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English Style Guide

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92 pages

The English Style Guide for authors and translators in the European Commission. Seventh Edition: June 2011.

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Ajouté le : 24 juin 2011
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European Commission Directorate-General for Translation
English Style Guide
A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission
Seventh edition: June 2011
The English Style Guide is updated regularly. For the latest version, see http://ec.europa.eu/translation/english/guidelines/documents/styleguide_english_dgt_en.pdfFor whats new, see http://ec.europa.eu/translation/english/guidelines/documents/whats_new_style_guide_en.pdf
TABLE OFCONTENTS
English Style Guide
Introduction ................................................................................ 1
Part I Writing English .................................................................... 31................................................SG.INLLPE........5................................................
2
3
4
5
6
CONVENTIONS..............................................................................................5
INTERFERENCE EFFECTS............................................................................ 7
CAPITAL LETTERS........................................................................................ 7
GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES............................................................................. 9
HYPHENS AND COMPOUND WORDS ..................................................... 12
PUNCTUATION ............................................................................................. 14
FULL STOP .................................................................................................... 14
COLON ........................................................................................................... 15
SEMICOLON ................................................................................................. 15
COMMA ......................................................................................................... 16
DASHES ......................................................................................................... 18
BRACKETS .................................................................................................... 19
QUESTION MARK........................................................................................ 19
EXCLAMATION MARK .............................................................................. 19
QUOTATION MARKS .................................................................................. 20
APOSTROPHE ............................................................................................... 21
NUMBERS....................................................................................................... 22
WRITING OUT NUMBERS .......................................................................... 23
FRACTIONS................................................................................................... 24
RANGES........................................................................................................ 24
DATES AND TIMES ..................................................................................... 24
ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS ................................................................ 26
ABBREVIATIONS.........................................................................................26
MATHEMATICAL SYMBOLS .................................................................... 29
SCIENTIFIC SYMBOLS AND UNITS OF MEASUREMENT ................... 29
FOREIGN IMPORTS ...................................................................................... 31
FOREIGN WORDS AND PHRASES IN ENGLISH TEXT ......................... 31
ROMANISATION SYSTEMS ....................................................................... 31
VERBS ............................................................................................................. 32
SINGULAR OR PLURAL AGREEMENT.................................................... 32
PRESENT PERFECT/SIMPLE PAST ........................................................... 33
TENSES IN MINUTES .................................................................................. 33
VERBS IN LEGISLATION ........................................................................... 34
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16
BULLETIN AND GENERAL REPORT ....................................................... 69
THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL........................................................................... 68
REFERENCES TO OFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS........................................... 68
AGENCIES ..................................................................................................... 68
OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ........................................................ 68
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK.................................................................... 67
COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS................................................................ 67
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE ........................... 67
COURT OF AUDITORS................................................................................ 67
COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ................................. 65
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT......................................................................... 64
EUROPEAN COUNCIL................................................................................. 64
COUNCIL ....................................................................................................... 63
COMMISSION ............................................................................................... 62
THE EU INSTITUTIONS ................................................................................ 62
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15
17
SCIENTIFIC NAMES .................................................................................... 39
8
9
FOOTNOTES, CITATIONS AND REFERENCES.......................................... 41
10
CORRESPONDENCE..................................................................................... 42
11
NAMESANDTITLES.....................................................................................44
English Style Guide
LISTS AND TABLES ....................................................................................... 37
SPLIT INFINITIVE ........................................................................................ 36
THE GERUND AND THE POSSESSIVE..................................................... 36
LISTS .............................................................................................................. 37
SCIENCE GUIDE ........................................................................................... 39
TABLES.......................................................................................................... 39
THE TREATIES  AN OVERVIEW ........................................................... 52
THE TREATIES IN DETAIL ........................................................................ 53
TREATY CITATIONS................................................................................... 55
SECONDARY LEGISLATION ........................................................................ 56
LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURES .................................................................... 57
TITLES AND NUMBERING ........................................................................ 57
STRUCTURE OF ACTS ................................................................................ 60
REFERRING TO SUBDIVISIONS OF ACTS .............................................. 61
PERSONAL NAMES AND TITLES ............................................................. 44
NAMES OF BODIES ..................................................................................... 45
GENDER-NEUTRAL LANGUAGE ................................................................ 47
12
7
Part II About the European Union ...................................................49
13 .............................................................................. 51THE EUROPEAN UNION
14TALS.NOI............I2M5PR.YARGILE................................................................
18
19
20
21
English Style Guide
EU FINANCES................................................................................................ 69
BUDGET......................................................................................................... 70
