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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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A to Z style guide

This A to Z style guide is a set of standards covering our style, spelling and grammer to make sure all our content published on gov.je is consistent. 

Our content should be clear, understandable and open to users, following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 3.0.

You can feedback or request an addition to this guide by emailing digital@gov.je.

A

a or an?​​​

Use an before a silent H (an hour, an heir, an honourable man, an honest woman), and use 'a' before a sounded H (a hero, a hotel). With abbreviations, be guided by pronunciation eg a GCSE student.

Abbreviations and acronyms​

Except for well known abbreviations, such as GCSE, BBC and UK, always use the full words of the acronym the first time with the acronym in brackets next to it, then use the acronym after that.

Don't use full stops in abbreviations, or spaces between initials, including those in proper names: IMF, mph, eg, 4am, WH Smith, etc.

Don't use full stops or apostrophes within acronyms (GCSEs, PDFs not G.C.S.E., P.D.F. or GCSE’s, PDF’s).

If the acronym is pronounced as a word, spell it out with an first initial in capital, for example, Unicef.

Accents

Use accents on French, German, Spanish, Irish Gaelic and Jèrriais words. Make sure that you spell and accent the words correctly for example:

  • Connétable
  • Comité des Connétables
  • Comité des Chefs de Police

If you're not sure how to spell or accent a word in Jèrriais, see the Société Jersiaise website.

active voice​​

Write in the active voice rather than the passive voice. Active sentences are shorter and communicate information quickly and easily. In active sentences, the person or thing doing the action comes before the verb for example:

​Active voice (Correct)
​Passive voice (Incorrect)
​We will contact you
​You will be contacted by us
​You must fill in form C18
​Form C18 must be filled in by you




Readbility app (Hemingway editor)

addressing the user

If you're writing copy for the website then address the reader as you where possible.

For example when content asks users for an action it should be written as, You can contact Revenue Jersey by phone and email or Pay your income tax by the end of May.

adviser

For example, special adviser. Not advisor. However, advisory is the correct adjective.

affect or effect

  • ​affect is almost always used as a verb. Use it to mean to influence someone or something, rather than cause something
  • effect is most often used as a noun. It points toward an event or a thing. It’s often used when an end result is being discussed
For example, the new office structure had no effect (noun) on the day-to-day running of the service and staff workload was not affected (verb) by the changes.

ages

Don't use hyphens in ages. For example, ‘a class of 15 16-year-old students’ should be written as ‘15 students aged 16’. Use ‘aged 4 to 16 years’, not ‘4-16 years’.

Avoid using ‘the over 50s’ or ‘under-18s’. Instead, make it clear who’s included: ‘aged 50 years and over’ and ‘aged 17 and under’.

Avoid using general terms like 'elderly' or 'children', use specific ages instead: 'adults aged 65 and over' or 'children aged 12 and under'.

A levels​

No hyphen. Lower case level.

Amends

​You 'make amends' to compensate for an injury or insult. You 'make amendments' to a document.

Americanisms

Don't use Americanisms. Use the -ise suffix rather than the American-ize suffix.

For example 'organise' not 'organize'. Exceptions include when it is part of a specific name.

ampersand (&)​

Don't use ampersands; always spell out the word 'and', unless it's part of a specific brand.

and​

​Always spell out the word, do not use &, unless it's part of a specific name.

antisocial

No hyphen.

apostrophes

Apostrophes shouldn't be used in text to highlight a word, phrase or a quote.

apprenticeship programme

​Lower case.

Assistant Greffier​​

​Upper case.

autumn

​Lower case.

B

Bailiff​

Upper case.

Bank details

​When adding bank details in content about paying a government body:

  • use spaces rather than hyphens in sort codes, for example 60 70 80 not 60-70-80
  • do not use spaces in acount numbers

baseline

​One word, lower case.

Bitcoin​​

Upper case.

bold text​​

Don't bold any words or phrases within paragraphs for online content (use the appropriate heading style instead).

To emphasise words or phrases, you can: 

  • front-load sentences
  • use headings
  • use bullets

brackets

Use brackets sparingly. If the sentence is logically and grammatically complete without the information contained within the round brackets, the punctuation stays outside the brackets. (A complete sentence that stands alone in round brackets starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.)

Use (round brackets), not [square brackets].

Brexit

​Upper case. But post-Brexit (lower-case 'p')

British citizen​​​

Upper case British, lower case citizen.

British resident​

​Upper case British, lower case resident (or any other nationality).

Budget​​​

​​​The Draft 2011 Budget, but 'the budget' when not using full title.

bullet points and numbering​

Make sure:

  • you always use a lead-in line
  • all bullets make sense running on from the lead-in line
  • you use lower case at the start of every bullet point
  • you dont use 'or' or 'and' at the end of the bullet point
  • you don't include any punctuation at the end of a bullet unless its a question
  • you don't put a semicolon at the end of a bullet
  • there is no full stop after the last bullet point

For online content, make sure you always format bullet points in the editing website (bullets copied and pasted from Notepad must be deleted and reformatted).

