Points worth noting

A few things worth bringing to the attention of sangha writers and editors.


  • Why follow a community style guide?

  • Consistency is most important

Consistency is what’s most important

General points

  • ize not ise

  • US, UK, and other forms of English


  • Theravada not Theravadan or Theravadin; not Theravādan

As a mass noun, ‘Theravada’ is the ONLY grammatically correct form. It is the only form found in the ODE. Note that it is an English word and is spelled without the macron over the second ‘a’. In FS Style ‘Theravadin’ can be used in rare cases, but only as a count noun (There were three Theravadins present.) – never as a mass noun or adjective; also, in FS Style ‘Theravada’ can sometimes be used as an adjective. Before using ‘Theravadin’, ask yourself if you would use ‘Mahayanin’ or ‘Mahayanist’.

YES: Theravada Buddhism
NO: Theravadin Buddhism/Theravadan Buddhism
NO: Theravāda Buddhism

YES: A Theravada nun
NO: A Theravadin nun/A Theravadan nun

YES: It’s a Theravada point of view
BETTER: It’s a Theravada Buddhist point of view
NO: It’s a Theravadin point of view/It’s a Theravadan point of view

  • renunciant not renunciate


  • Avoid ‘a monastic’, ‘monastics’  [TBC]

Avoid the use of the word ‘monastic’ as a noun. While such use is not incorrect, and is used by some sangha writers as it’s a convenient gender-neutral English word, FS Style prefers the use of ‘sangha member’, ‘monastic community member’ or ‘monk’, ‘nun’, ‘novice’, ‘samana’, etc. instead of ‘monastic’. Prefer ‘sangha’, ‘monastic community’ or ‘sangha members’, ‘monks’, ‘nuns’, etc. instead of ‘monastics’. Other alternatives are ‘contemplatives’, ‘mendicants’, renunciants’. For example, use: There were twenty sangha members gathered in the Temple, rather than: There were twenty monastics gathered in the Temple. (In these contexts postulants and novices, as well as monks and nuns, are considered ‘sangha members’, i.e. members of the monastic community.) Quite a few of the sangha were interested, rather than Quite a few monastics were interested. That person is a monk/nun/novice/samana/etc., rather than: That person is a monastic. See the Word List entry for more >

‘Monastic’ as an adjective (the monastic life, monastic community, etc.) is acceptable and widely used.

  • Use ‘they’ as a gender neutral singular pronoun

Use of ‘they’ as a gender neutral singular pronoun is now widely accepted, and should be preferred to overuse of ‘he or she’, ‘he/she’, etc. Often the sentence can be written in such a way as to avoid the need, but where a singular pronoun is required which could refer to either gender, use ‘they’ – even though it may sound ungrammatical.

When a person stays here, they are expected to follow the routine.
Sometimes a guest doesn’t know what to do with their time.
Each samana will follow their understanding of the path as it becomes clear to them.