Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Style Guidelines

The British Interest adheres to the following guidelines:

Article formats

  1. Commentaries, c. 800-word articles focusing on a key event, concept or idea;
  2. Essays, c. 1,500-2,000-word articles focusing on a key event, concept or idea, but in more depth;
  3. Interviews, c. 800-1,000-word articles with a politician, civil servant or well-known analyst or scholar;
  4. Standpoints, c. 1,000-word articles deconstructing established concepts or ideas;
  5. Telegrams, c. 1,500-word articles with an ‘applied’ historical dimension.

The ‘British’ clause

  • All articles – whether Commentaries, Essays, Interviews, Standpoints, or Telegrams – should connect in some way to the United Kingdom, either in relation to the topic, or in terms of any recommendations offered. Commentary or analysis from a ‘global’ or ‘international’ perspective is not suited for publication in The British Interest.


  • Avoid excessive jargon. If unusual or technical terms (‘jargon’) must be used, please explain them.

Titles and subtitles

  • Except from the first word, titles should not be capitalised.
  • Only Essays and Telegrams should have subheadings, but these should be short (and emboldened) and use lower case letters (apart from the first word).

Grammar and spelling

  • Use British spellings: use -ise and -yse spellings. Use labour instead of labor, neighbour instead of neighbor, programme instead of program, etc.
  • For possessives ending in ‘s’ do not add another ‘s’: e.g. St. James’ House, not St. James’s House.
  • Do not use the ampersand symbol (i.e. ‘&’).
  • Use the Oxford Comma (where appropriate) – e.g. one, two, and three.
  • Do not use contractions, e.g. don’t, shouldn’t and can’t.
  • Hyphenate double words like state-building, peace-building and decision-making, but not words such as geopolitical, geostrategic or multilateral.

Italicisation, punctuation and formatting

  • All foreign words must be in italics, including Latin terms like: a prioriad hoc, and raison d’être.
  • All book titles, newspapers, magazines and journals mentioned in-text should be in italics.
  • Use the ‘en’ symbol (e.g. – ) rather than a simple dash for sentence clauses and ensure there is a space between the symbol and words (e.g. – hello).
  • For paragraphs, do not insert spaces and do not use indentation.


  • Define an abbreviation the first time that it is used (no matter how common): write the term out in full followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Use the abbreviation consistently thereafter, including at the start of sentences.
  • Do not insert full stops after abbreviated prefixes, e.g., Mr, not Mr.; Mrs, not Mrs.; and Dr, not Dr.
  • Do not insert full stops after acronyms, e.g. UK, not U.K.; US, not U.S.; EU, not E.U.; NATO, not N.A.T.O.
  • In sentences, try to use ‘for example’ not ‘e.g.’, but in parenthesis use ‘e.g.’ not ‘for example’.


  • From one to nine spell-out each number in full. From 10 onwards use numerals.
  • Use commas to separate thousands, e.g. 1,500, 20,000 and 1,500,000.
  • When specifying percentages, use the symbol ‘%’.
  • Half, not 1/2.
  • 100 kilometres, not 100km or 100 km.
  • Six centimetres, not six cm.
  • All currency should be in Pounds Sterling, albeit with the dollar equivalent in brackets beside it, e.g. £500 million (US$700 million). Also, it is £150 million, not £150 millions or £150 mln.
  • For lists use 1., 2., 3., 4., not a., b., c., d.


  • 30th September 2003, not September 30th, 2003.
  • 1960s, not 60s. Use mid-1970s. Use 1990-1995, not 1990-95.
  • Twentieth century, not 20th century or XX Century.

Personal titles

  • Capitalise all personal titles, e.g. the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary.

Geographical names

  • Capitalise politically defined or geographically named locations, e.g. the Heartland, the World Island, South America, South-East Asia, the North Sea, the West, the Indo-Pacific, the Western Approaches.

Quotations and references

  • Short quotations should be indicated by single quotation marks (‘…’), while double quotation marks should be used for quotation material within the quote. A full stop (or other punctuation mark) follows the reference for the quote – e.g. ‘… is the most decisive and important’. – unless there is also a full stop (or other punctuation mark) within the quote.
  • For quotes of five lines or more, indent and separate from the paragraph by one centimetre.
  • Use […] to denote shortened sentences, e.g. ‘[…] is the way that the Commission works […] and understanding the institution is necessary.’
  • Use square parentheses if making any grammatical changes to quotations: e.g. ‘but the original study argued that “[t]he following exercise is unfeasible”.’
  • If possible, add a hyperlink next to the relevant sentence or keyword in the text.


  • Figures, graphs, tables and illustrations may be used: simply position them in the text.
  • Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce figures, graphs, tables and illustrations in their article and must provide evidence that they may be reused.
  • Ensure any figures, graphs, tables and illustrations submitted are of the highest possible quality and resolution, ideally 1200×600 pixels.
  • References to figures, graphs, tables and illustrations must be accompanied in-text with a numbered heading (e.g. Figure 1) and a corresponding hyperlink.