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Medium Style Sheet

These are the standards that we, the Medium editors, are imposing on pieces that pass through our hands.

Medium Style Sheet


These are the standards that we, the Medium editors, are imposing on pieces that pass through our hands. Each Medium writer’s style is his or her own — no one should feel any obligation to follow these guidelines. But we’re making them public in case they’re helpful to anyone else.

For topics not covered here, please see the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.

Spelling

Use American spellings, as specified by Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition. Use the first spelling listed. For foreign words, use the Random House Dictionary.

Spell out numbers up to 101 (for example, ninety-six), as well as large round numbers (for example, two thousand). Numbers in post titles should not be spelled out.

For percentages, use numerals and spell out “percent” (for example, 20 percent).

Titles

For the titles, headings, and subheadings of Medium posts, use “title case,” which means:

  • Capitalize all words except coordinate conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), articles, and prepositions
  • First and last word capitalized, no matter their parts of speech
  • Capitalize all words following an internal punctuation mark (for example, “Medium Style Sheet — The Final Version”)

Italicize titles of books, newspapers, periodicals, movies, TV shows. Some details:

  • If a magazine title must be followed by “magazine” to distinguish it from other publications, do not italicize “magazine” unless it is formally included in the title (New York magazine vs. The New York Times Magazine).
  • For magazine titles, italicize the article if it is a formal part of the title (The Nation).
  • For newspapers, do not italicize the article (the New York Times).

Titles of short works (poems, songs, TV episodes, book chapters) take quotation marks.

Punctuation

Em dashes are formed by typing two hyphens ( -- becomes — ).

Close quotation marks should:

  • Follow periods and commas (“x.” and “x,”)
  • Precede colons and semicolons (“x”: and “x”;)
  • Precede question marks and exclamation marks, unless those marks are part of the quoted material

When a colon introduces:

  • An independent clause (a clause that could stand apart as its own sentence), the first word of that clause should be capitalized
  • A dependent clause (which could not stand apart as its own sentence), the first word of the clause should not be capitalized

Use the serial comma before the conjunction in a series (x, y, and z).

Acronyms do not require periods (with exceptions; see a dictionary if unsure), whereas abbreviations do.