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When we’re writing for the web, more than in any other media, we need to be succinct. We read differently online. Simple fact. Online copy has to make the journey from the page to user comprehension, as short as possible. And that’s what grammar’s for.

So, while the rules of grammar may sometimes seem archaic or overly fussy, just remember, they’re there for a reason and that reason is to help your reader, not to make more work for you. Look at the examples below that involve the simple comma – arguably the easiest piece of punctuation yet, when omitted from a sentence, it can cause chaos:

  • With: Most of the time, travellers worry about their luggage
  • Without: Most of the time travellers worry about their luggage
  • With: Reason for visit – unable to eat, diarrhoea
  • Without: Reason for visit – unable to eat diarrhoea
  • With: Let’s eat, grandpa
  • Without: Let’s eat grandpa

There are specific sections for how to use the most common forms of grammar that you’re likely to use. If in doubt, look at www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/collections/news-style-guide – this is an excellent guide but it does go into a lot of technical depth. We’ve made some of the rules easier to access in this document, and also made them web-specific, as the BBC Style Guide is for journalists across all media.

Also, be aware that, as an academic organisation, some of our rules differ slightly form those presented by the BBC. Where we present a different way of presenting grammar, this document supersedes the BBC.

Also see ‘Apostrophes’

Also see ‘Dashes – em and en

Also see ‘Hyphens’

Also see ‘Punctuation’

Also see ‘Quotes’