Style Guide

The aim of these notes is to offer general guidelines to authors and editors regarding ‘house style’. It is common for publishers, especially larger ones, to have their own ‘house style’ and these may vary in many details. This version, which is approved by the Michael Sedgwick Memorial Trust, forms a broad basis that will serve any author well. Consistency of style is of great importance.
For further guidance, and on points not covered by these notes, useful sources are The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (henceforth ODWE), Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers and The Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD)/The Oxford English Dictionary. What follows has been distilled principally from these sources.

1 Structure
2 Spelling
3 Capitalisation
4 Abbreviations
5 Italics and roman
6 Possessive case
7 Punctuation
8 Figures, dates and measurements
9 References and bibliographies
10 Quoted matter
11 Indexing
12 Presentation of manuscript
13 Miscellaneous points


The first point to address is the structure and content of your work. Normally an author would tell a story (meaning a piece of history) in chronological order: ‘Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end; then stop.’ (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.) However, if discussing a short time span, for instance when writing a history of just one model of car, you may prefer to split the narrative into chapters by sub-subject, for instance, one chapter on company history, one on production, one on competition, one on restoration, etc.
If writing a description of a car’s technical features, you could follow the same sequence that the manufacturer adopted in its manual or parts list. The starting point is often the engine.
It may be appropriate to have both a foreword (written by an individual of suitable authority and/or ‘celebrity’) and an introduction (written by the author).
Consider where best to put acknowledgements? Introduction, or bibliography, or separately?
Consider whether an appendix or appendices would be helpful. Broadly speaking, this is where you can organise logically much of the detailed information your readers may want to see, so that it is easily accessible without having to hunt through the text. Examples are technical specifications, tables of colours, competition results, identification data, lists of chassis numbers, etc. However, some of this kind of material may also need to be included within descriptive narrative.
It is usual to have an index, which a publisher may sometimes compile on your behalf. If doing this yourself, judge what to include. A minimum requirement is the names of people and car makes and models.
You may wish to include a glossary to explain technical terms.


2.1 ‘Spellcheck’
Do use your computer software’s ‘spellcheck’ but make sure the language is set to ‘English (UK)’. Be aware that it will not pick up a misspelling if you have inadvertently typed another word, such as form/from, then/them, use/sue.

2.1 Preferred spellings
For preferred and difficult spellings, consult ODWE and COD. Some examples of preferred usage are:

encyclopedia/encyclopedic (not ‘encyclopaedia/encyclopaedic’)
enquire/enquiry (‘inquiry’ for official investigations only)
fetid (not ‘foetid’)
gypsy (not ‘gipsy’)
hello (not ‘hallo’ or ‘hullo’)
hiccup (not ‘hiccough’)
jail/jailer (not ‘gaol/gaoler’)
judgement (but ‘judgment’ in legal works and contexts)
medieval (not ‘mediaeval’)
Mohammed (not ‘Muhammad’)
Muslim (not ‘Moslem’)
OK (not ‘okay’)
reflection (not ‘reflexion’)
swap (not ‘swop’)
tsar (not ‘czar’)

2.2 Words ending in -ize/-ise
Use -ise/-ising (‘English English’) in preference to -ize/-izing (‘American English’). Examples: maximise, authorise, agonising, standardising.

2.3 Words ending in -ment
When the verb ends in -dge, the final ‘e’ should be retained when the suffix -ment is added. Examples: acknowledgement, abridgement, judgement (but ‘judgment’ in a legal context).

2.4 Words ending in -able
With some exceptions, words that end in a silent ‘e’ lose that ‘e’ when -able is added. Examples: adorable, drivable, excusable, indispensable.
However, there are some exceptions: sizeable, blameable, bridgeable, changeable, chargeable, likeable, liveable, manageable, nameable, peaceable.
Take care with words that end in -ible as opposed to -able. Examples: accessible, admissible, destructible, feasible, indigestible.

2.5 One word or two?
Over time, there has been a tendency to join two words together into one, as in someone, everybody, sometimes. Our guidance is to be conservative and avoid slipping into wider usage of joined-up words, such as: anymore, underway, alright.
One specific distinction is ‘into/onto’ and ‘in to/on to’. One word is correct when used as a straightforward preposition, but two words when the sense demands a separate adverb and preposition.


