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Template:MoS guideline

Nutshell This page provides guidance on when to format text in articles. For instructions on how to do that, see Help:Wiki markup § Format.

Boldface

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Boldface (text like this) is common in Wikipedia articles, but only for certain usages. To create it, surround the text to be boldfaced with triple apostrophes: '''...'''.[1]

Article title terms

The most common use of boldface is to highlight the first occurrence of the title word/phrase of the article (and often its synonyms) in the lead section, as well as terms that are redirected to the article or its sub-sections. This is done for the majority of articles, but is not a requirement.

Automatically applied boldface

In the following cases, boldface is applied automatically, either by MediaWiki software or by the browser:

  • Subsection headings of level 3 and below (===Sub-heading===, ====Sub-sub-heading====, etc., markup). There are 5 heading levels total in articles.[2]
  • The term in description (a/k/a definition or glossary) lists (example: Glossary of the American trucking industry)
  • Table headers and captions (but not image captions)

Manually added boldface markup in such cases would be redundant and is to be avoided.

Other uses

Use boldface in the remainder of the article only in a few special cases:

  • To follow the "principle of least astonishment" after following a redirect, for terms in the first couple of paragraphs of an article, or at the beginning of a section of an article, which are the subjects of redirects to the article or section (e.g. sub-topics of the article's topic, rather than the synonyms as already boldfaced per the above)
    Template:Crossref
  • Mathematical objects traditionally written in boldface such as vectors and the rational number symbols Q and Z
  • In some citation formats, for the volume number of a journal or other multi-volume works

Citation templates, such as Template:citation, automatically supply all formatting (such as italic, boldface, and quotation marks). Therefore, applying manual formatting inside a citation template will cause undesired results.

When not to use boldface

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Avoid using boldface for emphasis in article text. Instead, use HTML's <em></em> element (which usually renders as italic); this can also be rendered with the {{em|...}} template. Italic wikimarkup (''...'', or <i></i>) is often also used for this purpose, but is not semantically correct, and may be replaced (it is for non-emphasis italics, such as that used for book titles and foreign-language phrases, as detailed below).

It is technically possible to put non-Latin alphabets such as Greek or Cyrillic in boldface, but this should be avoided.

HTML's <strong></strong> emphasis (which usually renders as boldface) is generally not appropriate in article text, though it is common in project pages, template documentation, talk page discussions and other non-article contexts. It can also be rendered with the {{strong|...}} template.

Italic type

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Template:Further information

Italic type (text like this) is produced with double apostrophes around the content to be italicized: ''...''.[1] Italics, along with semantic emphasis (usually rendered as italics), are used for various specific purposes in Wikipedia, outlined below.

Emphasis

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The use of italics for emphasis on Wikipedia should follow good English print style. The most accessible way to indicate emphasis is with the HTML <em></em> element or by enclosing the emphasized text within an {{em|...}} template. Emphasis may be used to draw attention to an important word or phrase within a sentence, when the point or thrust of the sentence may otherwise not be apparent to readers, or to stress a contrast:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

It may be preferable to avoid the need for emphasis by rewriting a sentence more explicitly. Use of emphasis more than once in a sentence is rarely helpful to readers, unless the emphasized terms are being directly compared.

Other, non-emphasis, uses of italics on Wikipedia should use ''...'' markup, not <em> or {{em}} markup.

Names and titles

Template:Merge portions to {{Wikipedia:Manual of Style/titles hatnote include|where=MOS:ITALICS#N&T}}

Italics should be used for the following types of names and titles, or abbreviations thereof:

  • Major works of art and artifice, such as albums, books, video games, films, musicals, operas, symphonies, paintings, sculptures, newspapers, journals, magazines, epic poems, plays, television programs, radio shows. Medium of publication or presentation is not a factor; a video feature only released on video tape, disc or the Internet is considered a "film" for these purposes, and so on. Template:Crossref
Minor works (and any specifically-titled subdivisions of italicized major works) are given in double quotation marks. Template:See below
These cases are well-established conventions recognized in most style guides. Do not apply italics to other categories or instances because you feel they are creative or artful (e.g. game or sport moves, logical arguments, "artisanal" products, schools of practice or thought, etc.).
  • Court case names: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. (Case citation or law report information is presented in normal font)
  • Certain scientific names:
    • Genes (but not proteins encoded by genes).
    • Genera (and abbreviation thereof) and all lower taxa (including species and subspecies), but not higher taxa (e.g. family, order, etc.). The entire scientific name should be italicized, except where an interpolation is included in or appended to the name. Template:See below
  • Named, specific vessels: proper names given to:
    • Ships, with ship prefixes, classification symbols, pennant numbers, and types in normal font: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. However, italicize ship names when they appear in the names of classes of ships (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Template:Crossref
    • Aircraft: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • Spacecraft (often fictional): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (but distinguish the craft from the mission: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • Trains and locomotives: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
The vessels convention does not apply to smaller conveyances such as cars, trucks, and buses. Also, most real-world spacecraft at this time are not given proper names, thus <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., etc. are not appropriate, being mission names.

Use piped linking to properly italicize in wikilinks: "USS Baltimore (CA-68), the lead ship of the Baltimore-class cruisers", is produced by [[USS Baltimore (CA-68)|USS ''Baltimore'' (CA-68)]], the lead ship of the [[Baltimore-class cruiser|''Baltimore''-class cruisers]]

Words as words

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Use italics when writing about words as words, or letters as letters (to indicate the use–mention distinction). Examples:

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

When italics could cause confusion, quotation marks instead may be used to distinguish words as words. Use one style or the other in a given context; do not apply both styles at once to the same terms, or switch back and forth between the styles in the same material.

A technical term being introduced is often being mentioned as a word rather than (or in addition to) playing its normal grammatical role; if so, it should be italicized or quoted. The first occurrence of a technical term may be both italicized (or quoted) and linked if the term also has its own article (or section) corresponding exactly to the meaning when used in the present article.

Italics may also be used where <dfn> tags or {{dfn}} templates mark a term's first use, definition, introduction, or distinguished meaning on the page. Note that <dfn> tags and {{dfn}} templates do not apply text formatting, so the italicization (or quoting) must be added if intended. For instance, in the Consciousness article:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
''<dfn>Access consciousness</dfn>'' is...

If, however, a term is strictly synonymous with the subject of the article (i.e. the likely target of a redirect), then boldface should be used in place of italics or quotation marks at such a first occurrence.

'''<dfn>text</dfn>'''text

Foreign terms

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Wikipedia prefers italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that do not yet have everyday use in non-specialized English. Use the native spellings if they use the Latin alphabet (with or without diacritics)—otherwise Anglicize their spelling. For example: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. Use foreign words sparingly; for more information, see Wikipedia:Writing better articles § Use other languages sparingly. Loanwords or phrases that have common use in English, however—praetor, Gestapo, samurai, esprit de corps, e.g., i.e.—do not require italicization. Likewise, musical movement titles, tempo markings, or terms like minuet and trio, are in normal upright font. If looking for a good rule of thumb, do not italicize words that appear in Merriam-Webster Online.

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If there is a reason to include a term in a non-Latin script, it can be placed in parentheses. Text in non-Latin scripts (such as Greek, Cyrillic or Chinese) should neither be italicized as non-English nor bolded, even where this is technically feasible; the difference of script suffices to distinguish it on the page. However, titles of major works that should be italicized are italicized in scripts that support italics.Template:Which

A proper name is usually not italicized when it is used, but it may be italicized when the name itself is being referred to. Template:See above

For better accessibility, Latin quotations should not be set in all caps or small caps. When reproduced for their content, inscriptions that were originally all caps should be transcribed according to standard rules of English capitalization. Please note, however, that simply undoing caps may result in incorrect orthography; for example, capital V may represent either the consonant v or the vowel u. Editors should be cautious about making their own interpretations when transcribing epigraphic and numismatic sources. Particularly on coins, a character that appears to be a letter may instead be a Roman numeral, a denomination, or a symbol. For articles that reproduce examples of epigraphy or coin legends, editors should consult the orthography of expert secondary sources Template:Crossref.

Template:See also2

Scientific names

Scientific names of organisms are formatted according to normal taxonomic nomenclature.

  • Do not italicize (but do capitalize) taxa higher than genus.
  • Italicize all lower ranks (taxa): genus (capitalized), subgenus (capitalized), species, subspecies.
    • Names of genera are always italicized (and capitalized), even when not paired with a species name: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
    • The entire binomial or trinomial scientific name is italicized, whether given in full or abbreviated: (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Interpolations such as "cf.", "×", "var.", or "subsp." are not italicized: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Parenthetic expressions should not be italicized unless part of the scientific name, as in the case of a subgenus, which is always italicized, though the parentheses (round brackets) are not: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Do not italicize author names juxtaposed with scientific names: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Derived uses in non-biological contexts are not italicized: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Although often derived from Latin or Ancient Greek, scientific names are never marked up with {{lang}} or related templates.

Quotations

Template:Further information

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It is normally incorrect to put quotations in italics. They should only be used if the material would otherwise call for italics, such as for emphasis or to indicate use of non-English words. Quotation marks alone are sufficient and the correct way to denote quotations. Indicate whether italics were used in the original text or whether they were added later. For example:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Variables

Program variables

Variables in computer programs and symbols for program variables within plain-English prose and in computer source code presented as textual content can be marked up with the <var> element, or its wikimarkup equivalent, the {{var}} template:

  • ...where <var>x</var> is incremented on each pass... ⇒ <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • |id={{var|ISBN or other identifier}}|id=ISBN or other identifier

This provides richer semantic markup over simple italicization (or no formatting at all), that can aid in searching, accessibility, and disambiguation between variables and literal values.

Mathematics variables

Symbols for mathematics variables, either used within mathematical formulas or used in isolation, are simply italicized:

  • The value of ''y'' when ''x'' = 3 ⇒ <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • ''E'' = ''mc''<sup>2</sup> ⇒ <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Some things remain in upright form regardless of the surrounding text

  • Bold-face variables (such as vectors) and structures (such as Q, the rational numbers)
  • Letters with an arrow on top for vectors
  • Symbols for chemical elements and compounds such as HCl
  • Symbols for units of measure such as kg, ft/s
  • Symbols for mathematical operators such as sin and ln
    sin x, ln (p/p0)

The template {{mvar}} is available to distinguish between I (upper-case i) and l (lower-case L) as variables, which look almost identical in most sans-serif fonts, including the default typefaces of many browsers.

Uses of italics that are specific to Wikipedia

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One-line notes that are placed at the top of articles or sections (most often to assist disambiguation or provide cross-references) are hatnotes. One-line notes may also be placed at the top of sections to cross-reference or point to additional information that is not directly linked in the text. Both of these are in italics and indented to distinguish them from the text of the article proper. The Disambiguation and redirection templates and Wikipedia page-section templates automatically provide the required italic formatting.

Special section headings for appendices such as ==See also== are not in italics.

A further type of cross-reference may occur within a paragraph of text, usually in parentheses (round brackets). For example:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Here, the cross-referenced article does not topically make a good target for a running-text link from the phrase "largest population in Europe", or any other text in the sentence, but has been deemed relevant enough to mention in passing without relegating it to the "See also" section at the bottom of the article. These kinds of cross-references can be formatted easily with the {{Crossreference}} a.k.a. {{Crossref}} template (or, to other sections on the same page, {{See above}} and {{See below}}). In any case where such a link in running text would be proper, it is preferred over a parenthetical, explicit cross-reference.

Like hatnotes, these parenthetical cross-references are set off by being italicized in their entirety, as Wikipedia self-references, and not part of the article content proper. Unlike some traditional reference works, the convention that has evolved on Wikipedia is not to individually italicize "see" or "see also". Wikipedia's own article titles are not put in quotation marks in such cross-references.

When not to use italics

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Template:Merge portions to

Italics are generally used only for titles of longer works. Titles of shorter works should be enclosed in double quotation marks ("text like this"). This particularly applies to works that exist as a smaller part of a larger work. These include but are not limited to: Articles, essays, papers, chapters, reference work entries, newspaper and magazine sections or departments, episodes of audio-visual series, segments or skits in longer programs, short poems, short stories, story lines and plot arcs; songs, album tracks and other short musical works; leaflets and circulars. Template:Crossref

Other cases

How not to apply emphasis

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Avoid various kinds of overemphasis, which distracts from the writing:

  • Exclamation points (!) should usually only be used in direct quotes and titles of creative works.
  • Bold type is reserved for certain uses. Template:See above
  • Quotation marks for emphasis of a single word or phrase, or scare quotes, are discouraged. Quotation marks are to show that you are using the correct word as quoted from the original source. For example: His tombstone was inscribed with the name "Aaron" instead of the spelling he used during his life.
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS and small caps for emphasis Template:Crossref. Italics are usually more appropriate.
  • Double emphasis, such as "italics in quotation marks" or italics and an exclamation point!, is unnecessary.
  • Underlining is used in typewriting and handwriting to represent italic type. Generally, do not underline text or it may be confused with links on a web page.

Other text formatting concerns

Font size

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Editors should avoid manually inserting large and small fonts into prose. Increased and decreased font size should primarily be produced through automated facilities such as headings or through carefully designed templates. Additionally, large tables may require a decreased font size in order to fit on screen.

When it is necessary to specify an increased or decreased font size, the specification should be done as a percentage of the original font size and not as an absolute size. This improves accessibility for visually impaired users who use a large default font size.

Reduced font sizes should be used sparingly. Avoid using smaller font sizes in elements that already use a smaller font size, such as infoboxes, navboxes and reference sections. In no case should the resulting font size drop below 85% of the page font size (or 11px).

Color

In prose

Prose text should never be manually colored. Refrain from implementing colored links that may impede user ability to distinguish links from regular text, or color links for purely aesthetic reasons.

In templates and tables

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  1. Colors used in templates such as navboxes and infoboxes, and in tables, should not make reading difficult, including for colorblind or otherwise visually impaired readers.
  2. Colors that are useful for identification and are appropriate, representative, and accessible may be used with discretion and common sense. In general, text color should not be anything other than black or white (excluding the standard colors of hyperlinks), and background colors should contrast the text color enough to make the template easily readable.
  3. An "appropriate, representative" color, when intended to identify with an organization's logo or branding, should use the most prominent accessible color in the logo. For example, Template:Pink Panther should be using a background of F6D4E6 Template:Color sample (the color of the body in File:Pink Panther.png) rather than E466A9 Template:Color sample (the color of the background in that image). A representative color useful in a navbox is often already present in an article's infobox (if included), and these are sometimes specified programmatically. For example, the navbox associated with the National Register of Historic Places and other related categorizations should conform to Wikipedia's NRHP colors legend.
  4. In the case that no properly identifying, accessible color exists; or the subject of the template or table should not be identified with a particular color (e.g., an average biography), the default colors provided by the template or the table class should be used.
  5. If an article includes several navboxes whose colors conflict with each other, discretion should be used to minimize the visual disruption by using the default colors for navboxes.

