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A to Z

Use this A to Z section to:

  • look for common style points, such as how we write abbreviations
  • find out how we write specific words and phrases
  • find links to further information within our style guide and other useful resources

Check the GOV.UK style guide for any points of style not covered here.

abbreviations and acronyms

see abbreviations and acronyms

accessibility

what you need to know to make sure that you comply with the law and standards so everyone can access our information and services - see accessibility 

acknowledgement

not ‘acknowledgment’

ACT

advanced corporation tax

address the reader

for guidance on which pronoun we use when writing for our audiences - see address the reader

advise/advice

‘let me advise you’ (verb), ‘let me give you some advice’ (noun)

ageing, ageism

not ‘aging’, age-related illness but the illness was age related

ahead of

avoid - use ‘in advance of’ or simply ‘before’

ALB

arms-length body

alt text

see GOV.UK style guide

among

not ‘amongst’

ampersand

Use and rather than an ampersand (&), unless it’s a department’s logo image or a company’s name.

anticipate

is to foresee its occurrence and act accordingly, we expect when we think something will happen, but cannot be certain

asterisk

Asterix is a cartoon character

automatic enrolment

or auto enrolment (we no longer use pension reform or employer compliance regime)

AVC

additional voluntary contribution

 

the Board

capital B when talking about ‘the Board’ but note lower case for ‘board papers’ and remember ‘the Board’ is singular: ‘the Board has decided’, not ‘the Board have decided’

biannual

twice a year, no hyphen

biennial

every two years, no hyphen

bureaucracy

bureaucrat

bullet points

for guidance on our house style on using bulleted lists - see bullet points

businessmen

use ‘business people’ or ‘the business community’ if this is what you mean

buy-in/buy-out

hyphenate when using as a verb but do not hyphenate when writing as a noun

 

capitalisation

see capitalisation

casework

one word

CEDR

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution

CETV

cash equivalent transfer value

Chairman

Chief Executive and all other job titles, upper case

Charts and diagrams

for guidance on how to create figures, charts and diagrams - see figures, charts and diagrams

for advice on using colours in your charts/graphs - see using colours on graphs

colours

for advice on using colours in your communications - see colours

commas

See The Guardian's style guide for use of commas

communication channels

we have a number of communication channels including: website, social media and elearning

compensation levy

lower case

comprise

means ‘to consist of’; ‘comprise of’ is wrong

content design: creating good content

guidance for content owners/managers on using data and evidence, to deliver communications to audiences when they need it and which can be easily understood - see content design: creating good content

content types

for a list and examples of the different types content we have - see content types

continual

refers to something that happens repeatedly but not constantly

continuous

indicates an unbroken sequence

contracted out

contract-based scheme

but the scheme was contract based (no hyphen)

Contribution Notice

initial capitals

co-operate

hyphenate

co-operation

hyphenate

co-operative

hyphenate

co-ordinate

hyphenate

covenant leakage

(value leaving the employer)

examples of this include dividends, share buy backs, settling competing creditors ahead of the scheme, intra-group trading, non-commercial lending, and disproportionate operating expenses (including management charges and senior executive remuneration)

cross-border

hyphenate

dates

for guidance on how to show dates - see GOV.UK A to Z style guide

day-to-day basis

hyphenated

defined benefit (DB) scheme

(also known as final salary or salary related) the benefit that members receive on retirement is fixed in advance as a percentage of their final salary (the benefit depends on the pension fund being fully funded and having sufficient reserves to meet its obligations in full) (adjective) contingent on, or determined by

dependant

(noun) a person who relies on another for financial support

dependent different from/to

‘different from’ is the usual form in most sentences, however, when ‘different’ introduces a second clause eg ‘how different things appear in Brighton to London’, you can use ‘to’ (or ‘than’)

design guidelines

guidance on how to use our design elements in your communications - see visual design


earmarked

no hyphen

effect/affect

‘the new legislation will have a significant effect’ (noun), ‘changes will be effected [made]’ (verb), ‘the new legislation will affect all employers’ (verb)

e-business

hyphenate

e-commerce

hyphenate

elearning

no hyphen

eligible jobholder

a worker aged between 22 and State Pension age, working or ordinarily working in the UK and earning above the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment

email

no hyphen

employer compliance regime

automatic enrolment or auto enrolment (we no longer use pension reform or employer compliance regime)

employer-related investment

hyphenated

enquiry

interchangeable with inquiry, although it’s generally preferable to use inquiry to denote an investigation, and enquiry to denote a question

