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Fleet News

Fleet News style guide

 

 

 

A l B l C l D l E l F l G l H l I l J l K l L l M l N l O l P l Q l R l S l T l U l V l W l X l Y l Z

 

A

 

AA, The

The AA, not "... the AA ..."

 

abbreviations

Do not use full points in abbreviations, or spaces between initials: ACFO, BVRLA, SMMT, BIK, mph, 4am, No 10, etc. Spell out less well-known abbreviations on first mention; it is not necessary to spell out well-known ones, such as EU, PCP. Use all caps only if the abbreviation is pronounced as the individual letters; otherwise spell the word out: the BBC, ICI, VAT, but Isa, Nato. There are always going to be exceptions to this.

 

accents

Use on foreign words (Citroën, Škoda), but use common sense – an accent is not needed on cafe, but its lack would make an exposé meaningless.

 

act

Upper case when using full name, eg Criminal Justice Act 1998, Official Secrets Act; but lower case on second reference, eg ‘the act’, and when speaking in more general terms, eg “we need a radical freedom of information act". Bills remain lower case until passed into law

 

AdBlue

One word, upper case B. Generically known as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), AdBlue is fine in copy. Not all Euro 6 engines use AdBlue.

 

addresses

AM, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough, PE2 6EA.

 

admitted/admits

This suggests that something has been concealed. Use acknowledged, or just said.

 

adverbs

Do not use hyphens after adverbs ending in -ly, eg a hotly disputed penalty, a constantly evolving newspaper, genetically modified food, etc; but hyphens are needed with short and common adverbs, eg ill-prepared report, hard-bitten hack.

 

adviser

Not advisor.

 

affect/effect

Affect is probably the verb you are looking for. It can have an effect (noun) or you can effect change (verb).

 

AFV

Spell out – "alternative fuel vehicles (AFV)" – at first mention.

 

ages

"Benoit Dilly, 49,"; "...the director has a son, Thomas, four, and a daughter, Thomasina, 16..."; "he has worked in automotive retail since his 20s".

 

AGM

Not agm.

 

all right

Is correct.

 

alternative fuel vehicles (AFV)

Not "alternatively fuelled vehicles" or "alternative fuelled vehicles".

 

amidst

Use amid.

 

among

Not amongst. Similarly, while, not whilst.

 

ampersand

Use in company names when the company does: Marks & Spencer, P&O

 

an

Use an only if the h is silent: an hour, an heir; but a hero, a hotel, a historian.

 

another (when talking about numbers)

Another' refers to a quantity already stated. Use 'further'.

 

anticipate

Not the same as expect – it means to take action in expectation of something.

 

any more

Two words

 

apostrophes

Some plural nouns have no ‘s’, eg children. These take an apostrophe and ‘s’ in the possessive, eg children's games, gentlemen's outfitter, old folk's home. The possessive in words and names ending in s normally takes an apostrophe followed by a second s (Jones's, James's). Use apostrophes in phrases such as in two days’ time, 12 years' imprisonment and six weeks’ holiday, where the time period (two days) modifies a noun (time), but not in nine months pregnant or three weeks old, where the time period is adverbial (modifying an adjective such as pregnant or old) — if in doubt, test with a singular such as one day’s time, one month pregnant.

Its does not take an apostrophe.

 

approximately

Use 'about' when you are talking about figures.

 

armed forces

Lower case, but the Army, the Navy, the RAF.

 

around

Use 'about' when you are talking about figures.

 

autumn statement

Lower case.

 

awards, prizes, medals

Lower case, eg Fleet News manager of the year award.

 

 

 

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B

 

B segment, C segment

Cap B, small s. Hyphenate when used adjectivally: "a C-segment leader" but "a leader in the C segment"

 

begs the question

Probably does not mean what you think it does. Use "raises the question" instead.

 

benefit-in-kind tax

Spell out at first instance, then BIK.

 

bespoke

BANNED. It is usually meaningless, but never more so than in "Company X tailors bespoke solutions to fit the needs of each of its clients."

 

bid

Unless it is referring to an auction, use attempt.

 

big

Usually preferable to major, massive, giant, huge, monster, mammoth, brobdingnagian, etc, particularly in news copy.

