E-mediate/Maximedia Guides



UN Style Guide A-Z

See also our guide to e-style

By Peter Hulm

Note that in 2008 the UN put its editorial manual online, along with some writing courses. As of 15 November 2008 it remains incomplete, but it is a start. This guide compares UN style against WHO and other sources.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Sources
A
abbreviations
The UN says it's gross domestic product but GDP, least developed countries (no hyphen) but LDCs. research and development but R and D (the form "R & D [sic] should be avoided). I don't agree about the last.
above-mentioned (UN:355)
abridgement (UN:355)
acknowledgement (UN:355)
ad hoc
UN says this should be underlined (and presumably italicized)(UN:350).
advertise (UN:355)
advisable (UN:355)
adviser (UN:355)
aerial (UN:355)
aeroplane (UN:355)
aesthetic (UN:355)
aging
all of the Oxford dictionaries note this as a US spelling but the UN insists on this spelling (UN:347).
agro-industry (UN:355)
a.i.
no underline or italics. But ad interim.
aide-mémoire
(invariable in plural) (UN:355)
air-conditioned (UN:355)
aircraft (UN:355)
but the UN also admits aeroplane
airline (UN:355)
airspace (UN:355)
allot, allotted, allotment (UN:355)
aluminium (UN:355)
alternative
How many choices?
The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary says:

A proposition containing two or more mutually exclusive statements; a statement or offer of two or more mutually exclusive things; liberty to choose between two or more things.
 

It cites:

J. S. MILL The alternative seemed to be either death, or to be permanently supported by other people, or a radical change in the economical arrangements.

This is the Concise Oxford Dictionary:

n    noun one of two or more available possibilities.

The people who insist on only two choices are wrong but they often don't know it and will make a nasty noise if you do use alternative to mean more than two options.
amongst
should be 'among', says WHO (p83). I agree. Modern journalists treat it as a fake poeticism. Likewise 'whilst', etc.
anaemia (UN:355)
analogue
(but in computer technology, analog and catalog) (UN:355)
analyse
according to ODWE as well as UN (355).
apartheid (UN:355)
appal, appalled, appalling (UN:355)
Apostrophe 's'/Possessives (separate article)
armour (UN:355)
artwork (UN:355)
attaché (UN:355)
authorship (separate article)
averse (UN:355)