banned phrases

Christian clichés, e.g. God’s heart for the poor or God laid on my heart the burden of… can be used within certain communications. They are appropriate for partnerships and church audiences, but should be avoided within social media, website copy, and leaflets. See clichés.

Don’t use ‘seeking to…’ or ‘aiming to do’, where it slows the reader down and questions our capability.

Yes: The Leprosy Mission provides vital treatment.
No: The Leprosy Mission is seeking to provide vital treatment.

Yes: We’re providing education for….
No: We’re running an education project.


Never use this in any communications, either internally or externally. Instead, use the communities/people we serve/work with.


Be consistent.  E.g. between three and five or from three to five.

Bible references/verses/quotes

The default is to use the New International Version (NIV UK) when quoting from the Bible. If using this, you don’t need to include the version in your reference. An online version of the NIV can be found at Bible Gateway.

If you have a reason to use another version, make it clear by adding the reference at the end of the quote.

The usual approach for stand-alone verses is:

  • ‘So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.’ (Genesis 13:1-2)
  • ‘Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”’ (Mark 5:36)
  • ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 5:3)

Book names are written out in full. Single quote marks are used (double quote marks are only used around direct speech). The full stop should go inside the quote mark. Bible references are in brackets without any full point either inside or outside the brackets.

When Bible quotations are introduced by text, presentation will typically follow these styles:

  • As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1: ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.’
  • In Isaiah 65:17 it says: ‘“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”’

Partial quotes have no punctuation inside the closing quote. The punctuation comes at the end of the sentence. The reference is in brackets and has no full point, e.g. Jesus was God’s ‘only begotten son’. (John 3:16)

When quoting part of a verse, you don’t need to use ‘a’ or ‘b’ to indicate that it’s from the start or end of a verse, even if it’s an incomplete verse.


Lower case b

Black Majority Church

Use initial capitals as shown here.

book titles

Use italics. Capitalise words apart from transition words. Credit and year in are brackets but not italics, e.g. The Gift of Pain (Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, 1997).


The board of trustees

Jane Smith, who is a board member

Jane Smith, a trustee of The Leprosy Mission


Use a single space before opening and after closing a bracket, or after any punctuation following a closed bracket.

If the copy in the brackets is a full and complete sentence, include the full point within the bracket. If not, include it after, or just continue with your sentence. E.g. Brackets are great (and this is why). Don’t overuse them, though. Or, Brackets are great. (Although don’t overuse them.)

bullet points

If your bullet points introduce words or short phrases (i.e. not complete sentences), then introduce with a colon. Start each point in lower case and do not end with a full stop – even after the last point. E.g.:

We want to recruit:

  • consultants
  • finance officers
  • experts in charity accounting

If your bullet points introduce complete sentences, then start each point with a capital letter and end each point with a full stop. E.g.:

Here are our goals:

  • We want to see 1,000 children cured of leprosy.
  • We want to support 350 communities to set up self-help groups.
  • We want to train 200 church leaders to reach out to their local communities.

If your bullet points are a mixture of the above, or if you’re in doubt, then punctuate them as per whole sentences.


Use Myanmar unless referring to the history of the country.