 

BIK

Spell out benefit-in-kind tax in the first instance, then BIK afterwards.

 

billion

Spell out billion at first reference on numerals; bn thereafter. It means one thousand million, not one million million. People are always billion. Use bn in headlines.

 

blind-spot monitoring

Note the hyphen. However, it is used for monitoring blind spots.

 

book titles

Italicise. Lower case for a, an, and, of, on, the (unless they are the first word of the title): A Tale of Two Cities, The Pride and the Passion, etc

 

boot volume / cargo volume

Boot volume in litres, cargo volume in cubic metres.

 

both

Unnecessary in most sentences that contain “and”; “both men and women” says no more than “men and women”, and takes longer.

 

brace, a

Means two of something, not many.

 

brackets

If the sentence is logically and grammatically complete without the information contained within the parentheses (round brackets), the punctuation stays outside the brackets. (A complete sentence that stands alone in parentheses starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.)

 

Brexit

Refers to Britain's exit from the EU, which hasn't happened yet, so avoid attributing changes in the economy to Brexit. The only thing we can attribute those changes to so is "the EU referendum" or, at a push, "the vote for Brexit". Either way, never refer to "a Brexit" or "the Brexit".

 

Britain, UK

These terms are synonymous: Britain is the official short form of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Used as adjectives, therefore, British and UK mean the same. Great Britain, however, refers only to England, Wales and Scotland.

 

Budget

Upper case when referring to the annual spending plan presented to parliament by the Chancellor, or in "Budget 2016". However, "an austerity budget".

 

bull's-eye

Apostrophe and hyphen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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C

cabinet, shadow cabinet

Lower case

 

captions

No full point.

 

cargo volume / boot volume

Cargo volume in cubic metres; boot volume in litres.

 

carmaker

One word.

 

car measurements

In metres please, not mm.

 

C-Class

Mercedes-Benz model names take a hyphen, unlike BMW (3 Series, 5 Series).

 

celsius

Prefer to fahrenheit; 23C. Take care when converting temperature changes – it is easy to mistake a 2C change (about 4F) with 2C (about 36F).

 

chairman

Not chairman/chairwoman.

 

Chancellor

Upper case for the specific role: "...the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, ...".

 

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Prefer the Chancellor.

 

chassis

Singular and plural.

 

chief constable

A job, not a title — John Smith, chief constable of Greater Manchester; Smith at second mention.

 

Christie's

The London auction house takes an apostrophe.

 

chronic

Means lasting for a long time or constantly recurring, too often misused to mean acute (short but severe).

 

Citroën

With the umlaut.

 

cliches

Overused words and phrases to be avoided include: back burner, boost (massive or otherwise), major, massive, raft of measures, surge, soar, going forward, bottom line, heads up, will be rolled out to, ongoing, prioritise, pushing the envelope, singing from the same hymn sheet, thinking outside the box, close of play and many many more.

 

click-through

Hyphenate.

 

collision

Strictly speaking, two objects have to be in motion to collide. Prefer crash or spell out the exact nature of the accident.

 

commas

In general, avoid using commas following an 'and' in lists (the Oxford comma), but use your judgement to avoid sentences such as – ""This style guide is dedicated to my parents, Beyoncé and Jeremy Corbyn.”

Use commas when listing, not semicolons. Unless listing items that require a comma – e.g. "I travelled to Bristol, England; Brussels, Belgium; and Paris, France". Or: "I’d most like to have dinner with Michael Jordan, the world’s greatest basketball player; Ferenc Puskas, the great (but dead) Hungarian footballer; and Lou Reed, the lead singer of The Velvet Underground."

 

commented

Use said. Same for remarked, exclaimed, whispered, opined, screamed, uttered, shared, held forth. Use said every time.

 

Commons committees

Lower case – home affairs select committee, public accounts committee, etc

 

company names

In general, use the names that the companies use themselves, but use your judgement. Emac is preferable to EMaC. Companies are singular – it, not they.

 

compared to

Compared with. 'Compare to' means 'liken to' as in "nothing compares to you".

 

complement/compliment/complimentary

To complement is to make complete: the cigars and brandy complemented each other; to compliment is to praise; a complimentary copy is free.

 

complimentary

Use 'free'.

