Style Guide

Every publisher has its own house style to which publications should conform. At Sacristy Press we use the second edition of New Hart’s Rules (“NHR”), along with its sister publications, New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors and New Oxford Spelling Dictionary, with a few exceptions as indicated below. Our hope is to give readers the most pleasurable reading experience possible through clarity and consistency.

It is worth familiarising yourself with the following sections of NHR, where they are relevant to your work:

  • 3.1 to 3.3 (Spelling and Hyphenation)
  • Chapter 4 (Punctuation)
  • Chapter 5 (Capitalisation)
  • Chapter 6 (Names)
  • 7.2 to 7.5 (Italic, Roman and other type treatments)
  • 8.2 to 8.3 (Work Titles in Text)
  • 9.2 (Quotations and direct speech)
  • 10.1 to 10.2; 10.4 to 10.6 (Abbreviations)
  • 11.1 to 11.6 (Numbers and dates)
  • 17.1 to 17.2 (Notes and references)
  • Chapter 20 (Copyright)

This is the bare minimum for non-fiction authors—the nature of the work may require familiarisation with other sections of NHR. Fiction authors should read those parts of NHR that apply to their work. Wherever you are uncertain about the spelling, hyphenation, punctuation, abbreviation or italicisation of a particular word, consult the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors.

Contrary to sections 4.14 and 9.2.3 of NHR, we use double quotation marks (i.e. US-style) to enhance readability. Single quotation marks are easy to confuse with apostrophes and are not as obvious when trying to determine the extent of a quotation.

Some common errors:

  • The differences between a Foreword, Preface and Introduction are explained in sections 1.2 and 1.3 of NHR.
  • Initials should generally be separated with a full point and a space (e.g. C. S. Lewis); see section 6.1.1 of NHR.
  • Please abbreviate “Saint” correctly (i.e. “St” without a trailing full point); see section 6.1.6 of NHR.

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