Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Archive 1

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Inuit v Eskimo

I have removed the sentence under #Identity regarding Eskimo. It said that the term should not be used as it is perjorative, which in Canada and Greenland is correct. It also said that Inuit should be used as this is the term used by the people themselves. This is not so. The Canadian Government uses Inuit as a catch all phrase, and the people of the eastern Canadian Arctic would also use Inuit but the preferred term in Canada's Central Arctic is Inuinnaq. In Greenland native peoples call themselves Greenlanders or, in their own language, Kalaallit -- Barliner  talk  17:33, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

That was supposed to illustrate an example of where a native term has become most common in English, and should be preferred over the older English term that was not native. The key here is the fact that it has become the most common term in modern-day English, not the fact that it is a native word. It said nothing about "pejorative" either, it actually said: the term Inuit is now used more often in English than "Eskimo", and it is also what the Inuit call themselves. This seems to be largely correct, the article Inuit evidently regards Greenlanders as a different but related group who call themselves something different. This only refers to those who do call themselves Inuit, so I would say the sentence you deleted was largely correct. But, if it turns out to be too contentious for whatever reason, I would still like to see another good example of a native term that has come to supplant a non-native term in modern English, to contrast with the following example for where the native term is not used in English (French v. francais). Blockinblox - talk 18:27, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Should dates be linked?

Hi - there is no guidance at Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Calendar_items as to whether dates should be linked. I think linking creates unnecessary blue links and dos not usefully take the reader to a linked article. However is it within the manual of style to link or not to link? Thanks --Matilda (talk) 01:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for new section on date and time

Following the discussion at "Wikipedia:Simple talk#Should dates be linked?", I propose that the following guideline be inserted into the Manual of Style. I took this from "en:Wikipedia:Manual of Style" and simplified the wording. Please add your comments, if any, after the box. — Cheers, Truth's Out There talk 13:10, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Date and time

Writing precisely

Avoid words and statements that will quickly go out of date, such as recently and soon (unless their meaning is made clear by the rest of the sentence or paragraph), at the moment, currently, in modern times and is now considered. Instead, use either:

  • more precise terms ("in January 2005"; "since the start of 2005"; "during the 1990s"); or
  • an as of phrase ("as of August 2008"), which tells readers that the statement was correct as of a certain date, and reminds editors that the statement may need to be updated.

It may not be necessary to follow the above rules on pages that are regularly updated, such as those that cover current events.


Whether the 12- or 24-hour clock should be used to show a time depends on the article. In both cases, hours, minutes and seconds should be separated by colons ("1:38:09 pm" and "13:38:09").

  • 12-hour clock times end with dotted or undotted lower-case a.m. or p.m., or am or pm. Put a non-breaking space between the time and the a.m. or p.m. ("2:30 p.m." or "2:30 pm", not "2:30p.m." or "2:30pm"). To create a non-breaking space, type " ", like this: "2:30 p.m." Instead of using 12 pm and 12 am, use noon or 12 noon and midnight or 12 midnight.
  • 24-hour clock times do not have a.m., p.m., noon or midnight after the time. If the hour only has one digit, you can choose either to add a zero or not ("08:15" or "8:15"). 00:00 refers to midnight at the start of a date, 12:00 to noon, and 24:00 to midnight at the end of a date.


  • In dates, Wikipedia does not use ordinal suffixes (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), the word the, or put a comma between the month and year.
Incorrect:    February 14th, 14th February, the 14th of February
Correct: 14 February, February 14
Incorrect: October, 1976
Correct: October 1976
  • Formats: In general, you can use either of the following formats:
    • International format: "14 February" and "14 February 1990" (common in most countries);
    • US format: "February 14" and "February 14, 1990" (mostly used in the US; note the comma between the day and the year).
  • To decide which format is best for an article, use the following guidelines:
    1. Consistent format
      • Dates in the body text and in the references or footnotes of an article should all have the same format.
      • However, if dates are in a different format in titles of books and articles, or in quotations, do not change the format of those dates.
    2. Strong national ties to a topic: An article on a topic with strong ties to a particular English-speaking country should generally use the more common date format for that nation. For example, it may be more suitable to use the "14 February 1990" format in an article about a person from the United Kingdom, and "February 14, 1990" in one about an event that happened in the United States.
    3. Keeping the format already used:
      • If one format is already used in most parts of an article, the whole article should use that format unless there are reasons for changing it because of strong national ties to the topic.
      • If an article is fairly new, the date format chosen by the first editor who makes big changes to the article should be used, unless there is reason to change it because of strong national ties to the topic. Where an article that is not a stub shows no clear sign of which format is used, the first person to insert a date is considered to be the first editor who makes a big change to the article.
  • Wikilinks: It is not necessary to add wikilinks to all dates, like this: "[[25 March]] [[2004]]" or "[[February 10]]"). Only add a wikilink if you think the reader will find useful information at the date-related article you have linked to.
  • Date ranges. When a range of dates involves only numbers, type an en dash between the numbers with no spaces around it ("5–7 January 1979"; "January 5–7, 2002"). When the opening and/or closing dates have internal spaces, type an en dash with a space before and after it ("5 January – 18 February 1979"; "January 5 – February 18, 1979").
  • In rare cases, a night may be indicated using a slash, like this: "the bombing raids of the night of 30/31 May 1942".
  • Yearless dates: Do not use dates without years ("5 March", "March 5") unless the reader can tell what the year is from the rest of the sentence or paragraph. It is all right to use yearless dates when talking about events that happen every year, like this: "January 1 is New Year's Day".
  • ISO 8601 dates: Dates in ISO 8601 format (like "1976-05-13") are not common in English writing and are generally not used in Wikipedia.

