The Hoorn Manual of Style

Second edition, version 2023Q

Over the years, i have picked up so many little idiosyncracies in my wielding of the English tongue that i thought it would be prudent to compile them all in one place. I would like to preëmptively apologise to Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Austen for how i have massacred their language…

1. Spelling

Use British English spellings and terminology.

Prefer the endings -ise and -yse over -ize and -yze, unless it would be etymologically improper.

If a spelling of a Græco-Latinate word with ae or oe is still in use, it should generally be spelt with a ligature æ or œ. Watch out for false friends: many ae and oe words originate from other languages or originally represented two separate syllables.

When double ees and oos mark two separate sounds, the latter letter should be topped with a diæresis.1

1.1. Capitalisation

Prefer ‘down style’ to ‘up style’; if something can be lowercased, it generally should be.

Titles (when used in front of names) and proper names of states and countries should be capitalised, however:

Decapitalise the pronoun i when not at the start of a sentence.

Acronyms (that is, abbreviations of initial letters pronounced as one word) should be set in title case when referring to proper nouns and organisations, and in lowercase when referring to common nouns and verbs.

Initialisms (those abbreviations pronounced as the individual letters) should be set in small caps unless referring to the names of people or states.

Colour terms used in reference to ethnicity — black, brown, white — should usually be lowercase, but may be capped up if they form part of a compound term.

Use lowercase pagan in reference to pre-modern polytheistic faiths; use uppercase Pagan for the modern revival movement. Emperor Julian was a pagan; Gerald Gardner was a Pagan. Similarly, use lowercase witch for anyone alleged to practise the magic arts; use uppercase Witch for practitioners of Wicca or the many other related latter-day religious movements.

1.2 Punctuation

Use em and en dashes for their proper functions, setting off em dashes with a thin space on either side.

The difference between quote marks, apostrophes, primes, and so on can get confusing quickly. There follows a short guide on their proper use.

“ ”, ‘ ’: These are quote marks, used to mark when a person is speaking or for sarcastic effect as ‘scare quotes’. In keeping with British usage, punctuation should be kept outside of the quote marks if it does not form a part of the quote itself.

In Dutch, use the traditional „ ” form, with the left side aligned beneath the text.

: This is an apostrophe, used to mark possession and contraction.

ʻ ʼ: These are an ʻokina and a saltillo, used to denote glottal stops (like the gap in the middle of uh-oh) in various foreign language. Some of these languages, most notably Hawaiʻian, have imported words back into English.

′ ″: These are a prime and a double prime, most often used to notate feet and inches or arcminutes and arcseconds.

' ": These are ‘dumb quotes’, the ones you’ll find on your keyboard. They should only be used in verbatim transcriptions of computer code.

2. Terminology

æther, ether

The æther is the emptiness of space. An ether is a type of chemical.


As said previously, British terminology should be preferred to its Stateside equivalent. The following table lists some words which tend to catch me out.

British English United States English
autocue teleprompter
full stop period
gherkin pickle (as a noun)
number plate license plate
series (of television) season
solicitor attorney
sledge sled
storey (of a building) story
stand (for election) run
torch flashlight
windscreen windshield

Avoid the word content at all costs. A filmmaker makes films, an author writes books, and yet we on the internet make content — as if our work only exists to fill up space between the ads!

dæmon, demon

A dæmon is a good or neutral guiding spirit. A demon is a malevolent entity.


Prefer CE and BCE to AD and BC.

When writing dates numerically, use the year–month–day format.

  • 1776/07/04
  • 1952·02·06
  • 1963.11.23
  • 2001-09-11

Feel free to write, alongside the Gregorian date, the equivalent date in the Attic festival calendar.


Some countries and territories have unexpected adjectives or terms for their residents. A choice list can be found in the table below.

Place name Demonym Adjective
Countries & territories
Botswana a Motswana, many Batswana Botswanan or Motswana
Burkina Faso a Burkinabé
Côte d’Ivoire an Ivorian
Dominica a Dominican2
the Dominican Republic a Dominican3 or Quisqueyano/a (poetic) Dominican or Quisqueyan (poetic)
Eswatini a or many Swazi or Swati Swazi
Kiribati an or many I-Kiribati Gilbertese
Lesotho a Mosotho, many Basotho Basotho
Madagascar a or many Malagasy
Monaco a Monégasque
Myanmar N/A Myanma or Burmese
Niger a Nigerien
the Philippines a Filipino/a Filipino or Philippine
the Seychelles a or many Seychellois
St. Vincent and the Grenadines a Vincentian
the United Arab Emirates an Emirati
Vanuatu a or many Ni-Vanuatu
US states (generally no adjectival form)
Connecticut a Nutmegger or Connecticuter
Hawaiʻi a Kamaʻāina Hawaiian4
Illinois an Illinoian or Illinoisian
Indiana a Hoosier
Maine a Down Easter or Mainer
Massa­chu­setts a Bay Stater, Massachusettsan, or (vulgar) Masshole
Michigan a Michigander
New Hampshire a New Hampshirite
Utah a Utahn
euphemisms and jargon

Avoid mealy-mouthed euphemisms unless you’re using them for comedic effect (say, answering nature’s callinstead of gannin’ for a piss). Jargon — as is terribly common in the LGBT community, for whatever reason — should also be avoided and replaced with something people are more likely to understand.

