The Hoorn Manual of Style

Second edition, updated 2023 Mar. 20

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 or Nigerois
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 Hawaiʻian4
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 or Michiganian
New Hampshire a New Hampshirite
Utah a Utahn

Many countries use different words for the ethnic group native to the area than to refer to anyone who happens to live there: Croats versus Croatians, Fijians versus Fiji Islanders, Azeris versus Azerbaijanis, that sort of thing.

euphemisms and jargon

Avoid mealy-mouthed euphemisms unless you’re using them for comedic effect (say, answering nature’s call instead 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
AGAB or 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 like weeds, slipping in and infesting 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

Licence is a noun. To license is 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. A metre 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 2015E
    • 2015: Year of release
    • E: May
  • Version 2023C6
    • 2023: Year of release
    • C: March
    • 6: Sixth version of the month
Monthly letter codes
Code Month name Code Month name
A January G July
B February H August
C March J September
D April K October
E May L November
F June M December
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.

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

Appendix B: County, 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
the flag of England Historic and ceremonial counties of England the flag of England
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.
the flag of Scotland Historic counties of Scotland the flag of Scotland
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.
the flag of Wales Historic counties of Wales the flag of Wales
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.
the flag of the republic of Ireland Counties of the island of Ireland the Ulster Banner, the most commonly used flag to represent Northern 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 flag of the United States States of the United States of America the flag of the 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.
the flag of Canada Provinces of Canada the flag of Canada
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.
the flag of Australia States and internal territories of the Commonwealth of Australia the flag of Australia
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 phonetic alphabet 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