 

comprises

No 'of'.

 

confessed

Unless it's to a priest or a policeman, use said.

 

consult

Not 'consult with'.

 

contemporary

Means 'of the same period'. If you mean modern, write modern.

 

Continent, the

Use 'mainland Europe'.

 

continual

Refers to things that happen repeatedly, but not constantly.

 

continuous

Refers to things happening in an unbroken sequence.

 

contractions

Avoid contractions – aren't, can't, couldn't, hasn't, don't, I'm, it's, there's and what's – we produce business publications that deserve to be taken seriously; we are not chatting informally.

 

conversions

Where to begin? Metric for some – Nm (not lb-ft), PS (not hp); car and truck weights and lengths in kg and metres, CO2 emissions in g/km,etc; imperial for others – mpg; both for some – pence per mile (ppm). Dealership areas in acres or square feet. It is inconsistent, but most people get it.

 

convince/persuade

Convince involves only a change of mind or opinion, if the change involves taking action it should be persuade: "She convinced him it was a mistake. She persuaded him to stay."

 

coordinate

No hyphen.

 

countries

Like companies, are singular: "The US is ...".

 

coupé

Note the accent.

 

crescendo or climax?

A crescendo is a gradual increase in loudness or intensity; musically or figuratively, it is the build-up to a climax, not the climax itself. It is never reached.

 

criterion

Singular. Plural is criteria.

 

currencies

Use symbols for £, $ and €. 1p, 99p, $1, €1.33. Spell out all other currencies, lower case. Convert all currency amounts to sterling unless in a direct quote. Give sterling equivalents in brackets after references to foreign currencies.

 

currently

Means now. 'Presently' means soon. Neither is usually necessary.

 

cutbacks

Just use cuts.

 

 

 

 

 

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D

dangling modifiers

Avoid modifiers that do not refer clearly and logically to some word in the sentence.

"Running for a bus, the pavement tripped her up."

"After being beaten, his doctor said Tom was lucky to be alive."

In these examples, the meaning is that the pavement was running and the doctor was beaten up, which is presumably not what happened. Take care that the modifier, the phrase that seeks to describe a person or thing, and what it modifies are clearly associated.

 

dates

Day, month, numeral, year – Wednesday, January 13, 1999. No 'th'.

 

DEF

Diesel exhaust fluid. Prefer AdBlue (even though it is a trademark) in copy.

 

depending/dependent

Not interchangeable – "I’m depending on an answer from you. What I do in future is dependent on it.

 

different from

Or to, not different than.

 

discreet

Means careful in your choice of words.

 

discrete

Means separate.

 

disinterested

Means free from bias. Uninterested means bored.

 

dos and don'ts

Note the apostrophes.

 

drink-drive

Hyphenate. Also drink-driving and drug-driving.

 

driving licence

Not driver's licence.

 

 

 

 

 

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E

e-commerce

But email.

 

eco-warriors

Hyphenate.

 

e.g.

Use the full points.

 

effectively

Effectively means that an intended effect was achieved. If you mean "in effect", write that.

 

email

But e-commerce.

 

ensure

Means to make certain. Insure means to indemnify against risk.

 

etc.

With the full point.

 

EU

No need to spell it out.

 

euro

Use the symbol (€) for amounts. In describing the currency it is lower case currency; plural is euros (and cents).

 

Europe

Whether or not Britain remains in the EU, Britain is part of Europe, so try to avoid referring to "vehicles launching in Europe" if they are not also launching in the UK. Prefer "mainland Europe" if you need to make the distinction.

 

European Commission

Use 'the commission' after first mention.

 

Euro 6

And "Euro 6-compliant"

 

eurozone

No space.

 

every day

Means something happens once each time the earth completes a revolution on its axis.

 

everyday

Means commonplace.

 

eVHC

Spell out at first mention: "electronic vehicle health check (eVHC)". Lower case e

 

Exchequer, the

Cap E.

 

exclamation point

Banned!

 

explained

Use said.

 

 

 

 

 

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F

fahrenheit

Use celsius.

 

far east

But Middle East.

 

far, farther, farthest

Only for distances; otherwise further, furthest.

 

fascia

Not facia.

