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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!
  • Numbers:
    • 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

... 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.

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