Students are required to read their manuscripts very carefully, and to check them carefully against this reference guide.
- Italics are used only for emphasis, for case names, names of journals and titles of books, and for websites and other electronic references. They are also used to indicate paragraphs in legislation, as in s 34(1)(a). Italics are not used for foreign words. All italics in direct quotations are reproduced, however.
- Main headings are in caps. (eg ‘1 INTRODUCTION’).
- Subheadings and further sub- divisions are in sentence case (e g 1.1; 1.2; 1.1.1; 1.1.2)
- Bullet points may be used for any list and should be used particularly where the list consists of phrases as opposed to full sentences. Full sentences should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Phrases may, however, begin with lower case and end with a semi-colon (and a full stop right at the end of the list).
- Lengthy items consisting of whole sentences or several sentences may appear in numbered lists (using (a), (i) or whatever seems appropriate). Such items always begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop.
- Use ‘first’ (not firstly); thereafter ‘secondly’, ‘thirdly’.
1.4 Spelling and capital letters
- Use the ‘s’ form of English spelling: recognise, emphasise, analyse, realise. Students should ensure that they use the ‘UK English’ spell check.
- Capital letters are used only where essential, i e in all proper names (South Africa, Constitutional Court) and by tradition for a few other things, such as, Act, President (of the country), Parliament and the Constitution (in the sense of a particular document; otherwise lower case).
- Capital letters are not used for court, appeal court, judge, judge of appeal, committee, board, council, municipality, province, premier, etc. (When in doubt, use lower case.)
1.5 Numbers, dates, percentages, currencies
- Use words for all numbers between one and ten and for all approximations (about two hundred years, a thousand ways).
- Numbers higher than ten are in figures. All numbers in tables and graphs are in figures. So are ages (5 years old), percentages (use the words ‘per cent’ in the text (10 per cent), and only use the figure % in tables), and measurements and quantities and amounts (6 cm, 40 km, R5 million). It is advisable also to use figures where a lot of numbers appear in a piece, as a consistent style looks better. A space (not a comma) is used in large numbers, as for instance in 42 567. Where a ‘rands and cents’ figure is used, the cents should be connoted by a dot (R456.45). For other currencies, use US$, ₤, €.
- A sentence should never begin with figures.
- Dates and centuries: on 4 July 1978; in the 1980s (not 1980’s – there is no apostrophe); in the twentieth century.
- Quotations are reproduced exactly, including all original italics and original punctuation.
- Quotations appear in single quotation marks. Quotations within quotations appear in double quotation marks.
- Short quotations appear as part of the text. Long quotations, i e quotations of more than three lines or more than one sentence, are isolated from the text by being indented from the margin. It is permissible to isolate a shorter quotation for emphasis.
- Whenever a quotation is introduced with a colon, the quotation itself should begin with a capital letter (using square brackets to indicate an alteration where necessary). If no colon is used, the quotation should start with lower case. Where the quotation begins with a capital letter, the closing full stop should normally appear inside the closing quotation mark. But if the quotation forms part of the larger sentence, the full stop should appear after the closing quotation mark.
- Ellipses need not be used at the start of a quotation but must be used in the middle and at the end of a quotation to indicate missing words. Use three dots for any missing word/s and a fourth dot to show any missing full stop. (The placement of the dots indicates where the full stop appeared, so it will be … . or . ...)
- Square brackets are used for all changes and interpolations.