History Style Guide

Overall Style

Prefer conversational English over formal English. Avoid colloquial English unless absolutely needed. The Founding Documents of this History are exempt from this exhortation, as they have a different (and more legalistic) purpose.


The primary reference for grammar as used in the History shall be Grammar and Communication for Children, published by New Era Publications, 1992.


Consistency is not as important in the History as the text being easy to understand. For example, the placement of quotation marks inside or outside of sentence-ending periods is a practice which differs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. A sentence may be well understood either way. Thus the placement of quotation marks is really immaterial, and may be done either way.

Similarly, some words, like "whilst", are not used in American English (Americans use the word "while" instead), but may be in British English. Since both usages are understood by a reasonably well educated English-speaker, either shall be allowed in the History.


Avoid obscure terms, overly large words, and overly technical terms, unless these are defined at their point of usage. The vocabulary expected for use in this History is that expected by a reasonably well-educated high school graduate in the United States. Any question as to whether to define a word or not should be answered in the affirmative. That is, if in doubt, define the word.


Sentence structure can be twisted so that it can take a college graduate to tease the ultimate meaning from a sentence. Take the following example:

Such is the complexity of quantum physics, that the derivation of its aggregate and component parts may only be accomplished via the ultimate conversion of its integral mathematics into simplified terms, thus degrading the veracity of its essential substance.

This sentence is needlessly complex. The ideas behind it can be understood more easily by simply breaking it down into two or more sentences and removing some of the more complex terms used. This is precisely what editors of the History should do, unless there's some compelling reason to do otherwise.

For an abundance of examples of routinely difficult to understand English, refer to anything written by LRH Biographer, Dan Sherman. This includes most speeches by David Miscavige and any magazine articles describing events conducted by him. All are apparently authored by Sherman.


The active voice should be preferred over the passive voice. However, it is understood that this may not be possibly in describing historical events. Still it is preferred where possible.

Paul M. Foster
for the
Board of Directors