Full Circle Style Guidelines

Presented here are style guidelines to keep in mind if you are editing or choose to submit text for publication to Full Circle magazine.

Note: If after submission your writing is chosen to be in Full Circle, it will be subjected to proof-reading and editing. We respect authors' writing styles, but will change small details to fit the guidelines contained here. All revisions are in the spirit of constructive criticism and for the sake of consistency. Revisions could include things like changing awkward/weak words, moving paragraphs to achieve greater clarity, and removal/revision of redundant content, among other things. Don't be caught off-guard (or offended) by the editing of your work!

General guidelines

  • All articles must use American English spellings, for example: "flavor" (not the British "flavour")

  • Menu navigation shall be in the format Menu > Submenu > Submenu, for example: "From the menu, select File > Save. Not, click on File, then click Save as...

  • When documenting how to install software, avoid recommending a particular package manager (such as apt-get) - instead, simply use the phrase "Install package X."
  • Remember that your writing is to be read, not spoken, so avoid excessive use of colloquialisms adopted from everyday use. This could confuse readers (especially if English is not their native language).

  • Use bullets for lists. Numbered lists are acceptable only when the order of each item is important.
  • If you are going to use sarcasm or irony make it quite clear. Include a confirmation that the statements are not actually serious. In print it can sometimes be unclear, and the obviousness is what gives sarcasm and irony its bite.
  • No L33t spe4k! Smile :) or smilies! Sad :(

  • When referencing or quoting from a publication, give the name of the publication.
  • When quoting people, Nicola says, "The punctuation always goes inside the double quotes!"
  • Write out numbers one through twenty with words, 21+ with numbers. For ages, always use numbers, even if between one and twenty. Example: There are ten group members. Their ages span between 19 and 25 years.
  • Avoid starting sentences with numbers. If absolutely necessary, spell out the number. for example: Nine billion people use Ubuntu Linux.
  • To minimize confusion between date conventions, write dates in the form, Month Day, Year. Months with more than five letters in their names will be abbreviated to Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. We are planning to party as if the date tonight were Dec. 31, 1999!
  • Avoid using ordinal abbreviations (st, nd, rd and th). Example: Mark Shuttleworth was the first African to fly in space. Not: Mark Shuttleworth was the 1st African in space. I can't believe Ubuntu was only sixteenth in the latest PC World list of 100 great products of 2007!

  • When writing a list, use commas for each item, but not between the last two items. Example: I went to the store and bought apples, bananas, tomatoes and carrots.
  • We want to cultivate a friendly tone for the magazine. In the spirit of the Ubuntu community, do not be negative towards ideas or organizations that you may not agree with. No operating system bashing, digital rights management ranting, or political commentary will be tolerated unless it is made with exceptional care, fairness and good taste.

Common Pitfalls



Pc, pc


ubuntu, kubuntu, xubuntu

Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu

Jpg, jpg


Gif, gif


Html, html


cd, Cd, dvd, Dvd


Url, url


Mp3, mp3


avi, Avi, Mpg, Mpeg, mpeg, mpg


internet, net, 'net, web


Mhz, mhz


plugin, plug in



  • When you start your computer, you must log in (verb), which is different than a login (adj) window. The same rule applies to log out (v) and logout (adj).

  • Whether you are surfing the information super highway, streaming media, instant messaging, or doing anything else regarding the internet, you are online, never on line(with a space). Even when your computer is offline, it makes no sense for it to be off line (with a space--what line is it off of?).

  • When you have a CD that you would like to make a copy of, you will have to rip to your computer first, then burn it to a disc.

  • A disk is a floppy disk, a disc is a CD/DVD.

  • Packaged with Ubuntu are many open source programs. They are not open-source, Open Source, OpenSource or Opensource.

  • A message sent over the internet is an email, not an e-mail.

  • A window that pops up is a pop-up, not to be confused with popup.

  • Memory now is now often measured in gigabytes, or GB, but in the past was more commonly measured in MB, and kB. Using a lowercase 'b' can sometimes signify bits rather than bytes, eg: Mb is Megabits, one eighth of a Megabyte.


For printed text, and even more so for computer/internet articles, scanability is crucial for a good reading experience. Articles should be focused, clear, concise and organized into logical paragraphs. By just reading four or five key phrases a reader should be able to get the gist of an article. Images and screenshots should match the text and support it, they should never just be added to take up space!

Passive voice

Use of the passive voice should be reserved for special cases. Why is this, you ask? Because a little use of the passive voice can go a long way to change the feeling of a piece of writing. FCM wants to cultivate a fresh, fun and casual tone of voice. Use of the passive form can make things sound dry, not-so-fresh, and static.

An example of passive voice is: "Rome (object) was founded by Romulus and Remus(subject)." The active voice would be: "Romulus and Remus(subject) founded Rome(object)." The difference is the subject; Is it acting or being acting upon? In general (though this is not always the case), you can spot the passive voice from some form of the verb "to be" (am, is, are, was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being) followed by a past participle (usually, a verb ending in -ed). Another example of a passive voice sentence is: "Questions on the Ubuntu forums are often answered by friendly people." A better choice may be the active voice (again, not always): "Friendly people often answer questions on the Ubuntu forums."

When should the passive voice be used? When the writer wants to emphasize the object, and not the subject. For example, in the sentence "Milk is used to make butter" the person making butter is irrelevant.

For more detailed information on the passive voice, and info on when it is a good idea to use it, the following sites are worth browsing:

More to come.

UbuntuMagazine/Style (last edited 2012-05-27 14:31:12 by ronnietucker)