This list is not exhaustive: if two or more spellings exist for a term not listed here, please follow the convention indicated in The Economist’s Style Guide.

For scientific terms or terms specific to an academic discipline, please exercise judgment, taking guidance from academic colleagues where possible.

Be sure to retain consistency throughout a piece of writing.

Spelling

British and US spelling

British spelling should be used when writing on behalf of the College, unless quoting a piece of text originally written using US spelling. Some examples of common differences are listed here:

  • Prefer-ise/-yse/-isation to -ize/-yze/-ization. For example: organisation; rationalise; contextualise.
  • Prefer -our to -or. For example: colour; armour.
  • Prefer -re to -er. For example: centre; metre.
  • Prefer -lling to ling; -lled to -led; and -ller to -ler. For example: travelling, travelled and traveller; modelling, modelled and modeller.

Plurals

  • Foreign plural forms should be used where still in common use. Some examples are listed here:
  • Nuclei
  • Analyses
  • Bases
  • Crises
  • Phenomena
  • Bacteria

Commonly misspelled words

  • accommodate, accommodation
  • ageing
  • commemorate, commemoration
  • dependant (noun)/dependent (adjective)
  • ensure (make certain), insure (against risks)
  • entrepreneurial
  • entrepreneurship
  • farther (distance), further (additional)
  • focuses
  • foetus, foetal
  • fulfil, fulfilling
  • judgment
  • innocuous
  • inoculate
  • install, instalment, installation
  • liaise/liaison
  • practice (noun)/ practise (verb)
  • program (only in software context, otherwise programme)
  • queuing
  • rhythm
  • stationary (not moving) and stationery (pens and paper)

Style preferences: education terms

  • alumnus, alumni (note that we do not use the terms alumna or alumnae to refer to female students)
  • degree (not Degree)
  • PhD
  • A-level
  • coursework
  • Diploma of the Imperial College
  • First (not ‘1st’)
  • 2:1, 2:2, Third
  • Honours (not ‘honours’)
  • Joint Honours
  • MBBS
  • Master’s (not ‘Masters’ or ‘masters’)
  • Bachelor’s (not ‘bachelors’ or ‘bachelor’s’)
  • postdoctoral
  • postgraduate

Style preferences: hyphenation, no hyphenation, one word or two words

  • 3D printing
  • antimicrobial
  • award-winning
  • computer-generated
  • co-operation
  • co-operative
  • co-ordinate
  • cross disciplinary
  • crowdsourcing
  • crowd funding
  • decision-making
  • decommissioning
  • electromagnetic
  • extracurricular
  • field station
  • field trip
  • field work
  • full-time (not full time)
  • fundraising, fundraiser
  • hands-on
  • high-energy (when used as an adjective)
  • high-tech
  • interdisciplinary
  • healthcare (not health care)
  • large scale
  • log in, log out
  • manmade
  • microorganism
  • multidisciplinary
  • multimedia
  • multinational
  • multi-storey
  • multi-user
  • nanotechnology
  • non-linear
  • no-one
  • one-to-one
  • out-of-hours
  • part-time
  • policy making, policy makers
  • postholder (no hyphen and lower case)
  • research-intensive
  • seed funding
  • sign in, sign out
  • spin-in
  • spinout
  • startup
  • state-of-the-art
  • third party
  • webpage
  • website
  • weekday
  • well-being
  • world class
  • world leading
  • worldwide