Steps

Use numbered steps instead of bullet points to guide a user through a process.

business statement

​Lower case.

C

call to action buttons

​Online form links need to be displayed as a call to action button so they stand out. These need to open the link in a new window.

primary

Use the primary option for online form:

Apply for Pension Plus 

secondary

Use the secondary option for a request to service and if you have multiple call to actions secondary to the main form:

Book an appointment with the work and family hub (under pension age)

capital letters​​

Use capitals for names and proper nouns only. See upper case, common nouns, proper nouns and headings for guidance on capital letters.

  • the days of the week and the months of the year are all written with a capital letter. Names of seasons are not.
  • names of languages are always written with a capital letter
  • words that identify nationalities or ethnic groups must be capitalised
  • for titles of books, laws etc the first word and every other significant word should be capitalised

Avoid using too many capitals. If using a specific name such as 'Government of Jersey' or 'the Health and Community Services department', then capitalise the official name. It is our house style to capitalise Government when referring to Government of Jersey, even when the full name is not used.

Capitalise Minister if specific to an individual.

care worker

​Lower case and 2 words.

checkbox

​Not check box.

Chief Minister​​

Upper case.

Child Benefit

​Upper case.

childcare​​

Not child care or child-care (except in names, such as Jersey Child Care Trust).

children and young people

If you're refering to a person who is under the ages 18 to use the phrase children and young people.

childminder, childminding

​One word.

Christmas​

​Not Xmas or xmas.

civil servant or civil service

​Lower case.

classwork

​One word.

clichés​​

Clichés are sayings and metaphors. They should not be used because they can be misinterpreted, not understood, or take users away from the meaning of the content.

You don’t have to replace clichés, simply remove them.

Clichés include:

  • with all due respect
  • at this moment in time
  • to be honest with you
  • like (as in, like, this)
  • touch base
  • I hear what you're saying
  • going forward
  • blue sky thinking
  • upcoming (use 'forthcoming' instead)
  • have oversight of

click

When writing online copy, instruct readers to ‘select’ rather than ‘click’. 

Don't write 'click here'.

Also see links.

colon​​

The colon announces what is to come. It follows a complete statement and introduces a defining example, a list or a quote:

  • she had only one person to blame: herself. 
  • to be physically healthy we need 3 things: ample rest, a good diet and plenty of exercise. 
  • John Smith commented: “It was a great win and the team should be proud.”

When a colon is used in a headline, the next word is lowercase, The Government of Jersey style guide: keeping it consistent’. The only exception is when the word following the colon is a proper noun, in which case it would be capitalised.

common nouns​

Capitalise common nouns such as:

  • Library
  • Scheme
  • Law
  • Street

When they're an integral part of a name for example: the Jersey Library, the Advance to Work Scheme, the Social Security Law, Queen Street. Lowercase these nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references for example: a reading programme at the library, the scheme is aimed at children, the purpose of the law is, the street has been closed.

However, the following exceptions should always be capitalised, even as standalone references:

  • Assistant Greffier
  • Bailiff
  • Chief Minister
  • Deputy Bailiff
  • Deputy Greffier
  • Deputy Judicial Greffier
  • Deputy Viscount
  • Greffier
  • Judicial Greffier
  • Lieutenant-Governor
  • Viscount

There is only one Treasury and Exchequer department and only one Minister for Treasury, so they take capitals, but there are many Government departments and each has a minister.

Check individual entries in the style guide if you are unsure whether to capitalise a common noun. Any that are not listed in the style guide should be written in lowercase, as explained above.

complement, compliment and complimentary​​​​​

To complement is to 'make something else seem better or more attractive when combining with it', for example: the work of the two departments complemented each other or make something complete, for example: a full complement of staff. 

To compliment is to praise.

A complimentary copy is free.

Comptroller and Auditor General

​Shortened to C&AG after first reference.

connétable​

Use connétable instead of constable. Always uppercase when part of full name (the Connétable of Trinity) but there are many connétables in Jersey.

contact details​

Do not use individual staff names, telephone numbers or personal email addresses; use general department contacts instead. This will help to guard against unwanted spam or wide distribution of personal contact details.

See email and phone numbers for guidance on the format of these.

contractions​

You can use contractions such as ‘you're’, ‘we're’, 'you'll' and 'we'll'.

Do not use negative contractions such as ‘don’t’, ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’. Some people rely on the 'not' to understand what is being said. Use 'cannot', 'do not' and 'will not' instead.

Avoid using ‘should’ve’, ‘could’ve’, ‘would’ve’,​ ‘must’ve’ because they're harder to read.

co-operations

​Hyphenated.

coronavirus (covid or COVID-19)

Most people are more familair with the term COVID (uppercase) instead of coronavirus.

Use coronavirus (lowercase) if you do need the full word. 