Some terms to avoid:

What people say What they mean
AGABor assigned gender at birth birth sex
Bame, people of colour, Bipoc, &c. ethnic minority, non-white, or be specific
CSAM child porn
deadname birth name
differently abled disabled
enhanced interrogation torture
gender confirmation surgery a sex change5 or be specific
the global south, the third world, or the developing world poor(er) countries
human-rights abuses be specific
problematic be specific
racially charged racist
sunset(a product) shut down
unhoused homeless

The naming of places can be a surprisingly geopolitically pernickety issue — see, for example, many Persian Gulf states’ politically correct renaming to the Arabian Gulf, or the perennial tendency of narcissistic autocrats to bestow their own names upon cities.

In general, if a place’s historic English name is still in common use today, that should be the name one uses. For example:

  • Bangalore (not Bengaluru)
  • Beijing (not Peking)
  • Brunswick (not Braunschweig)
  • Calcutta (not Kolkata)
  • Derry (not Londonderry)
  • The Hague (no matter how much i want to call it Den Haag)
  • Hanover (with one N)
  • Istanbul (neither Constantinople nor İstanbul)
  • Jaffa (not Yafo)
  • Kyiv (not Kiev) 6
  • Mecca (not Makkah)
  • Mumbai (not Bombay)
  • Saigon (not Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Thessalonica (it’s complicated but just pick one and stick with it)
Gypsies and Roma

Gypsy (capped up, since it refers primarily to an ethnic group) is the accepted term in the UK, but likely to cause offence internationally — use Roma if referring to those outside the UK or writing for an international audience.

hedge words

Hedge words (‘kind of’, ‘a little’, ‘somewhat’, ‘rather’) are the weeds that slip in and infect perfectly good texts. Before hitting the save button on a paragraph which includes one, take a moment to consider whether you need it.

licence, license

Licenceis a noun. Tolicenseis a verb.


Either metric or imperial, as used in the UK,7 may be used on English-language pages. Dutch pages should use exclusively metric.

meter, metre

A meter is a device used to measure something. Ametre is the international standard unit of length.


The best source for how to spell someone’s name is the person themself. If they’re long dead, don’t speak fluent English, or both… well, nobody’s going to lose sleep over Gadaffi versus Qadhafi.

After the first mention of a person, they should usually be referred to with a courtesy title, such as the following.

  • Mr
  • Ms
  • Mx
  • Dr
  • Prof

Note that names differ throughout cultures. In eastern Asia and Hungary, surnames come before the given name, and Icelanders, Ethiopians, and some Indonesians don’t have surnames in the first place.

  • Cerice van Houten → Ms van Houten
  • Daði Freyr Pétursson → Mr Daði or Mr Pétursson
  • Lisa Nandy → Ms Nandy
  • Orbán Viktor → Mr Orban
  • Sam Smith → Mx Smith
  • Stephen Hawking → Prof Hawking
  • Sukarno → Mr Sukarno
  • Takeuchi Mariya → Ms Takeuchi
  • Tedros Adhanom → Dr Tedros
  • Xi Jinping → Mr Xi

Many Commonwealth countries issue people with the titles “Sir” and “Dame” as part of an order of chivalry. Sirs and dames may be referred to either by their title and their given name or one of the above courtesy titles and their surname.

  • Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell → Dame Jocelyn or Ms Bell Burnell
  • Sir Patrick Stewart → Sir Patrick or Mr Stewart
practice, practise

Practice is a noun. To practise is a verb.

version numbering

“Semantic versioning” (1.12.3, 5.0.4, that sort of thing), as beloved by techies of all stripes, will only lead to ruin. If you’re going to keep a version number, use this more date-based scheme:

  • Version 2015J
    • 2015: Year of release
    • J: First half of May
  • Version 2023D6
    • 2023: Year of release
    • D: Second half of March
    • 6: Sixth version of 2023D
Semimonthly letter codes
Code Date Code Date
A January 1–15 B January 16–31
C February 1–15 D February 16–29
E March 1–15 F March 16–31
G April 1–15 H April 16–30
J May 1–15 K May 16–31
L June 1–15 M June 16–30
N July 1–15 P July 16–31
Q August 1–15 R August 16–31
S September 1–15 T September 16–30
U October 1–15 V October 16–31
W November 1–15 X November 16–30
Y December 1–15 Z December 16–31
who, whom

Who gives a shit?

2.1 A table of preferred and correct spellings

3. Markup

Use <em> when a change of tone is implied. When the font choice is merely stylistic, use <i>.

Use sidenotes for ancillary information. If something would be too unwieldy for a sidenote, feel free to use a <details> element instead.

Make images as lightweight as possible without sacrificing detail. It’s the kind thing to do for those of us with poor connections.

Keep CSS code nice and tidy by putting properties in the following order:

Prefer logical properties like inline-size and margin-block-start to ones like width and margin-top — they work better across languages, from English to Arabic to even vertical scripts like Mongolian.

3.1 Accessibility

All non-decorative images should have descriptive alt text or an attached transcript.

Video files should come with subtitles and, if what people are saying within is important to the text, a transcript.

Make sure text and background colours have at least AA-grade contrast. is a good tool for checking this sort of thing.

