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CloudCrowd Style Guide
1           Web Writing Best Practices
2.1             Who vs. Whom
2.2             Positioning Adjectives
2.3             Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives/Compound Modifiers
2.4             Active and Passive Voice
2.5             Troublesome Connectives
2.6             Phrasal Verbs
2.9             Placement of Prepositional Phrases
2.10           Overuse of Prepositions
2.11           Beginning a Sentence with a Conjunction
3.1             Quotes and Quotation Marks
3.2             Naming Works and Terms: Quotation Marks or Italics?
3.3             Quotation Mark Style: Curly or Straight?
3.4             Punctuation and Closing Quotation Marks
3.5             Apostrophes, Generally
3.6             Apostrophes and Possessive Forms of Nouns
3.7             Apostrophes and Possessive Forms of Proper Nouns, Numbers, and Letters
3.8             Apostrophes and Possessive Forms of Words and Names Ending in an unpronounced "s"
3.9             Apostrophes and Plurals of Abbreviations, Numerals, and Letters
3.10           Capitalization and Spacing After a Colon
3.12           Using Semicolons Instead of Commas in a Series
3.13           Commas with Independent Clauses
3.14           Commas with Dependent Clauses
3.15           Serial Commas
3.16           Commas with Words like "Too," "Also," "As Well," Abbreviations, and Other Expressions
3.17           Commas with Multiple Adjectives Before a Noun
3.18           Hyphens and Compound Terms
3.19           En Dashes and Em Dashes
3.21           Exclamation Points
4.1             Using Periods and Spaces with Abbreviations
4.2             Abbreviating Units in Science and Technology Writing
4.4             Abbreviating Indicators of Time
5.1             Spelling Out Numbers Versus Using Numerals
5.2             Hundreds, Thousands, Hundreds of Thousands, Millions, and Billions
5.3             When Numbers Begin a Sentence
5.4             Numbers, Physical Quantities, Measurements, and Money
5.5             Times and Dates
6             Standard Document Formatting
7             Spelling and Word Choice
8             CloudCrowd Terminology
9.1             Associated Press Style
This style guide is designed to address any editorial issues you may come across while writing or editing on CloudCrowd. It is intended for reference, not to be learned in one read, so you should refer to it before each work session to ensure compliance with the guidelines herein. No style guide can be comprehensive, however, and this one may change or expand as new content issues arise, so you should check this page often for updates.
The CloudCrowd Style Guide, with very few exceptions, is derived from the Chicago Manual of Style. We require U.S. spelling.
Boiler plating, or the use of similar structures for multiple written items, is strictly forbidden.
1           Web Writing Best Practices
Web readers rarely read entire articles or pages. In fact, they spend an average of about 30 seconds on any one page before moving on. This means that you, a Web writer, need to engage readers quickly and inform them efficiently. Content that’s easy to scan, places the most important information up high, written in active voice, contains engaging hyperlinks, and consists of short, impactful paragraphs is best suited for this tactic.
To make your content easy to scan, use bulleted or numbered lists whenever Special Instructions allow them. Generally, bulleted lists are a great way to show the reader the multiple components of or options within the subject you’re writing on. For example, if you’re writing a buyer’s guide for readers who are trying to decide what type of portable computer they want, you could list the various kinds and some essential information about them, like so:
- Notebooks, which typically feature full keyboards and gaming capabilities
- Netbooks, which are designed for Internet browsing and feature ultralight construction and long battery life
- Tablets, which typically feature long battery life, ultralight construction and advanced touchscreen technology
- Smartphones and PDAs, which vary in battery life but function as telephones and are very lightweight and compact
Numbered lists tend to work best in conveying instructions to readers, as they imply that one item should be read or completed before the next.
Placing the most essential information about the subject you’re writing on up high in an article, product description, or other piece of Web content, is also essential to promoting Web friendliness. Information that supports the main points should follow the essentials. More specialized, anecdotal, or background information about the subject should appear next. This structure is known as the inverted pyramid, because the content of the greatest import, which constitutes the bulk of your meaning or impact, is on the top, while information that is less important appears at the bottom.
Writing in active voice is preferred for the Web. Content that’s written in this style emphasizes action by placing it closer to the beginning of sentences, whereas its opposite, passive voice, tends to reserve it for the end, increasing the chances that a reader will skip the sentence or the entire paragraph for lack of interest. See Section 2.4 of this style guide for more about writing in active voice.
Because readers often do not stay on one page for long, it’s important to incorporate helpful and engaging hyperlinks in your Web writing. Pay close attention to what text you’re using for hyperlinks, however. Under no circumstances should you hyperlink “click here” in your copy. This is a bad practice because “click here” doesn’t tell the reader anything about what’s on the other side of the link, let alone whether they want to travel there or not. Instead, use text that describes the page on the other side in just a few words. For example, instead of
“To learn more about how to embed links in Microsoft Word, click here"
“To learn more about how to embed links in Microsoft Word, read our Glossary entry on the subject.”
