Editorial style guide

Spellings and styles for The Marlow Language website and associated publications and documents

Company names and trading styles

  • The Marlow Language Centre
  • The Marlow Language Centre Ltd
  • The Marlow Language Centre Limited
  • the Centre
  • Marlow Translations

In running text write “The Marlow Language Centre” – with the definite article, with The capitalised.

For the purposes of this guide we abbreviate Marlow Language Centre to MLC, but not in the website or other external publications.

Language version

UK English, using the –ise (not –ize) spelling for words such as organisation and recognise.

Miscellaneous style rules


The general rule is to use lower case except if there is a compelling reason to use a capital letter, and this rule extends to the names of website pages.

In general, use capital letters only for:

  • The first word of a sentence, line, or caption
  • Proper nouns
  • Other terms specified in this style guide

Job titles

Write a job title with initial caps when it identifies an individual at MLC in that role. Example:

  • Howard Eeles, Co-Founder and Managing Director [as a bio title]

For past roles, for other companies, and in general references in running text, do not capitalise job titles. Example:

  • As the director of studies, I support our existing teachers and recruit new ones…

Do not capitalise university degree subjects such as business administration or physics, for example.

Abbreviations of titles

Mr / Mrs / Ms / Dr / Prof – no full stop.

Bulleted lists

Start every bullet item with an initial capital letter. If it’s a list of single words or short verbless clauses, put no end punctuation, not even at the end of the last item. If each bullet item is a sentence or several sentences, put a full stop at the end of every bullet item. If the list is a mixture of short clauses and sentences, put a full stop at the end of every item within the list, for consistency. However, try to use consistent grammatical forms within any given list: a list of things or a list of actions or a list of statements, not a mixture.


In running text write one to nine in words; 10 and above in figures – except if it’s part of a mathematical quantity, in which case always use figures. Do not start a sentence with a numeral; instead, write the number in words. Example: “Forty years ago…”

If a sentence would contain some numerals and some numbers expressed in words, apply common sense to make it consistent if it would look odd to mix them.

Numbers of a thousand or more: use a comma as a thousand-separator: 1,000.

In price lists, if all the prices within the list are round pounds, then write them as pounds with no pence:

  • £270
  • £1,296

But if any of the figures within a list contain pounds and pence, then write all the list with the decimal point and the pence including the ones that are zero pence:

  • £2,443.60
  • £3,120.00


Use cardinal not ordinal numbers, e.g. 5 January not 5th January nor “the 5th of January”.

In running text use this format:

  • 29 April 2019
  • 2 November 2019

(day with no leading zero : month written in full : year as 4 digits – no punctuation)

In timetables use this format:

  • 01 Apr 2020

(day as two digits : month as 3 letters : year as 4 digits – no punctuation)


  • In running text use the 12-hour clock in the format 9:00am, 12:30pm, 4:45pm.
  • In timetables use the 24-hour clock in the format 18:15-19:45.

Telephone numbers

Use international format with the initial zero of the national code in brackets with space before but not after thus:

  • +44 (0)1628 890516

Do not allow a telephone number to wrap to two lines.


When writing an address as a contact address, write it out with a new line for each line of the address, and no end punctuation:

The Marlow Language Centre Ltd
Tylecoats Schoolhouse
Oxford Road


Hyphenate compound adjectives. This means: when two or more words are used together to form an adjective describing the noun that follows, join them with a hyphen. Examples:

  • a no-obligation initial assessment
  • a weekly 90-minute class
  • sensory-rich memories


Do not hyphenate if the first word of the compound adjective is an adverb ending –ly. Example:

  • fully qualified translator


Insert an extra comma (a serial comma) before the “and” at the end of a list where this helps the reader understand.

Example: Courses available in French, Italian, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Arabic, and English as a foreign language (EFL).The comma after Arabic helps the reader to perceive at a glance that the last two items in the list are distinct from each other.

Font formatting

  • For emphasis use small amounts of bold font – not too much.
  • For names of publications for and words and phrases in foreign languages use italic font.
  • Avoid underlining in web content – or use it only for links, because underlined text looks like a link and some readers will probably try to click on it.

Link text

Write link text using words that make sense in context and clearly describe the page that the link points to. Avoid “click here”, “read more”, etc. And as a general rule avoid having URLs as link text.


Do not write: Read our privacy policy at https://www.marlowlanguagecentre.com/site-services/privacy-policy/.

Nor “Read our privacy policy here.

Instead, write: Read our privacy policy. [With the words acting as the link.]


Write words and phrases as set out below except where they occur in a different form within a citation or as part of an official name, in which case be faithful to the source.


a, an

When writing the definite article before an abbreviation write it as you would naturally pronounce it even if this means you’re writing “an” followed by a consonant or “a” followed by a vowel. Examples: an MBA. a URL.

adviser, advisor

Use the –er spelling.

A level

Capital A, level all lower case. No hyphen.

and, &

Write the word “and” in full in preference to the ampersand (&) except where it’s a company or brand name or some term that is officially written with the ampersand, or a term widely abbreviated thus, such as R&D.



No punctuation in the abbreviation of bachelor of science.



Not hyphenated.

enquiry, inquiry

Use enquiry to mean a request for information; inquiry in UK English is usually reserved for the sense of a judicial inquest or official investigation.


face-to-face, face to face

Hyphenated when used as an adjective but not when used as an adverb. Examples:

  • A funny thing happens when you meet somebody face to face.
  • We learn better in a face-to-face environment.

false beginner

We no longer use the term false beginner to designate the level between beginner and intermediate. Instead, write elementary.

focuses, focused, focusing

Single S.


Single L.







per cent

Not percent or % in running text.



programme, program

Program refers only to a computer program. When the word is used in the sense of something like a project or a schedule, it is programme.