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Style Guide – Communication

Style Guide – Communication

Style Guide

The style guide provides guidelines for clear, consistent and contemporary writing for all communication and business dealings with colleagues, customers and clients of Global Marketplace, The Media Pad and Click Frenzy. Just like the English language, this guide is fluid and evolving and will be updated regularly. If you have any questions regarding content, please email for clarification of the spelling and grammar guide.

How to use the Style Guide

The style guide is set out alphabetically and contains the correct spelling of words to use as well as outlining correct grammar, punctuation and in some cases sentence structure. The style guide should be referred to if you are unsure of how to spell a word that has more than one option, (for example, specialise, specialize) or you are unsure about grammar. As a rule, Australian or British spelling is used for all written publications, emails etc.

a/an: ‘a’ is used before words that start with a consonant sound but ‘an’ precedes words that start with a vowel sound. For example; “I will have a green apple.” OR ‘It was an extravagant event!”

acronyms: Too many acronyms can make your writing confusing. Use shortened words or acronyms only to avoid repetition or where space is limited (e.g. in a headline). Use ‘an’ before acronyms if they start with a vowel sound, for example, ‘an ATAR of 99.5’ but ‘a UN official’. Do not place full stops between letters of acronyms. Spell out the full names of organisation or phrase in the first reference, with the acronym following in brackets, for example, Artificial Intelligence (AI).


adaptation, not adaption

adviser, not advisor

ageing, not aging

alternate means switching between two things

alternative means one or the other

am/pm, no full stops no spaces: 9.45am or 3pm

amid rather than amidst

among rather than amongst

apostrophes (use of) there are several rules that need to be applied when using apostrophes:

1a: use the apostrophe to show possession. To show possession with a singular noun, add an apostrophe plus the letter s


A woman’s hat (the hat belongs to the woman)

Click Frenzy’s staff (the staff that work for Click Frenzy)

1b: Adding an ‘s’ to a word to make it a plural does not require an apostrophe. Eg. Cars, boats, planes, buildings, Australians, 1900s, cricketers, light bulbs, kids, parents, streets, printers, Bombers, iMacs, etc.  NEVER: Car’s, boat’s, plane’s, building’s, Australian’s, 1900’s, cricketer’s, light bulb’s, kid’s, parent’s, street’s, printer’s, Bomber’s, iMac’s.

1c: Also, if the apostrophe comes after the ‘s’ it is a plural.
Eg. The city’s five buildings’ light bulbs were environmentally friendly.

1e: Regular nouns are nouns that form their plural by adding the letter or es (guy, guys; letter, letters; actress, actresses; etc.). To show plural possession, simply put an apostrophe after the s.

Correct: guys’ night out (guy + s + apostrophe)

Incorrect: guy’s night out (implies only one guy)

Correct: two actresses’ roles (actress + es + apostrophe)

Incorrect: two actress’s roles

1f: Use of an apostrophe with contractions. The apostrophe is placed where a letter or letters have been removed.

Examples: doesn’t (does not), it’s (it is), can’t (cannot), should’ve (should have), they’re (they are), etc.

A good rule for remembering the difference between its and it’s is to check if you can replace the apostrophe with an i – i.e. it is) – It is raining!  can become It’s raining!

There are many other examples of the correct use of apostrophes. For more information or clarification, visit the below website:


Australian Government is the preferred term; the term Commonwealth Government is no longer widely used.

Australian/American spelling Australian spelling should be used for words like harbour, colour, favour, centre and metre (unless you’re referring to a parking meter) – even if the spell-check tool says otherwise. Also see the entry on z/s words later in this document.

Biannual to avoid confusion it is best to replace the words with short phrases that describe their meanings – biannual means twice a year.

Biennial to avoid confusion it is best to replace the words with short phrases that describe their meanings – biennial means once every two years.

books/magazines/TV shows/movies, always italicise – eg. Minority Report, Web Stores for Dummies, Internet Retailer, The 7pm Project

Minority Report’ OR “Minority Report” are NOT required when titles are presented in Italics.

Bullet Points/Dot Points 

Include a full-stop after every dot point that features a full sentence.

Include a full-stop after every dot point that features a sentence that completes the introductory stem.

Do not include a full-stop if the dot point is the fragment of a sentence, or a single word.

Capitalisation of Job Titles – The rules for the capitalisation of job titles depends on the order of the words, the use of the words and whether or not the job title is used as part of the person’s name.