Finally, make sure paragraphs destined for a Web page are short, to the point, and incorporate strong, eye-catching keywords. When a reader sees a block of text stretching from the top of their browser to the bottom, they're not likely to bother reading it. When information is presented in shorter, bite-sized paragraphs of three to four sentences, however, the reader is more likely to be engaged and stick around for longer. Also, readers' eyes are drawn on a page to the words or phrases they're looking for in the first place, so using keywords and keywords phrases naturally throughout your copy is a must.
Great Web writing may seem terse or oddly structured to writers used to publishing in more traditional venues or academia. But content with the characteristics outlined above will give readers exactly what they need: helpful, relevant information that can be digested in as little time as possible.
There are several schools of grammatical thought. Often, writers and editors bring their own learning and vocabulary about English grammar with them when they work. While writing, reviewing, and editing on CloudCrowd, however, all participants must refer to the grammar rules in this section. Take questions, comments, or suggestions to our Worker Support Forum.
2.1           Who vs. Whom
Who and whoever are subjects, or the things or persons who perform a verb (Whoever said she could do that?). Whom and whomever are used as objects of a verb (You drove whom?) or as prepositions (To whom are you speaking?).
2.2           Positioning Adjectives
An adjective usually precedes the noun, noun phrase, or pronoun it modifies (terrible purpose) but may follow the noun under these circumstances:
- Special emphasis is desired (obstacles insurmountable).
- Standard usage dictates that the adjective follows (attorneys general).
- The adjective is a predicate adjective occurring after a connecting verb (She is able).
- The adjective modifies a pronoun that usually precedes a modifier (nothing unusual).
- Hyphenation is essential if more than one phrasal adjective modifies a single noun (fifteenth-century dog-and-pony shows).
- If the phrasal adjective contains a compound noun, the whole phrase must be hyphenated (four-wheel-driving maniacs).
- If the phrasal adjective indicates a length of time or amount, plurals should be excluded from the hyphenated form (Imprisonment lasted two years becomes two-year imprisonment). This does not apply to fractions, however (two-thirds majority) .
- When two phrasal adjectives end in the same word, that word should only appear in the second phrasal adjective, and a hanging hyphen should follow the unattached words in the preceding phrasal adjectives (100- and 200-word documents, lower- and middle-class standards).
- If two phrasal adjectives begin with the same word, the common word should be repeated (right-handed, right-wing politicians).
- If a phrasal adjective makes a sentence awkward, the sentence should be rewritten to exclude it.
- If a proper noun begins a phrasal adjective, the name is not hyphenated.
- Phrasal adjectives that follow a verb are generally unhyphenated (well-educated hamsters versus hamsters that are well educated).
- When an adverb ending in -ly begins a two-word phrasal adjective, there should be no hyphenation (A carelessly worded rule). A three-word (or more) phrasal adjective requires hyphenation, however (A not-so-carelessly worded thought).
- Do not use a phrasal verb if the verb suffices alone.
- Do not use a phrasal verb if there is a one-word noun option (one breaks down should be one suffers a breakdown).
- If a prepositional phrase acts as an adjective or adverb, it should appear as close as possible to the word it modifies (Is there a duck with a red wig named Frederick here?).
- If the prepositional phrase modifies all items in a compound construction, such as a list, it should follow the final item (The time, place, and means of the robbery have been set).
- Prepositions and prepositional phrases can oftentimes simply be eliminated, especially if the topic of the content has already been established (The most expensive component of a home entertainment system can be the most expensive component).
- Opting for the verb form of a noun can eliminate one or two prepositions (During his deliver of the speech can become while he delivered the speech).
- Replace a prepositional phrase with a strong adverb (He spoke with candor can become he spoke candidly).
- A genitive phrase, or an instance when a noun modifies another noun, can replace a prepositional phrase (I was discouraged by the length of the book can become the book’s length discouraged me).
- Using active voice will often eliminate unnecessary prepositions. See section 2.5.
- An apostrophe is part of the word in which it appears and should not be confused with a single quotation mark; therefore, no punctuation should fall between the word and the apostrophe.
- Do not use "smart apostrophes." To disable smart apostrophes in Microsoft Word, select the option under Word? Preferences ? AutoCorrect ? AutoFormat as You Type.
- The possessive form of most singular nouns is created by adding an apostrophe and an s.
- The possessive of most plural nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe without the s.
- When the singular and plural forms of a noun both end in s, just the apostrophe alone is added to form the possessive (politics’ true nature).