 

FCA

Financial Conduct Authority. Spell out at first mention, then FCA.

 

fewer/less

Fewer means smaller in number, eg fewer coins; less means smaller in quantity, eg less money.

 

figures

Spell out from one to nine; integers from 10 to 999,999; thereafter 1m, 3.2bn (except for people and animals, eg 2 million viewers, 8 billion cattle)

 

financial years

2004/2005, not 2004-2005.

 

firm

Try to avoid because it has a strict legal meaning. Usually you mean company. It is sometimes unavoidable in headlines.

 

first

Then second, third etc; spell out up to ninth, then 10th, 21st, millionth.

 

first ever

The 'ever' is redundant.

 

Fleet News

Italicise. Likewise AM, Commercial Fleet, Driving Business.

 

flounder/founder

To flounder is to perform a task badly or uncertainly. To founder is to fail, or in the case of a boat, to sink.

 

focus, focused, focusing

One 's'.

 

forensic

Has a specific meaning relating to crime and the law. If somebody has analysed something in great detail, write that.

 

forever

Means continually – I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles. 'For ever' means always.

 

fractions

Two thirds, three quarters, etc., but two-and-a-half when used adjectivally – "two-and-a-half times faster". No need to hyphenate when just a noun – "one half of the population drive cars".

 

free fall

As a noun – "in free fall" – it is two words.

 

fuel card

Two words.

 

 

 

 

 

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G

GAP insurance

At first instance. GAP thereafter. Stands for guaranteed asset protection, but no need to spell it out.

 

gender

It is best to avoid constructions that assume all of our audiences are male: "Dealers who value their customers" rather than " A dealer who values his customers".

 

general election

Lower case.

 

geography

Distinct areas are capped up: Black Country, East Anglia, Lake District, Midlands, Peak District, West Country. Areas defined by compass points are lower case: the north of England, the south-east, the south-west, etc

 

going forward/moving forward

BANNED. It is utterly meaningless and what is the alternative? Leave it out.

 

government

"The Government" when referring to the entity that governs Britain, but lowercase for other countries – "the Swiss government" – or in general language – "government departments", "local government".

 

Government departments

"Attorney General's Office

Cabinet Office (but the cabinet).

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Department for Communities and Local Government

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Department for Education (DfE)

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Department for Exiting the European Union

Department for International Development

Department for International Trade

Department for Transport (DfT)

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Department of Health

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Her Majesty's Treasury (the Treasury)

Home Office

Ministry of Defence (MoD)

Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

Northern Ireland Office (not Northern Irish Office)

Office of the Advocate General for Scotland

Office of the Leader of the House of Commons

Office of the Leader of the House of Lords

Scotland Office (not Scottish Office)

UK Export Finance

Wales Office (not Welsh Office)

 

Lower case when departments are abbreviated, eg environment department, transport department.

 

 

 

 

 

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H

handicapped

Do not use to refer to people with disabilities or learning difficulties. Similarly, disabled parking spaces, not handicapped parking.

 

harebrained

Not hairbrained.

 

has made the decision to

Just write "decided to".

 

has plans to

Just write "plans to", or even better, "will".

 

has seen

Inanimate objects or business organisations cannot "see" anything. Often used in the construction: "Company X has seen growth of 25% in its profits". Just write: "Company X's profits grew 25%"

 

hat-trick

Hyphenate.

 

head-up display

Not heads. Note the hyphen.

 

headlines

Headlines, more than any other element of what we write, need to be active.

In print editions, avoid overusing headlines that follow the same construction – questions (Does the FCA mean the end of dealer finance?); colons (Dealer finance: FCA rules may kill F&I industry); How to-s, ‘How I …' or ‘Why I...’.

Also beware headline cliches – one recent issue of AM almost went to print with four headlines that referred to something being the key to something else. 

There should be a comma before ‘says’.

Headlines used in body copy, such as when referring to past issues, should be encased in single quote marks.

 

heads up (as in leads)

Just write heads (or leads).

 

hi-tech

Not high-tech. Similarly, hi-fi.

 

High Court

Upper case.

 

Highways Agency

Highways England since April 2015.

 

hike

A nice country walk OR hackneyed journalistic shorthand for an increase. Do not use.

 

Holland

The Netherlands.

