style guide

1. CAPITALIZATION IN TITLES OF ALBUMS AND SONGS

The first and the last words of a title must be capitalized: e.g., "And She Was"; Trouble Man; "Rave On"; Let Love In; "Keep on Keeping On".

All nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns (e.g., he, she, its, his, they, this, these) are capitalized in titles: e.g., "How I Wrote Elastic Man"; "One of These Days"; "I Am the Fly"; "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side".

Words in titles take initial caps except for a, and, for, from, in, of, the, to: e.g., "The Queen of Ur and the King of Um"; "Man from Reno"; "Dance to the Music"; "Walk on the Wild Side".

Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions that appear immediately before or after a colon or a parenthesis in a title have to be capitalized.

2. DANGLING MODIFIERS

"Centered on the sound of the melodica, Augustus Pablo brings new inflections to reggae". The implied subject of the opening phrase is music, not Augustus Pablo. The sentence would be correct as follows: "Centered on the sound of the melodica, Augustus Pablo's music brings new inflections to reggae".

Another example: "Three years in the making, Radiohead delivers its new album". The implied subject of the opening phrase is album, not Radiohead. It could be corrected in the following ways: "Three years in the making, Radiohead's new album has finally arrived". or "Radiohead delivers its new album, three years in the making".

3. DASHES

Always type two hyphens ( -- ) with a space on either side where you want dashes to appear in your work. Don't use a smart key. This does not apply to hyphenation.

4. DATES

All decades should be written as follows: 1960s or '60s, not 1960's or 60's. When describing a decade using "early", "mid", or "late", use the abbreviated form: e.g., "the mid-'60s"; "the early '70s"; "the late '90s". (Note that "mid-" gets a hyphen.)

5. DIACRITICAL MARKS AND FOREIGN CHARACTERS

Always include a note saying what/where any diacritical marks and foreign characters are.

6. ELLIPSES

To indicate an ellipsis, type three dots ( . . . ); don't use a smart key.

7. GENRES

When referring to musical genres and styles, always use lower case: e.g., punk, rap, hip-hop, death metal, etc. There are, of course, exceptions: e.g., R&B; IDM.

8. HEADER FORMAT FOR CD REVIEWS

Artist

Title

Label

US release date:

Artist Web site:

Label Web site:

Writer

Title of article

Always include release dates/URLs. (You can find release dates at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, and allmusic.com and you can find URLs easiest at www.google.com)

9. HYPHENATION

If you use two (or more) words as a compound adjective to modify a noun, hyphenate those words: e.g., "a South-Bronx-based artist"; "a late-'80s mullet"; "a clear-cut case".

A compound modifier that includes an adverb ending in-ly is not hyphenated: e.g., "a classically trained musician"; "a hugely overrated group"; "the dearly departed G.G. Allin".

Adverbs that don't end in -ly may be hyphenated: e.g., "a well-tempered clavier"; "a less-interesting version".

10. ITALICIZATION

All album, film, magazine, book, and newspaper titles need to be italicized. To indicate italics please put HTML tags around the text, thus:

<i>title</i>
. For example:
<i>There's a Riot Goin' On</i>
<i>Withnail and I</i>
<i>Mirror Man</i>
<i>Father Ted</i>
<i>What's Going On</i>
<i>One of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing)</i>
<i>Metal Detector Enthusiast Monthly</i>

Similarly, use HTML tags to indicate italics for emphasis or for a foreign word or phrase: e.g., "Apparently, Nick Drake only ever gave

<i>one</i>
interview"; "At Bay City Rollers concerts, it was
<i>de rigueur</i>
for fans to wear tartan".

11. ITS AND IT'S

"Its" is the correct possessive form: e.g., "America Eats Its Young was released in 1972"; "Coldplay trashed its hotel room"; "Spinal Tap replaced its drummer".

"It's" is a contraction of "it is": e.g., "It's the End of the World as We Know It"; "It's Not Unusual"; "It's four in the morning".

12. MEDIA FORMATS

Media formats are to be written as follows: CD/CDs; EP/EPs; LP/LPs; 45/45s; MP3/MP3s; a-side/a-sides; b-side/b-sides.

13. NAMES OF BANDS

Leading articles and articles within the artist's/band's name must be lower case: e.g., the Artist Formerly Known as Prince; Nikki Sudden and the Jacobites; Jeru the Damaja.

There are exceptions: e.g. A Guy Called Gerald; The The.

Don't refer to an artist simply by his/her first name, unless the artist goes by his/her first name, or unless you need to make a distinction between family members. Writing about Hanson, for example, might require the use of first names.