Use capitals for:
• Prefixes and titles (the Duke of Richmond, the King, the Queen), but lower-case initials are preferred when using a title in a general sense (‘the assembled dukes and duchesses’, ‘kings and queens’).
• Military ranks when accompanied by a name (Colonel Ronnie Hoare, Captain D.M.K. Marendaz) or when specific to a particular individual (the Colonel).
• Official car colours (Old English White, British Racing Green).
• Recognised geographical names (Northern Ireland, the North-West, the Pacific Rim).
• Historical eras (Edwardian, Middle Ages), but not ‘veteran’, ‘vintage’, ‘pre-war’ or ‘post-war’.
• Wars (Second World War, Great War, Gulf War) – see also point 13.7.
• Institutions and cultural movements (House of Commons, British Government, Royal Air Force, Christianity, Marxism).
• Capitalisation of abbreviated company names depends on how they are spoken. Some companies are always fully capitalised: BMW, BRM, DKW, ERA, MG, NSU, SU, TVR, VW. Others are not: Fiat (unless writing about the early years), Kia, Osca, Saab, Simca, Seat.
• Some adjectives derived from proper names (Homeric, Shakespearean, Platonic), but use lower case when the connection with the proper name is remote or conventional (french polish, roman type, gargantuan, titanic, quixotic); consult ODWE when in doubt.

Do not use capitals for:
• Job titles (studio manager, works foreman, managing director).
• Military ranks when used in a general sense (‘the battalion’s captains’, ‘colonels of regiments’).
• The names of seasons (summer, not Summer).
• Points of the compass when not being used to describe recognised geographical regions (so, ‘south-east of Bognor’ and ‘travelled north’, but ‘South-East Asia’ and ‘the North of England’).


4.1 Military titles
The presentation of military titles should be consistent. If in doubt, refer to ODWE but omit full points and hyphens, eg Flt Lt, Sqn Ldr, Lt Col.
It is preferable to spell out military titles in full when they occur only occasionally in the text, and they should always be spelt out when unaccompanied by an individual’s name (eg lieutenant colonels not lt cols).

4.2 Use of full points
The general rule is that full points in abbreviations should only be used for personal initials. Where there is more than one initial these should have no space between them, but there should be a space between the initial(s) and the surname. Example: Revd Dr J.F. Smith.
Do not, therefore, use full points in the following abbreviations:
• Measurements – bhp, cwt, cm, mm, in, mph, kph, rpm, etc (note that there should be no space between the figure and unit, as in 5mm, 4ft 2in, 60mph, 250bhp).
• Titles – Dr, Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, M, Mme, Mlle, Revd, St (for Street and Saint), Bt, Kt.
• Qualifications – BA, DLitt, MD, PhD.
• Times – am, pm.
• Company names: BMW, MG, etc.
• Dates – BC, AD (note that AD is placed before the date – AD 675 – while BC comes after the date – 675 BC; but both come after the date when referring to centuries – 12th century BC, 12th century AD). This guide favours adherence to the traditional use of BC and AD rather than the recent trend of substituting BCE and CE.
• Foreign phrases – ie, eg, viz (there is usually no need to follow such abbreviations with a comma – eg as here).
• Other common examples: Ltd, Inc, Esq, plc (not PLC). However, some company titles in earlier years clearly used the form ‘Ltd.’ with a full point after the abbreviation and this should be retained.
• Acronyms – BBC, MIRA, BRDC, etc.

4.3 Plural abbreviations
Do not insert an apostrophe in plural abbreviations.
Examples: BLitts, MAs, MPs, QCs, the 1970s (never the 1970’s).

4.4 Specialist abbreviations
All subjects, including cars and motorcycles, have their own lexicon of commonly accepted abbreviations. It is essential that all such abbreviations are explained on their first appearance or, if applicable, included in the book’s glossary of terms and abbreviations. A few common motoring examples are given here:
• Driven wheels: 4WD (four-wheel drive), FWD (front-wheel drive), RWD (rear-wheel drive).
• Model types: various forms might be considered – MkII, Mk2, Mk II, Mk 2, Mark II or Mark 2. It is best to follow a manufacturer’s convention or, if ‘official’ use is/was inconsistent, the more common form. The important thing in one’s text is consistent usage. As brevity is generally preferred in all writing, ‘Mk2’ might win the day.

4.5 Miscellaneous abbreviation styles
Do not begin a sentence in normal text with a figure or an abbreviation, such as: ‘1939 was a momentous year.’ Instead, rephrase the passage where necessary to avoid this. However, citations in footnotes can begin with uncapitalised abbreviations.
• Use the ampersand in company names (eg Marks & Spencer plc).
• Use abbreviation MS/MSS in, for example, Harleian MSS or Add MS 25642, but spell out when used in a general sense, as in: ‘He had an extensive collection of illuminated manuscripts.’
• Do not abbreviate ‘per cent’ (two words) or ‘percentage (one word) within text, although % is preferable in data listings.
• Points of the compass should be written N, S, E or W without full points when used separately, and also without full points in combination, eg NNW, SSE, but should be spelt out in full wherever possible.
• Use Fig for Figure (plural Figs, eg ‘see Figs 12–13 below’); No for Number (plural Nos). Plate(s) should be spelt out in full.


