grigoriev (c. 1885–1919) was a Ukrainian insurgent leader. He was
                       also known as Matviy Hryhoriyiv.

Square brackets are used to indicate editorial replacements and insertions of text. They serve three
main purposes:

        To clarify. (“She attended [secondary] school”—where this was the intended meaning,
         but the type of school was unstated in the original sentence.)
        To reduce the size of a quotation. If a source says, “X contains Y, and under certain
         circumstances, X may contain Z as well”, it is acceptable to reduce this to “X contains Y
           [and sometimes] Z”, without ellipsis. When an ellipsis (...; see below) is used to indicate
           material removed from a direct quotation, it should not normally be bracketed.
          To make the grammar work: She said that “[she] would not allow this”—where her
           original statement was “I would not allow this.” (Generally, though, it is better to begin
           the quotation after the problematic word: She said that she “would not allow this.”)

The use of square-bracketed wording should never alter the intended meaning of a quotation.

Sentences and brackets

          If any sentence includes material that is enclosed in square or round brackets, it still must
           end—with a period, or a question or exclamation mark—after those brackets (a rule that
           applies in all English, whether British or U.S.). The preceding sentence is an example.
           This principle applies no matter what punctuation is used within the brackets.

          Normally, if the words of a sentence begin within brackets, the sentence must also end
           within those brackets. (This sentence is an example.) There is an exception for matter that
           is added or modified editorially at the beginning of a sentence for clarity, usually in
           square brackets: “[Principal Skinner] already told me that,” he objected.

          A sentence that occurs within brackets in the course of another sentence does not have its
           first word capitalized just because it starts a sentence. The enclosed sentence may have a
           question mark or exclamation mark added, but not a period: “Alexander then conquered
           (who would have believed it?) most of the known world”; “Clare demanded that he drive
           (she knew he hated driving) to the supermarket.” These constructions are usually best
           avoided, for readability.


An ellipsis (plural ellipses) is an omission of material from quoted text or some other omission,
perhaps of the end of a sentence, often used in the representation of conversation in print. The
ellipsis is represented by ellipsis points, a series of three dots (or sometimes four at the end of a

           Ellipses have traditionally been implemented in three ways:

                Three unspaced periods (...). This is the easiest way, and gives a predictable
                   appearance in HTML. Recommended.
                Pre-composed ellipsis character (…); generated with the &hellip; character entity,
                   or by insertion from the set below the edit window. This is harder to input and
                   edit, and too small in some fonts. Not recommended.
                Three spaced periods (. . .). This is an older style that is unnecessarily wide and
                   requires non-breaking spaces to keep it from breaking at the end of a line.
                   Strongly deprecated.
        Use an ellipsis if material is omitted in the course of a quotation, unless square brackets
        are used to gloss the quotation (see above, and the next point below). Put a space on each
        side of an ellipsis, except at the very start or end of a quotation. Sentence-final
        punctuation after an ellipsis is shown only if it is textually important (as is often the case
        with exclamation points and question marks, and rarely with periods); no space comes
        between the ellipsis and the terminal punctuation. Use non-breaking spaces (&nbsp;) only
        as needed to prevent improper line breaks, e.g.:

              To keep a quotation mark from being separated from the start of the quotation:
                “...&nbsp;we are still worried.”
              To keep the ellipsis from wrapping to the next line: “France, Germany,&nbsp;...
                and Belgium but not the USSR.”

Pause or suspension of speech
        Three periods are occasionally used to represent a pause in or suspense of speech, in
        which case the punctuation is retained in its original form (Virginia’s startled reply was:
        “Could he...? No, I cannot believe it!”). This usage is avoided in Wikipedia except in
        direct quotations.
With square brackets
        An ellipsis does not normally need square brackets around it, since its function is usually
        obvious—especially if the guidelines above are followed. But square brackets may
        optionally be used for precision, to make it clear that the ellipsis is not itself quoted; this
        is usually only necessary if the quoted passage also uses three periods in it to indicate a
        pause or suspension. The ellipsis should follow exactly the principles given above, but
        with square brackets inserted immediately before and after it. (Her long rant continued:
        “How do I feel? How do you think I... look, this has gone far enough! [...] I want to go

Serial commas

A serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma or Harvard comma) is a comma used
immediately before a conjunction in a list of three or more items: the phrase ham, chips, and eggs
contains a serial comma, while the variant ham, chips and eggs omits it. Both styles are acceptable
in Wikipedia, but in a case where including or omitting the comma clarifies the meaning of the
sentence, that solution should be adopted.

Sometimes omitting the comma can lead to an ambiguous sentence, as in this example: The author
would like to thank her parents, Sinéad O’Connor and President Bush, which may be a list of
either four or two people.

Including the comma can also cause ambiguity, as in: The author would like to thank her mother,
Sinéad O’Connor, and President Bush, which may be a list of either two or three people.

In such cases of ambiguity, there are three ways to clarify:
        Use or omit the serial comma to avoid ambiguity.
        Recast the sentence.
        Format the list, e.g. with paragraph breaks and numbered paragraphs.


A colon (:) informs the reader that what comes after it proves, explains, or modifies what has
come before, or is a list alluded to before. More specifically, the colon is an introduction that
warns the reader to be prepared for a closely related construction that is about to follow: this
following segment may be the elements of a set illustrating the statement, or the logical
consequence or effect of a fact stated before, or another closely related modifying sentence, or a
direct speech in combination with quotation marks.

Colons should not have spaces before them:

         Correct:     He attempted it in two years: 1941 and 1943
         Incorrect:   He attempted it in two years : 1941 and 1943

Colons should have complete sentences before them:

         Correct:     He attempted it in two years: 1941 and 1943
         Incorrect:   The years he attempted it included: 1941 and 1943


Hyphens (-) indicate conjunction. There are three main uses.

    1. To distinguish between homographs (re-dress = dress again, but redress = remedy or set
    2. To link certain prefixes with their main word (non-linear, sub-section, super-achiever):

         There is a clear trend, not yet complete, to join both elements in all varieties of English
         (subsection, nonlinear), particularly in North America. British English tends to hyphenate
         when the letters brought into contact are the same (non-negotiable, sub-basement) or are
         vowels (pre-industrial), or where a word is uncommon (co-proposed, re-target) or may
         be misread (sub-era, not subera). North American English reflects the same factors, but
         tends strongly to close up without a hyphen when possible. Consult a good dictionary,
         and see WP:ENGVAR.