- If the name of a singular place, publication, or organization is always a plural form ending in s (United Arab Emirates), only add the apostrophe.
- He received straight Cs on his report card.
- Send me the URLs.
- Don’t you miss the 1980s?
- p’s and q’s
- The plural of n. (note) is nn. (notes).
- The plural of p. (page) is pp. (pages).
- The first letter of the word following a colon used within a sentence should be lowercase unless it’s a brand name or proper noun.
- If the colon introduces two or more complete sentences, a segment of dialogue, an excerpt from a text, or a question, the first letter of the word following the colon should be capitalized.
- Use only one space after a colon in all cases.
- Note that if the final item in a series contains a conjunction, a serial comma is still used before that item (milk, cranberries, and bread and butter).
- "As well as" does not equal "and," so far as serial commas go. In the following sentence,
"I ate a pizza, a hamburger, and two tacos, as well as a chocolate milkshake,"
note that a serial comma still appears before the conjunction in the third element of the series.
- The annual report showed that Acme Parts Inc. had increased its market share.
- Monsters, Inc. was the only movie she saw during summer vacation.
- could be joined by "and";
- be reversed in order and still make sense
- For colors: The compound is hyphenated before the noun, but not after. For example:
- For age terms: With a couple of exceptions, age terms are hyphenated in the noun and adjective form. For example:
- For directions and compass points: Compounds are closed in the adjective, adverb, and noun forms. If three directions are incorporated, however, a hyphen follows the first. For example:
- Foreign terms, such as in vitro and ad nauseam do not need a hyphen unless one appears in the original language. Check TheFreeDictionary.com for guidance in using these terms.
- For simple fractions and compounds formed with fractions: The noun form is open and the adjective form is hyphenated. For example:
- For a number plus a noun: Hyphenate the compound before a noun but leave it open otherwise. For example:
- For ordinals plus a noun: The adjective form should be hyphenated before a noun, but otherwise the compound is open. For example:
- Hyphenate compounds made from an ordinal plus a superlative that appear before nouns; leave all others open. For example:
- When spelling out numbers: Twenty-one through ninety-nine should be hyphenated; all others should be open. For example:
- Times of day are typically left open, but instances such as two twenty take a hyphen before a noun. For example:
- For a compound comprised of an adjective followed by a noun: Hyphenate before the noun but not after it. For example:
- For a compound formed by a noun followed by an adjective: Hyphenate before a noun. Usually, such a compound appearing after a noun doesn’t take a hyphen. For example:
- For a compound comprised of an adjective plus a participle: Hyphenate before but not after the noun. For example:
- For a compound comprised of an adverb that does not end in ly plus a participle or adjective: Hyphenate before but not after the noun. Compounds incorporating most, less, least, very, typically do not take a hyphen. When only the adverb is modified (not the compound as a whole) by another adverb, the expression does not take a hyphen. For example:
- For a compound made from an adverb ending in ly and a participle or adjective: Never hyphenate. For example:
- For a compound formed by two nouns in which the first noun modifies the second: Hyphenate the adjective form before a noun but do not hyphenate the noun form ever. Some of these compounds are permanent. Consult a dictionary if you are unsure. For example:
- Compounds in which both nouns are equal (modification does not just go one way) are always hyphenated in the noun and adjective form. For example:
- Compounds made from a noun followed by a numeral or enumerator are always open, both in the noun and adjective forms. For example:
- Compounds formed by a noun followed by a participle are hyphenated before a noun only. For example:
- Compounds formed by a participle followed by a noun are hyphenated in the adjective form but not in the noun form. For example:
- Compounds formed by a participle followed by upout, and adjectives of the like should be hyphenated in the adjective form when they appear before the noun but never after. The verb form of these compounds is never hyphenated. For example:
- i.e. (that is)
- a.k.a. (also known as)
- a.m. and p.m.
- Ms., Mr., Dr., and other titles, such as PhD
- et al.
- Abbreviations that end in lowercase letters take periods at their ends (a.m., p.m., Ms.).
- Abbreviations of given names take periods (J.K. Rowling, T.S. Eliot, or J.R.R. Tolkien), but initials in place of entire names do not (FDR).
- Do not use periods with fully capitalized abbreviations (MVP, CFO, UK, US, NY, PhD).
- No space is necessary in abbreviations and acronyms (WWF, CBC).
- A space is necessary between abbreviated words (Dist. Atty., Maj. Gen.).
