Style Guide > 7 Usage > L
L
label, labelled, labelling
To form the participles of label, double the final l.
later
Use instead of below in cross-references — for example, “later in this section”.
Use instead of higher for product version numbers — for example, “Windows version 3.0 or later.”
lay vs lie
Lay is a transitive verb describing the action of placing something in a horizontal position and always has an object (lay the ruler on the page). The participles of lay are laying (they are laying the carpet) and laid (she has laid the tool on the bench), and the past tense is laid (he laid the foundations).
Lie is an intransitive verb describing a state, position, or condition (the platform lies five miles off the coast) and is followed by a preposition (in, on, over, under, beneath, for example) or a prepositional phrase (south of the border, 200 metres below the surface, for example). The participles of lie are lying (the tools are lying on the bench) and lain (it had lain dormant for many years), and the past tense is lay (it lay beneath the surface).
Lay and lie are used in many common or idiomatic phrases
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lay down the law (insist one’s authority)
lay into (attack)
lay claim to (claim ownership)
lay on thick (over do)
lay off (desist)
lay up (prepare)
lay to rest (bury)

lie of the land (not “lay of the land”—it’s American)
let lie (leave undisturbed)
lie in state
lie low (hide)
lay out (v.), laid out (adj.), layout (n.)
Derivatives of lay out are commonly used in reference to formatting. Use the correct spelling and part of speech according to your meaning.
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You can lay out complex information in a table.
Add formatting to your table after it is laid out.
A table layout clarifies complex information.
left, leftmost
Not left-hand. Use upper left or lower left, leftmost, and so on. Hyphenate if modifying a noun, as in “upper-left corner”.
legacy (n.)
Avoid using as an adjective, as in a legacy system; it's jargon. Instead, use previous, former, earlier, or a similar term. Describe the earlier systems if necessary, especially if discussing compatibility issues.
less vs fewer vs under
Use less to refer to a mass amount, value, or degree. Use fewer to refer to a countable number of items. Do not use under to refer to a quantity or number.
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The new building has less floor space and contains fewer offices.
Fewer than 75 members were present.
Less than a quorum attended.
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Less than 75 members were present.
The new building has less offices.
Under 75 members attended.
The new building has under 10 floors.
let, lets
Avoid in the sense of permitting a person to do something. Use can instead.
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With Doxical, you can learn while you work.
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Doxical lets you learn while you work.
leverage (n.)
Do not use as a verb; it's marketing jargon. Instead, use take advantage of, capitalize on, use, and so on.
licence (n.), license (v.)
The noun and verb have different spellings. All forms of the verb (and words derived from) are spelled with an s: licensed, licensing, licensee. Only Americans spell the noun with an s.
like
Acceptable as a synonym for such as or similar to. Do not use as a conjunction; use as instead.
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Riding a skidder is like riding a horse.
There are many activities available, like horse-riding.
He rode the skidder horse-like.
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Like I said, the case is closed.
He left the office, just like he had done the night before.
This month, like previous months, sales have been strong.
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As I said, the case is closed.
He left the office, just as he had done the night before.
This month, as in previous months, sales have been strong.
loath vs loathe
Loath (pronounced like oath) means “reluctant”, whereas loathe (pronounced like clothe) means “dislike intensely”.
lump sum
Both the noun (paid as a lump sum) and the adjective (a lump sum payment) are open.
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