FA Cup - ie upper case "C"...

FA Cup

ie upper case "C".

Fair trade, Fairtrade

Two words when referring to the concept of trading with developing nations on an equal basis. However the Fairtrade Foundation, which promotes the system, is one word, as is the Fairtrade label and individual brands launched by supermarkets.

Falklands War

ie both words are capped up. The Falkland Islands are known in Argentina as the Malvinas.

Falun Gong

The Falun Gong religious group should NOT be referred to as a cult, as it insists it is not - although the Chinese authorities say it is. We can call it a spiritual movement.


Stands for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the leftist rebel group that laid down its weapons in 2017. Only the first letter is capped up because we pronounce it as a word. The acronym has been retained for the political party it created, the Alternative Revolutionary Force for the Common People.

Far East

Is NOT our style for the regions known as East Asia or South East Asia, except in reference to the Russian Far East. Takes initial caps.

Father’s Day

ie initial caps with an apostrophe before the "s". NB: it is not on the same date everywhere. Father’s Day in UK/US is the third Sunday in June. In Australia, it is the first Sunday in September.


means an authoritative ruling on a point of Islamic law - a religious edict but not necessarily a death sentence.


Someone who is disorientated or disconcerted can be described as fazed, although only in direct quotes, as it is a colloquialism. Do not confuse with phased, which means "introduced in stages", eg: The new curriculum was phased in over three years.


means "aimless, helpless, clueless". It does not mean "irresponsible" or "reckless".

Federal Reserve

(Central Bank of the US) ie initial caps. After first reference, can be shortened to the Fed (no full stop). The Federal Open Market Committee is the body that decides on US interest rates - can be abbreviated at second reference to FOMC (ie all caps, no gaps).


is the correct spelling, not foetus (update June 2019)


Use "fewer" when you can count something, as in The committee wants to have fewer meetings next year. If you cannot count it, use "less", as in Voters are calling for less bureaucracy. The same rule applies for percentages: hence, you would be correct to say Less than 30% of the hospital survived the fire and Fewer than 30% of the patients were rescued.

Do not use "no less than" with numbers - say eg: He exceeded the speed limit on no fewer than 12 occasions.

However, ages, heights and weights take "less" eg: Tom Thumb was less than 3ft (91cm) tall; Police say the man is less than 30 years old; She weighs less than seven stone (44.5kg).


(ie one "p") means a native or national of the Philippines (two "p"s); feminine Filipina. The adjective is Philippine.


ie with a hyphen (to avoid double "m").

film titles

We do not use italics or quotation marks; caps as appropriate: (Grease, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs).

fine-tooth comb

ie with a hyphen after "fine". It is the teeth that are fine, not the comb.

Fire and Rescue

When referring to an individual service dealing with a fire, it’s fine to shorten its title by dropping “and Rescue”.



is the term preferred by fire brigades in the UK and elsewhere. Fire crews (two words) is also acceptable.

First Division

(as in Scottish football) ie capped up (similarly, Second Division etc). The English equivalent is League One and League Two.

first half, first-half

There is NO hyphen in the noun (eg: Rooney was injured during the first half). There IS a hyphen in the adjective (eg Arsenal scored three first-half goals).


ie with three hyphens, when used adjectivally (eg the first-past-the-post system). Otherwise, no hyphens (eg Red Rum was first past the post). 


flaunt means "to display ostentatiously". Do not confuse with flout, which means "to disobey".

Fleet Street

is no longer a useful synonym for the print media.


(on the stock market) ie not "floatation". This is known to US investors as an "initial public offering", or IPO.


The verb flounder means "to struggle" or "be in a state of confusion". Do not confuse with founder, which means "to fill with water and sink" and, metaphorically, "to fail".


and not 'flu.


is our preference, although the Oxford English Dictionary uses a hyphen. Similarly marchpast.


ie the "s" remains single.


is the correct spelling, not the US variant "fetus".

foot-and-mouth disease

ie hyphens on both sides of "and". Do not use "FMD" or "F&M", even in headlines.


but never "soccer" unless as part of an official title (eg Soccer Australia).

football seasons

When writing about any sporting season, or tax or financial years etc, our preferred style is 2010-11.


is appropriate only where someone uses force to make someone else do something. Avoid unthinking agency usage eg: "Police were forced to open fire". It is usually not true. Simply tell the readers what happened: "Police opened fire..."