Longer time periods

  • Months are expressed as whole words ("February", not "2"). Abbreviations (short versions) such as Feb are used only where there is very little space, such as in tables and infoboxes. Do not insert of between a month and a year ("April 2000", not "April of 2000").
  • Seasons as dates: Because the seasons are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres – and parts of the world near the Equator tend to have just wet and dry seasons – it is better to use wording like "in early 1990" and "in the second quarter of 2003" and "around September" rather than refer to seasons ("Summer 1918", "in the spring of 1995"). However, words referring to seasons can be used when there is a logical connection ("the autumn harvest"), and when they refer to a time of the year in certain parts of the world ("the birds usually start moving to higher latitudes in the middle of spring"). In these cases, the season names should be spelled with a lower-case initial ("spring", not "Spring").
  • Years
    • Years are normally expressed in digits ("1988", not "Nineteen eighty-eight"); a comma is not used in four-digit years (not "1,988").
    • Avoid inserting the words the year before the digits ("in 1995", not "in the year 1995"), unless the meaning would otherwise be unclear.
      • Either CE and BCE or AD and BC can be used — spaced, undotted (without periods) and upper case. Choose either the BC–AD or the BCE–CE system, but not both in the same article. AD appears before or after a year ("AD 1066", "1066 AD"); the other abbreviations appear after ("1066 CE", "3700 BCE", "3700 BC"). If an article already uses one style, do not change to the other style unless there is a good reason for the change.
      • Year ranges, like other date ranges, are separated by an en dash (do not use a hyphen or slash ("2005–08" or "2005–2008", not "2005-2008" or "2005/08"). A closing CE–AD year may be written with two digits ("1881–86") or four digits ("1881–1886"); if it is in a different century from that of the opening year then four digits must be used ("1881–1986"). Do not shorten the closing year to a single digit ("1881–6") or type three digits ("1881–886"). A closing BCE–BC year must be given in full ("2590–2550 BCE"). If CE, BCE, AD and/or BC are used after both the opening and closing dates, one space must be typed before and after the en dash ("5 BC – 29 AD").
      • A slash may be used to indicate regular defined yearly periods that are not the same as calendar years ("academic year 2008/2009", "the financial year 1993/4").
      • To indicate around, approximately, or about, type c. (which stands for the Latin word circa) before the year with a non-breaking space in between ("c. 1291"). If the date is not approximate but uncertain, use a question mark instead ("1291?"). (The question mark may mistakenly be thought to be a sign that editors have simply not checked the date.)
  • Decades contain no apostrophe ("the 1980s", not "the 1980's"). The two-digit form is used only where the century is clear ("the '80s" or "the 80s").
  • Centuries and millennia are written using ordinal numbers, without superscripts and without Roman numerals: "the second millennium", "the 19th century", "a 19th-century book".

Comments - if any added here

Please add your comments, if any, here. — Cheers, Truth's Out There talk 13:19, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Support - many thanks for putting this together. I think it is especially important when coming from another wikipedia project to be able to find the manual of style and know what are the preferences on this project. --Matilda (talk) 20:09, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - looks good to me! --Philosopher Let us reason together. 04:27, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. It's been a week and there are no opposing comments, so I've implemented the change to the Manual of Style. — Cheers, Truth's Out There talk 06:08, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Since this was written enWP has moved to a definite preference for
    • Do not link dates except in special cases.
    • Use international date form for preference.
We should follow these preferences. So, birth and death dates: don't link. Link instead dates like 21 October 1805 for the Battle of Trafalgar, and make sure the targeted page has a note under that date. Macdonald-ross (talk) 06:06, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

hyperlinks - improving the guideline

From a reader's point of view, as he reads along, a hyperlink tells him, "There is something significant here, something that you might want to read". A hyperlink acts as a small alert for the reader. Therefore, I think words that are on our common English list should not be hyperlinked (exceptions possible). I propose we put this datum into the Manual. Terryeo (talk) 16:51, 21 February 2009 (UTC)


I would like to hear comments on a proposal to change the recommended form of references from <references/> to {{reflist}}. This is to help differentiate the references from the actual article and for better reading. Griffinofwales (talk) 01:21, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

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