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phpdoc Nomenclature and Style Guide


This document exists to clarify the nomenclature and grammatical style of the PHP Manual.


As a general rule, American English (and not British/International English) should be used. Various resources are available at Various grammar rules, like for affect vs. effect, there vs their, can be found here:

  • note: I (Sean) don't care if we choose International English over American (I _am_ Canadian, after all). I just think we should choose one or the other, and stick to it
  • note: I (Aidan) think American english sucks, I'd prefer International.
  • note: I (Techtonik) also think International is better, because it is the language learned in many countries as foreign.
  • note: I (Tularis) agree that International would be better fitting. There's a reason why it's often called International after all. As Techtonik noted above, the International version is what is taught in schools here aswell (Netherlands), though people often use a combination of both American English and International English.
  • color, not colour
  • favorite, not favourite


Punctuation in the PHP Manual follows regular grammatical rules. When writing flowing sentences, such as in function descriptions, normal punctuation should be used. Lists, titles, and sentence fragments should not be punctuated with a period. Sentences need not have two spaces between them. Commas and apostrophes should be used appropriately.


The PHP Manual is a technical document, and should be written so. The use of “you” is rampant in the manual, and presents an unprofessional image.


The only exceptions to the personalization rule are:

  • The PHP Tutorial
  • FAQs

(from strip_tags

"You can use the optional second parameter to specify tags which should not be stripped."

should be:

"The optional second parameter may be used to specify tags which should not be stripped."


The use of “less” vs. “fewer” can be confusing. As a general rule, “less” is used when the subject cannot be precisely quantified.

  • “The new version is less buggy” is correct.
  • “There are less bugs in the new version” should be “There are fewer bugs in the new version.”


When referring to a specific version of PHP, “since” should not be used. “As of” should be used in this case. Although the new style will not have this structure (a CHANGELOG instead), it's still good to know :)


As of PHP 5, the return value is an array, not bool.

General Grammar

The PHP Manual should be written with particular attention to general English grammar. Contractions should be used appropriately. Special attention should be applied to sentence construction when using prepositions (ie, sentences should not end in prepositions).

PHP Manual Terms

Various non-english, technical terms are used throughout the PHP Manual, without clear indication of their appropriate spelling. The following list clears up this issue:

Appropriate Use Inappropriate Use(s)
any wayanyway, anyways
built-inbuilt in, builtin
command linecommandline, CLI
Linuxlinux, *n*x, *nix, *nux, etc
PHP 4.3.0 PHP 4.3, PHP 4.3.0RC2, PHP 5.0.0BETA, PHP 4.3.0PL1
superglobalssuper globals, autoglobals
web serverwebserver
Windowswindows (when referring to Microsoft Windows)
UnixUNIX, UNIX is a registered trademark
the foo page *click here,go here

!!TODO: Alphabetize this, add more!!

doc/articles/nomenclature.1326158259.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/09/22 13:28 (external edit)