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Beware of sentences – such as this one – that dash about all over the place – commas (or even, very occasionally, brackets) are often better; semi-colons also have their uses. Make sure, if you are using a dash that it looks like a dash, eg – and not a hyphen - which is considerably shorter and looks weak and half-hearted.
takes a singular verb; like agenda, strictly a plural, but no one ever uses 'agendum' or 'datum'
data protection registrar
1 January 2006 (no commas)
21st century; fourth century BC; AD2006 but 1000BC; for decades use figures: the swinging 60s or 1960s. No 60's, 1970's etc – this implies belonging to one year not a decade
but month-long, year-long
use figures if you abbreviate: roaring 20s, swinging 60s, etc . And absolutely no apostrophes. 60's, 1970's etc – this implies belonging to one year not a decade
render harmless; diffuse spread about
one who denies, as in 'Holocaust denier'; also a unit of weight for fibre, eg 10-denier tights
the two Us are de rigueur
pudding, but just deserts
use this term in preference to 'third world'
cockney, estuary English, geordie, scouse
not different to or than
People we write about are allowed to speak in their own style, but be sensitive: do not, for example, expose someone to ridicule for dialect or grammatical errors
not "the disabled"
Use positive language about disability, avoiding outdated terms that stereotype or stigmatise. Terms to avoid, with acceptable alternatives in brackets, include victim of, crippled by, suffering from, afflicted by (prefer person who has, person with); wheelchair bound, in a wheelchair (uses a wheelchair or wheelchair user or mobility difficulties); invalid (disabled person); mentally handicapped (person with learning difficulties); the disabled, the handicapped, (disabled people) the blind, ( blind people or people who are visually impaired and/or low vision) , deaf (deaf people); deaf and dumb (deaf and speech-impaired, hearing and speech-impaired ordeaf and/or hard of hearing)
means free from bias, objective; it does not mean uninterested, not taking an interest
(computers), not disc
not disassociate, disassociation
we use miles instead of kilometres (no need to convert), otherwise metric with imperial conversion at first mention (eg use metres in preference to yards, etc)
a divorced person, male or female
lc: alsatian, doberman, rottweiler, yorkshire terrier; but Irish setter, old English sheepdog
as Homer Simpson would say; note the apostrophe
dos and don'ts
exactly, not approximately, 12
not driver's licence
due to/owing to
Many people ignore this distinction, but it can be valuable. For example, compare 'It was difficult to assess the changes due to outside factors' with 'It was difficult to assess the changes owing to outside factors'. The first says the changes that were a result of outside factors were difficult to assess, the second says outside factors made the changes difficult to assess (if in doubt, because of can be substituted for owing to, but not due to)
write 'Paul has dyslexia' rather than labelling him 'a dyslexic' or saying he 'suffers from' dyslexia or say specific learning difficulties ie dyslexia