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Presentation and Organisation

Do not use the percentage sign (%) except in tables and figures, but use a numeral for the number, e.g. 24 per cent.

Insert a comma for thousands and tens of thousands, e.g. ‘1,000’ and ‘10,000’. Use minimum numbers, e.g. ‘21–9, 48–51, 190–1’, but ‘12–16’. Roman numbers, figures interspersed with letters, e.g. folio numbers which are followed by verso or recto (fos. 22v–24r) or numbers preceded by circa (c.1215 to c.1260) should not be elided.

Be careful, especially if you are preparing on disk to use the numeral keys on your keyboard for ‘1’ (one) and ‘0’ (zero), and not a lowercase ‘l’ or an upper case ‘O’. Note the differences in ‘l’ and ‘I’, roman and Arabic one.

Avoid starting a sentence in figures. Rephrase if necessary.

Decimal points must be preceded by a digit, add a zero if necessary (except in quantities that never reach 1 (e.g. levels of probability) and ballistics.

Dates. Set dates out as follows: 8 July 1980 or July 8, 1980 (not ‘8 July, 1980’); 1980s (not spelt out, no apostrophe before s); nineteenth century (not 19th century); 1985–6, 1914–18 (use unspaced en rules in place of hyphens).

Non-sexist language

One of the major social development today calls for special sensitivity in editing. Although current trends in style are toward simplifying, the movement for equal rights is bringing about stylistic complexities, which presents to English language users problems that the language cannot solve easily. But there is agreement on certain issues.

Avoid the use of 'he' (when he or she is meant), either through the use of ‘they’ or by repeating the noun if possible, or abbreviating ‘s/he’. Today a sentence like ‘A social scientist should dot his i’s and cross his t’s before submission of his manuscript’ can make enemies. Some argue that at least it should be ‘his or her i’s and t’s’. Others suggest ‘her or his i's and t's’. Still others opt for ‘Her i's and t's’. His (or her) might infuriate some feminists; his/her might infuriate stylists. An easy way out is to move ‘social scientist’ to the plural: ‘Social Scientists should dot their i's and cross their t’s before submission of their manuscript’.

It is increasingly popular to use ‘they’, ‘them’, and ‘themselves’to represent a singular ‘he or she’. Although this practice dates back to the fifteenth century (see Butcher 1992), the unavoidable clash of numbers it produces is not widely accepted. For example:


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