When referring to the specific strain of coronavirus refer to COVID-19.

coursework

​One word.

customer feedback​​

​On any page where customer feedback or contact is invited, give an indication of response time.

customs​​​​

Uppercase when written as part of the department, Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. Elsewhere, customs lowercase, for example: if your goods are arriving from outside the EU , you may be liable to customs duties.

CV

Both letters in uppercase. Not Curriculum vitae, resume or résumé.

cyber bullying

​Two words, lower case.

D

dashes

don't use dashes unless needed as users with screen readers will hear 'dash' when they are reading your copy online.

Do not use dashes when you could use the word 'to' (3-5 December should be 3 to 5 December).

Dashes are not the same as hyphens; see hyphens for more information.

data

​Treat as a singular noun: the data is stored on a secure server.

data centre

​Not datacentre.

data set

​Not dataset.

data store

​Not datastore.

dates

Dates should not be included unless relevant to the content, for example when a new law comes into effect. Write dates in the format Monday 7 July 2020.

Do not add 'st', 'nd', 'rd', 'th' after the digit (Monday 7th July) or spell out the digit (Monday seventh July), and do not write dates as digits (07/07/2020). Write 'on 7 July' not 'on the 7 July'.

Do not use a dash between dates (for example 16 - 22 November). Use the word 'to' instead.

Dean of Jersey​

Upper case.

degrees

You should write temperatures as: ​° 14°C.

Find out how to write a degree symbol

departments​​

Departments are singular units, not plural, for example: Justice and Home Affairs has issued a statement, not: Justice and Home Affairs have. This also applies to the Government of Jersey.

Write the names of departments in full. If you need to refer to the same department quite often in a document, write the name in full the first time it appears, followed immediately by the shortened form in brackets, for example: the Health and Community Services Department (HSC). Then use the shortened form throughout the rest of the document.

Department names

Current names of departments:

  • Chief Operating Office
  • Children, Young, People, Education and Skills Department
  • Customer and Local Services
  • Department for the Economy
  • External Relations
  • Health and Community Services
  • Infrastructure, Housing and Environment
  • Justice and Home Affairs
  • Non-executive and legal departments
  • Office of the Chief Executive
  • States of Jersey privacy policies and retention schedules
  • Strategic Policy, Planning and Performance
  • Treasury and Exchequer

dependant and dependent​

​A dependant is a person, for example: child or spouse. A dependent means reliant on.

Deputy Bailiff​

Upper case.

Deputy Greffier

Upper case.

Deputy Judicial Greffier​​

Upper case.

Deputy Viscount​​

Upper case.

deputy

Always uppercase when part of full name (the Deputy of Trinity) but lower case when referring to ‘the deputy’ or several ‘deputies’.

Direct Debit

Upper case.

documents

Name links with the full document's name which should accurately describe the content. Do not include dates unless it's a publication with specific dates in the title. Include the file size for anything 10MB or larger. For example:

Framework for Speed Limits

The Creative Island, An Arts Strategy for Jersey 2022 to 2027 (13MB)

Display the document's icon and open in a new window. The 'description' field should remain blank.

If the link is embedded in a sentence, do not display the icon. For example, 'Find further details on The Creative Island, An Arts Strategy for Jersey 2022 to 2027 (13MB).

Do not use 'download' or 'printable version'.

All files you save must follow the naming convention.

E

eco active

Lower case (previous branding was 'Eco-Active').

When starting a sentence use 'Eco active'.

email​​

​Not Email, E-mail or e-mail.

Write email addresses in full and hyperlink the email address only. For example:

Email: customerservices@gov.je

You can embed email addresses into your sentence. The sentence should make sense when it stands alone. For example:

If you cannot find the information you're looking for email customerservices@gov.je or call +44 (0) 1534 444444.

Make sure you hyperlink the email address with 'mailto:' at the beginning and without spaces. For example: 'mailto:customerservices@gov.je'. The link should open in a new window.

etc​​

Avoid using 'etc'.

example, e.g., eg

eg can sometimes be read aloud as 'egg' by screen reading software. Instead use 'for example' or 'such as' or 'including', whichever is more appropriate.

Excel spreadsheet

​Upper case because Excel is a brand name.

exclamation marks​

Exclamation marks should be avoided because it is unlikely you will need to use them in Government documents, and they're almost always unnecessary.

executive​​​

​Lower case unless referring to a name, such as the Executive Leadership Team.

external websites (linking to)​​

When linking to external sites, the link text should be the full name of the website. Do not write out the URL as the link. So, Veterans UK website not www.veterans-uk.com.

If you're linking to a particular page on an external site, and not just its homepage, your link text should reflect that. For example, Minimum wage regulations 2009 on Jersey Law.

External websites should open in a new tab.

extra-curricular

​Hyphenated.

F

FAQs (frequently asked questions)

FAQs are strongly discouraged on gov.je. If you write content by starting with user needs, you will not need to use FAQs.

