Hello fellow grammarians,

I'm fairly new the board, so forgive me if this has already been covered but...do we have a preferred style?

My question specifically regards the "RAW" (rules as written) acronym?

Generally, the style tends towards not using the article "the" in front of acronyms because they are stand-alone words, generally treated as nouns, i.e.:

RAW dictates that we roll a d20 for initiative.


The RAW dictates that we roll a d20 for initiative.

The article "the" can be placed in front of an acronym if it is being used as an adjective. i.e.

The RAW acronym is standard use on rpg.stackexchange.

My reason for asking is because StackExchange likes to encourage users to edit each other's posts. I'd like to first know what style to follow so that posts that I edit will appear uniform in style. Do we have a style guide? Should we establish one?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ An additional consideration is how to conjugate the verb after RAW. I write "RAW dictate" while some people write "RAW dictates." I do it that way because it's Rules as Written not Rule as Written. Though I don't think any of these details are worth editing someone else's post for. \$\endgroup\$
    – lightcat
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 6:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is all very helpful! I haven’t edited anyone yet, but I see these sorts of inconsistencies all over the place. It’s good to know that this isn’t what we’re editing for :) \$\endgroup\$
    – TigerDM
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 10:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do we say “the rules” or “rules”? Depends because grammar. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth noting that in the example given "RAW" is redundant. Overuse of the term may make this seem like a bigger problem than it is. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 10:02

2 Answers 2


We don’t have a style guide, just a general encouragement that the community improves posts. This looks like a matter of taste that can’t be improved meaningfully by switching it, so it doesn’t fall under that general principle.

So long as a detail like this doesn’t impair understanding or accessibility, posts can be written according to the author’s tastes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! That first link is particularly helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – TigerDM
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 21:50

We don't have much of a style guide.

Either of these are correct and valid. It is up to the author's personal preferences which they use.

Since we should respect the author's personal preferences when editing, and since this does not do anything to improve clarity or correctness, we should avoid editing one form into the other in another person's post.


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