Language Guidelines

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TODO: Check whether all these rules are listed in the Microsoft Style Guide and then remove this page.

QUESTION: Should we add these as links into the appropriate sections in the MS Style Guide on the Developing Qt Documentation page?

This page is part of the Qt Writing Guidelines.

Idioms and usage

Point of view (POV)

Use second person point of view with the personal pronoun you in technical communication. This is also known as direct address, and helps you write in active voice.

Since/as/because and ambiguity

According to MSTP both "since" and "as" need to be avoided because they can lead to ambiguous interpretations (causal meaning or temporal meaning). MSTP recommends using "because".

The Canadian Writer's Handbook also recommends not using "since" and "as".

The Chicago Manual of Style doesn't mention this issue.


Qt documentation follows American English spelling.

Latin expressions commonly used in English

i.e. (that is) e.g. (for example) cf. (compare) etc. (and so forth) vs.(versus) et al. (and others)

It is advisable to use the English equivalent for better readability.


Oxford comma

In punctuation, a serial comma (also called Oxford comma) needs to be placed immediately before the conjunction (often "and" or "or") in a series of three or more terms.


I would like crackers, cheese, and garlic.

The comma as a separator between compound sentences.

Use commas to separate independent clauses when they are joined by any of these seven coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet.

However, the comma can be dropped in the following cases:

  • When both independent clauses are quite short, especially if the two clauses are very closely related, and even more so if the subject of both clauses is the same.
  • If only the first clause is quite short, especially if the two clauses are very closely related, and even more so if the subject of both clauses is the same.

Periods and spaces

The period ending a sentence should be followed by 1 space.

An exception to this rule is the legal text in the beginning of Qt code, which can have 2 spaces after a period.

Grammar issues


Can we use the possessive's if the owner is not a person ?


  • the item's width
  • the width of the item

Both are correct. There is presently no rule stating that the owner cannot be an inanimate object.

An URL or a URL ?


If the "u" is long, the article is "a". For example, a uniform, a university, a Ugandan man.

If it is short, the article is "an". For example, an understatement, an undermining comment, an underdog team.


Microsoft Manual of Style, Fourth Edition. Microsoft Press

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition. The University of Chicago Press. "English Language & Usage":