FAQ's are discouraged because they: 

  • duplicate other content on the site
  • can't be front loaded (putting the most important words people will search for), which makes usability difficult
  • are usually not frequently asked questions by the public, but important information dumped by the content editor
  • mean that content is not where people expect to find it, it needs to be in context
  • can add to search results with duplicate, competing text
  • go out of date quickly

fair, fare or fayre

A fair is a gathering of stalls.

A fare is a range of food.

A fayre can be used for both words but is old fashioned.

fewer and less​​

​Fewer means smaller in number (fewer coins). Less means smaller in quantity (less money).

files

​See documents.

fine

​Use fine instead of financial penalty.

For example, you'll pay a £50 fine.

focused and focusing​​

​Only use one s not two.

fonts

Use Arial for downloadable files, pdf documents, graphs or images which include text as its much easier to read.

forward slashes

Don't use forward slashes, use a commar instead.

full time

​Not hyphenated and lower case.

further education (FE)

​Lower case.

G

GCSE, GCSEs

No full stops between the initials. No apostrophe in the plural.

gender

Where possible, and appropriate, write in such a way as to indicate gender inclusivity:

  • head teacher not headmaster
  • firefighter not fireman
  • police officer not policeman
  • business community or people in business, not businessmen

Make sure text is gender neutral wherever possible, use ‘them’, ‘their’ or ‘they’ which we recognised as singular pronouns. If you do need to refer to gender, use ‘women’ and ‘men’ rather than ‘males’ and ‘females’.

Use sexual orientation or gender identity as descriptions, not as nouns. For example: ‘transgender person’, ‘cisgender person’ or ‘lesbian woman’.

Use ‘different sex’ instead of ‘opposite sex’. This recognises all genders instead of male and female only.

Do not make assumptions about marital or family relationships. Use ‘spouse’ or ‘partner’ instead of ‘husband’ or ‘wife’. Use ‘parent’ instead of ‘mother’ or ‘father’.

Geography and regions

Use lower case for north, south, east and west, except when they are part of a name or recognised region:

  • the south-west (compass direction)
  • the South West (administrative region).
  • West End (London)
  • Middle East
  • South America

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

If referring to a tax on goods and services cap down, but when it can be directly replaced by the abbreviation 'GST', cap up.

For example, 'Goods and Services Tax (GST) is charged at 5% on most goods and services in Jersey'.

GOV.UK​​

​The UK Government write GOV.UK in upper case so do the same when linking to this website.

Government of Jersey

​If you're referring to the Government of Jersey as a public-sector organisation providing services or as an employer, it is singular, for example, 'The Government has saved money and improved services by introducing a new system for'.

If referring to the Government of Jersey, use the Government.

Greffier​​​

Upper case.

H

Havre des Pas​

​Not Harve des Pas. See place names.

headteacher

One word.

headings and heading styles​​

Separating lengthy text with headings helps readers and online users navigate information more effectively. Headings should be written in sentence case, like a title, with a capital letter at the start (Applying for a passport, Traffic around St Helier) and should describe the content underneath so that customers can decide whether they want to read that section or not.

For online content, heading styles should follow the correct hierarchy for accessibility reasons. Page titles automatically use a title Heading, so you should follow this with Heading 2, followed by Heading 3 if you need subheadings. If your page only needs headings (and no subheadings), use Heading 2.

health and medical terms

Find out what health or medical terms you should use on A to Z of NHS health writing.

higher education

​Lower case.

homepage

​One word. Lower case.

HTTPS

​Upper case. No need to explain the acronym if it's used in content for a technical audience.

Hurricane

​Upper case for named hurricanes: Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy.

hyperlinks

See links.

hyphens​​

Our style is to use one word wherever possible. Hyphens tend to clutter up text.

Do not use a hyphen unless it’s confusing without it, for example, a little used-car is different from a little-used car.

Use 'to' for time and date ranges, not hyphens.

I

idioms​​

​Don't use them; they might confuse or offend our customers. They also don't fit the professional image or tone of our website.

ie​

Try (re)writing sentences to avoid the use of 'ie'. If that is not possible, use an alternative expression such as 'which means', 'meaning' or 'that is' or for example.

inclusive language

Inclusive language avoids biases, slang, common phrases, or expressions that discriminate people. It treats all people equally, with respect, dignity and impartially regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status, culture, religion or beliefs, level of education, ability or age.

Our style guide reflects this so our content can be accessible to all.

Income Support

​All names of benefits are upper case.

income tax

income tax always lower case.

Only exception is the Income Tax (Jersey) Law which is capped up because it is the full name of the law.​ 

The former Taxes Office is now Revenue Jersey, which is capped up.

Inquire or enquire

​When you enquire you ask. Enquire is more informal than inquire, which is used for formal investigations.

inset day

​Lower case.

International Baccalaureate

​Upper case.

internet

​Lower case.

IP

​When used in the technical context (for example 'internet protocol'), there's no need to explain the acronym.

