Writing and style

University of Exeter style guide

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


Dates are in the format 1 January 2012 or Sunday 1 January 2012.

Do not superscript th, st, etc – eg, 18th century not 18th century. ‘18th-century’ is hyphenated for adjective (ie, 18th-century drama), but unhyphenated for noun (eg, during the 18th century).

AD should come before the date: AD600; BC should come after: 300BC. Note there should be no space between the numbers and letters.

c1500 rather than c.1500

Degree class

First; 2:1; 2:2; 3rd or written out as First Class Honours degree, Upper Second Class Honours degree, Lower Second Class Honours degree, Third Class degree.


Lower case – eg, dissertation NOT Dissertation, unless the title of a module.



Ebooks or ebooks, not e-books or eBooks.


Without full stops, use a comma after: We offer Combined Honours degrees in a range of areas eg, History, English and Law.

Like ie, and et al, eg, is rarely used outside formal academic writing. In marketing copy eg can often be replaced by including or for example: We offer Combined Honours degrees in a range of areas, including History, English and Law.


Not elearning or eLearning

Email and email

Not E-mail and e-mail

Email addresses

Addresses should be all lower case with Exeter written out in full (eg a.n.other@exeter.ac.uk not A.N.Other@ex.ac.uk), except where it means the address won’t work such as admissions_ug@maths.ex.ac.uk Do not include a full stop when the address comes at the end of a sentence.

Don’t refer to a personal email address unless that specific person has to act as the contact and agrees to do so. It is better to use a generic address (eg, helpdesk@exeter.ac.uk) so that getting a reply doesn’t depend on one individual being at work.

En dash (–)

An en dash is longer than a hyphen. Use with spaces in the same way that you’d use brackets to indicate parentheses: The two campuses in Exeter – Streatham and St Luke’s – are just a mile apart. (Not to be confused with Em dashes — which are longer and used without spaces in American usage.) Use en dashes without spaces in place of 'to': pages 13–25, 1939–45, Monday–Friday. Also use without spaces in place of ‘and’: cost–benefit analysis, on–off switch.


NOT ensuite or en suite


Should have no full stop after it, except at the end of a sentence, and should be preceded by a comma.

Exclamation marks

The exclamation mark should be largely avoided in professional writing. Whilst widely use in informal communication, such as Facebook statuses and email messages to friends and family, exclamation marks in formal text can come across as shouting at your audience or, as Scott Fitzgerald said, like laughing at your own jokes. In most cases it just isn't needed as the text itself should clearly convey any appropriate force or emphasis. If you overuse these they lose their impact anyway.

You don't need to use them after a call to action - the 'call' will work for itself, and adding an exclamation mark will just irritate your audience or draw their derision.


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