wages/salary - Wages are usually paid weekly or monthly for the labour or service of an employee. A salary is a fixed sum paid regularly, usually for non-manual work...


Wages are usually paid weekly or monthly for the labour or service of an employee. A salary is a fixed sum paid regularly, usually for non-manual work.


is our style for the fundamentalist school of thought founded by Saudi scholar Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. The adjective is Wahhabi.


is our style for the possessive of the country, ie an exception to the normal rules.

Wall Street

(the New York financial district) ie both words with initial caps.

war on terror

This policy is associated primarily with the administration of US President George W Bush. It will usually be preferable to use a more general phrase - eg: the international fight against terrorism.

When referring to the policy, it should always be lower case and in inverted commas or attributed, whether in copy or headlines, ie “war on terror” or ...what the Bush administration called the war on terror...


A cliche which should be avoided.

Washington/Washington DC

The state in the north-west US is Washington. The nation’s capital, in the eastern US, is Washington DC (ie no comma), which occupies the District of Columbia.


The interrogation technique, widely regarded as torture, is one word.

water cannon

ie separate words, no hyphen. It’s the same, whether singular or plural - do not add an "s"


Do not say "weather conditions" if you just mean weather. Do not say "good weather" or "bad weather" - what is good for the tourist is probably bad for the farmer. And, in a UK-wide story, do not write eg: "the recent sunny weather" - just because it happens to have been sunny where you are.

web, the

ie lower case.


ie one word, and lower case.

weights and measures

We should use both imperial and metric measures in most stories. Context will usually decide which measure comes first, but if the first figure is part of a quote it should be retained, with a conversion in brackets immediately afterwards.

Where instantly recognisable abbreviations exist, these should be used throughout, even at first reference. For example, the words "metre" and "kilometre" are not written out in full even at first reference; use the abbreviations m and km. All numbers preceding abbreviations should be rendered as digits; where units are written out in full, our usual numbers convention is followed. There should not be a gap between number and abbreviated unit, and units of measurement do not in general take an "s" in the plural.

UK and US stories should usually use imperial first - eg: He said the first 50ft (15.24m) of the climb had been hard. The president’s campaign helicopter has taken him more than 2,000 miles (3,200km).

For feet and inches, use digits followed by abbreviations - eg: The hedge was exactly 9ft 4in high (2.84m).

In non-UK/US stories, metric should usually come first - with a bracketed conversion to imperial - eg: Police in France say the floods reached a peak of 5.3m (17ft 8in). Many fugitives from English justice are living along a 10km (6.2 mile) stretch of the Spanish coast.

Sometimes logic will dictate when metric should come first (eg: Train speeds on the British side of the Channel Tunnel compare badly with French top speeds of 300km/h (186.4mph).

A nanometre is one thousand millionth of a metre. Spell it out in full at first reference; then trim to nm, with the accompanying number expressed as digit(s) eg: 6nm, 52nm.

For weights originally expressed as a precise number of stone, write out the word "stone" (never "stones") - and follow our usual convention with any accompanying number - eg: The child weighed less than two stone (12.7kg) at the time of his death; She said the company had sacked her because she weighed 15 stone (95.3kg).

But if pounds are involved you should use the abbreviations st and lb (not "lbs"), and use digits even for numbers below 10, with no gap between number and unit - eg: Charles Atlas said he had once weighed 6st 9lb (42.18kg).

From a gram (one thousandth of a kilogram), the abbreviation g is used at first reference and throughout. This rule applies whether singular or plural. It is lower case, and there is no gap between number and unit - eg: Police say they found 30g (1oz) of cannabis in the woman’s handbag.

For volumes, the usual approach, again, is to use both metric and imperial - eg: The tanker was carrying 30,000 gallons (136,000 litres) of petrol. (Note that "litres" is not abbreviated, because "l" looks like a number one.) However, phrases where volume and liquid are historically almost inseparable do not have to be converted - eg: He told the court his favourite pastime was to go out with his friends for a curry and a pint. Thus, a pint of beer or a pint of blood are acceptable, unconverted, in any story - though context will sometimes make a metric conversion appropriate in, say, Technology or Health.

Adjectival phrases defining areas should include hyphens in both metric and imperial measures. Always mention both; the context will determine which comes first - eg: The French fishermen denied reports that they had been operating inside the X-sq-km (Y-sq-mile) zone (Note: there is no "s" on nouns used adjectivally). Elsewhere, there is no need for hyphens - eg: The UK government is calling for a ban on fishing within a zone of X sq miles (Y sq km).

Abbreviations should be used throughout. Never write "square kilometres", but always sq km. There is no acceptable abbreviation for "miles", so write sq miles (and, adjectivally, sq-mile).

With Sports stories, be guided by the traditions of the individual sport in deciding which system of measurement should be given prominence. For a cricket match in the Netherlands, it should be imperial; for an athletics meeting there, it would be metric. But conversions will always help to reach a wider audience eg: Anderlecht have signed a striker who is 6ft 8in tall (2.03m).

Welsh assembly

Use lower case for eg: The problems facing farmers will be discussed by the Welsh assembly. But use upper case when giving the full title, the National Assembly for Wales. Members of the assembly are AMs.

The Welsh government should be written with a lower case "g".

West, the

("the Western world") ie initial cap - eg: Western troops in Afghanistan, Western governments, Western nations, Westerners etc.

West End

(in London) ie initial caps.

west end

(in Glasgow) ie lower case.

West country, the

ie only "West" is capped up.

Western Europe

ie initial caps.

Western European Union/WEU

An autonomous grouping of European states that co-operates with the EU on matters of defence - ie initial caps. It may be abbreviated to WEU (all caps).

Western Sahara

(Disputed territory administered by Morocco) ie not "the Western Sahara".

Western Wall

(in Jerusalem) - and not "the Wailing Wall".


To be treated as a plural - eg: The boy’s whereabouts are unknown.


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.


This is the new name for the Consumers’ Association and its magazine - ie with a question mark.


And not "whilst".


Scotch is whisky (ie without the "e"). If it’s from Ireland or the US, it’s whiskey.


ie one word

White Paper

ie both words upper case.


The rule is that "who" is the subject of a verb, and "whom" is the object. Where the "who" or "whom" introduces a new clause, work out which pronoun would be correct if you were to create a separate sentence. If the answer is "he", "she" or "they", then the clause should begin with who. If the answer is "him", "her" or "them", then it should be whom - eg: Mr Smith ignored Mr Clarke, whom he disliked is correct, because he disliked "him". And Mr Smith ignored Mr Clarke, who he believed had been disloyal is also correct - because he believed "he" had been disloyal.


The apostrophe is needed if the meaning is "who is" or "who has". It represents the missing letter or letters - eg: Who’s a pretty boy, then? and Who’s left the cage open? (This is relevant only for direct quotes since it is our policy otherwise not to use contractions.) The apostrophe is inappropriate where you are indicating possession - eg: Whose parrot is this?


ie hyphenated.


For wireless technologies - lower case and hyphenated.


One word, not hyphenated.

Wild West

ie initial caps.


The building company is Wimpey. The burger chain is Wimpy.

wind farm

ie two words.


is the name of both a town and a lake. Strictly, "Lake Windermere" is tautological, because the "-mere" means "Lake". But for clarity’s sake, include the label to avoid confusion - and omit it only if there is no scope for ambiguity - eg: Hoteliers in the Lake District have renewed their complaints about speedboats on Windermere.

winner’s medal

ie apostrophe before the "s" (because a medal is awarded to each individual).


and not "the Wirral". It’s a metropolitan borough and there are two parliamentary constituencies: Wirral South and Wirral West.


is the acceptable short form (and not "Wisden’s"). Its full title is the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

wits’ end

ie the apostrophe after the "s".

World Bank

ie both words capped up.

World Cup

(football, rugby, cricket etc) ie initial caps.

World Health Organization/WHO

Follow the WHO’s own spelling of its name, with a "z" rather than an "s". Any second reference not using the proper title should revert to our usual spelling - ie with an "s" - eg: The organisation is calling for an urgent vaccination programme. But where possible rework the copy to avoid spelling the same word in two ways in the same story.

World Trade Center

Follow the US spelling ("Center") when using its proper title - but revert to UK spelling if a second reference does not use the title - eg: The World Trade Center is still in flames. Firemen searching the centre say it’s a ruin. But where possible rework copy to avoid spelling the same word in two ways in the same story.

World Trade Organization/WTO

ie all capped up. May be abbreviated at second reference to WTO.

World War

(Revised October 2013) Where space allows, write out World War One and World War Two (and not "First World War" or "Second World War"). The abbreviations WW1 and WW2 (no gaps) are acceptable in headlines - and should be used in text at second reference. Never write about "the War" unless it is already clear from the context which war you mean.


The adjective is usually one word - eg: BBC Worldwide - but not always eg: world wide web.


is the set of initials now used by the organisation formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation. It now calls itself World Wrestling Entertainment, following an unsuccessful battle with the former World Wide Fund for Nature over use of the initials WWF.


The organisation which used to be the "World Wide Fund for Nature" ("World Wildlife Fund" in the US) is now known only by its initials, WWF. But you should usually add a label at first reference - eg: WWF, the global environment campaign. It might sometimes be helpful to mention that it was formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature.


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