EPB

equivalent pension benefit

e-reporting

electronic reporting, hyphenated

ERI

employer-related investment

enrol

enrolling, enrolment

entitled worker

a worker aged between 16 and State Pension age, working or ordinarily working in the UK and earning below the lower level of qualifying earnings

expect

when we think something will happen, but cannot be certain, to anticipate something is to foresee its occurrence and act accordingly


fewer

use fewer when you are referring to people or things in the plural (eg houses, newspapers, children), use less when referring to something that cannot be counted or does not have a plural (eg money, air, time)

final salary scheme

use defined benefit

flexitime

one word

focused

not focussed

fonts

for advice on the primary font of TPR - see fonts

forego

go before

forgo

go without

formatting and punctuation

for guidance on using our house style when creating your communications - see formatting and punctuation

forms

for guidance on how to write good questions for forms - see how to write good questions for forms

fractions

two-thirds, three-quarters etc but note one and a half

FSAVC

free-standing additional voluntary contributions

FSD

financial support direction

fulfil

fulfilled, fulfilling, fulfilment fundraiser, fundraising


GAR

guaranteed annuity rate

GMP

guaranteed minimum pension

going concern

but going-concern basis

government

not Government, even when referring to an elected administration, unless part of a specific name, eg Local Government Association

GPP

group personal pension

green paper

a preliminary report of government proposals published to encourage discussion


headings

for guidance on how to structure your content - see headings

health care

two words

HRA

Human Rights Act

house style

two words

hybrid scheme

use mixed benefits scheme

hyphens

See GOV.UK style guide

IDR

internal dispute resolution

IFA

independent financial adviser. No apostrophe in plural (IFAs)

illustrations

for guidance on using illustrations to deliver an idea or message - see illustrations

inclusive communication at TPR

for guidance on using appropriate or inclusive language - see inclusive language

for words to use and avoid when writing about a disability - see inclusive language on GOV.UK

index

plural indexes; but in scientific or economic use indices

in-house

hyphenate

inquiry

interchangeable with enquiry, although it’s generally preferable to use inquiry to denote an investigation, and enquiry to denote a question

into

not ‘in to’; ‘into’ is one word – ‘on to’ is not

IPA

individual pension account

-ise

endings, not -ize, eg maximise, organise

italics

for guidance on using italics - see italics

it’s

contracted form of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’

its

possessive form of ‘it’ (no apostrophe), eg ‘turned on its side’


judgement

not judgment, unless referring to that made by a court

jobholder

a worker aged between 16 and 74, working or ordinarily working in the UK and earning above the lower level of qualifying earnings


know-how

hyphenate

knowledgeable

not knowledgable


legal and technical content

guidance on writing your legal and technical content for your audience - see legal and technical content

less

not as much, smaller in quantity (less money, less pension); use ‘fewer’ to mean not as many, smaller in number (fewer schemes, fewer members)

licence

(noun) ‘she has a driving licence’

license

(verb) ‘he is licensed to sell alcohol’

logos

guidance on how to use our logos - see logos

long term

it will be of long-term benefit, but it will be of benefit in the long term (no hyphen)

LPI

limited price indexation


MAC

maximum administration charge

magistrates’ court

lower case with apostrophe after magistrates'

manoeuvre

manoeuvring

member

use member when talking about a member of a specific scheme and saver in consumer-facing content

MFR

minimum funding requirement

mid

mid-90s, mid-year, but midterm, midweek

MIG

minimum income guarantee 

minister

lower case

misuse/misused

no hyphen

mixed benefits scheme

a scheme that provides DB and DC benefits, don’t use hybrid

MND

member-nominated director

MNT

member-nominated trustee

money-purchase scheme

use defined contribution

moral hazard

always singular

MOU

memorandum of understanding

MP

(member of Parliament) if you are unsure how to address someone, check in Debrett’s correct form in the library

multicultural

no hyphen

multi-employer

hyphenate

multilateral

no hyphen

multimedia

no hyphen

multinational

no hyphen

multi-user

hyphenate

 

NDPB

non-departmental public body 

nevertheless

one word

nonetheless

one word

no one

no hyphen

numbers

for guidance on how to display numbers - see numbers


OEIC

open-ended investment company

one-off payment

hyphenate one-off

on to

two words, but ‘into’ is one word

onsite

one word

opt in

opting in

opt out

(verb) opting out

opt-out

(noun) opt-out period, opt-out notice hyphenated

outside

not ‘outside of’


part-time

hyphenate

payback, payday, payout, payroll

one word

pay band

two words

pensioner

lower case

Pensions Act 2008

initial capitals, write in full for first mention, then ‘Pensions Act’, and if mentioned a second time in a sentence, then ‘the Act’

