For scientific terms or terms specific to an academic discipline, please exercise judgment, taking guidance from academic colleagues where possible.

Be sure to retain consistency throughout a piece of writing.

British and US spelling

British spelling should be used when writing on behalf of the College, unless quoting a piece of text originally written using US spelling. Some examples of common differences are listed here:

  • Prefer-ise/-yse/-isation to -ize/-yze/-ization. For example: organisation; rationalise; contextualise.
  • Prefer -our to -or. For example: colour; armour.
  • Prefer -re to -er. For example: centre; metre.
  • Prefer -lling to ling; -lled to -led; and -ller to -ler. For example: travelling, travelled and traveller; modelling, modelled and modeller.

Plural or singular

Collective nouns such as group, team, department, faculty or staff, use singular verbs.
For example:

  • The team has done great work this term.
  • Next week, staff at Imperial celebrate Black History Month.

Foreign plural forms should be used where still in common use. Some examples are listed here:

  • Analyses
  • Bacteria
  • Bases
  • Crises
  • Nuclei
  • Phenomena

This list is not exhaustive: if you are unsure about the correct spelling for a term not listed here, please contact the Style Guide.