Style guide

My personal and always in progress guide to style, usage, and grammar for writing on the web.

Usage and grammar

Writing for the web

  • Sentence case by default
  • When creating a link, don’t include the terminal punctuation
  • When creating a link, ensure the text describes the action of clicking the link or the destination of the link
  • Punctuation goes inside the quotation marks for complete sentences; otherwise it goes outside, in the UK style.
  • Oxford comma: This, that, and the other.
  • Em dashes: Format them—like this—with no spaces on either side.
  • En Dashes: Used to denote a range, such as January 10–16.
  • An affect is a cause (and a verb) and an effect is a consequence (and a noun). Affects create effects.
  • If ‘however’ is used to separate clauses, then it needs to be preceded with a semicolon: “I planned to get work done before the concert; however, I didn’t have time.”

Common words and phrases

  • Email
  • E-book
  • Website
  • Web page
  • “In regard to”, not “in regards to”
  • Homepage

Other style guides


Should I use a comma between two modifiers?

This is wrong:

Render a simple, horizontal rule with the divider components.

If you flipped these around to “horizontal, simple rule” it wouldn’t carry the same meaning, so we know these aren’t actually two interchangeable modifiers—“simple” describes the whole phrase “horizontal rule”—so we don’t need a comma