G The general audience rating. See movie ratings.

gage, gauge A gage is security or a pledge.

A gauge is a measuring device.

Gauge is also a term used to designate the size of shotguns. See weapons.


gale See weather terms.

gallon Equal to 128 fluid ounces. The metric equivalent is approximately 3.8 liters.

To convert to liters, multiply by 3.8 (3 gallons x 3.8 = 11.4 liters).

See imperial gallon; liter; and metric system.

Gallup Poll Prepared by the Gallup Organization, Princeton, N.J. The separate Gallup Youth Survey is prepared by the George H. Gallup International Institute.

game plan

gamut, gantlet, gauntlet A gamut is a scale or notes of any complete range or extent.

A gantlet is a flogging ordeal, liter-ally or figuratively.

A gauntlet is a glove. To throw down the gauntlet means to issue a challenge. To take up the gauntlet means to accept a challenge.

gamy, gamier, gamiest

garnish, garnishee Garnish means to adorn or decorate.

As a verb, garnishee (garnisheed, garnisheeing) means to attach a debtor’s property or wages to satisfy a debt. As a noun, it identifies the individual whose property was attached.

gauge See the gage, gauge entry.

gay Acceptable as popular synonym for homosexual (n. and adj.).

general, general of the air force, general of the army See military titles.

General Accounting Office The General Accounting Office is a nonpartisan congressional agency that audits federal programs.

GAO is acceptable on second reference.

general assembly See legislature for its treatment as the name of a state’s legislative body.

Capitalize when it is the formal name for the ruling or consultative body of an organization: the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

General Assembly (U.N.) General Assembly may be used on the first reference in a story under a United Nations dateline.

Use U.N. General Assembly in other first references, the General Assembly or the assembly in subsequent references.

general court Part of the official proper name for the legislatures in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Capitalize specific references with or without the state name: the Massachusetts General Court, the General Court.

In keeping with the accepted practice, however, Legislature may be used instead and treated as a proper name. See legislature.

Lowercase legislature in a generic use such as: The General Court is the legislature in Massachusetts.

General Electric Co. GE is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in Fairfield, Conn.

general manager Capitalize only as a formal title before a name.

See titles.

General Motors Corp.GM is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in Detroit.

General Services Administration GSA is acceptable on second reference.

genie Not jinni, the spelling under which Webster’s New World gives the definition.

gentile Generally, any person not a Jew; often, specifically a Christian. But to Mormons it is anyone not a Mormon.

gentleman Do not use as a synonym for man. See lady.

genus, species In scientific or biological names, capitalize the first, or generic, Latin name for the class of plant or animal and lowercase the species that follows: Homo sapiens, Tyrannosaurus rex.

geographic names The basic guidelines:

DOMESTIC: The authority for spelling place names in the 50 states and territories is the U.S. Postal Service Directory of Post Offices, with two exceptions:

—Do not use the postal abbreviations for state names. For acceptable abbreviations, see entries in this book under each state’s name. See state names for rules on when the abbreviations may be used.

—Abbreviate Saint as St. (But abbreviate Sault Sainte Marie as Sault Ste. Marie.)

FOREIGN: The first source for the spelling of all foreign place names is Webster’s New World Dictionary as follows:

—Use the first-listed spelling if an entry gives more than one.

—If the dictionary provides different spellings in separate entries, use the spelling that is followed by a full description of the location. There are exceptions:

1. Use Cameroon, not Cameroons or Cameroun.

2. Use Maldives, not Maldive Islands.

3. Use Sri Lanka, not Ceylon.

The latter exceptions have been made to conform with the practices of the United Nations and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names. (See the NEW NAMES paragraph below.)

If the dictionary does not have an entry, use the first-listed spelling in the National Geographic Atlas of the World.

NEW NAMES: Follow the styles adopted by the United Nations and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on new cities, new independent nations and nations that change their names.

DATELINES: See the datelines entry.

CAPITALIZATION: Capitalize common nouns when they form an integral part of a proper name, but lowercase them when they stand alone: Pennsylvania Avenue, the avenue; the Philippine Islands, the islands; the Mississippi River, the river.

Lowercase common nouns that are not a part of a specific name: the Pacific islands, the Swiss mountains, Zhejiang province.

For additional guidelines, see addresses; capitalization; the directions and regions entry; and island.

Georgia Abbrev.: Ga. See state names.

German measles Also known as rubella.

Germany East Germany and West Germany were reunited as of Oct. 3, 1990. Berlin stands alone in datelines.

getaway (n.)

get-together (n.)

ghetto, ghettos Do not use indiscriminately as a synonym for the sections of cities inhabited by minorities or the poor. Ghetto has a connotation that government decree has forced people to live in a certain area.

In most cases, section, district, slum area or quarter is the more accurate word. Sometimes a place name alone has connotations that make it best: Harlem, Watts.

