All changes, observations and queries regarding house style and design should be brought to the attention of the Production Manager A
A or an: Use an before a silent H: an hour, an heir, an honourable man, an honest woman; a hero, a hotel, a historian, a horrific attack
Abbreviations: If there is any doubt give name of organisation in full then abbreviate when repeated. E.g. First write Farmers Against Tractors (FAT), then just write FAT. Well-known exceptions include BBC, YMCA.
Cap up except when acronyms are read as a word.
So cap up RNLI and UK but use lower case for Aids, Mencap, Mori, Ofsted, Ofwat, Abba etc.
> NEVER shorten words to didn’t, wouldn’t, can’t, don’t, won’t etc unless it is in a quote from someone.
About: Use this, rather than ‘around’, when being approximate about numbers.
E.g. About three years since he ate carrots
Active tenses: Better than passive. The boy shot the dog, not the dog was shot by the boy
Acronyms If you speak it as a word, it is lower case eg. Aids, Ofsted. Cap up if you pronounce the letters eg NUT
Addresses: London Road, Uxbridge. Include comma. Do not include road numbers. When using full address there is no comma before the postcode.
When writing an address, someone is OF a road, not FROM a road, e.g. Jammy Dodger, of Dawkins Road, Uxbridge.
Equally, something is IN a road, not ON a road. E.g. Big Church, in God Street.
Adjacent: Use next to or near
Adviser: Not advisor
Advice: You give advice, but you advise someone
Affect: Means to act on or influence: The sight of the accident did not affect her. The verb to effect means to bring about. The noun effect means a direct result: What is the effect of sunshine on this material?
Age: Should be given as: Mark Wright, 25, of Green Lane, Harrow.
It is year-old, or years old. E.g. 12 years old. A 12-year-old. If ‘year’, apply hyphen. If ‘years’, do not. Note: under-fives, under-16s Abbreviations are acceptable in headlines, eg. 15-yr-old
Ageing: Note spelling
All right: Never alright
A-level: Not A-Level
Amid, among: Not amidst, amongst
Ampersand: Use only when part of a company’s official name, e.g. B&Q
Amount: Avoid this when you are really referring to a number. E.g. a large amount of sausage meat is correct. But it is ‘a large number of sausages’. And ‘the number of people at the fair is unknown’.
Ansaphone: Is a trade name, use telephone answering machine unless you actually mean Ansaphone.
Anti-social not antisocial or anti social
Apostrophes: Do not use in plural abbreviations like MPs or periods of time like 70s.
Do use after plurals that do not end in s: children’s, people’s.
The possessive case is: MP’s wife (singular) MPs’ husbands (plural). One girl’s balloon (singular) Two girls’ balloons (plural).
When word ends in s only add an extra s if you would pronounce it in speech eg. The Royal Botanic Gardens’ best bloom but the Prince of Wales’s garden
Archaeologist: Note spelling
Areas Lower case north London, south of England, the south-east or north (of England) the south coast South-east Asia But cap up if it is a recognised area East Anglia, West Midlands, Home Counties, the West End, the East End Shepherd’s Bush, the place Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the venue
Army: Cap A in British Army but lower case for an army marches on its stomach
As: It is not a substitute for because. Just because people misuse it in spoken English does not mean we should misuse it in written English, let alone in a newspaper. E.g. ‘I crossed the road as I wanted a giant scone’ should read ‘I crossed the road BECAUSE I wanted a giant scone’. Similarly, ‘I cannot abide rabbits, especially as they have such long ears’ should read ‘I cannot abide rabbits, especially BECAUSE they have such long ears’.
Similarly, ‘as’ is not a substitute for ‘when’
Asbo and Asbi, not ASBO, ASBI
At this moment in time: Use ‘now’
Axing: Note spelling with no e