14. NAMES OF BANDS AND VERB CONJUGATION

In general American usage, verbs following the names of bands are conjugated in the singular: e.g., "Primal Scream has just finished a US tour"; "OutKast is working on a new album"; "Atari Teenage Riot is not known for its subtlety".

If the band's name is a plural, conjugate verbs in the plural: e.g., "Swans were the loudest band I'd ever heard"; "Unfortunately, the Boomtown Rats are re-forming for a comeback tour".

When a group's name is preceded by "the", conjugate verbs in the plural: e.g., "The Legendary Pink Dots have been recording albums since 1981"; "The Nice were on the radio last night"; "The Ex are opening for Fugazi". (Unless the definite article preceding a band's name appears at the start of a sentence, write it in lower case.)

**If you're not using American English, however, verbs following any band names can be conjugated in the plural form: e.g., "Creme Brulee were one of the most underrated acts of the late '70s"; "Hot Chocolate are poised for a comeback".

The bottom line, and the single most important thing to remember, is...just be consistent. (For instance, try not to do the following: "Blur is back with their best album ever"; or, "With their new release, Acid Mothers Temple proves that psychedelic rock is alive and well, and that they're the ones to bring it to us".)

15. NUMBERS

Numbers one through ten are written out: one, two, three, four, five, etc. Numbers 11 and over are written as numerals: 11, 12, 13, 14, etc.

If you have to begin a sentence with a number, spell the number out. (If you can, avoid starting a sentence with a number.)

16. POSSESSIVES

To form the possessive case of singular nouns, add an apostrophe and an s: e.g., "the band's equipment"; "the singer's microphone".

To form the possessive case of a plural noun, add only an apostrophe: e.g., "both bands' albums"; "the Butchies' tour van".

Some irregular plurals require an apostrophe and an s: "the children's toys"; "the women's cars".

It's currently more common to form the possessive of singular proper names that end in s by adding an apostrophe and an s: e.g., "Pras's solo career"; "Bari Watts's guitar solos".

17. PUNCTUATION PLACEMENT

Place full points and commas inside the quotes for a complete quoted sentence; otherwise point comes outside. Throughout this style sheet the correct punctuation format is used.

18. QUOTES AND APOSTROPHES

Always use straight quotes and apostrophes -- not curly quotes or smart keys. If you use Microsoft Word, this will mean changing a default setting.

19. QUOTING SONG LYRICS

Put spaces around slashes in song lyrics and capitalize the first word of each phrase: e.g., "London calling to the faraway towns / Now that war is declared and battle come down / London calling to the underworld / Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls."

20. THEIR AND THEY'RE

"Their" is the correct possessive form: e.g., "their worst suspicions were confirmed"; Their Satanic Majesties Request; "Big Tymers will be directing their own video".

"They're" is a contraction of "they are": e.g., "Tool and Destiny's Child say they're going to work together soon"; "Many fans of Elton John say they're not concerned about his appearance with Eminem"; "They're coming to take me away".

21. TITLES OF SONGS

Song titles require double quotation marks, which should appear inside punctuation: e.g., Creme Brulee played "Voodoo Lady", an early hit, and then left the stage.

22. WHO AND THAT

To refer to human beings with a relative pronoun, use "who" as opposed to "that": e.g., "Mogwai chastised members of the audience who were talking during the quiet sections" is correct. "Mogwai chastised members of the audience that were talking . . ." is incorrect.

23. MISCELLANEOUS

While you might want to include information about yourself in an article or review, bear in mind that your readers (and your editors) are more interested in the artists and their music, so keep the "I/me/my" stuff to a minimum. The artist and the music are the focus of the story, not you. While we don't want to discourage personal opinions and anecdotes -- and they may indeed be central to a point you want to make -- please remember that your readers may not care about, say, your roommates or significant others, whom they don't know, after all.

"Always write out the word "and" -- don't use an ampersand [&] unless it's part of a title".

Skip a line between paragraphs.

Within the same sentence, try to avoid repeating words that stand out.

Pay attention to subject/verb agreement.

Thoroughly check all facts (dates, spelling of names, titles, and so forth).

Always run spell check.

Always proofread your work carefully before submitting it.

Remember that you're writing for a global audience. We need to be particularly sensitive to that fact so that we're perceived more as an international publication, rather than simply as an American one. Try to avoid making assumptions about who your audience is. (For US-based writers in particular: always spell out US state names and region names. It can't be assumed that readers outside the US will know that Wichita, KS, means Kansas.)

 

 

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