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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ

Contents

table

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

Talib/Taliban

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

Tangier, Morocco

Not Tangiers.

tankan

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

targeted

Except in a military context, prefer “aimed at” or “directed at,” or describe exactly what is being done to whom.

Tatar

Soviet ethnic group. Not Tartar.

tautology

Saying the same thing twice, as in “a new record.” A few others: “originally built,” “future risks,” “weather conditions,” “in a westerly direction.”

tax avoidance/evasion

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

Tbilisi, Georgia

Not Tiflis.

Tea Party, tea party

A conservative movement, not a real party, with grassroots origins whose members advocate small government and reduced taxes.

terminate

Use “stop” or “end.”

Tehran, Iran

Not Teheran.

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 television station is a single, local broadcasting entity; a network is a group of affiliated stations that transmit the same programmes during certain hours and whose programmes appear 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.” In the UK, a series means a season (“fourth series of ‘Downton Abbey’”).

temperatures

Express in Celsius (the same scale as Centigrade) and Fahrenheit, using the scale of the country involved first, with conversion in parentheses. Spell out on first reference, abbreviating to C and F subsequently, e.g., 25 Celsius, 40C. Freezing point in Celsius is 0 degrees, in Fahrenheit 32 degrees. Note that temperatures are not hot or cold but high or low: “High [not “hot”] temperatures led to heat-related deaths.”

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.

terrorism

We may refer without attribution to terrorism and counterterrorism 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 quotation marks (e.g., “terrorist”) or preceded by so-called (e.g., a so-called terrorist attack), since that can be taken to imply a value judgement. 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 judgement on the basis of facts. Seek to use more specific terms, such as “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

In “the cup that cheers,” the “that” clause serves to define the word it modifies; it is essential to identifying the cup in question (take that one, not the cup that has hemlock in it). If the clause is merely informative, use “which”: “the cup, which was cracked, was fine china.” Avoid the unnecessary use of “that” as in, “He said that he was going to … ,” but make sure you are not setting up the reader for an initial confusion: “I believe the economic forecast was self-fulfilling.”

theatre

In American style, or as part of a proper name, spell it "theater."

there is, there are

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

Thimphu

Not Thimpu, Bhutan.

Third World

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

therefore

Use “so.”

Tiananmen Square, not Tienanmen, in Beijing

Tigray, Ethiopia

Not Tigre. The adjective is Tigrayan.

Timbuktu

Not Timbuktou or Timbuctoo, Mali.

time

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, e.g., 3:15 p.m. Use the style “on Friday,” “on Saturday,” rather than the looser “today,” “yesterday,” “tomorrow.” 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” or “on Feb. 2.”

titles

Capitalise an official’s title when it immediately precedes the person’s name: Chancellor Angela Merkel. But when the title is used not as part of the name but as an equivalent to it, usually preceded by “the” or by a modifier, it is considered as a descriptive phrase and is therefore lowercased: “The president said, ‘I would like to welcome the British prime minister, David Cameron.’” Honourific/courtesy titles such as Professor, Dean, Mayor, Ambassador and the like are capped when used before a name (e.g., Professor Harold Bloom). Abbreviate Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., but only those titles (and use Mr., Mrs., Ms. only in quoted material). Avoid putting long titles, such as “Professor of Art History” or “Ambassador to the Bahamas” in front of a name, instead writing, “Leo Steinberg, professor of art history,” with the title lowercased. Reserve “Dr.” for medical doctors only. See military titles.

Use titles of nobility and military, medical and religious titles on first reference only: Lord Ferrars, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Except for obvious cases, e.g., a king or queen, avoid foreign honourifics; it is difficult to be consistent through various cultures. In general it is better to describe people by their job title or position.

In most cases it is not necessary to distinguish between assistant, associate or full professors in Reuters stories. Adjunct professors or adjunct instructors are freelancers hired by a college or university, though they may have permanent or semi-permanent status. Depending on the context, it may be germane to note a professor or instructor’s adjunct status.

Hyphenate titles when the first word is a preposition, e.g., under-secretary, vice-admiral, or when a noun is followed by an adjective, e.g., attorney-general. (However, official U.S. titles are not hyphenated, e.g., the US. Attorney General.) Do not hyphenate when the noun follows the adjective, e.g., second lieutenant.

Quote the titles of films, plays and books but not newspapers or magazines. On their capitalisation, see publications. Government programmes, campaigns, etc., do not take quotes (Operation Iraqi Freedom). Not every name bears citing: An ad campaign called Latinos for Healthcare to drum up Latino enrollment in Obamacare may not be worth it; Swiftboat Veterans for Truth Against John Kerry may be.

together

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.”

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: ton – 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 (20-foot equivalent unit) or feu (40-foot equivalent unit).

top

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

Tornados

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

Tory, Tories

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

a total of

Usually redundant. Just give the figure.

total annihilation

Redundant.

Touareg

Use Tuareg.

toward/s

“Toward” for U.S.; “towards,” British.

trademark

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.”

tragedy

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

Transdniestria

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

trans-

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

transparency

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

transpired

Use “happened.”

transsexual

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

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, e.g., "Award-winning potter Grayson Perry, who frequently dresses as a woman and calls himself Claire..." See transsexual.

treasury bill, treasurys

Use lowercase “treasury bill,” not “Treasury bill.” Note: treasurys markets/prices.

trillion

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.

triplets

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

troubled

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.”

Truman, Harry S.

The “S” doesn’t stand for anything and used to not take a point, but it does now.

try and

Use “try to.”

tsar

American style is “czar.”

tuberculosis

May be referred to as TB at second reference.

TUC

Trades Union Congress (UK). Note plural “Trades.”

Tuvalu

Formerly Ellice Islands, West Pacific.

TV

Acceptable contraction for television.

typhoon

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

This page was last modified 14:52, 17 October 2014.

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