- ac: alternating current
- AF: audio frequency
- bhp: brake horsepower
- bps: bits per second
- Bps: bytes per second
- °C: degrees Celsius
- cal: calorie
- cc: cubic centimeter
- cd: candela
- CD: compact disc
- cm: centimeter
- cm3: cubic centimeter
- cp: candlepower
- cps: cycles per second
- CPU: central processing unit
- cu: cubic
- dB: decibel
- dc: direct current
- dots per inch
- DVD: digital video disc
- °F: degree Fahrenheit
- fp: freezing point
- FTP: file transfer protocol
- g: gram
- Gb: gigabit
- GB: gigabyte
- Gbps: gigabits per second
- GIF: graphic interchange format
- GPS: global positioning system
- hp: horsepower
- HTML: hypertext markup language
- HTTP: hypertext transfer protocol
- Hz: hertz
- IP: Internet protocol
- IR: infrared
- JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group file format
- K: kelvin (in science writing) and kilobyte (in technology writing)
- Kbps: kilobits per second
- kg: kilogram
- kHz: kilohertz
- kJ: kilojoule
- km: kilometers
- kW: kilowatt
- kWh: kilowatt-hour
- L: liter
- lm: lumen
- m: meter
- MB: megabyte
- Mbps: megabits per second
- mg: milligram
- MIDI: musical instrument digital interface
- mL: milliliter
- MPEG: Moving Pictures Experts Group file format
- mpg: miles per gallon
- mph: miles per hour
- MP3: common music file format
- MP4: common video file format
- nm: nanometer or nautical mile
- OS: operating system
- PC: personal computer
- PDF: portable document format
- PNG: common image format
- ppb: parts per billion
- ppm: parts per million
- ppt: parts per trillion
- RAM: random-access memory
- RF: radio frequency
- ROM: read-only memory
- rpm: revolutions per minute
- sq: square
- Tb: terabit
- TB: terabyte
- Tbps: terabits per second
- USB: universal serial bus
- UV: ultraviolet
- V: volt
- W: watt
- XML: extensible markup language
- GMT (Greenwich mean time)
- EST (eastern standard time)
- EDT (eastern daylight time)
- CST (central standard time)
- CDT (central daylight time)
- MST (mountain standard time)
- MDT (mountain daylight time)
- PST (Pacific standard time)
- PDT (Pacific daylight time)
- If the time of day is given in quarter, half, or even hours, spell the numeral out in the text (He left at ten thirty).
- Write times as a.m. and p.m. (lowercase, with periods). If a time is on the hour, omit the ":00."
- Always spell a number out when using it with o'clock.
- When abbreviating a year (’96), replace the first two digits (19-, 18-) with an apostrophe.
- Use a numeral when naming the exact time is essential (The first bus arrives at 5:22 a.m.).
- When a date includes a month, day, and year, it should be written in this format: Jan. 8, 2007.
- Do not use th or rd after the numeral in a date.
- Do not insert a comma if a date consists of only a month and year.
- Completely spell out a month with no number date (I saw her in November).
- Website (one word, lowercase W)
- Web, as in the World Wide Web (capital W)
- email (no hyphen)
2.3           Hyphenating Phrasal Adjectives/Compound Modifiers
Phrasal adjectives, or compound modifiers (well-lit, well lit, fun-filled, poorly lit), may come before or after the noun, noun phrase, or pronoun they modify. Typically, if the phrasal adjective is placed before the noun, it should be hyphenated (a fun-filled adventure). If the phrasal adjective follows the noun, it generally should not be hyphenated (The room, well lit by a lamp…).Follow these hyphenation rules when dealing with phrasal adjectives:
Note these exceptions to the above hyphenation rules:
2.4           Active and Passive Voice
Active voice demonstrates that the subject in a sentence acts, or performs the verb (The dog ate the carrot), whereas passive voice shows that the subject is acted upon, or receives the action of the verb (The carrot was eaten by the dog). Oftentimes, a sentence in passive voice will contain a "by the… statement.
Active voice is preferable to passive voice in most cases, but good writing will contain an active-heavy mixture of both. Passive voice is sometimes more appropriate in technical or scientific writing
To convert passive voice to active voice, first identify what is the agent of change in the sentence. The agent should become the subject. You may need to alter the verb to match the subject you have identified.
So, if we begin with the sentence,
"The carrot was eaten by the dog,"
we can identify the agent of change as the dog. We then change the verb to match "the dog" and arrive at the sentence in active voice,
"The dog ate the carrot."
2.5           Troublesome Connectives
Adding connectives like "along with," "together with," and "as well as" does not make the subject of a sentence plural. Therefore, the verb in a sentence that incorporates connectives of this sort should not be conjugated to match a plural subject. To avoid this problem, opt for using "and" instead of the connectives listed above.
"Robin Hood as well as his Merry Men were often seen in the hosiery department"
is incorrect because "as well as" does not make the subject (Robin Hood) plural. The sentence should be,
"Robin Hood as well as his Merry Men was often seen in the hosiery department."
