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over 400,000 girls and boys across the UK
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Style guide: A


0–9 – in body copy, spell out numbers from one to nine, and numbers at the start of a sentence. Use figures for numbers from 10 upwards. The exceptions to this are: 
  • When writing about the age range of sections – use numerals only. ‘The age range of Beavers is 6 to 8.’
  • When comparing two figures in a sentence: ‘There were only 3 people at the meeting when I arrived; before long though, there were over 20.’
  • When expressing percentages: 6%, 8%
Large numbers should also appear in figures, with the exception of ‘one hundred,’ ‘a thousand’ and ‘one million.’ Use a comma for numbers over 999: 1,670, 4,600 and so on.

6–25 Programme, when referring to the UK Programme.

a or an? an is used before a vowel or vowel sound 'an hour', 'an eagle' but a for hard 'h' 'a hotel', ‘a historic’. It’s OK to change this for a direct quote.

For abbreviations, be guided by pronunciation rather than the lead letter: ‘There were numerous Scouts on board the ship when it sent out an SOS’.

abbreviations and acronyms should be avoided. Instead of eg, try 'for example' or 'such as'; for 'etc' use 'and so on'. If there is no other option, follow the styles set out below. 

  • eg not e.g. or eg. Use when you mean ‘for example’. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase ‘exempli gratia’.   
  • etc not etc. or et cetera. Use when you mean ‘and other things’ or ‘and so forth’. Use sparingly.   
  • ie not i.e. or ie. Use when you mean ‘that is’. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase ‘id est’.
As a general rule, if you are using abbreviations, you do not need to put in full stops after each letter (mph, 6pm). The reader may not have the same level of Scouting knowledge as you, even an internal audience, so use abbreviations sparingly. See job titles

If the abbreviation is pronounced as the individual letters in it, use block capitals: BBC, VAT, USA.

Names or titles should be written out in their entirety the first time with the acronym in brackets next to it if it appears more than once in any article:

‘The Scouts trained for the event, receiving Royal Yachting Association (RYA) awards and completing the RYA Sea Survival Course.’

However, there is no need to do this for some of the more famous ones – NHS, VAT and so on.

Many acronyms (abbreviations pronounced as words) are commonplace and these can be written as words:

‘Writing your pin number on your sim card is not sensible.’

‘When confronted with sensible reasoning, the nimbys went awol.’

If any of these are the name of an organisation, association or group, capitalise it (Nato, Abba).

Aborigines, Aboriginal – capitalise when referring to native Australians only. Otherwise avoid.

Activities should be lowercase, for example, bungee running, dragon boating, clay pigeon shooting or ‘Bungee running is amazing.’

address – UKHQ is at Gilwell House, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London E4 7QW

– an adult with a role in Scouting is anyone aged 18+. But if the
person is aged between 18-25 and in Network, they are classed as a young person. There is no retirement for adults in Scouting.

Adult Application Form
see Forms

adult leader, adult helper
not Adult Leader or adult Leader, but use volunteer rather than leader where possible.

Adults in Scouting Model 

Adult Training Scheme

Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme

adverbs – Use hyphens when using short adverbs as single adjectives: much-loved activity, ill-prepared programme, ever-responsible leader.
adviser not advisor. If part of a role title, use upper case as in Programme and Development Adviser.

affect/effect affect means to have an influence upon. ‘Did the bad weather affect you?’

Effect means a result or consequence. ‘No, it had no effect.’

Generally speaking ‘affect’ is primarily a verb meaning ‘make a difference to’ whereas ‘effect’ is used as both a noun and a verb which means ‘a result’ when used as a noun and ‘bring about (a result)’ when used as a verb.

Clear? No? OK, ask an editor.

African-Caribbean not Afro-Caribbean

ages are written as Kerry, 9, Cub Scout or James, 16, Explorer Scout
A five year old.
She is five years old.
12-14 year olds

AGM is the more common way to refer to an Annual General Meeting. Spell it out in the first instance.

Air Scouts

is one word

all right is right, alright is acceptable too

Allah – the Arabic for ‘the God’. Both words refer to the same concept: there is no major difference between God in the Old Testament and Allah in Islam. Therefore it is appropriate to talk about ‘God’ in an Islamic context and to use ‘Allah’ in quotations or for literary effect. See Islam

amid not amidst

among not amongst

ampersands should only be applied in names where they are used, M&S, M&Ms, B&Q. Do not use them in place of 'and'.

Annual Report - upper case if a Scouting publication title; lower case for any other annual report
Anti-bullying Policy

appointment (lower case, whether full appointment, provisional appointment)

apostrophes indicate a missing letter or letters or possession: ‘It’s Hilary’s round.’

Words ending in s have an apostrophe only added: ‘Mr Matthews’ folly’ or ‘RBS’ troubles’.

‘The Cubs’ hideout’ means a hideout with many Cubs. ‘The Cub’s hideout’ means a hideout with one Cub.

Add apostrophe if you are using time as a means of modifying a noun: three months’ holiday, two years’ time – holiday and time are nouns in this instance.

However if you are using time as a means of modifying an adjective, do not use an apostrophe: three months pregnant, two years old – pregnant and old are adjectives in this instance.

A lot of these rules have exceptions to them however, so, if in doubt, check with an editor.

Appointment Card

Appointments Secretary


Areas/Counties/Regions/Districts Each part of the UK has its own terminology for how it organises its Scouting. 

For example:

England has Regions, Counties and Districts

Wales has Areas and Districts

Scotland has Regions and Districts

Northern Ireland has Counties and Districts

The following disclaimer is usually applied to publications. 'Although in some parts of the British Isles, Scout Counties are known as Areas or Islands – and in one case Bailiwick – for ease of reading this publication simply refers to County/Counties. In Scotland there is no direct equivalent to County or Area. In Scotland, Scouting is organised into Districts and Regions, each with distinct responsibilities. Some ‘County’ functions are the responsibility of Scottish Regions, whilst others lie with Scottish Districts. The focus of responsibility is outlined in Scottish variations from POR.'

If you are sending a UK-wide communication that is likely to refer to Regions, Counties or Districts, please be sure to add the disclaimer to your message.
Arrowhead It should be noted that the Scout emblem can be referred to as both an arrowhead and/or a fleur-de-lis.

Assessor for adventurous activities – where possible, use specific activity title. Upper case for specific, lower case for generic – for example, climbing assessor.

Assistant Beaver/Cub/Explorer Scout Leader

Autism - Use the term 'a person on the autism spectrum' not an autistic person.

Awards see badges/Awards – use upper case for specific awards and badges, lower case when used as a generic term.



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Charity Numbers 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland).
Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW