Online style guide

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saccharin Link to this term
sacrilegious Link to this term

not sacreligious

saddled with Link to this term

the government may be saddled with a huge debt, not 'straddled'

Sahara Link to this term

Arabic word meaning desert, so no need for Sahara desert

same-sex Link to this term

same-sex rights, same-sex couples—hyphen required

sanatorium Link to this term
Satan and the Devil Link to this term

capitalised, but satanic and devilish not ... heaven and hell also lower case, as is paradise and purgatory

saxophone Link to this term
Scandinavia Link to this term

Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland ... not Finland

scar, scarred, scarring Link to this term
scary, scarily Link to this term
sceptic, sceptical Link to this term

is the Australian spelling, but it's the Australian Skeptics Association, and all similar state-based organisations use skeptic, which is the American spelling.

sea shanty, sea shanties Link to this term
Sea Shepherd Link to this term

The conservation group is called Sea Shepherd. They use various vessels in their anti-whaling activities, including the Steve Irwin.

seasons Link to this term

summer, winter, autumn, spring ... no need to capitalise

secondary, second Link to this term

a secondary infection (like an ear infection following on from the primary infection of a cold), secondary education (following on from primary education). But a second heart attack, a second cold (suffering the same illness again).

Tags: 
secretary-general Link to this term

also director-general, vice-chancellor, vice-president—all need their hyphen

Sellotape Link to this term

trademark, so capitalise

semicolon Link to this term
Senate Link to this term

and House of Representatives, Upper House, Lower House—all capitalised

senior Link to this term

short form is Sr (no punctuation)

sensor Link to this term

a device that responds (without censure, probably) to information received ... a censor is a person much more likely to censure something.

setback Link to this term
sewage, sewerage Link to this term

sewage is the raw material that may be carried by pipes and treated in plants which together are called sewerage systems. So it's a sewage treatment plant but a sewerage system.

Shakespearean Link to this term
shiftwork, shiftworker Link to this term

one word

ships' names Link to this term

appear in italics (but not the HMS part) ... HMS Cerberus

shoo-in Link to this term

certain winner of (usually rigged) race

siege Link to this term
silicon Link to this term

chips

silicone Link to this term

implants

sing, sang, sung Link to this term

I sing, she sang, the choir has sung

singe, singeing Link to this term
siphon Link to this term
skyscraper Link to this term

one word

slander Link to this term

spoken defamation ... libel is printed or broadcast

smartphone Link to this term
smoke, smoky Link to this term
snake-charmer Link to this term
snapshot Link to this term

snapshot of, not into

so-called Link to this term

no need for quotes as well—so this is one of your so-called meals—because 'so-called' serves the same function as quotes, as in so this is one of your 'meals'. The phrase's ironic tone is out of place in the following serious report, though, and 'so-called' shouldn't be used at all: 'The so-called Herzfeld Report contains several key conclusions...'

Solomon Islands' parliament, Solomons' parliament Link to this term
Solomon Islands, Solomons for short Link to this term
Solomons archipelago Link to this term
song titles Link to this term

should appear in single inverted commas, CD titles in italics

South-East Asia Link to this term
spacing between sentences Link to this term

One space only between sentences, please. The two-space rule is a hangover from typewriters, which had monospaced type. The fonts we use now have proportional spacing, so a double space between sentences is too distracting. All professional publishing uses single spacing between sentences and so should we.

specialise, specialist, speciality Link to this term

be a specialist in a particular field (not on). Specialise in something.

spectre, Spector Link to this term

a spectre is a ghostly apparition. Phil Spector is the American record producer and songwriter. (And this error from one of our music experts. Shame!)

spelled, spelt Link to this term

he spelled it out for us ... 'supersede' is spelt with two Ss

Spiegeltent Link to this term

The Famous Spiegeltent... (in German words ei is pronounced 'eye' (Einstein, zeitgeist) and ie is pronounced 'ee' (Spielberg, Spiegeltent).

Spielberg, Steven Link to this term
spiky sharpnesses Link to this term

'...fears the crackdown could lead to a sharp spark in illegal tobacco.' The writer meant sharp spike, but spikes are always sharp, so 'spike' alone is better.

sports teams Link to this term

names in plain text: Melbourne Victory, Fremantle Dockers, Silver Ferns, and so on.

standby, stand by Link to this term

an old standby, but stand by your man, and stand by for updates

state, states Link to this term

the word 'state' should not be capitalised when referring to Australian states. For example, 'state funding', or 'state premiers'. 'The States', when referring to the United States of America, however, should be capitalised—because all countries' names, including their abbreviations and nicknames, are capitalised.

stationary Link to this term

not moving

stationery Link to this term

pens and paper

sterling Link to this term

a sterling effort, a stirring anthem...not 'stirling'.

still life, still lifes Link to this term

not 'still lives'

storyteller Link to this term

one word

straitjacket Link to this term
straits, Strait Link to this term

dire straits, Torres Strait, but the straight and narrow

stupefy Link to this term
style Link to this term
subcontinent Link to this term

Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka)

subsequent Link to this term

'Since the subsequent crackdown that followed, signs of dissent and street demonstrations are a rarity.' Watch out for those tautologies. 'Subsequent' means the same as 'that followed'.

succinct Link to this term
succumb to Link to this term
Sudoku Link to this term

must have a capital S

sue, suing, sued Link to this term
suffer, suffer from Link to this term

suffer a blow, suffer a heart attack, but suffer from dementia, Parkinson's disease etc.

sulfur, sulfurous Link to this term
supersede Link to this term
SUV Link to this term

sports utility vehicle, (USA)

swath, swaths Link to this term

cut a wide swath, across countryside, for instance

swathe, swathes Link to this term

bind or bandage (verb), wrappings for a baby (noun)

sworn in Link to this term

as president—not 'sworn into the role of president' as seen on Channel 7 headline

symbols Link to this term

please avoid using symbols (such as @ and & for 'at' and 'and') unless they're a recognised part of a trademark or title.

synod Link to this term

church council

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