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a it's a hotel, a historic, not an hotel, an historic.
abbreviations see contractions, measurements and special sections. Spell out names of organisations in full at first mention with the abbreviation in brackets eg the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Do not include the abbreviation if you are not mentioning again.
about use this rather than around when writing about approximate numbers.
accents with words now accepted as English, use accents only when they make a difference to pronunciation, for example café, cliché.
acronyms those which are usually pronounced as words should be written with an initial cap then lower case. Examples are Aids, Unesco, Mind, Defra, Nato. The exception is BHASVIC.
Act and Bill cap whether fully identified or not.
addresses Paul Smith, of North Road, Brighton, (do not forget final comma). If you are not giving the street name, we prefer "from" as in Paul Smith, from Brighton. However, always include the street name unless there is a good reason for it. When writing a full postal address with a postcode, do not put a comma before the postcode eg Paul Smith, 99 North Road, Brighton BN1 8AR.
adjectives avoid when they are clichés, over-used or unnecessary eg special meeting, callous thieves, serious danger.
adverbs rarely necessary eg strongly disagreed with. When they are used in a phrase such as "a colourfully decorated house" there is no need to use a hyphen.
adviser not advisor but advisory.
affect is usually a verb, effect is usually a noun. Note exception "to effect a change".
affordable homes we prefer low-cost unless in direct quotes or in an official sense eg in planning conditions.
age technically at 18 you are a man/woman. However, other words may be more suitable depending on context, eg teenager, youth, boy/girl.
ages given between commas eg Paul, 32, and people are in their 20s and 30s. Remember one to ten are written as words. Note caps in Ice Age, Stone Age, the Dark Ages.
Aids not AIDS.
aircraft we prefer this to plane. Aeroplane is acceptable, airplane is an Americanism and is not. Plane is acceptable in quotes. Helicopters are not aeroplanes.
airports it's Gatwick not Gatwick Airport. It's Shoreham airport. Some people refer to the latter as City Airport Brighton, which is fine in quotes but not otherwise.
air show two words. The exception is Shoreham Airshow (this only applies to the full title). Note the Eastbourne air show is Airbourne.
A-level hyphenate both noun and adjective.
Al Fayed it's Mohamed Al Fayed.
Allies cap in Second World War context; generally l/c alliance as in the Gulf War alliance.
all right not alright.
alsatian dog is l/c. See dogs.
Ambassador cap when specific eg the French Ambassador, thereafter the ambassador. The same goes for embassy and envoy.
Ambrose Harcourt is Mr Lurve not Dr Lurve.
Ambulance it is now the South East Coast Ambulance Service. We can say "an ambulance spokesman" or "a Hove ambulance spokesman" (if he is from the Hove station, obviously).
American(n)/US in general, try to use American as in American cities, American food etc but US in headlines and in context of government institutions such as US Congress, US Navy.
American Express at first mention then Amex.
Americanisms avoid. Examples we do not like are meet with, get to go/do, upcoming. See appeal.
among not amongst, also while not whilst, amid not amidst.
and do not start sentences with this word.
animal lover two words.
Anne of Cleves
annual general meeting then abbreviate to AGM but we prefer annual meeting.
Antarctic, Arctic not Antartic.
antennae (plural of antenna) in zoological sense, antennas in radio or aerial sense.
antisocial is one word.
any more is two words.
apostrophes with proper names/nouns ending in s that are singular, follow the rule of writing what is voiced eg Prince Charles's polo pony, The Argus's doctor. It is never The Argus' doctor. (Why not simply use The Argus doctor?) When the s is soft, you need apostrophes eg Louis's party. Don't use apostrophes in plurals of single letters eg mind your ps and qs.
appeal we appeal against a sentence or verdict. Only Americans appeal a decision without the word against. Avoid Americanisms.
April Fool's Day see capitals.
Argus The Argus takes a cap T, eg "Paul Smith has delivered The Argus for 40 years". It is acceptable to drop the article or lower case the t in certain circumstances, eg "Paul Smith is an Argus paperboy" or "Paul Smith is the Argus fashion editor" but it is preferable to write "Paul Smith is the fashion editor of The Argus".