5.1 Use of italics
Use italics for:
• Book titles (Pride and Prejudice).
• Films, plays, television or radio series, and record albums (Death on the Nile, Hamlet, Top Gear, Blood on the Tracks).
• Works of art (Picasso’s Guernica).
• Long poems that are virtually books in themselves (The Faerie Queene, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dante’s Paradiso).
• Names of ships, locomotives, named cars, etc (eg HMS Beaver, Flying Scotsman, Bluebird), but not their prefixes, particularly in the case of ships (eg HMS, SS, MV, etc).
• Titles of operas, ballets, song cycles, symphonic poems, oratorios and overtures (the William Tell overture, Swan Lake).
• Specific musical works (eg Beethoven’s Fidelio), but not works identified by a sequence number only (eg Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony).
• Names of newspapers and periodicals (The Times, The Automobile, Motor Sport). Take care with the definite article: it is usually part of the title (The Times, The Economist) but not always (the Daily Telegraph). Particular motoring examples concern The Autocar and The Motor: they dropped their definite articles respectively in December 1961 and February 1964.
• If emphasis is required, italic should be used in preference to bold, underline or CAPITALS.

5.2 Latin and other foreign phrases
Although there are phrases that it is widely accepted should be italicised (for example ad nauseam, au revoir, de facto, savoir faire, casus belli, tour de force, sine qua non), and phrases that it is equally widely accepted should not be (for example aide-de-camp, cul-de-sac, curriculum vitae, status quo, verbatim, sang-froid, dramatis personae), it can be difficult to accurately identify such distinctions even with the aid of a dictionary. The best rule of thumb is therefore ‘if in doubt, use italic’. ODWE can be regarded as definitive on these matters
Italics should always be used for abbreviations of foreign phrases in text, footnotes and bibliographical citations. Examples: ie, eg, viz, cf, ibid, op cit, qv, et seq (but not etc).
Foreign military ranks, noble titles and military unit names should always be rendered in roman rather than italics.

5.3 Use of roman
Use roman, without quotation marks, for house names, public houses and clubs (eg The Hunt House, The Red Lion, The Steering Wheel Club), as well as books of the Bible (eg Genesis, Ruth).
Use roman, with quotation marks, for titles of chapters in books, articles in periodicals, songs, essays, and poems not long enough to be treated as books.


6.1 Use of ’s
Use ’s for the possessive case in all circumstances. The possessive of Adam is Adam’s, the possessive of Adams is Adams’s. Other examples: Charles’s, William Lyons’s, Stirling Moss’s.
Do not use an apostrophe with the pronouns hers, ours, theirs, yours, its.
Beware of using the contraction ‘it’s’ (for ‘it is’) in error for the possessive pronoun ‘its’.

6.2 Place names
Be particularly careful regarding apostrophes in place names. Examples: Queens’ College (Cambridge) but The Queen’s College (Oxford), Lord’s Cricket Ground, King’s Road – but no apostrophe in Earls Court.


No attempt is made here to go into detail about punctuation. ODWE contains some basic guidelines, as does Hart’s Rules. On the finer points consult Fowler’s Modern English Usage.

7.1 Full points
Do not use a full point at the end of a sentence that already concludes with a quotation that itself ends with a full point, question mark, or exclamation mark. Example: He cried, ‘Get out of here at once!’
Don’t forget that when a complete sentence appears in parenthesis, the full point is placed within the parenthesis. Example: Nothing could be further from the truth. (Hassan, however, later did his best to disprove the theory.)
There should only be a single space after the full point at the end of a sentence, not a double space.

7.2 Commas
Commas are a particularly contentious area. If you think of a comma as representing a pause for breath, it quickly becomes apparent where commas are – and, equally, are not – required.
When a series of items is separated by commas, most British writers prefer not to use one before the final ‘and’ or ‘or’ (the notorious ‘Oxford comma’), except where its omission would lead to ambiguity. Example: ‘The five London boroughs of Barnes, Hammersmith, Brentford and Chiswick, Fulham, and Wandsworth.’ (With no comma before the final ‘and’, Fulham and Wandsworth might be taken to form a single borough like Brentford and Chiswick.) The book title Eats, Shoots & Leaves is amusing and helpful in this respect.

7.3 Dashes
Use an en-rule (–) rather than a hyphen (-) to denote a span of numbers or dates (eg pages 27–29; 1857–58); between the names of joint authors (eg Erckmann–Chatrian); between places that are linked in some way, ie in the sense of meaning ‘to’ (eg the Rome–Berlin axis); and to denote a distinction in sense, ie where it has the meaning ‘and’ (eg the Nazi–Communist pact). But use a hyphen if the first part of a linked phrase takes the form of a prefix that could not be used in isolation (eg the Russo-Japanese War).
Use pairs of en rules, with a space before and after each rule, to show that the words enclosed between them are to be read as if in parentheses. However, you should be sparing with the use of such parenthesised dashes, and where possible should rephrase your text so that their use can be varied by the substitution of either round brackets, colons, semi-colons or commas as appropriate.

