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.”) We are not using typewriters during a paper shortage (which a placard in an office supply store told me was the reson why we stopped using that final comma in the first place).
- 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. The same goes for “any more.” In fact, any and every are nearly always separate words from whatever follows, regardless of what J.K. Rowling does.
- 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 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! The Euro is option-shift-2. Why? Why not?
- 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
The average Fiat/Alfa Romeo press release is 92% fat, causing obesity in our readers. “Noir” and “nero” both mean “black,” by the way. As far as I know, Italian black is no different from American black.
... improving overall efficiency and enabling a gain in fuel efficiency of up to 1 mpg
= ... allowing up to one more 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) let engineers move the front springs out, creating 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.