Font family

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Font families should not be explicitly defined in an article, with the exception of PUA characters (next section), because this interferes with Wikipedia's flexibility, and it is impossible to foresee what fonts will be installed on a user's computer.

Articles used to explicitly define font families for special characters, because older browsers could not automatically select an appropriate font. This is no longer dealt with by using explicit font definitions in the articles. Certain definitions can be invoked by using special templates Template:Crossref.

Capital letters

The use of capital (upper-case) letters, including small-capitals style, is covered in detail at WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters.

Citations

Text formatting in citations should follow, consistently within an article, an established citation style or system. Options include either of Wikipedia's own template-based Citation Style 1 and Citation Style 2, and any other well-recognized citation system. The formatting applied by the citation templates should not be evaded.[3] Parameters should be accurate,[4] and should not be omitted if the formatting applied by the template is not in agreement with the text-formatting guidelines above.

Private Use Area and invisible formatting characters

The only invisible characters in the editable text should be spaces and tabs. However, other invisible characters are often inserted inadvertently by pasting from a word processor. These can cause confusion with editors and handling problems with editing software. Any necessary invisible or Private Use Area (PUA) characters should be substituted with their decimal or hexadecimal code values (that is, as &...;) so that they can be edited properly. A template, {{PUA}}, is used to mark PUA characters; it has no effect on the text, but places the article in a tracking category. Template:Crossref

Mixed right-to-left text

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When right-to-left text is embedded in certain left-to-right contexts, such as when tagged with a reference, it may require control characters to display properly. The marker to return to left-to-right text should be encoded as &lrm; or supplied through the template {{Rtl-lang}}.

Depending on your browser, there may be a difference between the display of unformatted Urdu:
     <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.:   خ ?Template:Dummy ref with formatted:
     <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.:   خ‎ ?Template:Dummy ref or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.:   Template:Rtl-lang ?Template:Dummy ref

and unformatted:
     <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.:   (خ)Template:Dummy ref
with formatted:
     <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.:   (خ)‎Template:Dummy ref or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.:   Template:Rtl-langTemplate:Dummy ref

If there is intervening LTR text, as in خ abc<ref>citation details</ref>, a control character is not required. Spacing and most punctuation, however, are not defined as either LTR or RTL, so the direction of the text needs to be reset manually.

PUA characters

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Private Use Area (PUA) characters are in three ranges of code points (U+E000U+F8FF in the BMP, and in planes 15 and 16). PUA characters should normally be avoided, but they are sometimes used when they are found in common fonts, especially when the character itself is the topic of discussion.

Where PUA characters cannot be replaced with non-PUA Unicode characters, they should be converted to their (hexa)decimal code values (that is, &#...; or &#x...;). However, whenever a PUA character has a Unicode equivalent, it should instead be replaced with that equivalent (Unicodified). The Unicode may be obvious when text is copied and pasted from a document that uses the PUA for bullets or similar characters in Latin text, but similar things happen with punctuation and emoticons in documents using Japanese and other scripts, so an editor familiar with those scripts may be needed. In Chinese documents it's not uncommon for the PUA to be used for characters that now have full Unicode support, due to poorer support for Chinese characters when those fonts were designed. Such PUA characters, which are sometimes found on Wikipedia in references and footnotes, should not be substituted with their (hexa)decimal values, as that will lock in the illegible character. If you're moderately familiar with the script, an internet search of the surrounding text will often locate a fully Unicode version of the text which can be used to correct the Wikipedia article.

Because browsers do not know which fonts to use for PUA characters, it is necessary for Wikipedia to specify them. {{Unicode}} or {{IPA}} formatting is sufficient in some cases. Otherwise the fonts should be specified through html markup, as in the example below. Note that if a font is not specified, or if none of the fonts are installed, readers will only see a numbered box in place of the PUA character.

Tagging a (hexa)decimal code with the template {{PUA}} will enable future editors to review the page, and to Unicodify the character if it is included in future expansions of Unicode. This happened, for example, at strident vowel, where a non-Unicode symbol for the sound was used in the literature and added to the PUA of SIL's IPA fonts. Unicode didn't support it until several years after the Wikipedia article was written, and once the fonts were updated to support it, the PUA character in the article was replaced with its new Unicode value.

For example,

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

which renders as:

SIL added these letters at U+F267 and U+F268: Template:PUA, Template:PUA.

Template:Crossref

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Technically, it is also possible to use the <b></b> HTML element for boldface and the <i></i> element for italics, but that is not recommended style on Wikipedia.
  2. Pages on the World Wide Web are written in HyperText Markup Language (HTML); web browsers render HTML as formatted text. The MediaWiki software that Wikipedia uses converts wiki markup to HTML. HTML has six heading levels, notated in HTML as <h1>foo</h1>, <h2>bar</h2>, <h3>etc.</h3>. A Wikipedia article or page title is an HTML level 1 heading. Headings within an article or page use HTML level 2 through 6 headings. At the beginning of a line (only), MediaWiki wiki markup uses the same number of equal signs = before and after a heading. The number of equal signs on either side of a heading corresponds to the HTML heading level.
  3. In unusual cases, the default formatting may need to be adjusted to conform to some other guideline, e.g. italicization of a non-English term in a title that would otherwise not be italicized.
  4. Attempting to misuse citation template parameters to output data they are not designed for typically results in garbled COinS metadata output. For special cases, use a textual note after the end of the citation template and before the closing </ref> tag.

Template:Writing guides

Template:MoS guideline

The Manual of Style (abbreviated as MoS or MOS) is the style manual for all Wikipedia articles. This primary page of the guideline covers certain topics (e.g., punctuation) in detail and summarizes the key points of other topics. The detail pages, which are cross-referenced here and linked by this page's menu or listed at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Contents, provide specific guidance on those topics. If any contradiction arises, this page has precedence over all detail pages of the guideline, style essays, and the Simplified Manual of Style.[lower-alpha 1]

The Manual of Style presents Wikipedia's house style. The goal is to make using Wikipedia easier and more intuitive by promoting clarity and cohesion, while helping editors write articles with consistent and precise language, layout, and formatting. Plain English works best. Avoid ambiguity, jargon, and vague or unnecessarily complex wording. Any new content added to the body of this page should directly address a style issue that has occurred in a significant number of instances.

Discuss style issues on the MOS talk page.

Article titles, headings, and sections

Article titles

A title should be a recognizable name or description of the topic that is natural, sufficiently precise, concise, and consistent with the titles of related articles. If these criteria are in conflict, they should be balanced against one another.

For guidance on formatting titles, see WP:Article titles § Article title format section of the policy. Note the following:

  • Capitalize the title's initial letter (except in rare cases, such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), but otherwise follow sentence case (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) not title case (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). This does not apply where title case would be expected were the title to occur in ordinary prose. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization).
  • To italicize a title, add {{italic title}} near the top of the article. (For mixed situations, use e.g. {{DISPLAYTITLE:Template:ZwspInterpretations of ''2001: A Space Odyssey''}} instead.) Use of italics should conform to WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Italic_type.
  • Do not use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. as the first word (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), unless it is an inseparable part of a name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or it is part of the title of a work (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Titles should normally be nouns or noun phrases: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..[lower-alpha 2]
  • The final character should not be a punctuation mark unless it is part of a name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or an abbreviation (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), or a closing round bracket or quotation mark is required (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

The guidance contained elsewhere in the MoS, particularly § Punctuation (below) applies to all parts of an article, including the title. (WP:Article titles does not contain detailed rules about punctuation.)

Section organization

An article should begin with an introductory lead section, which should not contain section headings Template:Crossref. The remainder of the article may be divided into sections, subsections, etc.

The lead should be a concise summary. Newly added information does not always qualify as important enough for the lead; it should be placed in the most appropriate section or sections (see WP:LEAD).

If an article has at least four section headings, a navigable table of contents appears automatically, just after the lead.

If the topic of a section is covered in more detail in a dedicated article Template:Cross reference insert {{main|Article name}} immediately under the section heading.

As explained in more detail in WP:Manual of Style/Layout § Standard appendices and footers, optional appendix and footer sections containing the following lists may appear after the body of the article, in the following order:

  • books or other works created by the subject of the article (under a section heading "Works", "Publications", "Discography", etc. as appropriate);
  • internal links to related English Wikipedia articles (section heading "See also");
  • notes and references (section heading "Notes" or "References", or a separate section for each; see Citing sources);
  • relevant books, articles, or other publications that have not been used as sources (section heading "Further reading");
  • relevant websites that have not been used as sources and do not appear in the earlier appendices (added as part of "Further reading" or in a separate section headed "External links");
  • internal links organized into navigational boxes (sometimes placed at the top in the form of sidebars);
  • categories.

Other article elements include disambiguation hatnotes (normally placed at the very top of the article) and infoboxes (usually placed before the lead section).

Section headings

Shortcuts:

Use equal signs around a section heading: ==Title== for a primary section; ===Title=== for a subsection; and so on to =====Title=====. (=Title= is never used.)[lower-alpha 3] The heading must be on its own line, with one blank line just before it; a blank line just after is optional and ignored (but do not use two blank lines, before or after, because that will add unwanted visible space). Spaces around the Title (e.g. == Title ==) are optional and ignored.

The provisions in § Article titles (above) generally apply to section headings as well (for example, headings are in sentence case, not title case). In addition:

  • Headings should not refer redundantly to the subject of the article (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or to higher-level headings, unless doing so is shorter or clearer.
  • Headings should normally not contain links, especially where only part of a heading is linked.
  • Section headings should preferably be unique within a page; otherwise section links may lead to the wrong place, and automatic edit summaries for section edits will be ambiguous.
  • Citations should not be placed within, or on the same line as, section headings.
  • Headings should not contain images, such as flag icons or <math>.
  • Headings should not be phrased as questions.
  • Avoid starting headings with numbers (other than years), because this can be confusing for readers with the "Auto-number headings" preference selected.

An invisible comment on the same line as the heading should be inside the == == markup:[lower-alpha 4] Template:Block indent

Before changing a section heading, consider whether you might be breaking existing links to that section. If there are many links to the old section title, create an anchor with that title to ensure that the links still work. Similarly, when linking to a section of an article, leave an invisible comment, at the heading of the target section, naming the linking articles so that if the section title is altered the linking articles can be fixed. For example: Template:Block indent Several of the above provisions are also applicable to headers of tables and of table columns and rows, including: sentence case, redundancy, images, and questions. However, table headings can incorporate citations and may begin with, or be, numbers. Unlike page headings, table headers do not automatically generate link anchors. Template:Crossref

Retaining existing styles

Template:Underdiscussion

Shortcuts:

On some questions of style, MOS proposes more than one acceptable answer; on other questions it gives no guidance. The Arbitration Committee has ruled that editors should not change an article from one styling to another without "substantial reason" (see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Jguk § Principles; Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/jguk 2 § Principles; and Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Sortan § Principles).

Edit-warring over styles is never acceptable. If the existing style of an article is problematic, discuss it at the article’s talkpage or if necessary at the MOS talkpage.

National varieties of English

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The English Wikipedia prefers no major national variety of the language over any other. These varieties (e.g., American English, British English, etc.) differ in a number of ways, including vocabulary (elevator vs. lift), spelling (center vs. centre), date formatting ("April 13" vs. "13 April"), and occasionally grammar (see § Plurals, below). The following subsections describe how to determine the appropriate variety for an article. (The accepted style of punctuation is covered in § Punctuation, below.)

Articles such as English plurals and Comparison of American and British English provide information on the differences between these major varieties of the language.

Opportunities for commonality

Shortcut:

Prefer vocabulary common to all varieties of English. Insisting on a single term or a single usage as the only correct option does not serve the purposes of an international encyclopedia.

  • Universally used terms are often preferable to less widely distributed terms, especially in article titles. For example, [[Glasses|<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.]] is preferred to the national varieties <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (British English) and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (American English); [[Ten million|<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.]] is preferable to <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Indian English).
  • If one variant spelling appears in an article title, make a redirect page to accommodate the other variants, as with artefact and artifact, so that all variants can be used in searches and in linking.
  • Terms that differ between varieties of English, or that have divergent meanings, may be glossed to prevent confusion, for example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Use a commonly understood word or phrase in preference to one that has a different meaning because of national differences (rather than <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. depending on which sense is intended).

Consistency within articles

Shortcuts:

While Wikipedia does not prefer any national variety of English, within a given article the conventions of one particular variety should be followed consistently. The exceptions are:

  • quotations, titles of works (books, films, etc.): Quote these as given in the source (but see § Typographic conformity, below);
  • proper names: Use the subject's own spelling e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;
  • passages explicitly discussing varieties of English;
  • URLs: Changing the spelling of part of an external link's URL will almost always break the link.

Strong national ties to a topic

Shortcuts:

An article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation should use the (formal, not colloquial) English of that nation. For example:

In an article about a modern writer, it is often a good choice to use the variety of English in which the subject wrote, especially if the writings are quoted. For example, the article J. R. R. Tolkien follows his use of British English with Oxford spelling. In an article about a supranational or international organization, it is often a good choice to use the variety of English used by that body.

This guideline should not be used to claim national ownership of any article; see Wikipedia:Ownership of articles.

Retaining the existing variety

Shortcut:

When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, maintain it in the absence of consensus to the contrary. With few exceptions (e.g., when a topic has strong national ties or a term/spelling carries less ambiguity), there is no valid reason for such a change.

When no English variety has been established and discussion does not resolve the issue, use the variety found in the first post-stub revision that introduced an identifiable variety. The established variety in a given article can be documented by placing the appropriate Varieties of English template on its talk page.

An article should not be edited or renamed simply to switch from one variety of English to another. The {{subst:uw-lang}} template may be placed on an editor's talk page to explain this to him or her.

