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When writing for readers outside the University we aim to communicate in a manner they understand and are familiar with. We want our copy to flow, to be easily understood and easily read.

Having a consistent approach to the way we spell words, the punctuation we use helps our readers. Firstly, it illustrates we are one, cohesive organisation and secondly it does not challenge and confuse our readers, expecting them to constantly adapt to individuals' idiosyncratic styles.

The rapid development of communication technologies is one reason why the written English language is evolving so quickly. While there is no reason why we should accept textspeak, we must take a modern approach to our use of language and reflect that in our style guide. That is why our guide is based on that of the Guardian newspaper, which is not only one of the country's leading national newspapers but also one of the world's leading news websites.

This style guide should therefore be used in all website copy, marketing and corporate materials created for audiences outside the university.

Three Top Tips

When in doubt, lower case

Only in universities and estate agents windows does there seem to be an obsession with upper casing every other noun. Pick up any newspaper or magazine and you will soon see lower case is the accepted norm. So, when in doubt, use ower case (lc). It's what your reader expects to see. So while we are the University of Bolton, thereafter we are the University, but only when we are talking about our institution. For example, changes within the university sector is lower case, but changes within our University is uppercase. It is the School of Built Environment and Engineering and we talk about the School but children attend local schools. These are the only exceptions to upercasing nouns. We do not want to give the impression we live in a world more at home in the 1950s. Similarly punctuation is also more open today – no full point after Dr and we say PhD.

Punctuation pitfalls

This is a hyphen - this is a dash – . Create a dash by typing hyphen (beside the zero on your keyboard) then press the return key (it magically gets bigger) then press delete to bring you back up onto the same line. And one space will do nicely. After each full stop, each semi colon, in fact any punctuation mark, there is one space. Not two, not three, not four.

Short and sweet

Try to write in concise sentences. Twenty-five to 30 words per sentence is more than enough. Labyrinthine constructions peppered with commas and dashes help no one. Short, sharp sentences have far more impact.

Our style guide is an evolving work in progress. Any queries, any suggested additions contact 



Deana Morris, E: d.morris@bolton.ac.uk  T: ext 3007

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