    3. To link related terms in compound adjectives and adverbs:
           o A hyphen can help with ease of reading (face-to-face discussion, hard-boiled
                egg); a hyphen is particularly useful in long nominal groups where non-experts
                are part of the readership, such as in Wikipedia’s scientific articles: gas-phase
                reaction dynamics.
             o      A hyphen can help to disambiguate (little-used car, not a reference to the size of
                    a used car).
             o      Many compound adjectives that are hyphenated when used attributively (before
                    the noun they qualify—a light-blue handbag), are not hyphenated when used
                    predicatively (after the noun—the handbag was light blue). Where there would
                    be a loss of clarity, the hyphen may be used in the predicative case too (hand-fed
                    turkeys, the turkeys were hand-fed).
             o      A hyphen is not used after an -ly adverb (wholly owned subsidiary) unless part of
                    a larger compound (a slowly-but-surely strategy).
             o      A hyphen is normally used when the adverb well precedes a participle used
                    attributively (a well-meaning gesture; but normally a very well managed firm,
                    since well itself is modified); and even predicatively, if well is necessary to, or
                    alters, the sense of the adjective rather than simply intensifying it (the gesture
                    was well-meaning, the child was well-behaved, but the floor was well polished).
             o      A hanging hyphen is used when two compound adjectives are separated (two-
                    and three-digit numbers, a ten-car or -truck convoy).
             o      Values and units used as compound adjectives are hyphenated only where the
                    unit is given as a whole word. Where hyphens are not used, values and units are
                    always separated by a non-breaking space (&nbsp;).

         Incorrect:     9-mm gap
         Correct:       9 mm gap (entered as 9&nbsp;mm gap)
         Incorrect:     9 millimetre gap
         Correct:       9-millimetre gap
         Correct:       12-hour shift
         Correct:       12 h shift

A hyphen is never followed or preceded by a space, except when hanging (see above) or when
used to display parts of words independently, such as the prefix sub- and the suffix -less.

A hyphen is used only to mark conjunction—not to mark disjunction (for which en dashes are
correct: see below).

Hyphenation involves many subtleties that cannot be covered here; the rules and examples
presented above illustrate the broad principles that inform current usage.

Do not use hyphens (-) to write minus signs (−), except in code.


Two kinds of dash are used on Wikipedia. The article on dashes shows common input methods for
both kinds.

En dashes
En dashes (–) have three distinct roles.

    1. To indicate disjunction. In this role, there are two main applications.
            o To convey the sense of to or through, particularly in ranges (pp. 211–19, 64–75%,
                  the 1939–45 war, May–November) and where movement is involved
                  (Dublin–Belfast route). The word to, rather than an en dash, is used when a
                  number range involves a negative value or might be misconstrued as a
                  subtraction (−3 to 1, not −3–1). This is also the case when the nearby wording
                  demands it, e.g., he served from 1939 to 1941 and not he served from 1939–1941,
                  in which from and to are complementary and should both be spelled out.
            o As a substitute for some uses of and, to or versus for marking a relationship
                  involving independent elements in certain compound expressions (Canada–US
                  border, blood–brain barrier, time–altitude graph, 4–3 win in the opening game,
                  male–female ratio, 3–2 majority verdict, Lincoln–Douglas debate,
                  diode–transistor logic; but a hyphen is used in Sino-Japanese trade, in which
                  Sino-, being a prefix, lacks lexical independence.
                       Spacing: All disjunctive en dashes are unspaced, except when there is a
                           space within either or both of the items (the New York – Sydney flight;
                           the New Zealand – South Africa grand final; July 3, 1888 – August 18,
                           1940, but July–August 1940).
    2. In lists, to separate distinct information within points—particularly track titles and
       durations, and musicians and their instruments, in articles on music albums. In this role,
       en dashes are always spaced.
    3. As a stylistic alternative to em dashes (see below).

En dashes in page names

When naming an article, a hyphen is not used as a substitute for an en dash that properly belongs
in the title, for example in Eye–hand span. However, editors should provide a redirect page to
such an article, using a hyphen in place of the en dash (e.g., Eye-hand span), to allow the name to
be typed easily when searching Wikipedia. See also Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision).
The associated talk page name should match the page name exactly.

Minus signs

Do not use an en dash for negative signs and subtraction operators: use the correct Unicode
character for the minus sign (&minus;) (see also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (mathematics).)
Negative signs (−8 °C) are unspaced; subtraction signs (42 − 4 = 38) are spaced.

Em dashes

Em dashes (—) indicate interruption. They are used in two roles.

    1. Parenthesis (Wikipedia—one of the most popular web sites—has the information you
       need). Here, a pair of em dashes is a more arresting way of interpolating a phrase or
       clause than a pair of commas, and is less of an interruption than brackets. A pair of em
       dashes is particularly useful where there are already many commas; em dashes can make
       such a sentence easier to read, and sometimes they can remove ambiguity.
    2. A sharp break in the flow of a sentence—sharper than is provided by a colon or a

Em dashes should not be spaced.

Because em dashes are visually striking, it is preferable to avoid using more than two in a single
paragraph. The roles of more than two em dashes in a single sentence can be unclear.

Do not use an em dash for a minus sign.

Spaced en dashes as an alternative to em dashes

Spaced en dashes – such as here – can be used instead of unspaced em dashes in all of the ways
discussed above. Spaced en dashes are used by several major publishers, to the complete exclusion
of em dashes. One style should be used consistently in an article.

Other dashes

These are avoided on Wikipedia, notably the double-hyphen (--).

Spaces after the end of a sentence

There are no guidelines on whether to use one space or two (French spacing) after the end of a
sentence, but the issue is not important, because the difference is visible only in edit boxes; i.e. it
is ignored by browsers when displaying the article.


Avoid joining two words by a slash (/, also known as a forward slash), as it suggests that the two
are related, but does not specify how. It is often also unclear how the construct would be read
aloud. Consider replacing a slash with an explanation, or adding one in a footnote. Where possible,
reword more fully to avoid uncertainties.

An example: The parent/instructor must be present at all times. Must both be present? (Then write
the parent and the instructor.) Must at least one be present? (Then write the parent or the
instructor.) Are they the same person? (Use a hyphen: the parent-instructor.)

In circumstances involving a distinction or disjunction, the en dash is usually preferable to the
slash, e.g., the novel–novella distinction.

An unspaced slash may be used:

         to show pronunciations (“ribald is pronounced /ˈrıb·əld/”)
        to separate the numerator and denominator in a fraction (7/8 or 7⁄8)
        to indicate regular defined yearly periods that do not coincide with calendar years (see
         Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Longer periods)
        where slashes are used in a phrase outside Wikipedia, and using a different construction
         would be inaccurate, unfamiliar or ambiguous

A spaced slash may be used:

        to separate run-in lines of poetry or song (To be or not to be: that is the question: /
         Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune)
        to separate items of which one or both have an internal space (the NY 31 east / NY 370
         exit with the NY 31 east/NY 370 exit), or where it otherwise makes the reading easier.

