In order to maintain a consistent approach to writing and editing across The Student Review, we make use of a style guide. The style guide lists the rules we follow for writing prose (in addition to standard grammar and spelling) as well as formatting it. For example, the guide contains information about how to write acronyms, but it also contains information about when to italicise a title.

In general we are fairly relaxed about style, and provided something is grammatically correct we will normally allow it. We edit creative writing for style only minimally, and do not edit poetry for style at all. Nevertheless, we do ask that writers (including guest contributors) of regular articles, as well as editors, try to adhere to the rules listed below. For cases not covered here we defer to the style guide provided by the Guardian.

The guide is a work in progress and is still being updated.


abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms

should be entirely in uppercase e.g. UCAS, NATO, except where the word is in common usage e.g. laser; do not include full points in abbreviations, acronyms or initialisms (including titles such as Dr) except for e.g. and i.e.


the 28-year-old father; the father was 28 years old; the father, 28


not “aging”


not “A levels”


e.g. “globalisation” vs “globalization”; use the former (British) version


acceptable, but “among” is more modern


an informal shortcut that should be avoided


implies fear or dread, not eagerness



not backward


bands are plural e.g. Editors were great last night; bands with one member are not really bands and are singular

bring, take

“bring” means to move something towards the subject, “take” means to move something away e.g. I brought the Guardian towards you even as I took the Daily Mail away from you



not café

center, centre

“centre” is British, “center” is American


the word following a colon should be lowercase; an exception may be when a colon is used as part of the name of a column


companies and corporations are singular e.g. Facebook is a big company

compare to, compare with

an object is compared to an object of a different type, but compared with an object of the same type e.g. life has been compared to a battle, but Congress has been compared with the British Parliament

complement, compliment

the woman’s handbag complemented her dress; the man complimented the woman on her style; the handbag was complimentary with a magazine

continual, continuous

“continual” means frequently recurring, “continuous” means uninterrupted


will often be allowed where they do not detract from the prose, but should be expanded where possible; “there’ve” is not a word



either plural or singular; “datum” is old-fashioned and should only be used by people who also say “agendum” and “musea”

data storage

KB, MB, GB (kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes) are different to Kb, Mb, Gb (kilobits, megabits, gigabits). Use uppercase as appropriate


Sunday 1st January; January 1st; January 1, 2012

defence, defense

“defence” is British, “defense” is American, but they mean the same thing; however, Department of Defence

different from

not “different to”

disinterested, uninterested

“disinterested” means impartial or indifferent, “uninterested” is the opposite of interested

due to

“due to” should only be used to complement the verb “to be” e.g. The Student Review‘s delay in publishing was due to a technical error. Otherwise use “owing to” or “because of” e.g. The Student Review was delayed in publishing owing to a technical error



not to be confused with “affect”; “to affect” means to change something, “to effect” means to implement something, “effect” is a noun e.g. The effect [noun] of the explosion was to affect [verb] the city’s trade, which effected [verb] great change


when used to show redacted or missing content, put spaces before and after; when used for dramatic effect in creative writing or poetry, only put a space after

ebook, email

no hyphen or uppercase; but e-reader, e-commerce


italics are preferable to bold font if emphasis is absolutely required; never underline

ensure, insure

we insure our house to ensure we’re covered

entitled, titled

he was entitled to read the newspaper; he entitled the paper The Student Review; the newspaper is titled The Student Review


farther, further

“farther” should be used for measurable distances, “further” should be used for abstract lengths which can’t always be measured e.g. I walked farther each day in order to further my goal of getting fit

fewer, less

less in quantity, fewer in number e.g. Other newspapers had fewer articles than The Student Review and less research was done for them

film reviews

our film review template can be found here

flaunt, flout

he flouted the law by flaunting his knife in public


not forwards



not Gadaffi, Qaddafi


avoid needlessly using “have got” in place of “have”; the past participle is “got”, not “gotten”


