[Lesson 2] The writing guidelines: how to format the lyrics

Adjusting your written lyrics to the desired appearance

  1. Format lyrics by song structure
  2. Capitalize ONLY the first letter of every line and all proper nouns
  3. Put Background vocals in parenthesis
  4. No end-line punctuation except for question and exclamation marks
  5. Use an apostrophe for contractions 

What about numbers formatting?
  • From 1 to 10, numbers should be written out: one, two, three, etc…
  • Above 10, numbers should be written numerically: 11, 12, 13, etc…
  • If there are too many numbers in a line, write numbers numerically
  • Use numerals when exact times are emphasized: 9:30 a.m.
  • Use lowercase a.m. (ante meridiem) and p.m. (post meridiem)
  • Spell out words/phrases that do not include actual numbers: half past, quarter of, midnight, noon
  • Dates should be written as numbers instead eg. 1987
  • Decades should be written like this: '60s

Do's and Don't

  • Do - Find the formatting checklist on the Guidelines page
  • Don’t - Use all caps or title case
  • Don’t - Use end-line punctuation
Standardized spelling for rap songs
  • Tryna (Trying to)
  • ‘Til (until)
  • ‘Cause (because)
  • Finna (I’m fixing to)
  • I'ma (I am going to)
  • Turnt (Turn up)
  • gon' (going to)
  • outta ('out of')
  • e'ry (every)
  • nah mean (know what I mean?)
  • lil' (unless a proper name)
  • Cuz (when referring to a cousin, or brother, friend, comrade, etc and NOT abbreviated "because")
  • Ya (should be used when in place of “You”)
  • Yah (should be used when in place of “Yeah/Yes”)
If you have doubts with lyrics, you can always ask in the Musixmatch Community Slack channel

Want to know more about the perfect format? Check our Writing Guidelines

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