Army capped when referring to our own. See special sections.
A-roads similarly, B-roads. See roads.art deco lower case.
artefact not artifact.
Asbo accepted abbreviation for antisocial behaviour order. Does not need to be spelt out at first mention.
asylum seekers two words, no hyphen.
Atlantic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic but transatlantic.
Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, Director-General, Advocate-General hyphenated.
auction not auction off.
axing no middle "e".
back benches (parliamentary) two words but backbenchers and backbench (adjectival as in backbench revolt). See special sections.
bail out as in to bail someone out of trouble, bail water from a boat. It's bale out of an aircraft by parachute, to escape.
balloted like benefited, budgeted etc has only one "t".
bank holiday lower case unless specific eg "Ten thousand revellers attended Pride on Bank Holiday Monday."
barbecueBarnardos no apostrophe.
battle avoid using as a transitive verb as in "The students battled the police..." use battle against or fought.
BBC it's BBC One, BBC Two, also note Radio 1, Radio 2, ITV1, ITV2, Channel 4, Five.
BC comes after the date as in 43BC. Remember the date runs the other way as in Eraticus lived from 75BC to 15BC.
bear as in "I cannot bear it" but it's to bare all.
beating off (competition etc) avoid this double entendre.
bedsit one word.
benefited like balloted and budgeted etc this has only one "t".
benefits l/c child benefit, income support, jobseeker's allowance etc.
bestseller one word.
BHASVIC accepted abbreviation for Brighton, Hove and Sussex VI Form College. It doesn't need to be spelt out at first mention unless context requires it.
Bible initial cap but note, it's biblical.
Bill parliamentary. Like Acts, always cap up whether fully identified or not.
billion one thousand million, not a million million. Say £15 billion or 15 billion homes (note the space). £15bn in headlines.
birthday people and animals have birthdays, everything else has anniversaries.
blind and partially sighted, not visually impaired.
blond for men and blonde for women.
boats generally used for a small vessel, including fishing boats up to the size of a trawler. A ship is a large vessel big enough to carry smaller boats.
bogey (golf), bogeyman (evil spirit) bogie (wheels).
Bognor not Bognor Regis, though this is fine in quotes.
Bonfire Night see capitals.
booze do not use this slang word.
bored with, never bored of.
born a baby is born, borne is the past participle of bear eg "This was borne out by the evidence".
brackets like dashes, these should be avoided.
braille lower case.
breakout, breakdown as nouns these are one word but it is to break out, break down.
Brighton and Hove judge by context whether to say "is" or "are". If it is obviously the administrative district eg the council or health trust or it is being used as a collective noun, then it is singular. If you are referring to them as separate places, use are eg "Brighton and Hove are equally popular with tourists".
Brighton and Hove Bus Company use at first mention. It is the trading name of Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company. After first mention use Brighton and Hove Buses.
Brighton Dome then the Dome.
Britain Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland. The United Kingdom is Britain and Northern Ireland. The British Isles is the UK and Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. We prefer Britain and British. Use UK sparingly.
British Home Stores use BHS. See special sections.
budget l\c, except the Budget presented by the Chancellor.
Bupa not BUPA. See abbreviations.
Butlins no apostrophe.
burnt not burned. See earned and learned.
Cabinet cap when referring to the Government but not local councils.
call when providing a phone number for readers to get more information or contact police as witnesses etc make sure it is a proper, succinct sentence. Do not include the word please. This is correct: "For more details, call 0800 080000." These are incorrect: "Please call 0800 08000 for more details", "Details: 0800 080000".
call-out the noun takes a hyphen.
campsite one word.
canvass for votes. A canvas is fabric/painting.
