King County Editorial Style Manual - Listings - T
tables See charts, tables.
tactile . Vague, imprecise adjective. It means "of or relating to the sense of touch" and "touchable, tangible." Try replacing with a clearer, more descriptive word, such as textured or even bumpy.
take action . Consider replacing with act or another action verb.
take over (v.), takeover (n. and adj.).
take place. See occur, occurred, occurring, occurrence.
task force . Capitalize the full name of a task force established by the Metropolitan King County Council or its committees. Lowercase when using only part of the name.
tax-free (adj.). Include hyphen.
taxi scrip . Not taxi script. Lowercase in all references.
taxpayer . One word. So is ratepayer.
teammate . One word.
team, team names. See collective nouns.
teen, teenage (adj.), teenager (n.). No hyphen. Do not use teenaged.
tee shirt. See T-shirt.
telephone numbers. Use a hyphen, not parentheses, to separate the area code from the rest of the phone number: 206-123-4567, 800-765-4321, 206-NU2-8696, 206-FOR-FREE (367-3733). Don’t use periods (or dots) instead of hyphens. Except for internal King County publications, always use an area code.
For extension numbers, abbreviate and lowercase extension, and separate it with a comma from the main number: 937-4311, ext. 638. Refer to toll-free number instead of 800 number: 800-135-2468 (toll free). See contact; facsimile, fax; pound sign (#); SCAN.
See TTY about recommended formats for giving a TTY phone number for people with a hearing disability. Also see disabled; TDD; and Americans with Disabilities Act for the required ADA statement on printed materials.
teletypewriter. See TTY.
temperament . Commonly misspelled.
temperatures . Except for zero, use numerals for all temperatures: It’s 33 degrees Fahrenheit. In texts, use a word--not a minus sign--to show temperatures below zero: It’s 8 degrees below zero. See Celsius,. Fahrenheit.
terminate . Overstated and formal. Simplify. Try end.
textured. See tactile.
than, then . Often confused. Use than if you are comparing things: No one is more aware of local driving behaviors than sheriff’s officers and bus drivers. Use the adverb then if one thing follows or results from another in time, space or order, suggesting a logical conclusion or meaning "soon afterward": If this, then that. First they toured the vehicle maintenance shop; then they visited the sign shop.
that, which . That is the defining, or restrictive, pronoun for essential clauses: The lawn mower that is broken is in the shop (tells which one). Which is the nondefining, or nonrestrictive, pronoun for nonessential clauses: The lawn mower, which is broken, is in the shop (adds a fact about the only mower in question).See that, who below.
In the examples above, note the correct use of commas: Which clauses are always set off with commas (or sometimes dashes or parentheses), and that clauses aren’t. Essential that clauses cannot be cut without changing the meaning of a sentence. Don’t set off an essential clause from the rest of a sentence with commas. Nonessential which clauses can be dropped without changing the meaning. Set off a nonessential clause with commas.
that, who. When an essential or nonessential clause refers to a human being or an animal with a name, introduce the clause with who (or whom). Do not use commas to separate the who clause from the rest of the sentence if the clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence: The customer who called the office .... Use them if it is not: Jack, who lives in Covington, ....
That is the preferred pronoun to introduce essential clauses that refer to an inanimate object, an animal without a name, and other things: Greg built the house that burned down Tuesday. (Which is the only acceptable pronoun to introduce a nonessential clause that refers to an inanimate object: The house, which Greg built, burned down Tuesday.) See that, which above, who, whom.
their, there, they’re . Computer spellcheckers won’t note the mistaken substitution of one of these homonyms for the other--nor for there’s and the plural possessive theirs. They’re is a contraction of they are, while there’s is a contraction of there is.
then. See than, then above.
there is, there are, there’s, there was, there were. Avoid beginning sentences with the meaningless adverb there. Try rewriting the sentence. Change: There were three buses at the station. To: Three buses were at the station. Also, there’s is a contraction for there is; it refers to a single noun: There’s one signal at the intersection. Do not use it with plural nouns: There’s better ways to write this sentence.
the total of. See total, totaled, totaling.
thing . Consider replacing with stronger, more direct wording.