not gray

god, gods

lowercase as nouns; “God” when referring to a specific god by that name, for example in Christianity



headings and sub-headings within articles can be formatted as such, though bold font will often suffice; headings may be exempt from the use of italics for titles (see “italics”)

hence why

the “why” is redundant


avoid using at the start of sentences to mean “nevertheless”; when placed first it should mean “in whatever way” or “to whatever extent” e.g. However tedious this guide may seem, it is important



means combustible, despite the “in” prefix


SJ Watson, not S. J. Watson




We italicise the titles of works or publications. These include books, poems, newspaper and magazine articles, songs, albums and video games. We also italicise the names of publications e.g. The Student Review, the Guardian (take care to check whether a publication includes a definite article in its name). We do not italicise legal bills or acts


The New Oxford English Dictionary says: “Irony is a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” For example, it would be ironic if you moved to France to escape English people, only for the first friend you make there to be English. Much of the time when we say something is ironic we actually mean hypocritical, cynical, lazy, amusing or coincidental




lay, lie

“lie” does not take a direct object e.g. I lie down; lie, lay, lain, lying

“lay” does take a direct object e.g. I lay the newspaper down; lay, laid, laid, laying

licence, license

“license” is a verb, “licence” is a noun


avoid using in place of the conjunction “as”



a moot point is debatable or subject to discussion, not superfluous



Spell out as a word from one to nine, but use numerals from 10 to 999,999. Afterwards use million, billion, trillion except for scientific data, precise statistics, etc, where numerals may be used. For finance or quantities measured in units such as kg or GB, use mn, bn, tn. Separate large numerals with commas as normal



not “Ok” or “ok”


participle phrases

a phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the sentence’s subject e.g. “On her arrival, a taxi met her at the station” should be “On her arrival, she was met at the station by a taxi”


lowercase for organisations e.g. the Conservative party


use an apostrophe where a noun ends in “s”, or sounds like it does e.g. the newspaper’s front page, Burns’ poems, for goodness’ sake

practice, practise

“practise” is a verb, “practice” is a noun; practice makes perfect


never at the end of sentences (unless for effect) e.g. “The ball he played with” should be “The ball with which he played”


lowercase except when used as a title e.g. President Obama is the president of the United States

program, programme

a computer program; a TV programme; a concert programme


quotation marks

In general we follow the Guardian‘s style, which is standard English. However, our captions and titles may take double quotes where appropriate and we can sometimes introduce quotes with commas. Parentheses inside direct quotes do not need to be square brackets unless the author is inserting a clarification for the reader e.g. “He [Mr Smith] walked down the street”


read the Guardian‘s style guide section and take particular care


not Quran, Koran




“A semicolon is halfway between a full stop and a comma; try to use it as such.” You can also use them in lists in place of commas, particularly if any of the list items contain commas

style guide

not styleguide


try to use correctly; see this guide for an explanation


keep to one tense; for summarising the plot of a book, film, etc, this should preferably be the present



sports teams are plural e.g. Liverpool will be hard-pressed to win in their next match

The Student Review

The Student Review may be abbreviated to TSR, but italicise in either case

toward, towards

“toward” is American, “towards” is British; we prefer the latter

try to

not “try and”



means “without equal”; there are no degrees of uniqueness e.g. it is wrong to say “the most unique newspaper” or “the newspaper was very unique”

upmost, utmost

upmost is used to describe a position and is derived from the word ‘uppermost’, whereas utmost is used to describe a degree, e.g. “it is hard to reach the upmost branches”, “you have stretched my patience to the utmost”



may be shortened to “vs”


website, webpage, web, world wide web


west, western, wild west


which, that

use “that” to define and “which” to add more information e.g. The Student Review, which was founded in 2011, enables people to publish work that they couldn’t otherwise


acceptable, but “while” is more modern


try to use correctly; see the Guardian‘s style guide section for an explanation