5.6 Guidelines on Spelling

This subsection covers a number of common spelling issues.

  • 32-bit, not 32 bit or 32 bits. 32 bit result should be 32-bit result. However, the result has 32 bits has no hyphen.

  • 4KB, 4MB, 2GB, 4TB -- not 4 kilobytes, not 4 Kilobytes, not 4 KB; the same is true for MB (not megabytes), GB (not gigabytes), TB (not terabytes).

  • Megahertz and gigahertz are MHz, GHz, not Mhz, Ghz.

  • B means bytes, b means bits; use appropriately. The usual place for lowercase b is in network rate indicators, such as 100Mb/s to mean 100 megabits per second.

  • administer, not administrate

  • afterward, not afterwards

  • a lot requires two words; alot is wrong

  • application-related, not application related. In titles, use Application-Related, not Application-related.

  • authenticate, not authentify

  • authentication, not authentification

  • authorize, not authorise

  • automatically, not automaticly

  • backup is a noun or adjective (as in a backup file), back up is a verb (as in to back up a database)

  • backward, not backwards

  • backward-compatible, not backward compatible or backwards compatible

  • behavior, not behavior

  • byte-swapping, not byte swapping

  • cannot, not can not

  • client-side, not client side

  • client/server, not client-server

  • color, not colour

  • command-line is an adjective, command line is a noun. Example: You should use a command-line tool if you prefer entering commands on the command line.

  • compliance, not compliancy

  • core dump is a noun or a verb (as in a core dump file or a program core dumps when it fails). In the latter case, however, it is better to say a program dumps core when it fails

  • CPU time, not CPU (in phrases like uses CPU time; unless you are referring the processor itself.)

  • CPU, not cpu

  • data file, data set, data type, not datafile, dataset, datatype

  • deprecate, not depreciate (depreciate is a word, but not the one you want when you are writing about features that we discourage people from using, and which may be removed in later releases)

  • deprecated, not depricated

  • different from something, not different than something

  • dynamically, not dynamicly

  • email, not e-mail

  • file-size, not file size

  • file name, file system, not filename, filesystem

  • floating-point, not floating point

  • following some, not something [shown] below

  • forward, not forwards

  • full-text, not fulltext (unless you are referring to a FULLTEXT index)

  • hand-held, not hand held

  • heavy-duty, not heavy duty

  • heavy-load production systems (used as an adjective), but used under heavy load (used on its own).

  • high-priority something (when used as an adjective), not high priority

  • host name, not hostname

  • indexes, not indices; exception: when referring to array elements, use indices

  • installation, not install (as a noun)

  • lettercase, not letter case

  • long-awaited, not long awaited

  • long-time something (when used as an adjective), not long time

  • lowercase, not lower case

  • low-volume something (when used as an adjective)

  • master/slave, not master-slave

  • memory-based, not memory based

  • multiple CPU, not multiple-CPU

  • multibyte, not multi byte

  • multi-thread(ed), not multithread(ed)

  • multi-user, not multi user

  • natural-language, not natural language

  • Net (capitalized), if referring to the Internet in that way

  • NetWare, not Netware

  • Note:, not NOTE:

  • Note that... When a sentence begins this way, consider whether the "Note that" is useless noise that can be deleted or whether it is a necessary part of the sentence. If the reader really needs to be brought to a full stop, use a <note> element.

  • Object-oriented. It is hyphenated.

  • okay, not ok or Ok or OK. Exceptions: When describing instructions for a GUI with buttons that say OK, then use OK. That is, use the label that the GUI uses. When showing the output from a program, show the output exactly; do not change ok to okay, and so forth.

  • online, not on-line

  • onward, not onwards

  • Open Source, not open source

  • optimize, not optimise

  • otherwise is followed by a comma at the start of a sentence

  • percent, not per cent

  • platform-dependent, not platform dependent

  • PostScript, not Postscript

  • power-start, not power start

  • press Enter, or press the Enter key, not hit Return or hit Enter

  • publicly, not publically

  • re-issue(ing), not reissue(ing)

  • replication-safe, not replication safe

  • rewriting, not re-writing

  • rollback is a noun or adjective (as in a rollback operation), roll back is a verb (as in roll back a transaction)

  • runtime, not run time

  • schemas, not schemata

  • server-side, not server side

  • shown here, not shown below

  • single-CPU, not single CPU

  • statically, not staticly

  • sub is a prefix, not a word, so it's subfunction, rather than sub function, or subroutine, rather than sub routine (or sub-routine)

  • supersede, not supercede

  • third-party, not third party

  • this only, not only this

  • thread-safe, not thread safe

  • toward, not towards

  • transaction-safe, not transaction safe

  • turnkey, not turn-key

  • uncorrelated subquery, not noncorrelated subquery

  • unstable, not instable

  • uppercase, not upper case

  • user-defined, not user defined

  • user name, not username

  • web page, web site, not webpage, website. Note: Pearson prefers Web page, Web site.

  • whether, not whether or not

  • wildcard, not wild card or wild-card

More words and terms can be found on the O'Reilly Default Stylesheet and Word List (on the bottom of that page).