The HM Style Guide

Happolati’s Miscellany is a collaborative blog, and diversity brings with it a pressing need for order. So, below the fold, I bring you The HM Style Guide, which henceforth will be linked in the left sidebar. The guide will be revised and expanded periodically.

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The HM Style Guide

  • Titles will ideally be both clever and descriptive. Likewise for the text of very short posts, such as link posts. Don’t repeat the title in the post content, even for short link posts.
  • In titles, all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (‘if,’ ‘because,’ ‘as,’ ‘that’) should be capitalized. Articles (‘a,’ ‘an,’ ‘the’), coordinating conjunctions (‘and,’ ‘but,’ ‘or,’ ‘for,’ ‘nor’), and prepositions should be left in lowercase, unless they are the first or last word of the title.
  • Use full punctuation and proper grammar for post content, even in very short posts.
  • Use a single space after periods.
  • Employ the Oxford comma: “English, French, and German,” not “English, French and German.”
  • Place closing quotation marks outside of periods and commas (as demonstrated in the previous point).
  • Use Canadian spelling (Will S. offers pointers in the comments).
  • Prefer plain English words to fancy Latin or Greek ones (C. S. Lewis: “Don’t implement promises, but keep them.”).
  • Not really style, but: space out posts using the scheduling function—an hour (or even just half an hour on a busier day) is fine.
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6 thoughts on “The HM Style Guide

  1. “Use Canadian spelling”

    Ha! That’s easy for you and I who are Canadian, but may be a little more difficult for our American and Commonwealth friends. 🙂

    • Basically:

      -re instead of -er for metre, litre, centre, etc.
      -our rather than -or for favour, flavour, Saviour, harbour, etc.
      ‘tire’ rather than the British ‘tyre’

      That’s largely it, though if we are also considering terminology, we use the American truck, hood, trunk, rather than the British lorry, bonnet, boot; pharmacist instead of chemist, apartment rather than flat…

      But, we use faucet or tap.

      Confusing? Of course – but not to us, who are used to it!

      Canada uber alles!

    • Anyone who has read Skraphedin on our blog knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer. I direct anyone who doubts his talents to his delightful first post, “African mating patterns and STDs from a global perspective,” or any one of his “people who look like me” posts on Unsafe Harbour. Skarphedin is also maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative. His latest provocation, in the above comment, lurches from the flippant to the irresponsible and indefensible. We never would have approved it if he weren’t already an editor, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a Happolati’s Miscellany contributor. Skarphedin is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Skarphedin has long danced around the line on editorial issues, but this comment is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation. It’s a free country, and Skarehedin can employ whatever stylistic standards he wants, wherever he wants. Just not on HR, or as someone associated with HR any longer.

      • i was cognizant when inscribing my message that it might not be received with equanimity by all. i don’t harbor any grudge, ill will or bitterness, tho – HM’s ambulation towards the center has long made it inevitable that we are no longer fellow travelers and the time has come to “part ways”.

        Also, it seems I need a style guide for spelling “Skarphedin”.

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