Or, even better, the sentence should read,
"Robin Hood and his Merry Men were often seen in the hosiery department."
2.6           Phrasal Verbs
A phrasal verb is a unit typically comprised of a verb plus a preposition (calm down). Do not hyphenate phrasal verbs.
Follow these rules if you’re considering using a phrasal verb:
Unless the writing calls for a heightened degree of formality, use common contractions (can’t, shouldn’t, wasn’t). They generally add to the readability and cadence of writing. Avoid uncommon contractions (I’d’ve, it’d, and so on).
A preposition is a phrase or word that links an object and antecedent, usually an adjective, adverb, verb, or phrase, to demonstrate a relationship between them. Typically, the preposition comes before the object, but not always. For instance, a preposition may end a clause (This isn’t the date I came here with).
2.9           Placement of Prepositional Phrases
A prepositional phrase—or a preposition, its object, and a word that modifies the object—can be used as a noun (For Sally to take that course would be a disaster), an adjective (the potholes of Oakland), or an adverb (we ran through the jungle). Placement of a prepositional phrase follows these rules:
Keep in mind that if a prepositional phrase with more than one object appears after the singular subject of the sentence, the predicate must be singular (The king with three subjects has arrived).
2.10           Overuse of Prepositions
Use approximately one preposition or prepositional phrase per ten to fifteen words. To cut down on prepositions and prepositional phrases, employ the following methods:
2.11           Beginning a Sentence with a Conjunction
Contrary to common belief, it is not erroneous to begin a sentence with a conjunction (and, so, but). This is not to say, however, that using but or and at the beginning of the sentence is always okay. Oftentimes, the two words are incorrectly used interchangeably at the beginning of a sentence, especially but.
The trick is to test whether and can be substituted for but at the beginning of a sentence without destroying meaning. Take the following example:
"Pete went shopping for the barbecue. But he forgot the hotdogs."
And can go in place of but here and we still understand what has happened, but because what is being implied is that the hotdogs are necessary to the barbecue, the example should be written as,
"Pete went shopping for the barbecue, intending to grill hotdogs, but forgot to buy them."
Punctuation, above all, should promote readability and clarity. Therefore, there is a certain amount of subjectivity at play in punctuating. That said, certain tried-and-true rules must be followed. This section outlines those rules.
3.1           Quotes and Quotation Marks
Use double quotation marks ( " ) to indicate a direct quote from a person or text, including films and product labels,(The boy said, "I love you, Mom").
Use single quotation marks ( ' ) to indicate a quote within a quote (The little boy walked up to the young girl and said, "I was talking to Albert when Ms. Smith shouted, ‘Be quiet, young man!’").
A comma usually precedes quoted text (see the examples above), but a colon may also be used (Men Without Hats put it this way: "if they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine).
Quotation marks can be used around a term to indicate ironic use, but do so only sparingly. If the ironic use can be understood without the marks, omit them.
3.2           Naming Works and Terms: Quotation Marks or Italics?
Double quotation marks should be used when naming a journal, periodical, newspaper article, poem, song, and short piece of fiction.
Italics are used for longer works, or works that can stand alone, such as books, plays, films, paintings, etc.
Do not use quotation marks to introduce a new term; instead, use italics.
3.3           Quotation Mark Style: Curly or Straight?
Set your Microsoft Word options to use straight quotation marks ("  "). This setting can be found in recent Word versions under Word? Preferences ? AutoCorrect ? AutoFormat as You Type.
3.4           Punctuation and Closing Quotation Marks
Refer to the table below to discern where to place punctuation marks in relation to double or single closing quotation marks, parentheses, and square brackets:
|Closing punctuation mark||Quotation marks (double or single)||Parentheses and brackets|
|Period||Inside||Inside or outside. When an independent sentence is enclosed in parentheses or brackets, the period should appear inside the parentheses or brackets. When content in parentheses, even a complete sentence, is within another sentence, the period should appear outside the parentheses.|
|Exclamation point||Inside or outside. Exclamation points appear after closing quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.||Inside or outside. Exclamation points appear after closing quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.|
|Question mark||Inside or outside. Question marks appear after closing quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.||Inside or outside. Question marks appear after closing quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.|
|Em dash||Inside or outside. If the sudden break indicated by an em dash applies to the quoted material, place the em dash within the quotation marks. If it applies top the surrounding material, place it outside the quotation marks.||Outside|
3.5           Apostrophes, Generally
The three main uses of the apostrophe are to indicate the possessive case, missing letters or numerals, and occasionally to form the plural of some expressions. The following basic conditions always apply when using apostrophes:
3.6           Apostrophes and Possessive Forms of Nouns
Follow these guidelines when demonstrating a noun’s possession of something:
3.7           Apostrophes and Possessive Forms of Proper Nouns, Numbers, and Letters
Section 3.6 applies to proper nouns, numbers, and letters.
