Dashes should be en dashes rather than em dashes or hyphens, datatakes a singular verb (like agenda), though strictly a plural; you come across datum, the singular of data, about as often as you hear about an agendum. The term survivor is used for people who have experienced domestic violence in the past. But our approach to style in its broadest sense is, if anything, more An example would be to say that parallel lines will never meet, because they are parallel. DSG stands for Dixons Store Group, but in June 2010 the company, belatedly realising that no one in the world was aware of this, decided to change back to Dixons, dubAvoid such tabloidese as “he has been dubbed the nation’s leading expert on style” (even if true). Alternatives adopted by some publications are British and Irish Isles or simply Britain and Ireland, British Medical Association(doctors’ trade union), BMA on second mention. (A complete sentence that stands alone in parentheses starts with a capital letter and ends with a stop. ‘Style to be good must be clear. See Scotland, British and Irish Lions(rugby union); not “British Lions”, British Film InstituteBFI on second mention, British IslesA geographical term taken to mean Great Britain, Ireland and some or all of the adjacent islands such as Orkney, Shetland and the Isle of Man. Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or SussexThese are their official titles. There are 14: Akrotiri and Dhekelia (Cyprus); Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Turks and Caicos Islands. Perhaps the best known dilemma is “to be or not to be”, dinner ladiesare generally known as school meals supervisors these days. Clearness is secured by using words that are current and ordinary.’ Aristotle. It gets more complicated when something is genuinely odds-on, ie bookmakers quote a price of “2-1 on”: in this case, if the Labour candidate is quoted at 2-1 on and becomes an even hotter favourite, at 3-1 on, the odds have shortened; if Labour loses popularity, and 2-1 on becomes, say, 7-4 on or evens, the odds have lengthened, between 15 and 20not “between 15 to 20” or “between 15-20”, Bevan, Aneurin(1897-1960) Labour health minister from 1945 to 1951 and architect of the NHS. Men have children with, not by, women. Commas would suffice. diabetesa lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar (glucose) level to become too high. Note that in the UK there is no central register of disabled people so avoid using terms such as “registered disabled”. There is ongoing debate about the capitalisation of black, with some using it as a physical descriptor, others to describe a specific cultural group, therefore while generally lower case, if a writer, editor or subject of a story prefers to use Black then that choice should be respected. But use sparingly. Democrat, DemocraticIn American politics, Democrat is a noun, Democratic an adjective: Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, and a member of the Democratic party. In Australia, the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. direct speechPeople we write about are allowed to speak in their own, not necessarily our, style, but be sensitive: do not, for example, expose someone to ridicule for dialect or grammatical errors. Edited by David Marsh and Amelia Hodsdon.Illustrations by Jakob Hinrichs. Take care using the phrase “odds on”: if Labour is quoted by bookmakers at 3-1 to win a byelection, and the odds are cut to 2-1, it is wrong to say “the odds on Labour to win were cut last night” – in fact, the odds against Labour to win have been cut (the shorter the price, the more likely something is expected to happen). Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to various conditions. As a reader complained: “Surely an expression which implies that a woman has a child for a man has no place in the Guardian ... How about ‘they had two children’?”, We also said that the late David Frost had “three sons by Carina Fitzalan-Howard” and referred to Mick Jagger’s “two sons by Jerry Hall”, as if the mothers were racehorses. From a reader: “Peradventure the editor hath no copy of Holy Writ in the office, save the King James Version only. Use the following endnote if a story is about a murder/suicide: • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 and the domestic abuse helpline is 0808 2000 247. Note that a hearing aid is not a “deaf aid” (although we contrived to use the phrase in a crossword in August 2012), debacleno accents; like farce and fiasco, to be used sparingly in news reporting, decades1950s, etc; use