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

can be shortened at second reference to FCO (all caps, no gaps). You can also refer to the Foreign Office (second reference: FO).

foreign names (see also Arabic names)

Do not use foreign titles (Monsieur, Herr) - say Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss as appropriate.

In the case of Spanish American and European Spanish names, the last of the three names is usually the mother’s name, which should not be used on its own. So Manuel Echeverria Valdez becomes Mr Echeverria, not Mr Valdez. This does not apply to Brazilian/Portuguese names.

In genuinely German names, von is in lower case when the whole name is given eg: Herbert von Karajan. It disappears when only the surname is given eg: Karajan died in 1989. There may be variations with anglicised or US derivatives, where the individual might have chosen to retain the von with the surname.

The Dutch van and the Italian di are lower case if the whole name is used. They are capped if only the surname is used eg: Angelo di Loreto says he might retire, but It is not the first time Di Loreto has said so.

When French surnames start with Le or La, an initial cap is used, whether or not the forename is included eg: Jean-Marie Le Pen, and also Mr Le Pen.

The family name in China comes first, so Hu Jintao becomes Mr Hu at second reference.

If in doubt over any foreign name, check with World Service.

foreign words

should be kept to a minimum. Hence: replace "£10 per capita" with £10 a head; replace "twice per annum" with twice a year.

Say French Legion of Honour rather than "Legion D’Honneur".


is our preferred spelling, rather than forego, to mean "abstain from".


This construction (as in "The judge told Smith and Jones they could expect no mercy. The former was given a 10-year sentence, the latter 15 years.") is somewhat archaic and should be avoided in our output.

Formula 1/F1

(in motor racing) ie contrary to our usual style, the number is written as a digit. F1 may be used in headlines or at second reference.


Properly used, it means "by chance, rather than design". It does NOT mean "fortunate" or "well-timed".


(four-wheel drive vehicle, designed to go off-road). Contrary to our usual convention with single-figure numbers, we use digits rather than words. We do not include a space. Often used as an alternative to industry jargon SUV (sports utility vehicle), but not necessarily the same thing.

Fourth of July

(the American holiday) ie written out in full - not "4 July".

fox-hunt, fox-hunting

ie hyphenated (Say "hunting with dogs" - and not "hunting with hounds").


Our style is to use words (eg three-quarters) separated by hyphens or, where appropriate, to substitute a decimal (0.75).


is the German city and financial centre which is home of the European Central Bank. (Its full name is Frankfurt am Main, but should be referred to simply as Frankfurt.) There is another Frankfurt in eastern Germany, on the Polish border. This is Frankfurt an der Oder, which should be spelt out in full or abbreviated to Frankfurt/Oder.


is an adjective (He left the court a free man) or an adverb (The spectators were admitted free). It is wrong to speak of receiving something "for free". You receive it either free or for nothing.

Freedom of Information

Capped when referring to the Act or to a Freedom of Information request, but lower case if talking generally about the issue of freedom of information.


ie with a hyphen.

‘friendly fire’

should be inside quotation marks in headlines and at first reference in text. In line with our usual rules, these quotation marks should be single in headlines, and double in text (although the text quotation marks would be single if first use was within a direct quote eg The general said: “Deaths caused by ‘friendly fire’ are sad - but inevitable”). Later references do not need any quotation marks. An alternative in text (though not in headlines) is so-called friendly fire - which does not require apostrophes.

front bench

(in Parliament) ie as a noun, two words, with no hyphen. But one word only in frontbencher and also in the adjective frontbench (as in frontbench spokesman).

front line/front-line

The noun is two words, both lower case (eg More troops are being sent to the front line); the adjective is lower case, but hyphenated (eg Fresh supplies are getting through to front-line positions).


ie with a hyphen.


The Financial Times Stock Exchange index (so called because it is a joint venture between the FT and the SE) ie all caps, no hyphen. Avoid the trade term "the Footsie". NB: the benchmark index is the FTSE 100 (ie a space before the number), which can be defined as listing the leading 100 firms traded on the London Stock Exchange. There is also a FTSE 250, FTSE 350 etc.


ie with a hyphen.


ie with a hyphen, whether used as a noun (eg "Both managers rushed on to the pitch at full-time") or an adjective ("They are the first league team to dispense with the services of a full-time manager").


Traditionally, does not mean "generous" or "full", but, "sickly sweet" or "over the top". So avoid use of the term "fulsome praise".

fundraiser, fundraising

ie no hyphens.


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