Quotation marks and quoted matter
Please use single quotation marks (double inside single if you have a quotation within a quotation). Quotation marks should go inside punctuation, except where the punctuation belongs to the quotation. If you quote a fairly lengthy piece (five lines or more) please start the quotation on a new line, without quotation marks (in this case any quotation within the quotation should have single quotation marks), and indent throughout. Square brackets should be used to indicate any insertions of your own in quoted matter. In quoted matter, you should preserve the style and spelling of the original. Any omissions from the original should be indicated by no more than three dots (…), plus a fourth if the omission falls at the end of a sentence.
When in doubt, omit hyphens. Where two words are combined to form a compound adjective, however, they should generally be joined by a hyphen (‘a well-known fact’, ‘a grief-stricken widow’, ‘a nineteenth-century poet’).
Use italics in the following ways:
- for emphasis;
- for titles of books, newspapers, magazines, journals, plays, films, operas and names of ships (HMS Bellerophon’s crew). The titles of songs, single poems not published as separate volumes, paintings, sculptures, magazine articles or the chapters of a book are set in roman and in quotation marks (‘The Castaway’);
- do not italicise foreign proper names.
Keep capitals to a minimum, even in headings and subheadings, and be consistent. In general, only proper names and the first words of sentences and headings should be capitalised.
Please spell out numbers up to and including ten except in text with a statistical content, where numerals are acceptable from ‘2’ onwards. Use arabic numerals for ’11’ onwards except at the beginning of a sentence. If millions happen frequently, ‘£24m.’ may be preferable to ‘£24,000,000’.
To be set out thus: 6 November 1793.
Spans of years are to be given as briefly as is consistent with clarity: 1970-71; 1871-2; 2000-2001; 2001-6; 2011-12.
Centuries should be written in full (‘eighteenth century’); decades as ‘1780s’ without apostrophe.
No full stops after contractions (Dr, Mrs, St, Ltd) nor in familiar sets of initials (USA, BBC, MP). But please use full stops after abbreviations (Prof., e.g., i.e., max., etc.).
The -ise convention is preferred (organise, organisation).
Footnotes should be kept to a minimum, and indicated by superscript numerals in the text.
References and Bibliographies
For citations in text, and for listing of works in bibliographies and alphabetical references, the preferred style is that set out in the MHRA Style Guide, but other styles are acceptable as long as they are used consistently within articles.