Style guide

This is very much a “working” style guide, and it will regularly be updated and expanded.

At The Record, our style is open to many usage preferences, and we frequently accept usage that other publications would not. (Our adoption of “their” as a third-person singular pronoun is one example.) We use American English spellings, punctuation, and conventions; however, because many of our readers and contributors use British English and common regionalisms, we don’t make a fuss over the occasional “football pitch” or “preponement.”

Transliterated words are an especially tricky area for us. If you have a strong case for why a word should be spelled a particular way in English, we’re happy to consider it.

Our references

For style issues not included in our guide, please refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. For preferred spellings and punctuation, please refer to Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary.


Acronyms

Write out on first mention.

Capitalization

In general, sentences must begin with a capital letter. We’ll make an exception if you are using a proper noun that is written with lower case letters—say, the name bell hooks, or iPhone. However, for the sake of readers, wherever possible, rewrite the sentence.

Professional titles and designations
Make professional titles lowercase when they do not immediately precede a name. (During her time as chief district officer . . . ; The Supreme Court is headed by Chief Justice Karki.)

Italicization

Letters of the alphabet
When referring to a letter of the alphabet, italicize it and write it in lowercase script. When pluralizing, add “ ’s”. (I loved the way her w’s sometimes sounded like v’s.)

Non-English words
In general, italicize a non-English word or transliterated word on first use. Thereafter, do not italicize.

Titles
Italicize titles of books, films, television shows, plays, and names of media organizations. (The Vanishing Act, Kalo Pothi, The Kathmandu Post)

Numbers

Spell out numbers from one to ten; use numerals from 11 onward. (Five women; 65 houses)

Currency
Write out currency figures up to and including one hundred (five dollars; 1,500 rupees), except in scientific use (or in, say, an article on the economy with many figures), in which case use the international currency code (USD 500; NPR 2,000).

Dates
Month Day, Year. (June 1, 1900)

Abbreviate Bikram Sambat as “BS.” (2067 BS)

Do not use an apostrophe with decades, except when the decade is abbreviated. (1920s; the ’60s)

Measurements
Spell-out fractions. (One-third, twenty-three-and-a-half)

Write weight in numerical form. (30 kilos)

Time
Spell out times of day in even, half, and quarter hours. When emphasis on exact time is needed, use number and “p.m.” or “a.m.” (The court adjourned promptly at five p.m.)

Punctuation

Commas
Use a serial comma. (The community is planting rice, millet, and wheat.)

Hyphens
To hyphenate or not to hyphenate? It’s endlessly confusing. Here’s a quick guide (adapted from Bill Walsh’s Lapsing into a Comma):

  • Compound nouns: Sometimes these are one word, sometimes hyphenated, sometimes two words. Look in our style guide, and if not there look in the dictionary.
    – backbench
    – cross-ownership
    – They made a backroom deal in the office’s back room.
  • Verb + preposition compound nouns: One word or hyphenated.
    – lookout
    – sit-in
  • Compound verbs: Hyphenated.
    – fact-check
  • Compound adjective: Usually hyphenated, but when in doubt, look-up.
    – rice-planting season
    – high school student

Quotation marks
All punctuation goes inside quotation marks, with the exception of colons and semicolons. (“The new building is an embarrassment,” the report said. The authors claimed it had “no sense of proportion”; “poor ventilation,” which will make the rooms “stuffy and hot” and “lead to walls caked in mold”; and an exterior color that “must have been on sale.”)

Miscellaneous usage

Hopefully

May be used to mean either “it is to be hoped that” or “while full of hope.”

May/might
“Might” is the past tense of “may.” (They might not have been aware of existing law.)

Use “might” to express that an event is unlikely to occur. (Sure, load shedding might be solved by the end of the year. But we may not want to hold our breath.)

Their
May be used as a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun.

Words (accepted spellings, punctuation, and capitalization)

A

adivasi janajati

B

Bachelor of Arts, BA
bachelor’s degree
Bahun
Bardia
Bhaktapur
Bikram Sambat (BS)
Brahmin

C

Central Development Region
checkpoint
checkpost
Chhetri
chief district officer (CDO)

D

Dalit
district: capitalize when used as a proper noun (Dang District)
district development committee (DDC)
dollars (see “Currency”)

E

Eastern Development Region
email

F

Far Western Development Region/Far West

G

Government of Nepal

H

hard-working (She is hard-working.)

I

internet

J

Janajati
jutho

K

Kathmandu
Koirala, B. P.
Kupondol

L

load shedding, n.

M

Madhes/Madhesi
Master of Arts, MA
Master of Science, MSc
master’s degree
Mid Western Development Region/Mid West

N

Nepali (not Nepalese)
Nepali rupee
Newa (used instead of Newar, in keeping with following primary sources of terms for spelling proper nouns; transliterating नेवा: as used by the community)
noes (plural of no)
NPR (see “Currency”)

O

P

PhD

Q

R

Raut, CK
rupee (see “Currency”)

S

self-made (She’s a self-made millionaire.)
Siwaliks
socio-cultural
socioeconomic
Southeast Asia

T

Terai
tãn
tapain
timi
tole
toward (not towards)

U

UK: abbreviate as an adj. (UK ambassador, but living in the United Kingdom)
US: abbreviate as an adj. (US foreign policy, but living in the United States)
USD (see “Currency”)

V

village development committee (VDC)

W

web
website
Western Development Region
worldwide

X

Y

Z