3.2 URLs

Page URLs should be short, but not opaque, following in the footsteps of’s scheme. Take the linkroll. would be unwieldy, and utterly unhelpful. is concise, memorable, and to the point.

4. Faith

Typeset the Gods’ names and untranslated epithets in small caps.

This also goes for terms derived from Their names, unless said names also refer to common nouns in the original Greek.

Nouns and pronouns referring directly to a God should be capped up.

If a God’s name or derivative thereof is used as a personal name, eschew the small caps.

For reasons of consistency, do not typeset days and months named after Gods in small caps.

5. General guidelines for the site

Try to keep it the equivalent of a BBFC 15 rating. Innuendo is fine, but please don’t explicitly detail people’s sexcapades or horrible injuries.

Don’t get too deep into tech-nerdery. Making your website all about the technology you used to build it would be like Michelangelo using his talents to make a giant statue of a chisel.

Avoid politics if at all possible. I, for one, surf the ’net to get away from all of the horrible things of real life, and would rather not hear about whatever Boris Johnson has done this time. (Equal-opportunity snark about upcoming elections may be acceptable.)

There are enough miserable, cynical louts on the internet, and you mustn’t let yourself join them. It’s a beautiful wide world out there, and you’re going to spend it kvetching on your website about what someone said on the internet? No thank you!

Plain English is well and good if you’re writing an instruction manual, but for anything else, you will soon find yourself drowning in a sterility that makes the eyes glaze over. Throw out the guides of Orwell, Strunk, and White, and instead consider the advice of the theologian David Bentley Hart:

Always use the word that most exactly means what you wish to say, in utter indifference to how common or familiar that word happens to be. A writer should never fret over what his or her readers may or may not know, and should worry only about underestimating them. As Nabokov said, a good reader always comes prepared with a dictionary and never resents being introduced to a new term. I call this the “ultracrepidarian rule,” simply because an editor once tried unsuccessfully to dissuade me from writing about a certain “polemicist who stumbles across unseen disciplinary boundaries in an ultracrepidarian stupor.” The editor lost that argument because there is absolutely no other word in the English language that so exactly means what I wanted to say.

6. The most important rule of all

If following one of these rules makes something look worse, break it!

7. Appendices

Appendix A: Countries and territories

The following is a list of countries and inhabited dependent territories, including their full names, short names in English and Dutch, and the international standard two-letter country codes (where applicable).