7.4 Hyphens
Hyphenation is a vexed question, so it is always helpful to consult ODWE. For instance, by-election and by-product should be hyphenated, byroad and byword should not. A peculiar distinction given in ODWE is co-operative (with hyphen) and uncooperative (without hyphen).
Hyphenate compound adjectives before a noun. Example: Tom’s BMW is a well-designed car. Do not hyphenate when they follow the noun. Example: Tom’s BMW is well designed.
Conventionally compound adjectives where the adverb ends in -ly are not hyphenated. Example: A high-powered, finely tuned car.
Note that some compound adjectives become further compounded in use. Motoring examples are the phrases front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, which when applied as adjectival descriptions of a vehicle adopt an additional hyphen to become front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive. Example: The model had front-wheel drive and was consequently the company’s first front-wheel-drive car.
Another motoring particularity is rack-and-pinion steering.

7.5 Quotation marks
In the interest of brevity, the preferred usage of many writers and editors is single quotation marks for quoted matter, and double within single for quotes within quotes; revert to single again if there is yet another quote within the second. But, equally, there are plenty of people who like to use quotation marks the other way round, with double as the norm. The important thing is to be consistent.
As a general rule, if the quoted matter is a complete sentence, place the final point within the quotation marks; if the matter is incomplete, place the concluding punctuation outside the quote marks. Examples: ‘William was a well-known man.’ William was described as ‘a well-known man’.

7.6 Plurals
Never use an apostrophe in a plural – the so-called greengrocer’s apostrophe. A greengrocer does not sell apple’s and pear’s any more than a motor trader sells car’s.


8.1 Figures
Generally, spell out numbers under 11 and use figures for numbers of 11 and over. Do not, however, mix the two in very close proximity.
If you do have to start a sentence with a number, spell it out; use hyphens from twenty-one and twenty-first.
Always spell out millions when they are round figures (eg ‘1.32 million’ or ‘50 million’, not ‘1,320,000’ or ‘50,000,000’).
Use figures for data units, eg times of the day when used with the abbreviations am and pm (6pm, not six pm), in tables and recipes, measurements (60mph and 4lb), money (£20), and ages (17 years old; but note that when ages are quoted adjectivally they should be hyphenated – eg ‘17-year-old Lewis’).
Where times are quoted as ‘…o’clock’, only use figures when the hour is above ten, otherwise spell out (ie ‘ten o’clock’, ‘11 o’clock’).
It is usual to insert commas in numbers of four or more figures (eg 7,584 and 3,275,971), but some automotive book and magazine publishers prefer four-figure numbers without a comma, as in a 1000km race or a 3871cc engine.

8.2 Collective numbers
Write as either ‘from 280 to 300’ or ‘280–300’, not ‘from 280–300’.
In page references, dates, etc, use a minimum of two numbers for the second figure when it is greater than nine, and three or more when necessary. Examples: 0–60, 22–25, 115–16, 280–87, 280–300, 1836–37, 1960–61, 2008–9.
In collective figures (but not dates) greater than 1,000, each number should be given in full for exact figures but in abbreviated form for rough estimations: eg 1,100–1,150, but 30–40,000.

8.3 Fractions
In general text spell out simple fractions with hyphens (eg three-quarters, two-thirds). In statistical matter use one-piece fractions if available (ie ½, ¼, ¾): use split fractions (ie divided by an oblique, as 1/4, 1/2) if one-pieces are not available, and with unusual fractions (eg 12/49 of an inch). If the latter are preceded by a whole number leave a space before the fraction (eg 5 13/16in). Wherever possible imperial fractions should not be decimalised, unless circumstances dictate otherwise (eg when giving dimensions in square feet, or when quoting infinite fractions, such as 1.2794in).
Except in critical dimensions or formulae, fractions of metric measurements should be quoted to a maximum of two decimal places (eg 9.75mm, 10.07g), by rounding figures down where necessary. If used alongside figures that incorporate fractions, metric whole numbers should likewise be rendered to one or two decimal places by the addition of either .0 or .00 as appropriate (eg 6.0kg, 7.00m).
Note that some computer-generated one-piece fractions do not translate between different software and typefaces.

8.4 Pre-decimal and decimal currency
Pre-decimal currency should be expressed in the form £5 10s 6d, 2s 3d, etc. Give the decimal equivalent in brackets where relevant, bearing in mind that thanks to inflation monetary equivalents and value equivalents are rarely the same. Thus when writing of 1950, to state ‘10 shillings (50p)’ is not necessarily helpful to the reader. Never write 54 pounds when you mean £54.
Decimal currency should be expressed in the form 54p, £54.55, £176.07. The decimal point should be on the line (eg 1.5, 3.75).
If it is necessary to quote a value in foreign currency, convert to £ at the rate that applied at the time, not today’s rate; thus £1 equals about US$5 before 1940, about US$2.50 in 1970 and about US$2 in 1990. There are historical tables available on the Internet.
For unusual currencies, the first time you use a symbol or abbreviation, explain what it means: fl or Hfl followed by (Dutch Guilder) in brackets as here.
From 1945 until 1973, the year in which VAT (Value Added Tax) was introduced, it is sensible to quote UK car prices both without and with Purchase Tax.