Pensions Dashboards Programme

initial capitals, pensions and dashboards both plural

The Pensions Regulator (TPR)

use a capital T for The and write out our name in full the first time you use it followed by the abbreviation in brackets 

then use TPR thereafter

avoid using ‘the regulator’

Pensions reform

automatic enrolment or auto enrolment (we no longer use pension reform or employer compliance regime)

people

not ‘persons’

pipeline

one word

plc

public limited company, lower case

portable document format (PDF)

for advice on when to use PDFs - see HTML or PDF

post-war

hyphenate

practice

(noun) ‘it has become common practice’

practise

(verb) ‘trustees need to practise their skills’

pre-eminent

Hyphenate

preventive

not preventative

principal

the first order of importance, eg the principal learning outcome, school principal

principle

a belief or value, eg the principles of government, moral principles

print-out

Hyphenate

program

computer program

 

qualifying scheme

a scheme that qualifies as a suitable pension scheme and meets several criteria based on the level of contributions paid or the benefits received

quango

a semi-public government-financed administrative body whose members are appointed by the government, also NDPB


re/re

use re- (with hyphen) when followed by the vowels ‘e’ or ‘u’ (when not pronounced ‘yu’) eg re-examine, re-urge. Use re (no hyphen) when followed by the vowels ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘o’ or ‘u’ (when pronounced ‘yu’) or any consonant eg rearrange, reuse, reconsider. Exceptions: where there maybe confusion with another word: re-cover/recover

readability

guidance on the reading age of your audience and how to test your communications - see readability

record-keeping

hyphenated

the regulator

we no longer use this, instead use The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and TPR thereafter or we/our

risk-based

hyphenate

RPI

retail price index

 

salary-related scheme

use defined benefit

saver

use saver in consumer-facing content and member when talking about a member of a specific scheme

scheme-based levy

hyphenate scheme-based

scheme year-end

hyphenate year-end

SDRT

stamp duty reserve tax

section 103

lower case s or s103, no full stop

self-administered scheme

hyphenate self-administered

self-invested scheme

hyphenate self-invested

SERPS

State Earnings Related Pension Scheme

shareholder

one word

SI

statutory instrument

SIP

statement of investment principles

SRI

socially responsible investment

SSAS

small self-administered scheme

stakeholder pension

lower case

start up

(verb)

start-up

(noun) hyphenated

stationary

not moving

stationery

pens, envelopes, paper etc

stock market

stock exchange

subhead

subheading no hyphen

supersede

not supercede


tables

for guidance on using tables - see tables

for advice on colours for your tables - see using colours on tables

targeting

targeted not targetting, targetted

takeover

one word

tax-approved scheme

hyphenate tax-approved

team-mate

hyphenate

team meeting

no hyphen

team spirit

no hyphen

teamwork

one word

technical and legal content

for guidance on writing your technical and legal content for your audience - see legal and technical content

that/which

that defines, which informs: this is the house that Jack built, but this house, which Jack built, is now falling down

the Act

only use if ‘the Pensions Act’ has already been mentioned in the same sentence

The Takeover Panel

initial capitals

think tank

no hyphen

this/that

this looks forward, that looks back

time

for guidance on how to show times - see GOV.UK A to Z style guide

TKU

trustee knowledge and understanding

tone of voice

guidance on what tone of voice your communication should have - see tone of voice

trade names

no hyphen

trust deed and rules

lower case

trust-based scheme

hyphenated because it describes the scheme

trustee

lower case

Trustee toolkit

capital T for trustee and lower-case t for toolkit

try to

not ‘try and’

TUPE

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations

turn over

(verb) ‘let the engine turn over for a few minutes’

turnover

(noun) ‘the business had a turnover of...’


unco-operative

hyphenate

underfunding

one word

under way

two words

underperformance

one word

up-to-date records

hyphenated, but ‘keep the records up to date’ not hyphenated

 

very

usually redundant


website

one word

well-run

scheme but ‘the scheme was well run’

which/that

that defines, which informs: this is the house that Jack built, but this house, which Jack built, is now falling down

while

not whilst

whistleblowing

one word

whistleblower

one word

whose

the possessive form of who, eg whose hat is this?

who’s

a contraction and means ‘who is’ or ‘who has’, eg who’s just bought this hat?

wind-up

(noun) ‘the scheme was in wind-up’

wind up

(verb) winding up ‘they decided to wind up the scheme’

white paper

a report setting out government proposals

work-based pension

use workplace pension

workplace pensions reform

we no longer use this term, see automatic enrolment


year-end

hyphenate

the year ended

refers to past years

the year ending

refers to future year


-ize

use -ise endings: minimise, recognise