Countries of the world
Flag Long name Short name (English) Short name (Dutch) Code Sovereignty Capital
Abkhazia Rep. of Abkhazia Abkhazia Abchazië XA Independent, claimed by Georgia Sukhumi
Afghanistan Islam. Emir. of Afghanistan Afghanistan Afghanistan AF Independent Kabul
the United Kingdom Sover. Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Akrotiri and Dhekelia Akrotiri en Dhekelia N/A United Kingdom N/A
Åland Åland Åland Åland AX Finland Mariehamn
Albania Rep. of Albania Albania Albanië AL Independent Tirana
Algeria People’s Dem. Rep. of Algeria Algeria Algerije DZ Independent Algiers
American Samoa Territ. of American Samoa American Samoa Amerikaans-Samoa AS United States Pago Pago
Andorra Principality of Andorra Andorra Andorra AD Independent Andorra la Vella
Angola Rep. of Angola Angola Angola AO Independent Luanda
Anguilla Anguilla Anguilla Anguilla AI United Kingdom the Valley
Antarctica Antarctica Antarctica Antarctica AQ Antarctic Treaty N/A
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Antigua en Barbuda AG Independent St John's
Argentina the Argentine Rep. Argentina Argentinië AR Independent Buenos Aires
Armenia Rep. of Armenia Armenia Armenië AM Independent Yerevan
Artsakh Rep. of Artsakh Artsakh Artsach XN Independent, claimed by Azerbaijan Stepanakert
Aruba Country of Aruba Aruba Aruba AW Netherlands Oranjestad
Australia Commonw. of Australia Australia Australië AU Independent Canberra
Austria Rep. of Austria Austria Oostenrijk AT Independent Vienna
Azerbaijan Rep. of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Azerbeidzjan AZ Independent Baku
the Bahamas Commonw. of the Bahamas the Bahamas de Bahama’s BS Independent Nassau
Bahrain Kingd. of Bahrain Bahrain Bahrein BH Independent Manama
Bangladesh People’s Rep. of Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh BD Independent Dhaka
Barbados Barbados Barbados Barbados BB Independent Bridgetown
Belarus Rep. of Belarus Belarus Belaroes BY Independent Minsk
Belgium Kingd. of Belgium Belgium België BE Independent Brussels
Belize Belize Belize Belize BZ Independent Belmopan
Benin Rep. of Benin Benin Benin BJ Independent Porto-Novo
Bermuda Bermuda Bermuda Bermuda BM United Kingdom Hamilton
Bhutan Kingd. of Bhutan Bhutan Bhutan BT Independent Thimphu
Bolivia Plurinat’l State of Bolivia Bolivia Bolivia BO Independent La Paz
Bosnia Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnië en Herzegovina BA Independent Sarajevo
Botswana Rep. of Botswana Botswana Botswana BW Independent Gaborone
Brazil Fed’ve Rep. of Brazil Brazil Brazilië BR Independent Brasília
the British Virgin Islands the Virgin Islands the British Virgin Islands de Britse Maagdeneilanden VG United Kingdom Road Town
Brunei Nation of Brunei Darussalam Brunei Brunei BN Independent Bandar Seri Begawan
Bulgaria Rep. of Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgarije BG Independent Sofia
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Burkina Faso BF Independent Ouagadougou
Burundi Rep. of Burundi Burundi Burundi BI Independent Gitega
Cambodia Kingd. of Cambodia Cambodia Cambodja KH Independent Phnom Penh
Cameroon Rep. of Cameroon Cameroon Kameroen CM Independent Yaoundé
Canada Canada Canada Canada CA Independent Ottawa
Cape Verde Rep. of Cabo Verde Cape Verde Kaapverdië CV Independent Praia
the Cayman Islands the Cayman Islands the Cayman Islands de Kaaimaneilanden KY United Kingdom George Town
the Central African Republic the Central African Rep. the Central African Republic de Centraal-Afrikaanse Republiek CF Independent Bangui
Chad Rep. of Chad Chad Tsjaad TD Independent N’Djamena
the Chagos Islands the British Indian Ocean Territ. the Chagos Islands de Chagosarchipel IO United Kingdom, claimed by Mauritius Diego Garcia
Chile Rep. of Chile Chile Chili CL Independent Santiago
China People’s Rep. of China China China CN Independent Beijing
Christmas Island Territ. of Christmas Island Christmas Island Christmaseiland CX Australia Flying Fish Cove
the Cocos Islands Territ. of Cocos (Keeling) Islands the Cocos Islands de Cocoseilanden CC Australia West Island
Colombia Rep. of Colombia Colombia Colombia CO Independent Bogotá
the Comoros Union of the Comoros the Comoros de Comoren KM Independent Moroni
Congo-Brazzaville Rep. of the Congo Congo-Brazzaville Congo-Brazzaville CG Independent Brazzaville
Congo-Kinshasa Dem. Rep. of the Congo Congo-Kinshasa Congo-Kinshasa CD Independent Kinshasa
the Cook Islands the Cook Islands the Cook Islands de Cookeilanden CK Partially dependent on New Zealand Avarua
Costa Rica Rep. of Costa Rica Costa Rica Costa Rica CR Independent San José
Côte d’Ivoire Rep. of Côte d’Ivoire Côte d’Ivoire Ivoorkust CI Independent Abidjan
Croatia Rep. of Croatia Croatia Kroatië HR Independent Zagreb
Cuba Rep. of Cuba Cuba Cuba CU Independent Havana
Curaçao Country of Curaçao Curaçao Curaçao CW Netherlands Willemstad
Cyprus Rep. of Cyprus Cyprus Cyprus CY Independent Nicosia
