English in Africa STYLE SHEET

Style Sheet

We must emphasise that it is the writer’s responsibility to submit final copy that is of an acceptable standard in terms of language, style, and reference logic. Submissions that do not meet this standard will be returned for revision. If an acceptable standard is not subsequently attained, the essay will not be published.


Please do not use Automatic Styles, right-line justification and the like – they frequently prove difficult to remove and simply interfere with the copy-editing process.

Use 12pt font, other than for indented (that is, block or set-off) quotations, endnotes and the Works Cited list (which require 10pt font). Use the Times New Roman font style.

Apart from single spacing for set-off quotations, endnotes, and Works Cited, use 1½-line spacing throughout. Do not insert an extra space between paragraphs. Instead, use an indent at the start of each new paragraph. Do not indent the opening paragraph of sections in an essay.


If material is to be omitted within a sentence in a quotation, indicate the omissions in square brackets containing three evenly spaced dots:   “Ellipses [. . .] usually signify that words have been omitted from a direct quotation.”  Should words be omitted from the end of a sentence, place a period after the square brackets containing the evenly spaced dots: “It is not passive but active [. . .]. It is not imitative but creative.”  When words are left out after a grammatically complete sentence, the period precedes the square brackets: “The slash is a diagonal line also called a virgule or solidus (/).[. . .] There is a space before and after the slash only in quotations of poetry.”


Use endnotes sparingly and only when the material in question cannot be incorporated into the main text by means of a parenthetical reference.  Endnote numbers in the main text should follow all punctuation and bracketed references.


Apply the “smart quotes” used in this style sheet. Use double quotation marks throughout for quoted material and single quotation marks for general concepts, ironical formulations, and the like.

In the case of run-on (or in-text) quotations, place any punctuation marks after the closing parenthesis of the reference: “When an ellipsis coincides with the end of your sentence, use the ellipses followed by the end of sentence punctuation” (DiYanni and Hoy 589). Make sure run-on quotations fit the syntax of your sentence.

Where quotations themselves include quoted material, place the latter in single quotation marks.

For cited material longer than four typed lines, skip a line and then indent ten spaces for each line of the quotation.  Do not use quotation marks.

Here, as a sample of what Ndebele means by “spectacular representation,” is the description of the white woman:

She had a round-shouldered, thick body and reddish-complexioned face that looked as if it had been sand-blasted into its component parts: hard plains of cheeks and knobbly cheek-bones and a bony ridge of nose that separated twin pools of dull grey; and the mouth a bitter gash, cold and malevolent as a lizard’s, a dry chapped and serrated pink crack. (90)

Note that the quoted passage is set in 10pt font.  Also note that additional information (in the form of a page reference) has been inserted in round brackets after the final period of the quotation. In the case of run-on quotations, such additional information is inserted before the period at the end of your sentence.

Parenthetical References

When citing borrowed material within the text of your essay, identify the author and the page number immediately following the borrowed material: for example (Coetzee 67).  Avoid redundancy of reference, though.  If the author is named in the text, or a title referred to, do not repeat this information in the parenthetical reference.  In such instances, cite only the page number in parentheses.

If more than one work by the same author is referred to, the work’s title, or a shortened version thereof, is included after the author’s name: for example, (Coetzee, “Farm Novel” 17).

Place parenthetical (or in-text) references at the end of the sentence or at a natural pause within the sentence. Should it follow a quotation, place the reference after the closing quotation marks.

In terms of punctuation, treat an in-text citation as you would a page reference.  With run-on quotations, place any punctuation marks after the closing parenthesis of the reference: “When an ellipsis coincides with the end of your sentence, use the ellipses followed by the end of sentence punctuation” (DiYanni and Hoy 589). And, with an indented quotation, the period is placed before the opening parenthesis of the in-text citation: 

Observe the following procedure for the use of block quotations:

Set off quotations of more than four typed lines or forty words from the rest of your paragraph by indenting each line of the block quotation ten spaces. [. . .] Like other incorporated material, block quotations should be introduced to ensure that they fit in with the rest of paragraph and should include parenthetical documentation. 

