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Contents

UAE

United Arab Emirates.

UAW

United Auto Workers (U.S.).

UFO

unidentified flying object.

UHF

ultra high frequency.

UK

For United Kingdom, no full stops. UK should be avoided as an adjective unless part of a common term or compound noun, e.g. UK gilts.

UKAEA

UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Ukraine

Not "the Ukraine."

Ulaanbaatar

Spell the name of the capital of Mongolia as Ulaanbaatar, not Ulan Bator. This is in line with the way the city’s name is rendered within Mongolia, and the style for other place names in the country.

ULCC

ultra-large crude carrier.

Ulster

Do not use as a synonym for Northern Ireland, unless quoting someone. See Northern Ireland.

umlaut

Indicate the presence of an umlaut in German words by adding an e after the inflected vowel, e.g., von Weizsaecker, not von Weizsäcker, Fuehrer, not Führer.

under way

Usually two words. Write “began” or “started” rather than “got under way.” One word if the meaning is “occurring, performed, or used while travelling or in motion” (underway replenishment of fuel).

undersecretary

One word.

UNICEF

The acronym can be used for all references to the United Nations Children's Fund (formerly the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund).

Unification Church

Founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in South Korea in 1954, the Unification Church is a religious movement that has expanded around the world and is believed to have up to 3 million members. See religious terms.

unique

Cannot be qualified, so do not write “almost/more/rather unique.”

United Kingdom, Britain

The United Kingdom comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain or Britain comprises England, Wales and Scotland only. Use United Kingdom or U.K. only to emphasise the inclusion of Northern Ireland with England, Scotland and Wales. Normally use Britain in text, or U.K. if pressed for space in a headline. Do not use England as a synonym for Britain or the United Kingdom.

United Nations

Spell out at first reference when used as a noun. It may be abbreviated to U.N. in a headline. As an adjective, it can be also be abbreviated at first reference, e.g., the U.N. General Assembly, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Security Council: The 15-member United Nations Security Council in New York is the body that makes many decisions on U.N. action around the world, often through numbered resolutions, e.g., Resolution 649. It consists of five permanent members with the power of veto over any resolution – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. There are also 10 nonpermanent members of the Security Council, made up of other U.N. countries that serve in rotation, representing different areas of the world. The Security Council presidency rotates monthly, by English alphabetical listing of its member states. Some of the main U.N. agencies:

  • UNEP: U.N. Environment Programme.
  • UNESCO: U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
  • UNHCR: U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. If you wish to avoid using this cumbersome title at first reference, use a form like “a U.N. agency said” or “the main U.N. refugee agency said,” giving the full name lower in the story. Note that there is no U.N. High Commission for Refugees, the correct title of the institution being the Office of the UNHCR.
  • UNICEF: The acronym can be used for all references to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
  • UNIDO: U.N. Industrial Development Organisation.
  • UNRWA: U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

United States

Spell out at all references in text when used as a noun. It may be abbreviated to U.S. in a headline. As an adjective, it can also be abbreviated at first reference, e.g., the U.S. State Department. Do not use “USA” except in quoted passages. Do not use “America” as a synonym for “the United States,” although you may use “American” instead of “U.S.” as an adjective.

up/down

In economic and financial reporting, avoid saying something is up or is down. Use higher, lower or increased, decreased, firmer, weaker, etc. Do not use up as a verb, as in “ups the dividend.” Always report “rose/fell to ... from,” never vice versa.

upsurge

Use surge.

upcoming

Do not use..

URL

Acceptable on first reference. Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Any style for website addresses.

USDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Congress

The U.S. Congress is divided into two bodies: the 100-member Senate, where each state has two members, and the House of Representatives, whose 435 members are allotted in proportion to a state's population. Almost all members of Congress are Democrats or Republicans, with a few independents aligned with one of the two parties.

U.S. courts

The U.S. court system is divided into state courts, which rule on state laws, and federal courts, which rule on national laws and the U.S. Constitution. The federal court system consists of district courts, courts of appeal and, at the top, the U.S. Supreme Court, whose nine members are appointed for life. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter on constitutional issues. Grand juries: Their prime function is to review evidence presented by a prosecutor and determine whether there is probable cause to return an indictment. Under the Constitution, a grand jury indictment is required for federal criminal charges. Only about half the states' judicial systems use grand juries. Note: The New York Supreme Court is a trial court, not the highest court in the state (the Court of Appeals), and this should be made clear in copy. It is roughly equivalent to the district courts, superior courts or circuit courts of other states.

U.S. datelines

The following U.S. cities stand alone in a dateline without the need to mention their state: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington.

U.S. Marshals Service

No apostrophe.

U.S. legislative titles

Do not abbreviate legislative titles in the United States. Use Governor/Senator/Representative So-and-so on first mention and use the surname alone on subsequent reference. There is no need to include the district or state that the legislator represents, unless it is essential to understanding the story, e.g., “a senator from Michigan voting for aid for auto manufacturers.” Refrain from referring to either of a state’s senators as “senior” or “junior,” which is not widely understood outside the United States. There is no difference in legislative rights or powers and his or her political leanings are more relevant, e.g., “right-wing Republican” or “liberal Democrat.”

U.S. states

Most are divided into counties, with the exception of Louisiana, which is composed of parishes. Strictly speaking, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia are commonwealths, but we should refer to them as states. Their constitutional status is the same.

user-friendly

Jargon. Prefer “easy-to-use.”

utilise

Prefer “use.”

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