8.5 Dates
Calendar dates are expressed in ascending order in the following form: 9 July 1979, 11 December 1945 (not 9th July 1979, nor July 9th, 1979, which is American usage). If the date is preceded by a day of the week, a comma should separate them (eg Monday, 3 August 2009).
Spell month names out in full (December not Dec, July not Jul).
When referring to decades, use 1970s (not 1970’s). The abbreviated forms ‘the ’seventies’ and ‘the ’70s’ are also acceptable in order to avoid frequent repetition, but be consistent (ie always use the same abbreviated form).
Use figures for centuries (7th century, 19th century) and hyphenate when using adjectivally (a 19th-century novel); note that ‘century’ always has a lower-case initial.

8.6 Measurements
Use the following abbreviations:

Celsius/Centigrade C
centimetre(s) cm
cubic centimetres (engine capacity) cc
cubic metre(s) m3
cubic inches cu in
Fahrenheit F
fluid ounce(s) fl oz
foot/feet ft
gallon(s) gal
gram(s) g
hour(s) hr
inch(es) in
kilogram(s) kg
kilohertz kHz
kilometre(s) km
kilometres per hour kph (preferred to km/h)
kilowatt(s) kW
metre(s) m
microgram(s) g
miles per hour mph
milligram(s) mg
millilitre(s) ml
millimetre(s) mm
minute(s) min
Newton metre(s) Nm
ounce(s) oz
pint(s) pt
pound(s) lb
pounds force feet lb ft
pounds-force per square inch psi
quart(s) qt
revolutions per minute rpm (not ‘revs’)
second(s) sec
square foot/feet sq ft
square kilometre(s) km2
square metre(s) m2
square yard(s) sq yd
stone(s) st
ton(s) t
tonne(s) t
yard(s) yd

There should be no space between the figure and the abbreviated unit, as 5mm, 3ft 6in. Leave a space in situations where the unit needs to be spelled out in full (eg five millimetres).
In many instances it is preferable to use millimetres rather than centimetres, but the final decision should be based on context and scale. Whatever you decide, be consistent.
It is better to write ‘litres’ in full because ‘l’ can be confused with a figure ‘1’.
To avoid confusion between brake horsepower and tax horsepower, at least if you need to refer to both, use bhp for the first and hp for the second; or specify ‘RAC hp’ or ‘tax hp’, or in case of foreign cars, specify French, German or Italian tax hp (use PS or CV if this appears in the model title, eg Citroën 5CV, rather than Citroën 5hp). Do not use HP except on your food: it is a condiment.
For racing and lap times in motorsport, hours, minutes and seconds are better rendered in the briefest form: h, m and s, not hr, min and sec (eg 2h 17m 4s).
A plural ‘s’ should not be added to measurement abbreviations, except in the 24-hour clock (eg 09:00hrs).
Do not use abbreviations within quoted matter unless the matter is quoted verbatim from a printed or written source.

8.7 Metrication
It is very difficult to generalise on the use of Imperial or metric measurements, as so much depends on the context of individual books, the historical period under consideration, the unit customarily used to describe the object, its country of origin, etc.
It is a courtesy to include Imperial/metric equivalents in brackets rather than expect readers to have to refer to an inconvenient conversion table somewhere else in the book.
If discussing European cars, it is natural to quote the metric value first and the Imperial equivalent in brackets, certainly if you quote for instance from a road test in a European journal. Equally, generally quote the Imperial value first if discussing British or American cars or quote from British or American road tests. When converting, use the same number of decimals in the converted figure as were used in the original, if any. Conversions are readily found on the Internet.
Take care, if appropriate, to avoid any possible confusion between UK and US gallons, and between tons and tonnes.
Some figures can be converted to approximations: a 10,000-mile run need only be a 16,000km run, not a 16,093.4km run.

8.8 Symbols
Use the symbol ° for degrees (eg oil temperature rose beyond 120C).
Use the symbols ‘ and ” for minutes and seconds of arc and for latitude and longitude (eg 4°30’15″W). Do not use them for feet and inches, but use the abbreviations ft and in instead (eg 4ft 6in).

8.9 Vehicle-specific points
If a manufacturer called its car a ‘One-and-a-Half-Litre’, you should generally do the same. Riley, for example, offered the ‘One-point-Five’ and ‘Two-point-Six’. However, it may be the Wolseley ‘6/80’ or ‘Six/Eighty’ or ‘Six-Eighty’ or ‘Six Eighty’.


