Penguin’s Style Guide


Editors’ Manual of Penguin House Style


The foot of each page of copy should be marked to make it clear whether a space is required at that point in the poem or not (it is not always possible to tell in modern poetry whether a poem is broken at such a point; this should be settled before the copy is sent to production).

Volumes of verse usually require an index. In those cases where anthologies include untitled poems, it is possible to have a combined index of titles and first lines (distinguishing the titles from the first lines by capitalising the former in the customary manner).

Exotic type
Where poetry books contain exotic type (Japanese, Chinese ideograms, Cyrillic or Hebrew alphabet, etc.) it may be necessary to allow production time to find a printer who stocks such type.

Some modern poetry is so dependant on facsimile rendering of line-by-line arrangement that it may not be possible to achieve this on standard Penguin format in an acceptable type-size.

This kind of problem would have to be discussed between the commissioning editor, the copy-editor and the typographer.

In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to abandon the original poem shape altogether and to run on the whole poem, indicating the line breaks by oblique stroke.

This device can be used for the English prose translations in bilingual anthologies; it may indeed have to be used on occasion to relate the translation to the original

In text matter, numbers under 100 should be spelt out. Use figures when the matter consists of a sequence of stated quantities, particulars of age, etc. In dates, etc., use the fewest possible figures, 1946-7, not 1946-47, nor 1946-1947; pp. 145-6, not 145-146; but 90-91, 115-16,100-101 (as spoken). Use an en rule without spaces.

Set thus: £2 6s. 6d. Decimal style: set all sums below £1 in terms of new pence (e.g. ‘80p’) unless you specially need ‘£0.80’. Set £3 and 45 1/2 new pence thus: ‘£3.45 1/2’.

(see also the Authors’ Guide to Penguin House Style, p.13.) Mathematical formulas must be centred on the page and set with italic letters and roman figures ab2 =b+c2 –2d.

Rules separating numerator from denominator must be as long as the longer term, and both must be centred on the rule e.g. 1/1000

If a double-line formula falls within text matter, it is sometimes possible to eliminate white space by removing leads.