figures if you abbreviate: roaring 20s, swinging 60s, a woman in her 70s, the first reader’s email of the 00s (pronounced, unfortunately, “noughties”), deceptivelyambiguous (in one survey, half the respondents thought “deceptively easy” meant easy, and half thought it meant hard), and therefore best avoided – advice unlikely to be heeded, sadly, by estate agents, decimatenowadays used to mean destroy (yes, we know it originally meant to kill one in 10)See Latin, declarationslc, eg Laeken declaration on the future of Europe, decorationsno need normally to put OBE, KCMG, etc after people’s names, decrycondemn; descry discoverYou only ever see descry when someone uses it wrongly to mean decry, definite, definitely, definitive, definitively”For me, this is definitely the definitive style guide”, defuserender harmless; diffuse spread about, de Gaulle, Charles(1890-1970) French military leader and statesman; De Gaulle on second mention, degreeslike this: my sons all got firsts, but I only got a second – although it was a 2:1 – and I did go on to a master’s, deja vudefined as the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past (whether it has actually happened or not). Nobody knows what it means.” Use quotation marks on first mention, billlc, even when giving full name; cap up only if it becomes an act. It is overused and many people who have had illnesses over which they have little or no control find it inappropriate, BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 4 Extra, 5 live (lower case), 6 Music, bearing childrenSuch phrases as “she bore him two sons” and “he had two children by” are outdated and sexist. British Sign Languageabbreviate to BSL after first mention, Britsavoid using except when quoting people; Britons or British people should be used, Broadmoora secure psychiatric hospital, not a prison, BrontëCharlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell; they grew up at Haworth (not Howarth) in what is now West Yorkshire, Browniesfor girls aged seven to 10, at which point they may join the Guides, Brueghelfamily of Flemish painters, including Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c1525-69) and his sons Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564 or 1565-1636) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625); Pieter Bruegel the Elder dropped the H from his surname in 1559, brutaliserender brutal, not treat brutally; so soldiers may be brutalised by the experience of war, BSEbovine spongiform encephalopathy; no need to spell out, BSTbovine somatrophin (bovine growth hormone), Buckingham Palacethe palace on second mention, buckminsterfullerenea form of carbon, named after the US engineer Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), buck’s fizzcocktail of champagne and orange juice, named after Buck’s Club in London, Bucks Fizzwinners of the 1981 Eurovision song contest with Making Your Mind Up, budget, thelc noun and adj, eg budget talks, budget measures, mini-budget, pre-budget report, etc, buffaloesfor the plural; not buffalo or buffalos. Duke of Edinburghor Prince Philip at first mention; thereafter the duke or Philip, Duke of Yorkor Prince Andrew at first mention; thereafter the prince or Andrew, dumbdo not use when you mean speech-impaired, du Pré, Jacqueline(1945-87) English cellist, Du Pré at second mention, Dupré, Marcel(1886-1971) French organist and composer, Dürer, Albrecht(1471-1528) German painter, dutch auction, dutch courage, dutch treatbut double Dutch, dwarvesplural of dwarf (not dwarfs); but the verb is to dwarf, eg the Shard dwarfs the surrounding buildings, Dynamofootball teams from the former Soviet Union are Dynamo; teams from Romania are Dinamo, dyslexiawrite “Paul has dyslexia” rather than labelling him “a dyslexic” or saying he “suffers from” dyslexia, national family violence counselling service. Different than is frowned on, at least in British English; and it’s always differs from, not differs to, digital rights managementcan be abbreviated to DRM after first mention, digitaliseadminister digitoxin (extracted from foxglove leaves) to treat heart conditions; digitise transcribe data into digital format, dilemmaNot just a posh word for decision. However, when using an alternative always check that it doesn’t change the accuracy of the story, eg the term minority ethnic in its broadest sense includes white people, such as Travellers and Gypsies, so if a story citing BAME research is actually only about people of colour, use of the term minority ethnic would be incorrect. bodge or botch?To botch