Capital letters

Wikipedia article titles and section headings use sentence case, not title case; see WP:Article titles and § Section headings (above). For capitalization of list items, see § Bulleted and numbered lists. Other points concerning capitalization are summarized below; full information can be found at WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters.

Do not use capitals for emphasis

Use italics, not capitals, to denote emphasis.

Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Capitalization of "The"

Generally, do not capitalize the in the middle of a sentence: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). However there are some conventional exceptions, including most titles of creative works: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). There are rare exceptions that are not works, e.g. <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

For treatment in band and album names, see WP:Manual of Style/Music § Names (definite article).

Titles of works

MOS:TEXT/titles hatnote include

The English-language titles of compositions (books and other print works, songs and other audio works, films and other visual media works, paintings and other artworks, etc.) are given in title case, in which every word is given an initial capital except for certain less important words (as detailed at WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters § Composition titles). The first and last words in an English-language title are always capitalized.

Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Capitalization in foreign-language titles varies, even over time within the same language; generally, retain the style of the original for modern works, and follow the usage in English-language reliable sources for historical works. Many of these items should also be in italics, or enclosed in quotation marks.

Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Titles of people

  • In generic use, apply lower case to words such as president, king, and emperor (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Directly juxtaposed with the person's name, such words begin with a capital letter (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Standard or commonly used names of an office are treated as proper names (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Royal styles are capitalized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); exceptions may apply for particular offices.
  • For the use of titles and honorifics in biographical articles, see WP:Manual of Style/Biographies § Honorific prefixes.

Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines

  • Religions, sects, and churches and their followers (in noun or adjective form) start with a capital letter. Generally, "the" is not capitalized before such names (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Religious texts (scriptures) are capitalized, but often not italicized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Do not capitalize "the" when using it in this way. Some derived adjectives are capitalized by convention, some are not (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); if unsure, check a dictionary.
  • Honorifics for deities, including proper names and titles, start with a capital letter (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Do not capitalize "the" in such cases or when referring to major religious figures or characters from mythology (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Common nouns for deities and religious figures are not capitalized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Pronouns for figures of veneration or worship are not capitalized, even if capitalized in a religion's scriptures.
  • Broad categories of mythical or legendary beings start with lower-case letters (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), although in works of fantasy, such as the novels of J. R. R. Tolkien and some video games, initial capitals are sometimes used to indicate that the beings form a culture or race in a fictional universe. Capitalize the names or titles of individual creatures (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) and of groups whose name and membership are fixed (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Generalized references are not capitalized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Spiritual or religious events are capitalized only when referring to specific incidents or periods (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Philosophies, theories, movements, and doctrines use lower case unless the name derives from a proper name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or has become a proper name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., a system of political thought; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., a political party). Use lower case for doctrinal topics or canonical religious ideas (as opposed to specific events), even if they are capitalized by some religious adherents (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Platonic or transcendent ideals are capitalized in the context of philosophical doctrine (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); used more broadly, they are in lower case (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Use capitals for personifications represented in art (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Calendar items

  • Months, days of the week, and holidays start with a capital letter (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. refers only to the US Independence Day—otherwise <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Seasons are in lower case (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), except in personifications or in proper names for periods or events (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Animals, plants, and other organisms

Shortcut:

When using taxonomic ("scientific") names, capitalize and italicize the genus: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. (Supergenus and subgenus, when applicable, are treated the same way.) Italicize but do not capitalize taxonomic ranks at the level of species and below: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; no exception is made for proper names forming part of scientific names. Higher taxa (order, family, etc.) are capitalized in Latin (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) but not in their English equivalents (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); they are not italicized in either form.

Cultivar and cultivar group names of plants are not italicized, and are capitalized (including the word "Group" in the name); cultivar names appear within single quotes (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), while cultivar groups do not (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

English vernacular ("common") names are given in lower case in article prose (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) and in sentence case at the start of article titles, sentences, headings and other places where the first letter of the first word is capitalized. They are additionally capitalized where they contain proper names: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. This applies to species and subspecies, as in the previous examples, as well as general names for groups or types of organisms: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. When the common name coincides with a scientific taxon, do not capitalize or italicize, except where addressing the organism taxonomically: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. Non-English vernacular names, when relevant to include, are handled like any other foreign-language terms: italicized as such, and capitalized only if the rules of the native language require it. Non-English names that have become English-assimilated common names are treated as English (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Create redirects from alternative capitalization and spelling forms of article titles, and from alternative names, e.g., Adélie Penguin, Adelie penguin, Adelie Penguin and Pygoscelis adeliae should all redirect to Adélie penguin.

Celestial bodies

  • The words sun, earth, and moon do not take capitals in general use (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). They are capitalized when the entity is personified (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or when used as the name of a specific body in a scientific or astronomical context (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Names of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, stars, constellations, and galaxies are proper names, and therefore capitalized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). The first letter of every word in such a name is capitalized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Words such as comet and galaxy should be capitalized where they form part of an object's proper name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Compass points

Do not capitalize directions such as north, nor their related forms (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), except where they are parts of proper names (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Capitalize names of regions if they have attained proper-name status, including informal conventional names (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), and derived terms for people (e.g., a Southerner as someone from the Southern United States). Do not capitalize descriptive names for regions that have not attained the status of proper names, such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Composite directions may or may not be hyphenated, depending on the variety of English adopted in the article. <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. are more common in American English; but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. in British English. In cases such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., use an en dash; see § En dashes: other uses, below.

Institutions

Names of particular institutions are proper names and require capitals, but generic words for institutions (university, college, hospital, high school) do not. For example: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

The word the at the start of an institution's name is not capitalized, regardless of the institutions' preferred style.

Similar considerations apply to political or geographical units, such as cities and islands: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Note also the use of <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., in appropriate contexts, to refer to the City of London specifically. Do not mimic the style of various local newspapers that refer to their city as "the City" or "The City".

Ligatures

Shortcut:
Ligatures should be used in languages in which they are standard (hence <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is preferable to <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) but not in English outside of names (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Abbreviations

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases. In strict analysis, they are distinct from contractions, which use an apostrophe (e.g., won't, see § Contractions) and initialisms (including acronyms). An initialism is usually formed from some or all of the initial letters of words in a phrase. In some variations of English, an acronym is considered to be an initialism which is pronounced as a word (e.g., NATO), as distinct from the case where the initialism is said as a string of individual letters (e.g., US, for United States). Herein, general statements regarding abbreviations are inclusive of acronyms, and the term acronym applies collectively to initialisms, without distinction that an acronym is said as a word.

Write out both the full version and the abbreviation at first occurrence

  • When an abbreviation is used in an article, give the expression in full at first, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses (round brackets). Thereafter the abbreviation can be used alone:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
If the full version is already in parentheses, use a comma and or to indicate the abbreviation.
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Make an exception for very common abbreviations; in most articles they require no expansion (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Do not apply initial capitals in a full version simply because capitals are used in the abbreviation.
Correct (not a proper name): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct (a proper name): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Plural and possessive forms

Like other nouns, acronyms are pluralized via addition of -s or -es: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;  <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. As always, use an apostrophe only when forming the possessive: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Full stops and spaces

Abbreviations may or may not be closed with a period; a consistent style should be maintained within an article. Standard North American usage is to end all abbreviations with a period (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), but in standard British and Australian usage, no stop is used if the abbreviation ends in the last letter of the unabbreviated form (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). This is also common practice in scientific writing. Regardless of punctuation, words that are abbreviated to more than one letter are spaced (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). There are some exceptions: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (see above) for "Philosophiae Doctor"; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. for "Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine".

US and U.S.

Shortcuts:

In American and Canadian English, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (with periods [full stops] and without a space) is the dominant abbreviation for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., though at least one major American style guide, The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.), now deprecates <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and prefers <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (without periods). <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is more common in most other national forms of English. Use of periods for abbreviations and acronyms should be consistent within any given article and congruent with the variety of English used by that article. In longer abbreviations (three letters or more) that incorporate the country's initials (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), do not use periods. When the United States is mentioned with one or more other countries in the same sentence, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. may be too informal, especially at the first mention or as a noun instead of an adjective (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Do not use the spaced <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or the archaic <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., except when quoting. Do not use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. except in a quotation, as part of a proper name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), or in certain technical/formal uses (e.g., the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 codes and FIFA country codes).

Circa

To indicate approximately, the abbreviation <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (followed by a space and not italicized) is preferred over circa, ca., or approx. The template {{circa}} may be used.

Do not use unwarranted abbreviations

Avoid abbreviations when they might confuse the reader, interrupt the flow, or appear informal. For example, do not use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., except in a technical passage where the term occurs many times or in an infobox or a data table to reduce width.

Do not invent abbreviations or acronyms

Generally avoid devising new abbreviations, especially acronyms (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xtn is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is good as a translation of <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but neither it nor the reduction <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is used by the organization; so use the original name and its official abbreviation, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

If it is necessary to abbreviate in a tight space, such as a column header in a table, use widely recognized abbreviations. For example, for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., with a link if the term has not already been written out in the article: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Do not make up initialisms such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

HTML elements

Either the <abbr> element or the {{abbr}} template can be used for abbreviations and acronyms: <abbr title="World Health Organization">WHO</abbr> or {{abbr|WHO|World Health Organization}} will generate WHO; hovering over the rendered text causes a tooltip of the long form to pop up. MediaWiki, the software on which Wikipedia runs, does not support <acronym>.

Ampersand

Shortcuts:

In normal text and headings, the word and should be used instead of the ampersand (&); for example <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Retain an ampersand when it is a legitimate part of a proper noun, such as in Up & Down or AT&T. Ampersands may be used with consistency and discretion where space is extremely limited (e.g. tables and infoboxes). Quotations (see also MOS:QUOTE) may be cautiously modified, especially for consistency where different editions are quoted, as modern editions of old texts routinely replace ampersands with and (just as they replace other disused glyphs, ligatures, and abbreviations).

Italics

Shortcut:
Template:Further information

Emphasis

Whereas italics may be used sparingly for emphasis, boldface is normally not used for this purpose. Use italics when introducing or distinguishing terms. Overuse of emphasis reduces its effectiveness.

When emphasis is intended, versus other uses of italics as described below, the semantic HTML markup <em></em>, or its template wrapper {{em}}, may be used: The vaccine is {{em|not}} a cure, but a prophylactic. This helps editors understand the intent of the markup as emphasis, allows user style sheets to distinguish emphasis and handle it in a customized way, and is an aid to re-users and translators, especially since other languages have different conventions for delineating emphasis.[1]

Titles

MOS:TEXT/titles hatnote include

Use italics for the titles of works of literature and art, such as books, pamphlets, films (including short films), television series, named exhibitions, computer and video games (but not other software), music albums, and paintings. The titles of articles, chapters, songs, television episodes, research papers and other short works are not italicized; they are enclosed in double quotation marks. Italics are not used for major revered religious works (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Many of these items should also be in title case.

Words as words

Use italics when mentioning a word or letter (see Use–mention distinction) or a string of words up to one full sentence (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). When a whole sentence is mentioned, quotation marks may be used instead, with consistency (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Mentioning (to discuss grammar, wording, punctuation, etc.) is different from quoting (in which something is usually expressed on behalf of a quoted source).

Foreign words

Use italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that are not common in everyday English. Proper names (such as place names) in other languages, however, are not usually italicized, nor are terms in non-Latin scripts.

Scientific names

Use italics for the scientific names of plants, animals and other organisms at the genus level and below (italicize <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. but not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). The hybrid sign is not italicized (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), nor is the "connecting term" required in three-part botanical names (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Quotations in italics

For quotations, use only quotation marks (for short quotations) or block quoting (for long ones), not italics. (See Quotations below.) This means that (1) a quotation is not italicized inside quotation marks or a block quote just because it is a quotation, and (2) italics are no substitute for proper quotation formatting. To distinguish block quotations from ordinary text, you can use <blockquote> or {{quote}}. (See § Block quotations, below.)

Italics within quotations

Use italics within quotations if they are already in the source material. When adding emphasis on Wikipedia, add an editorial note <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. after the quotation.

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

If the source has used italics (or some other styling) for emphasis and this is not otherwise evident, the editorial note <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. should appear after the quotation.

Effect on nearby punctuation

Shortcut:

Italicize only the elements of the sentence affected by the emphasis. Do not italicize surrounding punctuation.

Template:Hanging indent
Template:Hanging indent
Template:Hanging indent

Italicized links

For a link to function, any italics markup must be either completely outside the link markup, or in the link's "piped" portion.

Template:Hanging indent
Template:Hanging indent
Template:Hanging indent
Template:Hanging indent

Controlling line breaks

Shortcut:

It is sometimes desirable to force a text segment to appear entirely on a single lineTemplate:Mdashbthat is, to prevent a line break (line wrap) from occurring anywhere within it.

  • A non-breaking space (or hard space) will never be used as a line-break point. Markup: for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., code 19&nbsp;kg or 19{{nbsp}}kg. Also, unlike normal spaces, multiple adjacent non-breaking spaces do not compress into a single space.
  • Or use {{nowrap}}, {{nobreak}}, or {{nobr}} (all equivalent). Markup: for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. code {{nobr|5° 24′ N}} (Unexpected results may occur if the text appearing within {{nowrap}} begins or ends with a space or nonbreaking space; or if a nonbreaking space appears immediately before or after {{nowrap}}.)

It is desirable to prevent line breaks ...

  • where breaking across lines might be confusing or awkward, such as:
  • May{{nbsp}}2014
  • {{nobr|5° 24′ 21″ N}}
  • Boeing{{nbsp}}747
  • 123{{nbsp}}Fake Street
  • World War{{nbsp}}II
  • Pope Benedict{{nbsp}}XVI
  • before a spaced en dash. Markup: June 23{{nbsp}} – June 29 or June 23{{snd}}June 29 or June 23{{spaced ndash}}June 29 (all equivalent).

Whether a non-breaking space is appropriate depends on context: whereas it is appropriate to use 12{{nbsp}}MB in prose, it may be counterproductive in a table (where horizontal space is precious) and unnecessary in a short parameter value in an infobox (where a break would never occur anyway).

A line break may occur at a thin space (&thinsp;, or {{thinsp}}), which is sometimes used to correct too-close placement of adjacent characters. To prevent this, consider using {{nobr}}.

