Guidelines for Writing
Use a communication style that emphasises clarity, brevity and the avoidance of technical language to provide a clear and concise written message that is easily understood by the reader.
a. Don't use long words when short substitutes will do.
Don't use Use accomplish do attempt try utilise use construct build deficiency lack equitable fair infrequent rare occurrence event terminate end requisite required
b. Don't use words with extra or 'padded' syllables
Don't use Use administrate administer discontentment discontent experimentalise experiment irregardless regardless orientated oriented preventative preventive
c. Use compact substitutes for wordy phrases
Don't use Use on the order of magnitude of about in the nature of like in view of the fact that since give encouragement to encourage make an adjustment in adjust is equipped with has avail yourself Use a majority of most take into consideration consider large number of many
d. Avoid tautology
(the use of words that duplicate the meaning of a word or words already used)
Don't use Use basic principles principles hollow tube tube mutual cooperation cooperation personal opinion opinion exactly equal equal consensus of opinion consensus past history history ask the question ask still continues continues
Footnote: The above tables taken from Southern Cross University 'Professional Writing Skills'.
Abbreviations and Contractions
Abbreviations should be kept simple, do not use full stops.
Dr, not Dr.
Phone: or, short version if needed T:
Names of organisations should be spelt out in full in the first instance, followed by abbreviation e.g. Australian Research Council (ARC). In following text the abbreviation is acceptable.
Ampersand and Australian Usage
Use the ampersand in business names only if it is a company convention or registered name.
Americanisms should be avoided unless in a direct quotation or the name of an organisation.
'S' is preferred over 'z' as in; organisation, recognise.
The use of capitals should be kept to a minimum obvious exceptions are at the start of a sentence and for proper nouns such as names and places.
- Institutional names should be capitalised when referring to specific centres e.g. Southern Cross GeoScience, Centre for Children and Young People
- Occupation titles should NOT be capitalised, unless at the start of a sentence, e.g. accountant, engineer
- Head, lower case as in: Professor Aaaaa Bbbbb, head of the School of Law and Justice
- Don't capitalise names of high school subjects
- Federal government and state government are lower case.
In all publications and online, claims made about courses and/or achievements must include a source.
Superscript numerals following a numerical sequence throughout the publication appear within the text and are linked at the foot of the page with details of the cited source. If quoting in more than one instance from the same source on the same page, use the full details of the source in the first instance followed by 'ibid' in subsequent instances.
E.g. People with an MBA or a postgraduate qualification earn on average significantly more than those who only have an undergraduate degree or similar qualification1.
Footnote: 1 Postgraduate Destinations 2010, Graduate Careers Australia.
Check with publications manager when using references from the Good Universities Guide.
All University publications must include the CRICOS provider numbers and should be displayed in the following format:
CRICOS Provider: NSW 01241G, QLD 03135E, WA 02621K
Dates and Times
Noon, not 12 noon
Monday, May 26, 2011 e.g. The event will be held on Monday, May 26, at the Lismore campus.
Use one 't' in targeted, benefited, budgeted and one 's' in focused
Double letters in enrollment/counselling
Macquarie Dictionary is the preferred reference if in doubt.
Disclaimers should be included where appropriate and must include the correct date of printing.
E.g. This publication is a guide to Southern Cross University's distance education studies. The information is an expression of intent only and should not be taken as a firm offer or undertaking. The information is correct at time of printing, June 2012. The University reserves the right to make alterations to any information contained within this publication without notice. Copyright Southern Cross University June 2012.
Dashes come in different sizes and are used for different purposes. The table below compares a hyphen with en and em dashes and shows how to obtain them from within Microsoft Word.
|Symbol||Name||Keys within MS Word (PC)|
|hyphen||minus or numeric-minus|
|en dash||Ctrl + numeric-minus|
|em dash||Ctrl + Alt + numeric-minus|
The en dash is the width of the letter 'n' - about half-again the width of a hyphen. The em dash is the width of the letter 'm' - about twice the width of a hyphen.
