Monday, November 2, 2009

Ye Olde Style Sheet

Read and report: If you have major objections to anything here, or you come across other issues in your or your partner's work, please email Lucie or myself, or post it as a comment.

Thrust House Style Guide in full, after the jump!

Thrust House Style

Style Guide: The Chicago Manual Style
Dictionary: Canadian Oxford Dictionary

General Rule: When in doubt, default to consistency throughout one work.


• Use the serial comma.
• Introductory phrases are followed by a comma (eg: After she made breakfast, Lisa went to school).
• One space after periods.
• Use double quote for dialogue, single quote for quotes within narration, or quote within a quote, or quote within dialogue.
• Commas or periods go inside double quotes whether or not they are part of the quote, with the exception of a colon, semicolon, question mark or exclamation mark, unless they are a part of the quotation.
• Parentheses are always ( ), never [ ] or { } unless used for poetic purposes or when a reference, usually in non-fiction, to the writer/editor’s alteration or observation of the text (eg: The sign said “Server’s wanted [sic]”). Parentheses inside other parentheses are still ( ).
• Acronyms (BC, DC, AB, FBI, etc.) are presented without periods between letters; revert to modern acronyms over abbreviations for states, provinces, and territories (NF over Nfld., KY over Kent.).
• Abbreviations are presented with periods (Inc., Ltd., etc., Jr., Sr.).
• Do not add an s after a plural possessive apostrophe (eg: The Jones’ lawn was immaculate; The penguins’ ice flow is melting).
• Ellipsis (…) are only used to indicate purposefully omitted words, phrases, sentences or lines from a quote or dialogue. If the dialogue is cut off or left hanging, an em dash (—) is used.
• Convert all em dashes from -- to —. The em dash is used to separate clauses (as with parentheses) or to leave off dialogue. Most other situations call for single hyphens (the en dash).
• Use the en dash in cases of amounts (eg: pages 4-5), or as single hyphens for compound phrases (eg: Mrs. Robinson-Cook; post-punk).


• 1-10 spell out (one, three, ten).
• As a general rule, most numerical references, including quantities and currencies, should be spelled out in full unless this is awkward or there is frequent reference to numbers. When uncertain, default to consistency.
• Numbers at the beginning of sentences are always spelled out (eg: Four hundred and twelve people died). Rearrange the sentence if this is awkward (eg: In 1999 vs. Nineteen hundred and ninety nine was…).
• Use 2nd or 3rd, not 2d or 3d. Do not use superscript (2nd or 3rd).
• Write out round numbers (one thousand, one million) except as they refer to science or scientific facts.
• For very large numbers, use numerals with amount designation (eg: 4.5 million).
• Simple fractions are written out. They refer to a whole amount and are therefore hyphenated, except when referring to the parts therein (eg: She ate three-quarters of the cake vs. When they finished eating, only three quarters of the pie remained.). Fractions with whole numbers are not written out (57/8); for these, superscript and subscript are used.
• Percentages are always given in numeral (45% or 45 percent). Use the written “percent” in most cases, the % sign in cases of scientific or mathematical usage.
• Use commas with a space following the comma for four-digit or greater numbers: 3, 325; 1, 545, 789.
• Monarchs and people named after their parents take on roman numerals (Elizabeth II, John Rodney Smith III).


March 1993.
March 23, 1995 (not March 23rd; not 23 January).
Do not include apostrophe before s in plural numbers: 1970s.


3am not 3a.m.
4:30pm not 16:30pm.
Noon and midnight, not 12:00am and 12:00pm.


• Default to Canadian/British spelling (eg: neighbourhood, colour, honour), with the exception of the –ise words (eg: alphabetize, philosophize), and excepting quoted material (eg: Mark Twain said, “The color was brown”).
• Use “toward” and “afterward” not “towards” or “afterwards.”
• t-shirt.
• goodbye.
• okay not OK, O.K. or ok
• TV, not T.V. or tv
• internet, not Internet, website not web site, email not e-mail.
• counsellor vs. councillor vs. councilor

Formatting and Usage:

Don't indent first paragraph of prose – start with stand up cap (eg: Barry went).
In prose, use a simple indent vs. horizontal spaces between paragraphs (double space).
Websites are written without common designations:, not nor
Foreign words are italicized (eg: She was, after all, mon amour), unless they are in dialogue or of standard use in English (eg: “She was, after all, mon amour,” The bouquet was lovely).
When quoting from other works, set within double quotes in the paragraph unless the quote is longer than three lines, then set it apart, indented, without quotes and in italics, below the text in question.
(eg: As Proteus said,

O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day;
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.)

Default to the non-archaic form of a word, unless it is in common usage (eg: Ursula is the executor of the will (as opposed to the executrix); She’s a dominatrix).
References to other works is first italicized; further divisions within that work (songs within an album, names of chapters within a book) are put in quotation marks (eg: Her favourite song from Rubber Soul is “Nowhere Man”).


  1. Just a note about URLs -- I totally support cutting "http://" and "www" and the "index.html" and all that stuff when possible. But sometimes a URL won't work if it doesn't have that stuff. So we should check before just hacking it all off.

  2. Hey, kids. What did we decide in the end about spaces around m dashes? I know I'm a fan, but there was some definite resistance to using them.