Always insert hard/thin spaces symbolically ({{nbsp}}, {{thinsp}}, &nbsp;, &thinsp;), never by entering them as literal Unicode characters entered directly from the keyboard. (Note that inside wikilinks, a construction such as [[World War&nbsp;II]] works as expected, but [[World War{{nbsp}}II]] will not work.)

Adjacent quotation marks: The templates {{' "}} and {{" '}} will add a small amount of CSS kerning (and prevent linebreak) between adjacent quotation marks/apostrophes for better readability. Markup: He announced, "The answer was 'Yes!{{' "}} or {{" '}}Yes!' was the answer."

Quotations

Shortcuts:

While quotations are an indispensable part of Wikipedia, try not to overuse them. Brief quotations of copyrighted text may be used to illustrate a point, establish context, or attribute a point of view or idea. It is generally recommended that content be written in Wikipedia editors' own words. Using too many quotes is incompatible with an encyclopedic writing style, and may indicate a copyright infringement. Consider minimizing the use of quotations by paraphrasing, as quotations should not replace free text (including one that the editor writes),

Original wording

Shortcut:

Quotations must be verifiably attributed, and the wording of the quoted text should be faithfully reproduced. This is referred to as the principle of minimal change. Where there is good reason to change the wording, enclose changes within square brackets (for example, [her father] replacing him, where the context identifying "him" is not included in the quotation: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). If there is a significant error in the original statement, use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or the template {{sic}} to show that the error was not made by Wikipedia. However, trivial spelling and typographic errors should simply be corrected without comment (for example, correct <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. to <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. to <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), unless the slip is textually important.

Use ellipses to indicate omissions from quoted text. Legitimate omissions include extraneous, irrelevant, or parenthetical words, and unintelligible speech (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Do not omit text where doing so would remove important context or alter the meaning of the text. When a vulgarity or obscenity is quoted, it should appear exactly as it does in the cited source; unless faithfully reproducing quoted text, Wikipedians should never bowdlerize words by replacing letters with dashes, asterisks, or other symbols. In carrying over such an alteration from a quoted source, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. may be used to indicate that the transcription is exact.

In direct quotations, retain dialectal and archaic spellings, including capitalization (but not archaic glyphs and ligatures, as detailed below).

Point of view

Quotation should be used, with attribution, to present emotive opinions that cannot be expressed in Wikipedia's own voice, but never to present cultural norms as simply opinional:

  • Right: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Wrong: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Concise opinions that are not overly emotive can often be reported with attribution instead of direct quotation. Use of quotation marks around simple descriptive terms can often seem to imply something doubtful regarding the material being quoted; sarcasm or weasel words, like "supposedly" or "so-called", might be inferred.

  • Permissible: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Unnecessary and may imply doubt: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Should be quoted: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Typographic conformity

A quotation is not a facsimile, and in most cases it is not desirable to duplicate the original formatting. Formatting and other purely typographical elements of quoted text should be adapted to English Wikipedia's conventions without comment provided that doing so will not change or obscure meaning or intent of the text; this practice is universal among publishers. These are alterations which make no difference when the text is read aloud, such as:

  • Styling of dashes and hyphens: see § Dashes, below. Use the style chosen for the article: unspaced em dash or spaced en dash.
  • Styling of apostrophes and quotation marks
  • Replacing non-English typographical elements with their English equivalents. For example, replace guillemets (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) with straight quotation marks.
  • Removing spaces before punctuation such as periods and colons.
  • Generally preserve bold and italics Template:Cross reference, but most other styling should be altered. <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., spacing  <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., colors, all caps, small caps, etc. should generally be normalized to italics or (rarely) boldface. For titles of books, articles, poems, and so forth, add italics or quotation marks following the Manual of Style guidance for titles.
  • Expanding abbreviations.
  • Normalizing archaic glyphs and ligatures unnecessary to the meaning. Examples include æ→ae, œ→oe, ſ→s, and ye→the. See also § Ampersand, above.

However, national varieties should not be changed, as these may involve changes in vocabulary. For example, a quotation from a British source should retain British spelling, even in an article that otherwise uses American spelling. (See § Consistency within articles, above.)

Direct quotation should not be used in an attempt to preserve the formatting preferred by an external publisher, especially when the material would otherwise be unchanged:

  • Right: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Wrong: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Italics can be used to mark a particular usage as a term of art (a case of "words as words"), especially when it is unfamiliar or should not be reworded by a non-expert:

  • Permissible: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

When quoting a complete sentence, it is recommended to keep the first word capitalized unless the quoted passage has been integrated into the surrounding sentence.

  • Right: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Permissible: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Often, a partial quotation is sufficient:

  • Permissible: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Quotations within quotations

Shortcut:

For quotations within quotations, use double quote marks outermost and, working inward, alternate single with double quote marks: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. For two or more quote marks in immediate succession, use {{" '}}, {{' "}}, or (as in the example just given) {{" ' "}}, which add a small amount of nonbreaking space between the quote marks.

Attribution

The author of a quote of a full sentence or more should be named; this is done in the main text and not in a footnote. However, attribution is unnecessary with quotations that are clearly from the person discussed in the article or section. When preceding a quotation with its attribution, avoid characterizing it in a biased manner.

Linking

As much as possible, avoid linking from within quotes, which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged, and mislead or confuse the reader.

Block quotations

Shortcuts:

Format a long quote (more than about 40 words or a few hundred characters, or consisting of more than one paragraph, regardless of length) as a block quotation, indented on both sides. Block quotations can be enclosed in the {{quote}} template, or between a pair of <blockquote></blockquote> HTML tags. The template also provides parameters for attribution. Do not enclose block quotations in quotation marks (and especially avoid decorative quotation marks in normal use, such as those provided by the {{cquote}} template). Block quotations using a colored background are also discouraged.

Poetry, lyrics, and other formatted text may be quoted inline if they are short, or presented in a block quotation. If inline, line breaks should be indicated by /, and paragraph or stanza breaks by //. Wikipedia's MediaWiki software does not normally render line breaks or indentation inside a {{quote}} or <blockquote>, but the Template:Xtag extension can be used to preserve them:

<blockquote><poem>
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more."
</poem></blockquote>

This will result in the following, indented on both sides (it may also be in a smaller font, depending on browser software): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Do not abuse block quotation markup to indent non-quotations. Various templates are available for indentation, including {{block indent}}, and (for inline use) {{in5}}.

Foreign-language quotations

Quotations from foreign-language sources should appear with a translation into English, preferably a modern one. Quotations that are translations should be explicitly distinguished from those that are not. Indicate the original source of a translation (if it is available, and not first published within Wikipedia), and the original language (if that is not clear from the context).

If the original, untranslated text is available, provide a reference for it or include it, as appropriate.

When editors themselves translate foreign text into English, care must always be taken to include the original text, in italics (except for non-Latin-based writing systems), and to use actual and (if at all possible) common English words in the translation. Beware linguistic "false friends": Portuguese Federativo in organization names should be translated as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., as one example among many. Unless you are certain of your competency to translate something, see Wikipedia:Translation for assistance.

Punctuation

Shortcuts:

Apostrophes

  • Consistent use of the straight apostrophe (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) is recommended, as opposed to the curly apostrophe (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). For details and reasons, see § Quotation marks, below.
  • Where an apostrophe might otherwise be misinterpreted as Wiki markup, use the templates {{'}}, {{`}}, and {{'s}}, or use Template:Xtag tags, or use &apos; entity.
  • Foreign characters that resemble apostrophes, such as transliterated Arabic ayin (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) and alif (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), are represented by their correct Unicode characters (that is, U+02BF MODIFIER LETTER LEFT HALF RING and U+02BE MODIFIER LETTER RIGHT HALF RING respectively), despite possible display problems. If this is not feasible, use a straight apostrophe instead.
  • For usage of the possessive apostrophe, see § Possessives, below.
  • For a thorough treatment of all uses of the apostrophe (possessive, elision, formation of certain plurals, specific foreign-language issues) see the article Apostrophe.

Quotation marks

Shortcut:

The primary use of quotation marks is to identify and enclose speech or text which is reported verbatim. The term quotation in the material below also includes other uses of quotation marks such as those for titles of songs, chapters, episodes, unattributable aphorisms, literal strings, "scare-quoted" phrases, and constructed examples. Quotation marks existing in other sources should be changed to match the format described below when being brought into Wikipedia.

Shortcuts:
Template:Vanchor
Enclose quotations with double quotation marks (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Enclose quotations inside quotations with single quotation marks (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). This is by far the dominant convention in current practice. However, there are some conventional codified exceptions, such as:
  • Template:Vanchor are used for plant cultivars (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; see WP:Naming conventions (flora)).
  • Simple glosses that translate or define unfamiliar terms are usually enclosed in single quotes (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
Template:Vanchor
In the bolded text typically appearing at the opening of an article:
  • Any quotation marks that are part of the title should be in bold just like the rest of the title (from "A" Is for Alibi: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Quotation marks not part of the article title should not be bolded (from Jabberwocky: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; from Bill Clinton: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
Template:Vanchor
As noted in § Quotations (above), we use quotation marks or block quotes (not both) to distinguish long quotations from other text. Multiparagraph quotations are always block-quoted. The quotations must be precise and exactly as in the source (except for certain allowable typographical changes, also noted above). The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to locate the text in question, and to quote it accurately themselves from Wikipedia.
Template:Vanchor
The use of a comma before a quotation embedded within a sentence is optional, if a non-quoted but otherwise identical construction would work grammatically without the comma:
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Compare the non-quotation <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
The comma-free approach is often used with partial or interrupted quotations:
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
A comma is required when it would be present in the same constructions if none of the material were a quotation:
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Do not insert a comma if it would confuse or alter the meaning:
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Accurate quote of a statement about some children.)
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Misrepresentation, as a statement about all children.)
It is clearer to use a colon to introduce a quotation if it forms a complete sentence, and this should always be done for multi-sentence quotations:
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
No additional punctuation is necessary for an explicit words-as-words scenario:
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Template:Vanchor
Shortcuts:
There are two possible methods for rendering quotation marks at Wikipedia (that is, the glyphs, displayed with emphasis here, for clarity):
  • Typewriter or straight style: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (recommended for Wikipedia)
  • Typographic or curly style: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (not recommended for Wikipedia – see below)
Whenever quotation marks or apostrophes appear in article titles, make a redirect from the same title but using the alternative glyphs.
Do not use grave and acute accents or backticks (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) as quotation marks (or as apostrophes). Likewise, avoid using the low-high (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or guillemet (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) quotation marks that are common in several foreign languages. Editors may see <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. under the edit window as characters available for insertion; however, these are prime and double-prime symbols, used to indicate subdivisions of the degree, and should not be used to mark quotations.

Reasons to prefer straight quotation marks and apostrophes

Shortcut:

Typographical, or curly, quotation marks and apostrophes might be read more efficiently, and many think they look better. However, for practical reasons the straight versions are used on the English Wikipedia.

  • Consistency keeps searches predictable. Search facilities have differences of which many readers (and editors) are unaware. For example, most modern browsers don't distinguish between curly and straight marks, but Internet Explorer still does (as of 2016), so that a search for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. will fail to find <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and vice versa.
  • Straight quotation marks are easier to type and edit reliably on most platforms.

Reasons to prefer double quotation marks to single quotation marks

Normally, double rather than single quotation marks should be used for primary or top-level quotations.

  • Double quotation marks are distinguishable from apostrophes:
    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (slows the reader down)
    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (clearer)
  • Most browsers distinguish single and double quotation marks. (Searches for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. may fail to find <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..)

Names and titles

MOS:TEXT/titles hatnote include

Quotation marks should be used for the following names and titles:

  • Articles and chapters (books and periodicals italicized)
  • Sections of musical pieces (pieces italicized)
  • Individual strips from comics and webcomics (comics italicized)
  • Poems (long or epic poems italicized)
  • Songs (albums, song cycles, operas, operettas, oratorios italicized)
  • Individual episodes of television and radio series and serials (series title italicized)

For example: The song "Example" from the album Example by the band Example.

Do not use quotation marks or italics for:

  • Ancient writings
  • Concert tours
  • Locations
  • Myths and epics
  • Prayers

Many, but not all, of the above items should also be in title case.

Punctuation inside or outside

Shortcuts:

On the English Wikipedia, use the "logical quotation" style in all articles, regardless of the variety of English in which they are written. Include terminal punctuation within the quotation marks only if it was present in the original material, and otherwise place it after the closing quotation mark. For the most part, this means treating periods and commas in the same way as question marks: Keep them inside the quotation marks if they apply only to the quoted material and outside if they apply to the whole sentence. Examples are given below.

Template:Tq (mark applies to whole sentence)
Template:Tq (mark applies to quoted material only)

If the quotation is a full sentence and it coincides with the end of the sentence containing it, place terminal punctuation inside the closing quotation mark. If the quotation is a single word or fragment, place the terminal punctuation outside.

Template:Tq
Template:Tq

If the quoted sentence has been broken up with an editorial insertion, still include the terminal punctuation inside the closing quotation mark.

Template:Tq

If the quoted sentence is followed by a clause that should be preceded by a comma, omit the full stop but other terminal punctuation, such as a question mark or exclamation mark, may be retained. A question should always end with a question mark.

Template:Tq
Template:Tq

If the quoted sentence is followed by a clause identifying the speaker, use a comma outside the quotation mark instead of a full stop inside it, but retain any other terminal punctuation, such as question marks.

Template:Tq
Template:Tq

Do not follow quoted words or fragments with commas inside the quotation marks, except where a longer quotation has been broken up and the comma is part of the full quotation.

Template:Tq
Template:Tq

Brackets and parentheses

Shortcuts:

The rules in this section apply to both round brackets <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., often called parentheses, and square brackets <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

If a sentence contains a bracketed phrase, place the sentence punctuation outside the brackets <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. However, where one or more sentences are wholly inside brackets, place their punctuation inside the brackets. (For examples, see § Sentences and brackets, below.) There should be no space next to the inner side of a bracket. An opening bracket should usually be preceded by a space, for example. This may not be the case if it is preceded by an opening quotation mark, another opening bracket, or a portion of a word:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

There should be a space after a closing bracket, except where a punctuation mark follows (though a spaced dash would still be spaced after a closing bracket) and in unusual cases similar to those listed for opening brackets.

If sets of brackets are nested, use different types for adjacent levels of nesting; for two levels, it is customary to have square brackets appear within round brackets. This is often a sign of excessively convoluted expression; it is often better to recast, linking the thoughts with commas, semicolons, colons, or dashes.

