dais, lectern, podium, pulpit, rostrum

A speaker stands behind a lectern (a stand for notes), on a podium and in a pulpit. Several speakers can fit on a dais or rostrum or platform.

damage, damages

Damage is injury or harm to persons or things. Damages in law are the monetary compensation for harm sustained.

dangling participles

The dangling or unattached participle, in which the phrase is not properly linked to its subject, can cause confusion. For example, "Having disarmed, Ruritania's allies guaranteed its defence." Who has disarmed here - Ruritania or its allies ?

Dark Ages

Capitalized. Usually refers to the period in European history beginning with the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. and ending in early medieval times about the 10th century. The term refers to the poverty, poor infrastructure, lack of education, and regular warfare that followed the collapse of Roman administration.


Avoid the use of the double en or em dash, as typographers called them, as a way of setting off parenthetical phrases or clauses in sentence. If commas or parentheses do not work, then you are probably trying to squeeze too many ideas into a single sentence to make it readable. Never use dashes to set off relative clauses in a sentence. Leave the stream of consciousness style to the novelists.

However, a single long dash can occasionally work to give emphasis to a thought at the end of the sentence. Long dashes can also cause problems for the computerized content management systems of some of Reuters' clients.


Technically data is a plural noun, but as a collective noun a singular verb is acceptable. Use databank and database, but data processing (n. and adj.) and data center.


See the policy on datelines in the Guide to Operations [[1]]

On format, a Reuters dateline is indented four spaces at the start of the text field. Write the city in upper case. The date and the name (Reuters) are in upper and lower case. A dash between spaces separates the dateline from the opening paragraph of the text. The names cities that are recognized by an international readership can stand alone, but if there is any doubt then use the name of the country, or in the case of the U.S. the state, as well in lower case.

Abbreviate months in dateline as follows: Do not use full stops when abbreviating the names of months in datelines. The style is Jan, Feb, March, April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.

For example:

  NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) –
  BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Sept 12 (Reuters) –

For U.S. datelines, major cities stand alone, but if in doubt, use the following state abbreviations. 

The abbreviations for datelines are: Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.

Eight states are not abbreviated in datelines: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.


In text, use the sequence month/day/year, e.g., “Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, led to...” or “the Aug. 2 invasion” or “the August 1990 invasion.”

If a specific date is used, put the year inside commas. Spell out months in text, but abbreviate them followed by a full stop when they are used with a specific date – Jan.1.

When spelling out duration, write, “The tournament runs from May 22 to 24,” not “…runs from May 22-24.” Write “arrived on Monday,” not “arrived Monday” and “on Tuesday,” rather than “yesterday,” “today,” “tomorrow.” Write “the 1939-45 war” but “from 1939 to 1945,” not “from 1939-45.” Write 9/11, not 9-11. In commodities stories, write “Brazil’s 2013/14 soybean crop” (conventional use), not “2013-14.”

Abbreviate as follows, noting the dot after the abbreviation: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

days of the week

Days of the week. Capitalize them. Do not abbreviate, except when a tabular format: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (three letters, without periods)


Describe people as deaf only if they are totally without hearing. Otherwise, write that their hearing is impaired or that they have only partial hearing. Never use “deaf and dumb.”


1960s, not 1960’s. The early forties, sixties, seventies.


Figures are normally rounded to two significant decimals, with halves rounded upward. Thus, 15.564 becomes 15.56, while 15.565 becomes 15.57.


Literally, to reduce by one-tenth; loosely, to reduce very heavily. Not, however, to virtually wipe out.

debt service

The money needed to meet all interest and principal payments during a given period.


The failure to meet a financial obligation, the failure to make payment either of interest or principal when due, or a breach of the terms of a mortgage or other financial contract.


You are defeated by something, not to something. Do not write “West Bromwich Albion’s defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.”


Usually adds little as adverb or adjective. Avoid.

deflation, disinflation

Deflation in economics is a general fall in consumer prices. Disinflation is a trend of slowing in the rate at which prices rise or less inflation. They are not the same thing.


No need to use “now defunct.”

defuse, diffuse

To defuse is to make something harmless, to diffuse is to disperse.

demolished, destroyed

Do not write “totally demolished” or “totally destroyed.” Both words imply complete destruction.