FUNDS FINANCED FROM THE BUDGET ................................................ 71
OTHERFUNDS.............................................................................................71
MEMBER STATES .......................................................................................... 72
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIONS/REPRESENTATIVES .................... 72
NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS ....................................................................... 73
NATIONAL JUDICIAL BODIES.................................................................. 73
NATIONAL LEGISLATION ......................................................................... 73
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES AND CURRENCIES ............................................. 74
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ............................................................................. 74
CURRENCIES ................................................................................................ 75
EXTERNAL RELATIONS................................................................................ 75
Annexes ....................................................................................79Annex 1 TRANSLITERATION TABLE FOR GREEK ............................................... 81
Annex 2 TRANSLITERATION TABLE FOR CYRILLIC ........................................... 85
Companion volume:
Country Compendium
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iii
Introduction 
English Style Guide
This Style Guide is intended primarily for English-language authors and translators, both in-house and freelance, working for the European Commission. But now that so many texts in and around the EU institutions are drafted in English by native and non-native speakers alike, its rules, reminders and handy references aim to serve a wider readership as well.
In this Guide, style is synonymous with a set of accepted linguistic conventions; it therefore refers to recommended in-house usage, not to literary style. Excellent advice on how to improve writing style is given inThe Plain English Guide Martin Cutts by (Oxford University press, 1999) andStyle: Towards Clarity and Grace Joseph M. by Williams (University of Chicago Press, 1995), and the European Commissions own How to write clearly, all of which encourage the use of good plain English. For reasons of stylistic consistency, the variety of English on which this Guide bases its instructions and advice is the standard usage of Britain and Ireland (for the sake of convenience, called British usage or British English in this Guide).
The Guide is divided into two clearly distinct parts, the first dealing with linguistic conventions applicable in all contexts and the second with the workings of the European Union  and with how those workings are expressed and reflected in English. This should not be taken to imply that EU English is different from real English; it is simply a reflection of the fact that the European Union as a unique body has had to invent a terminology to describe itself. However, the overriding aim in both parts of the Guide is to facilitate and encourage the writing of clear and reader-friendly English.
Writing in clear language can be difficult at the Commission, since much of the subject matter is complex and more and more is written in English by (and for) non-native speakers, or by native speakers who are beginning to lose touch with their language after years of working in a multilingual environment. We must nevertheless try to set an example by using language that is as clear, simple, and accessible as possible, out of courtesy to our readers and consideration for the image of the Commission.
In legislative texts, accuracy and clarity are of course paramount. But legal or bureaucratic language that we might regard as pompous elsewhere has its place in both legislation and preparatory drafting, though the specialist terms must be embedded in rock-solid, straightforward English syntax. In some cases  departmental memos or papers for specialist committees  we may regard Eurospeak as acceptable professional shorthand; searching here for plain English periphrases wastes time and simply irritates readers.
By contrast, in-house jargon is not appropriate in documents addressing the general public such as leaflets or web pages. Information of practical use, e.g. on rights, applying for jobs or accessing funding, must be immediately understandable even to those unfamiliar with the workings and vocabulary of the EU. This also means, for example, using short paragraphs, simple syntax and highlighting devices such as bullets.
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English Style Guide
For more information on writing web pages in particular, see the Writing for the websection of the CommissionsInformation Providers Guide.
So style is a matter of everyday concern to both authors and translators, for whom we hope this Guide will be a practical source of information and an aid to consistency. We have tried to bring together much that is available disparately in publications such as the EU Publications OfficesInterinstitutional Style Guide, the Commissions Legislative Drafting Manual and the interinstitutionally producedJoint Practical Guide the for drafting of EU legislation. Needless to say, our Guide does not in any way aim to replace these publications, which are well worth consulting in their own right.
The English Style Guides current Editorial Committee is: Tim Cooper John Fallas Francis Flaherty John Jones Tim Martin Andrew Sammut Jonathan Stockwell Julia Townsend Peter Workman
All work for the European Commissions Directorate-General for Translation.
Many others have contributed their time and expertise over the years, and even though they remain nameless here, they are not forgotten.
The current edition of the Guide is the seventh. The first was published back in 1982. This seventh edition has been slimmed down considerably, since nearly all the annexes have been removed. Most of the information they contained is now set out more clearly and logically by country in an accompanying document called the Country Compendium: A companion to the English Style Guide.
While we have done our best to ensure that the information set out in this Guide is relevant, correct and up-to-date, errors and omissions are inevitable. If you have any comments on the content of the Guide, please send them by e-mail toDGT-EN-TERM@ec.europa.eu.
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Part I  Writing English
English Style Guide
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English Style Guide
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1 
SPELLING
CONVENTIONS 
1.1 
1.2 
1.3 
1.4 
1.5 
English Style Guide
British spelling.Follow standard British usage, but remember that influences are crossing the Atlantic all the time (for example, the spellingsprogramand diskhave become normal British usage in data processing, whilesulfur has replacedsulphurin scientific and technical usage).
Note, however, that the names of US bodies may retain the original spellings, e.g.Department of Defense.
Words in -ise/-ize. Use-ise. Both spellings are correct in British English, but the-iseform is now much more common in the media. Using the-isespelling does away with the need to list the most common cases where it must be used anyway. (There are up to 40 exceptions to the-izeconvention: the lists vary in length, few claiming to be exhaustive.)
The spellingorganisationthus be used for all international should organisations, even if they more commonly use the-ize e.g. spelling, International Labour Organisation(itswebsite usesInternational Labour Organization, while Americans will writeInternational Labor Organization). However, following the rule in1.1above, the spellings of bodies native to the USA and other countries that use theizespelling may be retained.
The -yse form for such words asparalyse andanalyse the only correct is spelling in British English.
Digraphs.Keep the digraph inaetiology, caesium, oenology, oestrogen, etc. (etiology etc. are US usage), but note that a number of such words (e.g.medievalandfetus) are now normally spelt without the digraph in British English.Foetusis still common in Britain in non-technical use.
Double consonants. In British usage (unlike US practice), a final-lis doubled after a short vowel on adding-ing or-ed to verbs (sole exception:parallel, paralleled) and adding-erto make nouns from verbs: travel, travelling, travelled, traveller level, levelling, levelled, leveller
Other consonants double only if the last syllable of the root verb is stressed or carries a strong secondary stress: admit, admitting, admitted refer, referring, referred
but
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format, formatting, formatted
benefit, benefiting, benefited
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