SikhiWiki:Manual of Style

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This Manual of Style makes the encyclopaedia easy to read by establishing principles for its format. It is a style guide. The following rules do not claim to be the last word on SikhiWiki style. One way is often as good as another, but if everyone does things the same way, SikhiWiki will be easier to read and use, and easier to write and edit. These are not rigid laws: they are principles that many editors have found to work well in most circumstances, but which should be applied with flexibility. In this vein, editors should strive to have their articles follow these guidelines.

While quality of writing may be more important than presentation and formatting, these elements also have their place in clear and unbiased delivery of information. One of the joys of wiki editing is that SikhiWiki does not demand perfection. SikhiWiki does not require writers to follow all or any of these rules, but their efforts will be more appreciated when they are guided by them.

Article titles

Main article: Wikipedia:Naming conventions

If possible, make the article’s topic the subject of the first sentence of the article (as opposed to putting it in the predicate or in a subsequent sentence). For example, write “This Manual of Style is a style guide” instead of “This style guide is known as…”.

If the article title is an important term, use it as early as possible in the article. Use boldface for the first (and only the first) appearance of the title and any important synonyms (including acronyms). Use three apostrophes to produce the boldface: '''article title''' produces article title.

Sections and headings

Main article: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (headings)


Use the == (two equal signs) style markup for headings (also called section titles), not the ''' (triple apostrophes) used to make words appear boldface in character formatting. Start with ==, add the heading title, then end with ==.

This section’s heading was created with the markup:

==Sections and headings==

This subsection’s heading was created with the markup:



  • In a heading, capitalize only the first letter of the first word and the first letter of any proper nouns, and leave all of the other letters in lowercase. Example: “Rules and regulations”, not “Rules and Regulations”.
  • Avoid special characters in headings, such as a slash (/), a plus sign (+), curly braces ({}), or square braces ([]). In place of an ampersand (&) use the word and, unless the ampersand is part of a formal name.
  • Avoid putting links in headings; try to link the first occurrence of the word or phrase in the section text, instead.
  • Keep the heading short: headings more than ten words long may defeat their purpose.
  • Avoid redundancy and unnecessary words in headings, such as articles (a, an, and the), pronouns, and repetition of the title of the whole article.
  • Do not give identical titles to different sections. Doing so tends to confuse the reader, and makes it more difficult for any editor to create a section link to any such section except the first.

Section management

Sub-headings help readers get an overview of the article and find subtopics of interest. Create sub-headings if a section becomes too long, and choose appropriate sub-headings to aid in your exposition.

  • If at all possible, try not to change section headings and sub-headings often. Other articles may link to a specific section. It will break the section links.
  • If you link to a section, leave an editor’s note to remind others that the section title is linked. List the names of the linking articles, so when the title needs changing, others can fix the links more easily. For example: <!-- This section is linked from [[Richard Dawkins]] and [[Daniel Dennett]] --> .
  • If you refer to a section without linking, italicize the section name. For example, this line is in the section on Section management.
  • If you link to a section, do not italicize the section name, unless it otherwise requires italics (for example, if it is the title of a book). Linking a term provides sufficient indication that you are using a term as a term, which is what you would otherwise use italics for.
  • If you change a section title, you may be able to check for broken links. For example, at Google you can search for wikipedia “section management” and have a fair chance of finding links to this section.

Capital letters

Main article: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters)

American English and British English sometimes differ in their inclination to use capitals. If possible, as with spelling, use rules appropriate to the cultural and linguistic context. In other words, do not enforce American rules on pages about Commonwealth topics or Commonwealth rules on pages about American topics. In regard to pages about other cultures, choose either style, but be consistent within the page itself.

Initial capitals and all capitals should not be used for emphasis. For example, “aardvarks, which are Not The Same as anteaters” and “aardvarks, which are NOT THE SAME as anteaters” are both incorrect. Where wording cannot provide the emphasis, use italics (“aardvarks, which are not the same as anteaters”).


Titles such as president, king, or emperor start with a capital letter when used as a title (followed by a name): “President Nixon”, not “president Nixon”. When used generically, they should be in lower case: “De Gaulle was the French president.” The correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun. Hence: “Hirohito was Emperor of Japan.” Similarly, “Louis XVI was the French king” but “Louis XVI was King of France”, King of France being a title in that context. Likewise, capitalize royal titles: “Her Majesty” or “His Highness”. (Reference: Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed., 7.16; The Guardian Manual of Style, “Titles” keyword.) Exceptions may apply for specific offices.

