|This page in a nutshell: Destination guides should be written in the local variant of English. If the destination has no history of using English and no clear preference for a variety to use, US English is used.|
This is a guide on issues of spelling and punctuation.
National varieties of EnglishEdit
Wikivoyage prefers no major national variety of English over any other. American English and British English differ in vocabulary (truck vs. lorry), spelling (center vs. centre), date formatting ("April 13" vs. "13 April") and very occasionally surface grammar. Indian, Irish, New Zealand, Pakistani, Singaporean and South African English are almost identical in spelling to British English, and Canada and Australia mostly uses those spellings as well. These varieties are often collectively called Commonwealth English.
Some words are unique to a variety; in such cases, it's useful to gloss the meaning or the equivalent word in another variety in parentheses immediately after the first occurrence ("some drivers charge extra for the use of the trunk (boot) of their cabs"). Here, trunk and boot might not be known in some varieties, although cab and taxi are probably so widely known everywhere that it's not worth bothering with an explanation.
But it's no big deal. Don't worry if you're not familiar or comfortable with a particular variety of English. Just write in the style you're accustomed to, and eventually someone will come along and clean it up. However, it is generally seen as bad style to change the spelling without rhyme or reason or - worse yet - edit war over such trivial things as spelling.
The rule of thumb for articles related to the following countries (and articles about regions, cities, parks, and itineraries within them) is:
- United States: American English
- Canada: Canadian English
- Australia, and Papua New Guinea: Australian English
- Indonesia: Australian English
- Liberia: American English
- New Zealand, Cook Islands, and Niue: New Zealand English
- Ireland: Irish English
- South Africa: South African English
- United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries: British English
- Brunei, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, all of South Asia and large parts of Africa: British English
- Israel, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan: American English
The rule of thumb for the articles about the following continents is:
- Africa: British
- Asia: American
- Europe: British
- North America: American
- Oceania: Australian
- South America: American
If the destination has no history of using English and no clear preference for the variety to use, we prefer American English spelling. This isn't because American English is somehow better or to stomp on the rights, heritage, and cultures of other English-speaking countries. We just have decided to pick one default spelling style for consistency (however, there are some exceptions).
One exception to this is the preference for the British "traveller" rather than the American "traveler" in Wikivoyage project pages such as policy and guideline pages, expedition pages, and the name of the Wikivoyage:Travellers' pub. For articles, the general rule applies.
|United States||Canada||United Kingdom||UK (Oxford spelling)||Australia|
|computer program||computer program||computer program||computer program||computer program|
|concert program||concert program||concert programme||concert programme||concert program|
Reference guides for US spellingEdit
- Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Wiley Hoboken, NJ
- Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.
Some proper names do not follow spelling or punctuation conventions. Write them as they are used. Don't change them to conform to spelling conventions.
- Joaquin Miller's home, "The Hights", rests on the heights of the Oakland hills.
- King's Cross, St James's Park and Barons Court are London Underground stations.
It can be helpful to other editors to use an HTML comment to mark unconventional spellings in proper names:
* '''Café Art's<!-- sic -->''' - a popular cafe in the Paquis neighborhood of Geneva.
Wikivoyage does not follow all spelling idiosyncrasies employed by private corporations, particularly not when it comes to "corporate shouting" or the practice to write the name of the company in ALL CAPS and that is considered as touting.
- See also: Wikivoyage:Foreign words
In general if there is a genuine need to use a foreign word, the spelling you'd encounter at the destination should be used. For instance "Strasse" when talking about a Swiss destination, but "Straße" when talking about a German or Austrian place.
Plurals should not have apostrophes (unless the result is ridiculous).
- "1800s" not "1800's"
- "apples and oranges" not "apple's and orange's"
Cafe vs. caféEdit
As a general rule of thumb, omit the accent when using American, Australian and South African spellings. Keep the accent when using British or Canadian spellings. However, as a rule of thumb, if a place name that uses British or Canadian spelling omits the accent, omit it in the name, and same vice versa. The accent guideline only applies when not used in names.
Although resume and coupe don't have much use in a travel guide, follow the same rule of thumb. Use accents for British and Canadian spelling, and omit the accent in Australian and American spellings.
For a large number of French speaking countries, particularly in Africa, we use American spelling per the "no clear variety" rule. However, for these countries, keep the accents of loan words, when that spelling is acceptable in American English.