Island and Islander​​

When referring to Jersey or people living in Jersey, use uppercase 'I'. Use island and islander when referring to other islands.

Islanders refers to all people in Jersey, no matter what their residential or employment status.

In all cases, people live in Jersey, not on it.

italics​​

​Do not use italics;​ they're very difficult to read.

its

'Its' only contains an apostrophe if it is the shortened version of 'it is' or 'it has'. It never has an apostrophe when it is used in its possessive form:

it is impossible to predict = it's impossible to predict

the dog hurt its tail (even though the tail 'belongs' to the dog, it should have no apostrophe)

J

Jersey Telecom (JT)​​

​Not Jersey Telecoms.

job titles

Specific job titles and ministers' role titles are upper case: Chief Executive, Minister for Education.

Generic job titles and ministers' role titles are lower case: director, minister.

judgment​​​

​Not judgement.

Judicial Greffier​

​Upper case.

K

key stage

​Lower case and numeral: key stage 4.

keyword

Not key word.

For keywords on a webpage, slang, familiar words or common expressions can be used. This will help users search the site.

L

last updated

Don't include references to when a webpage was ‘last updated’. It can make content which does not change very often look out of date (when it isn’t).

laws​

The full name of a law should be upper case. When referring to general laws then write in lower case:

  • Income Tax (Jersey) Law
  • according to the tax laws

layby and laybys​

​Not lay-by.

legal content

​Legal content can still be written in plain English. It's important that users understand content and that we present complicated information simply.

If you have to publish legal jargon, it will be a publication so write a plain English summary.

Where evidence shows there's a clear user need for including a legal term, always explain it in plain English.

liaison officers

​Lower case.

licence and licensing​​

Noun: licence (such as a driving licence or business licence)

Verb: license (including a licensed driver and driver licensing)

Lieutenant-Governor​

​Upper case.

links​​​​

Name links the same as the webpage, website, or document they link to. Do not use, for example:

  • the full URL
  • click here
  • here
  • find out more

Open internal links in the same window and external links in a new window.

For example:

Energy Recovery Facility (ERF)

Comité des Connétables

You can also embed links in a sentence, for example: 'Large loads must be delivered to the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF).'

Add the name of the website when you link to specific pages on external websites to provide context. For example, 'Counselling Support on Liberate', not just 'Counselling Support'.

Also see documents.

log book

​Two words.

looked-after children

​Hyphenated. 

lunchtime

​One word.

M

military

​Lower case.

millions

​Always use million in money: £138 million.

Use millions in phrases: millions of people.

Do not use million for amounts less than £1 million.

Do not abbreviate million to m.

minister​

Capped up when it's part of a full title, such as the Minister for Education, but otherwise it's lower case, for example, when ministers are appointed.

Assistant Minister: upper case if writing about a specific person or role, otherwise lower case.

ministry​​​

Under the arrangements for ministerial government, this word has no real meaning. Use minister or department, or both.

money

​Use the £ symbol: £65.

Do not use decimals unless pence are included: £65.01 but not £65.00.

Write out pence in full.

Currencies are lower case.

months​​

All months should begin with a capital letter (for example, August) but seasons should be lowercase (for example, summer).

Mr, Mrs, Ms, Mx and Miss

No full stop afterwards (not Mr. and Mrs.).

If using Mrs, Ms, Mx or Miss, try to find out what that person prefers. If you can't find out, use Ms.

multilingual

​One word.

myself

​Myself is what's described as a reflexive pronoun and is often used incorrectly to make a sentence more formal. You should not use it to replace the personal object pronoun 'me'. This is a common mistake:

  • they gave presents to my brother and myself. (incorrect)
  • they gave presents to my brother and me. (correct) 

The golden rule is that you should only use 'myself' if the word 'I' comes before it in the same sentence: 

  • I did the job myself. (Nobody helped me.)
  • I ate all the cake myself. (Nobody else ate any.)

N

N/A

Do not use N/A, use not applicable.

Naming conventions

All uploaded documents must be named following the naming convention. In the file name:

  • do not use symbols, such as, ampersands, backets, colons, dashes
  • do not put your initials
  • do not include the date you upload the file. Only add dates when relevant, for example if the document is an Agenda
  • do not add the document type, for example 'PDF' or 'Excel'
  • only capitalise the first word, unless relevant
  • use spaces between each word

For example, 'List of surveyors for all vessels' not 'ListOfSurveyorsForAllVesselsJR21 20161026 JP PDF'.

names of departments, places, schemes and job titles

See common nouns.

names of people

​For the first mention, use first name and surname. After that, use their title and surname. See Mr, Mrs, Ms, Mx and Miss.

See common nouns.

net zero

No hyphen

numbering​​

Use numbers instead of bullet points when a list of actions or directions must be followed in a certain order. When editing online copy, use the numbering format from the content management system to create numbered lists, as it will indent and punctuate correctly. As with bullet points, do not use capital letters at the beginning or punctuation at the end of each piece of information.

numbers (ordinals)

We do not use ordinals (first, second and third) in dates.