 

home counties

Lower case.

 

homepage

One word.

 

honorifics

Full name at first mention. Subsequently, surname only – no 'Mr'. Exceptions include barons, knights and dames, or where a person has requested we include their title, such as Dr or Prof.

 

horsepower

Use PS. No need to convert.

 

hp

Use PS. No need to convert.

 

hyphens

Use hyphens to form compound adjectives, eg two-tonne vessel, three-year deal, 19th-century artist. Do not use hyphens after adverbs ending in -ly, eg a hotly disputed penalty, a constantly evolving newspaper, genetically modified food, etc; but hyphens are needed with short and common adverbs, eg ill-prepared report, hard-bitten hack; a little-used car.

 

 

 

 

 

A l B l C l D l E l F l G l H l I l J l K l L l M l N l O l P l Q l R l S l T l U l V l W l X l Y l Z

 

I

I was stood

Unless you want the next words to be "...up against a wall and shot" this is banned, banned, banned. Substitute almost any other verb and you will see how awful this sounds ("I was ran"; "I was wrote"). Same applies for "I was sat".

 

i.e.

Use the full points.

 

impracticable

Means impossible, undoable.

 

impractical

Means possible, but difficult.

 

in a bid to

Just write 'to'.

 

in close proximity

Just write 'near'.

 

in excess of

More than.

 

in the firing line

The people in the firing line are the ones doing the shoooting. If you are being shot at, you are in the line of fire.

 

in the pipeline

Cliche. Avoid.

 

inasmuch

One word.

 

income tax

Lower case, as is national insurance (NI).

 

infer/imply

To infer is to deduce something from evidence; to imply is to hint at something (and wait for someone to infer it).

 

initials

No spaces or points, whether businesses or individuals, eg TCH Harrison, ALD Automotive.

 

Inland Revenue

Use HMRC.

 

insisted

Just use said.

 

insure

To indemnify against risk. To make certain something happens is to ensure.

 

internet

Lower case – not synonymous with the worldwide web.

 

into

But on to.

 

introduce a new… / build a new…

Introduce/build.

 

is currently in the process of ...

Just write "is ..."

 

is located on

No need for located – 'is on'.

 

it's

Means it is. Its (possessive) takes no apostrophe.

 

 

 

 

 

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J

jargon

Best avoided – while we can safely assume the bulk of our print readers understand the meaning of NOx, PCP, gearing, true fleet, overhead absorption, etc, we also have to consider online audiences, who may be coming to a topic cold. Try not to insult anyone's intelligence, but make the meaning understandable to a layman.

 

job titles

Lower case – editor of Fleet News, governor of the Bank of England, chief executive of Renault, prime minister, etc. But Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister are capped when referring to the person – ""... the Prime Minister, Theresa May"", rather than a general prime minister.

When introducing people in copy, do not use constructions such as ""..., said Fleet News editor-in-chief Stephen Briers yesterday."". It should be ""... said Stephen Briers, the editor-in-chief of Fleet News, yesterday."". Note the commas surrounding the job title.

 

job-need

Not job need.

 

 

 

 

 

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K

k

Do not use in copy to mean 'thousand'. 60,000, not 60k. It is excusable in headlines.

 

kerb appeal

Not curb appeal.

 

key

Totally overused word in copy – especially in the hated passive construction "Key to this were ..." Banned

 

kilogram

kg

 

kilojoule

kJ

 

kilometre

km

 

kilowatt

 

Upper case W, no need to spell out. The kilowatt (kW) is the unit of measurement of engine power. It is not interchangeable with kilowatt-hour (kWh).

 

 

kilowatt-hour

Upper case W, no need to spell out. Kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a measurement of battery capacity. It is not interchangeable with kilowatt (kW).

 

Korea

There is no such country. If referring to the home of Hyundai, SsangYong and Kia, you mean South Korea.

 

 

 

 

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L

last

Avoid using last as a synonym for latest as it also means final.

Use past rather than last for periods of time: she has worked there for the past 12 months.

 

learnings

Ridiculous Borat-esque buzzword for "things learned". Use any of: lessons, discoveries, findings or insights instead.

 

less/fewer

Less means smaller in quantity, eg less money; fewer means smaller in number, eg fewer coins.

