F

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

FAA

the U.s. Federal Aviation Administration. FAA acceptable on second reference.

facility

A word that can mean almost anything. Avoid and be specific if possible, e.g., a base, a factory, a depot.

FARC

Abbreviation from the Spanish "Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia" or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, sometimes called FARC-EP from the Spanish "Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo" or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army. A guerrilla movement in Colombia since 1964. Currently the FARC and the Colombian Government are in peace talks in Havana.

Fahrenheit

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, using figures except for zero, abbreviating to C and F subsequently, e.g., 25 Celsius, 80F. Spell out minus for clarity, not -10C. Freezing point in Celsius is 0 degrees, in Fahrenheit 32 degrees. Note that temperatures are not hot or cold but high or low.

farther, farthest

Use “further,” “furthest” except when referring to physical distance.

faze, phase

Faze means to embarrass or disturb: "The worst insults cannot faze him."

FBI

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, which simultaneously serves as the nation's prime Federal law enforcement organization. Operating under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI is concurrently a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes. Spell out on first reference but FBI is acceptable thereafter an in headlines. FBI staff are generally referred to as "field agents" and "special agents" are a rank within the structure. Usually just "FBI agent" is sufficient.

FCC

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission. FCC acceptable on second reference.

FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration. U.S. regulatory body for the safety and effectiveness of foods, human and veterinary drugs, medical devices and cosmetics. FDA acceptable on second reference.

fears, hopes

Beware of hopes and fears. Unattributed, they represent opinions. We cannot refer to hopes for a settlement of Middle East problems or fears of another oil price increase without saying who is doing the hoping or fearing. But we can refer, unsourced, to the common hopes and fears of humanity, e.g., “Hopes of reaching the trapped miners rose ...” or, “Fears that a new epidemic of cholera might sweep ...”

fedayeen

Arab or Islamic guerrillas. The singular is “feda’I,” so use “guerrilla” for simplicity’s sake when referring to one person.

fellow

Often unnecessary, especially before “countryman” or “countrywoman.”

felony, misdemeanor

In US law, a felony is a serious crime, while a misdemeanor is a minor offense against the law.

fewer, less than

Use “fewer” when referring to numbers of individuals or individual items, “less” for quantities, e.g., “Fewer than 10 rescuers were hurt” but “Less than 1,000 tons of coal was lost.”

fiance, fiancee

“Fiance” is the man, “fiancee” the woman.

fief

Not fiefdom.

fighter jets, war planes

Prefer war planes. A fighter jet is different from bomber etc.

figures

See numbers.

filibuster

In the US political system, to filibuster means to make a long speech to obstruct the passage of legislation.

Filipino

A native of the Philippines. Feminine Filipina. Plural Filipinos, Filipinas. The adjective is Philippine.

film titles

They take quotes. Capitalise every word in the title apart from conjunctions, articles, particles and short prepositions: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

finalize

Use “complete” or “finish.”


firm

Use firm only for business partnerships; use company for publicly quoted corporations--but keep in mind that investment firms with private equity, real estate, hedge funds and other assets can be publicly listed and still be called firms rather than companies because they remain business partnerships.

first lady

First World War

Use World War One. Not WWI.

fiscal, monetary, macro-prudential

In economics, tools available to manage economic growth include fiscal policy or the use of government revenue and spending, monetary policy or the use of interest rates and the money supply, while macro-prudential refers to the use of regulation of financial or business activity.

fiscal year

The one-year bookkeeping period or financial year used by a government. It varies from country to country. In the United States it is Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 and is named as the year in which it ends, so the year ending in September 2005 is fiscal 2005. In Japan the year is April 1 to March 31 and is named as the year in which it starts, so the year ending in March 2005 is fiscal 2004. In text write out, e.g., “fiscal 2003/04,” but in alerts and headlines “03/04” may be used for space reasons. Do not shorten to “03/4.”

flaunt, flout

To flaunt is to display ostentatiously, not just display. To flout is to defy. "By flaunting your wealth you flout good taste."

Fleet Street

No longer a useful synonym for the British press.

flight numbers

When scheduled flights come into the news – crashes, hijackings, bomb scares, etc. – give the flight number together with other identification such as type of aircraft, airline, destination and route.

following

Prefer “after” as a preposition, e.g., “After the crash... ,”not, “Following the crash...”

foodstuffs

In most cases, “food” is enough.

foot

See dimensions.

forbear, forebear

Forbear means to abstain or keep oneself in check, a forebear is an ancestor.

forced

Do not write, “Troops were forced to open fire” or, “The company was forced to make staff redundant.” It implies a judgement.

forego, forgo

Forego is to precede, forgo to do without.

foreign language phrases

Use such phrases or quotes only in exceptional cases for instance, where no generally recognized English equivalent exists. They must always be explained, e.g., “Dismissing the libel action, the judge said, ‘De minimis non curat lex” (a Latin phrase meaning ‘The law does not concern itself with very small matters’).”

foreign exchange rates

Use mid-rate in general news stories high + low quote divided by 2. See exchange rates.

forex

A widely used abbreviation for foreign exchange. It can be used in headlines if there are space constraints. Elsewhere, use the full description. Forex is also a club grouping foreign exchange dealers, and each major foreign exchange dealing centre has its own forex club.

former, latter

Avoid these expressions, which force readers to read backward to understand the meaning.

Fort

Do not abbreviate in the names of cities or military installations, e.g., Fort Lauderdale, Fort Bragg.

fortnight

Prefer “two weeks.”

fortuitous

Fortuitous means by chance, not “fortunately.”

foul, fowl

Foul (adj) means offensive, disgusting; foul (noun) is a violation of the rules of a game; a fowl is a bird, especially the larger domestic birds used as food: chickens, ducks, turkeys.

four-wheel drive

Not “4x4” unless it is part of a proper name.

Fourth of July

Or July Fourth for the U.S. holiday.

fracking

Acceptable for hydraulic fracturing, a technique to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.

fractions

Write thus: 4-1/2. Where mathematical precision is not essential, write “a quarter,” “a third,” “a half” rather than “25 per cent” “33 per cent,” “50 per cent.” In a lead on an opinion poll, for instance, it is better to write, “Two Germans in three prefer…” than it is to write, “Sixty-nine per cent of Germans prefer…” The precise figure should be given lower in the story. Do not mix decimals and fractions in the same sentence, e.g., do not write that “25 per cent of Germans prefer this, while two-thirds prefer that...” Hyphenate fractions like two-thirds, three-quarters.

Frankenstein

The creator, not the monster.

Freddie Mac

Acceptable at first reference, but put the full title, Federal Home Mortgage Corp., later in the story.

FSA

Financial Services Authority, the British regulator for most financial services markets, exchanges and firms.

FTC

Federal Trade Commission

full

Hyphenate when used to form compound words, e.g., “full-length,” “full-service.”

fulsome

Not a synonym for lavish. Fulsome praise is excessive and fawning.

fundamentalist

Usually a person or group who believes in the literal truth of a sacred religious text such as the Bible or the Koran. Now more commonly used to describe extreme political and religious views, but the term is vague and emotive so try to avoid and use more specific descriptions of the person or groups beliefs or practices.

future plans

Tautology. “Plans” will do. Excise it from future prospects and future hopes as well.

Powered by MediaWiki
GNU Free Documentation License 1.2