9.1 General form
A general, all-purpose form for both reference notes and bibliographies is as follows:

Sedgwick, Michael, The Motor Car 1946–56 (Batsford, 1979)

In a bibliography it is best if second and subsequent lines are indented.

For article citations, the form is as follows:

Butts, Mary, ‘The Art of M.R. James’, London Mercury XXIX (May 1934), 306–13

Titles by the same author should be listed in order of publication.
When quoting Roman page numbers, use lower-case letters (eg iii–vi, xxix) in order to avoid confusion with multi-volume and journal series numbers, which should be rendered in capitals (eg III–VI, XXIX). Note that XC is preferred to LXXXX when using Roman numerals to represent the figure 90.

9.2 Bibliographies
A bibliography, borrowing from university and academic practice, should divide into three categories (which may be usefully further sub-divided):
• Primary unpublished sources. These include all original archival records, for instance Parish registers, original correspondence, files from the Public Records Office, company business records such as accounts and minute books, engineering drawings, and car production and registration records. Follow the citation rules that the archive in question requires, if any.
• Primary published sources. These comprise contemporary published material, such as old newspapers and journals, original manufacturers’ literature, etc.
• Secondary sources. These comprise every other published book, article or internet resource (including Wikipedia) subsequently written about the subject.

9.3 Footnotes and endnotes
Footnotes (references on the same page) or endnotes (references at the end of a chapter or the entire book) should be used to cite sources. Do not use them as ‘dumping grounds’ for interesting but tangential information; it is better to include this in the main text or within a separate panel or sidebar.
Many publishers prefer endnotes to footnotes because this presents fewer difficulties with page layout, especially in illustrated books.
If using the expressions ibid. and op. cit. in endnotes, make sure you understand what they mean and that you use them correctly: ibid. (for ibidem, meaning ‘the same’) means the same source quoted in the immediately preceding note; op. cit. (for opere citato, meaning ‘in the work cited’, effectively ‘as quoted above’) is used after the name of an author to refer back to a previous note where the full title of that work was given – and beware, it does not work if quoting several different works by the same author.

9.4 Numbering of endnotes
Number reference notes by chapter (ie the first note in each chapter is numbered 1) using superior Arabic figures (¹,² etc). Group the actual notes together at the end of each chapter or at the end of the entire book as appropriate.


10.1 Quotations in prose
Quotations of more than five lines or 60 words should usually be broken off from the main text with a single line space above and below, though the context may require the breaking off of shorter matter. It is usually best to break off all verse, though the author may wish this to be retained in the body of the text, with the lines separated by an oblique with a space either side (like / this).
Lengthy broken-off displayed quotations may usefully be indented both left and right and presented in a smaller font size.
Do not place quotation marks at the beginning and end of displayed quotations, unless their omission leads to ambiguity. Omitted words within the quotation should be indicated by a three-point ellipsis, without a space at the start (as… here).
The first line of text following a quoted passage should start ‘full out’, not indented.

10.2 Author’s comments within a quotation
Anything explained or commented upon by the author within a quotation, whether broken off or not, should be enclosed in square brackets to indicate that it is not part of the original quotation. This includes use of the word sic, to indicate that a quoted word or passage is or may be erroneous in some way, whether in spelling, factual accuracy or opinion.
If the author wishes to emphasise certain words or phrases by italicisation, the phrase ‘author’s italics’ should be added within square brackets at the end of the quotation.
All other usage of brackets should be the round type.

10.3 Style
Generally, follow original copy and never bring quoted matter into line with house style.

10.4 Quotations from spoken interviews
When using quotations from spoken interviews that you or others may have recorded, do not necessarily use the speaker’s exact words verbatim if understanding or clarity is improved by mild editing. Likewise, do not correct spoken quoted matter into ‘Queen’s English’ if the intrinsic character of the speaker is thereby lost.

10.5 Attribution
It is both wrong and ill-mannered to quote material from other sources without attribution, and may also amount to breach of copyright, which is illegal. It is also called plagiarisation. Slight rewriting only makes it worse. You are always allowed to quote brief extracts from someone else’s work, provided that you attribute. Copyright always exists in published (as well as unpublished) work, even if the publication does not contain a copyright statement or symbol. If a text is demonstrably out of copyright or in the public domain, you should still attribute to the source; eg ‘as it says in the Bible’ or ‘as Shakespeare says in Hamlet…’ Information about duration of copyright is available online, at and elsewhere.


