Style Guide

  1. The structure of the journal
    •  The Theme: Each issue of the DJ will carry a theme that is contemporary, relevant, and important for Bhutan and Bhutanese society. It will be a journal of analytical, thought-provoking articles (between 1,500 and 3,000 words) looking at the theme from different perspectives.
    • Each issue will contain four broad sections on the theme: 1. Main Section of serious articles on the theme; 2. Section from the perspective of Culture (focusing on the arts and literature); 3. Section looking at similar issues in other countries; 4. Section of interviews and book reviews on the theme.
  2. Writing Style

The style and tone of the articles will be a blend of news features and academic papers. The articles should be readable with the content reflecting in depth research and analysis.

  1. Abbreviations, contractions, acronyms and initials
    • Do not use a full stop after any abbreviation, contraction, acronym and initial such as am, pm, etc, eg, ie, Mr, Dr, St, BBC, MA, Prof. This helps avoid punctuation clutter. But avoid etc, eg, ie, nb and other abbreviations of Latin words or phrases.
    • Unless an abbreviation or acronym is so familiar that it is used more often than its full form (eg, BBC, AIDS, UNESCO), use the full form on first appearance. After the first mention, try not to repeat the abbreviation too often to avoid capital letter clutter. So, after the first mention, write the ministry instead of the MOIC and the party instead of the PDP.
  2. Non-English words and terms
    • Italicise all non-English words and terms unless they are proper nouns or part of proper nouns. Use a Bhutanese word or a term first followed by its English meaning or explanation in brackets. Example: lhakhang (monastery).
    • But do not italicise dzongkha words like Gewog and Dzongkhag. Use the following spellings for Bhutan’s dzongkhags and dungkhags:



  • Dorokha
  • Gelephu
  • Jomotsangkha
  • Lhamoizingkha
  • Lingzhi
  • Nganglam
  • Panbang
  • Phuntsholing
  • Sakteng
  • Samdrupcholig
  • Sangbaykha
  • Sibsu
  • Thrimshing
  • Wamrong
  • Weringla
  1. Spellings
    • Use British English spelling conventions.
    • Examples: colour, not color; programme, not program; honour, not honor; humour, not humor; labour, not labor; glamour, not glamor. Use British spellings unless American spellings appear as part of names of books, organisations, or buildings. Examples: Labor Party, Defense Department.
    • Use the suffixes -ise/-yse/-isation, not -ize/-yze/-ization. Examples: realise, not realize; analyse, not analyze; democratisation, not democratization.
    • Use foreign (particularly ancient Greek and Latin) plural forms where still in common usage.
    • Nucleus – nuclei
    • Stratum – strata
    • Genus – genera
    • Analysis – analyses
    • Basis – bases
    • Crisis – crises
    • Phenomenon – phenomena
    • Bacterium – bacteria
    • Millennium – millennia
    • Curriculum – curricula
    • Forum – fora


Spell the following words differently in noun and verb forms


  • Advice
  • Licence
  • Practice


  • Advise
  • License
  • Practise

Dates and Time

  • Use am and pm following time with a space between them. Example: 3 pm. Do not add morning or afternoon after the time in this way: 11 am in the morning.
  • Always use numerals to write time: Example: 10 pm, not ten pm; and not 10:00 pm unless the time is specified in this way 10:13 pm.
  • Write dates in the order of month, day, year. Example: November 11, 2014
  • Do not use ordinals like this: 12th November. Instead write 12 November 2018.
  • Do not abbreviate days of the week or months. Example: Monday, not Mon and February, not Feb.


  • Write numbers from zero to nine in words and numbers above nine in numerals. Example: The Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy invited 19 people to the meeting, but only nine showed up.
  •  Spell out a number in the beginning of a sentence, however big it is. Example: One hundred people came to the meeting.
  •  Use figures for all numerals that include a decimal point. Example: 6.85
  •  Use a comma for numbers in the thousands, three digits from the left. Example: 3,150, not 3150
  •  Use numerals for units of measurement
  •  Do not use an apostrophe for decades: The 1990s, not the 1990’s
  •  Money: Use numerals for numbers that are not exact millions or billions. Example: Nu 10,000 and Nu 3,150,650, but Nu 3 Million (M) and Nu 3.75 million. Do not use or punctuate lakhs. Use only M after having spelt out once.
  • Spell out words like kilogrammes, centimetres, and litres with an abbreviation within bracket when used for the first time. Example: Five kilogrammes (Kg) of potato. Two litres (L) of milk.
  • Percentages: Use numerals: 5 percent and not 5 %.
  • Temperatures: Use numerals: 5 ˚C or
  •  Addresses: Use numerals: 56 Norzin Lam.

Punctuation marks

  • Use double inverted commas for full quotes or partial quotes and single inverted commas for quotes and quotes within quotes. Example: “If the amendment is unconstitutional, there are ‘other places’ for you to go to,” Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said. He said there was no use repeating the word “unconstitutional”.
  • Use a colon to introduce a complete one-sentence quotation within a paragraph. Example: Namgay Tshering said: “The paddy fields are our source of income and we fear the quarry might affect them.”
  • To introduce quotations of more than one sentence, name the speaker after the first sentence. “I shall return,” said President Obama. “And then we shall see what can be done.”
  • Always make sure if the words like long-term, short-term, well-being and far-fetched, among many, are spelt correctly use of hyphen.
  • But also avoid using hyphen in words without it such as subtropics and multimedia, among others.


  • Follow Chicago Referencing style with footnotes for all citations. Avoid full referencing. Please do not reference within brackets in the article (APA style) or the MLA style.
  • Write Dzongkha words and terms in དབུ་ཅན་ (uchen) script, the upright, block style of Dzongkha alphabet.
  • If references are too long for footnote like more than three on each page, compile them at the end of the write up. It will be put up only on the website but not on hard copy.


  • Writers are invited to contribute high resolution photographs and other images (including tables and charts) to go with their articles when the graphic strengthens the story.
  • Photographs and other images should be in colour and high enough resolution, editable by the journal’s designer.
  • Editing of photographs and other images is restricted to improving colours and brightness, and should not, in any way, manipulate or distort them.
  • Use 12th Five-Year Plan to 12 th FYP
  • For further reference, follow The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.