Spaced slashes should be coded with a leading non-breaking space and a trailing normal space,
e.g., x&nbsp;/ y (which renders as x / y), to prevent line breaks introducing readability problems.

The backslash character, \, is never used in place of a slash.

In general prose, prefer ÷ to / when representing mathematical division in the context of
elementary arithmetic, as in “10 ÷ 2 = 5”. In more advanced mathematical formulas, a vinculum or
slash is preferred: or . (See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Common
mathematical symbols and Help:Displaying a formula for more information.)


The term and/or is usually awkward. In general, where it is important to mark an inclusive or, use
x or y, or both, rather than x and/or y. For an exclusive or, use either x or y, and optionally add but
not both, if it is necessary to stress the exclusivity.

Where more than two possibilities are presented, from which a combination is to be selected, it is
even less desirable to use and/or. With two possibilities, at least the intention is clear; but with
more than two it may not be. Instead of x, y, and/or z, use an appropriate alternative, such as one
or more of x, y, and z; some or all of x, y, and z.

Sometimes or is ambiguous in another way: “Wild dogs, or dingoes, inhabit this stretch of land”.
Are wild dogs and dingoes the same or different? For one case write: “wild dogs (dingoes)
inhabit ...” (dingoes are wild dogs); for the other case write: “either wild dogs or dingoes
inhabit ...” (I don’t know which).

Question marks and exclamation marks

        Question and exclamation marks are never preceded by a space in normal prose.
        The exclamation mark is used with restraint: it is an expression of surprise or emotion
         that is generally unsuited to a scholarly or encyclopedic register.
       Clusters of question marks, exclamation marks, or a combination of them (such as the
        interrobang) are highly informal and inappropriate in Wikipedia articles.
       For the use of these marks in association with quotation marks, see Quotations above.

[edit] Punctuation and inline citations

The placement of inline citations relative to sentence punctuation is dealt with separately, within
the Wikipedia guidelines concerning References.

[edit] Punctuation after formulas

A sentence that ends with a formula must have a period after the formula. If the conventional
punctuation rules would require a question mark, comma, semicolon, or other punctuation at that
place, the formula must be followed by that punctuation. See further Wikipedia:Manual of Style
(mathematics)#Punctuation after formulas.

Chronological items

        See also: WP:MOSNUM#Chronological items

Precise language

Avoid statements that will date quickly, except on pages that are regularly refactored, such as
those that cover current events. Avoid such items as recently and soon (unless their meaning is
clear in a storyline), currently (except on rare occasions when it is not redundant), in modern times,
is now considered and is soon to be superseded. Instead, use either:

       more precise items (since the start of 2005; during the 1990s; is expected to be
        superseded by 2008); or
       an as of phrase (as of August 2007), which is a signal to readers of the time-dependence
        of the statement, and to later editors of the need to update the statement (see As of).


Context determines whether the 12- or 24-hour clock is used; in both, colons separate hours,
minutes and seconds (1:38:09 pm and 13:38:09).

       12-hour clock times end with dotted or undotted lower-case a.m. or p.m., or am or pm,
        which are spaced (2:30 p.m. or 2:30 pm, not 2:30p.m. or 2:30pm). Noon and midnight are
        used rather than 12 pm and 12 am; whether midnight refers to the start or the end of a date
        will need to be specified unless this is clear from the context.
       24-hour clock times have no a.m., p.m., noon or midnight suffix. Discretion may be used
        as to whether the hour has a leading zero (08:15 or 8:15). 00:00 refers to midnight at the
        start of a date, 12:00 to noon, and 24:00 to midnight at the end of a date.

      Wikipedia does not use ordinal suffixes or articles, or put a comma between month and

       Incorrect:   February 14th, 14th February, the 14th of February
       Correct:     14 February, February 14
       Incorrect:   October, 1976
       Correct:     October 1976

      The choice of which of the two standard formats should be used in the body of an article
       text (the US or the international) is governed by three simple guidelines.
      The use of full date formatting is now deprecated. This refers to the system by which a
       date containing day, month and year ([[25 March]] [[2004]]) or day and month
       ([[February 10]]) can be surrounded by double square brackets to permit Wikipedians
       who are logged in and have selected to see the format they have pre-set in their
      Date ranges are preferably given with minimal repetition, using an unspaced en dash
       where the range involves numerals alone (5–7 January 1979; January 5–7, 2002) or a
       spaced en dash where opening and/or closing dates have internal spaces (5 January – 18
       February 1979; January 5 – February 18, 1979).
      Rarely, a night may be expressed in terms of the two contiguous dates using a slash (the
       bombing raids of the night of 30/31 May 1942); this cannot be done using the
       autoformatting function.
      Yearless dates (5 March, March 5) are inappropriate unless the year is obvious from the
       context. There is no such ambiguity with recurring events, such as “January 1 is New
       Year’s Day”.
      ISO 8601 dates (like 1976-05-13) are uncommon in English prose and are generally not
       used in Wikipedia. However, they may be useful in long lists and tables for conciseness
       and ease of comparison.

Longer periods

      Months are expressed as whole words (February, not 2), except in the ISO 8601 format.
       Abbreviations such as Feb are used only where space is extremely limited, such as in
       tables and infoboxes. Do not insert of between a month and a year (April 2000, not April
       of 2000).