Avoid adjacent sets of brackets. Either put the parenthetic phrases in one set separated by commas, or rewrite the sentence:

Incorrect:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Square brackets are used to indicate editorial replacements and insertions within quotations, though this should never alter the intended meaning. They serve three main purposes:

  • To clarify. (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., where this was the intended meaning, but the type of school was unstated in the original sentence.)
  • To reduce the size of a quotation. (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. may be reduced to <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..) When an ellipsis (...) is used to indicate that material is removed from a direct quotation, it should not normally be bracketed (see § Ellipses, below).
  • To make the grammar work. (Referring to someone's statement <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., one could properly write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..)

Sentences and brackets

  • If any sentence includes material that is enclosed in square or round brackets, it still must end—with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark—after those brackets. This principle applies no matter what punctuation is used within the brackets:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • However, if the entire sentence is within brackets, the closing punctuation falls within the brackets. (This sentence is an example.) This does not apply to matter that is added (or modified editorially) at the beginning of a sentence for clarity, which is usually in square brackets:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
That is preferable to this, which is potentially ambiguous:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
But even here consider an addition rather than a replacement of text:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • A sentence that occurs within brackets in the course of another sentence does not generally have its first word capitalized just because it starts a sentence. The enclosed sentence may have a question mark or exclamation mark added, but not a period. See the indented example above and also
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
It is often clearer to separate the thoughts into separate sentences or clauses:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Brackets and linking

Brackets inside of links require special handling:

He said, "[[John Doe|John &#91;Doe&#93;]] answered."

He said, "John [Doe] answered."

He said, "[[John Doe|John {{bracket|Doe}}]] answered."

He said, "John [Doe] answered."

[http://example.site On the first day &#91;etc.&#93;]

On the first day [etc.]

[http://example.site On the first day {{bracket|etc.}}]

On the first day [etc.]

The Template:Xtag markup can also be used: <nowiki>[Doe]</nowiki> or <nowiki>[etc.]</nowiki>.

If a URL itself contains square brackets, the wiki-text should use the URL-encoded form http://example.site/foo.php?query=<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Bxt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.xxx<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Bxt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.yyy, rather than ...query=Template:!bxtxxxTemplate:!bxtyyy. This will avoid truncation of the link after xxx.

Ellipses

Shortcut:

Use an ellipsis (plural ellipses) to indicate an omission of material from quoted text or some other omission, perhaps of the end of a sentence, often in a printed record of conversation. The ellipsis is represented by ellipsis points: a set of three dots.

Style
Ellipsis points, or ellipses, have traditionally been implemented in three ways:
  • Three unspaced periods (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). This is the easiest way and gives a predictable appearance in HTML. Recommended.
  • Pre-composed ellipsis character (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) generated with the &hellip; character entity or as a literal "". This is harder to input and edit and too small in some fonts. Not recommended.
  • Three periods separated by spaces (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). This is an older style that is unnecessarily wide and requires non-breaking spaces to keep it from breaking at the end of a line. Not recommended.
Function and implementation
Use an ellipsis if material is omitted in the course of a quotation, unless square brackets are used to gloss the quotation Template:Crossref.
  • Put a space on each side of an ellipsis (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), except that there should be no space between an ellipsis and
    • a quotation mark directly following the ellipsis (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • any (round, square, curly, etc.) bracket, where the ellipsis is on the inside (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • any terminal punctuation, colon, semicolon, or comma, directly following the ellipsis (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Place terminal punctuation after an ellipsis only if it is textually important (as is often the case with exclamation marks and question marks and rarely with periods).
  • Use non-breaking spaces (&nbsp;) as needed to prevent improper line breaks, for example,
    • to keep a quotation mark (and any adjacent punctuation) from being separated from the start or end of the quotation (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • to keep the ellipsis from wrapping to the next line (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
Pause or suspension of speech
Three periods (loosely also called ellipsis points) are occasionally used to represent a pause in or suspense of speech, in which case the punctuation is retained in its original form: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Avoid this usage except in direct quotations. When it indicates an incomplete word, no space is used between the word fragment(s) and the ellipsis: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
With square brackets
An ellipsis does not normally need square brackets around it, because its function is usually obvious—especially if the guidelines above are followed. Square brackets, however, may optionally be used for precision, to make it clear that the ellipsis is not itself quoted; this is usually only necessary if the quoted passage also uses three periods in it to indicate a pause or suspension. The ellipsis should follow exactly the principles given above but with square brackets inserted immediately before and after it (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Commas

Shortcut:
Commas are the most frequently used punctuation marks and can be the most difficult to use well. Some important points regarding their use follow below and at § Semicolons.
  • Pairs of commas are used to delimit parenthetic material, forming an appositive. Using commas in this way interrupts a sentence less than using round brackets or dashes to express parenthetical material. When inserting parenthetical material in a sentence, use two commas, or none at all. For example:
Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (when Janet has multiple sons)
Correct:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (when Janet has only one son)
  • Do not be fooled by other punctuation, which can distract from the need for a comma, especially when it collides with a bracket or parenthesis, as in this example:
Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Modern writing uses fewer commas; there are usually ways to simplify a sentence so that fewer are needed.
Awkward: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Much better:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • In geographical references that include multiple levels of subordinate divisions (e.g., city, state/province, country), a comma separates each element and follows the last element unless followed by other punctuation. Dates in month–day–year format require a comma after the day, as well as after the year, unless followed by other punctuation. In both cases, the last element is treated as parenthetical.
Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • A comma may be included before a quotation embedded within a sentence (see § Quotation marks above).

Serial commas

Shortcuts:

A serial comma (also known as an Oxford comma or a Harvard comma) is a comma used immediately before a conjunction (and or or, sometimes nor) in a list of three or more items: the phrase <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. includes a serial comma, while <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. omits it. Editors may use either convention so long as each article is internally consistent; however, there are times when the serial comma can create or remove confusion:

  • Sometimes omitting the comma can lead to ambiguity:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., which may list either four people (the two parents and the two people named) or two people (O'Connor and Obama, who are the parents).
  • Including the comma can also cause ambiguity:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., which may list either two people (O'Connor, who is the mother, and Obama) or three people (the first being the mother, the second O'Connor, and the third Obama).

In such cases of ambiguity, there are three ways to clarify:

  • Add or remove the serial comma.
  • Use paragraph breaks, bullet lists, or numbered paragraphs to clarify.
  • Recast the sentence (first example above):
    • To list four people: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • To list two people (the commas here set off non-restrictive appositives): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
      Clearer (but wordier): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Recast the sentence (second example above):
    • To list two people: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • To list three people: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
      The clarity of the last example depends on the reader knowing that Obama is male and cannot be a mother. If we change the example slightly, we are back to an ambiguous statement: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
      Clearer: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Colons

Shortcut:

A colon (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) informs the reader that what comes after it demonstrates, explains, or modifies what has come before, or is a list of items that has just been introduced. The items in such a list may be separated by commas; or, if they are more complex and perhaps themselves contain commas, the items should be separated by semicolons:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

A colon may also be used to introduce direct speech enclosed within quotation marks (see § Quotation marks above).

In most cases a colon works best with a complete grammatical sentence before it. There are exceptional cases, such as those where the colon introduces items set off in new lines like the very next colon here. Examples:

Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Incorrect:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct (special case):    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Sometimes (more in American than in British usage) the word following a colon is capitalized, if that word effectively begins a new grammatical sentence, and especially if the colon serves to introduce more than one sentence:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

No sentence should contain more than one colon. There should never be a hyphen or a dash immediately following a colon. Only a single space follows a colon.

Semicolons

Shortcuts:

A semicolon (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) is sometimes an alternative to a full stop (period), enabling related material to be kept in the same sentence; it marks a more decisive division in a sentence than a comma. If the semicolon separates clauses, normally each clause must be independent (meaning that it could stand on its own as a sentence); in many cases, only a comma or only a semicolon will be correct in a given sentence.

Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Incorrect:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Above, "Though he had been here before" cannot stand on its own as a sentence, and therefore is not an independent clause.

Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Incorrect:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

This incorrect use of a comma between two independent clauses is known as a comma splice; however, in very rare cases, a comma may be used where a semicolon would seem to be called for:

Accepted: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (citing a brief aphorism; see Ars longa, vita brevis)
Accepted: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (reporting brisk conversation, like this reply of Newton's)

A sentence may contain several semicolons, especially when the clauses are parallel in construction and meaning; multiple unrelated semicolons are often signs that the sentence should be divided into shorter sentences, or otherwise refashioned.

Unwieldy: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
One better way:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Semicolons are used in addition to commas to separate items in a listing, when commas alone would result in confusion.

Confusing:   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Clear: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

As seen in the examples above, a semicolon does not automatically require the word that follows it to be capitalized.

Semicolon before "however"

Shortcut:

The meaning of a sentence containing a trailing clause that starts with the word "however" depends on the punctuation preceding that word. A common error is to use the wrong punctuation, thereby changing the meaning to one not intended.

When the word "however" is an adverb meaning "nevertheless", it should be preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma. Example:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Meaning: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

When the word "however" is a conjunction meaning "in whatever manner", or "regardless of how", it may be preceded by a comma but not by a semicolon, and should not be followed by punctuation. Example:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Meaning: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

In the first case, the clause that starts with "however" cannot be swapped with the first clause; in the second case this can be done without change of meaning:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Meaning: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

If the two clauses cannot be swapped, a semicolon is required.

A sentence or clause can also contain the word "however" in the middle, if it is an adverb meaning "although", which could have been placed at the beginning but does not start a new clause in mid-sentence. In this use the word may be enclosed between commas. Example:

<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Meaning: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Hyphens

Shortcut:
Hyphens (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) indicate conjunction. There are three main uses:
  1. In hyphenated personal names: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  2. To link prefixes with their main terms in certain constructions (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • A hyphen may be used to distinguish between homographs (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. means dress again, but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. means remedy or set right).
    • There is a clear trend to join both elements in all varieties of English (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), particularly in American English. British English tends to hyphenate when the letters brought into contact are the same (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or are vowels (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), or where a word is uncommon (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or may be misread (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). American English reflects the same factors, but is more likely to close up without a hyphen. Consult a good dictionary, and see National varieties of English above.
  3. To link related terms in compound modifiers:[lower-alpha 5]
    • Hyphens can help with ease of reading (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); where non-experts are part of the readership, a hyphen is particularly useful in long noun phrases, such as those in Wikipedia's scientific articles: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. However, hyphens are never inserted into proper names in compounds (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • A hyphen can help to disambiguate (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is not a reference to little paintings; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is a program that monitors the government, whereas <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is a government program that monitors something else).
    • Many compounds that are hyphenated when used attributively (adjectives before the nouns they qualify: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or substantively (as a noun: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), are usually not hyphenated when used predicatively (descriptive phrase separated from the noun: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Where there would otherwise be a loss of clarity, a hyphen may optionally be used in the predicative form as well (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Awkward attributive hyphenation can sometimes be avoided with a simple rewording: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. → <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
    • Avoid using a hyphen after a standard -ly adverb (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) unless part of a larger compound (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). In rare cases, a hyphen can be added to improve clarity if a rewritten alternative is awkward. Rewording is preferable: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. can be disambiguated as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
    • A few words ending in -ly function as both adjectives and adverbs (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Some such dual-purpose words (like <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) are not standard -ly adverbs, because they are not formed by addition of -ly to an independent current-English adjective. These need careful treatment: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (no adult actors) but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (actors without siblings).
    • A hyphen is normally used when the adverb well precedes a participle used attributively (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; but normally <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., because well itself is modified) and even predicatively, if well is necessary to, or alters, the sense of the adjective rather than simply intensifying it (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • In some cases, like <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., the independent status of the linked elements requires an en dash instead of a hyphen. See En dashes below.
    • Use a hanging hyphen when two compound modifiers are separated (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but better is <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • Values and units used as compound modifiers are hyphenated only where the unit is given as a whole word; when using the unit symbol, separate it from the number with a non-breaking space (&nbsp;).
Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Markup: 9&nbsp;mm gap)
Incorrect:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Multi-hyphenated items: It is often possible to avoid multi-word hyphenated modifiers by rewording (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. may be easier to read as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). This is particularly important where converted units are involved (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. might be possible as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., and the ungainly <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. as simply <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

For optional hyphenation of compound points of the compass such as southwest/south-west, see § Compass points, above.

Do not use a capital letter after a hyphen except for a proper name: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. In titles of published works, follow the capitalization rule for each part independently (resulting in, e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), unless reliable sources consistently do otherwise in a particular case (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Hyphenation rules in other languages may be different. Thus, in French a place name such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. ("Three Rivers") is hyphenated, when it would not be in English. Follow reliable sources in such cases.

Spacing: A hyphen is never followed or preceded by a space, except when hanging (see above) or when used to display parts of words independently, such as the prefix <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and the suffix <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Image filenames and redirects: Image filenames are not part of the encyclopedic content; they are tools. They are most useful if they can be readily typed, so they always use hyphens instead of dashes. Similarly, article titles with dashes should also have a corresponding redirect from a copy of the title with hyphens: for example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. redirects to <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., because the latter title, although correct, is harder to search for.

Non-breaking: A non-breaking hyphen (&#8209; or {{nbhyph}}) will not be used as a point of line-wrap.

Shortcut:

Soft hyphens: Use a soft hyphen to indicate optional locations where a word may be broken and hyphenated at the end of a line of text. Use of soft hyphens should be limited to special cases, usually involving very long words or narrow spaces (such as captions in tight page layouts, or column labels in narrow tables). Widespread use of soft hyphens is strongly discouraged, because it makes the wikitext very difficult to read and to edit (for example, This Wi&shy;ki&shy;source ex&shy;am&shy;ple is dif&shy;fi&shy;cult to un&shy;der&shy;stand). An alternative syntax improves readability:

{{shy|This al|ter|na|tive syn|tax im|proves read|a|bil|ity}}

Hyphenation involves many subtleties that cannot be covered here; the rules and examples presented above illustrate the broad principles.

Dashes

Shortcuts:

Two forms of dash are used on Wikipedia: en dash (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) and em dash (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Enter them as &ndash; or &mdash;; or click on them to the right of the "Insert" dropdown beneath the edit window. Do not substitute a double hyphen (--).

