Use punctuation correctly to help readability and comprehension. Don't overuse punctuation marks. The Style Manual follows the principles of minimal punctuation and capitalisation.

  • Punctuation and capitalisation

    Punctuation and capitalisation have rules for correct use. Use minimal punctuation and capitalisation to make content more readable.

  • Apostrophes

    Apostrophes show possession and contractions. Don’t use them in descriptive phrases or to make nouns and shortened forms plural.

  • Brackets and parentheses

    Brackets can help users scan text more easily. Only use brackets if you can remove the enclosed text and the meaning does not change.

  • Colons

    Colons draw attention to the text that follows. Only add colons that are essential. Use them to introduce examples, contrasts, lists and block quotes.

  • Commas

    Commas separate parts of a sentence so the meaning is clear. Sentence structure determines their correct use.

  • Dashes

    Dashes show a relationship. En dashes for spans or ranges are less accessible for users than a phrase. Use spaced en dashes to set off non-essential information in sentences.

  • Ellipses

    Ellipses show users that ideas or words are missing from a sentence or a quote. Don’t use ellipses to change the intent of the original source.

  • Exclamation marks

    Exclamation marks show emphasis and convey emotion. Only use them in informal content.

  • Forward slashes

    Forward slashes are useful in a small number of situations. Users are familiar with them in mathematical expressions, dates, web addresses and in some shortened forms.

  • Full stops

    Full stops mark the end of sentences which aren't questions or exclamations. Users need them to scan text and to recognise decimal values.

  • Hyphens

    Hyphens connect words and prefixes so meaning is clear. Refer to your organisation’s preferred dictionary when you are not sure if you need to use a hyphen for spelling.

  • Question marks

    Users expect direct questions and requests to end with a question mark. Indirect questions, commands and rhetorical questions can take other punctuation.

  • Quotation marks

    Quotation marks draw attention to words and reference certain kinds of titles. Write most direct speech in single quote marks. For long quotes, use block quotes without quotation marks.

  • Semicolons

    Semicolons link sentences. They complicate sentences for users if overused. Do not use them at the end of bullet and numbered list items.