In the case of “prime minister”, either both words begin with a capital letter or neither, except when the term begins a sentence. When using the term generically, do not capitalize it: “There are many prime ministers around the world.” When referring to a specific office, generally use uppercase: “The British Prime Minister is Tony Blair.” (A good rule of thumb is this: when the modifier is the definite article the, use “Prime Minister”; when the modifier is the indefinite article a, use “prime minister”. When there is no article, some style manuals recommend, for example, “British prime minister”.)

For the use of titles and honorifics in biographical articles, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies)#Honorific_prefixes.

Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines, and their adherents

Names of religions, whether as a noun or an adjective, and their followers start with a capital letter. The Latter Day Saint movement has particular complications—see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints) and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Latter Day Saints).

Names of deities begin with a capital letter: God, Allah, Freya, the Lord, the Supreme Being, the Messiah. (Note that articles such as “the” are not capitalized.) The same is true when referring to important religious figures, such as Muhammad, by terms such as the Prophet. Transcendent ideas in the Platonic sense also begin with a capital letter, as in Good and Truth. Pronouns referring to deities, or nouns (other than names) referring to any material or abstract representation of any deity, human or otherwise, do not begin with a capital letter. Thus, while it is accepted correct usage to say, “He prayed to Wotan”, since Wotan in this case is a proper name, one would not say “He prayed to the God Wotan”, but instead “He prayed to the god Wotan”. The following sentence would be correct usage: “It was thought that he prayed to God, but it turned out he prayed to one of the Norse gods.”

Do not capitalize the names of types of mythical creatures, such as elves, fairies, nymphs and genies. The exception is some works of fantasy, such as those of J. R. R. Tolkien, where initial capitals are used to indicate that the different categories of mythical creatures are being treated as ethnicities or races.

Philosophies, theories, doctrines, and systems of thought do not begin with a capital letter, unless the name derives from a proper noun: lowercase republican refers to a system of political thought; uppercase Republican refers to a specific Republican Party (each party name being a proper noun).

Calendar items

The names of months, days, and holidays always begin with a capital letter: June, Monday, Fourth of July (when referring to the Independence Day (United States), otherwise July 4 or 4 July).

Seasons, in almost all instances, are lowercased: “this summer was very hot”; “the winter solstice occurs about December 22”; “I’ve got spring fever”. When personified, season names may function as proper nouns, in which case they should be capitalized: “I think Spring is showing her colors”; “Old Man Winter”.

Dates normally should be followed by commas: “In 2001, Bob got married”; “On April 10, I will be having a party”. An exception is when they are used to modify other terms: “The 1993 edition has several errors”.

Animals, plants, and other organisms

Main article: Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life#Article titles and common names

Capitalize the name of a genus, but not the name of a species (and italicize both names): for example, the tulip tree is Liriodendron tulipifera.

Editors have hotly debated whether the common names of species should start with a capital letter, and this remains unresolved. As a matter of truce, both styles are acceptable (except for proper names), but create a redirect from the alternative form.

Celestial bodies

Names of other planets and stars are proper nouns and begin with a capital letter: “The planet Mars can be seen tonight in the constellation Gemini, near the star Pollux.” In cases where the name has multiple words, it is treated like other proper nouns where each leading letter is capitalized: “Alpha Centauri” and not “Alpha centauri”.

The words sun, earth, and moon are proper nouns when the sentence uses them in an astronomical context, but not elsewhere: so “The Sun is a main sequence star, with a spectral class of G2”; but “It was a lovely day and the sun was warm”. Note that these terms are proper nouns only when they refer to specific celestial bodies (our Sun, Earth and Moon): so “The Moon orbits the Earth”, but “Pluto’s moon Charon”.

Directions and regions

Regions that are proper nouns, including widely known expressions such as Southern California, start with a capital letter. Follow the same convention for related forms: a person from the Southern United States is a Southerner.

Directions (north, southwest, etc.) are not proper nouns and do not start with a capital letter. The same is true for their related forms: someone might call a road that leads north a northern road, compared to the Great North Road (United Kingdom).

If you are not sure whether a region has attained proper-noun status, assume it has not.


Proper names of specific institutions (for example, Harvard University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, George Brown College, etc.) are proper nouns and require capitalization.

However, the words for types of institutions (university, college, hospital, high school, etc.) do not require capitalization if they do not appear in a proper name:

The University offers programs in arts and sciences.
The university offers… or The University of Ottawa offers…

See also