this, that, these, those, it . These pronouns must always refer clearly to a specific noun or other pronoun&emdash;or to a complete idea. Avoid using them alone to refer to the complete sense of a preceding statement. The result may be unclear and imprecise. Instead, first ask yourself, "This what?" (or "That what?" or "These what?"). Then repeat a key word from the preceding sentence or clause, or include a word that refers to the preceding sentence or clause. Change: This helps prevent reader confusion. To: This rule helps prevent reader confusion. Change: If the dog leaves any food in the bowl, throw it out. To: Throw out any food the dog leaves in the bowl. Or: If the dog leaves any food in the bowl, throw out the leftovers.
those . Overused and vague, especially when writing about people. Instead of: Transit provides an alternative for those who dislike driving, try: Transit provides an alternative for people who dislike driving. See people, person.
threshold . Commonly misspelled.
throughput. See input, output, throughput.
ticketbook . One word.
till, ’til, until . Use until in most uses and till for informal writing. Don’t use ’til.
time . Lowercase and use periods for a.m., p.m. Use numerals except for noon and midnight. Do not put a 12 in front of noon or midnight. Don’t use 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. (In Latin, these abbreviations stand for ante meridiem, "before noon," and post meridiem, "afternoon.")
Times on the hour do not take zeros. Including double zeroes is acceptable, however, when aligning multiple times in charts and tables when some times include minutes. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 1:30 p.m., 11 a.m., not 11:00 a.m.
Here are styles for giving ranges of time: The hours are 8:30-10 a.m. and 6-9 p.m. (or 8:30 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.). Service will run from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., from noon to 1:30 p.m., from 1:30-3 p.m.).
Avoid redundancies like 11:30 a.m. this morning or 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Instead, use 11:30 a.m. today, 11 p.m. Tuesday. The wording 3 o’clock in the afternoon is acceptable but wordy.
timeline . One word.
timetable . One word.
titles . Abbreviate these position titles when using them before a full name outside direct quotations: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Mr., Mrs., Rep., Sen., the Rev. Spell out all except Dr., Mr., Ms. and Mrs. when using them before a name in direct quotations. See academic degrees, titles; legislative titles; Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.; sheriff, sheriff’s office. See exceptions for titles of King County elected officials under capitalization. Also see exceptions under correspondence.
Capitalize job titles used directly before a person’s name: Treatment Plant Operator George McCartney, Environmental Planner Paul Starkey.
Except for business correspondence when referring to specific individuals, lowercase and spell out job titles when they are used alone or follow a person’s name: Sue Chin, transportation planner, spoke at the meeting. The transportation planner spoke at the meeting.
If a title applies to only one person in an organization, include the word the if the title or person’s name is between commas: The transit general manager, Aretha Turner, addressed the convention. Or Aretha Turner, the transit general manager, addressed the convention. Use this construction to set off a long title from a name: Tina Franklin, the manager of the long-range service planning project, said ...
Also see King County Executive.
together. See join together, link together.
together with. See along with, together with.
toll-free number. See telephone numbers.
tomorrow, yesterday. Use only in direct quotations and in phrases that do not refer to a specific day: The world of tomorrow will need additional energy resources. Yesterday when we were young. Use Monday, Tuesday, etc., for days of the week within seven days before or after the current date: The advisory committee will meet Thursday. Use the month and a figure for dates beyond that range. See months. Using today in a dated publication is OK: The Girl Scouts today visited North Base.
tonight . Avoid the redundant 7:30 p.m. tonight. Instead, use 7:30 tonight or 7:30 p.m. today.
too . When using too to mean "also," no comma is necessary before too at the end of a clause or sentence: She completed her first task and her second task too. But set off too with commas elsewhere in a sentence: He, too, completed both tasks. See to, too, two below.
total number . Redundant. Drop total.
total, totaled, totaling. The phrase a total of often is redundant. It may be used, however, to avoid a figure at the beginning of a sentence. A total of 407 people applied for the job. Also, a total of takes a plural verb, and the total of takes a singular verb: A total of 45 weeks were spent on the study. The total of 45 weeks was spent on the study.
to, too, two . Computer spellcheckers won’t note the mistaken substitution of one of these homonyms for the other.
Touch-Tone . A trademark of AT&T. Use push-button to refer to a type of telephone.
toward . Don’t use towards.
towns. See cities and towns.
toxic, toxicant. Toxic is an adjective meaning poisonous: She disposed of the toxic materials. Toxicant, used as a noun, means a poison: They disposed of the toxicants safely. Do not use toxic as a noun.