Czechia the Czech Rep. Czechia Tsjechië CZ Independent Prague
Denmark Kingd. of Denmark Denmark Denemarken DK Independent Copenhagen
Djibouti Rep. of Djibouti Djibouti Djibouti DJ Independent Djibouti
Dominica Commonw. of Dominica Dominica Dominica DM Independent Roseau
the Dominican Republic the Dominican Republic the Dominican Republic de Dominicaanse Republiek DO Independent Santo Domingo
Ecuador Rep. of Ecuador Ecuador Ecuador EC Independent Quito
Egypt Arab Rep. of Egypt Egypt Egypte EG Independent Cairo
El Salvador Rep. of El Salvador El Salvador El Salvador SV Independent San Salvador
Equatorial Guinea Rep. of Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea Equatoriaal-Guinea GQ Independent Malabo
Eritrea State of Eritrea Eritrea Eritrea ER Independent Asmara
Estonia Rep. of Estonia Estonia Estland EE Independent Tallinn
Eswatini Kingd. of Eswatini Eswatini Swaziland SZ Independent Lobamba
Ethiopia Fed’l Dem. Rep. of Ethiopia Ethiopia Ethiopië ET Independent Addis Ababa
the Færoe Islands the Færoes the Færoes de Faeröer FO Denmark Tórshavn
the Falklands the Falkland Islands the Falklands de Falklandeilanden FK United Kingdom Stanley
Fiji Rep. of Fiji Fiji Fiji FJ Independent Suva
Finland Rep. of Finland Finland Finland FI Independent Helsinki
France the French Rep. France Frankrijk FR Independent Paris
French Polynesia French Polynesia French Polynesia Frans-Polynesië PF France Papeete
Gabon the Gabonese Rep. Gabon Gabon GA Independent Libreville
the Gambia Rep. of the Gambia the Gambia Gambia GM Independent Banjul
Georgia Georgia Georgia Georgië GE Independent Tbilisi
Germany Fed’l Rep. of Germany Germany Duitsland DE Independent Berlin
Ghana Rep. of Ghana Ghana Ghana GH Independent Accra
Gibraltar Gibraltar Gibraltar Gibraltar GI United Kingdom Gibraltar [city state]
Greece the Hellenic Rep. Greece Griekenland GR Independent Athens
Greenland Greenland Greenland Groenland GL Denmark Nuuk
Grenada Grenada Grenada Grenada GD Independent St. George’s
Guam Territ. of Guam Guam Guam GU United States Hagåtña
Guatemala Rep. of Guatemala Guatemala Guatemala GT Independent Guatemala City
Guernsey Bailiwick of Guernsey Guernsey Guernsey GG United Kingdom St. Peter Port
Guinea Rep. of Guinea Guinea Guinee GN Independent Conakry
Guinea-Bissau Rep. of Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau Guinee-Bissau GW Independent Bissau
Guyana Coöp. Rep. of Guyana Guyana Guyana GY Independent Georgetown
Haiti Rep. of Haiti Haiti Haïti HT Independent Port-au-Prince
Honduras Rep. of Honduras Honduras Honduras HN Independent Tegucigalpa
Hong Kong the Hong Kong Spec. Adm. Reg. of the People’s Rep. of China Hong Kong Hongkong HK China Hong Kong [city state]
Hungary Hungary Hungary Hongarije HU Independent Budapest
Iceland Iceland Iceland IJsland IS Independent Reykjavík
India Rep. of India India India IN Independent Delhi
Indonesia Rep. of Indonesia Indonesia Indonesië ID Independent Jakarta
Iran Islam. Rep. of Iran Iran Iran IR Independent Tehran
Iraq Rep. of Iraq Iraq Irak IQ Independent Baghdad
Ireland Ireland Ireland Ierland IE Independent Dublin
the Isle of Man the Isle of Man the Isle of Man Man IM United Kingdom Douglas
Israel State of Israel Israel Israël IL Independent Jerusalem
Italy Italian Rep. Italy Italië IT Independent Rome
Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica JM Independent Kingston
Japan Japan Japan Japan JP Independent Tokyo
Jersey Bailiwick of Jersey Jersey Jersey JE United Kingdom St Helier
Jordan Hashemite Kingd. of Jordan Jordan Jordanië JO Independent Amman
Kazakhstan Rep. of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Kazachstan KZ Independent Nur-Sultan
Kenya Rep. of Kenya Kenya Kenia KE Independent Nairobi
Kiribati Rep. of Kiribati Kiribati Kiribati KI Independent South Tarawa
Kosovo Rep. of Kosovo Kosovo Kosovo XK Independent, claimed by Serbia Pristina
Kuwait State of Kuwait Kuwait Koeweit KW Independent Kuwait City
Kyrgyzstan the Kyrgyz Rep. Kyrgyzstan Kirghizië KG Independent Bishkek
Laos the Lao People’s Dem. Rep. Laos Laos LA Independent Vientiane
Latvia Rep. of Latvia Latvia Letland LV Independent Riga
Lebanon the Lebanese Rep. Lebanon Libanon LB Independent Beirut
Lesotho Kingd. of Lesotho Lesotho Lesotho LS Independent Maseru
Liberia Rep. of Liberia Liberia Liberia LR Independent Monrovia
Libya State of Libya Libya Libië LY Independent Tripoli
Liechtenstein Principality of Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Liechtenstein LI Independent Vaduz
Lithuania Rep. of Lithuania Lithuania Litouwen LT Independent Vilnius
Luxembourg Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxemburg LU Independent Luxembourg
Macao the Macao Spec. Adm. Reg. of the People’s Rep. of China Macau Macau MO China Macau [city state]
Madagascar Rep. of Madagascar Madagascar Madagaskar MG Independent Antananarivo
Malawi Rep. of Malawi Malawi Malawi MW Independent Lilongwe
Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia Maleisië MY Independent Kuala Lumpur
the Maldives Rep. of Maldives the Maldives de Maldiven MV Independent Malé
Mali Rep. of Mali Mali Mali ML Independent Bamako
Malta Rep. of Malta Malta Malta MT Independent Valletta
the Marshall Islands Rep. of the Marshall Islands the Marshall Islands de Marshalleilanden MH Partially dependent on the U.S. Majuro
Mauritania Islam. Rep. of Mauritania Mauritania Mauritanië MR Independent Nouakchott
Mauritius Rep. of Mauritius Mauritius Mauritius MU Independent Port Louis
Mexico United Mexican States Mexico Mexico MX Independent Mexico City
Micronesia Fed’ted States of Micronesia Micronesia Micronesia FM Partially dependent on the U.S. Palikir
Moldova Rep. of Moldova Moldova Moldavië MD Independent Chișinău
Monaco Principality of Monaco Monaco Monaco MC Independent Monaco [city state]
Mongolia Mongolia Mongolia Mongolië MN Independent Ulaanbaatar
Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro Montenegro ME Independent Podgorica
Montserrat Montserrat Montserrat Montserrat MS United Kingdom Brades
Morocco Kingd. of Morocco Morocco Marokko MA Independent Rabat
Mozambique Rep. of Mozambique Mozambique Mozambique MZ Independent Maputo
Myanmar Rep. of the Union of Myanmar Myanmar Myanmar MM Independent Naypyidaw
Namibia Rep. of Namibia Namibia Namibië NA Independent Windhoek
Nauru Rep. of Nauru Nauru Nauru NR Independent Yaren
Nepal Fed’l Dem. Rep. of Nepal Nepal Nepal NP Independent Kathmandu
the Netherlands Kingd. of the Netherlands the Netherlands Nederland NL Independent The Hague
New Caledonia New Caledonia New Caledonia Nieuw-Caledonië NC France Nouméa
New Zealand New Zealand New Zealand Nieuw-Zeeland NZ Independent Wellington
Nicaragua Rep. of Nicaragua Nicaragua Nicaragua NI Independent Managua
Niger Rep. of the Niger Niger Niger NE Independent Niamey
Nigeria Fed’l Rep. of Nigeria Nigeria Nigeria NG Independent Abuja
Niue Niue Niue Niue NU Partially dependent on New Zealand Alofi
Norfolk Island Territ. of Norfolk Island Norfolk Island Norfolk NF Australia Kingston
North Korea Dem. People’s Rep. of Korea North Korea Noord-Korea KP Independent Pyongyang
North Macedonia Rep. of North Macedonia North Macedonia Noord-Macedonië MK Independent Skopje
Northern Cyprus Turkish Rep. of Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus Noord-Cyprus XC Independent, claimed by Cyprus Nicosia
the Northern Mariana Islands Commonw. of the Northern Mariana Islands the Northern Marianas de Noordelijke Marianen MP United States Saipan
Norway Kingd. of Norway Norway Noorwegen NO Independent Oslo
Oman Sultanate of Oman Oman Oman OM Independent Muscat
Pakistan Islam. Rep. of Pakistan Pakistan Pakistan PK Independent Islamabad
Palau Rep. of Palau Palau Palau PW Partially dependent on the U.S. Ngerulmud
Palestine State of Palestine Palestine Palestina PS It’s complicated Ramallah
Panama Rep. of Panama Panama Panama PA Independent Panama City
Papua New Guinea Indep. State of Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Papoea-Nieuw-Guinea PG Independent Port Moresby
Paraguay Rep. of Paraguay Paraguay Paraguay PY Independent Asunción
Peru Rep. of Peru Peru Peru PE Independent Lima
the Philippines Rep. of the Philippines the Philippines de Filipijnen PH Independent Manila
the Pitcairn Islands the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands the Pitcairn Islands de Pitcairneilanden PN United Kingdom Adamstown
Poland Rep. of Poland Poland Polen PL Independent Warsaw
Portugal the Portuguese Rep. Portugal Portugal PT Independent Lisbon
Puerto Rico Commonw. of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Puerto Rico PR United States San Juan
Qatar State of Qatar Qatar Qatar QA Independent Doha
Romania Romania Romania Roemenië RO Independent Bucharest
Russia the Russian Fed’n Russia Rusland RU Independent Moscow
Rwanda Rep. of Rwanda Rwanda Rwanda RW Independent Kigali
Saint Barthélemy Collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy Saint Barthélemy Saint-Barthélemy BL France Gustavia
Saint HelenaAscension IslandTristan da Cunha Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Sint-Helena, Ascension, en Tristan da Cunha SH United Kingdom Jamestown
Saint Kitts and Nevis Fed’n of Saint Christopher and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts en Nevis KN Independent Basseterre
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Saint Lucia LC Independent Castries
Saint Martin Collectivity of Saint-Martin Saint Martin Saint-Martin MF France Marigot
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre en Miquelon PM France St. Pierre
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent en de Grenadines VC Independent Kingstown
Samoa Indep. State of Samoa Samoa Samoa WS Independent Apia
San Marino Rep. of San Marino San Marino San Marino SM Independent San Marino
