Ministry of Testing's Style Guide

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By Mark Winteringham

updated about 2 months ago

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Below is a list of MoT’s style standards for the writing and design of articles published on The Dojo:

  1. Formatting
    • Create simple but catchy headings/subheading.
    • Capitalize ALL words in headings/subheadings.
    • Use bulleted or numbered points for all lists.
    • All quoted material should be in “quotes”.
  2. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle
    • Don’t hang prepositions on verbs.
      • Good Example: “Where is she?”
      • Bad Example: “Where is she at?”
    • Get rid of adjectives and adverbs that don’t add anything.
      • Good Ex: However, there are some…
      • Bad Ex: However, ultimately there are some…
    • Cut phrases that can be replaced with short words.
      • Good Ex: Also, you should…
      • Bad Ex: For this part, you should…
    • Don’t use big words when small ones will do.
      • Good Ex: She tested her sample choices…
      • Bad Ex: She experimented with her sample choices…
  3. Cliffhangers are for Fiction: questions should have answers.
    • Answer questions in the same paragraph you have written them into.
    • Make sure all questions are answered, or given adequate enough answer to allow the reader to understand.
    • Test whether questions should or could be statements instead.
  4. Be MINDFUL when using these to start a paragraph or sentence
    • Conjunctions: But, So, And, Because, For, If, Or, When
    • Overused words/phrases: However, Ultimately, For what it’s worth, It’s worth noting, Usually…
  5. Limit unusual punctuation
    • hyphens, parentheses, colons, semi-colons, exclamation points.
  6. Other tips:
    • Keep paragraphs short, with just one idea per paragraph.
    • Keep sentences short.
    • Put keywords as close to the start of headings/subheadings as possible.
    • Use bulleted or numbered points to note steps, prompts, or takeaways for the reader.
    • Write in the active form.
    • Predominantly write in the second and third-person voice.
    • Address your reader as ‘you’.
    • Avoid slang, idioms, jargon and colloquial phrases where possible.
    • Avoid absolutes such as ‘must’ and ‘will’. Use ‘could’, ‘might’ or ‘may’ instead.
    • Hyperlinks in articles should be used to help direct the reader to other materials. We’d appreciate it if you check whether MoT has a link you can use to cover that subject.
    • All hyperlinks should be referenced in the ‘References’ section of your article.
    • Check the spelling, grammar and style (extra grammar help e.g. Hemingway app, Grammarly).

See links below for further guidance on style, punctuation and how to present code:

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