Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Llady use woman except in titles.
lamp post two words.
lap dancer noun but note, a lap-dancing club. (Line dancer, pole dancer).
last be careful when referring to days of the week or months. "Last April" could be ambiguous. The same applies to "next". See past.
lb a pound weight, not lbs. See weights and measurements.
learned is the adjective (He was very learned). Otherwise use learnt.
led is the past tense of to lead (not lead).
Left cap when political.
Legal & General note the ampersand. Can abbreviate to L&G after first mention.
legal terms see special section on courts.
less in quantity, fewer in number.
Liberal Democrats Lib Dems is acceptable.
licence noun. License is a verb. Note licensee, licensed, licensing.
lifeguard on a beach but Life Guardsman on a horse.
lightning with thunder. Lightening is making lighter.
like do not use as a synonym of such as ("cities such as Brighton..." not "cities like Brighton...") or as a synonym of as if ("he looks as if he will succeed" not "he looks like he will succeed").
Lloyds Bank but Lloyd’s of London.
Lloyd Webber Julian, no hyphen. Note Andrew Lloyd Webber is also known as Lord Lloyd-Webber (note hyphen).
local avoid this word. It is almost always redundant eg local residents – what else could they be?.
local government cap councils when it is the full title (Brighton and Hove City Council) then use the council. All council committees are l/c. See special sections.
lookout noun but the verb is to look out.
Lords (House of) caps but lords and ladies, l/c.
Lord’s cricket ground.
lottery the National Lottery and its various games (Lotto, Thunderball etc) are capped then say the lottery, l/c. Other lotteries (Martlets etc) are l/c.
lovable no middle "e".
Ltd can usually be dropped from company names.
lunchtime one word.
McCartney Sir Paul. His ex-wife is Heather Mills.
McDonald’s but note, it is a Big Mac.
Macmillan as in Macmillan nurse
magistrates’ courts full name of the court is capped and takes an apostrophe as in Brighton Magistrates’ Court. See special sections.
major do not use as a lazy alternative for "big", "chief", "important" or "main".
majority of do not use as an alternative for "most of".
makeover one word.
make-up cosmetics and typography, not makeup. Note the verb is to make up.
male/female use man/woman.
marathon cap up London Marathon, New York Marathon at first mention but then say the marathon.
Marines cap in both the Royal Marines (in Britain), US Marines and a Marine.
marketplace one word.
Marks & Spencer note the ampersand. Can abbreviate to M&S in headlines. See special sections.
marquess not marquis, except in foreign titles.
Martlets it’s The Martlets Hospice, caps.
Mason initial cap as in Freemason.
Mass cap in its religious context.
massive avoid as a synonym of "big".
masters degree l/c, no apostrophe.
mayday l/c and one word when it’s an SOS but May Day when it is the bank holiday.
mayor l/c except when you use the full title eg Brighton and Hove City Mayor Paul Smith, but mayor Paul Smith.
measurements 10sqft, 10sqm, no spaces. See weights and measurements.
meet never say "meet with".
Members of Parliament see special sections.
memory lane l/c this fictional place.
metres as in distance, meters as in parking.
metric in general non-scientific contexts continue to use the non-metric forms (miles rather than kilometres, pounds rather than kilograms, pints rather than litres). Use grams not grammes, tons not tonnes.
midday, midweek no hyphen.
Middle Ages caps.
Middle East comprises Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
midnight use this, not 12pm/12am.
Mid Sussex no hyphen.
military see special sections.
million spell it out eg "He won £5 million", "Five million people", "There were 2.5 million voters". Note space between figure and million. For headlines it is "£5m", no space.
ministers political. Cap all ministers whether in the Cabinet or not, similarly the Opposition. Give name and full title first time, then the name or just "minister".
MoD acceptable abbreviation for Ministry of Defence.
Mohammed see Muhammed.
money 50p not 50 pence, £2.50 not £2.50p, £5 million (but £5m in headlines). When it’s necessary to refer to pre-decimal amounts, spell it out for clarity eg £1 and five shillings, two shillings and sixpence. A guinea is £1 and one shilling.
Moon cap in a planetary context, otherwise l/c. The same applies to Earth and Sun.
more than always use this rather than "over" with numbers eg "More than 3,000 people attended" not "Over 3,000 people".
Mori not MORI.
morris dancers l/c.
MoT as in certificate and test but it’s the Department for Transport or Transport Department.
mother not mum. The same goes for dad – use father.
motorcycle one word.
Ms fully acceptable when a woman wishes to be called thus.
Muhammad preferred spelling for the name of the prophet but respect other spellings of the name according to individuals’ preference. If in doubt, use Muhammad.
Muslim not Moslem.
names when starting a story with a name, cap the whole thing eg "GORDON BROWN has promised to..." Some names do not lend themselves to this style eg Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall so find a way round the problem with careful re-wording.
national anthem l/c.
National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers then NASUWT, no slash.
national curriculum l/c.
national park cap when using full title eg South Downs National Park.
National Trust caps and subsequently "the trust".
navy cap when referring to our own Royal or Merchant Navy.
NCP Take care when writing about NCP and parking. NCP runs car parks. NCP Services employs parking wardens in places including Brighton and Hove and Worthing. NCP and NCP Services have been separate organisations since last year.
neither takes a singular verb eg "neither is..." "neither Paul nor Sam has any idea". Do not use the construction "neither...or..." Use “neither...nor..."
new frequently redundant. Never say "New homes will be built..." You cannot build old ones.