 

leveraging

Has a specific financial meaning. Do not use in place of "using".

 

licence

Noun. The verb is to license.

 

lifespan

One word. No hyphen.

 

like/such as

Some pedantry here. 'Like' excludes; 'such as' includes' – when you write "cars like the Seat Ibiza...", it suggests you are thinking of the Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa or other rivals. If you just intend to provide an example, use "cars such as the Seat Ibiza..."

 

loan

Noun; the verb is lend.

 

loathe

Means detest. If you mean unwilling or reluctant, it's loth.

 

 

 

 

 

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M

major

Overused to mean significant.

 

makeover

No hyphen.

 

making the switch

Just write switching.

 

managing director

Never MD in copy. MD is acceptable in headlines and standfirsts.

 

massive

Overused.

 

may or might?

Nobody but a grammarian will care about the difference between may and might. However, 'may have' and might have' do differ in a very important way.

'May have' implies that a possibility remains: "The emissions scandal may have killed off Volkswagen's diesel ambitions" means that the matter is not yet settled – VW's diesel ambitions could yet be scuppered. 'Might have' implies that the possibility is closed: "The emissions scandal might have killed off Volkswagen's diesel ambitions" means that it almost happened, but did not.

Consider also the difference between "He drank poison and may have died" (the writer does not know whether the person is alive or dead) and "He drank poison and might have died" (he has not died, but it was a possibility).

Also bear in mind that may means "has permission to" so beware ambiguity in headlines.

 

mayor of London

Lower case.

 

MD

Spell out managing director in copy.

 

meanwhile

Don't use to mean "In other news...". It means "While this has been going on..." or "on the other hand".

 

meet with, met with

Just use meet or met, unless you want the next words to be "a sticky end".

 

Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz.

 

metres

Spell out metres.

 

Metropolitan police

The Met at second mention.

 

mid-90s, mid-60s

Not mid-1990s.

 

mileage

Note the 'e'.

 

million

In copy, use 'm' at second mention for sums of money, units or inanimate objects: £10m, 45m tonnes of coal, 30m doses of vaccine; but million for people or animals: 1 million people, 23 million rabbits, etc. Use m in headlines.

 

Mini

Not MINI.

 

mitigate

Unless it is a court case, use reduce or alleviate. Never used with 'against' (that's militate).

 

motor show

Two words.

 

motorcar, motorcycle

One word.

 

motorways

Write M1, not M1 motorway.

 

moving forwards/going forwards/looking forwards

BANNED.

 

mph

No points.

 

Mr / Ms / Mrs

None of these should appear in any of our titles.

 

myriad of

No 'of'. Many is a better word anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

A l B l C l D l E l F l G l H l I l J l K l L l M l N l O l P l Q l R l S l T l U l V l W l X l Y l Z

 

N

national insurance contributions

Spell out and lower case at first mention, but abbreviated to NIC afterwards.

 

new, now

Almost always redundant.

 

newspaper titles

Italicise.

 

NHS

No need to spell out.

 

NI / NIC

Spell out and lower case – "national insurance contributions" at first mention, but abbreviate to NIC afterwards.

 

nitrogen oxides (NOx)

NOx at second reference.

 

no one

No hyphen.

 

none

A contraction of "not one", none used to take a singular verb, but can take a plural if it makes the sentence sound better: "none of the Renault 5's issues have been resolved".

 

none the less

But nevertheless.

 

NOx

Spell out at first instance: nitrogen oxides (NOx). There are more than one. The more damaging of the two is NO2.

 

 

 

 

 

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O

OEM

Prefer "manufacturer".

 

offering (as a noun)

BANNED, especially if it is "a bespoke offering".

 

Office for National Statistics

ONS at second mention.

 

Office of Fair Trading

OFT on second mention.

 

OK

Do not write "okay".

 

on to

But into.

 

online

One word.

 

only

Place it next to the word being modified to avoid ambiguity:

    I only eat fish when I'm sick.

    I eat fish only when I'm sick.

    I eat only fish when I'm sick.

 

over

Avoid. Prefer more than.

 

 

 

 

 

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P

P11D

Not p11d.

 

part-ex

Use part-exchange at first instance. Note the hyphen.