São Tomé and Príncipe Dem. Rep. of São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe ST Independent São Tomé
Saudi Arabia Kingd. of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Saoedi-Arabië SA Independent Riyadh
Senegal Rep. of Senegal Senegal Senegal SN Independent Dakar
Serbia Rep. of Serbia Serbia Servië RS Independent Belgrade
Seychelles Rep. of Seychelles Seychelles de Seychellen SC Independent Victoria
Sierra Leone Rep. of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone Sierra Leone SL Independent Freetown
Singapore Rep. of Singapore Singapore Singapore SG Independent Singapore [city state]
Sint Maarten Country of Sint Maarten Sint Maarten Sint Maarten SX Netherlands Philipsburg
Slovakia the Slovak Republic Slovakia Slowakije SK Independent Bratislava
Slovenia Rep. of Slovenia Slovenia Slovenië SI Independent Ljubljana
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Solomon Islands de Salomonseilanden SB Independent Honiara
Somalia Fed’l Rep. of Somalia Somalia Somalië SO Independent Mogadishu
Somaliland Rep. of Somaliland Somaliland Somaliland XS Independent, claimed by Somalia Hargeisa
South Africa Rep. of South Africa South Africa Zuid-Afrika ZA Independent Cape Town
South Korea Rep. of Korea South Korea Zuid-Korea KR Independent Seoul
South Ossetia Rep. of South Ossetia the State of Alania South Ossetia Zuid-Ossetië XO Independent, claimed by Georgia Tskhinvali
South Sudan Rep. of South Sudan South Sudan Zuid-Soedan SS Independent Juba
Spain Kingd. of Spain Spain Spanje ES Independent Madrid
Sri Lanka Dem. Socialist Rep. of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Sri Lanka LK Independent Colombo
Sudan Rep. of the Sudan Sudan Soedan SD Independent Khartoum
Suriname Rep. of Suriname Suriname Suriname SR Independent Paramaribo
Norway Svalbard Svalbard Spitsbergen SJ Norway, governed by treaty Longyearbyen
Sweden Kingd. of Sweden Sweden Zweden SE Independent Stockholm
Switzerland the Swiss Confed’n Switzerland Zwitserland CH Independent Bern
Syria the Syrian Arab Rep. Syria Syrië SY Independent Damascus
Taiwan Rep. of China Taiwan Taiwan TW Independent, claimed by China Taipei
Tajikistan Rep. of Tajikistan Tajikistan Tadzjikistan TJ Independent Dushanbe
Tanzania United Rep. of Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania TZ Independent Dar es Salaam
Thailand Kingd. of Thailand Thailand Thailand TH Independent Bangkok
East Timor Dem. Rep. of Timor-Leste Timor-Leste Oost-Timor TL Independent Dili
Togo Togolese Rep. Togo Togo TG Independent Lomé
Tokelau Tokelau Tokelau Tokelau TK New Zealand N/A
Tonga Kingd. of Tonga Tonga Tonga TO Independent Nukuʻalofa
Transnistria the Pridnestrovian Moldovian Rep. Transnistria Transnistrië XT Independent, claimed by Moldova Tiraspol
Trinidad and Tobago Rep. of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad en Tobago TT Independent Port of Spain
Tunisia Rep. of Tunisia Tunisia Tunesië TN Independent Tunis
Turkey Rep. of Turkey Turkey Turkije TR Independent Ankara
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Turkmenistan TM Independent Ashgabat
the Turks and Caicos Islands the Turks and Caicos Islands the Turks and Caicos Islands de Turks- en Caicoseilanden TC United Kingdom Cockburn Town
Tuvalu Tuvalu Tuvalu Tuvalu TV Independent Funafuti
the U.S. Virgin Islands the Virgin Islands of the United States the U.S. Virgin Islands de Amerikaanse Maagdeneilanden VI United States Charlotte Amelie
Uganda Rep. of Uganda Uganda Oeganda UG Independent Kampala
Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Oekraïne UA Independent Kyiv
the United Arab Emirates the United Arab Emirates the United Arab Emirates de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten AE Independent Abu Dhabi
the United Kingdom United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland the United Kingdom het Verenigd Koninkrijk GB Independent London
the United States United States of America the United States de Verenigde Staten US Independent Washington, DC
Uruguay Oriental Rep. of Uruguay Uruguay Uruguay UY Independent Montevideo
Uzbekistan Rep. of Uzbekistan Uzbekistan Oezbekistan UZ Independent Tashkent
Vanuatu Rep. of Vanuatu Vanuatu Vanuatu VU Independent Port Vila
Vatican City the Vatican City State Vatican City Vaticaanstad VA Independent Vatican City [city state]
Venezuela Bolivarian Rep. of Venezuela Venezuela Venezuela VE Independent Caracas
Vietnam Socialist Rep. of Viet Nam Vietnam Vietnam VN Independent Hanoi
Wallis and Futuna Territ. of the Wallis and Futuna Islands Wallis and Futuna Wallis en Futuna WF France Mata Utu
Western Sahara Sahrawi Arab Dem. Rep. Western Sahara de Westelijke Sahara EH It’s complicated Tifariti (de facto), Laayoune (de jure)
Yemen Rep. of Yemen Yemen Jemen YE Independent Sana’a
Zambia Rep. of Zambia Zambia Zambia ZM Independent Lusaka
Zimbabwe Rep. of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Zimbabwe ZW Independent Harare

