The King's Fund house style: L

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last
'The last few days' means the final few days; the 'past few days' means the most recent few days.

layperson

learnt
verb: 'he has learnt the lessons'

learned
adjective, as in scholarly

less
of size, in quantity, or singular nouns (less population, less meat)
See fewer

licence
noun

license
verb

lists and bullets
Wherever there's a list of three or more items, consider presenting the information as bullet points. Bullet points work well because they:

  • make key points stand out
  • avoid repetition (eg, the word ‘they’ in this example)
  • summarise lists of points that will follow later in the text.
  • Make the text of bullet points that aren’t full sentences (like the ones above) lower case at the start of the line, with no punctuation except for a full stop after the final bullet point.
  • Where you have lists within lists use different symbols, for example: Patients may benefit from:
  • medical treatment
  • ‘alternative’ therapies, including:
    • hypnotherapy
    • acupuncture
    • meditation
  • practical support.

However, if each of the points includes more text then they should be treated differently.

  • They will have a line space before and after each bullet point.
  • Because they include whole sentences or even paragraphs, start them with a capital letter and put a full stop at the end of each point.

longstanding

long-term
adjective but: in the 'long term'

long-term conditions
When possible, refer to 'people' not 'patients' when referring to people with chronic conditions. Do not refer to people by their condition. Do not refer to people as ‘victims of’ or ‘suffering from’ when talking about long-term conditions. You could, for example, say:

  • ‘do people now visit the GP with more complex health conditions?’ not ‘are patients attending for a GP appointment more complex?’
  • 'people with diabetes' or ‘people living with diabetes’ rather than 'diabetics', 'patients with diabetes' or ‘people suffering from diabetes’
  • ‘people with asthma’ or ‘people living with asthma’ rather than ‘asthmatics’ or ‘patients with asthma’
  • ‘people with mental health conditions’ not ‘mental health patients’ or ‘people suffering from mental health problems’
  • ‘most people with mental health conditions do not require admission to hospital and are supported by mental health services in the community’ not ‘Most mental health patients do not require admission to hospital and are supported by mental health services in the community’.

See also people or patients, mental health and disability.