Trade & Convention Center. See Convention & Trade Center.
trademark . A brand, word, phrase, symbol or design used by a manufacturer or dealer for its products and protected by law to prevent inappropriate use by a competitor. Unless a company’s trademark name is essential in a King County document, use a generic equivalent (lowercased): facial tissue instead of Kleenex, photocopy instead of Xerox, cola instead of Coke. When using a trademark or proper name of a product, capitalize the first letter of each word. Don’t capitalize every letter unless the word is an acronym or abbreviation: Subway, not SUBWAY. Use of the trademark and registration symbols--™ and ®--is unnecessary, unless commercial products are named in county advertising materials. See brand names; Healthy IncentivesSM, KingCareSM; service mark.
trade off (v.), trade-off (n. and adj.).
trade show. Two words.
transfer, transferable, transferred, transferring . Commonly misspelled. Transferrable is OK.
transit . Lowercase when referring to Metro’s transit functions: Six transit operators attended the meeting. Metro’s transit services won praise from the national organization. Capitalize only when used as part of King County Metro Transit, a name that should only be used in certain cases. See Metro; police, police department.
transit center . Capitalize the full name of transit centers: the Bellevue Transit Center. Lowercase transit center when the term stands alone: The transit center is near Northgate Shopping Center. For limited space in maps and charts, abbreviate center as ctr.
translation. For King County documents, converting written communications from one language (source language) to another (target language) while preserving the intent and essential meaning of the original text. See interpretation, limited English proficiency, Translation resources..
transmission . When referring to vehicle transmissions, use manual transmission instead of standard transmission, or specify a four-speed or a five-speed or a stick shift. An automatic transmission is now often standard equipment on many vehicles.
transpire . Frequently misused instead of simpler happen or occur. Correctly used to mean "to become known or leak out": Reports on the conference never transpired. See occur, occurred, occurring, occurrence.
travelers’ advisory . Alerts the public that difficult traveling or hazardous road conditions are expected to be widespread.
travel, traveled, traveler, traveling One l.
tribe . Capitalize when used with a proper name: Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Muckleshoot Tribe, Snoqualmie Tribe of Indians. Lowercase when used alone and in plural form: the tribe, the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes, Indian tribes, the tribes. Lowercase the adjective tribal unless its part of a proper name: tribal art, Snoqualmie tribal leaders, Muckleshoot Tribal Council. Add an s when making a tribal name plural: Muckleshoots, Snoqualmies. See American Indian, Eskimo; race.
trolley bus. Two words. Don’t capitalize.
trouble call (n.), trouble-call (adj.).
try and . Try and is colloquial. Say: Try to mend it, not try and mend it.
try out (v.), tryout (n.).
T-shirt . Not tee shirt. So named because it resembles the letter T when spread out.
TTY . Abbreviation for TeleTYpewriter. TTY is preferred on first reference when used with a phone number. Don’t use TDD. Here’s the recommended format for giving a TTY phone number for people with a hearing disability: XXX-XXX-XXXX (TTY)--with the in-house phone number for your TTY equipment. Use a hyphen, not parentheses, to separate the area code from the rest of the phone number. For work groups without a TTY, here’s the recommended format for giving the statewide 711 access number: TTY Relay: 711. See Americans With Disabilities Act, telephone numbers, TDD. Also see background on the TTY acronym (internal link), provided by the King County Office of Civil Rights.
tune up (v.), tuneup (n. and adj.).
TV . Acceptable as an adjective or in such uses as cable TV. But avoid using as a noun unless part of a quotation. Also, capitalize the titles of TV programs and put them in quotation marks. See call letters, station.
Twitter. Capitalize the proper name; lowercase the verb forms (tweet, tweeted, tweeting); and lowercase the term for a Twitter message, tweet.
type fonts . According to the King County Graphic Standards and Guidelines, "The Arial family (or Helvetica) and the Times family are the only approved type fonts that are to be used for day-to-day printed communications. ... These type fonts should be used on both printed and electronic communications. Printed business communications such as letters, faxes, news releases, etc., and King County Internet and intranet sites should be prime users of these fonts. Highly designed promotional and information publications generally have a wider range of type font possibilities based on subject matter, audience and design preferences. Brochures, reports, manuals, newsletters, etc., fall into this category. Readability and accessibility should be a major consideration in choosing fonts for these pieces."
For more information, see the King County Graphics Standards and Guidelines for Accessible Print Materials (DOC, internal link). Also see correspondence in this style manual and Type style and size under Enticing design in the county’s Plain-language writing guide.
Back to Top
- Abbreviations and acronyms
- Myths of writing
- Guide to concise writing
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