Spelling of certain words is a choice and often depends on readership. The following are recommended by Greenslade Creations and in the absence of an existing styleguide or preference, will be used for the sake of consistency. This list is in alphabetical order based on the right column. To search for a particular word on this page, press CTRL+F and use the search function of your browser.

How to write about Australian natives, aborigines. Aboriginal (singular noun) (not Aborigine). Adjective = capital ‘A’ if Australian Aboriginal, otherwise aboriginal.Aborigines (plural noun)—always capital ‘A’. Note: plural form is never ‘Aboriginals’.
Acknowledgment or Acknowledgement? Acknowledgment (no ‘e’ after the ‘g’)
Aeroplane or Airplane? aeroplane/airplane—aeroplane. Either is acceptable, but I prefer aeroplane for consistency.
All right or alright? all right (two words).
How to write the names of stars, eg. Alpha Centauri C Alpha Centauri C (or abbreviate to ‘α Cen c’). If unsure, check Wikipedia.
When is it OK to write &? ampersand (&). Avoid in normal writing. Use ‘and’ except in company names, multiple author lists, or when it is actually part of the title of a publication (e.g. Fann, Roberts & Co., Part & Parcel). Also Fann & Roberts—but Fann, U. and Roberts, H.
When do I capitalise the names of dinosaurs and prehistoric humans? What about italics and hyphenation? Apatosaurus (cap. ‘A’), but apatosaurs, dinosaurs, etc. (l.c.). Archaeopteryx (italic). Australopithecus (italic),Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus robustus,etc. But australopithecine(s) (not italic or cap.). Cro-Magnon manT. rex not T-rex.
Ape man or apeman? apeman (one word)
When to capitalise Apostles Apostles (cap. ‘A’), the Apostles Peter, Barnabas, etc., but apostles (l.c.) when not referring to the Apostles of Scripture (e.g. apostles of denial, apostles of humanism).
Archeology or archaeology? Either is acceptable, but I prefer archaeology andarchaeologist.
Ameba, amoeba or amæba? ameba (not ‘æ’)
When to capitalise the names of archaeological/historical artifacts Ark, the Ark, Noah’s Ark, but l/case for: He told Noah to build an ark. Ark of the Covenant.
Biased or biassed? Biased (not biassed).
Should I always capitalise Bible? Depends on the readership, but generally Bible is capitalised. Bible should be uppercase when referring to the Word of God and lowercase in colloquial use, eg. the handyman’s bible). Do not capitalise biblical or unbiblical.
Should Big Bang be capitalised? Depends on readership, but I prefer lowercase big bang.
Should religions and religious figures be capitalised? Yes. Eg. Buddha, Gautama, Buddhism, Buddhist, Christ, Christianity, Christian, Satan, Lucifer, Freemasonry, Gnosticism. But use a lowercase first letter in ordinary nouns like deity and devil and in adjectives like godly.
Should I capitalise carbon-14? Yes, in carbon-14 dating. Also radiocarbon dating, carbon dating, 14C dating. c-decay (hyphenated).
Cave man, cave-man or caveman? caveman (one word)
Cesium or caesium

Either is correct, but I prefer cesium (not caesium).

When to capitalise church

Use a capital when the word Church appears in the name of an organisation (e.g. Flockson Baptist Church), but lowercase church for the building, a local church group or the church universal.

Colosseum or Coliseum?

I prefer Colosseum

Co-operate or cooperate?

Cooperate is preferable because it looks better and most people don’t need the hyphen to know how to read this word.

Co-ordinate or coordinate?

Coordinate is preferable because it looks better and most people don’t need the hyphen to know how to read this word.

Criteria or criterion?

criteria is plural. Criterion is singular.

When to capitalise Cross

the Cross, on which Christ died. L.c.—Christ died on across. U.c.—Christ died on the Cross. When referring to doctrine use a capital C.

