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Style guide: L


Lake District


Land Registry is the government department that registers title to land in England and Wales. The Scottish equivalent is the Register of Scotland.


Last Night of the Proms is an event in itself and so takes initial caps.

last post

later is often redundant. ‘We are all looking forward to the Jamboree this year’ rather than ‘We are all looking forward to the Jamboree later this year’ or ‘We are having our pack meeting this week’ rather than ‘We are having our pack meeting later this week’

Latin – Generally avoid use of Latin phrases (ad nauseam) but where these are commonplace in English usage keep in Roman text (ad hoc)

latitude is written as 26 deg 11 min N


lay waste comes from the same root as devastate and so would be used in the same way. A hurricane would ‘lay waste a village’ not ‘lay waste to a village’ or ‘lay a village to waste’

leader – avoid where possible - use volunteer as a generic term; when in a role title, use initial capitals, for example, Beaver Scout Leader

learnt is preferable to learned although both can be used. See past participles

leadership team

led is the past tense of the verb ‘to lead’. It is a common error to write ‘I lead the group for 10 years.’ Lead (when it is pronounced the same) refers to the metal.

letdown, letup noun: let down, let up verb: ‘The 2010 World Cup was a big letdown.’ ‘I felt let down by the 2010 World Cup.’



Liberal Democrats rather than Lib Dems, certainly the first time you use it

licensed operating authority

lifejacket – one word, not two

lifelong – one word: ‘A lifelong advocate of Scouting in the area.’

lifesize or lifesized? Both, it’s not a big problem. Both are one word though: ‘A lifesize poster of Bear Grylls.’


like/as if – don’t use ‘like’ when you mean ‘as if’: ‘it looks as if it’s snowing outside’ rather than ‘it looks like it’s snowing outside.’

like/such as – these actually sometimes mean the opposite so take care: like excludes, such as includes.

For example, ‘Writers like Eddie are great to have’ means writers other than Eddie who share his characteristics. ‘Writers such as Eddie are great to have’ includes Eddie in the statement.

Give this some thought first though, as there are instances where ‘like’ is correct and inclusive. ‘I’m not a big adventurer, like Bear Grylls or someone.’ Replacing with ‘such as’ here would look silly.

linchpin not lynchpin

lists – there are a variety of list styles available. Bullet points are preferred and should be used online whenever possible.

If you are not using ordinary bullets, it should go as follows


And so on. Try to avoid going down to the third level of lists. If you’re using bullet points and you need a list within a list, switch to numbered lists unless the list items are not complete sentences.

For printed lists, again bullet points or numbers are preferred. If everything is written on one line, employ the use of the Oxford comma which is the comma before the final ‘and’ in a list.

This can be dropped for obvious examples: ‘The menu featured beans, fish and chips.’ However, it can help when certain items naturally go together: ‘The menu featured beans, fish, chips, bangers and mash, and pasta.’

Sometimes it is absolutely essential: ‘My heroes are my parents, Billy Connolly, and Madonna.’

As opposed to: ‘My heroes are my parents, Billy Connolly and Madonna.’

litres see measurements

local is a pub not a person: you speak to local people, you don’t speak to the locals (unless you’ve had way too much fun in the local beforehand).
Local Training Manager - an official appointment in Scouting, so takes initial capitals

Lodge when describing a small group of Beaver Scouts

longitude is written as 114 deg 11 min W

longtime – one word as an adjective: ‘a longtime browser of style guides.’

loose means ill-fitting, the opposite of tight. ‘The knot on that pole is far too loose.’

Lords, House of Lords on first instance but the house thereafter

Lord’s – cricket ground

lose means defeat, the opposite of win. ‘Man Utd will lose at Anfield.’




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