      Seasons as dates. Because the seasons are reversed in the northern and southern
       hemispheres—and areas near the equator tend to have just wet and dry seasons—neutral
       wording (in early 1990, in the second quarter of 2003, around September) may be
       preferable to a “seasonal” reference (Summer 1918, Spring 1995). Even when the season
       reference is unambiguous (for instance when a particular location is clearly involved) a
       date or month may be preferable to a season name, unless there is a logical connection
       (the autumn harvest). Season names are actually preferable when they refer to a time of
       the year rather than as a substitute for a date or range of dates (migration to higher
    latitudes typically starts in mid spring). Season names in this kind of context are spelled
    with a lower-case initial.
   Years
         o Years are normally expressed in digits; a comma is not used in four-digit years
             (1988, not 1,988).
         o Avoid inserting the words the year before the digits (1995, not the year 1995),
             unless the meaning would otherwise be unclear.
                   Either CE and BCE or AD and BC can be used—spaced, undotted
                      (without periods) and upper case. Choose either the BC-AD or the
                      BCE-CE system, but not both in the same article. AD appears before or
                      after a year (AD 1066, 1066 AD); the other abbreviations appear after
                      (1066 CE, 3700 BCE, 3700 BC). The absence of such an abbreviation
                      indicates the default, CE-AD. It is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to
                      change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason
                      for the change; the Manual of Style favors neither system over the other.
                   Uncalibrated (bce) radiocarbon dates: Do not give uncalibrated
                      radiocarbon dates (represented by the lower-case bce unit, occasionally
                      bc or b.c. in some sources), except in directly quoted material, and even
                      then include a footnote, a [square-bracketed editor’s note], or other
                      indication to the reader what the calibrated date is, or at least that the
                      date is uncalibrated. Calibrated and uncalibrated dates can diverge
                      surprisingly widely, and the average reader does not recognize the
                      distinction between bce and BCE-BC.
                   Year ranges, like all ranges, are separated by an en dash (do not use a
                      hyphen or slash (2005–08, not 2005-08 or 2005/08). A closing CE-AD
                      year is normally written with two digits (1881–86) unless it is in a
                      different century from that of the opening year (1881–1986). The full
                      closing year is acceptable, but abbreviating it to a single digit (1881–6)
                      or three digits (1881–886) is not. A closing BCE-BC year is given in full
                      (2590–2550 BCE). While one era signifier at the end of a date range still
                      requires an unspaced en dash (12–5 BC), a spaced en dash is required
                      when a signifier is used after the opening and closing years (5
                      BC – 29 AD).
                   A slash may be used to indicate regular defined yearly periods that do
                      not coincide with calendar years (the financial year 1993/4).
                   Abbreviations indicating long periods of time ago—such as BP (before
                      present), as well as various annum-based units such as Ka (kiloannum)
                      and kya (thousand years ago), Ma (megaannum) and mya (million years
                      ago), and Ga (gigaannum or billion years ago)—are given as full words
                      and wikilinked on first occurrence.
                   To indicate around, approximately, or about, the abbreviations c. and ca.
                      are preferred over circa, approximately or approx., and are spaced
                      (c. 1291). Use a question mark instead (1291?) only if the date is in fact
                        questioned rather than approximate. (The question mark may mistakenly
                        be understood as a sign that editors have simply not checked the date.)
       Decades contain no apostrophe (the 1980s, not the 1980’s); the two-digit form is used
        only where the century is clear (the ‘80s or the 80s).
       Centuries and millennia are written using ordinal numbers, without superscripts and
        without Roman numerals: the second millennium, the 19th century, a 19th-century book
        (see also Numbers as figures or words below).


        See also: WP:MOSNUM#Numbers

Numbers as figures or words

        See also: WP:MOSNUM#Numbers as figures or words

As a general rule, in the body of an article, single-digit whole numbers from zero to nine are
spelled out in words; numbers greater than nine are commonly rendered in numerals, or may be
rendered in words if they are expressed in one or two words (16 or sixteen, 84 or eighty-four, 200
or two hundred, but 3.75, 544, 21 million). This applies to ordinal numbers as well as cardinal
numbers. However there are frequent exceptions to these rules.

       Numerals are used in tables and infoboxes, and in places where space is limited. Numbers
        within a table’s explanatory text and comments should be consistent with the general rule.
       Comparable quantities should be all spelled out or all figures: we may write either 5 cats
        and 32 dogs or five cats and thirty-two dogs, not five cats and 32 dogs.
       Adjacent quantities which are not comparable should usually be in different formats:
        thirty-six 6.4-inch rifled guns is more readable than 36 6.4-inch rifled guns.
       Numbers that begin a sentence are spelled out, although it is often better to recast the
        sentence if simply changing format would produce other problems.
       The numerical elements of dates and times are not normally spelled out, except where
        customary in historical references such as Seventh of March Speech.
       Centuries are named in figures: (the 5th century CE; 19th-century painting); when the
        adjective is hyphenated, consider nineteenth-century painting, but not when contrasted
        with painting in the 20th century.
       Simple fractions are normally spelled out; use the fraction form if they occur in a
        percentage or with an abbreviated unit (⅛ mm or an eighth of a millimeter) or if they are
        mixed with whole numbers. Decimal fractions are not spelled out.
       Mathematical quantities, measurements, stock prices etc. are normally stated in figures.
       The use of words rather than figures may be preferred when expressing approximate
       Proper names, idioms, and formal numerical designations comply with common usage
        (Chanel No. 5, 4 Main Street, 1-Naphthylamine, Channel 6). This is the case even where
        it causes a numeral to open a sentence, although this is usually avoided by rewording.
      Most proper names containing numbers spell them out (e.g. Fourth Amendment,
       Seventeenth Judicial District, Seven Years’ War); the proper names of military units do

Large numbers

       See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Large numbers, Order of
       magnitude, and Long and short scales

      Commas are used to break the sequence every three places (2,900,000).
      Large rounded numbers are generally assumed to be approximations; only where the
       approximation could be misleading is it necessary to qualify with about or a similar term.
      Avoid over-precise values where they are unlikely to be stable or accurate, or where the
       precision is unnecessary in the context. (The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458
       metres per second is probably appropriate, but The distance from the Earth to the Sun is
       149,014,769 kilometres and The population of Cape Town is 2,968,790 would usually not
       be, because both values are unstable at that level of precision, and readers are unlikely to
       care in the context.)
      Scientific notation (6.02 × 1023) is preferred in scientific contexts.
      Where values in the millions occur a number of times through an article, upper-case M
       may be used for million, unspaced, after using the full word at the first occurrence. (She
       bequeathed her fortune of £100 million unequally: her eldest daughter received £70M,
       her husband £18M, and her three sons just £4M each.)
      Billion is understood as 109. After the first occurrence in an article, billion may be
       abbreviated to unspaced bn ($35bn).

Decimal points

      A decimal point is used between the integral and the fractional parts of a decimal; a
       comma is never used in this role (6.57, not 6,57).
      The number of decimal places should be consistent within a list or context (The response
       rates were 41.0 and 47.4 percent, respectively, not The response rates were 41 and 47.4
       percent, respectively), except in the unusual instances where the items were measured
       with unequal precision.
      Numbers between minus one and plus one require a leading zero (0.02, not .02);
       exceptions are performance averages in sports where a leading zero is not commonly used,
       and commonly used terms such as .22 caliber.


      Percent or per cent are commonly used to indicate percentages in the body of an article.
       The symbol % may be more common in scientific or technical articles, or in complex
      The symbol is unspaced (71%, not 71 %).
      In tables and infoboxes, the symbol is used, not the words percent or per cent.
      Ranges are preferably formatted with one rather than two percentage signifiers (22–28%,
       not 22%–28%).

