D

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dash
Beware of sentences – such as this one – that dash about all over the place – commas (or even, very occasionally, brackets) are often better; semi-colons also have their uses. Make sure, if you are using a dash that it looks like a dash, eg – and not a hyphen - which is considerably shorter and looks weak and half-hearted.

data
takes a singular verb; like agenda, strictly a plural, but no one ever uses 'agendum' or 'datum'

data protection registrar

dates
1 January 2006 (no commas)

21st century; fourth century BC; AD2006 but 1000BC; for decades use figures: the swinging 60s or 1960s. No 60's, 1970's etc – this implies belonging to one year not a decade

Day-Glo
TM

daylong
but month-long, year-long

D-day

decades
use figures if you abbreviate: roaring 20s, swinging 60s, etc . And absolutely no apostrophes. 60's, 1970's etc – this implies belonging to one year not a decade

defuse
render harmless; diffuse spread about

deja vu
no accents

denier
one who denies, as in 'Holocaust denier'; also a unit of weight for fibre, eg 10-denier tights

dependant
noun

dependent
adjective

dependence

depositary
person

depository
place

de rigueur
the two Us are de rigueur

dessert
pudding, but just deserts

developing countries
use this term in preference to 'third world'

devil, the

dialects
cockney, estuary English, geordie, scouse

Dictaphone
Trademark

different from
not different to or than

direct speech
People we write about are allowed to speak in their own style, but be sensitive: do not, for example, expose someone to ridicule for dialect or grammatical errors

disabled people
not "the disabled"

Use positive language about disability, avoiding outdated terms that stereotype or stigmatise. Terms to avoid, with acceptable alternatives in brackets, include victim of, crippled by, suffering from, afflicted by (prefer person who has, person with); wheelchair bound, in a wheelchair (uses a wheelchair or wheelchair user or mobility difficulties); invalid (disabled person); mentally handicapped (person with learning difficulties); the disabled, the handicapped, (disabled people) the blind,  ( blind people or people who are visually impaired and/or low vision) , deaf (deaf people); deaf and dumb (deaf and speech-impaired, hearing and speech-impaired ordeaf and/or hard of hearing)

discernible
not discernable

discolour
but discoloration

discreet
circumspect

discrete
separate

disfranchise
not disenfranchise

disinterested
means free from bias, objective; it does not mean uninterested, not taking an interest

disk
(computers), not disc

dissociate, dissociation
not disassociate, disassociation

distances
we use miles instead of kilometres (no need to convert), otherwise metric with imperial conversion at first mention (eg use metres in preference to yards, etc)

divorcee
a divorced person, male or female

dogs
lc: alsatian, doberman, rottweiler, yorkshire terrier; but Irish setter, old English sheepdog

D'oh!
as Homer Simpson would say; note the apostrophe

dos and don'ts

dotcom
not dot.com

downmarket

Down's syndrome

dozen
exactly, not approximately, 12

draftsman
of document

draughtsman
of drawing

dreamed
not dreamt

dressing room
two words

driving licence
not driver's licence

due to/owing to
Many people ignore this distinction, but it can be valuable. For example, compare 'It was difficult to assess the changes due to outside factors' with 'It was difficult to assess the changes owing to outside factors'. The first says the changes that were a result of outside factors were difficult to assess, the second says outside factors made the changes difficult to assess (if in doubt, because of can be substituted for owing to, but not due to)

dugout

dynamo
plural dynamos


dyslexia
write 'Paul has dyslexia' rather than labelling him 'a dyslexic' or saying he 'suffers from' dyslexia or say  specific learning difficulties ie dyslexia

 



 
 

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