Spell out first to ninth. After that use 10th, 11th and so on.

In tables, use numbers throughout.

numbers​​​

Use ‘one’ unless you’re talking about a step, a point in a list or another situation where using the number makes more sense: ‘in point 1 of the design instructions’, for example. Or this:

You’ll be shown 14 clips that feature everyday road scenes.

There'll be:

  • 1 developing hazard in 13 clips
  • 2 developing hazards in the other clip

Write all other numbers in digits, including 2 to 9, except where it’s part of a common expression like ‘one or two of them’ where numerals would look strange.

For numerals over 999, insert a comma for clarity: 9,000.

Do not use spaces between digits and measurements (for example, 1am, 6.30pm and 100ml).

Avoid using the 24 hour clock where possible in public documents because people may find it hard to understand.

For dates, use 1 October 1980, not 1st October 1980 or October 1st 1980.

Use digits when stating an exact number as a statistic/fact (there have been 2,692 page views) but use words for numbers that do not represent specific facts (there have been thousands of page views; half of all people questioned).

Use words for first, second, third (not 1st, 2nd, 3rd) up to ninth, and thereafter use the number, for example 10th and 102nd.

Do not use apostrophes in numbers, for example, 1970s not 1970's, under 5s not under 5's, unless it is possessive, for example, 1971's census revealed.

nursery school

​Lower case.

O

occupational pension

​Lower case. This term covers both company and public sector pension schemes. Only use this term if explaining tax rules that are specific to occupational pension schemes.

onegov account

​Customers can set up a onegov account to access online services on gov.je. When referencing this use onegov not one.gov.

online

​One word.

online forms and one.gov.je

​Links to online forms on one.gov.je need to be added as a 'call to action' button with a clear description of what the customer will be able to do.

opening times

Avoid using 24/7, use 'always open' or 'open all day, every day' instead. 

or

Do not use slashes instead of or. For example, Do this 3/4 time', should be, Do this 3 or 4 times.

Ouaisné

​Starts with an O, not a Q.

May also be reffered to as Le Quaisné.

overseas-trained teacher

​Lower case. Hyphenated.

P

page titles​​

Page titles need to be brief, clear, relevant and include keywords. Make sure they can stand alone within search results. Try to make titles around 6 words long, and write them in sentence case (capital letter at the start) with no punctuation at the end.

page URLs

These are automatically generated from the page title however, you should edit them so that:

  • they do not include spaces
  • they do not include punctuation and link words (and, or, the)
  • each new word is capitalised (RecycledBookScheme)

If you're including webpages in any kind of promotional material then the Web Services Team can set up redirects, which are easier for people to get to, and remember (for example, www.gov.je/recycle).

paragraphs​

Stick to 1 point per paragraph and front-load them so that the important information is at the beginning.

parentheses​​

Don't put spaces immediately inside brackets (MMR), not ( MMR ).

parishes​

The names of parishes should be capped up (St Helier, St Martin) with no full stop (not St. Helier, St. Martin) and not include an 's' at the end.

'parish' should always be lowercase unless part of full name (the parish initiative, the parish community). Parish hall should also be lowercase unless as part of full name (St Brelade's Parish Hall, the parish hall is open).

St Aubin (not St Aubins) is in the parish of St Brelade, it's not a parish.

passport​​

Lower case. Also see e-Passport.

payroll

​Lower case.

pay scales

Lower case, 2 words.

PDF

Upper case. No need to explain the acronym.

Also see documents.

percent and percentages​​

Use percent not per cent. Percentage is one word. Always use % with a number.

phone numbers​​

Write phone numbers in the format: +44 (0) 1534 123456.

physical education or PE

​You can write in full or use the initials.

place names​​

Always check your spelling and accents for place names, including street names. For example, the correct format is Rue de la Place, not Rue De La Place.

Plain English

As a standard, all digital content should be written in Plain English. This means

  • choose easy and short words not formal, long ones
  • jargon and buzzwords are unlikely to be clear language
  • write conversationally, in first person, using the active voice
Further information on Plain English is on Readability Guidelines.

please

​We don't write please or thank you in web content as it is considered uneccessary.

police

Unless referring to the full name (States of Jersey Police), then ‘police’ is lower case.

PowerPoint presentation

​Upper case because PowerPoint is a brand name.

practice and practise​​

Noun: practice (the GP practice).

Verb: practise (he is practising the piano).

preschool and pre-school​

Preschool is a place (the preschool has been reopened).

Pre-school refers to an age or stage (at pre-school age, in the pre-school years).

press releases​​​

Content for news releases must be sent to the press office in the Communications Directorate who will write a draft, get approval from relevant departments and send to the media. The press office will also upload news releases to the Newsroom section of gov.je.

Prime Minister

Upper case.

principle and principal​

Principle is a standard or rule of personal behaviour, or a moral rule that you hold or stick to.

