Punctuation in Publishing Online

Here we present the bare-bones beginning of an in-house style guide. Add to it as your needs and curiosity require, and always refer to authoritative sources when adding or modifying an item.

Note: keystrokes often differ between Windows and OS X systems.

Times of day

Use the periods in p.m. and a.m. times of day.


If you know how to type an em-dash — to indicate a break in thought or flow, like this — that’s fine to do in both headlines and body text. To insert an em-dash in a WordPress editor without knowing the keystrokes, just type two consecutive hyphens — WordPress will convert them to an em-dash before displaying it in a web browser.


An en-dash is used to represent a range of numbers, like the two in this phrase: “…from December 24 – 31 the room will hold from 35 – 60 guests.” On OS X, the en-dash is typed as option-n. For readability, it is fine to use a space on both sides of the en-dash.

Non-breaking space

For practical reasons, it’s best not to force line breaks, or line endings, more than necessary. But certain phrases are best kept on one line, not split over two lines. For example, “St.
Andrew” sometimes straddles two lines. We would replace that with a non-breaking space so “St. Andrew’s” always stays together, on the same line. On OS X, you can type a non-breaking space as option-space. Or, in the WordPress editor’s Text tab (not the Visual tab), you can type the characters   — so the words in your editor’s Text tab would look like “St. Andrew’s” but visitors’ browsers and the editor’s Visual tab should show it as “St. Andrew’s” — always on one line.


You can type the ellipsis character (on OS X, it’s option-semi-colon), copy one like the following from any web page or, in a WordPress editor, just type three consecutive periods and WordPress will replace them with a true ellipsis character before display in a web browser. You know, for when a thought trails off…

In a more-perfect world, everyone would know Haʻikū is not a haiku.

We defer to Pukui and Elbert for correct spellings, which we deem authoritative. We also present popular/current usage and pidgin where relevant or appropriate in the context.


For both correctness and respect for authenticity, we advise using the okina where it is correct to do so.

  • Use Control-C (or the Edit > Copy menu) to copy one you know is correct in other text on the web site — such as the one in this word: Oʻahu. You can then paste it into the WordPress editor like any other character.
  • Type the character code ʝ — using the Text tab of the WordPress editor, not the Visual tab — in places where an okina should appear.
  •  Tip: Your computer might have alternate keyboard or language options, such as Māori (see note below), which might have the punctuation (AKA diacritical) marks you need.

We try to use the okina consistently in the word Hawaiʻi, but we currently treat it as optional in the hybrid word Hawaiian.


To use macrons in website text:

  • With your cursor in a text field, hold down one of the vowels. On some systems, after a moment, a menu appears with a few options for that character.
  • If that doesn't work on your system, you can copy the character you need from this list, and paste it where needed:
    Aā Eē Iī Ōō Ūū
  •  Tip: To make it convenient to type macrons routinely, you might consider changing the language your keyboard uses to Māori. Then...
    • OS X: option-vowel will produce that vowel with a macron
    • Windows: backtick-vowel will produce that vowel with a macron.
  • Your PC or Mac might allow you to define any unique series of keystrokes that it will replace with whatever you like. For example, you could instruct it to replace "amacron" with "ā" whenever you type it.

Thank you greatly! Mahalo nui loa!

Special headings presented in both Hawaiian and a second language can receive special formatting. You can try adding a class="hi" attribute to any HTML element and provide a relevant definition in CSS to achieve a consistent, restrained treatment for those elements throughout a website.

 Much of our design for Hawaiian-language titles and other featured text is not intended for individual words or phrases sprinkled through content in English or another language. There are occasions when that might be reasonable, but generally (a) we do not want that, combined with the surrounding formatting, to cause the pages to look freckled or to pull focus too much; and (b) we prefer the philosophical approach of integrating languages so gracefully and naturally that it is not necessary to continually identify "this" and "the other." It can be a design challenge and, as always, YMMV!

Article Name
Punctuation in Publishing, including Hawaiian
The bare-bones beginning of an in-house style guide. Add to it as your needs and curiosity require, and always refer to authoritative sources when adding or modifying an item.
Publisher Name
External Design, Pan Pacific Web Works
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