GI, GIs Soldier is preferred unless the story contains the term in quoted matter or involves a subject such as the GI Bill of Rights.

gibe, jibe To gibe means to taunt or sneer: They gibed him about his mistakes.

Jibe means to shift direction or, colloquially, to agree: They jibed their ship across the wind. Their stories didn’t jibe.

Gibraltar, Strait of Not Straits. The entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean. The British colony on the peninsula that juts into the strait stands alone in datelines as GIBRALTAR.

giga- A prefix denoting 1 billion units of a measure. Move a decimal point nine places to the right, adding zeros if necessary, to convert to the basic unit: 5.5 gigatons = 5,500,000,000 tons.

girl Applicable until 18th birthday is reached. Use woman or young woman afterward.

girlfriend, boyfriend

Girl Scouts The full name of the national organization is Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Headquarters is in New York.

Girls 6 through 8 are Brownie Girl Scouts or Brownies. Girls 9 through 11 are Junior Girl Scouts or Juniors. Girls 12 through 14 are Cadette Girl Scouts or Cadettes. Girls 15 through 17 are Senior Girl Scouts or Seniors.

See Boy Scouts.

glamour One of the few our endings still used in American writing. But the adjective is glamorous.

globe-trotter, globe-trotting But the proper name of the basketball team is the Harlem Globetrotters.

GMT For Greenwich Mean Time. See time zones.


go-between (n.)

godchild, goddaughter Also: godfather, godliness, godmother, godsend, godson, godspeed. Always lowercase.

gods and goddesses Capitalize God in references to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Capitalize all noun references to the deity: God the Father, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, etc. Lowercase personal pronouns: he, him, thee, thou.

Lowercase gods and goddesses in references to the deities of polytheistic religions.

Lowercase god, gods and goddesses in references to false gods: He made money his god.

See religious references.


good, well Good is an adjective that means something is as it should be or is better than average.

When used as an adjective, well means suitable, proper, healthy. When used as an adverb, well means in a satisfactory manner or skillfully.

Good should not be used as an adverb. It does not lose its status as an adjective in a sentence such as I feel good. Such a statement is the idiomatic equivalent of I am in good health. An alternative, I feel well, could be interpreted as meaning that your sense of touch was good.

See the bad, badly entry and well.

goodbye Not goodby.

Good Conduct Medal

Good Friday The Friday before Easter.

good will (n.) goodwill (adj.)

GOP See Grand Old Party.

Gospel(s), gospel Capitalize when referring to any or all of the first four books of the New Testament: the Gospel of St. John, the Gospels.

Lowercase in other references: She is a famous gospel singer.

gourmand, gourmet A gourmand is a person who likes good food and tends to eat to excess; a glutton.

A gourmet is a person who likes fine food and is an excellent judge of food and drink.

government Always lowercase, never abbreviate: the federal government, the state government, the U.S. government.

government, junta, regime A government is an established system of political administration: the U.S. government.

A junta is a group or council that often rules after a coup: A military junta controls the nation. A junta becomes a government after it establishes a system of political administration.

The word regime is a synonym for political system: a democratic regime, an authoritarian regime. Do not use regime to mean government or junta. For example, use the Franco government in referring to the government of Spain under Francisco Franco, not Franco regime. But: The Franco government was an authoritarian regime.

An administration consists of officials who make up the executive branch of a government: the Reagan administration.

governmental bodies Follow these guidelines:

FULL NAME: Capitalize the full proper names of governmental agencies, departments, and offices: The U.S. Department of State, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the Boston City Council, the Chicago Fire Department.

WITHOUT JURISDICTION: Retain capitalization in referring to a specific body if the dateline or context makes the name of the nation, state, county, city, etc. unnecessary: The Department of State (in a story from Washington), the Department of Human Resources or the state Department of Human Resources (in a story from Georgia), the City Council (in a story from Boston), the Fire Department or the city Fire Department (in a story from Chicago).

Lowercase further condensations of the name: the department, the council, etc.

For additional guidance see assembly; city council; committee; congress; legislature; house of representatives; senate; Supreme Court of the United States; and supreme courts of the states.

FLIP-FLOPPED NAMES: Retain capital names for the name of a governmental body if its formal name is flopped to delete the word of: the State Department, the Human Resources Department.

GENERIC EQUIVALENTS: If a generic term has become the equivalent of a proper name in popular use, treat it as a proper name: Walpole State Prison, for example, even though the proper name is the Massachusetts Correctional Institute-Walpole.

For additional examples, see legislature; police department; and the prison, jail entry.

PLURALS, NON-SPECIFIC REFERENCES: All words that are capitalized when part of a proper name should be lowercased when they are used in the plural or do not refer to a specific, existing body. Some examples:

All states except Nebraska have a state senate. The town does not have a fire department. The bill requires city councils to provide matching funds. The president will address the lower houses of the New York and New Jersey legislatures.

