Headings and titles

Headings and titles can include punctuation, but should not end in punctuation. For example:

Style, voice, and tone.
Style, voice, and tone
Getting started with PatternFly!
Getting started with PatternFly

The exception for this rule is a question mark, when it is contextually important. For example, in a confirmation dialog, it is important that users understand what action they are about to take. A valid heading may include a question mark, such as "Delete service account?".

Referring to text in the UI

When referring to an element or text in the UI, use bold text. Don't use quotation marks or italics -- those should be reserved for quotes and emphasis, respectively. For example:

Add user to the “Group title” team
Add user to the Group title team

Parallel structure

All items in a list or series should be of the same part of speech. For example:

Remember these important tips: Write clearly; conduct research; spelling and grammar.
Remember these important tips: Write clearly; conduct research; use correct spelling and grammar.

Ampersand (&)

For clarity, avoid using ampersands (&), and use "and" instead.


Avoid using punctuation on buttons.

Do not use punctuation to create icons on buttons (for example, do not use a plus sign "+"). Instead, refer to PatternFly's icons page for any icons you place on buttons.

Colon and semicolon

Use a colon to introduce a list or a series. You can also use it as a pause before introducing related information. For example:

  • "I enjoy the following hobbies: cooking, drawing, and traveling."
  • "That leads me to my favorite hobby: running."

Use a semicolon to connect two closely related independent clauses. You can also use a semicolon instead of a comma to separate long list items for extra clarity. For example:

  • "I love running in the morning; it wakes me up."
  • "Every morning, I enjoy eating toast, bacon, and eggs; reading a book; and relaxing on the porch."

Note: If you're tempted to use a semicolon in the UI, try breaking up the sentence and cutting down on your words instead. This often leads to content that is more readable and clear.


When a conjunction connects two independent clauses, a comma should precede it. Also put a comma before “and” if it’s the Oxford comma. For example:

  • "I like to run, and I like to swim" — A comma is needed before “and” because “and” connects two independent clauses.
  • "I like to run and swim: — A comma is not needed before “and” because “and” does not connect two independent clauses.
  • "I like to run, swim, and hike" — The Oxford comma is included before “and.”

Ellipses (...)

Ellipses (...) are commonly used when information is omitted. Use ellipses when you cannot fit all words onto a line or when you remove less relevant information (like in a quote). For example:

They said, “For many reasons, I think the PatternFly community is great.”
They said, “...I think the PatternFly community is great.”

Ellipses can also be used in more creative contexts to signify someone’s thoughts or speech, like a pause for thinking. For example, "But I was just trying to...never mind, forget it."

Em dash, en dash, and hyphen

Em dash ( — )

To add emphasis to a phrase or sentence following it, use an em dash ( — ). You can also use an em dash to provide additional information or specification in the middle of a sentence. For example:

  • "Good design is not about you—it’s about the user."
  • "I like drinking something hot—coffee, tea, or cocoa—during my morning meetings."

En dash ( – )

To separate numbers in a series, use an en dash ( – ). For example, "We plan on having 100–150 attendees."

Hyphen ( - )

Use a hyphen ( - ) if it's part of a term (such as "walk-through") or someone's name (such as "Mary-Jane").

You should also use a hyphen for a compound adjective that comes before the noun it modifies, but omit the hyphen if the first adjective ends in "-ly." For example:

  • "I like when my documentation is up to date."
  • "I write up-to-date documentation."
  • "He is a highly talented writer."
  • "She is a high-quality job candidate."

For most prefixes, you should not use a hyphen. For example:

  • Auto- (such as autopopulate; autoloading)
  • Pre- (such as prerequisite)
  • Re- (such as recreate)
  • Sub- (such as submerge)

An exception for this rule is when you add a modifier prefix like “non." In these cases, you should use a hyphen. For example, "non-Red Hatter."

If you're unsure about the use of a hyphen, refer to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.

Exclamation mark

Use exclamation marks sparingly. Don’t use one to generate excitement; only use an exclamation mark if the user is actually experiencing something exciting. You can also use an exclamation mark for something cautionary, like “Stop!” or “Watch out!”

To more accurately capture human expression, use an exclamation mark after just a few words, not after a long sentence. For example:

Congratulations on creating an account!
Congratulations! You created an account.


Use parentheses to offer more context to a term or phrase (such as a description or short example).

Do not use parentheses to indicate a possible plural of something, like "account(s)." When a user can either select one thing or multiple things, use the plural form.

Quotation marks

Use double quotation marks (“Example”) for quotes and article titles. Use single quotation marks (‘Example’) for quotes or article titles within double quotation marks.

While double quotation marks are the standard in American English, single quotation marks are usually the standard in British English.

Double quotation marks and single quotation marks are sometimes used interchangeably across various publications. In some contexts, they can mean the same thing, but they are not always interchangeable. For instance, when you need to use nested quotation marks, single quotation marks should be used inside of double quotation marks. For example:

  • An article title within a dialogue: Abi said, “I love the article Cat wrote. It’s called ‘Improving product design with an open source mindset,’ and it’s such a fun read.”
  • A quote within a dialogue: “I like Cat’s article too, Abi. My coworker told me, ‘PatternFly has the best publication ever.’ That made me smile.”

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