3.8           Apostrophes and Possessive Forms of Words and Names Ending in an unpronounced "s"
3.9           Apostrophes and Plurals of Abbreviations, Numerals, and Letters
Form the plural forms of capital letters used as words, abbreviations, and numerals used as nouns by adding an s:
For clarity, add an apostrophe and an s to lowercase letters used in the same manner:
Exceptions to the rule for lowercase letters include:
3.10           Capitalization and Spacing After a Colon
A colon is used between two clauses to emphasize the first. Usually, it conveys "as follows," and may precede a list or illustrative point. Use colons sparingly. Follow these capitalization rules when using a colon:
Use semicolons to separate two thematically related independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction (We have no food left in the kitchen; Dave is running to the store).
You may also use semicolons in a sentence that has list items with internal punctuation (This picnic set includes plastic cups, saucers, and plates; an aluminum teapot; and utensils).
3.12          Using Semicolons Instead of Commas in a Series
When a series contains very complex elements, or those elements contain internal punctuation, you may use semicolons instead of commas. For basic lists, even if they are set off with a colon, commas are recommended.
3.13          Commas with Independent Clauses
Use a comma to separate two independent clauses that are joined by a conjunction (This cordless drill is durable and versatile, and it makes a great gift for Dad).
3.14          Commas with Dependent Clauses
A dependent clause that appears before a main clause in a sentence should be followed by a comma (If they accept the terms of the surrender, we’ll agree to release the prisoners).
If a dependent clause following a main clause is essential to the meaning of the main clause, it should not be preceded by a comma (We’ll agree to release the prisoners if they accept the terms of the surrender).
If the dependent clause is supplementary, or nonessential to the meaning of the main clause, it should be preceded by a comma (I’d like to know what you’re thinking, if you don’t mind sharing).
3.15          Serial Commas
Always use serial commas (also known as Oxford commas), or commas that precede the conjunction before the last item in a series of three or more items. This promotes clarity and consistency.
3.16          Commas with Words like "Too," "Also," "As Well," Abbreviations, and Other Expressions
Do not use comma before the words "too", "also", "as well" and any similar terms. For example:
It saves you money too.
Do not use a comma on either side of "Inc." The rule applies even if the official name of the company includes a comma. The only exceptions are the names of works of art, such as films, books, or song titles. In those cases, the comma before Inc. will be retained, but there will be no comma after Inc. For example:
Expressions like "namely" and "for example" should be followed by a comma. For example:
Very few attendees ate the questionable fish. Namely, the Duchess of York and the Duke Lancaster.
3.17          Commas with Multiple Adjectives Before a Noun
If two or more adjectives precede a noun and
they should be separated by commas. Such adjectives are known as coordinating adjectives. For instance:
It’s going to be a terrible, exhausting day (it is going to be an exhausting and terrible day).
If, however, one of the adjectives is necessary and forms a unit with the noun, no commas are necessary. For example:
She bought a cheap used car (the used car was cheap).
When an adjective appears more than once before a noun, the pair should be separated by a comma. For example:
Many, many teenagers attended the festival.
3.18          Hyphens and Compound Terms
Although there are a total of five types of dashes used in English writing, only three are commonly used: the hyphen ( - ), en dash ( – ), and em dash ( — ).
The hyphen is primarily used to make compound words and names, such as certain types of phrasal adjectives (see Section 2.3) and compound terms. Compound terms can consist of two words with a hyphen between them, or a permanent compound in which no space belongs between the words.
The most comprehensive guide on which terms are hyphenated compounds, permanent compounds, or two words is a dictionary. At CloudCrowd, we use TheFreeDictionary.com. Look up the term in question and chances are you’ll find what you need.
For determining whether a term should be two separate words, a hyphenated compound, or a permanent compound, such as first-class and clear-headed, without using a dictionary, follow these guidelines:
lemon-yellow pants, greenish-brown mud, snow-white sky, blue-green algae, black-and-white issue, however, his pants are lemon yellow, the mud was greenish-brown, the sky was snow white, the sea is blue green, the issue is black and white.
a five-year-old, a three-year-old child, a sixty-five-year-old woman, a bunch of six- to ten-year-olds, however, eight years old, twenty years of age.
an east-west road, the road runs east-west, southeast, northwest, and west-southwest.
one-quarter, one-third, one-twentieth, two and two-thirds, two-thirds finished, a three-quarters majority, a one-eighth stake.
A fifty-meter race, a eight-inch-high curb, an 80-page novella, it’s ten inches high, a two-and-a-half-inch difference, five- to ten-inch blocks.
first-row seating, sixth-place finisher, the sixth floor, eighth-floor hotel room.