New Year see capitals. New Year's Honours is capped, as is Queen's Birthday Honours.
newspapers if we refer to other papers, name them rather than saying "a national newspaper said...". Note the "the" is sometimes in the masthead and therefore capped as in The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, The People.
Newsquest say: "Newsquest, which publishes The Argus..."
nightclub one word.
Nissan cars but Nissen hut.
none is singular.
noon not 12 noon or 12am/12pm.
no one two words.
Number 10 see Downing Street.
numbers write from one to ten inclusive in full, then numerals. The main exceptions are when writing about schools eg a Year 8 pupil and Key Stage 4, bus routes eg No 7, the No 5b and percentages eg 6%, 10%.. Note the following: It is "a hundred", not "one hundred". One in five is singular eg "One in five marriages ends in divorce". All numbers at the start of a sentence must be written in full so avoid if they are cumbersome. Fractions are not hyphenated eg "Two thirds said they would..."
OOAP Avoid. It is too often used automatically for anyone over 60.
obscenities avoid. If deemed vital eg in court cases, always consult the editor/deputy editor.
OK not okay.
old take care not to confuse with "former".
Olympics always cap Olympics and Olympic even when used adjectivally eg "An Olympic athlete".
on people live in streets, not on them. See in.
one use the singular verb in structures such as "One in three says...", "one in eight is overweight". Note, "none" is singular.
on to two words. Into is usually one.
ongoing avoid. Say continuing if really necessary.
online one word.
Opposition same cap or l/c rules apply as to Government – cap as a noun but generally l/c as an adjective eg "He accused the Opposition of lying" but "He said it was an opposition lie". See politics special section.
outpatients one word, also inpatients.
outside never say outside of.
over do not use as a synonym of more than when followed by a number eg "We waited more than four hours..." not "We waited over four hours".
overall one word as an adjective but use sparingly.
parentheses (brackets) avoid. Exceptions include abbreviations and money expressed as foreign currency, which should have the Sterling equivalent in brackets.
park-and-ride except when it's a verb.
Parliament always cap in British context. Cap in overseas contexts when the word forms part of an institution eg European Parliament. Use l/c for parliamentary.
partially, partly partially is of degree eg partially deaf. Partly is of extension eg partly under water.
parties, political caps (Conservative Party, Labour Party etc). See special sections.
past use rather than last in phrases such as "the past year".
pay-and-display except when it's a verb.
pay-out, pay-off nouns.
pedal as in bicycle, peddle as in selling drugs.
peers see special sections.
pensioner like OAP, beware of automatically applying this to everyone over 60.
per avoid in phrases such as "50 times per year". It should be "50 times a year".
per cent use % not per cent. Use numerals for all percentages ie 7%, 10%, 0.25%, 0.5%. Be careful when writing about percentages - is the difference between two figures X% or a percentage point? Eg if interest rates fall from 10% to 9% they have fallen one percentage point not 1%.
Philippines but the people are Filipinos.
phone we phone people, not phone up.
photofit also efit, l/c no hyphen.
planes avoid as synonym of aircraft. See aircraft.
plc can usually be dropped from company names.
plural nouns see collective nouns.
police cap police stations if it is the full title eg Crawley Police Station. Note it is Crawley police, Brighton police etc but Sussex Police. Do not use the word cops. Note police community support officer (l/c) but PCSO. See special sections.
Pope, the initial cap. At first mention give full name, then the Pope.
Portakabin trade name (cap). Use portable building.
possess use "have" instead. This includes drug charges. It is "having crack cocaine...." not "possessing crack cocaine....".
post-mortem technically it should be post-mortem examination but post-mortem is now acceptable.
Post Office, the initial cap for the business but l/c for the branches. It is sub-post office and sub-postmaster/mistress.
practise verb. Practice is noun.
premature a baby is born ten weeks prematurely, not premature. Note, it is a premature baby.
press, the l/c except in titles such as the Press Complaints Commission.
prestigious avoid this much-overworked word.
preventive not preventative.
Prime Minister caps for all countries but l/c when referring to an unspecific eg "he would make a good prime minister". Do not use Premier for the British Prime Minister.
Prince, princess initial cap with name then l/c eg Prince Charles visited Brighton yesterday. the prince later went to Hove.
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, The is the regiment that recruits in Sussex.
principal (noun or adjective) means chief, main, important, head. Do not confuse with principle which is a noun meaning concept, moral etc.
prior to use before.
probe use only in a scientific or medical context.
program (computers), programme (the arts etc).
prosecutor do not use this Americanism. Our style is "Paul Smith, prosecuting, said...".
public house use pub.
punctuation some important reminders:
a. commas - use as few as possible but remember they are sometimes vital for meaning. Avoid commas before such, as, but, and. Remember to put the final comma after addresses eg Paul Smith, of North Street, Brighton, said...
b. conjunctions - and, but. Do not begin sentences with "and". It is occasionally acceptable to begin with "but", especially for emphasis.
c. dashes - do not use in place of commas. Too many dashes can be ugly and disruptive.
d. ellipses - use three full points with a space before and after but not in between each one eg "not only ... but also".