The Allpar Style Sheet
The goal of this style sheet is to provide Allpar with a consistent, understandable “voice” that conveys more information in less space.
- Names. In the news, the first time we mention someone, it’s first name, last name (e.g. Sergio Marchionne.) From there, it’s their last name, unless it’s the start of a paragraph, in which case we use their title, e.g. Mr. Marchionne.
- Change. When something changes, it changes “from” the old “to” the new.
- Why? The New York Times reversed this, and their decision was copied by many other outlets; but it remains more confusing to say “It went to $5 from $4” than the way we do it, (and the way everyone used to do it), “It went from $4 to $5.”
- Apostrophes. Apostrophes are always used to show possession or contraction, not plurals. We write about Plymouths in the 1960s, not Plymouth’s in the 1960’s — except for, say, the 1960’s Plymouth (that is, the Plymouth belonging to 1960), or Plymouth’s cars (the cars belonging to Plymouth.) If you must have a two-digit decade or year reference — the ’60s, the ’65s — the apostrophe goes up front to show that the “19” or “20” is missing.
- Quotes. People tend to overuse quotes, as in, “The typeface is more ‘elegant.’” Take out excess quotes.
- File names never have spaces; pages end in “.html” not “.htm” or “.shtml”
- Lists in sentences always have a comma before the last item. (“The car contains this, that, and the other thing.”)
- These are two words, not one: any more, every day (except as an adjective, e.g. everyday low prices). Any time is confusing: “Anytime you want me” is okay. “It could happen at anytime” is not.
- Words to avoid: avoid big words when small words will do.
- approximately -> around, about
- located -> in
- equipped with -> has, uses
- offers -> has, uses
- features -> has, uses
- the Laramie model -> Laramie
- Never use “all-new.” If it’s new, it’s new. If it’s modified, it’s not new.
- Many words are simply unnecessary, such as “very.”
- “Design” is often unnecessary, as in “The quad headlamp design” (versus “The quad headlamps”).
- “Premium” is often inserted without obvious meaning. “When everything is premium, nothing is premium.”
- significant is often used when the writer means substantial
- “when compared to” -> “as”
- Tense: We almost always use the past tense. Nobody “reports” that something is happening; they “reported” it. If we’re reading it in the present, it was usually done in the past!
- C$14 (14 Canadian dollars), AU$14, etc.
- $14 million (never $14 million dollars)
- 43¢ (not $0.43) — Mac users, ¢ is option-4!
- 43% (not 43 percent). Please round percentages where possible, e.g. 43% instead of 42.6%.
- The 1960s, the 1955 cars, the ’55s (see “apostrophes” above)
- Never end dollars with “.00” ( e.g. $43.00 -> $43).
Some fun examples
Did you know the average Fiat/Alfa Romeo press release is 92% fat, causing obesity in our readers?
... improving overall efficiency and enabling a gain in fuel efficiency of up to 1 mpg
= ... allowing a gas mileage increase of up to 1 mile per gallon.
... .Wider front frame rails (about one inch per side; two inches overall) allow the front suspension springs to be positioned slightly outboard – an enabler for generating more positive roll stiffness.
= Wider front frame rails (around one inch per side) allow the front springs to be moved out, to create more positive roll stiffness.
the interior environment = the interior
improve durability performance = increase durability
new reinforced tie-down points with enhanced strength are designed for heavier loads. = tie-down points have been strengthened.