Writing and style

University of Exeter style guide

A | B | C | D-E | F-H | I-N | O-R | S-T | U-Z



spring, summer, autumn, winter

NOT Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter


NOT screen-writing or screen writing.

Semi colons (;)

Indicates a pause shorter than a colon, but longer than a comma.

It splits phrases that are grammatically complete (ie they can stand alone as a sentence) but which are very close in meaning:

This is a very isolated place; I get quite lonely.

Use semi-colons to distinguish phrases listed after a colon if commas will not do the job clearly. Do not use at the end of bullet-pointed sentences.

Sentence case

The first word in a title is in upper case, as in an ordinary sentence, and the others are lower case. There is no need to use initial capital letters for any words other than the first word and any proper nouns. For example: An experience for life. This is as opposed to Title Case, where each word has a capital letter.


Student Information Desk. Located physically in the Forum and accessible online and via the phone, it is the way students access front line services from the Student Services Centre. Not SID desk (this is a tautology because the D already stands for desk).


There should only be a single space after full stops, colons, etc. Only use single line spacing.


Please ensure that you run a spell check and grammar check on all documents before submitting them to the Marketing Office and to Design and Publications.

Web: You can run a spell check in T4 Site Manager from the editing toolbar and preview your webpages to proofread them before publishing to the website.


NOT state of the art.

Student Services Centre (SSC)

New facility based in the Forum. Incorporates Career Zone plus other front line services including Student Fees, Accommodation, Study Skills Support, Disability Support, International Student Support, Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, Health and Wellbeing, Exams, and Graduation.

Suffixes (stuck onto the end of a word)

< - ly> - This suffix creates an adverb. It is straightforward and added to most words:

freely; lively; quickly

< - ing> - This is added straight onto the ends of words, except those which end in <e>. Words that end in <e> + <-ing> = drop the <e>

moving; diving; placing

If a word ends in a consonant and the suffix begins with a vowel, the consonant is doubled:

fit - fitting; occur - occurred; big - bigger

These suffixes all double a consonant: <-ing, -er, -est, -ed>.

Take away

NOT take-away or takeaway


NOT team-work.

Telephone numbers

Use the international format of +44 (0) 1392 72xxxx.

Term time

Not term-time or termtime.


When indicating the time or duration of an event, use the 24-hour clock and the format as follows:


For durations of time, use:

09:00 to 11:30.

Title case

All the words in a title are capitalised, except for small words in, at, of, the, and, on etc; for example, Film and Literature: Textural Transformations. This is as opposed to Sentence case whereby only the first word is in upper case.