I was the second-to-last finisher in the race, it’s the fifth-biggest town in the state, however, I finished second to last.
Twenty-five, eight hundred eighty.
I have an appointment at three thirty, the four-twenty bus, a five o’clock deadline.
a high-quality television, an upper-class lifestyle, however,his lifestyle is upper class.
a high-quality television, an upper-class lifestyle, however,his lifestyle is upper class.
He is a rhetoric-savvy writer, she is not very rhetoric savvy.
A much-desired raise, the raise was much desired, a well-loved novel, the novel was well loved, the highest-paying employer, the least valued asset, the most-skilled technicians (meaning the highest in skill) and the most skilled technicians (the most in number).
I found it slightly entertaining, he’s a highly compensated lawyer.
business owner, student counselor, advancement track, advancement-track position, copyeditor.
Type 1 diabetes, type A personality, page 12 funnies.
A weed-filled field, a money-pinching man, however, a time of money pinching.
Cutting-edge technology, the technology was cutting edge.
Burned-out student, dressed-up partygoers, the student was burned out.
3.19          En Dashes and Em Dashes
Always use the em dash for parenthetical elements. For consistency, do not include a space on either side. For example:
We celebrated Dad’s birthday—just as we do every year—at Red Lobster.
Only use the shorter en dash (–) for indicating number ranges.
An ellipsis is three consecutive periods (…) with a space on either side. Use ellipses to indicate that words have been omitted in quoted or cited text. Note that if the omitted text comes at the end of the sentence, the ellipsis follows a period. For example:
Dave said, I love this place … it serves meatballs.
Dave said, I love going to Spain. … Traveling is lots of fun.
An ellipsis can also indicate a pause in thought, but this typically is only for creative or fiction writing.
3.21          Exclamation Points
Do not use exclamation points unless absolutely necessary. Typically, you should only use one to indicate that someone is shouting. With rare exceptions, exclamation points are not appropriate in professional text.
Use slashes to separate alternatives (AM/FM stereo, AC/DC, audio/visual).
Outside of science and technology writing, abbreviations typically should not appear in running text. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, including:
These are just a few of the exceptions for using abbreviations in nontechnical running text. If you’re unsure of an abbreviation, consult our preferred dictionary.
4.1           Using Periods and Spaces with Abbreviations
Follow these guidelines when using periods with abbreviations in nontechnical writing:
For spaces in abbreviations:
4.2           Abbreviating Units in Science and Technology Writing
Some scientific and technological terms and units are used so commonly that they do not need to be written out and may be abbreviated without periods. Such abbreviations include:
Do not use an ampersand (&) unless it is part of a brand name or keyword (Proctor & Gamble, Arm & Hammer).
No space is necessary on either side of the ampersand when it’s used within an initialism (AT&T).
4.4           Abbreviating Indicators of Time
It is sometimes necessary or preferable to abbreviate the names of months, days, and the time of day, especially in tabulature and in other areas where space is a consideration. Use these abbreviations for months:
Use these abbreviations for days of the week:
Use these abbreviations for the time of day (but do not use them if you’re already writing out "morning," "afternoon," "evening," and so on):
Use these abbreviations for time zones, and make sure they’re in parentheses:
Use a comma for all numbers four digits or more. For example:
We have 1,500 soldiers or The car costs $24,500.
5.1           Spelling Out Numbers Versus Using Numerals
Outside of science and technology writing, whole numbers zero through one hundred and some round multiples of those numbers should be spelled out. All other numbers should be written as numerals. For instance:
Sixty-four fraternities gathered on that fateful day, but only eleven returned home.
Last time I checked, my grandmother was 104 years old.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, which will be examined in the rest of this section.
5.2           Hundreds, Thousands, Hundreds of Thousands, , Millions, and Billions
If any whole numbers below one hundred mentioned in Section 5.1 are followed by hundred, thousand, or hundred thousand, the number should be written out. This, however, doesn’t hold true in some cases in science or technology writing where numerals are a must. For example:
The football stadium accommodated forty-three thousand spectators.
When whole numbers are followed by millions or billions, they should follow the rule set out in Section 5.1.
5.3           When Numbers Begin a Sentence
Numbers, including years, are always spelled out when they begin a sentence, although it is never optimal to begin a sentence with a number, spelled out or otherwise. Try rephrasing to avoid it. For example:
One thousand delegates attended the convention. could be rephrased as In a great showing, one thousand delegates attended the convention.
Two thousand was when the computers seized control could be rephrased as In the year 2000, the computers seized control.