Entries must be in strict alphabetical order, and page numbers in numerical order.
There should be no comma, dash or extra spacing between the entry title and the first page number. There should be no full point after the last number. Example: Smith, Ted 36, 69, 109
If illustrations are to be indexed, render the page numbers in italics to differentiate them from text references, with a note to that effect at the start of the index.
Ensure that the presentation of any name, term, abbreviation, etc, and use of capital initials, italics, hyphenation, etc, is the same in the index as in the text. Be consistent throughout.
Just as in the text, in collective figures use a minimum of two numbers for the second figure when it is greater than nine, and three or more when necessary. For example: 5–60, 22–25, 115–16, 280–87, 280–300, 1836–37, 2008–9.
Where there are obvious lengthy categories such as people, locations, car makes, etc, it can be helpful to group the entries under these separate sub-headings.


• Include a table of contents (list of chapters) at the start.
• Should peer review be planned, use page numbers in your manuscript, preferably in footers that the editor can then delete (because your page numbers are unlikely to be the same in the printed book).
• Keep the format of your typed manuscript as simple as possible. Never attempt to present it in the form of typeset pages.
• Only use one typeface (a clear one such as Calibri or Times New Roman) and one colour (black).
• Avoid unnecessary variations in font size. A good choice for main text is 12pt; displayed quotations and contents of tables can be slightly smaller (10pt or 11pt).
• Distinguish the differing degrees of importance of headings by presenting them in different sizes, and be consistent throughout (ie the most important titles should always be in size A, the main subheadings in size B, and so on).
• It is a good idea to break long chapters into several sections with subheadings; avoid chapters that are excessively long or short.
• Single spacing is fine, unless the publisher wants otherwise. Double spacing was useful in the old days when editors worked with a red pencil on hard copy. In any case, line spacing in a document can be easily changed.
• Ensure that your document is set up with generous margins and for A4 printing.
• Present the entire text manuscript in one file whenever possible, with captions and appendices in separate files. Multiple files are more time-consuming to deal with and introduce many opportunities for error and confusion.
• Never insert double-spaces between words or after punctuation.
• Indent the first line of each paragraph by one tab only.
• Manuscripts commonly contain an extra paragraph return between paragraphs; please avoid as these will have to be removed by an editor.
• When presenting tabular matter, set your tabs properly so that the space between individual columns is always one tab. Never use the space bar on your keyboard to indent lines or to equalise lines or tables. Tables can be designed in Microsoft Word, but they do not always translate easily into publishing software. With tabular matter in general, it might be advisable to show samples to your publisher, if you have one, in case your chosen presentation is troublesome.
• Render ordinal numbers in the form 7th, not 7th.
• Use contractions wherever they will help to make your text less formal and more accessible to readers, especially in quoted conversation (eg ‘let’s go’ and ‘it didn’t help’).
• Where a passage is intended to be presented within a ‘sidebar’ or ‘panel’, precede the relevant passage with the word ‘SIDEBAR’ (or ‘PANEL’), and close it with the phrase ‘SIDEBAR ENDS’ (or ‘PANEL ENDS’).
• If your manuscript is to be accompanied by illustrations, put the file name of each illustration on a separate line at the end of the appropriate paragraph.
Never embed pictures in the manuscript text file. These should be presented separately.


13.1 Foreign accents
Always retain accents in regular words of foreign origin, such as communiqué, café, résumé etc. However, many other once-accented words have now become accepted into English in unaccented form, such as debacle, precis, denouement. ODWE and COD are useful as final arbiters.

13.2 Accents in names of people and cars
Always include accents: Citroën, José Froilán González, Ferdinand Piëch, Patrick Le Quément, Pedro Rodríguez, Maverick Viñales.

13.3 Place names
Follow the Times Atlas of the World or reliable online references for spelling of place names. Pay particular attention to the use or non-use of hyphens and the alternatives ‘on’ or ‘upon’ (eg Newcastle upon Tyne, Stratford-on-Avon, Weston-super-Mare).
Unless the context dictates otherwise, always use the most modern accepted form of foreign place names (Myanmar rather than Burma, Sri Lanka rather than Ceylon).
When a foreign place name has an Anglicised version, it may be best to use the form familiar to an English-speaking audience, thus Munich not München, Turin not Torino – but it would seem rather quaint and unnecessary to use Rheims, Lyons and Marseilles rather than Reims, Lyon and Marseille.

13.4 Clock times
When describing the time of day in ordinary text, use the 12-hour clock, dividing the hour and minute figures with a colon, followed by either am (morning) or pm (afternoon). Examples: 1:00am, 12:23pm
When using the 24-hour clock, again divide the hour and minute figures with a colon, but without either am or pm. Examples: 09:00, 18:30 (alternatively 09:00hrs, 18:30hrs etc, but be consistent).

13.5 Vehicle specifications
The adopted style for various aspects of vehicle specifications are as follows:
• When used adjectivally, the number of litres should be given in numbers followed by a hyphen (eg 5-litre). This is because such dimensions as, for instance, ‘5.4-litre’ cannot be conveniently spelt out.
• When used adjectivally, the number of cylinders, pistons, strokes, doors or seats should be spelt out followed by a hyphen (eg four-cylinder, three-seater).
• Engine capacity should be given as (eg) 1,300cc, not 1300cc. But when capacity is given without a ‘cc’ suffix the comma should be omitted (eg a 1300 engine, not a 1,300 engine).
• Drive ratios should be indicated by means of a colon (eg 3.11:1).