Units of measurement

Which system to use

      For US-related articles, the main units are US units; for example, 23 miles (37 km).
      For UK-related articles, the main units are metric (consistently within an article).
      For other country-related articles, the main units are metric; for example, 37 kilometres
       (23 mi).
      American English uses -er endings for metric units (liter, kilometer); all other varieties of
       English, including Canadian, use -re (litre, kilometre).
      In scientific articles, use the units employed in the current scientific literature on that
       topic. This will usually be SI, but not always; for example, natural units are often used in
       relativistic and quantum physics, and Hubble’s constant should be quoted in its most
       common unit of (km/s)/Mpc rather than its SI unit of s−1.
      If editors cannot agree on the sequence of units, put the source value first and the
       converted value second. If the choice of units is arbitrary, use SI units as the main unit,
       with converted units in parentheses.


      Conversions to and from metric and imperial/US units should generally be provided.
       There are two exceptions:
            o articles on scientific topics where there is consensus among the contributors not
                to convert the metric units, in which case the first occurrence of each unit should
                be linked;
            o where inserting a conversion would make a common expression awkward (The
                four-minute mile).
      In the main text, give the main units as words and use unit symbols or abbreviations for
       conversions in parentheses; for example, a pipe 100 millimetres (4 in) in diameter and
       16 kilometres (10 mi) long or a pipe 4 inches (100 mm) in diameter and 10 miles (16 km)
       long. The exception is that where there is consensus to do so, the main units may also be
       abbreviated in the main text after the first occurrence.
      Converted values should use a level of precision similar to that of the source value; for
       example, the Moon is 380,000 kilometres (240,000 mi) from Earth, not (236,121 mi). The
       exception is small numbers, which may need to be converted to a greater level of
       precision where rounding would be a significant distortion; for example, one mile
       (1.6 km), not one mile (2 km).
      Category:Conversion templates can be used to convert and format many common units,
       including {{convert}}, which includes non-breaking spaces.
      In a direct quotation:
            o conversions required for units cited within direct quotations should appear within
                square brackets in the quote;
           o    if the text contains an obscure use of units (e.g., five million board feet of lumber),
                annotate it with a footnote that provides standard modern units, rather than
                changing the text of the quotation.
      Measurements should be accompanied by a proper citation of the source using a method
       described at the style guide for citation.
      Where footnoting or citing sources for values and units, identify both the source and the
       original units.

SI symbols and unit abbreviations

      Non-breaking spaces are used between values and units; see the Non-breaking spaces
       section above.
      Standard abbreviations and symbols for units are undotted (do not carry periods). For
       example, m for metre and kg for kilogram (not m. or kg.), in for inch (not in., or ″), ft for
       foot (not ft., or ′) and lb for pound (not lb. or #).
      The degree symbol is °. Using any other symbol (e.g., masculine ordinal º or “ring above”
       ˚) for this purpose is incorrect.
      Do not append an s for the plurals of unit symbols (kg, km, in, lb, not kgs, kms, ins, lbs). A
       lowercase ‘s’ is the SI symbol for second; thus, ‘kgs’ can be confused with ‘kg s’, which
       means “kilogram-second”.
      Temperatures are always accompanied by °C for degrees Celsius, °F for degrees
       Fahrenheit, or K for kelvin (35 °C, 62 °F, and 5,000 K, not 5,000 °K).
      Values and unit symbols are spaced (25 kg, not 25kg). The exceptions are degrees,
       minutes and seconds for angles and coordinates (the coordinate is 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, the
       pathways meet at a 90° angle, but the average temperature is 18 °C).
      Squared and cubic metric-symbols are always expressed with a superscript exponent
       (5 km2, 2 cm3); squared imperial and US unit abbreviations may be rendered with sq, and
       cubic with cu (15 sq mi, 3 cu ft).

            Do not use the Unicode characters ² and ³, but rather write <sup>2</sup> and
                <sup>3</sup> to produce the superscripts 2 and 3. The superscripted 2 and 3 are
                easier to read, especially on small displays, and ensure that exponents are
                properly aligned (compare x1x²x³x4 vs x1x2x3x4).

      In tables and infoboxes, use symbols and abbreviations for units, not words.
      Some different units share the same name. These examples show the need to be specific.
            o Use US or imperial gallon rather than just gallon.
            o Use nautical or statute mile rather than mile in nautical and aeronautical contexts.
            o Use long ton or short ton rather than just ton (the metric unit—the tonne—is also
                known as the metric ton).
      Ranges are preferably formatted with one rather than two unit signifiers (5.9–6.3 kg, not
       5.9 kg – 6.3 kg).

Unnecessary vagueness
Use accurate measurements whenever possible.

                Vague                                             Precise
The wallaby is small.                   The average male wallaby is 1.6 metres (63 in) from head
                                        to tail.
Prochlorococcus marinus is a tiny       The cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus is 0.5 to
cyanobacterium.                         0.8 micrometres across.

The large oil spill stretched a long    The oil spill that drifted down the Alaskan coast was 3
way down the Alaskan coast.             statute miles (5 km) long and 1,000 feet (300 m) wide.


         See also: Wikipedia:WikiProject Numismatics/Style#Article titles

Which currency to use

        In country-specific articles, such as Economy of Australia, use the currency of the
        In non-country-specific articles such as Wealth, use US dollars (US$123).


        Fully identify a currency on its first appearance (AU$52); subsequent occurrences are
         normally given without the country identification (just $88), unless this would be unclear.
         The exception to this is in articles related to the US and the UK, in which the first
         occurrence may also be shortened ($34 and £22, respectively), unless this would be
        Do not place a currency symbol after the value (123$, 123£, 123€), unless the symbol is
         normally written as such. Do not write $US123 or $123 (US).
        Currency abbreviations that come before the number are unspaced if they end in a symbol
         (£123, €123), and spaced if they end in an alphabetical character (R 75). Do not place EU
         or a similar prefix before the € sign.
        If there is no common English abbreviation or symbol, use the ISO 4217 standard.
        Ranges are preferably formatted with one rather than two currency signifiers ($250–300,
         not $250–$300).
        Conversions of less familiar currencies may be provided in terms of more familiar
         currencies, such as the euro or the US dollar. Conversions should be in parentheses after
         the original currency, with the year given as a rough point of reference; for example,
         1,000 Swiss francs (US$763 in 2005), rounding to the nearest whole unit.
        Consider linking the first occurrence of a symbol for less well-known currencies (₮146);
         it is generally unnecessary to link the symbols of well-known currencies.

