The Circumference House Style:
Guidance Notes for Writers

Online Web writing can be tricky in that your reach is infinite and your audience is instantaneous and saturated by online written material. Below, is a quick summary of our house writing style to guide you, including common errors that we come across regularly. This information is broken down into four sections for you to read and refer to. Please ensure you utilize the simple past tense when writing for The Circumference.

Good luck with your writing. We look forward to reading your work!

Drew Tapley
Managing Editor, The Circumference.

Tense and Tonality

The Circumference uses the simple past tense style of writing to indicate that an experience started and finished at a specific time in the past; such as: I walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim. Notice the verbs “walked” and “found” are in the simple past, and the sentence is in the active voice instead of the passive voice.

This is different to a writing style that uses the present continuous tense to express the idea that the experience is happening now, at this very moment; such as: “As I walk (walked) through the jungle the ground is (was) damp and the footfalls around me are (were) uncertain. I see (saw) the guide ahead and he is (was) gathering our tour group to explain the many species of birdlife in this part of the jungle.” Notice the different verb tenses which give the narrative a different feel.

The Circumference uses Canadian English and follows the Canadian Style Guide: A Guide to Writing and Editing by Dundurn Press. Canadian English spelling is a hybrid of British and American English. We recommend using a Canadian dictionary of English usage, such as the Oxford Canadian Dictionary (2nd Edition) or to check spellings online. Common errors are: neighbor, center, color, etc. Please see the following notes for guidance before submitting any written material.

Experiences should be written both objectively and subjectively in parts. Please do not overindulge your own feelings and emotions in the articles as this renders the article as a diary or blog. This does not mean that you can’t be descriptive. The mission of The Circumference is to provide informative, interesting and captivating experiences. In order to retain interest throughout, the reader will rely on a mix of factual information with some minor subjective experiences.

Language

Remove sentences that are irrelevant. STAY ON TOPIC. Keep referring back to the title of the experience as you write and edit your own work. It helps to get another person to proofread your work before you submit your article to us for consideration.

Use mostly simple language. If you can select a simpler word to replace a more complicated one, then do so throughout the material.

Punctuation

Don’t over-punctuate so that the reading is staggered and the flow is damaged. Be mindful of natural flow when using commas and periods. Read your work for comprehension: meaning, sense and flow. Avoid short fragment sentences wherever possible and join two smaller sentences together with a comma or coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). If necessary, reconstruct sentences and paragraphs or rearrange the order of paragraphs so that a thread runs through the article and reaches a natural end.

Date format: use cardinal (not ordinal) numbers when using an alphanumerical date format (e.g. April 15, 2009). If only using the day and month, then use an ordinal numerical (e.g. September 28th). When using only numerals to express a date, use the following format: dd/mm/yyyy.

Common Mistakes

Introduce parenthetical divisions for weak interruptions (non-essential incidental and complementary material), e.g. The mountain range, which is the second highest in the country, can be seen from Wolf Lake. The sentence fragment in the middle is not essential to the meaning of the whole sentence. Avoid long sentences.