13.6 Car-specific names
These should always be rendered as the manufacturer did/does so.
• The following marques have hyphens: Austin-Healey, Gordon-Keeble, Hispano-Suiza, Lea-Francis, Rolls-Royce, Ruston-Hornsby (but its manufacturer was Ruston & Hornsby), Sunbeam-Talbot.
• The following marques do not have hyphens: Armstrong Siddeley, Isotta Fraschini, Land Rover, Swallow Doretti.
• The following marques are one word: DeLorean, DeSoto.
• This surname does not have a hyphen: Archie Scott Brown.
• And here is an anomaly… the car is a Frazer Nash (no hyphen) but the man after whom it was named, Archibald ‘Archie’ Frazer Nash, chose to adopt a hyphenated surname (Frazer-Nash) in 1938.
• The Italian coachbuilder was called ‘Pinin Farina’ (two words) until 1958, ‘Pininfarina’ (one word) thereafter.
• Some car names perversely include punctuation, such as Volkswagen Up! and Kia cee’d; MG Rover used to insist its sports car was the MGF (with the ‘F’ italicised); Audi has always used a lower-case ‘q’ for quattro.

13.7 Wars
Use initial capitals for the name of a war that was officially declared (eg the Hundred Years War, the Korean War). Where it was not, it should be called a conflict with initial capitals only where required for proper names (eg the Falklands conflict).
Use the forms First/Second World War or World War One/Two (ie consistently), not World War 1/2 or WW1/2.
Use initial capitals for the names of individual battles and sieges (eg Battle of Britain, Siege of Constantinople).

13.8 Names of military units
• Armies should be designated in words (eg Eighth Army).
• Corps should be designated using Roman numerals (eg VIII Corps).
• Divisions should be designated using ordinal numbers (eg 8th Division).
• Brigades should be designated using cardinal numbers (eg 8 Brigade).
• Regiments should be designated using ordinal numbers (eg 8th Foot).
• Battalions of a regiment should be designated by a cardinal number preceding and separated from the regiment number or title by an oblique (eg 1/8th, 1/King’s Own).
• Companies can be either spelled out or rendered using ordinal numbers (eg Eighth Company or 8th Company).
• Air force wings and squadrons should be designated using cardinal numbers (eg 8 Wing, 8 Squadron).

13.9 ‘American English’
Avoid American English spellings unless writing for an American publisher or magazine. So, colour not color, theatre not theater, etc.
Again, unless writing for an American audience or about American cars, do not use ‘hood’ for ‘bonnet’, ‘fender’ for ‘wing’, ‘flathead’ for ‘side valve’, and other Americanisms.

13.10 Internationalisation
Bear in mind potential readers in prime overseas English-speaking markets, namely the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as appreciating that there is a wide market for specialist English-language books throughout Europe.
Therefore, avoid mentioning specific products, wherever possible, particularly those that are only available in the UK. Where this is unavoidable, try to mention alternatives.
Where appropriate, quote weights and measurements in both metric and Imperial figures.
Trade names are best avoided; generic terms should be substituted where possible.
Where sources of supply of various products need to be listed, they are best confined to an appendix, which can then list alternative sources.
Where possible, avoid quoting prices. Where they are quoted, emphasise that they were correct at the time of writing.

13.11 And finally…
• ‘That’ or ‘which’? If in doubt, use ‘that’. ‘Which’ should always be used in a qualifying phrase separated from the main sentence by a comma. Generally speaking, use ‘that’ in connection with inanimate objects and ‘which’ in connection with people or living things.
• It is acceptable to use ‘I’ – especially if you have personal experience relating to the subject, eg ‘I owned a VW Beetle for many years…’ – or ‘the author’, but sparingly. Excessive use of ‘the author’ becomes stilted.
• Use ‘American’ in preference to ‘US’.
• Avoid, clichés, slang and profanities.
• Avoid using jargon or overly technical terms. Even in an audience of ‘petrolheads’, there will be readers who do not know the meaning of specialised terms. The first time you use a particular term, consider providing an explanation of what it means.
• Grand Prix takes initial capital letters when used for a specific race, eg Italian Grand Prix. Use lower case initials when referring generally to a grand prix; the plural is grands prix.
Formule Libre, not Formula Libre.
• Avoid any controversial references to political, national or similar matters that may bother some readers. If writing of Germany in the period 1933–45, it would be better to state ‘the German government’ (factual) rather than ‘the Nazi government’ (emotive).
• Avoid bad poetry, especially if it is your own