Writing Style Guide

I can be a very forgetful person. Case in point, I tend to forget my personal rules and guidelines for my writing. Hence, here’s a written guide for me to reference when I need it.

Personality and Tone

Articles and commentary on links written by me, should sound like me. My personality and tone is:

  • Happy
  • Friendly
  • Opinionated
  • Sarcastic (at times)

When writing, I use proper grammar and language, but I ain’t afraid of no slang when appropriate. I don’t use swear words.

Spelling

I spell out numbers up to 100 (e.g. ninety-six), as well as large round numbers (e.g. two thousand). Numbers in post titles or headings shouldn’t be spelled out.

For percentages, I use numerals and spell out “percent” (e.g. 20 percent).

This site always uses the American spelling (e.g. favorite, color, etc.). Non-English words follow the respective language spelling rules (e.g. niño, café, etc.).

Titles

Titles, headings, and subheadings, use “title case,” which means:

  • Capitalizing all words except coordinate conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), articles, and prepositions
  • First and last word capitalized, no matter their parts of speech

When titles, headings, and subheadings have filenames or other types of code, they don’t use the <code> tag.

Titles of movies, TV shows, periodicals, newspapers, books, and other publications are italicized. The article is only italicized if it’s part of the name of the publication (e.g. the Wirecutter, The Brooks Review).

Poems, songs, and TV episodes take quotation marks.

Punctuation

Quotation marks should:

  • Follow periods and commas (“x.” and “x,”)
  • Precede colons and semicolons (“x”: and “x”;)
  • Precede question marks and exclamation marks, unless those marks are part of the quoted material

I believe in the serial comma (e.g. bread, peanut butter, and jelly). The comma always goes before the conjunction in a series.

A period is followed by a single space. I use regular dashes (-) for hyphenated compound words (e.g. long-term, mother-in-law). En dashes (–) are used for ranges (e.g. 2013–2017). Em dashes (—) are most common as more aggressive parentheses.

Other Writing Stuff

Blockquotes are used for quotes that are longer than one sentence. I hardly use semi-colons (mostly because I don’t understand them all the time). Paragraphs should be no longer than 6–7 sentences. I like paragraphs to look a certain way, and for the most part I loathe back-to-back single-sentence paragraphs.

Footnotes are generally avoided unless the tangent provides context to the rest of the piece.1 Links shouldn’t have punctuation unless the circumstance calls for it (e.g RubyGems.org).

Commands (e.g. bundle install), filenames (e.g. index.html), and parts that belong to a language syntax (e.g. :not() or minmax()) should use <code>.

  1. This for example wouldn’t qualify. This doesn’t add anything to the writing style guide. These are just words that mean nothing. UGH!!