Common mathematical symbols
        See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (mathematics)

       For a negative sign or subtraction operator, use a minus sign (−), input by clicking on it in
        the insert box beneath the edit window or by typing &minus;), or an en dash (see En
        dashes); do not use a hyphen, unless writing code.
       For a multiplication sign between numbers, use ×, which is input by clicking on it in the
        edit toolbox under the edit window or by typing &times;; do not use an asterisk between
        numbers in non-technical articles; however, the unspaced letter x is accepted as a
        substitute for by in such terms as “4x4”.
       Exponentiation is indicated using a superscript, an (typed as a<sup>n</sup>); do not use a
        caret, a^n. Exponential notation can be spaced or unspaced, depending on circumstances;
        do not use E notation.
       Symbols for binary operators and relations are spaced on both sides, including:
             o plus, minus, and plus-or-minus (as operators): + − ±
             o multiplication and division: × ÷
             o equals, does not equal, equals approximately: = ≠ ≈
             o is less than, is less than or equal to, is greater than, is greater than or equal to: <

Simple tabulation

Lines that start with blank spaces in the editing window are displayed boxed and in a fixed-width
font, for simple tabulation. Lines that contain only a blank space insert a blank line into the table.
For a complete guide to constructing tables, see Meta:Help:Table.



        For thorough treatment of the English possessive see Apostrophe.

       It’s is the short form of it is or it has; the possessive its has no apostrophe.
       The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding apostrophe-s; the possessive
        of most plural nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe. However, there are some
        exceptions. Maintain consistency (James’ house or James’s house, but not both in the
        same article). Some forms almost always take an extra s (Ross’s father); some usually do
        not (Socrates’ wife; Moses’ ascent of Sinai; Jesus’ last words).

First-person pronouns

Wikipedia articles must not be based on one person’s opinions or experiences; thus, I is never
used, except when it appears in a quotation. For similar reasons, avoid we; a sentence such as We
should note that some critics have argued in favor of the proposal sounds more personal than
encyclopedic. It is however acceptable to use we in historical articles to mean the modern world as
a whole (The text of De re publica has come down to us with substantial sections missing).
Second-person pronouns

Use of the second person (you), which is often ambiguous and contrary to the tone of an
encyclopedia, is discouraged. Instead, refer to the subject of the sentence or use the passive
voice—for example:

          Use:          When a player moves past “Go”, that player collects $200.
          Use:          Players passing “Go” collect $200.
          Use:          $200 is collected when passing “Go”.
          Do not use:   When you move past “Go”, you collect $200.

This guideline does not apply to quoted text, which should be quoted exactly.

Contested vocabulary

Words and phrases like thusly, overly, whilst, amongst, as per, refute in the sense of dispute, along
with several others, should be avoided because they are not widely accepted—at least in some of
their applications. Some are regional, so unsuitable in an international encyclopedia (see National
varieties of English below). Some give an impression of “straining for formality”, and therefore of
an insecure grasp of English. See List of English words with disputed usage, Words to avoid, and
List of frequently misused English words; see also Identity and Gender-neutral language below.


In general, the use of contractions—such as don’t, can’t, won’t, they’d, should’ve, it’s—is
informal and should be avoided; however, contractions should be left unchanged when they occur
in a quotation.

Instructional and presumptuous language

It is usually preferable to avoid such phrases as remember that and note that, which address
readers directly in an unencyclopedic tone. Similarly, phrases such as of course, naturally,
obviously, clearly and actually make presumptions about readers’ knowledge, and call into
question the reason for including the related information in the first place. See Wikipedia:Words
to avoid.

Subset terms

A subset term identifies a set of members of a larger class. Common subset terms are including,
among, and et cetera (etc.). Do not use two subset terms (“Among the most well-known members
of the fraternity include ...”, “The elements in stars include hydrogen, helium and iron, etc.”). Do
not use including to introduce a complete list, where comprising, consisting of, or composed of
would be correct.

        See also: English plurals

Use the appropriate plural; allow for cases like oblast, or octopus, when a foreign word has been
assimilated into English and normally takes an s or es plural, not its original plural.

A number of words like army, company, crowd, fleet, government, majority, mess, number, pack,
and party may refer either to a single entity or the members of the set that compose it. In British
English they are normally treated as singular or plural according to context; names of towns and
countries take plural verbs when they refer to sports teams but singular verbs when they refer to
the actual place (or to the club as a business enterprise): England are playing Germany tonight
refers to a football team, but England is the most populous country of the United Kingdom refers
to the country.

In North American English, these words (and the United States, for historical reasons) are
invariably treated as singular. See WP:ENGVAR.


The ampersand (&) is a logogram representing the word and. In running prose, use it instead of
and only if there is a good reason to do so. The ampersand may be used in tables and infoboxes
where space is restricted. Retain it in the titles of business and works, and in quotations.

National varieties of English

        See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)

The English Wikipedia has no general preference for a major national variety of the language. No
variety is more correct than the others. Users are asked to take into account that the differences
between the varieties are superficial. Cultural clashes over spelling and grammar are avoided by
using the following four simple guidelines. The accepted style of punctuation is covered in the
punctuation section.

Consistency within articles

Each article should consistently use the same conventions of spelling and grammar. For example,
center and centre are not to be used in the same article. The exceptions are:

       quotations (the original variety is retained);
       titles (the original spelling is used, for example United States Department of Defense and
        Australian Defence Force); and
       explicit comparisons of varieties of English.

Strong national ties to a topic

An article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the
appropriate variety of English for that nation. For example:
        Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (British English)
        American Civil War (American English)
        European Union institutions (British or Irish English / European English)
        Australian Defence Force (Australian English)
        Vancouver (Canadian English)

Retaining the existing variety

If an article has evolved using predominantly one variety, the whole article should conform to that
variety, unless there are reasons for changing it on the basis of strong national ties to the topic. In
the early stages of writing an article, the variety chosen by the first major contributor to the article
should be used, unless there is reason to change it on the basis of strong national ties to the topic.
Where an article that is not a stub shows no signs of which variety it is written in, the first person
to make an edit that disambiguates the variety is equivalent to the first major contributor.

Opportunities for commonality

Wikipedia tries to find words that are common to all varieties of English.

        In choosing words or expressions, especially for article titles, there may be value in
         making choices that avoid varying spellings, where possible. In extreme cases of
         conflicting names, a common substitute (such as fixed-wing aircraft) is favored over
         national varieties (fixed-wing aeroplanes [British English], and fixed-wing airplanes
         [American English]).
        If a variable spelling appears in an article name, redirect pages are made to accommodate
         the other variants, as with Artefact and Artifact, so that they can always be found in
         searches and linked to from either spelling.
        Sensitivity to terms that may be used differently between different varieties of English
         allows for wider readability; this may include glossing terms and providing alternative
         terms where confusion may arise. Insisting on a single term or a single usage as the only
         correct option does not serve well the purposes of an international encyclopedia.
        Use an unambiguous word or phrase in preference to one that is ambiguous because of
         national differences. For example, use alternative route (or even other route) rather than
         alternate route, since alternate may mean only “alternating” to a British English speaker.

Articles such as English plural and American and British English differences provide information
on the differences between the major varieties of the language.

Foreign terms

         See also: Wikipedia:Interlanguage links

Foreign words should be used sparingly.