The rules to remember are:

Capitalise a job title that comes immediately before a person’s name, or is used as part of their name – For example, Professor Brown or Chairman Arnott

If the job title comes after the person’s name, or is used instead of the person’s name then it does not need to be capitalised – For example, Grant Arnott, managing director of Click Frenzy

clichés – in business stories and media releases. Significant events happen regularly but they can’t all be ground breaking, world-class, world-first discoveries or the ‘holy grail’ of the e-commerce world.  Make sure you can substantiate all of these types of claims.

Avoid lazy writing by limiting the following superlatives (just write what you really mean instead, or look in a thesaurus for the clearest description of the word you’re after):

  • number one
  • market leading
  • cutting edge
  • hottest
  • record-breaking
  • game-changing
  • ground breaking
  • think outside the box
  • 24/7
  • push the envelope
  • at the end of the day (unless you really mean at the end of a day)

companies, associations, organisations, governments are single entities, not groups and should be referenced as such. e.g. The Media Pad launched its latest initiative, not The Media Pad launched their latest initiative.

Company Logos – refer to the Corporate Identity section of the staff wiki for all Global Marketplace, Click Frenzy and Media Pad logos

continually means ‘repeatedly’

continuous means ‘without ceasing’

convener, not convenor

cooperatecooperative, no hyphen

coordinatecoordinator, no hyphen

database, one word

dates, should be written in the below style (no ordinal numbers e.g. 1st, 2nd, 3rd)

  • Wednesday, 30 March 2017
  • Wednesday, 30 March
  • 30 March 2017
  • March 2017
  • March this year or March last year

Director is always capitalised

disc/disk, this word has a spelling discrepancy not widely agreed upon. Generally, disc is the recognised Australian/British spelling and refers to any thin, flat, circular plate, as well as musical compact discs or anatomical terms (e.g. intervertebral disc). Disk is the American spelling but is common in Australia for computer usage (for example hard disk).

dollars, ten million Australian dollars is written as AUD$10 million, two thousand American dollars is written as USD$2000.

effect is used mainly as a noun, whereas affect is the verb, for example, “The effect the movie had on me was interesting.” OR “I was deeply affected by the movie.”

  1. For example

e-commerce, always include the hyphen

e-fulfilment, always include the hyphen

e-retailer, always include the hyphen

email, no hyphen

email signatures – TBC at meeting on Tuesday, 19 September

e-newsletter, always include the hyphen


etc., better to use written phrase such as ‘and so on’ within an article.

face-to-face, with hyphens

fax, not facsimile (but really, who refers to a fax these days?)

federal government, a broad term for the Australian government, does not need to be capitalised.

fewer/less, use fewer when referring to numbers of individuals or individual items, less for quantities (for example “fewer than 20 people attended” but “the queue stretched for less than 100 metres”)

focusfocusedfocusing, not focussed or focussing

fulfilment, not fulfilment

full-time, include the hyphen

government, Australian Government is the preferred term; federal government does not need to be capitalised. Capitalise when referring to the official titles but use lower case for generic and plural references e.g. “the Australian Government has announced that…” but “the government proposes to…”). Similarly, government bodies (e.g. departments/parliaments) should be capitalised when using the official name, otherwise use lower case. Use lower case when referring to more than one body.

honorifics, Dr, Cr, Mr, Mrs, St (for Saint) are the only honorifics we shorten, so spell out Professor and Associate Professor in full. Use full title of Associate Professor or Emeritus Professor in the first instance, but shorten to Professor in subsequent instances.

hyphen/dash, an easy to remember rule is that hyphens join and dashes separate. Hyphens are used to join compound nouns and adjectives, for example two-year-old or face-to-face. The dash can also be called an en rule (–). En rules in sentences always have spaces before and after them. En rules are also used between ranges of numbers or dates. Use en rules with no spaces around them when joining entities that are the same, eg: 9–11 August. But use spaced en rules when joining complex entities, eg: 31 May – 1 June

  1. note full stops, is the short form for “that is”

indigenous, no caps for generic use (as in ‘indigenous to the area’) but always capitalise when referring to Indigenous Australians.

initials, no spaces between initials and no full stops: CS Lewis.

internet, lower-case

internet addresses or URLs, such as: or In copy you don’t need to type the entire URL: or is sufficient.