Should I capitalise political movements? Only when based on a name. So communismfascismand socialism are lowercase whereas Marxism has a capital ‘M’. An exception is Nazism (short for National Socialism) which should have a capital ‘N’.
Which is correct? ‘The data are verifiable’ or ‘The data is verifiable?’ data is in wide use as both singular and plural, so the context must decide the appropriate verb (e.g. is/are). In most cases, I prefer ‘is’.
Does disinterested mean the same thing as uninterested? No. Disinterested is sometimes mistakenly used as a synonym for uninterestedDisinterested means unbiased, impartial; uninterested means bored or indifferent.
DNA or D.N.A.? DNA—no full stops. Abbreviation of deoxyribonucleic acid.
When to capitalise earth Earth/earth. Use l/case ‘e’ (earth) except where it’s the actual planet’s name—i.e. where another planet’s name (say, Saturn or Mercury) could be substituted, and it would still make sense. E.g. ‘As far as we can tell, this terrain is unique to Earth.’
How should I write Eg short for ‘For example’? e.g. lower case, not italic, comma or dash before but not after, unless the context requires it (for example, if brackets follow).
Should email have a hyphen? No. It is more commonly written with no hyphen: email.
encyclopedia or encyclopaedia? encyclopedia (unless the actual title uses the ‘ae’, as inEncyclopaedia Britannica).
How to write etcetera etc. Full stop at end. Use a comma before ‘etc.’ if more than one item precedes it (e.g. cats, dogs, etc.).
How to write et al et al. is always italicised with a full stop at the end.
Fetus, foetus or fœtus? fetus is more common and simpler
Flak or flack? flak—as in ‘He copped a lot of flak as a result of his mistake’. Not ‘flack’, as the word comes from the letters of a German acronym.
Focused or focussed? focused (not focussed). Focusing.
What’s the difference between forbear and forebear? Forbear means refrain from. Forebear means ancestor.
What’s the difference between forgo and forego? Forgo means give up, relinquish. Forego means go before, to precede in time.
What’s the difference between foreword and forward? foreword often appears at the beginning of a book.Forward is a direction of travel, ahead.
Should full time be hyphenated? Yes. Full-time, part-time.
Gases or gasses? gases
Genealogy or geneology? genealogy (not geneology).
Half life, halflife or half-life? My preference is to hyphenate half-life
When should I capitalise heaven and hell? Heaven. Capital when referring to the place where God dwells. But, the heavens, or something non-specific (l.c.). God will make a new heaven and a new Earth. Hellis usually capitalised as it is the name of a place. If it appeared in a made-up colloquial phrase like ‘By the five hells of Halcyon!’, it could be lowercase.
A historical or an historical? historical. Use ‘historical’, not ‘an historical’. This follows normal English pronunciation—when the h is pronounced, use ‘a’ (e.g. a hammer, a hill); when ‘h’ is silent, use ‘an’ (e.g. an hour).
How to format i.e. (ie.) i.e. means ‘that is’ and should be formatted in lower case, not italic. There can be a comma or dash before but not after it unless the context requires it.
When to use imply and when to use infer imply/infer. The speaker implies something; the hearerinfers something from what he or she has heard.
in as much or inasmuch? inasmuch/insomuch/insofar (one word)
Should internet be capitalised? Net vs net. What about web and World Wide Web? Either is correct, but consistency is the key so I choose not to capitalise any of these. So you would write theinternet, the net or the web but because it’s an abbreviation, you would capitalise World Wide Web. You would write website or webpage, not web site or web page (one word, all lowercase).
iridescent or irridescent? iridescent (one ‘r’)
Judgement or judgment? judgment (no ‘e’ after the ‘g’)
When to capitalise law and theory


