In common with most publishers, British Fencing maintains a style guide covering both written and audiovisual content.

The purpose of this style guide is to lend clarity and consistency to any piece of content communicated by fencing. It is driven by a set of three key principles.

Content should be clear, to the point and written in context. It shouldn’t assume knowledge on the part of the reader and should always add value to the subject on which it is written.

Communicating the message clearly is more important than perfect English. and reading out loud whatever is written is the easiest way to check that it makes sense.

The audience is more important than the author… and it is the author’s job to make sure that writing is comprehensible, interesting and valuable.

This style bible does not teach comprehensive grammar, writing techniques or proper spelling, but there are plenty of online resources for that.



Acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations always assume knowledge on behalf of the reader, and should be avoided wherever possible (even if other organisations use them).

Some acronyms, initialisms or abbreviations are equally or more recognisable than the name of that organisation spelled out in full; if you are certain this is a case, the acronym should be used. Examples include BBC, IOC, UNESCO and NBC.

BF is our well-established short form of British Fencing, however, in any public facing document, British Fencing should be used at first instance. BF may be used on second and subsequent mentions.


Producing accurate content builds a trusting audience. Facts, figures and spelling of names should be double checked.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes should be minimised but will still occur, especially in an age where speed is critical. Feedback from colleagues and external sources is always welcome and improvements to content should be implemented as quickly as possible.

Capital letters

Capitalisation is a curse of the sports movement, making prose difficult to read, and adding emphasis to words that do not need or deserve it. In general, capital letters should be avoided wherever possible.

Capital letters should only be used on the first letter of each sentence, on the first letter of each word of a proper noun, official nouns where specified and acronyms where their use is necessary.

BF makes an exception for events, genders and weapons only in the context of specific events.

Do not capitalise weapon-specific nouns (foillist, epeeist, sabreur)

The following table is a guide.


Mixed case

Lower case

British Fencing

Olympic record


Olympic Games

European champions (unspecific)

gold, silver, bronze medals

European Games

Olympic champions (unspecific)

men’s competition


European record

world championships



Competition categories follow the naming convention:


AGREGROUP is ignored for senior competition and all parts are optional depending on context.

Cadet Women’s Sabre team

Men’s Foil individual (competition)

Junior Women’s Epee

Women’s Sabre mixed team




Dates are written in the following format: (D)D Month YYYY. All of the below are acceptable, depending on context.

Friday 12 January 2018
Friday 12 January
12 January 2018
12 January
5 January

Use dates or days of the week rather than ’today’, ‘tomorrow’ or ’yesterday’ for clarity.


In prose, spell out numbers from one to nine. Use figures from 10 upwards.

In prose, spell out placings from first to ninth. Use figures from 10th upwards.

The exceptions to this rule are when describing multiple placings.

 “The GBR athletes placed 8th, 9th and 13th.”

A sentence should never start with a digit. If necessary, the sentence should be rearranged or the number written out.

Twenty-two-year-old fencer Sandie Sword….



Quotations should be written out in full where possible, with highlights taken only in context to improve flow of text or taken out of quotation to be explained in prose.

Quotations are written in double quotation marks with all punctuation inside, except when a partial quotation, and the word ‘said’ should be used in all news cases. Descriptive synonyms of ‘said’ should only be used when writing a feature piece or to give context to a quotation.



Final scores are written in number format for clarity. The winning score always comes first, even if the text refers to the loser.

Use: 15-8


Social media

Social media posts should be informative, engaging or emotional. If a planned social media post does not fulfil one of these purposes then it should not be used. Posting content for the sake of posting is heavily discouraged as it will lead to low engagement and therefore low value returns.

Branding, tone and attitude across social media platforms should be consistent, although actual content should be tailored to the specific audiences of each platform.


Do not use double spacing in body copy. Space bars should only be clicked once, not twice; never twice.


Speech marks

Double speech marks “” should be used for all specific quotations, whether separated or embedded in text. (Avoid incorrect inch marks for purposes of mark-up.) If a quotation spans multiple paragraphs, speech marks should close and open each paragraph.


to follow

YouTube naming conventions

to follow


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