                                                                                  (DiYanni and Hoy 7)

Unless an in-text citation or page reference is required, place the punctuation mark inside the closing quotation marks in the case of run-on quotations: “Do not place quotation marks around a block quotation.” 

In parenthetical references, do not use ‘cf.’ unless the work referred to offers a contrasting perspective.  For simple bibliographical support of some or other contention, opinion or notion, use ‘see.’

In this form of in-text citation, the date of publication follows the name of the publisher in the bibliographical entry:

Baldwin, Mark. “The State of Art.” Literature and Politics. Ed. John Howe. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.  66–82.

When citing from an indirect source, use the abbreviation ‘qtd.’ followed by the source:

According to Coetzee, South African literature is a “literature in bondage” (qtd. in Baldwin 67).

In referring to two or more sources, separate the information by means of a semi-colon: (Baldwin 67; Coetzee 98–99).

Author–Date Variant

If you prefer, you may use the author–date variant of the MLA style.  In this format, a comma (not a colon), is placed between date and page number in the parenthetical reference: for example, (Ndebele 1992, 6). 

As with the conventional MLA form, it is not necessary to repeat the name of the author in the parenthetical reference if she or he has already been identified in the text.

When the author–date form is used, the date of publication follows the name of the author in bibliographical entries:

Baldwin, Mark.  1992.  “The State of Art.” Literature and Politics.  Ed. John Howe.  Chicago: U of Chicago P.  66–82.


Style for Works Cited List

A parenthetical reference refers readers to an entry in the Works Cited list that contains the full bibliographic information on the source in question. The examples below conform to the standard MLA format: that is, the publication date is positioned at the end of the entry.  In the authordate variant of the MLA style, we must repeat, the date of publication appears after the author’s name.

In the case of publishers, avoid spelling out familiar and obvious information. So, for instance, abbreviate ‘university press’ as follows: Oxford UP, U of Natal P.  The word ‘press’ is often omitted altogether from bibliographical entries.  Hence one refers to ‘Ravan’ or ‘Greenwood’ rather than to ‘Ravan Press’ or ‘Greenwood Press.’  (Obviously, though, in a case such as Women’s Press,’ the word ‘press’ is retained.) Omit abbreviations like ‘Co.’ Also omit articles.

List your sources at the end of the document under the title “WORKS CITED” (without quotation marks and in 10pt font).  Arrange entries in alphabetical order by authors’ surnames.  Please observe the placement of original dates of publication in the examples provided under “Preface, foreword, introduction, or afterword.” Also see the treatment of multi-volume books in “Book with two editors.”


With one author:

Boehmer, Elleke. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995.

Meer, Fatima. Portrait of Indian South Africans. Durban: Avon House, 1969.

Young, Robert. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London: Routledge, 1995.


With two or more authors:

Hoy, Helen, and Rob Shaw. Postcolonial Literatures. New Haven: Yale UP, 1996.

Only the name of the first author is inverted.  Note the placement of commas and periods in the first part of this entry.


With more than three authors:

Blondine, Zane, et al.  Culture in the New South Africa: After Apartheid. Cape Town: Kwela, 2001.

Note that ‘et al.’ is not italicised.


With an editor:

During, Simon, ed. The Cultural Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 1999.

Place the abbreviation ‘ed.’ after the editor’s name. Observe the placement of commas in the first part of this entry.


With two editors:

Kriger, R. and A. Zegeye, eds. Culture in the New South Africa: After Apartheid. Vol. 2. Cape Town: Kwela, 2001.

Pay attention to the punctuation and positioning of initials in this entry.  Also note the treatment of the volume number.


A selection from an anthology:

Friedman, Susan Stanford. “‘When a ‘Long’ Poem is a ‘Big’ Poem’: Self-Authorizing Strategies in Women’s Twentieth-Century ‘Long Poems.’” Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. Ed. Robyn Warhol and Diane Price Herndl.  New York: Routledge, 1997. 721–38.

Note the placement of the abbreviation ‘Ed.’ In this position in the entry, it means ‘edited by’ and not ‘editor’ or ‘editors.’  Also notice that the title of the anthology is not preceded by the preposition ‘in.’ Be sure to provide inclusive page numbers for the selection.  Lastly, note that a short or en-dash (that is, a double-hyphen), rather than hyphen, is used to indicate the page-span.


