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Punctuation and symbols are used to structure or clarify the meaning of text.

Ampersands [&]

Replaces the word ‘and’ – often used in headings and navigation menus. Don’t use in body copy unless it’s a noun or otherwise appropriate.

Apostrophes [']

Used to indicate either possession or the omission of letters, as in an abbreviation or contraction.

It's vs. Its

‘It’s’ is a contraction of 'it is'.

‘Its’ is a possessive pronoun meaning 'belonging to it'.

When plural nouns end in 's', add the apostrophe after the ‘s’ to indicate possession.

Names ending in ‘s’ should have an apostrophe and an ‘s’ at the end to indicate possession.

Don’t use an apostrophe for plurals.

Colons [:]

Used to indicate that something follows, such as a list or examples.

Capitalise the first letter of each bullet point.

A colon is used where space is limited and where separating a field name from data without a colon may confuse a customer.

Commas [,]

Used to indicate a reading pause in a sentence, improving the flow of the message.

Oxford commas are added before the word 'and' to help avoid confusion.

Use a comma before the word ‘but’ if joining two sentences. No comma if it’s one sentence.

Use commas to separate names from titles.

Exclamation marks [!]

Lifts the tempo of a word or phrase. Use sparingly and only when appropriate.

Full stops [.]

No full stops on the end of headings or sub-headings.

Use full stops for sub-copy and body copy.

Note: You can use a full stop to break up a headline, but no full stop on the end.

For example:

No full stops on the end for:

  • CTA buttons or standalone text links
  • URLs
  • Email addresses

Don’t use full stops on the end of bullet points unless each is relatively lengthy.

Hyphens and em - dashes

Hyphens are used to join words to indicate that they have a combined meaning (such as compound adjectives), or that they’re linked in the grammar of a sentence.

Use em dashes to add extra information or use instead of commas.

No hyphen on ‘e’ (electronic) words.

Per cent [%]

Use the symbol instead of the word.

Question mark [?]

Engages customers and can help shorten headlines

Quotation marks ["]

Double quotation marks are used to mark speech. Single quotation marks (inverted commas) are used for descriptions.

Semi colons [;]

Used to separate two sentences that are closely related but could also stand on their own.

Slashes [/]

Don't use spaces on the sides of a forward slash.