  • In article titles, do not use a hyphen (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) as a substitute for an en dash, for example in eye–hand span (since eye does not modify hand). Nonetheless, to aid searching and linking provide a redirect with hyphens replacing the en dashe(s), as in eye-hand span. Similarly, provide Category redirects for categories containing dashes.

Sources use dashes in varying ways, but for consistency and clarity Wikipedia adopts the following principles.

Punctuating a sentence (em or en dashes)

Dashes are often used to mark divisions within a sentence: in pairs (parenthetical dashes, instead of parentheses or pairs of commas); or singly (perhaps instead of a colon). They may also indicate an abrupt stop or interruption, in reporting direct speech. In all these cases, use either unspaced em dashes or spaced en dashes, with consistency in any one article:

  • An em dash is always unspaced (that is, without a space on either side):
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • An en dash is spaced (that is, with a space on each side) when used as sentence punctuation:
<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Ideally, use {{spaced ndash}} or {{snd}} (which prevents the en dash from occurring at the beginning of a line):
Another "planet" was detected{{spaced ndash}} but it was later found to be a moon of Saturn.
But do not use {{spaced ndash}} or {{snd}} where the en dash is unspaced (see § Other uses (en dash only), below).

Dashes can clarify the sentence structure when there are already commas or parentheses, or both.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Use dashes sparingly. More than two in a single sentence makes the structure unclear; it takes time for the reader to see which dashes, if any, form a pair.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Avoid: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. Better: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Other uses (en dash only)

The en dash (–) has other roles, beyond its use as a sentence-punctuating dash (see immediately above). It is often analogous to the hyphen (see § Hyphens, above), which joins components more strongly than the en dash; or to the slash (see the section below), which separates alternatives more definitely. Consider the exact meaning when choosing which to use.

In ranges that might otherwise be expressed with to or through
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Do not change hyphens to dashes in filenames, URLs or templates like {{Bibleverse}}, which formats verse ranges into URLs.

Do not mix en dashes with prepositions like between and from.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

If negative values are involved, an en dash might be confusing. Use words instead.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

The en dash in a range is always unspaced, except when either or both elements of the range include at least one space.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
In compounds when the connection might otherwise be expressed with to, versus, and, or between

Here the relationship is thought of as parallel, symmetric, equal, oppositional, or at least involving separate or independent elements. The components may be nouns, adjectives, verbs, or any other independent part of speech. Often if the components are reversed there would be little change of meaning.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; the components are parallel and reversible; iron and cobalt retain their identity
  • Wrong: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; iron modifies roof, so use a hyphen: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Wrong: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; not separate persons, so use a hyphen: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; red and green are separate independent colors, not mixed
  • Wrong: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; a blended, intermediate color, so use a hyphen: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   but prefer spelling out when using words instead of numerals: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not the awkward <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;  avoid confusingly reversed order: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.[lower-alpha 6]
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   avoid using a slash here, which indicates division
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

An en dash between nations; for people and things identifying with multiple nationalities, use a hyphen when applied as an adjective or a space as a noun.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. for <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Wrong: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; "Franco" is a combining form, not independent, so use a hyphen: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

A slash or some other alternative may occasionally be better to express a ratio, especially in technical contexts Template:Crossref.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Colons are often used for strictly numeric ratios, to avoid confusion with subtraction and division: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;  <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. Template:Crossref.

Use an en dash for the names of two or more entities in an attributive compound.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (developed by Seeliger and Donker-Voet)
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or just <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (discovered by Hale and Bopp)

Generally, use a hyphen in compounded proper names of single entities.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; Bissau is the capital, and this distinguishes the country from neighboring Guinea
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., a single city named after two people, but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., a union of two cities
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., an individual named after two families

Do not use an en dash for hyphenated personal names, even when they are used as adjectives:

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. with a hyphen: named after John Lennard-Jones

Do not use spaces around en dash in any of the compounds above.

Instead of a hyphen, when applying a prefix to a compound that includes a space
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;   <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Use this punctuation when there are compelling grounds for retaining the construction. For example, from a speech that is simply transcribed and cannot be re-worded; or in a heading where it has been judged most natural as a common name. Otherwise recasting is better.

The en dash in all of the compounds above is unspaced.

To separate parts of an item in a list

Spaced en dashes are sometimes used between parts of list items. Below are two examples.

  • Pairing performers with instruments:
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • Showing track durations on an album:
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Other dashes

Do not use substitutes for em or en dashes, such as the combination of two hyphens (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). These were typewriter approximations.

For a negative sign or subtraction operator, use a minus sign: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[".. Input by clicking on it in the insert box beneath the edit window or by typing &minus;.

Slashes

Shortcuts:

Generally, avoid joining two words with a slash, also called a forward slash or solidus (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), because it suggests that the words are related without specifying how. Replace with clearer wording.

An example: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. Must both be present? (Then write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..) Must at least one be present? (Then write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..) Are they the same person? (Use a hyphen: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..)

In circumstances involving a distinction or disjunction, the en dash (see above) is usually preferable to the slash: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

An unspaced slash may be used:

  • to indicate phonemic pronunciations (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)
  • in a fraction (7/8), though the "fraction slash" (7&frasl;8, producing 7⁄8) or {{frac}} template ({{frac|7|8}}, producing 78) are preferred
  • to indicate regular defined yearly periods that do not coincide with calendar years (e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), if that is the convention used in reliable sources; see WP:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers § Longer periods for further explanation
  • to express a ratio, in a form in which a slash is conventionally used (e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)
  • where a slash occurs in a phrase widely used outside Wikipedia, and a different construction would be inaccurate, unfamiliar, or ambiguous (e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.)

A spaced slash may be used:

  • to separate run-in lines in quoted poetry or song (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), or rarely in quoted prose, where careful marking of a paragraph break is textually important
  • to separate items that include at least one internal space (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), where for some reason use of a slash is unavoidable

To avoid awkward linebreaks, code spaced slashes (and fraction slashes) with a non-breaking space on the left and a normal space on the right, as in: My mama told me&nbsp;/ You better shop around. For short constructions, both spaces should be non-breaking: x&nbsp;/&nbsp;y.

Do not use the backslash character (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) in place of a slash.

Prefer the division operator (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) to slash or fraction slash when representing elementary arithmetic in general text: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. In more advanced mathematical formulas, a vinculum or slash is preferred: \textstyle\frac{x^n}{n!} or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Template:Cross reference

And/or

Shortcut:

Avoid writing <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.: Instead of <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., write simply <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (which would normally be interpreted to imply or both); or, for emphasis or precision, write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Where more than two possibilities are present, instead of <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Number sign

Shortcuts:

Avoid using the <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. symbol (known as the number sign, hash sign, or pound sign) when referring to numbers or rankings. Instead write "number", "No." or "Nos."; do not use the symbol <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. For example:

Incorrect:    <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

An exception is issue numbers of comic books, which unlike for other periodicals are given in general text in the form <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., unless a volume is also given, in which case write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. When using the abbreviations, write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Terminal punctuation

Shortcuts:
  • Periods ("full stops"), question marks, and exclamation marks are terminal punctuationTemplate:Mdashbthe only punctuation marks used to end English sentences.
  • In some contexts, no terminal punctuation is necessary. In such cases, the sentence often does not start with a capital letter. See § Quotations, § Quotation marks, and § Sentences and brackets, above. Sentence fragments in captions or lists should in most cases not end with a period. See § Formatting of captions and § Bulleted and numbered lists, below.
  • For the use of three periods in succession, see § Ellipses, above.
  • Clusters of question marks, exclamation marks, or a combination of them (such as the interrobang), are highly informal and inappropriate in Wikipedia articles.
  • Use the exclamation mark with restraint. It is an expression of surprise or emotion that is unsuited to a scholarly or encyclopedic register.
  • Question marks and exclamation marks may sometimes be used in the middle of a sentence:
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
    • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Not encyclopedic, but acceptable in transcription from audio, or in direct quotation.)

Spacing

Shortcut:

In normal text, never put a space before a comma, a semicolon, a colon, or a terminal punctuation mark (even in quoted material; see allowable typographical changes in § Typographic conformity, above). Put a space after these, unless they end a paragraph or are followed by a closing parenthesis, quotation mark, or similar.

Spaces following terminal punctuation

The number of spaces following the terminal punctuation of a sentence in the wiki markup makes no difference on Wikipedia; the MediaWiki software condenses any number of spaces to just one when rendering the page (see Sentence spacing). For this reason, editors may use any spacing style they prefer on Wikipedia. Multiple spacing styles may coexist in the same article, and adding or removing a double space is sometimes used as a dummy edit.

Consecutive punctuation marks

Shortcut:

Where a word or phrase that includes terminal punctuation ends a sentence, do not add a second terminal punctuation mark. If a quoted phrase or title ends in a question mark or exclamation mark, it may confuse readers as to the nature of the article sentence containing it, and so is usually better reworded to be mid-sentence. Where such a word or phrase occurs mid-sentence, new terminal punctuation (usually a period) must be added at the end.

Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Acceptable: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Better: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Punctuation and footnotes

Shortcuts:

Ref tags (<ref></ref>) are used to create footnotes (sometimes called endnotes or notes). The ref tags should immediately follow the text to which the footnote applies, with no intervening space (except possibly a hair space, generated by {{hsp}}). Any punctuation (see exceptions below) must precede the ref tags. Adjacent ref tags should have no space between them. Ref tags are used for explanatory notes, but are more often used for citation footnotes.

When ref tags are used, a footnote list must be added, and is usually placed in the Notes and References section near the end of the article in the standard appendices and footers.

Exceptions: ref tags are placed before dashes, not after; and where a footnote applies only to material within parentheses, the ref tags belong just before the closing parenthesis.

Punctuation after formulae

A sentence that ends with a formula should have terminal punctuation (period, exclamation mark, or question mark) after the formula. Within a sentence, place other punctuation (such as commas or colons) after the formula just as if the text were not a formula. See WP:Manual of Style/Mathematics § Punctuation after formulae.

Dates and time

For ranges of dates and times, see § En dashes: other uses, above.

Dates should only be linked when they are germane and topical to the subject, as discussed at WP:Manual of Style/Linking § Chronological items.

Time of day

Time of day is normally expressed in figures rather than being spelled out. Use context to determine whether to use the 12- or 24-hour.

  • Twelve-hour clock times are written in one of two forms: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Include a non-breaking space. Use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. rather than <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; it may need to be specified whether midnight refers to the start or end of a date.
  • Twenty-four-hour clock times are written in the form <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., with no suffix. Midnight written as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. begins the day; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. ends it.

Days

  • For full dates, use the format <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or the format <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Similarly, where the year is omitted, use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. For choice of format, see below.
  • Do not use numerical date formats such as "03/04/2005", as this could refer to 3 April or to March 4. If a numerical format is required (e.g., for conciseness in long lists and tables), use the YYYY-MM-DD format: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Choice of format

  • All the dates in a given article should have the same format (day–month or month–day). However, for citations, see WP:Citing sources § Citation style. These requirements do not apply to dates in quotations or titles.
  • Articles on topics with strong ties to a particular English-speaking country should generally use the more common date format for that country (month–day for the US, except in military usage; day–month for most others; articles related to Canada may use either consistently).
  • Otherwise, do not change an article from one form to another without good reason. More details can be found at WP:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers § Dates.

Months

  • For month and year, write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., with no comma.
  • Abbreviations for months, such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., are used only where space is extremely limited. Such abbreviations should use three letters only, and should not be followed by a period (full stop) except at the end of a sentence.

Seasons

  • Avoid ambiguous references to seasons, which are different in the southern and northern hemispheres.
  • Names of seasons may be used when there is a logical connection to the event they are describing (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) or when referring to a phase of a natural yearly cycle (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Otherwise, neutral wording is usually preferable (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Journals and other publications that are issued seasonally (e.g. "Summer 2005") should be dated as such in citations Template:Crossref.

Years and longer periods

  • Do not use the year before the digits (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), unless the meaning would otherwise be unclear.
  • Decades are written in the format <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., with no apostrophe. Use the two-digit form ('80s) only with an established social or cultural meaning. Avoid forms such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. that could refer to 10 or 100 years.
  • Years are denoted by AD and BC or, equivalently, CE and BCE. Use only one system within an article, and do not change from one system to the other without good reason. The abbreviations are written without periods, and with a non-breaking space, as in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Omit AD or CE unless this would cause ambiguity.

More information on all of the above topics can be found at WP:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers § Dates, including the handling of dates expressed in different calendars, and times corresponding to different time zones.

Current

The term "current" should be avoided. What is current today may not be tomorrow; situations change over time. Instead, use date- and time-specific text. To help keep information updated use the {{as of}} template.

Incorrect: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
Correct: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Numbers

WP:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers (MOS:NUM) § Numbers clarifies a number of situations, including the following:

  • In general, write whole cardinal numbers from one to nine as words, write other numbers that, when spoken, take two or fewer words as either figures or words (with consistency within each article), and write all other numbers as figures: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. See MOS:NUM § Numbers as figures or words et seq. for exceptions and fine points.
  • In general, use a comma to delimit numbers with five or more digits to the left of the decimal point. Numbers with four digits are at the editor's discretion: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but either <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. See MOS:NUM § Grouping of digits et seq. for exceptions.
  • In general, use decimals rather than vulgar fractions with measurements, but the latter are permitted with measuring systems such as Imperial units, Avoirdupois, and U.S. customary units. Keep articles internally consistent.
  • Scientific notation (e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) is preferred in scientific contexts; editors can use the {{val}} template, which generates such expressions with the syntax {{val|5.8|e=7|u=kg}}.
  • Write out "million" and "billion" on the first use. After that, unspaced "M" can be used for millions and "bn" for billions: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. See MOS:NUM § Numbers as figures or words for similar words.
  • Write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (with a space) or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. "Percent" is American usage, and "per cent" is British usage (see § National varieties of English, above). In ranges of percentages written with an en dash, write only one percent sign: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Indicate uncertainties as "value ± uncertainty × 10<sup>n</sup>&nbsp;units",e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. See MOS:NUM § Uncertainty and rounding for other acceptable formats.
  • Fewer vs. less: In most cases, use fewer with countable nouns and less with non-countable ones. However, less than (not fewer than) is recommended before nouns that denote distance or time. For example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., because the word time can be understood to be implied after less. In short, if you'd count it, say fewer. If you'd measure it, say less.