No common usage in English
        Use italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that are not
        current in English.
Common usage in English
        Loanwords and borrowed phrases that have common usage in English—praetor, Gestapo,
        samurai, vice versa, esprit de corps—do not require italics. A rule of thumb is not to
        italicize words that appear unitalicized in major English-language dictionaries.
Spelling and transliteration
        See also: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English)

Names not originally in a Latin alphabet—such as Greek, Chinese or Russian scripts—must be
transliterated into characters generally intelligible to English-speakers. Do not use a systematically
transliterated name if there is a common English form of the name, such as Tchaikovsky or Chiang

Foreign words originally written in a Latin alphabet with diacritics (accent marks) are normally
written with those diacritics in Wikipedia, unless a form without diacritics has become generally
accepted in English.

Within an article, spell a name that appears in the article title as it appears in that title, unless there
is a good reason to use an alternative spelling. Spell other foreign names, phrases and words as
they are most commonly spelled in the English-language references in an article, unless those
spellings are idiosyncratic. If the foreign names, phrases or words do not appear in the article’s
references, then use the spelling as most commonly used in other verifiable reliable sources (for
example other English-language dictionaries and encyclopedias). If a foreign phrase or word
appears rarely in English, use the original spelling or a systematic transcription.

Sometimes the usage will be influenced by other guidelines such as national varieties of English,
which may lead to different usage in different articles.


          Disputes over the proper name of a person or group are addressed by policies such as
           Verifiability, Neutral point of view, and Naming conventions where the name appears in
           an article name. When there is no dispute, the name most commonly used for a person
           will be the one that person uses for himself or herself, and the most common terms for a
           group will be those that the group most commonly uses for itself; Wikipedia should use
           them too.
          A transgender, transsexual or genderqueer person’s latest preference of name and
           pronoun should be adopted when referring to any phase of that person’s life,[disputed] unless
           this usage is overridden by that person’s own expressed preference. Nevertheless, avoid
           confusing or seemingly logically impossible text that could result from pronoun usage
           (e.g., she fathered her first child).
          Use specific terminology. For example, often it is more appropriate for people from
           Ethiopia (a country in Africa) to be described as Ethiopian, not carelessly (with the risk of
           stereotyping) as African.
        Avoid the use of certain adjectives as nouns to refer to groups of people within society:
         use black people rather than blacks, gay people rather than gays, disabled people rather
         than the disabled, etc.
        The term Arab (never to be confused with Muslim or Islamic) refers to people and things
         of ethnic Arab origin. The term Arabic refers to the Arabic language or writing system,
         and related concepts (Not all Arab people write or converse in Arabic.)
        As always in a direct quotation, use the original text, even if the quoted text is
         inconsistent with the preceding guidelines.

Gender-neutral language

         See also: Wikipedia:Gender-neutral language

Consider using gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision. This
does not apply to direct quotations or the titles of works (The Ascent of Man), or where all
referents are of one gender, such as in an all-female school (if any student broke that rule, she was
severely punished).


         Further information: Wikipedia:Picture tutorial and Wikipedia:Accessibility#images

The following general guidelines should be followed in the absence of a compelling reason to do

        Start an article with a right-aligned lead image. This image is often resized to about
        Multiple images in the same article can be staggered right-and-left (for example:
         Timpani). It is often preferable to place images of faces so that the face or eyes look
         toward the text.
        See Wikipedia:Picture tutorial#Avoiding image “stackups” for how to group images and
         avoid “stackups”.
        Avoid sandwiching text between two images facing each other.
        Use {{Commons}} to link to more images on Commons, wherever possible. If there are
         too many images in a given article, a link to the Commons is a good solution. Use of
         galleries should be in keeping with Wikipedia’s image use policy.
        Do not place left-aligned images directly below subsection-level (=== or greater)
         headings, as this disconnects the heading from the text it precedes.
        Use captions to explain the relevance of the image to the article (see #Captions).
        Some users need to configure their systems to display large text; forced large thumbnails
         can leave little width for text, making reading difficult.

Images should not be reversed simply to resolve a conflict between these guidelines; doing so
misinforms the reader for the sake of our layout preferences. If an image is ever reversed or
otherwise substantially altered, there should be a clear advantage to the reader in doing so (for
example, cropping a work of art to focus on a detail that is the subject of commentary), and the
alteration must be noted in the caption.

The current image markup for landscape-format and square images is (for example):

        [[Image:picture.jpg|thumb|right|250px|Insert caption here]]

or for portrait-format images:

        [[Image:picture.jpg|thumb|upright|right|200px|Insert caption here]]

The pixel size parameter may be omitted; this will result in default image width of 180px (140px
for portrait format), although this value can be altered in user preferences. If an image displays
satisfactorily at the default size, it is recommended that no explicit size be specified. Examples of
images which typically need more than the default size include lead images (see above) and
detailed maps.

Images as text

Textual information should be entered as text rather than as an image. Such text is not searchable
and is slow to download over low-bandwidth connections; the image is unlikely to be read as text
by devices for the visually impaired, and will deprive those users of information. Text may be
colored and decorated with CSS tags and templates if necessary. Even if the problems can be
worked around, as by including a caption or internal information, editors should still consider
whether fancy text adds anything to the encyclopedia.


        Further information: Wikipedia:Captions

Photographs and other graphics should always have captions, unless they are “self-captioning”
(such as reproductions of album or book covers) or when they are unambiguous depictions of the
subject of the article. For example, in a biography article, a caption is not mandatory for a portrait
of the subject pictured alone, but might contain the name of the subject and additional information
relevant to the image, such as the year or the subject’s age.


       Captions normally start with a capital letter.
       Most captions are not complete sentences, but merely nominal groups (sentence
        fragments) that should not end with a period. If a complete sentence occurs in a caption,
        that sentence and any sentence fragments in that caption should end with a period.
       Captions should not be italicized, except for words that are conventionally italicized.
       Captions should be succinct; more information about the image can be included on its
        description page, or in the main text.
Bulleted and numbered lists

        See also: Help:List and Wikipedia:Lists

       Do not use lists if a passage reads easily using plain paragraphs.
       Do not leave blank lines between items in a bulleted or numbered list unless there is a
        reason to do so, since this causes the Wiki software to interpret each list item as an
        individual list.
       Use numbers rather than bullets only if:
            o there is a need to refer to the elements by number;
            o the sequence of the items is critical; or
            o the numbering has value of its own, for example in a track listing.
       All elements in a list should use the same grammatical form and should be consistently
        either complete sentences or sentence fragments.
            o When the elements are complete sentences, they are formatted using sentence
                 case and a final period.
            o When the elements are sentence fragments, they are typically introduced by a
                 lead fragment ending with a colon, are formatted using consistently either
                 sentence or lower case, and finish with a final semicolon or no punctuation,
                 except that the last element typically finishes with a final period.