a job is to make a mess of it; to bodge means something very similar, but with the added sense that you botched it by trying to cut corners or save money – think of the Bodgers and their novelty 1976 single, (Don’t Do It Right) Bodge It! Other international helplines may be found via www.befrienders.org. We said of Wendi Deng that she “went on to bear [Rupert Murdoch] two children”. Consider civil servant, administrator or official instead, burgeonmeans to bud or sprout, so you can have someone with burgeoning talent; often misused to describe anything that is growing or expanding, especially population, burghercitizen, not to be confused with burger (although we have contrived to do so more than once), burned/burntburned is the past tense form (he burned the cakes); burnt is the participle, an “adjectival” form of the verb (“the cakes are burnt”), businessman, businesswomanfor individuals, but say business people or the business community rather than “businessmen”, Bussell, DarceyRoyal Ballet dancer who retired in 2007, but, howeveroften redundant, and increasingly wrongly used to connect two compatible statements, butterflies and mothsare usually lc: adonis blue, orange-tip, purple emperor, silver-washed fritillary, death’s-head hawk moth, etc; but note the following: Duke of Burgundy, Queen of Spain fritillary, Essex skipper, Lulworth skipper, Scotch argus, buy to let, help to buy, right to buyno initial caps; hyphenate before a noun, eg buy-to-let mortgages, help-to-buy programme, right-to-buy scheme, byelection, bylaw, byline, bypass, bystander, byteunit of measurement of computer information storage, eg 320GB hard drive (320 gigabytes). Forces 13 to 17, used in China and Taiwan, cover cyclones and typhoons, beaujolais, beaujolais nouveauwine; Beaujolais region where it is produced, Beaver scoutsfor boys (and now girls) aged six to eight, when they are eligible to become Cub scouts, becausecan be ambiguous: “I didn’t go to the party because Mary was there” may mean that Mary’s presence dissuaded me from going or that I went to sample the canapés, Becket, Thomas (1118-70)murdered archbishop of Canterbury, not “Thomas à Becket”, becquerelthe activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays in a second; the time measurement is included, so it is wrong to say “becquerels per hour”, bedblockers, bedblockingterms best avoided, unless quoting someone, because as one of our readers put it: “This neoliberal language dehumanises people to commodities and treats them as a transactional contract, rather than humans”, bedroom taxno need for “so-called” or quotation marks – it’s the bedroom tax. Wherefore let them be quoted in such manner that the people may understand”, biblical referenceslike this: Genesis 1:1; II Corinthians 2:13; Revelation 3:16 (anyone calling it “Revelations” will burn in hell for eternity), bicentenarya 200th anniversary; bicentennial its adjective, bicepssingular and plural (there is no such thing as a bicep), bidUse only in a financial or sporting sense, eg Royal Bank of Scotland’s disastrous bid for ABN Amro, Barcelona have put in a bid for Rooney, etc; or when writing about an auction. In a 1948 speech he described Tories as “lower than vermin”, Bevin, Ernest(1881-1951) Labour foreign secretary between 1945 and 1951 who helped to create Nato. It’s remarkable that no one has sorted this problem out; nearly a century ago, HW Fowler was already calling it “a cause of endless confusion”, Biblecap up if referring to Old or New Testament, lc in such sentences as “the stylebook is my bible”; the adjective biblical is always lc, biblical quotationsUse a modern translation, not the Authorised Version. The Guardian and Observer style guide ... Henri Bergson • Follow the style guide on Twitter: @guardianstyle. Also known as Nye Bevan. buffetfinger food, not to be confused with ... Buffett, Warreninvestor known as the Sage of Omaha. Take care not to write Britain when you might mean England and Wales, or just England – for example when referring to the education system. However, the following terms can be used for the princes: Prince William, Prince Harry; thereafter William, Harry or the prince. Howbeit the great multitude of believers knoweth this translation not. The OED defines a sceptic as “a seeker of the truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions”, which is highly flattering to “climate change sceptics” who are literally in denial about the overwhelming scientific evidence and deny that climate change is happening or is caused by human activity, so denier is the more accurate, and our preferred, term. It suggests a choice between two difficult choices of action. Unexpected twists, or … In the 21st century but 21st-century boy; fourth century BC; AD2007, 2500BC, 10,000BC. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood. The same applies to bimonthly and biweekly: say “every fortnight”, “twice a month” or “every two months”, and so on. The phrase is best avoided, given its (understandable) unpopularity in the Irish Republic. The distinction can, however, be useful: compare “bored with Tunbridge Wells” (a person who finds Tunbridge Wells boring) and “bored of Tunbridge Wells” (a bored person who happens to live there, perhaps a neighbour of “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”), BorisSome people (Arnie, Maggie, Iggy) have forenames that make them instantly recognisable, and Boris Johnson is one. The term abuse is preferable to violence as it more widely encompasses the different forms of abuse that can occur, ie not just physical but emotional, psychological, financial and sexual. burden of proofThis refers to who has to prove an allegation in court ie in criminal cases the burden of proof is on the prosecution, in libel cases it is the defendant (ie the libeller rather than the libelled). Used as adjectives, therefore, British and UK mean the same. dashesA single dash can add a touch of drama – like this. Terms to avoid, with acceptable alternatives in brackets, include victim of, suffering from, afflicted by, crippled by (prefer person who has, person with); wheelchair-bound, in a wheelchair (uses a wheelchair); person who is less able, invalid (disabled person); mentally handicapped, backward, retarded, slow (person with learning difficulties or disabilities); the disabled, the handicapped, the blind, the deaf (disabled people, blind people, deaf people); deaf and dumb (deaf and speech-impaired, hearing and speech-impaired). (It is also preferred by some advocacy groups.) In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). due to or owing to?Traditionalists argue that “due to” should only be used when it is the complement of the verb “to be”, and could be replaced by “caused by”; otherwise, use “owing to” or “because of”: The train’s late arrival was due to [caused by] leaves on the line; the train was late owing to [because of] leaves on the line. ), Band-AidTM; say plaster or sticking plaster; in the US, it’s a bandage. Try to include diacritical marks if bands use them in their name, no matter how absurd: Maxïmo Park, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, etc; for a comprehensive list see the excellent “metal umlaut” entry on Wikipedia, Bangaloredo not use; the city’s official name has been changed to Bengaluru, Ban Ki-moonformer UN secretary general; Ban on second mention, Bank of Englandthe Bank on subsequent mentions, banksthat aren’t banks but share certain characteristics with banks are two words: blood bank, food bank, time bank, banlieueFrench for suburbia, not suburb: strictly singular, but a French reader points out that the Petit Robert dictionary listed “les banlieues” among its “nouveaux mots” in 2006; the French for suburb is faubourg (literally, “false town”), bar(legal) she was called to the bar; (political) of the House of Commons, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC)An organisation that is independent of the Bar Council, Barnardo’schildren’s charity, formerly Dr Barnardo’s; it no longer runs orphanages, Baron Cohen, Sachathe man behind Ali G and Borat, Baron-Cohen, Simona professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University and cousin of Sacha, barons, baronessesare lords and ladies in our publications: Andrew Adonis at first mention, Lord Adonis (not “Baron Adonis”) on second mention, thereafter Adonis; similarly Sayeeda Warsi, then Lady Warsi (not “Baroness Warsi”), then simply Warsi, barracksthe army has barracks, the RAF has airfields, Barroso, José Manuelformer prime minister of Portugal, subsequently president of the European commission, Bartsabbreviation for St Bartholomew’s hospital, London, Base jumpingextreme sport; the acronym stands for four categories of object from which you can jump, if so inclined: building, antenna, span and earth, basicallythis word is unnecessary, basically, basket caseoriginally referred to quadriplegics who had suffered catastrophic wounds in the first world war; now a cliche used mainly to describe currencies or countries of which a newspaper disapproves.
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