Currencies

  • Use the full abbreviation on first use (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. for the US dollar and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. for the Australian dollar), unless the currency is already clear from context. For example, the Government of the United States always spends money in American dollars, and never in Canadian or Australian dollars.
  • Use only one symbol with ranges, as in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • In articles that are not specific to a country, express amounts of money in United States dollars, euros, or pounds sterling. Do not link the names or symbols of currencies that are commonly known to English-speakers (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), unless there is a particular reason to do so; do not use potentially ambiguous currency symbols, unless the meaning is clear in the context.
  • In country-specific articles, use the currency of the country. On first occurrence, consider including conversion to US dollars, euros, or pounds sterling, at a rate appropriate to the context. For example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Wording such as "approx." is not appropriate for simple rounding-off of the converted amount.
  • Generally, use the full name of a currency, and link it on its first appearance if English-speakers are likely to be unfamiliar with it (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); subsequent occurrences can use the currency sign (just <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Most currency signs are placed before the number; they are unspaced (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), except for alphabetic signs (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Units of measurement

  • The main unit in which a quantity is expressed should generally be an SI unit or non-SI unit officially accepted for use with the SI. However,
    • Scientific articles may also use specialist units appropriate for the branch of science in question.
    • In non-scientific articles relating to the United States, the main unit is generally an American customary unit (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
    • In non-scientific articles relating to the United Kingdom, although the main unit is generally a metric unit (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), Imperial units are still used as the main units in some contexts (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Where English-speaking countries use different units for the same measurement, provide a conversion in parentheses. Examples: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. The {{convert}} template is useful for producing such expressions.
  • In a direct quotation, always keep the source units. If a conversion is required, it should appear within square brackets in the quote, or else an obscure use of units can be explained in a footnote.
  • Where space is limited (such as tables, infoboxes, parenthetical notes, and mathematical formulas) use unit symbols. In main text it is usually better to spell out unit names, but symbols may also be used when a unit (especially one with a long name) is used repeatedly. However, spell out the first instance of each unit in an article (for example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), except for unit names that are hardly ever spelled out (e.g., the degree Celsius). Most unit names are not capitalized. Use "per" when writing out a unit, rather than a slash: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. (For spelling differences, follow § National varieties of English, above.)
  • Potentially unfamiliar unit symbols should be introduced parenthetically at their first occurrence in the article, with the full name given first: for example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • For ranges, see § En dashes: other uses, above, and MOS:NUM, at §§ Date ranges, Percentages, Unit names and symbols, and Formatting of monetary values.
  • When dimensions are given, each number should be followed by a unit name or symbol (e.g., write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • When they form a compound adjective, values and spelled-out unit names should be separated by a hyphen: for example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. An exception is when the hyphenated construction has another meaning in the context.
  • Unit symbols are preceded by figures, not by spelled-out numbers. Values and unit symbols are separated by a non-breaking space. For example, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. The percent sign and units of degrees, minutes, and seconds for angles and coordinates are unspaced.
  • Standard unit symbols do not require a full stop (period). However, non-standard abbreviations should always be given a full stop.
  • No s is appended, e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Write powers of unit symbols with HTML, e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. not Unicode superscripts and subscripts.
  • For quantities of bytes and bits, specify whether the binary or decimal meanings of K, M, G, etc. are intended. The IEC prefixes kibi-, mebi-, gibi-, etc. (symbols Ki, Mi, Gi, etc.) are not familiar to most readers and should not generally be used (for exceptions, see MOS:NUM § Quantities of bytes and bits).

Common mathematical symbols

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  • For a negative sign or subtraction operator, use a minus sign (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., Unicode character U+2212 MINUS SIGN). Input by clicking on it in the insert box beneath the edit window or by typing &minus;.
  • For a multiplication sign between numbers, use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Unicode character U+00D7 MULTIPLICATION SIGN), which is input by clicking on it in the edit toolbox under the edit window or by typing &times;. The letter <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. should not be used to indicate multiplication, but it is used (unspaced) as the substitute for "by" in terms such as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Exponentiation is indicated by a superscript, <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (typed as ''a''<sup>''n''</sup> or {{var|a}}<sup>{{var|n}}</sup>). Exponential notation can be spaced or unspaced, depending on circumstances.
  • Do not use programming language notation outside computer program listings. In most programming languages, subtraction, multiplication, and exponentiation are respectively represented by the hyphen-minus -, the asterisk *, and either the caret ^ or the double asterisk **, and scientific notation is replaced by E notation.
  • Symbols for binary operators and relations are spaced on both sides:
    • plus, minus, and plus-or-minus (as binary operators): <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (as in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.);
    • multiplication and division: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;
    • equals, does not equal, equals approximately: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;
    • is less than, is less than or equal to, is greater than, is greater than or equal to: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • Symbols for unary operators are closed-up to their operand:
    • positive, negative, and positive-or-negative signs: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (as in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.);
    • other unary operators, such as the exclamation mark as a factorial sign (as in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • Variables are italicized, but digits and punctuation are not; only x and y are italicized in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. The semantic HTML element <var></var>, or its template wrapper {{var}} can be used to distinguish variables from other uses of italics, as illustrated in the code example above.

Grammar and usage

Possessives

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Singular nouns

  • For the possessive of most singular nouns, including proper names and words ending with a double-s, add 's (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Exception: abstract nouns ending with an /s/ sound, when followed by sake (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • For the possessive of singular nouns ending with just one s (sounded as /s/ or /z/), there are two practices advised by different grammar and style guides:
    1. Add 's: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
    2. Add either 's or just an apostrophe, according to how the possessive is pronounced:
      • Add only an apostrophe if the possessive is pronounced the same way as the non-possessive name: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.;
      • Add 's if the possessive has an additional Template:IPAc-en at the end: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
      • Some possessives have two possible pronunciations: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
Apply just one of these two practices consistently within an article. If the second practice is used and there is disagreement over the pronunciation of a possessive, the choice should be discussed and then that possessive adopted consistently in an article. (Possessives of certain classical and biblical names have traditional pronunciations that may be deemed to take precedence: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; and in some cases—particularly possessives of inanimate objects—rewording may be an option: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..)

Plural nouns

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  • For a normal plural noun, ending with a pronounced s, form the possessive by adding just an apostrophe (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).
  • For a plural noun not ending with a pronounced s, add 's (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., but where rewording is an option, this may be better: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Official names

  • Official names (of companies, organizations, or places) should not be altered. (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. should therefore not be rendered as <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., even for consistency.)

First-person pronouns

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Wikipedia articles must not be based on one person's opinions or experiences, so never use I, my, or similar forms (except in quotations).

Also avoid we, us, and our: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (personal rather than encyclopedic). But these forms are acceptable in certain figurative uses. For example:

  • In historical articles to mean the modern world as a whole: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • The author's we found in scientific writing: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Albert Einstein); <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Often rephrasing using the passive voice is preferable: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Second-person pronouns

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Avoid addressing the reader directly by using the second-person generic you or your; it is often ambiguous, and contrary to the tone of an encyclopedia (see also § Instructional and presumptuous language, below).

  • Use a noun or a third-person pronoun: instead of <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., use <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • If a person cannot be specified, or when implying "anyone" as a subject, the pronoun one may be used: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. Other constructions may be preferable if one seems stilted: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..
  • The passive voice may sometimes be used instead: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles..

Plurals

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Use the appropriate plural; allow for cases (such as excursus or hanif) in which a word is now listed in major English dictionaries, and normally takes an s or es plural, not its original plural: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. as in Latin; <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. as in Arabic.

Some collective nouns—such as team (and proper names of them), army, company, crowd, fleet, government, majority, mess, number, pack, and party—may refer either to a single entity or to the members that compose it. In British English, such words are sometimes treated as singular, but more often treated as plural, according to context. Exceptionally, names of towns and countries usually take singular verbs (unless they are being used to refer to a team or company by that name, or when discussing actions of that entity's government). For example, in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., England refers to a football team; but in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., it refers to the country. In North American English, these words (and the United States, for historical reasons) are almost invariably treated as singular; the major exception is when sports teams are referred to by nicknames that are plural nouns, when plural verbs are commonly used to match. See also § National varieties of English, above.

Verb tense

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Template:Redirect3

By default, write articles in the present tense, including for those covering products or works that have been discontinued. Articles discussing works of fiction are also written in the present tense Template:Crossref. Generally, do not use past tense except for deceased subjects, past events, and subjects that no longer meaningfully exist as such.

  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.
  • <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (not <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Tense can be used to distinguish between current and former status of a subject: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. (Emphasis added for clarity.)

Vocabulary

Contractions

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Avoid the use of contractions in encyclopedic writing; e.g., instead of the informal <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., write <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. and <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.. However, contractions should not be expanded mechanically; sometimes, rewriting the sentence is preferable.

Gender-neutral language

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Use gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision. For example, avoid the generic he. This does not apply to direct quotations or the titles of works (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), which should not be altered, or to wording about one-gender contexts, such as an all-female school (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Ships may be referred to using either feminine forms ("she", "her", "hers") or neutral forms ("it", "its"). Either usage is acceptable, but each article should be internally consistent and employ one or the other exclusively. As with all optional styles, articles should not be changed from one style to another unless there is a substantial reason to do so. See WP:Manual of Style/Military history § Pronouns.

Contested vocabulary

Avoid words and phrases that give the impression of straining for formality, that are unnecessarily regional, or that are not widely accepted. See List of English words with disputed usage and Wikipedia:List of commonly misused English words; see also § Identity below.

Instructional and presumptuous language

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Avoid such phrases as remember that and note that, which address readers directly in an unencyclopedic tone. They are a subtle form of Wikipedia self-reference. Similarly, phrases such as of course, naturally, obviously, clearly, and actually make presumptions about readers' knowledge, and call into question the reason for including the information in the first place. Do not tell readers that something is ironic, surprising, unexpected, amusing, coincidental, etc. Simply state the sourced facts and allow readers to draw their own conclusions. Such constructions can usually just be deleted (and letter case adjusted if necessary), leaving behind proper sentences, with a more academic and less pushy tone: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. becomes <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Subset terms

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A subset term identifies a set of members of a larger class. Common subset terms are including, among, and et cetera (etc.). Do not use redundant subset terms (so avoid constructions like: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Do not use including to introduce a complete list; instead use comprising, consisting of, or composed of.

Identity

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When there is a discrepancy between the term most commonly used by reliable sources for a person or group and the term that person or group uses for themselves, use the term that is most commonly used by reliable sources; if it isn't clear which is most used, use the term that the person or group uses.

Disputes over how to refer to a person or group are addressed by Wikipedia content policies, such as those on verifiability, and neutral point of view (and article titles when the term appears in the title of an article).

Use specific terminology. For example, it is often more appropriate for people or things from Ethiopia (a country in Africa) to be described as Ethiopian, not carelessly (with the risk of stereotyping) as African.

Use of "Arab" and "Arabic"

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The adjective Arab refers to people and things of ethnic Arab origin. The term Arabic refers to the Arabic language or writing system, and related concepts (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.).

Gender identity

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Main biographical article on a person whose gender might be questioned
Give precedence to self-designation as reported in the most up-to-date reliable sources, even when it doesn't match what's most common in reliable sources. When a person's gender self-designation may come as a surprise to readers, explain it without overemphasis on first occurrence in an article.
Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the pronouns, possessive adjectives, and gendered nouns (for example "man/woman", "waiter/waitress", "chairman/chairwoman") that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. This applies in references to any phase of that person's life, unless the subject has indicated a preference otherwise. Avoid confusing constructions (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) by rewriting (e.g., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.). Direct quotations may need to be handled as exceptions (in some cases adjusting the portion used may reduce apparent contradictions, and "[sic]" may be used where necessary).
Referring to the person in other articles
Generally, do not go into detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless they are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned. Use context to determine which name or names to provide on a case-by-case basis. The MoS does not have specific rules stipulating when to give both names, which name to use first, or how that name should be written.

Foreign terms

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Foreign words should be used sparingly.

No common usage in English

Use italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that are not current in English. See WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Foreign terms for details.

Common usage in English

Loanwords and borrowed phrases that have common usage in English—<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.—do not require italics. A rule of thumb is not to italicize words that appear unitalicized in general-purpose English-language dictionaries.

Spelling and romanization

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Names not originally written in one of the Latin-script alphabets (written for example in Greek, Cyrillic, or Chinese scripts) must be given a romanized form for use in English. Use a systematically transliterated or otherwise romanized name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.); but if there is a common English form of the name (<span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.), use that form instead.

The use of diacritics (such as accent marks) for foreign words is neither encouraged nor discouraged; their usage depends on whether they appear in verifiable reliable sources in English and on the constraints imposed by specialized Wikipedia guidelines Template:Crossref. Provide redirects from alternative forms that use or exclude diacritics.

Spell a name consistently in the title and the text of an article. See relevant policy at WP:Article titles; see also WP:Naming conventions (use English). For foreign names, phrases, and words generally, adopt the spellings most commonly used in English-language references for the article, unless those spellings are idiosyncratic or obsolete. If a foreign term does not appear in the article's references, adopt the spelling most commonly used in other verifiable reliable sources (for example other English-language dictionaries and encyclopedias). For punctuation of compounded forms, see relevant guidelines in § Punctuation, above.

Sometimes the usage will be influenced by other guidelines, such as § National varieties of English (above), which may lead to different choices in different articles.

Other concerns

Technical language

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Some topics are intrinsically technical, but editors should try to make them understandable to as many readers as possible. Minimize jargon, or at least explain it or tag it using {{Technical}} or {{Technical-statement}} for other editors to fix. For unavoidably technical articles, a separate introductory article (like Introduction to general relativity) may be the best solution. Avoid excessive wikilinking (linking within Wikipedia) as a substitute for parenthetic explanations such as the one in this sentence. Do not introduce new and specialized words simply to teach them to the reader when more common alternatives will do. When the notions named by jargon are too complex to explain concisely in a few parenthetical words, write one level down. For example, consider adding a brief background section with {{main}} tags pointing to the full treatment article(s) of the prerequisite notions; this approach is practical only when the prerequisite concepts are central to the exposition of the article's main topic and when such prerequisites are not too numerous. Short articles like stubs generally do not have such sections.

Geographical items

Places should generally be referred to consistently by the same name as in the title of their article (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names)). Exceptions are made if there is a widely accepted historical English name appropriate to the given context. In cases where such a historical name is used, it should be followed by the modern name in round brackets (parentheses) on the first occurrence of the name in applicable sections of the article. This resembles linking; it should not be done to the detriment of style. On the other hand, it is probably better to provide such a variant too often than too rarely. If more than one historical name is applicable for a given context, the other names should be added after the modern English name, that is: "historical name (modern name, other historical names)".

