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Tuesday 28 January 2020
Home Style of Sirf News

Style of Sirf News

Upper and lower case initials

How Sirf News differentiates

Beginning 25 December 2019, we are moving closer to the international style, which prescribes a minimal use of upper-case initials.

Sirf News Style
  1. Sirf News uses British English. American orthography is, however, permitted for proper nouns that include names of institutions.
    • When you come across “color” or “esophagus”, for example, change them to “colour” or “oesophagus” as the case may be;
    • But “centre” will be written as “Center” in “Center for Disease Control and Prevention” because this name is of an American institution: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is the American centre for disease control and prevention.
  2. Every report begins with the name of the place from where the incident is being reported.
  3. Honorific:
    • (Shri/Smt/Mr/Ms/Mrs) are not used with names;
    • “Dr” does not refer to doctorates. It is reserved for medical practitioners. For example, Sirf News writes “Dr Harsh Vardhan” but not “Dr Subramanian Swamy”;
    • The definite article “the” before a designation is not used when the designation appears as a title with a name; For example, it is “ Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal”.
  4. The dot:
    • No dot is used between initials of people’s names: We write “VVS Laxman”, not “V.V.S. Laxman”;
    • No dot is used with “Dr”, “Rs”… We write “Dr Naresh Trehan”, not “Dr. Naresh Trehan”. We write “Rs 100”, not “Rs. 100”.
  5. No “/-” sign is used after an amount in rupees.
  6. Date:
    • We use the British order: DD (in figures) month (in words) YYYY (in figures);
    • No comma is used in this format of dates: “26 February 2015”; the comma is suitable in the American format: “February 26, 2015”, which we don’t use;
    • No supercript “st”, “nd”, “rd” or “th” with a date: It is not “26th February 2015” (that is a way of speaking, not writing);
    • The current year is never mentioned in a media report. Between 1 January and 31 December of 2020, for example, “2020” will never be mentioned; only the day and the month will be. Only when we reach the next year (2021) that the year will find mentions. Or, it was mentioned when wer were reporting things in 2019. Scenarios:
      • “Netaji-related files will be declassified on 23 January 2016.” — reporting the announcement in October 2015
      • “Netaji-related files were declassified on 23 January.” — reporting in 2016
      • “Netaji-related files were declassified on 23 January 2016.” — recalling the event in 2017 or later
  7. Headlines:
    • Articles “a”, “an”, “the” and forms of the verb “be” (is, are, was, were, etc) are avoided to the extent possible in headlines;
    • In a headline of a report, all letters except the first letter of the sentence are in the lower case except for proper nouns;
    • We use upper-case initials throughout the headline only for articles by columnists and editorials by the editorial board of Sirf News;
    • A headline is not supposed to end with a punctuation mark except in a few cases where it is a quote: for example, if Modi has said Start-Up India will boost the economy, the headline can be
      Start-Up India will boost economy: PM or
      ‘Start-Up India will boost economy’ (if there is no space left to write “PM”, the headline is enclosed in single inverted commas (‘…’);
    • a headline does not have a double quote (“…”)
    • An acronym is used in a headline only when the full form is well-known: AIR, BJP, SP, BSP, DMK, etc. Otherwise, we use the term fully. Normally, though, acronyms are not needed in a headline. We choose such a phrase that will strike the reader the most;
  8. All non-English terms should be italicised unless they are proper nouns; for example, yojana is italicised, but the same word is not in Atal Pension Yojana.
  9. “Centre” that has the sense of “Union government” has upper-case ‘C’, but “central” does not.
  10. We are switching to “state” to refer to both a province of the country and the nation-state; we are confident that our reader can appreciate the distinction from the context the sentence or the passage throws up.
  11. We are making yet another change, beginning 25 December 2019. The word “parliament” will appear with a lower-case initial for the parliament of any country in the world, but a specific name for a certain parliament will be mentioned with an upper-case initial. For example, Sansad, Diet, Majlis, etc. But it is parliament for the Indian parliament and parliament again for the British parliament.
  12. It’s the “Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry”, but “the commission” (when the name of the head of the commission is not mentioned).
  13. The ‘M’ in “Minister” should be in uppercase only when mentioned with the name:
    • “Power Minister Piyush Goyal said…”, but “the minister said…”
    • “the Ministry of Environment & Forests is studying a file…”, but “the ministry is studying a file…’. [The words for designations appear with upper-case initials only when they appear for the first time in a report. In all subsequent mentions, since the proper nouns are removed, the upper-case turns lower. Also, when mentioned with the name of the person, it is a title; when the designation alone is mentioned, it is a job description, which should not have upper-case initials.]
  14. A ministry has upper-case initials only if mentioned as its name is, not when it is paraphrased. For example, it is the “Ministry of Home Affairs” but the “home ministry”.
  15. We are switching to the lower-case initial for “constitution”.
  16. We do not use upper-case initials except for proper nouns:
    • “Acquisition and Merger”: this is erroneous; it needs to be changed to “acquisition and merger”;
    • No common noun goes with an upper-case initial; “Skill India”, for example, will have upper-case initials, but “thousands have acquired technical skills since the programme was launched” will obviously not have a “Skill”; it will be “skill”;
    • The term “government” appears with an upper-case initial only while writing “Government of India (or of another country or of a State of our or another country); otherwise it is always “government” (lower-case ‘g’). But it must be added here that we do not write “Government of India” ever.
  17. “Lakh” and “crore” should not go as “lakhs” and “crores”; “crore” should not be “cr” (except in a headline).
  18. Units of measuring physical quantities
    • Never expressed in plural:
      • mm, cm, m, km etc;
      • l (or litre), sq ft, sq m, etc.
    • Prefixes of these units till kilo (1,000) have lower-case initials; thereafter, it is upper-case: e.g., kW but MW and GW;
    • Units named after scientists have upper-case initials, e.g., Watt – W, Ampere – A, Pascal – Pa, etc;
    • Correct all popular misrepresentations: hour is “h”, not “hr”; second is “s”, not “sec”; metre is “m” while minute is “min”.
  19. For paucity of space in the slot given for headlines (both in newspapers and portals), certain words are always written in the abbreviated or acronym form: government – govt, governor – guv, prime minister – PM, chief minister – CM, etc.
  20. Neither in the headline nor in the body do we write “UNO” or “USA”. We write “the UN” and “the US”. The “the” can be avoided in a headline.