Principal is the first (in status, importance, rank and so on).

program and programme​​

​Use program when it relates to computers. Use programme in all other cases.

proper nouns​​​

Proper nouns should be capitalised. A proper noun names a specific person, place or thing. For example, an individual person (Attorney General), an individual place (States Chamber, Rozel), an individual institution (Government of Jersey), or an individual event (Battle of Flowers).

There is only one Justice and Home Affairs department and only one Minister for Home Affairs, so they take capitals, but there are many Government departments and each has a minister.

pros and cons​

​Not pro's and con's.

public health

​Lower case.

punctuation​​

​Use punctuation correctly.

Try not to overuse it in web content (it clutters up the screen and makes reading difficult).

Detailed guidance is available on the use of parentheses (brackets), quotation marks, exclamation marks, forward slashes, dashes and hyphens.

puns​​

​Don't use them, they might confuse or offend our customers.

They also don't fit the professional image or tone of our website or publications.

purdah

Refers to the pre-election period. Specifically in Jersey this is the time between the nominations meetings and the election of the last minister into office, which is when the new Council of Ministers is formally established.

During this period, the current Council of Ministers and ministers retain executive responsibilities, and the essential business of government must be carried on. However, ministers and assistant ministers should observe discretion in initiating any new action of a continuing or long-term nature. There are also restrictions placed on the nature of publicity that ministers may issue in connection with their role.

Q

the Queen

​Upper case, lower case the Queen. After the first reference, you write Her Majesty.

quotation marks​​

Use quotation marks for quotes. Use single quote marks for sayings, slogans, unfamiliar terms, quotes within quotes and titles of articles.

quotes​​

Introduce quotations using a colon rather than commas. For full quotations, start with a capital letter and end with the full stop inside the quotation marks:

The spokesperson said: "These changes are welcome."

For partial quotations, integrate them into the sentence, with a lower case beginning and punctuation outside the quotation marks:

The spokesman said the changes were "welcome".

When you break a long quotation into separate paragraphs, open quotation marks should start each paragraph but closing quotation marks should be at the very end of the last paragraph only.

R

racial terminology​

Many black and minority ethnic (BME) people living in Jersey were born here. Do not assume people are not from Jersey, or from the UK.

Avoid the word immigrant when you are writing in a local context. It is offensive to many people, not only because it is often incorrectly used to describe people who were born in Jersey (or the UK), but also because it is perceived as negative.

The words Portuguese, black and Asian should not be used as nouns, but adjectives. For example, Portuguese and Madeiran people, rather than the Portuguese, the Madeirans.

re and re-​

Use re- (with a hyphen) when it's followed by the vowel e: re-entry, re-examine.

Use re- for re-read.

Use re (no hyphen) when followed by the vowels a, i, o or u, or any consonant: rearm, rearrange, reassemble, reiterate, reorder, reuse, rebuild, reconsider.

Use a hyphen when confusion with another word would arise: re-cover and recover, re-form and reform, re-creation and recreation, re-sign and resign.

references

References should be easy to understand by anyone, not just specialists.

When writing a reference:

  • do not use italics
  • use single quote marks around titles
  • write out abbreviations in full, for example page not p
  • use plain English, for example use 'and others' not 'et al'
  • do not use full stops after initials or at the end of the reference

If the reference is available online, make the title a link and include the date you accessed the online version.

religious education

​Lower case.

residential and employment status

Capitalise only the first letter: Entitled, Licensed, Entitled for work or Registered. Do not use apostrophes (''). 

risk assessment

​Lower case.

retain

​Keep.

royal​​

Lower case unless part of an official title (such as the Royal Ballet or Royal Mail). So, royal family, royal couple, royal wedding and so on.

S

sat nav

​Two words, lower case.

school subjects

Lower case for all subjects except languages (such as French) and initialisations (such as PE).

school years​​

When writing a school year, you should capitalise Year and use the digit for the numbers: Year 2.

You should also capitalise Reception and Sixth Form.

schools workforce

​No apostraphe.

schoolwork

​One word.

seasons

​spring, summer, autumn and winter are lower case.

self-assessment

This compound noun should be hyphenated, unless it’s an HMRC title.

Self Assessment

Capped up when referring to HMRC title.

self-employment

Hyphenated.

semicolons

Do not use semicolons as they are often mis-read. Long sentences using semicolons should be broken up into separate sentences instead.

Senator​

​Uppercase when part of full name (Senator John Le Fondré) but lower case when referring to 'the senator' or several 'senators'.

sentences​​​

Keep sentences short and to the point. Try to use about 15 to 20 words per sentence and do not include lots of punctuation and linking words (and, therefore, however) when it would be easier to read if sentences were separated.

site titles​

​Site titles should be written in sentence case with no punctuation at the end.

smokefree

In all cases, write as 1 word.

