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THE ENGLISH TEACHING FORUM STYLE SHEET

              While the Forum respects the different styles and different Englishes of its international contributors, there does need to be a certain amount of consistency and regulation within the publication. For this reason, the editors use a style sheet for the publication to note the standards, conventions, spellings, mechanics, etc. that they use. Style sheets are living documents that are updated regularly.

              In general, the Forum editors follow the Chicago Manual of Style. The following are some excerpts from the Forum’s style sheet. Please click on a heading below.

 


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PUNCTUATION

Use serial commas in all articles.

EXAMPLE: Fred’s favorite sandwich is made with two slices of whole-wheat bread, butter, mustard, bologna, lettuce, and swiss cheese.

Use quotation marks in all articles around phrases if the phrase is meant to be spoken (e.g., the phrase "don’t go there"); do not use quotation marks around words singled out as words (e.g., the word chocolate); use italics instead.

The semicolon

  • The semicolon links two closely related thoughts and emphasizes that relationship. A semicolon can take the place of coordinating conjunctions such as and in compound sentences with two main clauses. If a semicolon is used before a conjunctive adverb, a comma usually follows the conjunctive adverb, except for hence, then, thus, so, and sometimes therefore.

EXAMPLES

The controversial picture was removed from the page; in its place was put a typical family portrait.

Gloria said she is going to go to Turkey this summer; however, she has made no definite plans.

  • The semicolon is used to separate groups of words or phrases, especially those with commas in them.

EXAMPLE

The three groups were comprised of the following people: Betty, Richard, Tom; Bill, Gloria, Ruth; Cindy, Paulette, Cathy.

The colon

  • The colon is placed between two clauses when the first main clause introduces an explanation or description.

  • If the words following the colon form a complete sentence, the first word following the colon is capitalized.

EXAMPLE

Many teachers hold second jobs to make ends meet: The majority work as sales clerks in the department stores during the evenings and on weekends.

  • If the words following the colon do not form a complete sentence, the first word following the colon is not capitalized.

    EXAMPLE

    Many teachers hold second jobs to make ends meet: sales clerks, private tutors, editors.

                     Back To Index

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SPELLING

Compound Words and Hyphenation – To quote the New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage, "No dictionary can list all the possible combinations of adverbs, adjectives, participles, and nouns that can be used as modifiers….The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual offers 52 rules and a list of 9,000 words."

  • Compounds that do not need hyphens are those whose meaning is clear and are thought of as a unit: income tax, post office, high school, civil rights, role play to cite a few. When used to form compound modifiers, the hyphen is not used because the meaning is clear: high school students, civil rights trial, role play activity.

  • Compounds that are used as modifiers may have a hyphen inserted between the unit modifiers to aid readability. The hyphens are not essential. Too much use of the hyphen can be a distraction.

  • Use the hyphen to improve clarity and readability. For example, look at the compound old furniture dealer. The use of a hyphen could clarify the meaning old-furniture dealer, meaning a dealer who works with old furniture. The phrase old furniture dealer without the use of a hyphen could refer to the dealer’s age.

  • Most modifiers formed with a present or past participle should be hyphenated when they fall before the noun: agreed-upon rules, law-abiding citizen, bed-ridden patient.

  • Other combinations of adverbs, adjectives, and nouns are also traditionally hyphenated when they fall before the noun: part-time employee, high-speed train, state-of-the-art methodology.

  • When a compound modifier is used as a predicate modifier, the hyphen is never used: The methodology is state of the art. That employee works part time. The train travels at a high speed.

  • Compounds formed with comparative or superlative adjectives use the hyphen: best-qualified student, highest-priced computer, multiple-choice exercise, third-person singular.

  • Do not hyphenate compounds formed with words ending in –ly that are used as modifiers: radically new idea, partially built house, oddly shaped head.

  • Do not hyphenate compounds formed with the word very: very young bird, very good suggestion, very tall tree.

  • Only two prefixes are usually hyphenated: self- and quasi-. The prefix ex- is hyphenated with titles and occupational descriptions: ex-president, ex-professor, ex-chief.

  • The following prefixes are used without hyphens unless (1) they are combined with a capitalized word or (2) there is a possibility of two meanings or mispronunciation (e.g., un-ionized and unionized, re-creation and recreation, multi-ply and multiply):

after fore meso post tri

ante hyper micro pre ultra

anti hypo mis pro un

bi in mono pseudo under

by infra multi re

co inter neo semi

contra intra non step

de intro off sub

demi iso out super

extra macro over trans

  • Modifiers formed with numbers or letters are usually hyphenated except for terms used in the possessive (2 days’ vacation or 2-day vacation), or terms used with money ($10 million project, not $10-million project).

