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


Mac or Mc? There are at least three variations of this second name so always double check.

Mafeking although it is currently spelt Mafikeng it is acceptable to refer to B-P’s historical role at the siege of Mafeking.

mailbag, mailvan

mainland – do not use to refer to Great Britain when differentiating with Northern Ireland

makeover, makeup

Mallorca not Majorca

marshal not marshall when referring to military rank

marvellous, as in George's Marvellous Medicine. Though marvelous is the correct US spelling, we bow to the style of Roald Dahl

is lower case and is celebrated, not said or read

massive is overused and often a massive waste of space

may or might? The subtle distinctions between these are gradually disappearing, but they can still be useful.

may implies that the possibility remains open: ‘Allowing girls to join may be the best thing that ever happened to Scouting’ (girls have been allowed in).

might suggests that the possibility remains open no longer: ‘Allowing girls to join might have been the best thing that ever happened to Scouting’ (if only we had let them).

Similarly, ‘they may have gone climbing, or they may have gone boating’ suggests I don't know what they did; ‘they might have gone climbing if the weather had been dry’ means they didn't, because it wasn't.

Our mission is written with a lowercase m

may also has the meaning of having permission

Mayday is a distress signal, May Day is 1 May

mayor of London or anywhere else is lower case

measurements – use the metric system when giving measurements of weight, area, volume, and liquid, consistent with readability and comprehension. Length is the exception: ‘it was five miles to Edinburgh’.  

When abbreviating millimetres or centimetres, the correct forms are mm and cm. It is incorrect to add ‘s’ after these. There should be no space between the number and measurement: 12cm.  

Write metres out in full, to avoid confusion with million (an obvious exception would be in an article about athletics: she won the 100m sprint).
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.’

media development manager (MDM)

meet or met not meet with or met with

meeting place
member – lower case, for all members of The Scout Association, including members and associate members. This is to avoid confusion when referring to all other aspects of membership which do not take a capital letter (membership figures, membership growth, membership gender balance and so on).

It also removes the implied superiority when referring to ‘both Members and non-members’ in the same sentence.

Member Resources is the area of www.scouts.org.uk which used to be called Information and Resources and Support and Resources

Membership Award - see World Membership Badge

menswear, womenswear

mental health just as everyone with a body has a physical health, everyone with a brain has a mental health. People often refer to mental illness as ‘mental health’, when the two are different things. By using the term ‘mental health’ to describe mental illness, an important discussion which impacts 100% of the population is confined to one-quarter of it. It is therefore more helpful to say ‘mental ill-health’ or 'mental health issues' so that people understand the distinction. People have conditions rather than ‘suffer from’ them. For more, see disability

Methods in reference to the Balanced Programme - Team Challenges, Outdoors, Play Games.
metres see measurements

metric system see measurements

midday, midweek

million – abbreviate to m for sums of money or inanimate objects. Write out in full for people (population figures)

minibus, minivan

mis-hit, mis-sell but misspell, misspent

Module should only be capitalised when it appears in title form, ie 'Completing Module A will help you...' but 'Completing this module will help you...' 

When writing the full title of a module, only use an initial capital letter for the title and not the sub-title which should be seperated by a colon, for example, Module A: prepare to take off

Moon should be capitalised, as should Sun

more than is preferable to over: ‘There were more than 500 Cubs at our summer camp.’

movement – should be lowercase

Moving On Award – as in moving on from Beavers to Cubs, Cubs to Scouts. Note, no hyphen.

MP3, MP3 player

MP, MPs – but written in lower case: members of parliament

MSP – member of the Scottish parliament

Muhammad, not Mohammed or other variants, when referring to the prophet only. Respect other ways of spelling when it is someone’s name though. 

Mum or mum? Not sure, better check with Dad



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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