COVID, Covid or covid?
One of the easiest things you can do sharpen your writing is to make sure it’s consistent. For instance, it doesn’t really matter if you write COVID-19, Covid-19 or covid-19. What is important is that you pick one format and stick with it throughout the same piece – and ideally get your colleagues to do the same.
If you’re looking for a recommendation then we prefer the lowercase version covid-19. Strictly speaking, the virus isn’t a proper noun so doesn’t deserve a capital letter. In any case, capital letters tend to interrupt the reader’s eye so it’s usually a good idea to use them only when you’re supposed to.
Keep it consistent
Another common example is whether to describe the 19 European countries that use the single currency as the eurozone, euroland or euro area. Whichever one you choose, it doesn’t need a capital letter because currencies aren’t proper nouns and don’t need them. Our preference is euro area. (Some Europeans don’t like the word “zone” for historical reasons and euroland sounds a bit silly.)
Now this one might be controversial, but capital letters in job titles are usually unnecessary. Notable exceptions include figures in national office like Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Donald Trump and the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey. Still, these titles should only be capitalised when they are written immediately before the name.
You should also keep a look out for dates and numbers. For dates, write them out in full, as in 7 September 2020. For numbers, a good rule of thumb is to spell out in full one to nine and use numerals for 10 and over. Use million, billion and trillion in currency amounts, as in £10 million, £1.5 billion and £1.2 trillion.
A clear conversation
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