Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This Simplified Manual of Style is an overview of commonly used style guidelines taken from the Wikipedia:Manual of Style and its subpages (together called the MoS). When a MoS guideline offers a choice of style, use only one alternative consistently throughout an article, and do not unreasonably alter a choice that has already been made. The MoS has too many suggestions to memorize, or even to consult regularly, but because they are based on consensual discussion, they often settle time-wasting arguments. Wikipedia has no firm rules, but these suggestions help create consistent articles. For a descriptive directory of the pages which make up the Manual of Style, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Contents.

Capital letters

Use

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Capitalize names of scriptures like Bible and Qur'an, but not biblical. Always capitalize God when it refers to a primary or only deity, but not pronouns that refer to deities: he not He.

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Avoid capitalizing names of plants and animals. Among the exceptions are scientific names (Felis catus) and

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The seasons (summer, winter, spring, and fall/autumn) are not capitalized.

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When in doubt about whether to capitalize something, the general rule is that Wikipedia only capitalizes that which is capitalized in the vast majority of source material. If sources veer between upper- and lower-case for something, then default to lower-case.

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Abbreviations

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

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Write US or U.S., but not USA. Use US, not U.S., in an article using UK, PRC, etc.

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

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Punctuation

Apostrophes and quotation marks

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

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

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Write James's house, not James' house.

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Periods and commas

Place a

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An

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The

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Avoid

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

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Dashes and hyphens

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

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A hyphen is not a

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

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Dates and numbers

Write number 1 or No. 1, but not #1. Comic books are an exception. Do not use the symbol .

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Write 12,000 for twelve thousand, not 12.000.

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Both 10 June 1921 and June 10, 1921, are correct, but should be consistent within an article. A comma is not used if only the month is given, such as June 1921.

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400 AD (or AD 400) and 400 BC are correct; but so are 400 CE and 400 BCE. As always, use one style consistently in an article.

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Use one, two, three, ..., eight, nine in most cases, not 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (exceptions include times and dates, equations, sport scores, most measurements, and data in tables). Use digits for 10 and higher (though some such numbers also may be written as words, when it helps clarity).

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Markup

Instead of an ordinary space, use   (a non-breaking space) to prevent a line from ending in the middle of expressions like 17 kg, 565 BCE, 2:50 pm, £11 billion, 129 million, May 2024, 5° 24′ 21.12″ N, or Boeing 747; also after the number in 123 Fake Street, and before

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It does not matter how many spaces come after a period because extra spaces will not show, although blank lines will create one extra line.

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Use

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References

There are multiple

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Usage

English Wikipedia prefers no major national variety of the language over any other. These varieties (e.g.

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

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

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See also

MoS-related:

  • Help:Introduction to the Manual of Style
     – a quick introduction to the style guide for articles
  • Manual of Style quiz – test your Manual of Style knowledge
  • Wikipedia:Styletips – a list of advice for editors on writing style and formatting in a bullet-point format
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Reading schedule – a reading schedule designed to assist editors in becoming familiar with Manual of Style

General formatting: