Do not use as a verb. It has conflicting meanings -- to put a bill forward for discussion and to postpone discussion of it.

tablespoon, tablespoonfuls

take over (verb), takeover (noun)


Radical Sunni Muslim movement that ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. From the Arabic for “student” (Talib). The plural is Taliban.

Tangier, not Tangiers, Morocco.


A Bank of Japan report on sentiment among Japanese companies, based on a quarterly survey covering some 10,000 companies.


Not targetted. Except in a military context, prefer aimed at or directed at, or describe exactly what is being done to whom.


Soviet ethnic group. Not Tartar.

tattoos, tattoing, tattoed


Saying the same thing twice, as in 'a new record' where the word new is unnecessary. Others are 'originally built', 'future risks', 'weather conditions', 'in a westerly direction'.

tax avoidance/evasion

Tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is illegal. Be specific.

Tbilisi, not Tiflis, Georgia.


One word.


Teams and clubs are used as plural nouns, except in American sport. Fulham buy new Dutch striker. Manchester United said they would not rush into the transfer market.

teaspoon, teaspoonful, teaspoonfuls

teenage, teenager


Use stop or end.


one word.

Tehran, not Teheran, Iran.

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel and the status of Jerusalem is contentious. Do not use the name of either city as a synonym for Israel, as in the Jerusalem government, or refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

television station/network

A televison station is a single, local broadcasting entity whereas a network is a group of affiliated stations that transmit the same programmes during certain hours and whose programmes appears on a single channel in each market.

television series/season

The season of a show is different from a series, e.g. The television series "Friends" is in its third season.


An American word for earthquake, not trembler.


Express in Celsius (the same scale as Centigrade) and Fahrenheit, using the scale of the country involved first, with conversion in brackets. Spell in full at first reference, abbreviating to C and F subsequently, 25 Celsius, 40C. Freezing point in Celsius is 0 degrees, in Fahrenheit 32 degrees. Convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit for temperatures above zero by multiplying by 9, dividing by 5 and adding 32, e.g. 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). For temperatures below zero multiply by nine, divide by five and subtract from 32, e.g. minus 15C (5F), minus 20C (minus 4F). Convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius for temperatures above 32 by subtracting 32, multiplying by five and dividing by nine. For temperatures below freezing take the total number of degrees by which the temperature is below 32, multiply by five and divide by nine, e.g. minus 8F is 40 below freezing, 40 x 5/9 gives you 22, therefore minus 22C.

Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif

A 14-hectare (34-acre) area of the Old City of Jerusalem sacred to Jews and Muslims. It is the site of the biblical Jewish temple destroyed in AD 70. Many Jews believe the Western Wall below the Mount, Judaism’s holiest place, is a remnant of the retaining wall of the ancient temple site. Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad ascended into heaven from this place. They built the al-Aqsa mosque and the gilded Dome of the Rock on the site and called it al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It is the third holiest Islamic shrine after Mecca and Medina.

temporary respite

Tautological. A respite is by definition temporary.


See writing.


We may refer without attribution to terrorism and counter-terrorism in general but do not refer to specific events as terrorism. Nor do we use the word terrorist without attribution to qualify specific individuals, groups or events. Terrorism and terrorist must be retained when quoting someone in direct speech. When quoting someone in indirect speech, care must be taken with sentence structure to ensure it is entirely clear that they are the source’s words and not a label. Terrorism and terrorist should not be used as single words in inverted commas (e.g. “terrorist”) or preceded by so-called (e.g. a so-called terrorist attack) since that can be taken to imply a value judgment. Use a fuller quote if necessary. Terror as in terror attack or terror cell should be avoided, except in direct quotes.

Report the subjects of news stories objectively, their actions, identity and background. Aim for a dispassionate use of language so that individuals, organisations and governments can make their own judgment on the basis of facts. Seek to use more specific terms like “bomber” or “bombing”, “hijacker” or “hijacking”, “attacker” or “attacks”, “gunman” or “gunmen” etc.

Thai names

The first name is used alone at second reference, e.g. Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan said ... Chatichai added ...

that, which

Use that in defining clauses, e.g. the cup that cheers. Reserve which for informative clauses, e.g. the cup, which was blue, was full of water. Avoid the unnecessary use of that as in He said that he was going to …

theatre, but in American style theater

Unless it is part of a proper name.

their, there, they're

Know the difference.

there is, there are

Usuallly unnecessary, e.g. There are two choices facing the captain can be changed to The captain faces two choices.


Not Thimpu, Bhutan.

Third World

A term to be avoided. Use developing countries or poor countries instead.


Use so.

third man

Two words for fielding position in cricket.

thrash, thresh

Thrash means to beat soundly, thresh to beat out, e.g. grain, corn.


Not threshhold, but withhold not withold.

Tiananmen Square, not Tienanmen, in Beijing


One word in tennis.


Not Tigre, Ethiopia. The adjective is Tigrayan.


Not Timbuktou or Timbuctoo, Mali.


Abbreviations of time zones are acceptable providing the GMT equivalent is given.

BST (British Summer Time) = GMT +1 CET (Central European Time) = GMT +1 CDT (Central Daylight Time) = GMT -5 CST (Central Standard Time) = GMT -6 EST (Eastern Standard Time) = GMT -5 MDT (Mountain Daylight Time) = GMT -6 MST (Mountain Standard Time) = GMT -7 PST (Pacific Standard Time) = GMT -8

When referring to times first give the local time by the 12-hour clock (without using the words local time) and follow it with a bracketed conversion to a 24-hour clock time for a specified time zone, e.g. ... will meet at 10 a.m. (1600 GMT). Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours and minutes, 3:15 p.m.

Use the style on Friday, on Saturday, on Sunday rather than the looser today, yesterday, tomorrow. However, in American style, it is He came Friday, not on Friday.

Do not use phrases like several months ago or recently which suggest we do not know when something happened or are too lazy to find out. Be precise – last August, on Feb. 2.

titbit, but in American style tidbit


Capitalise an official’s title when it immediately precedes the person’s name, but when the title follows the name or is used alone use lower case, e.g.: President Tom Smith but The president said: “I would like to welcome the British prime minister, Janet Courage.” See Military titles

titles of sports events

Use lower case for sport names, junior, men’s, women’s, championship, tournament, meeting, match, test, race, game etc. Use upper case for the event title e.g. French Open tennis championships, Dutch Open golf tournament. Use singular championship when one title is at stake and plural championships for more than one, U.S. Open tennis championships (men’s, women’s, doubles). Use the name of the sport before championship, tournament etc.



The word can often be dropped, as in meet together, join together and together with.

told reporters

Use this only when the source is speaking informally to a group of reporters. If he or she is addressing a news conference, say so.

told Reuters

Use this phrase only when we are being given significant information or an interview on an exclusive basis. Otherwise it is told reporters or told a news conference. If we get information on the basis of a telephone call to an official spokesman/spokeswoman who would make the same information available to anyone who called, we need simply say the spokesman/ spokeswoman said.

tomato, tomatoes

ton, tonne

We use both tons and tonnes, without having to give a conversion, but you must make clear what kind of ton(ne) is meant, using the terms long and short where appropriate. The three measures are: tonne – 2,204.6 pounds (1,000 kg), formerly called metric ton

long ton – 2,240 pounds (or 20 hundredweights, 20 x 112 pounds).

short ton – 2,000 pounds, American ton

Use lb for pounds in copy

tonnage of ships

For passenger liners, cruise ships and other vessels, other than warships, tankers and dry bulk cargo ships, express in gross registered tonnage (grt), a volume measurement expressed in tons, and the first bold-type figure in Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.For tankers and dry bulk cargo vessels the measurement is in deadweight tonnes (dwt,), the actual weight in tonnes of maximum cargo, stores, fuel and people carried, which can be at least twice the gross tonnage.

A tonnage scale called compensated gross tons (cgt) is used in statistics to show a country’s shipbuilding capacity. Cgt factors in manpower and added values. For instance, a very large crude carrier is bigger and may need more steel than a smaller liquefied gas carrier, but the number of hours needed to complete the gas carrier, and its value in the market, may be higher than for the supertanker. In some cases other means of measuring the ship’s capacity are used. For liquefied gas carriers, use cubic metres (feet) more often than dwt to show the ship's capacity. For container ships use teu (twenty-foot equivalent unit) or feu (forty-foot equivalent unit).


Use sparingly because it is often tautological, e.g. The president met his top aides ... He would hardly consult junior aides.


One word in tennis.

tornado, tornadoes

however, note the plural of the fighter-bomber in service with some West European air forces is Tornados.


torpedoes but torpedoing.

tortuous, torturous

Tortuous is full of windings or far from straightforward. Torturous is causing torture or violent distortion. Negotiations are often tortuous, rarely torturous.

Tory, Tories

Acceptable alternative for second reference to Conservative Party members in Britain.

total, totalling, totalled, but in American style total, totaling, totaled

A total of is usually redundant. Just give the figure.

total annihilation

Redundant. Annihilation is total.


Use Tuareg.


Not toward. But untoward. However, American style is toward.


A trademark is a brand, symbol or word registered by a manufacturer and protected by law to prevent others from using it. Use a generic equivalent unless the trademark is important to the story. When used, follow the owner’s capitalisation, e.g. Aspro not aspro but aspirin.

trade union, trade unions, not trades unions.


trafficked, trafficker


Do not devalue this word by overuse. Avoid in sports reporting.


A region of Moldova. Do not use Dnestr or other variants unless in quotes.


When the second element of a word beginning with trans- starts with a capital, hyphenate, e.g. trans-Siberian. Exceptions are transatlantic, transfat, transpacific, transarctic, transalpine.

transfer, transferring, transferred


A vogue word. Openness will often serve as a substitute.


Use it in the sense of came to be known, not of happened.


Use transport except where part of a title, e.g. U..S. Department of Transportation.


A person who identifies as, or wishes to live and be accepted as, a member of the opposite sex. Transsexuals usually desire physical alteration of their bodies to bring them closer to the sex with which they identify. See transvestite


Regarded by many cross-dressers as pejorative and should be avoided. Use a simple description or explanation of how the person prefers to be described. eg "Award-winning potter Grayson Perry, who frequently dresses as a woman and calls himself Claire..." See transsexual.

travel, travelled, travelling, traveller

But in American style traveled, traveling, traveler.


treasury bill

use lower case treasury bill, not Treasury bill


Trillion means one thousand billion. The word must be spelled out, although it can be abbreviated to trln when necessary in headlines. Always use numerals before trillion, e.g. 2 trillion, 4 trillion.


Be careful when linking triple ideas that you have a proper complement of verbs. The following sentence is wrong: Three Iraqis were killed, 22 captured and the crew of the minesweeper tried to scuttle their ship. It should read ... Three Iraqis were killed, 22 were captured and the crew of the minesweeper tried... i.e. one complete verb for each element.

Trojan horse, Trojan Wars

troop, troupe

A troop is a body of soldiers or a group of people. Use troupe only for performers.


Be careful in using such a word to describe nouns, especially companies; it can be defamatory. Be specific, e.g. the company that lost $4 million in its last financial year.


Not lorry.

true facts

Tautological. If a fact is not true it is not a fact.

try and

Use try to.

Tsar, not Czar

T-shirt, not teeshirt


Japanese for a tidal wave.


May be referred to as TB at second reference. The adjective is tuberculous not tubercular.


Trades Union Congress (UK). Note plural Trades.

turgid, turbid

Turgid is swollen, pompous or bombastic. Turbid is muddy or thick.


Formerly Ellice Islands, West Pacific.


Acceptable contraction for television.


Not two time or two times. Bigger numbers should be in the plural, e.g. seven times champion.


Capitalise when it has been given a name, e.g. Typhoon Mark.


But in American style tire (on a wheel).

Tyrol, Austria

This page was last modified 13:05, 13 September 2011.

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