Social Security

Upper case.

spaces​

​Single space after full stops.

spelling​​

Use English, not American, spellings. This usually means using an s rather than a z:

  • minimise, not minimize
  • organisation, not organization

square metres

Not 'square meters' or 'm2'.

St 'Parish'

​See parishes.

States​​​

The following departments in Justice and Home Affairs remain part of the States of Jersey:

  • Combined Control Room
  • Fire and Rescue Service
  • Health and Safety Inspectorate
  • Police
  • Ambulance Service
  • Prison Service

When referring to the States Assembly as a group of people, it is plural: The States have agreed to.

If you're referring to the Government of Jersey as a public-sector organisation providing services or as an employer, it is singular: The Government has saved money and improved services by introducing a new system for.

Not all references to the States will use a capital:

  • States Assembly
  • States day (note lower case 'day')
  • States debate
  • States decision 
  • States Greffe 
  • States Member  
  • States messenger
  • States sitting
  • States Members' pay

You don't need to use a possessive apostrophe when referring to something owned by the States of Jersey or the States Assembly:

  • States Members
  • States buildings

street names​​

​See place names.

summary description (for web content)​​​

​The summary description appears on the summary or index page at the level above your page content. Keep the summary brief and start with a capital letter, but don't use punctuation at the end.

summer school

​Lower case.

T

Taxes Office

​Now Revenue Jersey.

teamwork

​Lower case, one word.

telephone numbers​

Phone numbers

temperatures​​

You should write temperatures as: 14°C.

How to Make a Degree Symbol on wikiHow

text alignment​​

Don't justify or centre text.

Both are difficult to read, especially for people with dyslexia or other conditions.

that or which?

​'That' defines: This is the house that Jack built.

'Which' informs: This house, which Jack built, is now falling down.

As a general rule 'which' acts as an invisible bracket. If you delete 'which Jack built', from the second example, the sentence still makes sense.

this page is currently under construction

Don't ever use this or any holding page on the website.

If a page is under construction, down for maintenance or being updated or reviewed then it shouldn't be live on the site.

those

Avoid using the word those when referring to people. Use the word people instead.

times​

Avoid using the 24 hour clock.

Do not include a space between the number and the time of day and do not use punctuation in between am and pm:

  • 9am
  • 5pm
  • 6.30pm

titles

When referring to a minister, write their ministerial title, with States title within commas, and carry on the sentence: The Chief Minister, Senator (insert name), has addressed Islanders.

Ministerial titles, for each department, are:

Office of the Chief Executive:

  • Chief Minister
  • Deputy Chief Minister
  • Assistant Chief Minister
  • Minister for International Development

Justice and Home Affairs:

  • Minister for Home Affairs

Growth, Housing and Environment:

  • Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture 
  • Minister for the Environment
  • Minister for Infrastructure 

Children, Young People, Education and Skills:

  • Minister for Education
  • Minister for Children and Education

Health and Community Service:

  • Minister for Health

Customer and Local Services:

  • Minister for Social Security

Treasury and Exchequer:

  • Minister for Treasury

When writing a letter or email to a minister or assistant minister, address them by their States title (Dear Senator/Deputy/Connétable), not their ministerial title (Dear Minister/Assistant Minister). 

Find information about titles on web pages.

tone of voice​

The tone of voice for our web content should be friendly and approachable.

When writing about and to our customers, use 'you' for information directed at a customer (for example, 'We will contact you' or 'You can contact us').

When referring to ourselves (as a department or organisation), we should use 'we', 'us' and 'our' (for example, 'we'll contact you within 2 working days', 'contact us if you need any help' and 'our new guidelines will be published shortly').

The tone of voice for legal documents, reports and publications is more formal than web content so you should avoid using 'we', 'us' and 'our' when referring to the Government.

trade marks

Avoid using trademarked names where possible. Tablet not iPAD or search engine not Google.

Trade mark is 2 words but trademarked is 1 word.

You can use symbols such as ™ , ® or © as they are compatible with screen readers.

U

underlining​​

Only links are underlined.

upper case​

​Don't write in upper case. It takes more effort to read and has usability and accessibility implications. If you need to emphasise something, consider rewording your text and, or using headings to break it up.

URL

Upper case. No need to explain the acronym.

​See page URLs.

user ID

​Lower case 'user'.

username

​Not user name.

V

Viscount​​

​Upper case.

W

website and webpage​​

​Not web site, Web site or web page.

wellbeing

One word without a hyphen.

while​

​Not whilst.

Who or whom?

If you're not sure, it is much better to use 'who' when 'whom' would traditionally have been needed, than to use 'whom' incorrectly.

wifi

​Lower case, no hyphen.

Y

y​ear

Display years as fulll figures such as, 1950s and 1960s not the 50s or 60s. Don't use terms such a roaring 20s and swinging 60s.

Year ranges should use to not dash and don't abbreviate the year, for example, Government plan 2022 to 2024 not Government plan '22-24.

Z

zero hours contract

No hyphen and hours not hour.

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