• – Numbers ten or under should be spelt in full
  • – Except percentages, which are always in figures
  • – Never start a sentence with a figure; always spell out the number
  • – Write ‘pages 26–8’ or ‘between 1960–68’ (not 26–28 or 1960–1968), unless the numbers are in the teens, where 11–16 or 211–16 are correct (not 11–6 or 211–216)
  • – Use figures in lists of statistics; for percentages use ‘10 per cent’ not ‘10%’


  • – Write centuries in full: twenty-first century (not 21st century)
  • – Write dates like this: 22 November 2014
  • – Write years like this: the 1990s (not ‘the nineties’)

Collective nouns

  • – Words like ‘army’, ‘government’, ‘council’ are usually singular; though if a plural verb makes more sense in the context, use it – but be consistent!


  • – Compound words used as adjectives are hyphenated: (middle-class values) …
  • … but not if they’re used as nouns (the values of the middle class)


  • – Use these only for titles of publications and for foreign words (Treasure Island, Daily Mail, TES; coup d’état)
  • – Don’t italicize the ‘the’ unless it’s part of the title itself (the Mail on Sunday; but The Guardian)
  • Very occasionally, italics can be used for emphasis – but don’t overdo it!