- 1 wagon
- 2 Wahhabi, Wahhabism
- 3 waistline
- 4 waiver, waver
- 5 wake
- 6 walkie-talkie
- 7 war on terror
- 8 warn
- 9 wartime
- 10 Washington, Washington, D.C.
- 11 Washington's Birthday
- 12 wastebasket
- 13 weather
- 14 weather forecaster, not weatherman
- 15 weather terms
- 16 Web, website
- 17 weekend
- 18 week-long
- 19 well
- 20 West
- 21 West Bank
- 22 Western
- 23 Western Hemisphere
- 24 Western Sahara
- 25 Western Samoa
- 26 Western Wall
- 27 Wheeler-dealer
- 28 Whet, wet
- 29 which
- 30 whiskey, whisky
- 31 white-collar
- 32 White House
- 33 white paper
- 34 whiz-kid
- 35 WHO
- 36 who, whom
- 37 wicketkeeper
- 38 wicketkeeper-batsman
- 39 wide-, -wide
- 40 widow
- 41 Wi-Fi
- 42 wind farm
- 43 withhold
- 44 woes
- 45 word processor, word processing
- 46 workforce
- 47 World Bank
- 48 World Council of Churches
- 49 World War One/Two
- 50 World Wide Web
- 51 worldwide
- 52 worship, worshipper, worshipped
- 53 wrack, rack
- 54 wreaked
- 55 writedown
- 56 writing
- 57 writeoff
- 58 WTO
- 59 WWF
Referring to the official school of Islam in Saudi Arabia
A waiver is an act of renunciation, to waver is to vacillate.
Do not use in the wake of. Use after or following.
war on terror
Do not use this phrase unless in a quote. It is poor English and part of the propaganda battle around militant violence.
It is acceptable to leave out the object of the verb warn, e.g. Police warned of possible attacks. The object of the verb, the public or travellers or just people, is implied. However, the verb is often stronger and clearer if you spell out exactly who is being warned.
Washington, Washington, D.C.
Do not specify D.C. unless there is a clear need to distinguish between the western U.S. state and the federal district that serves as the U.S. capital.
Capitalise for the holiday which falls on the third Monday of February.
Write good/poor/stormy weather not good/poor/stormy weather conditions.
weather forecaster, not weatherman
- anticyclone: An area of pressure that has diverging winds and a rotation opposite to that of the earth. This is clockwise the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. It is the opposite of an area of low pressure, or a cyclone.
- atmospheric or barometric pressure: The pressure exerted by the atmosphere at a given point expressed in millibars, or in inches or millimetres of mercury (Hg). Also known as barometric pressure.
- Beaufort Scale: A system of assessing wind speeds. It is based on the Beaufort Force or Number, which is composed of the wind speed, a descriptive term, and the visible effects upon land objects and/or sea surfaces.
- blizzard: A severe snowstorm with winds of more than 40km and hour, temperatures lower than minus 10 degrees Celsius and visibility of less than 500 metres.
- Celsius temperature scale: A temperature scale where water at sea level has a freezing point of 0°degrees and a boiling point of 100° degrees. Used mostly in countries that have the metric system of measurement. Also known as Centigrade.
- chinook: A warm wind in the Rocky Mountains that may occur after cold weather.
- cold front: The leading edge of a cold air mass displacing warmer air in its path. See occluded front, warm front.
- cyclone: A wind system rotating around a low-pressure centre, anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. The opposite of an anticyclone or a high pressure system.
- depression: An area of low pressure, a low, or trough.
- doldrums: An area noted for calm or light and variable winds, located between 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south latitudes near the equator.
- El Nino: A weather phenomenon that occurs in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific about every four to seven years. Winds change direction and sea temperatures rise in the affected area. The changes can disrupt weather patterns in the tropics and can affect jet stream winds above the Pacific, altering storm tracks and creating unusual weather patterns in various parts of the world. See also La Niña.
- Fahrenheit temperature scale: A temperature scale where water at sea level has a freezing point of +32 degrees and a boiling point of 212 degrees. More commonly used in areas that observe the Imperial system of measurement.
- flash flood: A flood that rises and falls with little or no advance warning.
- foehn: A warm dry wind on the lee side of a mountain range, whose temperature is increased as the wind descends.
- front: The transition zone between two air masses of different temperatures. In a cold front, cold air displaces warmer air in its path. A warm front is the opposite. In an occluded front, also known as an occlusion, a cold front overtakes a warm front.
- gale: Force seven to 10 on the Beaufort Scale: a wind with speeds from 28 to 55 knots (32 to 63 miles per hour).
- high pressure system: An area of high pressure with winds that rotate clockwise the in northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Also known as an anti-cyclone. It is the opposite of an area of low pressure or a cyclone.
- hurricane: A tropical cyclone with wind speed higher than 65 knots in the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. West of the International Dateline they are known as typhoons and cyclones in the Indian Ocean.
- Indian summer: A period of abnormally warm weather in mid to late autumn with clear skies and cool nights. A first frost normally precedes this warm spell.
- jet stream: An area of strong winds concentrated in a narrow band in the upper troposphere of the middle latitudes and subtropical regions of the northern and southern hemispheres.
- La Nina: A weather phenomenon that involves unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. La Niña occurs less often than El Niño.
- low pressure system: An area of low atmospheric pressure rotating in the same direction as the earth. This is anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Also known as a cyclone, it is the opposite of an area of high pressure or anticyclone.
- monsoon: A seasonal wind in the Indian Ocean and South Asia, blowing from the southwest from April to October and from the northeast during the rest of the year. The monsoon is usually associated with the heavy rain that it brings when it blows southwest across southern India.
- ozone layer: A layer of the upper atmosphere that has a high proportion of oxygen in the form of ozone. It filters ultraviolet radiation from space.
- precipitation: Any form of water, liquid or solid, that falls from clouds and reaches the ground.
- ridge: An elongated area of high atmospheric pressure. The opposite of a trough.
- sirocco/scirocco: A hot wind blowing from the Libyan Desert across the Mediterranean into southern Europe, often bringing dust and sometimes accompanied by rain.
- tornado: A violently rotating column of air between a storm cloud and the surface of the earth. It occurs most frequently in the United States between the Rockies in the west and the Appalachians in the east.
- trade winds: Prevailing winds throughout most of the tropics, part of the general circulation of the atmosphere. They blow northeaster in the northern hemisphere and southeast in the southern hemisphere.
- tramontana: A cold, dry wind that blows down from mountains, especially the wind that blows into Italy from the Alps.
- tropics/tropical: The region of the earth located between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees south).
- tropical cyclone: A warm core low pressure system which develops over tropical, and sometimes subtropical, waters.
- tropical depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface winds are 38 miles per hour (33 knots) or less.
- tropical storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface winds are from 39 miles per hour (34 knots) to 73 miles per hour (63 knots). At this point, the system is given a name to identify and track it.
- tropical wave: In the Atlantic, a type of atmospheric trough oriented north-south, which moves from east to west across the tropics causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms. Tropical waves can lead to the formation of tropical cyclones
- trough: An elongated area of low atmospheric pressure. The opposite of a ridge.
- typhoon: The name for a tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (65 knots) or greater in the western North Pacific Ocean. This same tropical cyclone is known as a hurricane in the eastern North Pacific and North Atlantic Ocean, and as a cyclone in the Indian Ocean.
- wind chill: The calculation of temperature that takes into consideration the effects of wind and temperature on the human body. Describes the average loss of body heat and how cold the temperature feels.
- wind shear: The rate of wind speed or direction change with distance. Vertical wind shear is the rate of change of the wind with respect to altitude. Horizontal wind shear is the rate of change on a horizontal plane.
Capitalise Web, but website and webcast lower case.
Not week-end. In American style, use over the weekend, not at the weekend.
Hyphenate as an adjective.
Hyphenated when serving as an adjective, but otherwise no hyphen when following a modified noun. The well-read man was well mannered.
Capitalise it when used in a political sense.
Capitalise for a book or film type.
Not Wailing Wall.
Whet means to sharpen, hence whet your appetite.
See entry for that, which
Whiskey is Irish, American and the general term, but whisky is Scotch and Canadian. Scotch as a synonym is acceptable.
Adjective -- note hyphen.
May be used as an alternative to the U.S. administration.
Government information paper. Two words, lower case.
