Writing and style

University of Exeter style guide

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Offer-Holder Visit Day

Use initial capital letters when referring to the University’s Offer-Holder Visit Days. Use a hyphen in 'Offer-Holder'.


Not on-line

Open Day

Use initial capital letters when referring to the University’s specific Open Days – otherwise use lowercase.

Page titles on the web

The page titles for webpages within the content management system are generated automatically from the section names assigned within Site Manager. These page titles have the format ‘Section name – College/Department/Service/etc – University of Exeter’. The first part of the page title is generated by the section name, the second and third components are coded into central styles. You should ensure that the section names you choose are clear labels for the content of the relevant page containing as far as possible priority key words users are likely to be looking for. This helps make the page easier for both people and search engine robots to find. Be aware the section names also display as the navigation label for the page, so need to serve both purposes effectively.

For further advice see the guidance on naming sections in Site Manager.


Not paleobotany.

Penryn Campus

The University's main campus in Cornwall is the Penryn Campus, not the Cornwall Campus, Tremough, UEC or the University of Exeter in Cornwall. There's more information here about the campuses in Cornwall and how to refer to them.

Per cent

Write out in full as two words except in headlines when % can be used. % should always be used in headings and lists.

Personal tutor

NOT Personal Tutor; this is not a proper noun and therefore shouldn’t have initial capital letters.


Certain words change their spelling when pluralised:

potato - potatoes
tomato - tomatoes

Some have odd, or irregular spellings in the plural:

ox - oxen
child - children
woman - women

Words ending in <y> normally drop the <y>and add <ies>:


Words ending in <vowel + y> take the usual <s>:

trolley - trolleys


One word, not hyphenated.

Prefixes (stuck on to the beginning of a word)

Adding a prefix to a word does not alter its basic spelling:

  • dis / appear
  • dis / organised (not unorganised)
  • pro / claim
  • un / necessary

Program or programme

Program for computers; Programme otherwise. We refer to our individual degrees as programmes (of study).


Quotation marks

Make sure the full stop comes inside the closing speech marks: “We’re very excited about this new area of research.”

Use double quotation marks for reported speech.

Single quotes should be used to introduce a new idea or concept. They should only be used the first time the word appears: Universities are increasingly called upon to develop ‘third leg’ activities.

Singles quotes should also be used when giving an example that is not a direct quotation.



Not 'Resnet', 'resnet', 'Res Net', etc


NOT roleplay or role play.