WRITING STYLE GUIDE
Here are some tips to help you write in the “voice of Northwood” as you prepare articles and event promotions.
Invite & Encourage
Our goal with every piece of communication is to either invite or encourage Northwood toward something or about something.
Use inclusive language (join, come, sign up, gather, connect, etc.) and ask people to be part of what you’re talking about.
Incorrect: There will be a men’s breakfast on Saturday, January 25.
Correct: Join us for the men’s breakfast Saturday, January 25.
Use positive or affirming language (great, wonderful, good, friendly, enjoyed, etc.) when discussing your topic.
Incorrect: 73 men attended the men’s breakfast.
Correct: It was great to see 73 men enjoyed a friendly time at the men’s breakfast.
- Be clear
- Communicate accurate and timely information. Use the resources below to ensure your copy meets the standards for punctuation, grammar, and style.
- Be concise
- Assume that a reader will only take a few seconds to glance at your copy, and you want them to get as much information as possible. Be brief and to the point, and use simple language.
- Be charismatic
- Northwood is a warm on friendly community, and all of our communication should reflect that. Don’t write as though you are preparing a research paper, write in a conversational tone.
- When possible, use first-person and second-person plural (“we” and “you,” respectively)
- Use the active, not passive voice.
- Incorrect: Students from NSL will be going to Mary’s Place for a service project.
- Correct: Students from NSL will go to Mary’s place for a service project.
Punctuation and Grammar
Avoid all caps, as it gives the impression of yelling. Use italics for emphasis.
Only capitalize “church” when it refers to the universal Church, not the local church.
In lists of three or more, there should be a comma before and/or/nor.
Do not abbreviate days of the week. Abbreviate the following months when they are used with a specific date: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Do not use “th” or “rd.”
Do not hyphenate “email.”
Italicize and lowercase email addresses within text. When an email address is hyperlinked, underline but do not italicize the address.
There should be only one space between and end mark (period, question mark, or exclamation point) and the start of a new sentence.
Use exclamation points sparingly.
Use they stylized FaithStory and FaithStories, omitting the space between the words while still capitalizing “Stories”
Spell out numbers zero through nine and use figures for numbers 10 and above. Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence.
Use periods instead of hyphens in phone numbers.
Refer to the following examples regarding time:
10am to 2:15pm
Italicize and lowercase URLs within text. Omit “www.” before a web address, where applicable. When a URL is hyper-linked, underline but do not italicize the URL.
Use “website,” “webcam,” and “web-page.”