The University of Oxford Style Guide

The University of Oxford Style Guide
Hilary term 2016

If using ‘from’ with a start date/time, always use ‘to’ to indicate the end date/
time rather than an n-dash; alternatively, just use an n-dash without ‘from’.

  • Michaelmas term runs from October to December.
  • Michaelmas term runs October–December.

n-dash (–)
Use to link concepts or ranges of numbers, with no spaces either side.

  • German–Polish non-aggression pact

When to use a hyphen
In an adjectival phrase before a noun

  • the up-to-date list
  • The value of a first-class degree is indisputable.
  • a hot-air balloon
  • ‘Rethinking provincialism in mid-nineteenth-century narrative fiction: Villette from our village’
  • The Department for Continuing Education offers lots of part-time courses.

In an adjectival phrase including a verb participle

  • The jumper was tight-fitting.

When not to use a hyphen
In noun phrases

  • Labour Party conference
  • The 19th century saw much reform.

To make a new compound noun – if it is a recognisable concept, make it one word; if it isn’t, use two words

  • Websites are made up of webpages.
  • Send me an email when you’re ready to proceed.

In an adjectival phrase that does not precede a noun

  • Anyone can study part time at the Department for Continuing Education.
  • The list was up to date.
  • His marks just scraped into the first class.

In an adjectival phrase before a noun where the first element is an adverb ending in -ly (but note that any other adverbs in adjectival phrases do take a hyphen)

  • She had a finely tuned ear for off-key music.
  • XML documents must be well-formed texts.
  • She was a badly paid apprentice.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s