FOREIGN BODIES: The same principles apply. See foreign governmental bodies and foreign legislative bodies.

governor Capitalize and abbreviate as Gov. or Govs. when used as a formal title before one or more names in regular text. Capitalize and spell out when used as a formal title before one or more names in direct quotations.

Lowercase and spell out in all other uses.

See the next entry and titles.

governor general, governors general The formal title for the British sovereign’s representatives in Canada and elsewhere.

Do not abbreviate in any use.

grade, grader Hyphenate both the noun forms (first-grader, second-grader, 10th-grader, etc.) and the adjectival forms (a fourth-grade pupil, a 12th-grade pupil).

graduate (v.) Graduate is correctly used in the active voice: She graduated from the university.

It is correct, but unnecessary, to use the passive voice: He was graduated from the university.

Do not, however, drop from: John Adams graduated from Harvard. Not: John Adams graduated Harvard.

graham, graham crackers The crackers are made from a finely ground whole-wheat flour named for Sylvester Graham, a U.S. dietary reformer.

grain The smallest unit in the system of weights that has been used in the United States. It originally was defined as the weight of 1 grain of wheat.

It takes 437.5 grains to make an ounce. There are 7,000 grains to a pound.

See ounce (weight) and pound.

gram The basic unit of weight in the metric system. It is the weight of 1 cubic centimeter of water at 4 degrees Celsius.

A gram is roughly equivalent to the weight of a paper clip, or approximately one-twenty-eighth of an ounce.

To convert to ounces, multiply by .035 (86 grams x .035 equals 3 ounces).

See metric system.


granddad, granddaughter Also: grandfather, grandmother, grandson.

grand jury Always lowercase: a Los Angeles County grand jury, the grand jury.

This style has been adopted because, unlike the case with city council and similar governmental units, a jurisdiction frequently has more than one grand jury session.

Grand Old Party GOP is acceptable as a second-reference synonym for Republican Party without first spelling out Grand Old Party.

grant-in-aid, grants-in-aid

gray Not grey. But: greyhound.

great- Hyphenate great-grandfather, great-great-grandmother, etc.

Use great grandfather only if the intended meaning is that the grand- father was a great man.

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. A&P is acceptable in all references.

Headquarters is in Montvale, N.J.

Great Britain It consists of England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland.

Britain is acceptable in all references.

See United Kingdom.

Great Depression See Depression.

greater Capitalize when used to define a community and its surrounding region: Greater Boston.

Great Lakes The five, from the largest to the smallest: Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario.

Great Plains Capitalize Great Plains or the Plains when referring to the U.S. prairie lands that extend from North Dakota to Texas and from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains.

Use northern Plains, southwestern Plains, etc., when referring to a portion of the region.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America See Eastern Orthodox churches.

Greek Orthodox Church See Eastern Orthodox churches.

Green Revolution The substantial increase in agricultural yields that resulted from the development of new varieties of grains.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) See time zones and meridians.

gringo See the nationalities and races entry.

grisly, grizzly Grisly is horrifying, repugnant.

Grizzly means grayish or is a short form for grizzly bear.

grits Ground hominy. The word normally takes plural verbs and pronouns: Grits are to country ham what Yorkshire pudding is to roast beef.

gross national product The total value at retail prices of all the goods and services produced by a nation’s economy in a given time period.

As calculated quarterly by the Department of Commerce, the gross national product of the United States is considered the broadest available measure of the nation’s economic activity.

Lowercase in all uses.

Groundhog Day Feb. 2.



group Takes singular verbs and pronouns: The group is reviewing its position.

grown-up (n. and adj.)

Grumman Corp. Headquarters is in Bethpage, N.Y.


Guadalupe (Mexico)

Guadeloupe (West Indies)

Guam Use in datelines after the name of a community. See datelines.

guarantee Preferred to guaranty, except in proper names.

guard Usually a job description, not a formal title. See titles.

guardsman See National Guard and Coast Guardsman.

Guatemala City Stands alone in datelines.


guerrilla Unorthodox soldiers and their tactics.

guest Do not use as a verb except in quoted matter. (An exception to a use recorded by Webster’s New World.)

Guild, The See Newspaper Guild, The.

Guinness Book of Records

Gulf Coast Capitalize when referring to the region of the United States lying along the Gulf of Mexico.

See coast.

Gulf Oil Corp. Headquarters is in Pittsburgh.

Gulf Stream But the racetrack is Gulfstream Park.

gunbattle, gunboat, gunfight, gunfire, gunpoint, gunpowder

gung-ho A colloquialism to be used sparingly.

guns See weapons.


gypsy, gypsies Capitalize references to the wandering Caucasoid people found throughout the world.

Lowercase when used generically to mean one who is constantly on the move: I plan to become a gypsy. She hailed a gypsy cab.

gypsy moth