capital letters the fewer capitals the better. In general, the proper names of people and places, formal titles or titles of important offices and the names of well-known and susbtantial institutions all require capitals. Some terms, eg Act, Bill, Cabinet, Civil Service, the Queen (ours), Prime Minister (ours), are always capped. Government ministers, whether in the Cabinet or not, take caps in their titles, even in the abbreviated Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. We should extend the courtesy to the Opposition and shadow ministers eg Shadow Home Secretary David Davis. Titles of songs, films, plays etc are fully capped, eg Of Mice And Men, Three Men In A Boat. We cap the first word of a story. If it is someone’s name or a hyphenated word, cap all of it. Generally avoid capping "the" in titles and names eg The Labour Party is wrong, it’s the Labour Party. There are exceptions, the obvious one being The Argus. The following are capped: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Ash Wednesday, Shrove Tuesday (pancake day, l/c), Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, St George's Day (etc), New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Red Nose Day, Bonfire Night (November 5 only, not any old bonfire night), Remembrance Day, April Fool's Day, May Day, Halloween. Also cap occasions such as National No Smoking Day, National Incontinence Week etc.
car park two words.
cash machine Cashpoint is a trademark.
Catholic say Roman Catholic on first mention then Catholic. Do not confuse with catholic l/c, which means wide-ranging.
CE is an acceptable abbreviation for Church of England in titles.
century lower case.
chairman/woman use according to sex and never use chair or chairperson. Similarly, women are spokeswomen. It is never spokesperson.
champagne lower case unless talking about the region. See wines.
Channel 4 also BBC One, BBC Two, Radio 1, Radio 2, ITV1, ITV2, Five.
christened people are christened (l/c) buildings, boats, trains etc are named.
Christie’s with an apostrophe.
church cap in a title and the general movement but l/c when referring to the building.
Churchill Square shopping centre. Do not cap whole thing.
Citizens Advice Bureau/x no apostrophe and final "x" for plural.
class A/B drugs
clergy see special sections.
clichés avoid. Common Argus clichés include bid (for attempt, effort), set to (for due to or about to), ongoing, green light, unveil (for announce, publish), roll out (for introduce), thumbs up/down.
Clock Tower in Brighton is capped up.
coastguard l/c and one word unless it is the full title eg Dover Coastguard, Solent Coastguard. The organisation is called the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
coast cap South Coast but not coast on its own.
collective nouns are regarded as singular. The company is, the family is, the Government is (not are). Exceptions are bands, teams and the police. The police force is singular. Note, Brighton and Hove is usually singular. See Brighton and Hove.
collision in general people are hit by vehicles but vehicles collide with each other. Beware of implying unfair blame.
colons there should be a capital after a colon to open a quote or caption but otherwise l/c.
commas are not needed before "and" or "but". Use them correctly in addresses. It is "Paul Smith, 35, of West Street, Brighton, said..." Our style is to use commas when linking people with organisations, eg "Paul Smith, of Sussex University, said..." Don’t clutter sentences with lots of unnecessary commas but remember they are often vital for meaning. We use commas, not brackets, in picture captions.
Commons cap whether it’s Commons or House of Commons.
compare to/with note the difference. "Compare to" points up a likeness as in "Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?" while "compare with" highlights a difference as in "Crime is up compared with last year."
compass points l/c north, south, east, west unless it’s a specific region, eg the North of England, South Wales, the South, South East (no hyphen), South Downs, the Downs (note it’s downland). It’s North London, South London, East London and West London but north-east London, south-east London etc.
compliment/complement note the difference. The first is to praise, the second to complete something. A free sample is complimentary.
Conservative Party Conservative Central Office but Conservative manifesto, chairman etc.
Continent referring to mainland Europe but l/c continental.
contractions avoid. It’s and there’s are occasionally acceptable but clumsy contractions such as there’ve are not.
cops do not use this slang word.
Coral's the official title is Coral Brighton and Hove Greyhound Stadium but it is always known as Coral's.
coroner l/c unless specific, eg West Sussex Coroner Paul Smith.
councils cap when using full title, which should be at first mention.
councillor when used in front of a name, spell out in full with cap C at first mention then abbreviate to Coun.
counties spell out in full ie not Hants, Oxon, Beds.
courts see special sections.
court martial plural is courts martial, Courts-Martial Appeal Court, to court-martial (verb).
crackdown not banned but use sparingly. Crackdown (noun), to crack down (verb).
crescendo means getting louder, growing in force. Nothing rises to a crescendo.
cross-Channel but transatlantic.