Media files

Images

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  • Infoboxes, images, and related content in the lead section must be right-aligned.
  • Use captions to clarify the relevance of the image to the article (see § Captions, below).
  • Each image should be inside the major section to which it relates (within the section defined by the most recent level 2 heading or at the top of the lead section), not immediately above the section heading.
  • Avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other, and between an image and an infobox or similar.
  • It is often preferable to place images of faces so that the face or eyes look toward the text. However, it is not necessary to reverse an image simply to have the subject facing the text.
  • Multiple images in the same article can be staggered right-and-left (for example, Timpani).
  • The thumbnail option may be used (thumb), or another size may be fixed. The default thumbnail width is 220 pixels; users can adjust this in their preferences. Lead-section images should be no wider than "upright=1.35" (by default this is 300 pixels, but may appear larger or smaller based on the thumbnail width setting in preferences). See Manual of Style/Images for information on when and how to use other sizes.
  • Link to more images on Wikimedia Commons when appropriate; see WP:Wikimedia sister projects for advice and methods. The use of galleries should be in keeping with WP:Image use policy § Image galleries.
  • Avoid referring to images as being on the left or right. Image placement is different for viewers of the mobile version of Wikipedia, and is meaningless to people having pages read to them by assistive software. Instead, use captions to identify images.
  • Alt text takes the place of an image for text-only readers, including those using screen readers. Images should have an alt attribute added to the |alt= parameter. See WP:ALT for more information.

Other media files

Other media files include video and audio files. Style recommendations for such files largely follow recommendations for image files (as far as applicable).

Avoid entering textual information as images

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Textual information should almost always be entered as text rather than as an image. True text can be colored and adjusted with CSS tags and templates, but text in images cannot be. Images are not searchable, are slower to download, and are unlikely to be read as text by devices for the visually impaired. Any important textual information in an image should also appear in the image's alt text, caption, or other nearby text.

For entering textual information as audio: see Wikipedia:WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia

Captions

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Photographs and other graphics should always have captions, unless they are "self-captioning" images (such as reproductions of album or book covers) or when they are unambiguous depictions of the subject of the article. In a biography article no caption is necessary for a portrait of the subject pictured alone; but one might be used, to give the year, the subject's age, or other circumstances of the portrait along with the name of the subject.

Formatting of captions

  • Captions normally start with a capital letter.
  • Most captions are not complete sentences but merely sentence fragments that should not end with a period. However, if any complete sentence occurs in a caption, then every sentence and every sentence fragment in that caption should end with a period.
  • The text of captions should not be specially formatted, except in ways that would apply if it occurred in the main text (e.g., italics for the Latin name of a species).
  • Captions should be succinct; more information about the image can be included on its description page, or in the main text.
  • Captions for technical charts and diagrams may need to be substantially longer than those for other images. Captions for technical images should fully describe all the elements of the image and indicate the image's significance.

Bulleted and numbered lists

Shortcuts:

Template:Further information

  • Do not use lists if a passage is read easily as plain paragraphs.
  • Use proper wikimarkup- or template-based list code Template:Crossref.
  • Do not leave blank lines between items in a bulleted or numbered list unless there is a reason to do so, since this causes the Wiki software to interpret each item as beginning a new list.
    • Indents (such as this) are permitted if the elements are "child" items
  • Use numbers rather than bullets only if:
    • A need to refer to the elements by number may arise;
    • The sequence of the items is critical; or
    • The numbering has some independent meaning, for example in a listing of musical tracks.
  • Use the same grammatical form for all elements in a list, and do not mix sentences and sentence fragments as elements.
    • For example, when the elements are:
      • Complete sentences, each one is formatted with sentence case (its first letter is capitalized) and a final period (full stop).
      • Sentence fragments, the list is typically introduced by an introductory fragment ending with a colon.
      • Titles of works, they retain the original capitalization of the titles.
      • Other elements, they are formatted consistently in either sentence case or lower case.

Links

Wikilinks

Make links only where they are relevant and helpful in the context: Excessive use of hyperlinks can be distracting and may slow the reader down. Redundant links (like the one in <span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.) clutter the page and make future maintenance harder. High-value links that are worth pursuing should stand out clearly.

Linking to sections: A hash sign (#) followed by the appropriate heading will lead to a relevant part of a page. For example, [[Apostrophe#Use in non-English names]] links to a particular section of the article Apostrophe.

Initial capitalization: Wikipedia's MediaWiki software does not require that wikilinks begin with an upper-case character. Only capitalize the first letter where this is naturally called for, or when specifically referring to the linked article by its name: <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.

Check links: Ensure that the destination is the intended one; many dictionary words lead to disambiguation pages and not to complete or well-chosen articles.

External links

External links should not normally be used in the body of an article. Instead, articles can include an External links section at the end, pointing to further information outside Wikipedia as distinct from citing sources. The standard format is a primary heading, ==External links==, followed by a bulleted list of links. Identify the link and briefly indicate its relevance to the article. For example:

* [http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/history/index.html History of NIH]
* [http://nih.gov/ National Institutes of Health homepage]

These will appear as:

Where appropriate, use external link templates such as {{Official website}} and {{URL}}.

Add external links with discretion; Wikipedia is not a link repository.

Miscellaneous

Keep markup simple

Shortcut:

The simplest markup is often the easiest to edit, the most comprehensible, and the most predictable. Markup may appear differently in different browsers. Use HTML and CSS markup sparingly; in particular, do not use the CSS float or line-height properties because they break rendering on some browsers when large fonts are used.

An HTML character entity is sometimes better than the equivalent Unicode character, which may be difficult to identify in edit mode; for example, &Alpha; is understood where Α (the upper-case form of Greek α) may not be.

Formatting issues

Modifications in font size, blank space, and color (see § Color coding, below) are an issue for the Wikipedia site-wide style sheet, and should be reserved for special cases only.

Typically, the use of custom font styles will:

  • reduce consistency, since the text will no longer look uniform;
  • reduce usability, since it might be impossible for people with custom style sheets (for accessibility reasons, for example) to override it, and it might clash with a different skin as well as inconvenience people with color blindness (see below); and
  • cause disputes, since other editors may disagree aesthetically with the choice of style.

Outside article text, different font sizes are routinely used in navigation templates and infoboxes, tables (especially in larger ones), and some other contexts where alternatives are not available (such as table captions). Specify font sizes relatively (for example in CSS with font-size: 85%) rather than absolutely (like font-size: 8pt).

Color coding

Shortcuts:

Information should be accessible to all. Do not use color alone to mark differences in text: they may be invisible to people with color blindness. Also, black-and-white printouts, older computer displays with fewer colors, and monochrome displays (older PDAs and cell phones) cannot show such distinctions.

Choose colors that can be distinguished by the readers with the commonest form of colorblindness (red–green), such as maroon and teal; and additionally mark the differences with change of font or some other means (maroon and alternative font face, teal). Avoid low contrast between text and background colors. Viewing the page with Wickline can help with the choice of colors. See also color coding.

In addition to vision accessibility problems, usage of only color to encode attributes in tables (for example, Gold, Silver, or Bronze achievement levels) instead of a separate sortable column, disables the use of the powerful Wikitable sortability feature on that attribute for all readers. Even for readers with unimpaired color vision, excessive background shading of table entries impedes readability and recognition of Wikilinks. Background color should be used only as a supplementary visual cue, and should be subtle (consider using lighter, less-dominant pastel hues) rather than a glaring spotlight.

Scrolling lists and collapsible content

Shortcuts:

Scrolling lists, and collapsible templates that toggle text display between hide and show, can interfere with readers' ability to access our content. Such mechanisms are not to be used to conceal "spoiler" information. Templates are not normally used to store article text at all, as it interferes with editors' ability to find and edit it, and watchlist for changes.

When such features are used, take care that the content will still be accessible on devices that do not support JavaScript or CSS, and to the 45% (and climbing) of Wikipedia readers who use the mobile version of the site,[lower-alpha 7] which has a limited set of features. Mobile ability to access the content in question is easy to test with the "Mobile view" link at the bottom of each page.[lower-alpha 8]

Collapsible templates should not conceal article content by default upon page loading. This includes reference lists, tables and lists of article content, image galleries, and image captions. In particular, note that while some templates support a collapsible parameter or manually-added CSS class, and this is permissible, the collapsed, mw-collapsed, and autocollapse states should not be used in articles to pre-emptively force the closure of these elements, except as noted below. Any information hidden in this way when the page loads will be irreversibly invisible to the aforementioned classes of users, as well as a growing number of low-bandwidth users in Asia who reach a Wikipedia article via Google.[lower-alpha 9] Several other CSS classes, used manually or by templates, will render content inaccessible to mobile users.[lower-alpha 10]

Collapsed or auto-collapsing cells or sections may be used with tables if it simply repeats information covered in the main text (or is purely supplementary, e.g. several past years of statistics in collapsed tables for comparison with a table of uncollapsed current stats). Auto-collapsing is often a feature of navboxes. A few infoboxes also use pre-collapsed sections for infrequently accessed (usually navigational) details. If information in a list, infobox, or other non-navigational content seems extraneous or trivial enough to inspire pre-collapsing it, consider raising a discussion on the article (or template) talk page about whether it should be included at all. If the information is important and the concern is article density or length, consider dividing the article into more sections, integrating unnecessarily list-formatted information into the article prose, or splitting the article.

Invisible comments

Shortcut:

Editors use invisible comments to communicate with each other in the body of the text of an article. These comments are visible only in the wiki source and in VisualEditor; they are not visible in read mode.

Invisible comments are useful for alerting other editors to issues such as common mistakes that regularly occur in the article, a section title being the target of an incoming link, or pointing to a discussion that established a consensus relating to the article. They should not be used to instruct other editors not to perform certain edits, although where existing consensus is against making such an edit, they may usefully draw the editor's attention to that. Avoid adding too many invisible comments because they can clutter the wiki source for other editors. Check that your invisible comment does not change the formatting, for example by introducing unwanted white space in the rendered page.

To leave an invisible comment, enclose the text you intend to be read only by editors between <!-- and -->. For example:

  • <!--> If you change this section title, also change the links to it on the pages .... </!-->
  • <!--> When adding table entries, remember to update the total given in the text. </!-->

This notation can be inserted with a single click in Wiki markup, just under the edit pane in edit mode.

Pronunciation

Pronunciation in Wikipedia is indicated in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). In most situations, for ease of understanding by the majority of readers and across variants of the language, quite broad IPA transcriptions are best for English pronunciations. See Wikipedia:IPA for English and Wikipedia:IPA (general) for keys, and {{IPA}} for templates that link to these keys. For English pronunciations, pronunciation respellings may be used in addition to the IPA.

See also

Template:Wikipedia books

Guidance

  • Annotated article – is a well-constructed sample article, with annotations.
  • Article development – lists the ways in which you can help an article grow.
  • Avoiding common mistakes – gives a list of common mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • Be bold – suggests a bold attitude toward page updates.
  • Citing sources – explains process and standards for citing references.
  • Editing – is a short primer on editing pages.
  • Style guide – contains links to the style guides of some magazines and newspapers.
  • Wiki markup – explains the codes and resources available for editing a page.

Development

Tools

Other community standards

Guidelines within Manual of Style

(Links to policy and guidelines on specific questions.)

Names

Capitalization

Language varieties

Foreign terms used in English

Quotations in articles

Numbers, times, and dates

Lists

Punctuation guidance

Notes

  1. This is a matter of policy at WP:Consensus § Level of consensus: "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a wikiproject cannot decide that a Wikipedia policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope." And: "Wikipedia has a higher standard of participation and consensus for changes to policies and guidelines than to other types of pages."
  2. Using phrases like <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles. is acceptable for section headings.
  3. The top-level heading is used only in the auto-generated page title.
  4. A comment outside the == == disrupts section edits and their edit summaries, and even heading display. For example, if one clicks the edit section button, the section heading is not automatically added to the edit summary; or in some cases, the edit section button fails to appear at all.
  5. Specifically, compound attributives, which are modifiers of a noun that occur within the noun phrase. (See hyphenated compound modifiers.)
  6. It is not logically possible to have a "<span id="FormattingError" />Template:!xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles.", except in a game where a lower score is better. Otherwise, use a construction like <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., or <span id="FormattingError" />Template:Xt is only for examples of style and formatting. Do not use it in actual articles., with parties, result, and number order in logical agreement.
  7. See the "Wikimedia Report Card", updated at the end of each month with total and mobile-only pageviews. This is just a "hit" counter; in reality, a majority of our readers access Wikipedia via mobile devices at least some of the time.
  8. The "Mobile view" feature shows the article as it presently exists. If considering a change that could have mobile accessibility implications, please save the change first in a user sandbox and test the mobile version of that. A page's mobile version can also be accessed by changing the en.wikipedia.org in the address bar to en.m.wikipedia.org and loading that version of the URL. Note also that viewing the normal "desktop" version of the website on a mobile device is not viewing the mobile version of the site, though (depending on mobile browser and what transcoding it is doing) this may be a worthwhile test for some broader accessibility matters, especially on tablets, which do not always use the mobile version of Wikipedia.
  9. As noted, CSS and JavaScript support are required to operate the show/hide toggle. Moreover, hidden content is not available in the mobile version of Wikipedia even on devices that have that support, because the mobile version's servers strip that content out before sending the page. Starting in 2016, Google has launched a Google User Content service that, like the earlier Google Lite and Google Web Transcoder, will strip hidden material from pages when they are accessed through Google searches, before content is delivered to users with slow connections. The service has already been deployed in India (where English is a major language) and Indonesia, with additional national markets planned for 2016 and forward. These services also completely strip out navboxes. [1] [2]
  10. Applying, or using a template that applies, any of the following CSS classes will cause the affected content to be inaccessible to mobile users, and this list may not be exhaustive: ambox, navbox, vertical-navbox, topicon, metadata, nomobile, collapsed, mw-collapsed, and (when triggered) autocollapse.

Further reading

Style guides on other Wikimedia projects

External style guides

Wikipedians are encouraged to familiarize themselves with other guides to style and usage, which may cover details not included in this Manual of Style. Among these are:

Search engines


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