LGBT is an acceptable acronym to describe groups and issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. If a group or individual self-identifies as representing the LGBTQ community, LGBTQ is acceptable on first reference but the story should explain that the letters mean lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. Other variations such as LGBTQIA are acceptable if a group or individual self-identifies as such, but the letters should be explained. I generally stands for intersex, and A can stand for aligns with (a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports the LGBT community), asexual (a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction) or both.

Labour Party, Labor Day

Follow the convention used for proper names. Note, in particular, the Australian Labor Party.


The German generic term for a federal state in Germany or Austria. The plural is Laender. Use “state.”


Use Lao for the language. Otherwise the adjective is Laotian, although there is a Lao ethnic group.


Big is shorter and usually better.


Avoid the use of last as a synonym for latest if it might imply finality. Use “latest” if last might confuse the most recent with the final occasion. His latest attempt may not be his last.


Heavy stick carried by Indian police. Explain if used.

Latin America

The area of the Americas south of the United States where Spanish or Portuguese are the main languages (both derived from Romance languages and Latin). It applies to Central and South America, but usually not to the Caribbean where English, French and Spanish are all used.


A person from a Spanish or Portuguse speaking land or culture in South or Central America. Latina is the feminine form. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican-American.

lawyer, attorney, barrister, solicitor

In British English lawyer is the generic term for a qualified practitioner advising on legal matters, while in American English the term is often attorney. In British English a lawyer who represents a client in court is known as a barrister, while the equivalent in American English is a trial attorney. In the British legal system, a solicitor is a lawyer who provides legal advice but does not usually appear in court.

lay, lie

Lay in the present tense takes an object. I lay down my arms, or I am laying down my arms. He laid down his arms. He has laid down his arms. Lie in the present tense does not take a direct object. I lie down to sleep, or I am lying down. I lay down yesterday. I have lain down for two hours.

lay waste

Lay waste a city, not lay waste to a city.


As a verb, weak and imprecise. Use a more accurate and active verb. “The attack killed three and wounded more than 20,” not “The attack left three killed.” “Duffy suffered torn ligaments after two clumsy tackles,” not “Two clumsy tackles left Duffy with torn ligaments.”


Do not use except for legends. No sports person or film star is a legend.

legislative titles

For the U.S. Congress, spell out legislators' titles e.g. Senator, Representative. Don't use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before a name. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. Spell out other legislative titles on first reference in most other countries. When used before a name, capitalize formal titles such as assemblyman, assemblywoman, city councilor, delegate, etc. The same applies in other countries. Lowercase in other uses.


Lowercase in all uses.


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.”


See Military titles.

libel, slander, defamation

Defamation, or slander if oral and libel if in writing, is an injury to the reputation of an individual, or group or corporation. Words, pictures, cartoons, photo captions and headlines can all give rise to a claim for defamation. A republisher of a libel is usually considered just as accountable for the libel as the original publisher. Defamation law varies significantly from country to country so if in doubt consult an editor.

Demation claims usually involve allegations that the statements are inaccurate or untrue or unfair. Defense against a libel usually involves arguing that the statements are accurate factually, or fair comment in a matter of public interest, or are "privileged" or protected specifically by law. Reporters can often guard against libel by giving anyone maligned in a story the opportunity to comment.

See section on Legal Guidance: [1]

liberal, libertarian

Both are terms which need to be used carefully as usage varies. In terms of political philosophy, liberal or libertarian traditionally refers to parties or policies in favor of reform especially relating to the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights, be they political or economic or social . However, in American English liberal tends to refer to politics associated with left wing parties and is sometimes used as a synonym for socialist, whereas in British English liberal is usually used to refer to centrist parties advocating free market economic policies and individual freedom with respect to lifestyles. See emotive words [2]


It is wrong to call someone a lifelong alcoholic unless they started drinking in infancy. Make sure the activity or attribute really is lifelong.

lift, liftoff

Lift, as a verb, to raise or hoist or move something upward. Lift, as a noun, in British English, lift is equivalent to an elevator in American English

Liftoff, as a noun, is one word. The action of an aircraft or rocket on takeoff or launch. Metaphorically the launching of a project or plan.


A measure of distance, not time. It is the distance light will travel in one year, about 6 million million miles (6 trillion miles) or 9.6 million million km (9.6 trillion km).

like, as

“As” compares verbs, “like” compares nouns and pronouns. He acted as a hero should, but he acted like a hero.

like, such as

“Like” means similar to. “Such as” is used when offering an example. Politicians like Williams have short tempers and long memories, but Players such as Smith, Patel and Jones are essential in the team. Do not use “like” as a synonym for “as if.” He looks as if he is reviving, not like he is reviving.


Do not precede the suffix with a hyphen unless it would create a triple "l" or the main element is a proper noun, e.g., shell-like, Norwalk-like.


Considered weak as an adverb modifying a verb, e.g., The prime minister will likely announce the date of the election on Friday. Preferable: The prime minister is likely to announce…


See bankruptcy.


See liquidity


Lists should be in alphabetical order unless there is some other point being emphasised in the text that calls for a different order. So when referring to the G7, for example, say it “comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy Japan and the United States.”


Use only in quotation, since it almost always, in fact, means metaphorically (“the company’s performance was literally mind-blowing”) and if not is almost always extraneous (“they were literally appalled”).


Snippets of information about a particular event that are posted online, usually in reverse chronological order, with the newest entry first. Used as a noun or verb.


Do not use the verb “to give” when referring to loans; they are paid for through interest. Do not say someone is “raising” a loan when it is being arranged. Use the “raise” only when the amount of a loan already arranged is being increased. We need the exact name of the borrower, whether the loan is being guaranteed by a parent company or another body, the amount, the maturity and the interest rate. If the interest rate is variable or “floating,” then we need the specific reference or base rate of interest, e.g., the three-month or six-month London interbank offered rate (Libor), and the margin of interest paid above, or even below it, e.g., 1/4 percentage point.


Do not use. Local to what and to where? Say exactly where something is if you need to locate it. For example, the phrase “local officials” can confuse. Say officials in Tokyo, in Montevideo or wherever.


Cumbersome and can usually be replaced by a better alternative, e.g., find, place, or by rephrasing the sentence.

looking to

Japan was looking to Washington for support is all right. Japan was looking to restore good relations with Moscow is not.

lord-lieutenant, lord-lieutenants

Hyphenated. Note the plural.


A large vehicle designed to move heavy loads. British English for what in American English is a "truck".


If you mean poor, say so.


liquefied natural gas on first reference, followed by “(LNG).”


liquefied petroleum gas (mainly propane and butane), followed by “(LPG).”


Explain: "the hallucinogenic drug LSD."

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