Judgement, not judgment

Letterhead – refer to the Corporate Identity section of the wiki for the correct letterhead templates to use for all written communication

licence (noun) A driver’s licence, fishing licence, shooting licence

license (verb) “I will license this venue to serve alcohol.”

literally, this means something really happened. Be careful not to misuse. For example, it is doubtful that you literally “laughed your head off.”

long-term, include hyphen

Master’s degree, always capitalise Master’s

m-commerce, include the hyphen





names, use the full name in the first instance (no salutation unless there is an honorific such as doctor), then all subsequent referrals are by surname. Eg. Jason Bourne, and later “…,” says Bourne.



numbers, generally the numbers one to nine are spelled out – one, two, three, etc. six men, eight boats

10 and above, are in numerals: 35 kilometres.

At the beginning of a sentence numbers are always spelled out – For example – Thirty more deals are needed in the next week!

But use: tens of thousands, a thousand-to-one chance, I’ve told you a hundred times. And always spell out a number if it begins a sentence: Forty days and 40 nights.



organisation (see s/z), unless referring to an official name, such as the World Health Organization

part-time, include a hyphen

percent, one word, only use % in tables, headlines etc.

preposition Prepositions are words that are used to create a relationship between other words. Prepositions’ are generally used in front of nouns (or pronouns) and show the relationship between the two. Examples of prepositions are; on, through, up, inside, beside, it, down, in, below, etc.

Examples of prepositions in a sentence:

Her bag was under the chair.

The dog crawled between us and lay down at our feet.

They arrived on Sunday.

We sat next to each other.

Ending a sentence with a preposition – Many years ago, it was considered unacceptable to end a sentence using a preposition. The general rule now is that it is perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition if the alternative would create confusion.


That is the sort of thing which I will not put up with. (correct)

That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put. (does not make sense)

Depending on your audience there will be some instances where you would avoid ending a sentence with a preposition.


“Which department is she in?”, could be re-written as “She is in which department?” The latter example does not influence clarity or comprehension.

When using prepositions, consider your audience and the context of your writing. If you can re-arrange a sentence so that it makes sense without ending in a preposition, this would be the preferred style of writing.

Presentations –refer to the Corporate Identity section of the wiki for slides to use for all presentations for the Media Pad and Click Frenzy 

program, in all instances, rather than programme

pureplay, not pure-play

quotation marks are used for a variety of reasons – to show the exact words someone has spoken or written (a direct quote), or to identify specialist terms. They can also be used to draw attention to words or phrases.

Variations – ‘single’ or “double”

“double” quotation marks are always used when quoting someone 


“Click Frenzy will be bigger and better than ever before!” said Grant Arnott.

Punctuation used is always inside the quotation marks – “…..than ever before!”

‘single’ quotation marks are used to draw attention to words or phrases –


The more frequent use of ‘artificial intelligence’ will only serve to be of benefit to consumers.

In this instance, we are wanting to draw the reader’s attention to the concept of artificial intelligence and it is not a direct quote. Therefore, single quotation marks are the preferred style for writing purposes.

says, always use the word says rather than said when quoting in an information article – because you should be writing in the present tense. The reverse is true for news items – past tense applies. Says or said comes before a person’s name i.e. “This is very important research,” says Professor Wallace NOT “This is very important research,” Professor Wallace says.

spacing, single spacing in between sentences, not double

specialty, not speciality unless talking about a cook’s finest dishes



titles/positions, business people can have several and sometimes-lengthy titles. Always use capitals for each title. There are many styles you can follow but you should always aim for clarity and brevity. In most cases this means listing a person’s position before you list their name e.g. Director of New Business and Social Media, Indy Griff.

travel, travelled, travelling 

Undergraduate, one word

unique, limit the use of this word to cases that are truly unique, that is, they are one of a kind and there is nothing comparable to them. There are also no degrees of uniqueness – something can’t be the “most unique” or “very unique”. Consider substituting words like rare or distinctive.

web page



while, rather than whilst

world class (although this should be avoided where possible – see clichés)

X-ray (capital x)

Your is used when something belongs to you – eg. your coffee, your time, your face.
You’re is short for ‘you are’, eg. “You are always in a hurry!” shortened to “You’re always in a hurry!”

z/s, Australian English uses s NOT z for words like organise, customise, capitalise, symbolise etc. However, there are some words, like capsize or resize that always have the Z.

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