 

per cent

Means "of 100". Use % in headlines and copy. Beware of confusing percentages with percentage points. Journalists are notoriously poor at working out percentages – here is a handy website that will do it for you – csgnetwork.com/percentchangecalc.html

 

percentage rises

An increase from 3% to 5% is a two-percentage point increase or a two-point increase, not a 2% increase; any sentence saying “such and such rose or fell by X%” should be considered and checked carefully.

 

PDI

Spell out at first instance: "pre-delivery inspection (PDI)".

 

pedalling

What you do on a bike.

peddling

Selling something.

 

per annum

Prefer "a year".

 

pick-up truck

Hyphenate.

 

pilot

A pilot flies a plane. Either write 'pilot scheme' or 'trial'.

 

PLC

Upper case.

 

presently

Means soon, not at present.

 

pressurised

For a tyre, fine. If it is a person or a company, the word is pressured.

 

prevaricate

Means to lie, not to put off (procrastinate).

 

preventive

Not preventative.

 

PricewaterhouseCoopers

one word

 

Prime Minister

Upper case for the specific UK role, lower case for the head of foreign governments or in general references: "Clement Attlee was voted Britain's greatest prime minister".

 

principal

Of most importance.

 

principle

A standard of conduct or belief

 

procrastinate

To delay or defer; often confused with prevaricate.

 

program

For a computer; otherwise programme.

 

protester

Not protestor.

 

 

 

 

 

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R

raft of measures

BANNED.

 

ragged copy

Avoid words breaking in ragged copy. If a word must be hyphenated, make sure it sits in one line. Pay attention to brand names such as Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce.

 

Range Rover

No hyphen.

 

re/re-

Use re- (with hyphen) when followed by the vowels e or u (not pronounced as “yu”): eg re-entry, re-examine, re-urge. Use re (no hyphen) when followed by the vowels a, i, o or u (pronounced as “yu”), or any consonant: eg rearm, rearrange, reassemble, reiterate, reorder, reuse, rebuild, reconsider. Exceptions: re-read; or where confusion with another word would arise: re-cover/recover, re-form/reform, re-creation/recreation, re-sign/resign.

 

rear-view camera

Note the hyphen.

 

recent/recently

Avoid: if the date is relevant, use it.

 

refute

Has a strict meaning: to disprove. Do not confuse with deny, rebut.

 

rolling out the use of

BANNED. Write 'introducing'.

 

Rolls-Royce

Hyphenate.

 

 

 

 

 

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S

salespeople

One word. Similarly, salesperson.

 

sat-nav

Hyphenate.

 

seasons

Lower case – spring, summer, autumn, winter.

 

Seat

Lower case.

 

segments

B segment, C segment, etc. Cap B, small s. Hyphenate when used adjectivally: "a C-segment leader" but "a leader in the C segment"

 

semicolon

Use seldom, even if you know how to. One exception is in lists "I travelled to Bristol, England; Brussels, Belgium; and Paris, France"". Or: ""I’d most like to have dinner with Michael Jordan, the world’s greatest basketball player; Ferenc Puskas, the great (but dead) Hungarian footballer; and Lou Reed, the lead singer of The Velvet Underground".

 

set to

Usually redundant – just write 'to'. In the sense of a plan or an uncertain intention, write 'plans to' or 'may'.

 

showroom

One word.

 

Škoda

Note the accent.

 

Smart

Not smart.

 

SMART repair

SMART is upper case. It means Small to Medium Area Repair Technique, but there is no need to spell it out. It is upper case to distinguish it from the car manufacturer.

 

solutions

Massively overused and utterly vague. Specify what these things are: technologies, finance offers, what?

 

South Korea

For the home of Hyundai, SsangYong and Kia, not "Korea".

 

split infinitives

Are fine.

 

spokesman

Not spokesman/spokeswoman.

 

spokesman, spokeswoman

No space.

 

SsangYong

Double s, cap Y. It is a South Korean manufacturer, not a Korean one.

 

stand-alone

Hyphenate.

 

standfirsts

No full point.

 

state-of-the-art

Hyphenate when used adjectivally.

 

stationary

Not moving.

 

stationery

Writing materials.

 

substandard

One word. No hyphen.

