3. Writing and editing

Australian Spelling
Contractions and abbreviations
Capital letters


Australian spelling


BGS uses Australian spelling (not American). This means that we use:

  • –ise rather than –ize (e.g. realise, organise, specialise)
  • –our rather than –or (e.g. colour, behaviour, neighbour)
  • –re rather than –er (e.g. theatre, centre, metre).

Some other spelling differences include:

  • ‘travelling’ rather than ‘traveling’
  • ‘focused’ rather than ‘focussed’
  • ‘enrolment’ rather than ‘enrollment’.

Consult the Macquarie Dictionary (Sixth Edition) to confirm correct spellings.

In Microsoft Word on your computer, change the default language to English (Australian) – File/Options/Language. (You may find that you need to do this for each new document.)

See Spelling and commonly used words/phrases

Note: SpellCheck can be useful but you are liable to find yourself in trouble in if you rely on it too heavily. For example:

  • Spell check will not fined words witch are miss used butt spelled rite.
  • SpellCheck may hyphenate words that are not hyphenated according to our style.


Contractions and abbreviations


A conversational writing style that uses contractions (it’s, that’s, you’re, we’ve etc.) is appropriate for less communications such as emails, eNews stories and social media posts. Contractions are not appropriate for formal communications, such as student reports, the Grammarian and annual reports.

Generally, abbreviations should be avoided. When space is limited, days and months can be abbreviated to:

  • Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
  • Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Avoid using the ampersand (&) for ‘and’ unless it forms part of a proper noun
e.g. Ernst & Young.



In general, spell out acronyms in full in the first instance; the initials may be used in subsequent references. For example:

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) processes applications for universities in the state of Victoria. If you’re a Year 12 student, you’ll usually lodge an application via the VTAC or the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Full points are not used in acronyms (e.g. VTAC not V.T.A.C.).

Acronyms that are better known in their shortened form (e.g. APS, VCE, TAFE, NAPLAN, ATAR) do not need to be written in full.

When using the School’s name, write it in full (‘Brighton Grammar School’) for formal communications; ‘BGS’ or ‘the School’ may be used for informal communications, or to avoid repetition.


Capital letters

Keep capital letters to a minimum. The following should be capitalised:

  • school years (Year 7, Years 9–12)
  • school subject names and Learning Domains (Mathematics, Science, English, Outdoor Education, Guided Reading)
  • specific references to semesters and terms (Semester 1, Term 3 – but lower case when writing ‘in the third term’ or ‘each semester’).

Note: Extra-curricular activities are not capitalised (chess, debating) unless writing ‘BGS Chess’, ‘BGS Debating’ or ‘the Debating Program’.

See BGS conventions for more on capitalisation.



Use sentence case for headings (i.e. with a capital letter only for the first word in the heading).

Do not use a full point at the end of a heading.

e.g. Teaching and learning



Use italics or bold for emphasis sparingly. Do not use inverted commas to indicate emphasis.