|Serial or Oxford comma
||The serial or Oxford comma is a hallmark of OUP house style and must be used in both British and US style.
||red, white, and blue
|In a list of three or more items, insert a comma before the ‘and’ or ‘or’.
||feminine, masculine, or neuter
|Note that no comma is used for two items in a list.
||convex and concave
|Ellipsis (three points) . . .
||An ellipsis is used to indicate content omitted from a quotation.
|You should use three full points, spaced from each other and from the words either side.
||Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful.
|Where the preceding sentence ends immediately before the ellipsis, retain the punctuation.
||A nightingale began to sing. . . . It was a strange sound to hear.
Where was Godfrey? . . . They said he was murdered yesterday.
|-ize, -yse, and -yze endings
||OUP house style for British style also takes -ize, -ization, -izing endings; however, a 'z' may not be substituted for 's' in words ending -yse.
US style always chooses -ize, -ization, -izing endings as well as -yze endings.
||Used to join words together to form compound terms and expressions.
|There are often no hard-and-fast rules, so consult your dictionary to determine whether two elements should be hyphenated, run together, or set as single words, and apply one form consistently.
||airstream, air stream, or air-stream
|There are some particular rules that govern placement of hyphens in compound terms and expressions depending on how the terms and expressions are made up.
||a well-known story (meaning the story is well known)
|Words with prefixes are usually written without hyphens, unless there is a collision of vowels or consonants.
|Note that ‘cooperate’ and ‘coordinate’ should be spelt without a hyphen.
|En rules –
||Longer than a hyphen.
|Used to close up elements that form a range.
|Used to express a connection or relation between words; roughly meaning ‘to’ or ‘and’.
|Sometimes used instead of a solidus (/).
|Em rules —
||Twice the length of an en rule.
|Oxford style uses it as a parenthetical dash.
No space is required either side of the em rule.
|There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
|Tip! To insert a rule or dash in MS Word, go to Insert > Symbol > More Symbols > Special Characters, then select and insert.
||Use varies depending on whether British or US style is in use.
Quotation marks are not used around displayed quotations
|British style quotation marks
||Use single quotation marks first.
Use double quotation marks for quoted matter within a quotation.
|Weber saw it as embodying ‘the typical power of the “non-economic”’
‘Have you any idea what “red mercury” is?’
|When quoting a complete sentence, place punctuation within the quotation marks.
||Rather than mince words she told them: ‘You have forced this move upon me.’
|When quoting a word or incomplete sentence, place punctuation outside the quotation.
||Why does he use the word ‘poison’?
No one should ‘follow a multitude to do evil’, as the Scripture says.
|US style quotation marks
||Use double quotation marks first.
Use single quotation marks for quoted matter within a quotation.
|Weber saw it as embodying “the typical power of the ‘non-economic.’”
“Have you any idea what ‘red mercury’ is?”
|Always place commas and periods inside the closing quotation mark, regardless of whether or not it is part of the quoted material. Colons and semicolons—unlike periods and commas—following closing quotation marks; question marks and exclamation points follow closing quotation marks unless they belong within the quoted matter.
||Why does he use the word “poison?”
|Quotations: displayed or run on?
||Quotations can be set apart from the main text (‘displayed’) or run on in the main text. Generally quotations of less than fifty words are run on.
Quotation marks are not used around displayed quotations
||Keep the use of capitalized letters to a minimum.
|Use capital letters only for proper nouns, and for the initial letters of the full formal names of institutions, organizations, buildings, and the like.
Bridge of Sighs
|Do not use capital letters for common nouns.
|Tip! For guidance on capitalization in bibliographies see Notes, References, and Bibliographical Lists
|Use of italics, bold, and Roman text
||Consistent application of italics throughout the text is crucial.
|Non-italicized font is known as ‘Roman’.
||Roman or non-italic type
|For foreign words.
||the catenaccio defensive system employed by the Italians
|For binomial nomenclature.
|For titles of books, journals, works of art, films, and other self-contained works.
||A Christmas Carol
Journal of Infectious Diseases
West Side Story
|Use of bold: in some titles, like textbooks, bold is used for key terms or concepts to be distinguished at the point of introduction. This device must be used systematically if readers are to find it helpful.
||A kangaroo is a marsupial.
|Use Roman (non-italics):
|For the names of places and institutions.
||Pont du Gard
|For commonly used Latin abbreviations (note that in some areas, such as Academic and Practitioner Law, full points are omitted).
|When terminology has become the accepted language of your discipline; look at other examples of OUP publishing in your area or speak to your OUP Editor for advice on what is relevant for you.
|For foreign or Latin words that have become naturalized into English; sometimes this will be obvious but not always; a dictionary will advise, but a list of the most common terms and their presentation is provided in the box below.
||It was a delicious croissant.
|List of common terms
ex post facto
joie de vivre
||Abbreviations fall into three categories. US style uses more full points than British style.
|Abbreviations: omit the end of a word or words. In general include a full point at the end (note that in some disciplines no full points are used; check with your OUP Editor if you are unsure).
|Contractions: omit the middle of a word or words. Do not include any full points in British style.
|Acronyms: formed from the initial letters of words. Do not include any full points.
|More on abbreviations
||Regardless of British or US style, the following rules apply:
|At the start of each chapter, place abbreviation in parentheses after the first occurrence of the full term. Thereafter, within each chapter, an abbreviation may be used without explanation.
||The research was carried out by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in July 2007.
|For work titles (books, plays, journals, and so on), the opposite applies; abbreviation should be followed by text in parentheses.
||Arist. Metaph. (Aristotle’s Metaphysics)
DNB (Dictionary of National Biography)
|If appropriate, include a ‘List of Abbreviations’ in the prelims. Construct this as you write and layout alphabetically by abbreviation in two columns as shown
||OED Oxford English Dictionary
OGC Office of Government Commerce
ONS Office for National Statistics
|Tip! Do not use terms such as ‘op.cit.’, ‘id.’ and ‘c.f.’. As with‘see above’ and ‘see opposite’, such terminology is irrelevant in digital form, where the page may be formatted differently and artwork, tables, and references are linked rather than placed in the text. This is to ensure the manuscript is properly formatted for any future digital publication (see Notes, References, and Bibliographical Lists ).