Online style guide

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D-Day Link to this term

WWII Normandy landing 6 June 1944 (day of reckoning)

dada, dadaism Link to this term
dangling participles Link to this term

or dangling modifiers, become a problem if a reader has to pause to work out how a sentence should be understood. For example, 'Driving up to the house, her dog always barks loudly.' That split-second hesitation while you work out what's going on can be avoided by writing 'Her dog always barks loudly when she drives up to the house.' We still don't know if the dog's in the car or in the house, but at least it's not driving.

Darwin Link to this term

wrote On the Origin of Species. It cropped up on our site in a variety of versions during his anniversary year, but this is the right one.

dashes Link to this term

em-dash — useful in pairs in place of brackets—like this—or to indicate a change of thought—like this. The em-dash is usually supplied by Word as an auto-correct replacement when you type two hyphens together, or you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+- (that's the minus sign if your keyboard has a numbers pad). If you haven't got a numbers pad use 'insert symbol'. en-dash – can be used in place of 'to' in a date series. 1995–2003

data Link to this term

The survey data shows the result we expected. The original singular datum (like agendum) is not used in everyday writing.

dates Link to this term

1950s, '50s and '60s, and 12 November 2004 (day, month, year but with no punctuation)

David Hicks's sentence Link to this term

not David Hick's or Hicks'

de rigueur Link to this term

compulsory or required

debate Link to this term

Best not to write that a debate will be 'waged', unless you're being ironic, because a public debate is usually more civilised than a war. A topic will be debated, or a debate will be conducted.

definitely Link to this term

not definately

Delhi Link to this term

Surprisingly, quite a few instances of Dehli are appearing on our site.

demise Link to this term

means death, not decline

Department of Defense (US) Link to this term

with an 's', but Australian Defence Department with a 'c'

dependant (noun) Link to this term

someone who is dependent (adjective)

descendant Link to this term

Charles Darwin's descendANTs were mentioned quite a lot in his anniversary year.

desert, deserts, dessert Link to this term

cross the desert, receive your just deserts, but eat dessert

desiccate Link to this term
desperate Link to this term
devastate Link to this term

please watch out for the overuse of 'devastating'. Floods and bushfires need not always be described as devastating, even though we all know they are. Overuse devalues an adjective.

dextrous Link to this term
diagnose Link to this term

diagnose a condition, not a person. Her schizophrenia was diagnosed, not she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

diametrically Link to this term
diarrhoea Link to this term
dicey Link to this term
Dickens's novels Link to this term

David Hicks's sentence, Robert Burns's poems

die, died, dying Link to this term

(dye, dyed, dyeing when you change the colour)

dietitian Link to this term
different Link to this term

from, not to or than

dilapidated Link to this term
dilemma Link to this term

a choice between two (bad) alternatives, so shouldn't really be used to describe a general problem, as in 'When parents go back to work they face the dilemma of working out who's going to look after the baby...' Anyway the sentence is too wordy, and is better as: When parents go back to work they need to decide who's going to look after the baby.

dilettante Link to this term
dinghy, dinghies Link to this term

small boat

dingy Link to this term

dirty

dinosaur Link to this term
DipEd Link to this term
director-general Link to this term
disc Link to this term

for everything except computer disks

discolour, discoloration Link to this term
discomfit v discomfort Link to this term

'Discomfit' is stronger, in the sense of disconcerting, thwarting or foiling (Macquarie) than 'discomfort', which when used as a verb means to make uneasy or less comfortable.

discrete Link to this term

separate, distinct (discreet is circumspect, unobtrusive)

disinterested Link to this term

describes impartiality, or being unbiased, having no vested interest. It does not describe a lack of interest (uninterested) although the distinction is increasingly blurred in everyday usage.

Tags: 
dispatch Link to this term
dissociate (from) Link to this term

not disassociate

divine Link to this term

no such word as devine

divorcee Link to this term

male and female

doable Link to this term

no hyphen

Doctor Who Link to this term

not Dr Who

dollars Link to this term

either 'the government's $42 billion stimulus plan' (preferred) or 'the government's forty-two billion dollar stimulus plan' (a bit wordy); but watch out for this kind of indecisive double-up: 'the government's $42 billion dollar stimulus plan...'

dollars (different countries) Link to this term

To distinguish between currencies, country codes should precede the dollar sign, like this: US$20,000, A$30,000, NZ$35,000, S$10,000 for American, Australian, New Zealand and Singapore dollars respectively.

doner kebab Link to this term
doorknock (noun and verb) Link to this term
dos and don'ts Link to this term
dot points Link to this term
dotcom Link to this term

dotcom companies

Down syndrome Link to this term
Dr Link to this term

no punctuation

draughtsman Link to this term

but draft a document

drivers licence Link to this term

I'm going for my drivers licence (no apostrophe) but that driver's licence has expired. Other places where apostrophes have disappeared: girls school, travellers cheques, widows pension.

drunkenness Link to this term
dryer, drier Link to this term

a clothes dryer will make clothes drier

dual, duel Link to this term

dual is double, duel is the fight between two people

due to Link to this term

means caused by, not 'because of'. So 'The delay is due to [caused by] bad weather' is correct. 'Due to [caused by] bad weather there is a delay' is widely used but 'Bad weather has caused a delay' is considered by some to be better usage.

duffel Link to this term

coat, bag

Dvorak Link to this term

Czech composer

dye, dyeing, dyed Link to this term

hair or fabric dye, but die, dying, died for demise

dyed-in-the-wool Link to this term
dysentery Link to this term
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