5.4           Numbers, Physical Quantities, Measurements, and Money
Outside of technology, science, and merchandise writing, such as product descriptions (this is a departure from the Chicago Manual of Style), numbers used with physical qualities such as areas, distances, amounts of time, degrees of temperature, speeds, and lengths should follow the rule set out in Section 5.1. For example:
within forty-five minutes, the temperature dropped by twenty-six degrees
The sports car maxed out at 120 mph
Do not spell out numerals when associated with a unit or size. The numeral and the unit should be separated by a single hyphen (see Section 3.17).
Correct: 20-piece dish set
Incorrect: twenty-piece dish set, two hundred piece LEGO set
Dimensions, as for clothing, shoes, and furniture should be written as numerals. For example:
Size 12 shoe, 32 x 32 size jeans, 18 x 6 x 12 cm
Clothing sizes can be written out (Large, Small, Medium) or listed by the capital letter associated with the size (XL, XS).
Use a dollar sign ( $ ) with numerals. If the number is written out, use the word dollars. Never use both.
Use a hyphen ( - ) with numeral/unit modifiers.
18-inch trout, 60-inch television
5.5           Times and DatesFollow these general rules when writing dates and times of day (also see Section 4.3 for abbreviations of months):
Correct: 7:25 a.m. / 9 p.m. / Jan. 8, 2007 / November 2010
Incorrect: 2:30 PM / 6:00 am / Oct. 21 1993 / July, 1977
Percentages, unless they start a sentence, always consist of a numeral (including single-digit numerals) and the word "percent." For example:
He completed 40 percent of the project.
Fifty percent of voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage.
When necessary, use decimals to express percentages. For example:
3.5 percent of the sample batch was unusable.
When a percentage is used as an adjective, do not place a hyphen between the numeral and word. For example:
He received a 30 percent return on his investment.
When referring to mathematical equations, figures, ratios, etc., use numerals, even for numbers below 10. For example:
a 1-to-3 ratio or a 1-in-8 chance
6           Standard Document Formatting
All documents submitted at CloudCrowd should be formatted as follows:
Font: Size 12 Times New Roman (Microsoft Word) or Nimbus Roman (OpenOffice). Download Times New Roman.
Line Spacing: Use single spacing for all written copy.
Spacing after a period: Use only one space after a period.
Paragraph spacing and indentation: Distinguish paragraphs with a full line break between them. Do not indent.
Unnecessarily lengthy paragraphs that crowd together a variety of themes should be separated at natural thematic points. When writing dialogue, ensure that a new paragraph is used each time the speaker changes.
Bolding: Bold type is virtually never appropriate. If a term requires emphasis, use italics, never bold or ALLCAPS. (See Italics below.)
Italics: See Section 3.2 for information on when to use italics in naming texts or works. In running text, use italics for emphasis, but do so sparingly. Professional writing is extremely conservative with the use of emphasis.
If you are required to use line breaks, follow the guidelines below (ignore variable line spacing when checking for line breaks):
A line break is a horizontal line of empty space in between two lines of text. You can confirm that there is a line break if your mouse cursor can be activated in the empty line. Your cursor should only fit once, not twice.
This is a sentence about a line break. Line breaks are fun and entertaining. Check out more below about them.
More about line breaks. Line breaks are fun to use in many CloudCrowd documents.
Not a Line Break:
This is a sentence about a line break. Line breaks are fun and entertaining. Check out more below about them.More about line breaks. Line breaks are fun to use in many CloudCrowd documents.
Not a Line Break:
This is a sentence about a line break. Line breaks are fun and entertaining. Below are two line breaks.
More about line breaks. Line breaks are fun to use in many CloudCrowd documents.
7           Spelling and Word Choice
When uncertain about the spelling of a word (including hyphenation or capitalization), look it up at TheFreeDictionary.com. Default to whatever spelling appears there (exceptions listed below); if there are multiple correct spellings for the same definition, default to the first listed.
For proper nouns that do not appear on TheFreeDictionary.com, Wikipedia can be considered a useful second source.
Exceptions to spellings on TheFreeDictionary.com
For scientific and uncommon terms, consult the relevant dictionary (Medical, Legal, Financial) on TheFreeDictionary.com.
8           CloudCrowd Terminology
As you work at CloudCrowd, you'll come across some specialized terms that we've developed to describe ideas or practices specific to our platform. Please see our Glossary for definitions and examples of each term.
Some projects at CloudCrowd require additional style guides that either expound greatly upon or contradict large portions of the CloudCrowd Style Guide. You will be notified in task Special Instructions when you'll need to either use one of these other guides in place of the standard guide or use both.
9.1           Associated Press Style
The Associated Press Stylebook is primarily used by the press, but some retailers and Web content producers also opt for its clean and simple style. It differs from the Chicago Manual of Style in many significant ways. Read our summary of those differences.