Words – American and British spellings are accepted but only one convention should be used in an article, and it must be used consistently throughout the article. The following are some of the words that the editors have noted as problem words:

audiotape (one word)

audiovisual (one word)

audiocassette (one word)

videocassette (one word)

e-mail (used as a noun or a verb)

toward (do not use final "s")

data (is a plural noun)

Internet (always capitalized)

that is (i.e., abbreviation is used only in parentheses)

inservice (no hyphen)

preservice (no hyphen)

web site (two words)

web page (two words)

worksheet (one word)

online (one word)

CD-ROM

practice (in American spelling serves as both noun and verb; in British spelling is the noun and practise is the verb form)

Numbers – Generally the rule is to spell out the numbers between one and ten and to use the numerical representation for numbers greater than ten:

Fourth of July (if the number follows the month, use of the numerical representation is accepted: July 4th)

21st Century is becoming a trademark and so twenty-first century may be accepted

1998-99 (for years, but if the century changes use the full numerical representation 1999-2000)

pp. 267-287 (in references use full numerical representation, not 267-87)

percent (spell out except in tables, then use %; try not to use decimals with percentages)

Back To Index

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CLAUSES

Both which and that are relative pronouns. There appear to be differences of opinion on the distinction and use of these two relative pronouns. The Forum’s editors cite the reference grammar book reprinted and distributed by the English Language Programs Division, Reference Guide to English: A Handbook of English as a Second Language, and use the following distinction:

 

Which is used to introduce a clause containing informative but nonessential (nonrestrictive) information. Because the information in the clause is additional and therefore unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence, the clause is set off by commas. Many writers, including the Forum editors, do not use which to refer to people.

EXAMPLE

My cat, which is under the table right now, loves to pounce. [Meaning: I only have one cat and it is under the table.]

 

Which can also be used in a restrictive clause as long as the clause is punctuated correctly - that is, with no commas. Again, the Forum editors do not use which to refer to people.

EXAMPLE

The cat which is under the table loves to pounce. [Meaning: There is probably more than one cat]

 

That is only used to introduce a clause containing essential (restrictive) information. Because the information in the clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence, no commas are used.

EXAMPLE

The cat that is under the table loves to pounce. [Meaning: There is probably more than one cat.]

As noted in the examples above, the distinction between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses lies in the meaning the writer wishes to convey. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult for editors to edit such sentences, unless, through the context, the meaning is obvious. Writers should be aware of the distinction and make sure that their sentences convey the correct meaning.

REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHIES

The Forum’s editors prefer listing only material directly cited in the articles. The following are the formats for the most common entries used in the Forum’s articles:

  • Book with one author

Name (last name, first initial). Year. Full title (only the first word of the title and the subtitle are capitalized). Volume number (if in a volume). Edition (if not the original). City of publication: Publisher’s name.

EXAMPLE

Crandall, J. 1987. ESL through content-area instruction: Mathematics, science, and social studies. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

  • Book with more than one author

Author 1 (last name, first initial.), Author 2 (first initial. last name), Author 3 (first initial. last name). Year. Full title. Volume number (if in a volume). Edition (if not the original). City of publication: Publisher’s name.

EXAMPLE

Brinton, D., M. Snow, and M. Wesche. 1989. Content-based second language instruction. New York: Harper & Row.

  • Chapter in a book

Author (last name, first initial). Year. Title of chapter (only the first word is capitalized). In Title of book, edited by (if there is an editor). pp. xxx-xxx. City of publication: Publisher’s name.

EXAMPLE

Labov, W. 1972. The transformation of experience in narrative syntax. In Language in the inner city. pp. 354-396. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Article in a journal

Author (last name, first initial). Year. Title of article. Name of Journal, volume number, issue number, pp. xxx-xxx.

EXAMPLE

Carrell, P. 1984. The effects of rhetorical organization on ESL readers. TESOL Quarterly, 18, 3, pp. 441-469.                      

Back To Index


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LISTS

  • Use a colon after an introduction to a list only if the introduction is a complete sentence; otherwise do not use any punctuation.

  • The use of bullets is preferred unless the items in the list are in an order of priority, or unless the items will be referred to in other places in the article.

  • For a run-in list, or list embedded in a sentence, if numbers are used, enclose each number in ( ) without a period; however, do not use this style if the list contains more than 8 items.

  • For a display or vertical list, if numbers or letters are used, use a period after the number or letter, and do not enclose it in ( ).

  • When a list is introduced by a complete sentence, the sentence may be punctuated with a period or a colon. If the introductory sentence contains an anticipatory word or phrase such as these, as follows, or the following, a colon is preferred.

  • If the items that follow are not complete sentences, each item should begin with uppercase letters and end with no punctuation.

  • If the items that follow are complete sentences, each item should begin with uppercase letters and end with a period.

  • When a list is introduced by an incomplete sentence, the introduction is followed by a comma, semicolon, dash, or no punctuation at all (preferred).

  • Each item that follows must form a grammatically correct sentence when combined with the introductory phrase.

  • Each item begins with a lowercase letter and ends with a comma or semicolon. The penultimate item ends with and; and the last item ends with a period.

  • When a list is introduced by a single word or short noun or adjective phrase, no punctuation follows the word or phrase.

  • If all items that follow are sentences, each item begins with an uppercase letter and ends with a period.

  • If all items that follow are incomplete sentences, each item begins with a lowercase letter and ends with no punctuation.

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