Spelling and Capitalization
- Proper nouns, common words, and special terms are spelled and capitalized correctly.
- Shortened forms (abbreviations and acronyms) are spelled and capitalized correctly and defined when first used or as
- Product names, trademarks, and registered trademarks are verified.
- Titles, including the first and last word, are capitalized correctly.
- Capitalization following colons in text is accurate.
- Subjects and verbs agree.
- Verbs are in correct tense.
- Pronouns agree in gender and number with what (or whom) they refer to.
- Pronouns are correct according to their place in the sentence.
- Adjectives and adverbs are placed to keep meanings clear.
- There is no missing punctuation.
- There is no duplicated or misplaced punctuation.
- Apostrophes are used only for possessives and missing letters, not for plurals.
- Apostrophes face the correct way.
- A comma is used before the last item in a series, unless chosen style omits it.
- A comma, without a connecting conjunction, is not used to separate two complete sentences.
- Em dashes (—) are used correctly— in pairs if they're in the middle of a sentence (consistently with spaces or not)—to set
off words and are the width of a capital M.
- To replace the word to or through, an en dash (-) is used (with no spaces) to separate items in ranges
(London-Paris) and is half the width of an em dash.
- Hyphenations and word divisions are correct.
Parentheses and Brackets
- There are always opening and closing parentheses and brackets.
- Period is inside parentheses when they enclose a separate and complete sentence.
- Period is outside parentheses when the parenthetical matter—even a complete sentence—is included in
- There are always opening and closing quotation marks as appropriate.
- Single quotation marks are used only around a quote within a quote.
- Periods and commas are inside quotation marks.
- Semicolons and colons are outside quotation marks.
- Other punctuation is inside or outside quotation marks, depending on whether it's part of the quoted item.
- Numbered lists are used when sequence matters or items will be cited.
- Bulleted lists are used when sequence is unimportant and citation is unnecessary.
Figures, Graphs, and Art
- Text references to figures, tables, and other elements are accurate and present as needed.
- Captions accurately describe graphics.
- Numbering in each numbered list is sequential and starts at 1 or A.
- Bulleted list items are in alphabetical order (unless another order makes more sense).
- Any section title numbering is consecutive.
- Heading levels (first, second, third, etc.) are styled correctly for the content they introduce.
- Numbered captions are in consecutive order.
- Page numbering is consecutive overall or within sections, as appropriate, and appears on all pages where it
Spacing * Style guides, such as APA or MLA, may have different rules regarding
- Words are separated by one (and only one) space.
- Periods and colons are followed by only one space.
Titles, Headers, and Footers
- Titles and other headings accurately describe the content they introduce.
- Content of headers (at the top of the page) and footers (at the bottom) is correct for each section.
- Any numbering is consecutive and in appropriate form (e.g. all roman or all arabic).
- Spelling and capitalization are correct and consistent:
-First letter after a colon is capitalized.
-First letter after an em dash or hyphen is capitalized or not, per style guidelines.
-Articles, short conjunctions, and short prepositions are lowercased, unless starting or ending a title,
contrary to style guidelines.
-First and last word are capitalized, regardless of part of speech.
Table of Contents
- Entries exactly match headings that appear in the document.
- All headings appear that should (all first-level, all second-level, etc.); none appear that shouldn't.
- In electronic and Web documents, all links between table of contents and text sections work correctly.
- In electronic copy, Web links in text work correctly.
Is It Consistent?
- Statements of fact
- Spelling (especially in acronyms and other all-capital items)
- Capitalization (especially in titles, abbreviations, acronyms, and following colons)
- Hyphenations and word divisions
- Last comma (or no last comma) in a series of items; commas or no commas around Jr., Sr., Inc., etc.
- Numbers—either spelled out or numerals, and consistent style for area codes, phone numbers, dates, times, etc.
- Italic and other special fonts
- Icons and symbols
- Lists and tables:
-Punctuation at the end of text that introduces the list or table
-Bullet and number styles
-Indents, spacing, and alignment
-Capital letters (or lowercase)at the start of each item
-Font, capitalization, and punctuation of list item lead-ins
-Punctuation at end of list items (either periods or not periods)
-Table title numbering (or not) and style
-Table-specific abbreviations (including numbers)
-Headings (and continued lines) for multipage tables
-Table placement and format styles
- Document titles and headings
- Captions and labels
- Page numbers, headers, and footers
- Table of contents entries
*Adapted from Sullivan, K.D., & Eggleston, M. (2006). The complete editorial checklist. The McGraw-Hill Desk
Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders. (pp. 212-215). New York: McGraw Hill.