 

Supagard

Note the spelling.

 

supersede

Not supercede.

 

Supreme Court

Upper case.

 

 

 

 

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T

talk to

Not talk with.

 

tax avoidance

Is legal; tax evasion is illegal.

 

that

You can cut almost every 'that' from your copy and not affect its meaning, especially when used after 'said'.

 

that or which?

Not interchangeable. That defines, which informs: 'this is the house that Jack built', but 'this house, which Jack built, is now falling down'.

 

the last year/decade

The past year is the 12 months to date. The last year was 2015. The last decade was the 2000s. The past decade was 1996-2006.

 

theirs

No apostrophe.

 

times

1am, 6.30pm, etc.

 

titles

Italicise titles of books, magazines, films, TV programmes etc.

 

tonne

Not ton: the metric tonne is 1,000kg (2,204.62lb), the British ton is 2,240lb, and the US ton is 2,000lb; usually there is no need to convert.

 

torque

Measured in Nm (newton-metres) not lb-ft (foot-pounds).

 

tortuous

Winding or twisty, as in a road.

 

torturous

An experience that involves pain or suffering.

 

total cost of ownership (TCO)

Spell out at first instance, TCO thereafter.

 

touchscreen

One word.

 

trademarks

Take caps, but trademarks should be avoided where possible – ballpoint pen over Biro, vacuum cleaner over Hoover, wireless internet over Wi-Fi.

 

Transport for London

TfL on second mention

 

Treasury, the

Cap T.

 

treaties

Lower case, eg Geneva convention, Lisbon treaty.

 

treating customers fairly'

Lower case and in single quotes when referring to the Financial Conduct Authority's principle.

 

try to

Never “try and”.

 

turbocharged, turbocharger

One word.

 

turgid

Means swollen or congested. Often confused with turbid (cloudy or opaque), torpid (apathetic or sluggish) or torrid (hot or difficult).

 

 

 

 

 

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U

U-turn

Hyphenate.

 

under

Avoid. Prefer less than / fewer than.

 

under way

Not underway and definitely not under weigh.

 

uninterested

Means not taking an interest; not synonymous with disinterested, which means unbiased, objective.

 

units of measurement

Prefer metric units: PS (not hp or bhp); Nm (not lb-ft); kg; g/km; metres (spell out); cm; mm; litres (spell out); pence per litre (ppl after first mention);

However: mpg; mph.

Measurement units do not follow the one-nine rule: 5kg, not five kg.

No space between the number and the abbreviations: 12kg, but 15 litres.

Do not abbreviate acres, miles, pints, gallons.

Use tonne – no need to convert unless the difference is important (comparing truck weights for example).

 

US

For United States, not USA; no need to spell out, even at first mention; America is also acceptable.

 

user-chooser

Hyphenate.

 

utilise

Not interchangeable with use. It means "to make effective use of" and has a specific meaning in fleet management.

 

 

 

 

 

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V

VAT

Value-added tax; no need to spell it out.

 

versus

Spell out in copy. 'vs' is acceptable in headlines.

 

very

Usually very redundant.

 

vice-chairman, vice-president

Note the hyphen.

 

 

 

 

 

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W

watt

Spell out: "54-watt speakers".

 

website, webpage

One word, but world wide web.

 

while

Not whilst. Similarly, among, not amongst.

 

who or whom?

Usually it's who. If you want the grammar, who should be used in the subject position in a sentence, while whom should be used in the object position, and also after a preposition. If in doubt, ask yourself which personal pronoun would make sense. If it's 'he' (or she or they), then the correct usage is 'who'. if it's 'him' (or her or them), then it is 'whom'. For example: "Tom attacked Tim, whom he hated". Tom hated him (not he), therefore whom is correct. But in the sentence "Tom attacked Tim, who he thought was rude" who is correct, because he was rude (not him was rude).  If in any doubt, or if it makes a sentence sound unbearably pompous, use who.

 

whole-life costs

Hyphenate where you have to use it (quotes, etc.), but prefer "total cost of ownership (TCO)”.

 

Wi-Fi

It is a trademark. Caps and hyphen.

 

World War I

And World War II. Not First and Second World War.

 

 

 

 

 

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Y

yours

No apostrophe.