Two or more selections from an anthology:

Friedman, Susan Stanford. “‘When a ‘Long’ Poem is a ‘Big’ Poem’: Self-Authorizing Strategies in Women’s Twentieth-Century ‘Long Poems.’” Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. Warhol and Herndl 721–38.

Martin, Biddy and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. “Feminist Politics: What’s Home Got to Do with It?” Warhol and Herndl 293–310.

Warhol, Robyn and Diane Price Herndl, eds. Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Please observe that the Friedman and Martin articles are cross-referenced to the anthology, which appears as an independent entry in the Works Cited list. Again note that inclusive page numbers are provided for the various chapters.


Two or more books by the same author:

Cite the author’s name in the first entry only.  In subsequent entries, use a series of seven hyphens.  List the works alphabetically.

Gurnah, Abdulrazak. Admiring Silence. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1996.

-------. By the Sea. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2001.

-------. Paradise. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1994.

-------. Pilgrim’s Way. London: Jonathan Cape, 1988.


Preface, foreword, introduction, or afterword:

Coetzee, J. M. Afterword. Mittee. By Daphne Rooke. 1951. London: Penguin, 1991. 1–8.

Couzens, Tim. Introduction. Mhudi. By Sol Plaatje. Ed. Stephen Gray. 1930. Oxford: Heinemann, 1978. 1–19.

Provide inclusive page numbers for the cited section. Observe the placement of the original date of publication in these examples.


Article in a reference work:

In the case of a signed article from an encyclopedia, treat the entry as you would a selection from an anthology.  Do not, however, cite the editor of the encyclopedia.  In the case of an unsigned article, begin the entry with the title.

“Translate.” Collins English Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1992.




Article in a journal:

Please observe the treatment of the volume and issue numbers in the following examples.

Green, Michael. “History, Nation, and Form in Peter Abrahams’s Wild

  1. Conquest.” Research in African Literatures2 (1996): 1–16.

Kearney, J. A. “Indians and Whites in the Multicultural World of Rooke’s Ratoons.” English in Africa 26.2 (1999): 89–113.

Spivak, Gayatri. “Terror: A Speech after 9-11.” boundary 2 31.2 (2004): 81–111.

Wade, Michael. 1968. “The Novels of Peter Abrahams.” Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction 11.1 (1968): 82–95.



Berman, Kelly. Rev. of Echo Location, by Karen Press. New Coin 35.2 (1998): 74–75.

Wylie, Dan. Rev. of Echo Location, by Karen Press. Mail and Guardian 20–26 Nov. 1998: 33.

Notice the use of the en-dash for the date-span in the second of these entries.



Camberg, Helen. “Daphne Rooke – Her Works and Selected Literary Criticism.” Diss.  U of the Witwatersrand, 1969.

Coetzee, Carli. “Writing the South African Landscape.” Diss. U of Cape Town, 1993.


Internet sources:

The first and second entries reference online sources.

The third entry references an online source with a print equivalent. 

Note the placement of the date on which the posting was accessed in the following examples.


Coetzee, J. M. “He and His Man.” 2003. 2 Sept. 2006 <http://nobelprize.org/nobel_


Gordimer, Nadine. “Writing and Being.” 1991. 10 Feb. 2006  <http://nobelprize.


Hale, Frederick. “The Fountain-head of Dutch Fictional Reconstructions of the Great Trek: J. Hendrik van Balen’s De Landverhuizers.” Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans 7.1 (2000): 56–73. 10 May 2005 <http://academic.sun.ac.za/afrndl/tna/00jun/hale.html>.

When the URL of a document is very long and complicated (for example: http://aca.ru/org/links%blur/%23518%#A-98kllxx%_ZCXAD%%/lec.??/ catalan%blogmag/%/content), replace it with the URL of the site’s search page (for example: <http://www.jstor.org/search>.).


Mike Marais

2007, 2009




Last Modified: Tue, 22 Oct 2019 18:07:05 SAST