T-shirt - Capital "T" and hyphenated...


Capital "T" and hyphenated.

table, to

This is generally understood in the UK to mean "to present formally for discussion", whereas in the US it is more likely to mean "to postpone consideration" of an issue.

takeover, take over

ie as a noun, one word, no hyphen (takeover and merger are not synonyms - a merger is not hostile; a takeover can be). But separate words as a verb (eg: He planned to take over the world).


and not "Taleban". Note that it’s a plural (the singular is Talib), so it needs a plural verb eg: The Taliban were on the attack.


Say talk to - and not "talk with".

Tamil Tigers

(full name: the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). This rebel group fought a long and violent campaign for autonomy in the north and east of Sri Lanka. They lost their last stronghold in May 2009.The Tamils are mainly Muslim or Hindu. Most of Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese are Buddhist. But not all Tamils are Tigers - so do not refer to "Tamil leaders" if you mean Tamil Tigers’ leaders.


There should be at least one mention of the title taoiseach in any story about the prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (though not necessarily in the first four pars). But do not use "Taoiseach" in headlines or summaries. As with other government jobs, initial cap if you are using the name. Otherwise, lower case.


ie with a capital "T" for the electric stun weapon. But it’s a tradename, so make sure the gun in question is a Taser.


The gallery in Southwark, London is Tate Modern. The old one, in Millbank, London is called Tate Britain. The other galleries are Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.


Try to avoid them. Common examples include "advance warning", "armed gunmen", "universal panacea". Also: "She has given birth to a baby boy", "mutual co-operation", "crew members", "past history", "exact replica", "anti-government rebel forces", "pre-conditions", "pre-planned" etc.


hackney carriages (generally black cabs) are licensed by the local authority, and can pick up fares in the street. Minicabs - or private hire vehicles - should carry only passengers who have booked. We can follow common usage and use taxi generically for both. However, when describing a specific car or driver, we should clarify the type. In headlines, cabbies is acceptable for either.


is best avoided on the grounds of sexism. So for sentences such as "The new policy will mean more money for the taxman", substitute HMRC, or the Revenue in later references.

teachers’ unions

And not "teaching unions".


ie with a hyphen.


Sports teams are plural (eg: Portsmouth have just been relegated) - but the clubs (as corporate entities) are singular (eg: Leicester City has signed a new sponsorship deal).

tear gas/tear-gas

The noun is two separate words (eg: Police twice used tear gas during the protest); the verb is hyphenated (eg: Four people were taken to hospital, after being tear-gassed).


is acceptable only in headlines. Elsewhere use teenage, teenager, teenaged.


(heavily industrialised area surrounding the estuary of the River Tees in Cleveland) ie with a double "s".


(capital of Iran) ie not "Teheran".

television channels

Stick to the official names for BBC channels - even though this often involves using extra characters. We say: BBC One BBC Two BBC Three / BBC Four / BBC News channel / BBC World News / Cbeebies / CBBC. Also: ITV/ITV2 (no space), Channel 4 (space), Sky One. Channel 5 reverted to its original name in 2010 after a period of being known as "Five".


Always use Celsius, not centigrade or Fahrenheit. Contrary to our usual style with numbers, we always use digits with temperatures (eg: 8C, 10C, 42C). It may sometimes be appropriate to add a Fahrenheit conversion to UK stories eg: The temperature rose above 38C (100F) on Friday, a UK record.

Temple Mount

ie both words capped. Note that the area in Jerusalem that translates from Hebrew as the Temple Mount should also be described, though not necessarily in the first four pars, as known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (ie lower case "al", followed by a hyphen - and never "the al-Haram al-Sharif", which is tautological). The Arabic translates as the Noble Sanctuary.


The word "terrorist" is not banned, but its use can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the use of the term without attribution. We should convey to our audience the full consequences of the act by describing what happened. We should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as bomber, attacker, gunman, kidnapper, insurgent and militant. We should not adopt other people's language as our own. Our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments about who is doing what to whom.

While care is needed when describing perpetrators, an action or event can be described as a terror attack or an act of terror.

When we do use the term we should strive to do so with consistency in the stories we report across all our services, and in a way that does not undermine our reputation for objectivity and accuracy. It is also very important that we strive for consistency across the international and UK facing sites. If a BBC World story uses very measured language but a UK version does not, a user will rightly question the different approaches.

Beware of paraphrasing and selective quotation, eg: “The Israeli prime minister said that while ‘terrorist’ attacks continued he would not back down.” Putting the single word "terrorist" in quotes may give the impression that the BBC is sceptical about the prime minister’s assessment of the nature of the attacks.

Domestically, we tread a similar line on Northern Ireland. The IRA is so well known, worldwide, that a label is not necessary. Groups such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA can often be best labelled as dissident. A second reference to organisations such as the UFF and UVF could be along the lines of: The loyalist paramilitary organisation warned...


(cricket, rugby league etc) is always capped. Accompanying ordinal numbers should be lower case (eg: the second Test).


Generally: "that" defines, and "which" informs. So: in the sentence The house that Jack built is to be knocked down the phrase "that Jack built" is included to differentiate his house from the houses built by Jill, the Three Little Pigs, Wimpey etc. It defines which house we are talking about. Compare: The house, which Jack built, is to be knocked down - where the fact that Jack was the builder is the new information.

think tank

ie no hyphen

Third World

ie with both words capped - but best avoided unless you are quoting someone. Instead, say developing world or developing nations.


ie the number is expressed as a word, not as digits - and is followed by a hyphen. Similarly, twenty-something etc.


An acceptable abbreviation for three-dimensional.

time references

Hours: We use the 24-hour clock (with a colon) in all circumstances (including streaming), labelled GMT or BST as appropriate. World stories put local time first, followed by conversion into GMT. Domestic stories which mention overseas local time should convert into UK time eg: The foreign secretary will leave London immediately after the cabinet meeting - arriving in Washington at 11:00 local time (16:00 BST). In a story with several time references, we don’t need to use BST/GMT on every occasion; establishing the time zone once should be enough. Also, judge whether it adds anything in a historical sense, as in: "The court heard Jones had burgled the house at 14:25 GMT in November last year."

Days: Since our international users live in various time zones, we must not use "yesterday", "this morning", "today", "tonight", "tomorrow" etc. Instead, days should be referred to by name (eg: Voting begins on Monday) - and we should not follow the American custom of omitting the preposition (eg: "Voting begins Monday"). When writing about events which have happened or are due to happen on the day a story appears, we should avoid putting the day of the week in the top four pars. If some indication of timescale is needed, use another form of words such as "within hours", "shortly", "later" or "earlier". If there is scope for confusion, include the day lower down the story.

Seasons: For similar reasons, references to the seasons should be kept to a minimum. We should not say eg: "An election will be held in the spring". Substitute with An election will be held in five months’ time - or similar.

Dates: Put the day before the month (eg: 12 April 2001). One exception: in a US context, we should spell out the Fourth of July. Do not include suffixes after the day (eg "20th").

Decades: are written 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, ie with no apostrophe before the "s". But there should be one at the start of a date if you omit the century - eg: The oil crisis of ‘73 or when an adjective is attached - eg: the Swinging '60s. Digits are also used in the decades of an individual’s age (eg: Henry Higgins is now in his mid-50s).

Centuries: with an initial cap if labelled with a number (eg: 21st Century). Otherwise, lower case (eg: Scientists expect a cure for cancer by the end of the century).

titles (books etc)

Use initial caps for the titles of books, films, plays etc (though not for words such as in or and in the middle of titles). Do not use quotation marks or italics eg: Dickens wrote Great Expectations. Crowds queued to watch Shakespeare in Love.

titles (people)

A marquess, earl, viscount or baron can be called Lord Surname or, where they have taken the name of a place, Lord Placename. The forename must not be included. An exception is where two people have the same title, so Lord Alan Smith and Lord Peter Smith may be used to distinguish.

The title "Lady" is conferred on the wife of a marquess, earl, viscount, baron, baronet or knight, or the daughter of a duke or marquess or earl. In the first of these groups, the first name is not used, so it is Lady Hermon rather than Lady Sylvia Hermon. But those in the second group do include their first name in the title (eg: Lady Antonia Fraser is the daughter of the late Lord Longford, the surname having changed when she married). A baroness may use that title eg: Baroness Simpson, but can also be referred to less formally as eg: Lady Simpson. We would generally use Baroness at first reference, then Lady.


Use the metric measurement rather than the imperial "ton". In reality, there is very little difference between the two. Avoid the term "metric ton", and of course the tautological "metric tonne".


This is journalese (as in Top policeman murdered) that, for space reasons, is acceptable in both headlines and text. But try to find something better if space allows (eg: senior).


Note that the plural for the wind is tornadoes. The plural for the plane is Tornados.


are not synonymous - tortuous means full of twists and turns (the opposite of straightforward); torturous means extremely painful (and possibly involving torture).


ie without a hyphen.

Tour de France

(cycling) The capital is retained if you abbreviate to the Tour.


Is our preference, as in He walked towards me. Toward is considered a US usage.


is our preference for Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, and not T-Pim, TPIM or other variants.

trade balance

The trade balance is not the same as the balance of payments. Trade involves only visible imports and exports, whereas the balance of payments includes so-called "invisibles" (earnings from the City, insurance, tourism etc).


are registered by companies to prevent others from using them. They should not be used generically, and there is a risk of legal action if they are. Use the trade name (with initial cap) if it has direct relevance to the story; otherwise substitute with a general description. Some commonly used trademarks are listed below with suggested alternatives:

Ansafone - answering machine

Bluffer’s Guide - title registered by Oval Projects; avoid

Cashpoint - cash machine

Elastoplast - sticking plaster

Fibreglass - glass fibre

Filofax - personal organiser

Formica - plastic laminate

Gumbusters - gum-removing machine

Hoover - vacuum cleaner

Jacuzzi - whirlpool bath

Jeep - four-wheel drive vehicle

Jet Ski – water scooter or personal watercraft

Jiffy bag - padded envelope

Kleenex - paper tissue

Levi’s - jeans

Muzak - background music

Outward Bound - use adventure training or similar

Perspex - acrylic sheet

Plasticine - modelling clay

Polaroid - instant camera/sunglasses

Portakabin - portable building

Portaloo - portable lavatory

Primus - portable stove

Rawlplug - plastic wall plug

Ray-ban - sunglasses

Rollerblade - rollerskates

Rough Guide - guide book

Scotch tape - adhesive tape

Sellotape - sticky tape

Smart Board - interactive whiteboard

Snowdome - indoor snow centre

Tannoy - public address system

Teasmade - automatic teamaker

Teflon - non-stick

Thermos - vacuum flask

Time Out - listings magazine

Tupperware - plastic food container

Vaseline - ointment

Velcro - fabric fastening

Weightwatchers - slimming club

Xerox - photocopy

Yellow Pages - classified telephone directory

Zimmer - walking frame

trade union

ie without an "s" at the end of "trade". But there is one in Trades Union Congress (which should never be written as "TUC Congress"; instead, say TUC conference).


ie hyphenated - but no hyphen in the book/film Trainspotting.

T. rex

Although various spellings can be found, we should stick to normal taxonomy when writing about Tyrannosaurus rex. Marc Bolan’s band is T. Rex.


(One million million) - our preferred style for abbreviation with currencies is tn - but spell it out initially if possible.

Trooping the Colour

ie with two caps - and not "Trooping of the Colour".


should be capped in a Northern Ireland context.


Correct usage is try to do something, and not "try and" do something.


is our favoured spelling, and not "czar", whether in expressions such as drugs tsar or in a Russian context, where one would use upper or lower case according to context (eg: The last tsar of Russia was Tsar Nicholas).


is the proper term to describe a wave or series of waves generated when a body of water is rapidly displaced on a massive scale - do not say "tidal waves". Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and large meteorite impacts all have the potential to generate a tsunami. The effects may vary from unnoticeable to catastrophic. (The tsunami that caused widespread devastation in Asia on 26 December 2004 should not be referred to as the Boxing Day tsunami. Boxing Day means nothing to a foreign audience.)


(ie underground train) - initial cap.


ie caps - and not "tv".

type 1 diabetes

ie lower case "t", no hyphen, lower case "d". When selecting photos, be aware that insulin injections are used for type 1 diabetes but very rarely for type 2.


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