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Style guide: I


ie see Abbreviations
illness and conditions – always use positive language to describe a person with an illness or a condition. A person has an illness or a condition. Terms such as ‘suffer from’, ‘is crippled by’, ‘is afflicted with’ or ‘is a victim of’ should not be used.

Also avoid collective terms: ‘a diabetic’, ‘a dyslexic’, ‘an epileptic’ and so on. Refer to a person with diabetes/dyslexia/epilepsy instead.

iMac, iPad, iPhone, iPod are all trademarks. Only use when you are sure it is an Apple iPod for example; the generic term is MP3 player or digital audio player

impact is a noun not a verb although usage of it as a verb is becoming increasingly prevalent. Ideally it is preferable to use affect/effect instead
but using ‘impact’ will only offend grammar pedants.

immune to not immune from

in or on? Shops and crowds of Christmas shoppers are ‘in Oxford Street’ not ‘on Oxford Street’.

inadmissible not –able

indispensable not –ible


inflammable see flammable

Information and Resources, this area of the website is now called Member Resources

Information Centre Catalogue

inner city has no hyphen as a noun: ‘by the time we reached the inner city it was dark’ but does have a hyphen as an adjective: ‘the inner-city Scout Group’

inquiry see enquiry

insignia are always plural

International Fund

internet, the – lower case. The abbreviation 'net' can be used and is also in lower case, although 'the web' is more commonly used now, also in lower case.

into or in to? One word if you go into a room or swerved into a bus lane; two words if you called in to see how someone is.

intranet lower case.

invariable, invariably means unchanging but is often wrongly used to mean hardly ever or rarely changing


Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Irish Republic not ‘southern Ireland’ or ‘Eire’

irrespective is a word meaning 'not taking into account', 'regardless of'. Irregardless is not a word; please do not use it.

i.Scout – when referring to the i.Scout clothing range

-ise – not -ize at the end of words: recognise, organise, compromise, maximise

Islam is the religion of Muslims. Allah is Arabic for God so it is not offensive to refer to God in an Islamic context. If you are quoting someone who has said ‘Allah’ though, keep it in.

Muslims worship in mosques and their holy book is the Qur’an not the Koran.

Eid al-Adha celebrates the end of the hajj, the pilgrimage season. Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan, the fasting month. Note: Eid means festival so describing it as the ‘Eid festival’ is an unnecessary repetition.

Mecca is the holiest city for Muslims. It is in Saudi Arabia. Don’t use in a trite fashion: ‘Gilwell Park has always been a mecca for scouts all over the world.’

Beware of terms such as Islamist. They should not be used.

issue should, where possible, not be used as a synonym for problem (unless you have already used ‘problem’ within the article). In the first instance, call it a problem.

Italics should be avoided as italicised text is hard to read both on screen and in print. Use initial capitals for titles of books, films and so on. For example, it would be Colony Essentials, not Colony Essentials or Colony essentials.  

it’s with an apostrophe is the shortened form of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ 

its without an apostrophe is possessive: ‘the colony prepared for its anniversary’




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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