Never qualify a denial, e.g., “flatly denied,” “categorically denied,” unless quoting someone. “No comment” is not a denial. Write “declined to comment” rather than “refused to comment,” which suggests that the person you spoke to was under an obligation to comment.


Depreciation is an accounting term that refers to the reduction in the value of plant, equipment or other capital due to wear and tear or obsolescence.

More generally, a decline in the exchange rate of a currency. Currencies are said to depreciate or appreciate, that is fall or rise in value due to market forces. If a government uses economic policy or regulation to engineer a rise or fall in its currency value, the rise or fall is referred to as a devaluation or revaluation.

depression, recession

In economics, a recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in gross domestic product, incomes, employment, industrial production, and retail sales. A rule of thumb is that a decline in economic output, as measured by GDP, lasting at least two quarters is required before classifying the business cycle downturn as a recession. A depression is merely a prolonged recession. The term recession was invented by U.S. politicians, not economists, in 1938 to avoid admitting that the economy was again contracting after a brief recovery from the Great Depression of the early 1930s. The global financial crisis of 2007-2009 is sometimes referred to as the Great Recession.


Convert metres to feet, not yards.


Do not use to mean Member of Parliament. Although it is often encountered as a literal translation from several European languages, it can have other meanings in the English-speaking world. Legislator is preferred.


Hyphenate. Capitalise the first word only if used as a formal title before a name: President-designate Joan Brown but chairman-designate.


A contract whose value depends on the financial performance of its underlying assets, such as mortgages, stock or traded commodities. Credit default swaps are one form of derivative.

despite the fact that

Use “although.”


See devaluation.


Use of the word “dictator” implies a value judgement, so avoid it unless quoting someone.

differ from, differ with

If you differ from someone, you are unlike each other. If you differ with someone, then you disagree. The expression “differ from” can be used in both senses.


Different usually takes the preposition "from", not "than". Can often be excised, as in Yorkshire produces six different types of cheese.


Do not use simply to mean a problem. A dilemma arises when faced with two (or more) undesirable alternatives.


Use figures and spell out inches, feet, ounces, etc. Hyphenate as adjectives: “The 6-foot-7-inch forward guard”; “the 3- by 2-foot area.” But “The forward guard was 6 feet 6 inches tall”; “the surface area was 3 feet by 2 feet.”


Capitalize compass points only when they form part of a proper name: North Korea, but north London; the Lower East Side of New York, but the lower east bank of the river.

disabilities, handicaps

As with a person’s race or sex, we should mention physical disabilities only if they are relevant to the story. Report disabilities without sentimentality or condescension. If a description must be used, try to be specific: "suffering from the effects of Parkinson's disease", or "has multiple sclerosis", etc.


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

disc, disk

Use “disk” when writing about computers, “disc” in all other contexts. A slipped disc but a computer hard disk.

discomfit, discomfort

Discomfit is to rout, defeat, baulk or disconcert. It is much stronger than “discomfort,” which is to make uneasy or deprive of comfort.


Find is shorter and better.

discriminatory language

See writing.

discreet, discrete

To be discreet is to be prudent. If something is discrete, it is separate from other things.


Do not capitalise (leukemia, pneumonia) except when named after a person, e.g., Parkinson's disease.

disinterested, uninterested

To be disinterested is to be impartial, while uninterested is the opposite of interested. You can be both interested in an issue and disinterested.

disposable personal income

To an economist, disposable personal income means income that a person retains after deductions for income taxes, property taxes, or other payments to various levels of government.


Use figures for 10 and above, spell out one to nine miles/km.

district attorney

Do not abbreviate to DA. Capitalise before a name: District Attorney Jack Walton.

Doctors Without Borders, Medecins Sans Frontieres

Reuters uses the official name Medecins Sans Frontieres on first reference which can be abbreviated to MSF on further reference. Doctors Without Borders in parentheses is acceptable after the official name on first reference.


Documents are "seen by Reuters", rather than "obtained by Reuters".

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Spell out on first reference. Note intial letter of each word is capitalized. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, also sometimes called DJIA, the Dow Jones Index, the Dow Jones Industrial, or the Dow 30 or simply the Dow, is a stock market index, and one of several indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow in 1896. It is an index that shows how 30 large publicly owned companies based in the United States have traded during a standard trading session on U.S. stock markets. However, because it is limited to 30 stocks and is price-weighted, the preferred benchmark index used by investment funds is the Standard & Poor's 500, often abbreviated as the S&P 500, which includes 500 stocks and is weighted by market capitalization. Both the DJIA and the S&P 500 index are currently owned and maintained by S&P Dow Jones Indices Co.