Einstein proposed his relativity theory when… Einstein’s Theory of Relativity 
People who use the Theory of Relativity
The laws of motion Newton’s First Law of Motion
The laws of thermodynamics The First Law of Thermodynamics
Kepler prepared his laws of planetary motion… Kepler’s First Law of Planetary Motion
The gap theory
And there is string theory
The laws which God ordained God’s Law is perfect
God’s laws are eternal
When to hyphenate words with life in them. I base my decisions on the most common use. Some words are so common that they are no longer hyphenated, but are generally accepted as a single word. So you would write: life-form, life-force, lifeline, life-size, lifespan, lifestyle, lifetime
Light years, lightyears or light-years light-years
Should martian be capitalised? Yes, because it is a (hypothetical) person from Mars.Martian.
Should middle eastern be hyphenated and capitalised? Yes. Middle-Eastern
Minuscule or miniscule? minuscule (not miniscule).
Should the moon or sun be capitalised? No. moon and sun
Mucus or mucous mucus—noun; mucous—adjective
Nevertheless or never the less nevertheless (one word).
Should New Age be capitalised? New age, new-age or New Age? Yes. New Age
Should Old and New Testament be capitalised? Yes. New Testament
Noone or no one? No-one
Should northern hemisphere be capitalised? No. northern hemisphere (all lowercase)
When do you italicise ornithorhynchus? Ornithorhynchus is the genus of a platypus. But, ornithorhynchous is also a word that means having a beak like a bird.
When is it OK to use the % sign? percentage might be used in a sentence, but otherwise, you would normally use % e.g. 52%
When do I capitalise Pharoah? As with king and queen, the word pharaoh should be capitalised when it is used as part of a name, e.g. the Pharaoh Rameses II, but Egypt had a succession of pharaohs. The king of France is King George.
Phenomenon vs phenomena phenomena is plural, so takes a plural verb.Phenomenon is the singular.
Should post-modernism be hyphenated? Post modernism, postmodernism or post-modernism As it is in common use, I prefer one word,postmodernism
When to capitalise professor

Uppercase when part of a title or when describing a specific position, otherwise lowercase. Examples:

  • The professor lit his pipe
  • Professor Van Winkel lit his pipe
  • Ian Van Winkel, Professor of English at
  • Ian Van Winkel, the Professor of English at
  • Ian Van Winkel, a professor of English
Program or programme? program, not programme. But programmed, programming, programmer.
Publicly or publically? publicly, not publically
Red shift or redshift? redshift (one word)
Skeptic or sceptic? Skeptic(ism/al), not sceptic(ism/al)
Should solar system or universe be capitalised? No. Write them as solar system and universe.
Should southern hemisphere be capitalised? No. southern hemisphere
When should state be capitalised? State (capitalise when referring to a political division).
How do you spell straight jacket? strait-jacket (hyphen), not straight.
What’s the difference between strata and stratum? strata is plural, so takes a plural verb. Stratum is the singular.
Sulfur or sulphur? sulfur/sulfuric (not sulphur)
Supersede or supercede? Supercede (with a C)
How do I write the temperature? Temperatures should be shown like 25°C, 3 K (kelvin). The HTML entity code for degrees is °
When do I hyphenate words with time in them? timespan, timescale, timeframe, timeline
Tonne vs ton tonne (or metric ton) is equal to 1,000 kg whereas the word ‘ton’ has various meanings in different countries. See here.
Tranquility or tranquillity? tranquility (single ‘l’). Tranquiliser.
How to refer to twelve o’clock, the difference between 12 am and 12 pm It is more meaningful if twelve o’clock is referred to asmidnightmidday, or noon because some people get confused about 12 am (midnight) and 12 pm (midday).
Should abbreviations have apostrophes before a plural S? No. UFO becomes UFOs not UFO’s.
Unbiased or unbiassed? unbiased (one ‘s’).
Well-known vs well known This depends on context. well-known, e.g. a well-known scientist; but this scientist is well known.
When to capitalise west West and Western should be capitalised when referring to Western civilization.
Note, Western Australia, Western Australian.

worldview or world view?

worldwide or world wide?

worldview/worldwide (one word)
How to write the world wars World War I, II, or First World War, Second World War, WWI, WWII.
How to write X-ray x-ray is hyphenated and lowercase.

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