Appendix B: Country, province, and state abbreviations

In addition to the international standard letter codes, many Anglosphere nations have traditional, written abbreviations of varying length for their various subnational divisions. I have reproduced those for the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia here.

Country abbreviations
County, state, or province Abbreviation
EnglandHistoric and ceremonial counties of EnglandEngland
Bedfordshire Beds.
Berkshire Berks.
Buckinghamshire Bucks.
Cambridgeshire Cambs.
Cheshire Ches.
City of London (non-historic) C. of L.
Cornwall Corn.
Cumberland Cumb.
Cumbria (non-historic) Cum.
Derbyshire Derbys.
Devon Devon
Dorset Dor.
County Durham Co. Dur.
Essex Essex
Gloucestershire Glos.
Greater London (non-historic) G. L.
Greater Manchester (non-historic) G. M.
Hampshire Hants.
Herefordshire Here.
Hertfordshire Herts.
Huntingdonshire Hunts.
Isle of Wight (non-historic) I. of W.
Kent Kent
Lancashire Lancs.
Leicestershire Leics.
Lincolnshire Lincs.
Middlesex Middx.
Norfolk Norf.
Northamptonshire Northants.
Northumberland Northd.
Notthinghamshire Notts.
Oxfordshire Oxon.
Rutland Rut.
Shropshire Salop
Somerset Som.
Staffordshire Staffs.
Suffolk Suff.
Surrey Sy.
Sussex Ssx.
Tyne and Wear (non-historic) T. &W.
Warwickshire Warks.
Westmorland Westm.
Wiltshire Wilts.
Worcestershire Worcs.
Yorkshire Yorks.
ScotlandHistoric counties of ScotlandScotland
Aberdeenshire Aber.
Argyll Arg.
Ayrshire Ayr.
Banffshire Banf.
Berwickshire Berw.
Bute Bute
Caithness Caith.
Clackmannanshire Clack.
Cromartyshire Crom.
Dumfriesshire Dumfrie.
Dunbartonshire Dunbar.
Edinburghshire Edin.
Elginshire Elg.
Fife Fife
Forfarshire Forf.
Haddingtonshire Hadd.
Inverness-shire Inver.
Kincardineshire Kincar.
Kinross-shire Kin.
Kirkcudbrightshire Kirkud.
Lanarkshire Lan.
Linlithgowshire Lin.
Nairnshire Nairn.
Orkney Orkney
Peeblesshire Peeb.
Perthshire Per.
Renfrewshire Renf.
Ross-shire Ross.
Roxburghshire Roxb.
Selkirkshire Selk.
Shetland Zet.
Stirlingshire Stirl.
Sutherland Suther.
Wigtownshire Wig.
WalesHistoric counties of WalesWales
Anglesey Angle.
Brecknockshire Breck.
Caernarfonshire Caern.
Cardiganshire Card.
Carmarthenshire Carm.
Denbighshire Denb.
Flintshire Fl.
Glamorganshire Glam.
Merionethshire Meri.
Monmouthshire Monm.
Montgomeryshire Mont.
Pembrokeshire Pembs.
Radnorshire Rad.
IrelandCounties of the island of IrelandNorthern Ireland
County Antrim Co. Ant.
County Armagh Co. Arm.
County Carlow Co. Carl.
County Cavan Co. Cav.
County Clare Co. Clare
County Cork Co. Cork
County Derry / County Londonderry Co. Derry / Co. Londy.
County Donegal Co. Dngl.
County Down Co. Down
County Dublin Co. Dub.
County Fermanagh Co. Ferm.
County Galway Co. Gal.
County Kerry Co. Kerry
County Kildare Co. Kild.
County Kilkenny Co. Kilk.
County Laois Co. Laois
County Leitrim Co. Leit.
County Limerick Co. Lim.
County Longford Co. Long.
County Louth Co. Louth
County Mayo Co. Mayo
County Meath Co. Meath
County Monaghan Co. Mongh.
County Offaly Co. Ofly.
County Roscommon Co. Rosc.
County Sligo Co. Sligo
County Tipperary Co. Tipp.
County Tyrone Co. Tyr.
County Waterford Co. Wat.
County Westmeath Co. Wmth.
County Wexford Co. Wex.
County Wicklow Co. Wklw.
the United StatesStates of the United States of Americathe United States
Alabama Ala.
Alaska Alaska
Arizona Ariz.
Arkansas Ark.
California Calif.
Colorado Colo.
Connecticut Conn.
Delaware Del.
District of Columbia D.C.
Florida Fla.
Georgia Ga.
Hawaiʻi Hawaiʻi
Idaho Idaho
Illinois Ill.
Indiana Ind.
Iowa Iowa
Kansas Kan.
Kentucky Ky.
Lousiana La.
Maine Maine
Maryland Md.
Massachusetts Mass.
Michigan Mich.
Minnesota Minn.
Mississippi Miss.
Missouri Mo.
Montana Mont.
Nebraska Neb.
Nevada Nev.
New Hampshire N.H.
New Jersey N.J.
New Mexico N.M.
New York N.Y.
North Carolina N.C.
North Dakota N.D.
Ohio Ohio
Oklahoma Okla.
Oregon Ore.
Pennsylvania Pa.
Rhode Island R.I.
South Carolina S.C.
South Dakota S.D.
Tennessee Tenn.
Texas Texas
Utah Utah
Vermont Vt.
Virginia Va.
Washington Wash.
West Virginia W. Va.
Wisconsin Wis.
Wyoming Wyo.
CanadaProvinces of CanadaCanada
Alberta Alta.
British Columbia B.C.
Manitoba Man.
New Brunswick N.B.
Newfoundland and Labrador N.L.
Northwest Territories N.W.T.
Nova Scotia N.S.
Nunavut Nvt.
Ontario Ont.
Prince Edward Island P.E.I.
Quebec Que.
Saskatchewan Sask.
Yukon Yuk.
AustraliaStates and internal territories of the Commonwealth of AustraliaAustralia
Australian Capital Territory A.C.T.
New South Wales N.S.W.
Northern Territory N.T.
Queensland Qld.
South Australia S.A.
Tasmania Tas.
Victoria Vic.
Western Australia W.A.

Appendix C: The Nato spelling alphabet

The Nato spelling alphabet, sometimes called the Nato phoneticalphabet for reasons i can’t quite seem to divine, is the international standard for spelling out words letter-by-letter. It’s nice to have on hand for reference.

A Alpha N November
B Bravo O Oscar
C Charlie P Papa
D Delta Q Quebec
E Echo R Romeo
F Foxtrot S Sierra
G Golf T Tango
H Hotel U Uniform
I India V Victor
J Juliet W Whiskey
K Kilo X X-ray
L Lima Y Yankee
M Mike Z Zulu

Appendix D: Imperial measurements

This table details the most common imperial measurements as used in the UK. Metric conversions are deliberately inexact, to make it easier to calculate in my tiny little Euro-brain.

Unit Imperial equivalent Metric equivalent
Inch N/A ~2½ cm
Foot 12 inches ~30 cm
Yard 3 feet ~90 cm
Mile 1,760 yards ~1.6 km
Fluid ounce N/A ~30 ml
Pint 20 fluid ounces ~550 ml
Quart 2 pints ~1.1 l
Gallon 4 quarts ~4½ l
Ounce N/A ~30 g
Pound 16 ounces ~450 g
Stone 14(‽) pounds ~6 kg
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