Crown cap in constitutional sense, as in Crown property.
Crufts the dog show does not have an apostrophe.
currencies always convert to sterling.
Customs the official title is HM Revenue and Customs but we drop the HM. After first mention use Customs or the Revenue, depending on whether the subject matter is VAT and duty or direct taxes. Use l/c for customs officers, customs regulations etc.
cut-backs noun. To cut back (verb).
damage in fire and crime stories, do not write "£3,000 worth of damage" or "£3,000 of damage". Say "£3,000 damage".
dates Write Monday, September 23, 2007, or September 2007 (no commas). In statistics, periods of years are written 2006-07 not 2006/07. Note it would be "She reigned from 1926 to 1965". When writing about events spreading over several days, say from May 1 to 5, not May 1-5. Our style for decades is now 1970s, 1990s, 1820s, not Seventies or 70s. There are NO apostrophes. Note, a decade is a ten-year period eg the 1970s. It is not a synonym for ten years.
D-Day also VE-Day, VJ-Day.
decimate means to kill one in ten.
deckchair one word.
degrees use C (Celsius/Centigrade) with F (Fahrenheit) equivalent. It is 16C (61F). When it is below freezing, say minus 8C.
demonstrator but it’s protester.
Department for Transport
dependant is a noun, dependent is an adjective.
Devil’s Dyke, the has an apostrophe.
different from not different to or different than.
disorientate not disorient. Similarly orientate, not orient.
dispatch not despatch.
divorcé man, divorcée woman.
dogs l\c for most breeds such as alsatian, labrador, rottweiler, dalmatian. Exceptions are West Highland terrier, Yorkshire terrier, Jack Russell, King Charles spaniel, German shepherd, French poodle.
dollars write as a word and put sterling equivalent in brackets.
doorstep one word.
Downing Street write 10 Downing Street or No 10.
Downs cap the Downs and South Downs but it’s downland.
downturn one word.
dreamt not dreamed.
drier is a comparative adjective, eg Brighton was drier than Blackpool. Dryer is a noun as in tumble dryer.
drink drive, drink driver, drink driving no hyphens.
Drusillas no apostrophe. It's Drusillas Zoo Park then simply Drusillas.
dual of two, as in dual carriageway. A duel is a fight.
due to must not be used as the equivalent of because of or owing to. The phrase must be attached to a noun. "His absence was due to illness" is correct. "He was absent due to illness" is wrong.
Duke of Edinburgh say the Duke (cap) or Prince Philip after first mention. See Royal Family.
Duke of York’s the Brighton cinema has an apostrophe and is preceded by “the”.
dwarf plural is dwarves
Earls Court no apostrophe
earned not earnt
Earth cap only in a planetary or astronomical sense, not in phrases such as "down to earth" or "the earth was parched after weeks without rain". The same applies to the Sun and Moon.
east Brighton not East Brighton unless it's the council ward.
East End of London is capped as is West End.
EastEnders TV soap has a middle cap E.
ecstasy drug is l/c.
effect a noun. Affect is a verb (exception is to effect a change).
eg no points
electrocute means to kill by electric shock, not injure.
ellipses write "The winner is ... Paul Smith." ie space, three dots, space.
email addresses put a full point at the end if it's the end of a sentence. See websites.
enquire/enquiry no, it’s inquire/inquiry.
ensure means to make certain. You insure against risk and assure your life.
erected/erecting please avoid this word.
etc no points
euro the currency is l/c
Europe Western, Eastern, Central, all caps. Europe includes the British Isles so do not use the name as equivalent to the Continent.
ever is rarely necessary. Avoid phrases like best ever, fastest ever and say simply best and fastest.
exams 11-plus, A-levels, AS-levels, GCSEs.
exclamation marks are rarely necessary.
eyesore one word.
eyewitness use witness instead.