Note hyphen, one z.
World Health Organization (Geneva). See www.who.int
Who is the subject, whom the object of a verb. As a rough guide as to which word to use, substitute he or him for the who or whom and see which makes sense. But we should follow common usage and be ready to use who as the object where this sounds and looks more natural, e.g. Who she met at the midnight rendezvous was not yet known.
One word in cricket.
Hyphenated. Cricketer who is a recognised batsman but who also keeps wicket when his side is fielding.
Industrywide, nationwide, worldwide have no hyphen. Wide-open, wide-bodied, wide-eyed, wide-awake are hyphenated. Widespread is an exception.
Either of these is all right: the widow of President John Smith or the wife of the late President John Smith. The widow of the late President John Smith is tautological. Use the late only of those recently dead, not for instance of someone like John Kennedy who has been dead for several decades.
A popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections for devices such as computers, mobile phones and video games.
Not withold. But threshold.
Acceptable in a headline for the sake of brevity but avoid such journalese as economic woes in text.
word processor, word processing
Acceptable contraction for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. See www.worldbank.org
World Council of Churches
Based in Geneva, the WCC is a Christian organisation dedicated to the search for Christian unity. It brings together some 350 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories, representing more than 560 million Christians. See www.oikoumene.org
World War One/Two
Not First/Second World War. Not WWI/WWII.
World Wide Web
A collection of documents and other resources in hypertext markup language linked via the Internet by hyperlinks, or URLs. They may contain text, images video and audio.
Shorten to Web, but website, but webcast, webmaster.
worship, worshipper, worshipped
Use wrack only for seaweed and wrack and ruin. Otherwise use rack.
Not wrought. She wreaked vengeance.
One word as a noun, two words as a verb.
General principles stated by H.W. and F.G. Fowler hold good:
- Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
- Prefer the short word to the long and the single word to the circumlocution.
- Prefer the concrete word to the abstract.
- Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.
- Avoid pompous words like ongoing, escalating, prestigious, meaningful, facility. More often than not we can also do without special, key, dramatic, major, giant, large-scale, massive and crisis. Modish words like confrontation substitute polysyllabic vagueness for the crisp precision of (in this case) clash, dispute or even war.
News stories relying heavily on phrases that have become stale through over use are like paintings done by number. They convey information but lack life or freshness. Avoid clichés that exaggerate or over-simplify e.g. the postage-stamp country, the oil-rich sheikhdom.
Some clichés to avoid:
- In diplomacy and politics: face-to-face talks, on key issues, top-level meeting, headed into talks on, spearheaded a major initiative, rubber-stamp parliament, lashed out, landmark agreement.
- In disasters: mercy mission, airlifted/rushed to hospital, giant C-130 transports, massive aid, an air and sea search was under way, disaster probe, sifted through the wreckage.
- Of violence: lone gunman, strife-torn province, embattled city, baton-wielding police, stone-throwing demonstrators, steel-helmeted troops braced themselves for, police swoop, pre-dawn raid, staged an attack on, (tautologically) anti-government rebels, (tautologically) armed soldiers. Avoid armed police unless writing about a country where the police are normally unarmed. Then explain.
- Of industrial trouble: top union leaders, bosses, in a bid to settle, hammer out an agreement.
Euphemism, beloved of bureaucrats and social scientists, seeks to cloak reality, sometimes unpleasant, in innocuous words. Shun it. Except in quotation, write elderly people not senior citizens; kill not terminate with extreme prejudice; poor not disadvantaged, died of cancer not passed away after a fight with cancer.
Technical and professional jargon has no place on the Reuters file unless you are writing for a narrow, specialist audience and are certain that your story is not likely to interest a broader readership. Backwardation might have a place without explanation in a report written uniquely for the gold market on a dull trading day, but if gold hits a high in a time of crisis your story should explain it or convey the meaning in simple terms without using the word itself.
Similarly, stories should not contain jargon associated with a specific profession, least of all our own e.g. do not use stringer in a story about a journalist. Use freelance journalist. Think carefully before using quotes laced with jargon. Paraphrase instead.
Journalese stems from importing into the text language used as shorthand in headlines. Some examples to avoid: Aimed at ... amid reports that... burgeoning (growing)... cutback (cut) ... dubbed (called)... due to (when what you mean is because of)... economic/fiscal woes ... embattled... giant (large) ... global (unless we mean literally that)... hit by fears that... lash out.. long-time foe... looks set to... major (big, large) ... massive (big) ... meaningful (real, significant) ... modalities (means, procedures) ... mum (silent)... OKs (approves) ... oil-rich... parameters (limits)... probe (inquiry) ... reportedly.. rocked by .. the statement came as... war-torn.
long words and clumsy titles
Avoid unnecessarily long words and clumsy strings of names and titles. Foreign Minister Amr Moussa is fine. Under-Secretary for Military Procurement Major-General Abdul Karim al-Razzak is not. Split up such names and titles; either the Under-Secretary for Military Procurement, Major-General Abdul Karim al-Razzak, or Major-General Abdul Karim al-Razzak, under-secretary for military procurement.
Here are some long words commonly and unnecessarily used when there is an acceptable shorter and simpler version:
- additional - more
- alternative - other
- approximately - about
- attempt - try
- confrontation - clash, dispute
- construct - build
- cutback - cut
- demonstrate - show
- dispatch - send
- discover - find
- escalation - rise, increase
- establish - set up
- extinguish - put out
- facility - plant, base etc.
- finalise - complete, finish
- following - after
- large-scale - big
- manufacture - make
- modalities - means
- negotiations - talks
- numerous - many
- participate - take part
- permit - let
- requirements - needs
- sufficient - enough
- target (verb) - aim at
- transportation - transport
A fresh and vivid metaphor can add much to a story. But avoid mixed metaphors, e.g. The Egyptian swimmers walked away with the championships, and metaphors whose literal sense is absurd e.g., a growing bottleneck, which would solve rather than aggravate a problem.
Avoid excessive repetition of words and of stereotyped descriptions of people or things, but do not overdo the search for variations. If you are writing about Myanmar call it Myanmar and not the Southeast Asian country. It is better to repeat the United Nations than to avoid repetition by calling it the world body. It is better to repeat the word base than call it a facility.
Do not retain the present indicative in reported speech. Change is to was; are to were; will and shall to would; has and have to had. Thus it is: He said it was ... not he said it is ...
In news agency style, there is an exception in lead paragraphs that have the source at the end instead of the beginning of a sentence, where to avoid the present indicative would lead to lack of clarity or smack of pedantry.
For example, it is acceptable to write in a lead paragraph: Giant Oil Corp will order three supertankers from the Pusan shipyard in Korea next month, the company said. If the source were at the beginning, we would write: Giant Oil Corp said it would order three supertankers from the Pusan shipyard ...
Spin can be insidious and subliminal, conveyed in words and phrases that trip off the tongue or flow easily onto the page but disguise an agenda. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was the name the United States gave to the military campaign in 2003 that it said was designed to liberate Iraq. We wrote that the United States invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Verbs bring action and life to a story but the wrong verb can indicate bias on our part. The verb to say is usually the best, neutral choice in reporting a speech or statement.
Alleged, claimed or maintained could imply that Reuters does not believe a statement and noted, pointed out, recalled or emphasised suggest that we do. Use announced with care. Only competent authorities have the right to make announcements.
Avoid concede, which implies an admission of guilt or previous error. Prefer said. Do not write refute (which means disprove) when you mean deny or reject.
Other potentially partisan verbs to avoid include admitted, asserted, affirmed, contended, stressed, suggested.
Come, leave and give are verbs too often misused in flabby phrases. Go for positive construction. Avoid limp phrases like The demands came when... The fire left six people dead... or The strike left commuters angry... Demands do not come; people make them. Fires do not leave people dead, they kill them. Strikes anger commuters, not leave them angry.
Also avoid continued (or worse, ongoing), especially in the lead paragraph. The word gives the impression of monotonous action. Finally, there is always a better verb than 'to get'.
One word as a noun, two words as a verb.
World Trade Organisation. Based in Geneva and launched in 1995 to supervise existing international trade accords and provide a forum to negotiate agreements and adjudicate in disputes.
The new official name for the World Wide Fund for Nature. Explain somewhere in the story.
Category: The Reuters General Style Guide
This page was last modified 11:34, 19 October 2009.