Most commonly used to indicate a span of figures, time or distance. E.g. The Lismore campus library is open from 9am5pm.When used to indicate a span the en dash is generally not surrounded with spaces.
Em dashes are commonly used instead of commas, when separating parenthical elements.
The most common use of em dashes is to isolate a parenthetic expression within a sentence.
E.g. Southern Cross University has three campuses - Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Gold Coast - with each offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. When used in this way, spaces should be used either side of the em-dash.
The Macquarie Dictionary is the preferred authority on whether a term in noun or verb form is run together, hyphenated or made into two words.
- It is normal to insert a hyphen when the last vowel of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the root word, e.g. anti-intellectual, pre-eminent
- It is not used in common words such as coordinate, cooperate
- Doubling a vowel: usually a hyphen is used when a vowel is doubled as a result of adding a prefix e.g. re-apply, semi-invalid, pre-eminent
- Prefix plus a capital letter e.g. un-Australian, anti-French
- Prefix plus a date: post-2003, pre-2000, pre-July
- Hyphens are generally used in compound adjectives, e.g. a three-year degree, a five-week course, disease-free
- Where the compound adjective consists of an adverb plus adjective, hyphens are not used e.g. overanxious
- Do not start a list with a hyphen
(See the Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers for more detailed explanation.)
Language should be inclusive and representative regardless of gender, race, age, religion, disability or any other factor. Use person with disability rather than person with a disability; people with disability NOT the disabled e.g. 'Students with disability will benefit from the new lifts being installed to make the building accessible' NOT 'disabled students will benefit'. Always put the person first, not the condition.
Restructure sentences if necessary to avoid gender specific pronouns or use alternative pronouns. Replace he/she, his /her with gender-free pronouns such as you and they.
Use a style from the bullet point library found in Microsoft Word (dots, arrows, numbers etc.)
Do not start lists with a dash or a hyphen.
Rule 1: For lists that are complete sentences, always end the sentence or paragraph with a full stop. Start these list points with a capital letter. There is no fullstop required after a url.
Here are some quick facts about international exchange opportunities:
- No extra tuition fees while you are enrolled during your exchange.
- You are still eligible to receive Centrelink benefits while studying overseas.
- Visit the international exchange website to review the information available. Visit exchange.scu.edu.au.
Rule 2: For lists that are not complete sentences (i.e. they are single words or fragments of a sentence), do NOT use a fullstop at the end of each point. In general, you should use a fullstop at the end of the LAST point. Start these dot points with either a lower case or capital letter. The main thing with lists is consistency of style throughout a document.
Different courses may have different study options depending on the content of the course. You can:
- 'attend' a virtual lecture or tutorial
- view lectures or tutorials online when you have the time.
Majors available are:
Please refer to Southern Cross University logo usage style guide.
All external logo use must be approved by the Head of Communications and Publications.
Members of Parliament
Lower case for federal government, state government
- federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin MP
- state Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser MP
The Honourable - all ministers in Commonwealth and state governments and the government of the Northern Territory are entitled to The Honourable
Please note: Any invitation to a politician needs to be made from the Vice Chancellor's office.
Zero to nine are spelt out in full e.g. six women, four cars. Numerals can be used for numbers 10 and above, as below. A thin space is recommended in numerals with more than four digits. (The thin space can be found using the insert symbol, special characters tool for ¼ em).
- 10 to 999 999
- 10 million, one billion
- 1000, 10 000 and 100 000
- 10th century (lower case for century)
- Year 12
- Telephone numbers + 61 2 6620 3354 when including the international code; 02 6620 3109 or 1800 626 481, no bracket around area code. Ensure all phone numbers are kept on the one line.
Exceptions to these guidelines are when a sentence begins with a number or when using numbers in tables etc.
General rules of usage:
- Use double quotation marks for quotes.
- When quotes run into two or more paragraphs, each new paragraph takes opening quotation marks, but only the final paragraph takes closing quotation marks.
- Use single quotation marks within quotes where necessary.
- Use single quotation marks when highlighting a phrase or word within a sentence.
- Where the quote is a full sentence the fullstop goes inside the quotation marks.
Updated: 08 May 2013