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English writing guidelines

The University of Borås has specific writing guidelines for English that are produced by the Communications Office. The intent with these guidelines is to make writing English texts easier and to promote the usage of a common language at the university.

Questions? Contact kommunikation@hb.se or visit our drop-in times for English language questions in H608 on Tuesdays, 9:00-11:00, during autumn 2016.

At the University of Borås, we use British English in official documents and contexts as well as in general communication about the university and its activities. However, the university also makes an effort to conduct communication adapted to our target audiences. Therefore, American English can be chosen in specific cases.

Swedish writing guidelines for the university can be found here.

Resources

For the official English translations of organisational structures and titles at the University of Borås, please see the university’s Swedish-English Lexicon.

Regarding academic terms at the university beyond our own organisational structures and titles, we rely on the translations suggested by The Swedish Council for Higher Education's Swedish-English dictionary (external link). 

In most writing style questions, we follow the guidance of the University of Oxford Style Guide (external link).

For guidance on British spelling, use tools such as the Cambridge Dictionary (external link).

Specific guidelines for the University of Borås with special attention to where English and Swedish practice differ

University of Borås

"University of Borås" is the English name for “Högskolan i Borås.”

If you are just using the words "the university” and you mean our specific institution, use a lowercase U. For example, “At the university, we have a lot of international students.”

When “University of Borås” is used as a noun (as it usually is), use “the.” For example, “Courses at the University of Borås are always interesting.” If it is used as an adjective, such as in the sentence “Students on University of Borås property are expected to…”, you do not need to use “the.”

We consider the ”University of Borås” as a unit and therefore use the singular form, e.g. in the sentence “The University of Borås is a modern university located in the centre of the city.”

Dates and the calendar

We advocate the format “7 July 2015” or ”7 July.” If the weekday is included, write “Tuesday 7 July” Months are always capitalised in English. Avoid abbreviating the date by writing, for example, 7/7/15. This can cause confusion as the order of the numbers can differ for Swedish, British English, and American English. 

Time

Use the Swedish way to write times for consistency’s sake; for example, 09:00–11:00 (with the colon). Use the 24-hour clock.

 “Spikning”

We advocate writing “spikning” (notification of thesis defence) in the context of the festivities around the granting of doctoral degrees, even when writing in English, as it provides a clear connection to the Swedish tradition of literally nailing up the thesis. Directly translating this to “nailing” is not recommended. 

Quotation marks

Use double quotation marks. Though this is not the traditional guideline for British English, it is increasingly common and is advocated by, for example, the University of Sussex and the Guardian Style Guide. We have chosen to use this style to ensure consistency with our Swedish documents and to promote clarity. Punctuation should be inside the question marks to avoid double punctuation and in accordance with the “conventional view.”

Forms of address

Use different forms of addresses depending on whom you are contacting and how well you know them.

If you know the person’s name
Introduction: Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Avadahl
Conclusion: Yours sincerely

If the person is a close contact or friend
Introduction: Dear Johanna
Conclusion: Best wishes/Best regards/Kind regards

Special cases

Regarding ”The Swedish School of Textiles” and ”The Swedish School of Library and Information Science,” the “the” in the names are lowercase in the body of the text and not used at all when the names are used as adjectives.

Professional titles

The titles "Vice-Chancellor" (rektor) and "Pro Vice-Chancellor" (prorektor) are always written with capital letters.

Education

The word “utbildning” is translated as ”educational programmes” or ”study programmes” in most contexts.

Serial comma

We follow the recommendations of The Oxford Style Manual meaning we include a comma before the final item in a list of three or more items. For example, “The Swedish School of Library and Information Science offers study programmes at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels.” Note the comma immediately after “master’s.”

More information

Please do not hesitate to contact the Communications Office at kommunikation@hb.se with any questions about the university’s English writing guidelines.