        Main articles: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links), Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects,
        Wikipedia:Interwikimedia links, and Help:Interlanguage links
        See also: Wikipedia:Guide to layout, Help:Contents/Links, and Wikipedia:Only make
        links that are relevant to the context

Make links only where they are relevant to the context: It is not useful and can be very
distracting to mark all possible words as hyperlinks. Links should add to the user’s experience;
they should not detract from it by making the article harder to read. A high density of links can
draw attention away from the high-value links that you would like your readers to follow up.
Redundant links clutter the page and make future maintenance harder.

Check links: After linking, ensure that the destination is the intended one; many dictionary words
lead to disambiguation pages and not to complete articles on a concept. An anchor into a targeted
page—the label after a pound/hash sign (#) in a URL—will get readers to the relevant area within
that page.

Initial capitalization: Wikipedia’s MediaWiki software does not require that wikilinks begin with
an upper-case character. Only capitalize the first letter where this is naturally called for, or when
specifically referring to the linked article by its name: Snakes are often venomous, but lizards only
rarely (see Poison).
External links

         Main article: Wikipedia:External links

Articles can include an external links section at the end to list links to websites outside Wikipedia
for the purpose of providing further information, as opposed to citing sources. The standard format
is a primary heading named == External links == followed by a bulleted list of links. External
links should identify the link and briefly indicate its relevance to the article subject. For example:

         *[ History of NIH]
         *[ National Institutes of Health homepage]

These will appear as:

              History of NIH
              National Institutes of Health homepage

Avoid listing an excessive number of external links; Wikipedia is not a link repository.


Keep markup simple

Use the simplest markup to display information in a useful and comprehensible way. Markup may
appear differently in different browsers. Use HTML and CSS markup sparingly and only with
good reason. Minimizing markup in entries allows easier editing.

In particular, do not use the CSS float or line-height properties because they break rendering on
some browsers when large fonts are used.

Formatting issues

Formatting issues such as font size, blank space and color are issues for the Wikipedia site-wide
style sheet and should not be specified in articles except in special cases. If you absolutely must
specify a font size, use a relative size like font-size: 80%, not an absolute size like font-size: 8pt. It
is also almost never a good idea to use other style changes, such as font family or color.

Typically, the use of custom font styles will

        reduce consistency—the text will no longer look uniform;
        reduce usability—it will likely be impossible for people with custom stylesheets (for
         accessibility reasons, for example) to override it, and it might clash with a different skin
         as well as bother people with color blindness; and
        increase arguments—other Wikipedians may disagree aesthetically with the choice of
Color coding

        Main article: Wikipedia:Accessibility

Using color alone to convey information (color coding) should not be done. Such information is
not accessible to people with color blindness (especially monochromacy), on black-and-white
printouts, on older computer displays with fewer colors, on monochrome displays (PDAs, cell
phones), and so on.

If it is necessary to use colors, try to choose colors that are unambiguous (such as orange and
violet) when viewed by a person with red-green color blindness (the most common type). In
general, this means that shades of red and green should not both be used as color codes in the
same image. Viewing the page with Vischeck can help determine whether the colors should be

It is certainly desirable to use color as an aid for those who can see it, but the information should
still be accessible without it.

Scrolling lists

Scrolling lists, for example of references, should never be used because of issues with readability,
accessibility, printing, and site mirroring. Additionally, such lists may not display properly in all
web browsers.

Invisible comments

Editors use invisible comments to communicate with each other in the body of the text of an
article. These comments are visible only in the wiki source (i.e. in edit mode), not in read mode.

Invisible comments are useful for flagging an issue or leaving instructions about part of the text,
where this is more convenient than raising the matter on the talk page. They should be used
judiciously, because they can clutter the wiki source for other editors. Check that your invisible
comment does not change the formatting, such as introducing unwanted white space in read mode.

To leave an invisible comment, enclose the text you intend to be read only by editors within <!--
and -->. For example: <!--If you change this section title, please also change the links to it on the
pages ...-->


        Main article: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)

Pronunciation in Wikipedia is indicated using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For
ease of understanding across dialects, fairly broad IPA transcriptions are usually provided for
English pronunciations. See Help:Pronunciation (English) and Help:IPA (general) for keys, and
{{IPA}} for templates that link to these keys. For English pronunciations, pronunciation
respellings may be used in addition to the IPA.

Other resources

Wikipedians are encouraged to familiarize themselves with other guides to style and usage, which
may cover details that are not included in this Manual of Style. These include:

          The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), available in print, on CDROM, and online at The
           Chicago Manual of Style Online (subscription required). The CMS Crib Sheet is free
           online, and summarizes some main provisions of The Chicago Manual of Style.
          The Oxford Guide to Style (OGS), along with its companion the Oxford Dictionary for
           Writers and Editors.
          New Hart’s Rules (NHR), based on the classic Hart’s Rules and the Oxford Guide to
          Style Manual: for authors, editors and printers of Australian Government publications.
           (AGSM) Sixth edition 2002. ISBN 0 642 03345 5.
          Guides such as Fowler’s Modern English Usage (Fowler’s) and Merriam-Webster’s
           Dictionary of English Usage.
          Guardian style guide for British English
          The major English dictionaries.

See also

          Style guide, the Wikipedia entry on style guides. Contains links to the online style guides
           of some magazines and newspapers.
          Wiki markup explains the mechanics of what codes are available to you when editing a
           page, to do things like titles, links, external links, and so on.
          Wikipedia:Annotated article is a well-constructed article, with annotations that explain
          Wikipedia:Avoiding common mistakes gives a list of common mistakes and how to avoid
          Wikipedia:Be bold in updating pages should define your attitude toward page updates.
          Wikipedia:Citing sources explains process and standards for citing references in articles.
          Wikipedia:Editing policy explains Wikipedia’s general philosophy of editing.
          Wikipedia:Footnotes describes footnote usage and style; parts of it are contested.
          Wikipedia:Guide to layout is an example of how to lay out an article.
          Wikipedia:How to copy-edit gives helpful how-to advice on copy-editing.
          Wikipedia:How to edit a page is a short primer on editing pages.
          Wikipedia:Introduction is a gentle introduction to the world of Wikipedia.
          Wikipedia:Perfect stub article shows what you should aim for at a minimum when
           starting a new article.
          Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines is the main stop for policies and, well, guidelines.
          Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Jguk was an Arbitration Committee case on style edit
   Wikipedia:WikiProject sets out boilerplates for certain areas of knowledge.
   Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Style guide lists variations between the printed encyclopedia
    and Wikipedia’s MoS.

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