Important note: This Wiki page is edited by participants of the EOWG. It does not necessarily represent consensus and it may have incorrect information or information that is not supported by other Working Group participants, WAI, or W3C. It may also have some very useful information.


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Related: W3C Manual of Style


  • comma before conjunction, e.g.: apples, oranges, and bananas.
  • punctuation outside quoted terms
    • e.g.: This accessibility requirement is sometimes called sufficient "color contrast"; however, that is incorrect — technically it's "luminosity contrast".
    • (Note: Many American-English style guides, including the Chicago Manual of Style, recommend periods and commas inside quotes. Most British-English style guides recommend punctuation outside quotes. Coding requires proper nesting. Because most of our audience is more focused on proper code syntax than on America-English syntax, we chose punctuation outside quoted terms.)
  • Commas after introductory prepositional clauses, especially in sentences that are a bit long or complex.
  • Comma (or colon) after "for example," and "e.g.,". Note: for Recommendations and other formal docs, probably better to use "for example" instead of "e.g.".


  • web/Web capitalization
    • web - lowercase as adjective
    • Web - can capitalize when referring to the World Wide Web, or leave lower case for consistency within a document
  • Working Groups, Task Forces
    • XYZ Working Group - capitalize when talking about a specific working group, including, "the Working Group" without the name of the WG in the phrase.
    • working groups - lowercase when talking generically about working groups. However, OK to capitalize if seems better for consistency within a doc.
    • if in doubt, capitalize.
    • same for Task Forces.

One word, Two word, Hyphenation

  • website - one word
  • e-mail - hyphenated


  • "for example" instead of "for instance" usually

Document links in sentences

  • whenever feasible, put linked documents at the end of sentences. Several EOWG folks feel this improves reading flow for visual readers, makes it easier for screen reader users to know where the document title ends, etc. For example:
For guidance on making the whole Web accessible, see Awesome Document on Web Accessibility.
instead of: See Awesome Document on Web Accessibility for guidance on making the whole Web accessible.

Editorial style

Front-load conditional sentences

For example, instead of:

Use empty alternative text when an image is purely decorative.


For images that are just decorative, use empty alternative text.

Use strong action statements

For example, instead of:

Try to write link text so that it describes the content of the link target in a meaningful way.


Write link text so that it describes the content of the link target in a meaningful way.

Simplify sentence construction

For example, instead of:

Some audiences, such as in doctors or engineers, require complex terminology, but still seek opportunities to simplify.


Use language suited to your audience needs, especially where the topic might include complex terminology.

Remove superfluous words

For example, instead of:

Provide text alternatives for all images.


Provide text alternatives for images.

Avoid subjective adjectives

For example, instead of:

Policies will vary greatly across organizations.


Policies will vary across organizations.