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Style guide: N


narrowboat – not narrow boat, unless referring to historical working vessels rather than modern leisure craft, or a particularly thin seagoing craft.

national – please do not use this term when you mean to refer to the whole of the UK. In most instances, using ‘UK-wide’ is an adequate alternative. See UK

national anthem is lower case

National Commissioner – we no longer have National Commissioners

National Centres Board

National Governing Body

National Governing Body Awards

National Scout Activity Centre is upper case, as are the full titles of the sites: Woodhouse Park Scout Activity Centre

National Lottery is upper case

National Recognition Scheme

naught means nothing: ‘it all came to naught’; nought is the figure 0

navy but Royal Navy


Netherlands, the; not Holland

Network Scouts – never use this term. It’s a common mistake in talking about Scout Network members.

new – often redundant as in: ‘The Scout Association has announced a new partnership with... ’ If you have just announced, launched or published something, you don’t have to say it’s new.

newspaper titles – don’t cap up ‘the’: the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Record. Use full titles: the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror and so on. If you just refer to ‘the Express’ you might confuse a reader in Aberdeen whose local daily is the Aberdeen Evening Express.

New Testament

new year, but New Year’s Day

Nights Away Permit Scheme

nightcap, nightdress, nightshade but night-time which should be avoided where possible

Nineteen Eighty Four (without a hyphen) is the name of George Orwell’s seminal work. If you describe something as being ‘straight out of 1984’ you are invoking Van Halen’s seminal work (or the year itself, of course).

Nirvana Day is an annual Buddhist festival that remembers the death of the Buddha when he reached Nirvana at the age of 80. Celebrated by some Buddhists on 15 February.

no 1 in the charts or no 1 tennis player. Try to avoid as it can date your work.

no – the plural of which is noes

Nobel prize – only cap up Nobel: For example, Nobel peace prize

no doubt that/no question that – are the opposite of each other, take care when using

none takes a plural verb: ‘None of my Scouts are able to cook outdoors.’

nonetheless is one word

north of the border is an expression to be avoided when referring to Scotland as we are a UK-wide association

north, south, east, west

notebook, notepaper

numbers – 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: 
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.

Numerals should be used in blog titles. ie. 5 things to do this weekend.

For telephone numbers, where relevant, give the international code: +44 (0)20 8433 7222. There should only be a space between the area/dialing code and telephone number and within the main number before the final four digits: for a London number it should be written as 020 8433 7777. An Edinburgh number would be 0131 653 8287.

Where the area code is longer - for example: +44 (0) 1959  - the phone number can remain an unsplit six digits - so, +44 (0) 1959 572121

Do not use hyphens in telephone numbers.
Scout Groups should be given in figures: 9th Rugby or 107th Huddersfield.

Use numerals for dimensions, percentages, distances, computer storage capacity and other measurements. See measurements.



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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