Male or female.


Abbreviate without a full stop or period. Use Dr in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of podiatric medicine, or doctor of veterinary medicine. Do not use Dr for doctors of philosophy, etc.


Department of Defense, the Pentagon (U.S.). Avoid using the acronym.

dollars and dollar signs

More than 30 countries in the world call their currencies a dollar, so unless the context is crystal clear you need to specify which dollar you are writing about, including the U.S. dollar. This is especially true in market reports which often write about, not only the U.S. dollar, but also the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar, the Hong Kong dollar, the Singapore dollar, the New Zealand dollar, etc.

When using the $ sign, readers will assume U.S. dollars are meant, but readers in Asia for example have to deal with the Australian dollar, the New Zealand dollar, the Hong Kong dollar and the Singapore dollar and it will not be immediately obvious to them that you mean U.S. dollars, if you just use $ or say "the dollar".

Use the dollar sign $ before numbers, e.g., $100. Use uppercase abbreviations A, C, HK, etc., immediately before the dollar sign (no space in between) to indicate Australian, Canadian, Hong Kong and other non-U.S. dollars, e.g. C$6.4 billion. The following non-U.S. dollars can be abbreviated after first reference: Australia (A), Brunei (B), Canada (C), Fiji (F), Hong Kong (HK), Jamaica (J), New Zealand (NZ), Singapore (S), Taiwan (T) and Zimbabwe (Z).

Down's syndrome

A form of mental retardation caused by the splitting of chromosomes during gestation. Do not use "mongol" or "mongoloid" to refer to sufferers from this syndrome.

draft, draught

Use draft for a sketch, a preliminary writing attempt, a current of air. Use draught for a drink or the depth to which a ship sinks in water.


Overworked. If an event is dramatic, it should be clear from the story.

drugs (narcotics)

Cocaine: derived from the leaf of the coca bush, grown mainly in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. A powerful stimulant sold mainly as a white powder which is usually "snorted" or inhaled through the nose. Street names: coke, snow, Lady C.

Crack: A smokeable form of cocaine made by mixing cocaine powder with water, baking soda, or ammonia. The mixture is boiled into "rocks" of off-white colour. The name crack is said to stem from the crackling sound made when the crystals are smoked.

Heroin: Derived from the opium poppy. It can be smoked, snorted or injected. Main producing areas are Southeast Asia (the "Golden Triangle" of Burma, Laos and Thailand), Southwest Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran) and Mexico. Comes in various forms from powder to a gum-like substance.

Hashish: The resinous sap of the cannabis plant which is dried and pressed into bricks or cakes. Good quality hashish has the consistency of putty. Pieces are smoked either in hashish pipes (the preferred form in the Middle East and Asia) or in cigarettes.

Hashish Oil: Produced through repeated extraction of cannabis resin in a process similar to percolating coffee. It yields a dark, viscous liquid which is usually dripped onto cigarettes.

LSD: lysergic acid diethylamide. The abbreviation LSD is acceptable.

Marijuana: Derived from the cannabis plant, produced from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. Usually rolled into cigarettes or "joints" and smoked like tobacco. The most potent marijuana is sensimilla (Spanish for seedless) which is made from the unpollinated female cannabis plant. Biggest sensimilla producer is the USA. Street names: grass, weed. Regional names for marijuana include "bhang" (West Africa) and "ganja" (Jamaica).

drunk, drunken

Drunken driver, not drunk driver.

Druze, not Druse

A secretive breakaway sect of Islam whose adherents live mainly in the mountains of Lebanon, Syria and Israel.


“Due” is an adjective and must modify a noun or a pronoun. It cannot modify a verb. When in doubt, replace it with “because of,” “owing to” or “caused by.” It is correct to write, “The drop in temperature was due to a broken window,” but not “The temperature dropped due to a broken window.” The simple rule if in doubt: Use “because of.”

due process

Usually, and especially in America, due process means the regular administration of the law, according to which no citizen may be denied his or her legal rights and all laws must conform to fundamental, accepted legal principles, as the right of the accused to confront his or her accusers.

dyeing, dying

Dyeing refers to changing colours, dying involves death.

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