Quotations and quotation marks

Use italics for terms that are used colloquially or that have a special significance, as opposed to the quotation marks used in Dutch.
Example: After graduating, he spent a year as a stagiaire with the European Commission in Brussels.

Use double quotation marks < " > only for direct speech and actual or verbatim citations from written texts.
Example: The student said: "The lecturer has not answered my question."

Single quotation marks are reserved for quotes within quotes.
Example: He said: "What do you mean, 'I’m a sly devil'?" Quotations of one sentence or less should always run on in the text.

NB Quotation marks are not used for titles of publications when cited in a text; titles are italicised. Neither quotation marks nor full stops are used for the title on the cover of the publication itself or in the headline of an article or a press release.

When quoting three or more sentences, this should be done as a block quotation. The quote is separated from the context by triple spacing both before and after the quotation, and should be typed with single spacing. The quote is typed in a smaller font than the rest of the text. For a block quotation, no quotation marks are used.
Example: … As the great Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, whom we all know so well, has often said,

Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.

Whether one agrees with the above or not is quite another matter. Of course, one cannot fail to see that ...

Commas and full stops

Commas should be used sparingly, but whenever it is needed to avoid potential confusion, a comma is used. For instance, where the use of a comma changes the meaning of a sentence. Compare the following two examples: 'There will be positive differentiation or even better customised education' versus 'There will be positive differentiation or even better, customised education.'

Please note that 'and' in lists is not preceded by a comma.
Example: "The student population includes a high number of women, ethnic minorities and life-long learners."

Full stops are used in the numbering of sections and lists.
Example: section 3.1.1 and 2.1B.2.

Full stops are used to designate time. Examples: 8.30 a.m., 12.00 p.m., 3.30 p.m.

Full stops are not used after a (book) title or a headline, a caption, a date (in letters) or after internationally recognised commercial, scientific or technological symbols. Examples: €, cm, kg

Dashes and hyphens

Dash (Dutch 'gedachtestreepje'): this is generally used where Dutch uses brackets. Leave one space before and after each dash. By pressing 'enter' directly after typing the 'afbreekstreepje' < - > (in MS Word) it becomes a proper dash < – >.
Example: Certain Bachelor’s programmes – such as International Business Adminstration and Business Economics – are quite popular.


Hyphen is a punctuation mark used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word. (Dutch equivalent 'afbreekstreepje'). Whereas in Dutch it is very common to split words, in English, try to avoid dividing words as much as possible. If you do a word should only be split in syllables.


Plurals of abbreviations have no apostrophe.
Example: NGOs, PhDs.

Decades also have no apostrophes.
Example: the 1970s.

NB The possessive form always takes an apostrophe: the ISS’ new policy (compare the government’s policy).

NB Please note EUR has a new style concerning bachelor & master terminology.