Skip to main content

King County Editorial Style Manual - Listings - N

King County Editorial Style Manual - Listings - N

n. Abbreviation for noun in this style manual. See noun.

nameplate. See masthead, nameplate entry.

names. People are entitled to be known however they want to be known, if their identities are clear. In publications, use a person's full name on first reference, last name only on second reference. Don't repeat a person's title before the last name on second reference. See brand names; capitalization; correspondence; junior, senior; middle initials; Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.; nickname.

National Environmental Policy Act. Spell out and capitalize on first reference. NEPA is acceptable in later references.

nationalities and races. See capitalization, race.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Spell out on first reference. NOAA is acceptable for later references.

nationwide. One word.

Native Americans. See American Indian, Eskimo; tribe.

near miss, near-miss. A near miss (without a hyphen) is a miss that is near, like a blue jacket is a jacket that is blue. But near-miss (with a hyphen) is a hit. Avoid confusion by using near-collision (with a hyphen) instead of near miss when describing a narrowly averted collision. See collide, collision.

necessitate. Overstated and formal. Simplify. Try call for, cause, need, have to or require.

Negro. See African American, black, race.

neither. When used on its own without nor, make the verb singular: Neither of the men was ready.

neither ... nor. See either ... or, neither ... nor.

NEPA. See National Environmental Policy Act.

negative. Except in informal writing, avoid using double negatives--two or more words with negative meanings--in a single sentence: I don't want nothing. He couldn't hardly walk. Common negative words include neither, no, nobody, none, no one, not, nothing and nowhere, contractions such as couldn't and don't, and words such as barely, hardly and scarcely. Double negative can distract people who consider them ungrammatical and uneducated or awkward and odd. They can confuse readers and slow down comprehension and understanding. They tend to add unnecessary words. They usually end up stating a positive by canceling out the negative meaning. And they can confuse writers who may unintentionally end up making a positive statement when they mean to be saying no or not.

nevertheless. Overstated. Avoid. Try but or however.

new development. Redundant. Drop new.

news conferences. See press.

newsgroup. One word when referring to an Internet discussion group.

news media. See media.

newspapers. Capitalize all proper nouns that are part of the official title. Italicize them if possible; underline them if not. Capitalize the in a newspaper's name if that is the publication's preferred title. Don't use quotation marks. See composition titles.

news releases. See press.

New Year's, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve.

nicknack. See knickknack.

nickname. Use instead of a person's given name if the person prefers to be known by the nickname. When inserting a nickname into the identification of a person, use quotation marks, not parentheses. But omit the quotation marks when using a nickname without the person's real name: Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt but Teddy Roosevelt. See names.

nighttime. One word.

No. Use as the abbreviation for number when used with a figure, in both singular and plural forms: the No. 3 choice, invoice Nos. 4311 and 5207, lot No. 23. Don't use the symbol or sign, #, to stand for No. or number. See correspondence.

NOAA. See National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

nobody, no one. Nobody is one word; no one is two words. No one is considered more formal. They should take singular verbs and adjectives.

non-. The rules in prefixes. apply but usually, no hyphen.

noncontroversial. All issues are controversial. A noncontroversial issue is impossible. A controversial issue is redundant.

nonmotorized. Don't hyphenate.

none are, none is. Both phrases are correct, depending on the noun that follows them (or the understood noun if you're not naming it). If that noun is plural, use a plural verb; if it's singular, use a singular verb. Thus: Of the eight applicants, none of them are qualified. Every child went to the haunted house, and none [of them] are returning. None of the applicant's proposal was persuasive. None of it is safe for children.

none at all. Redundant. Replace with none.

non-preventable. Acceptable alternatives are not preventable and unpreventable. Capitalize as Non-preventable. See prefixes.

nonprofit. One word.

non-revenue vehicle. Include hyphen when referring to Metro's non-revenue vehicles. May be abbreviated as NRV on second reference.

noon. See midnight, time.

no one. See nobody, no one above.

Northend. Capitalize when referring to the area of Seattle and King County north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and west of Lake Washington. Use more precise area names if possible: Magnolia, North City. See capitalization, directions and regions.

northwest, Northwest. See addresses, Pacific Northwest.

notes. See bibliographies and notes; composition titles; footnotes, endnotes.

noticeable. Commonly misspelled.

not only ... but also. Balance the sentence grammatically when using this phrase. If a prepositional phrase follows not only, for example, a prepositional phrase should follow but also. Correct: The fall in the birthrate varies not only from city to city but also from area to area. Incorrect: Not only does the fall in the birthrate vary from city to city but also from area to area. See both ... and.

noun. A noun is a word used to name a person, place, thing, quality or action. A proper noun names a specific person, place or thing and is capitalized: Gov. Mike Yesler, Olympia, The Washington Capitol, Green Lake, Cascade Mountains, Lincoln Park. Don't capitalize a common noun, even if it refers to a specific person, place or thing: the governor, the city, the building, the lake, the mountains, the park. See capitalization, hyphen.

number. The number always takes a singular verb. A number always takes a plural verb and plural noun: A small but increasing number of people were using the service. The small but interested number of engineers was essential to the success of the workshop. Use number to refer to items that can be counted. See amount, number; amount of; No.; total number.

Spell out whole numbers below 10numbers. Spell out most whole numbers below 10. Use figures for 10 and above: five, nine, 15, 650. See dimensions and other cross-references below for exceptions to those guidelines. If you're not already doing so, use the number 1 key on your computer keyboard to create the number 1. Don't use the old-fashioned, potentially odd-looking lowercase L key to create the number l.

Spell out most whole numbers below 10, but note exceptions in this style manual.

Also, spell out first through ninth when they show sequence in time or location: second base, Third Avenue. Exceptions include county, legislative and congressional districts: She lives in the 2nd District. See districts.

In amounts more than a million--unless the exact amount is essential--round off up to two decimal points. Write out the word million or billion, and use numbers in all but casual uses: 3 million, 85.2 billion, a $6.73 million grant, a million bucks. Always include the words million, billion or trillion when giving ranges: The project could cost $20 million to $25 million, not $20-$25 million.

If large numbers must be spelled out, use a hyphen to connect a word ending in y to another word. Don't use commas between the words that are part of one number: two hundred fifty-two.

Avoid beginning a sentence with a number. If unavoidable, spell it out. Also, spell out casual expressions: thanks a million, a thousand bucks. See years.

Avoid following the word for a number with a figure in parentheses for the same number. It's redundant. Avoid: The contract will expire in eight (8) days.

For exceptions and other uses, see addresses, ages, between ... and, from ... to, cents, correspondence, dash, dates, decimals, dimensions, distances, dollars, fractions, headlines, highway designations, hyphen, miles, No., page numbers, percentages, ranges, ratios, room numbers, route number, speeds, telephone numbers, temperatures, time, votes.

numerous. Overstated. Simplify. Try many, or be specific.

Back to Top

Quick links

How to use this guide

Select the letter that begins the term you’d like to look up, then scroll down to find the term (or use your browser’s Find function).

Learn more