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Words and phrases Nouns


Casing can affect the readability of your content. The casing used will depend on whether you are using proper or collective nouns.

Using personal pronouns can also help to make your content more inclusive.

Proper nouns

Use capital letters for proper nouns, which are names that refer to a specific thing.

1991 Census
World Health Organization
National Statistics
Ministry for Health
Population (Statistics) Act 1938
Inner London
Output Area
Small Area

Collective nouns

Nouns such as “committee” and “government” are lower case and singular.

the committee has reached a decision

The Office for National Statistics is always singular.

Some nouns ending in “s” are always singular.


Referring to the ONS

Best practice for web writing is to use personal pronouns when referring to our own organisation. Use personal pronouns (such as “we” or “our”) when referring to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), apart from the following exceptions:

  • when a publication has been produced in collaboration with another organisation or government body (such as Defra or Public Health England)
  • when we are one of a number of organisations or government bodies being discussed in a paragraph
  • when the use of “our” with the word “data” or “statistics” would add some doubt as to where that data comes from or its objectivity

In these instances you can include the ONS's name for clarity.

This release has been produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Public Health England (PHE).
This type of information is not always present in the ONS data but it is in the PHE data.
The data show that…

The word “the” should be used when referring to our organisation, including when using “ONS”.

Welcome to the Office for National Statistics.
At the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we are responsible for…
The ONS has made the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) its preferred measure of inflation.

Do not use “on the ONS website” or “on our website”. The user is already on our website. Provide a well-named link to the page you are referring to.

Read more about how to write accessible link text in our guidance on links

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