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Annex 1



Should the titles of government officials be abbreviated? When do I use NEDA and
when should I spell it out? Availment? There is no such word in the dictionary but how
will I use this in the document? Should I abbreviate hectares as has.? National Power
Corporation as NAPOCOR? Why not NPC? Should it be resulting from? Or as a result
of? Does the regional economy grow due to good weather, or is it because of good
weather? The number of refugees is growing. Or should this be ..are growing?
This guide on style has been assembled precisely to provide answers to these questions.
In particular, it was prepared to help facilitate the packaging of official reports including
development plans, program and project proposals, status reports of ongoing and
terminated programs, policy research results and proposals, etc. It is based mainly on the
lessons from the previous efforts in producing NEDA documents over the past several
years, including the MTPDP 1993-1998, the Philippine Long-Term Development Plan,
the MTPDP 1999-2004, the National Framework for Physical Planning, the National
Agenda for Sustainable Development for the 21st Century, the Metropolitan Manila
Physical Framework Plan, among others.
This guide suggests preferred usages in the various elements of English grammar and
composition. It reflects corrections of common errors noted in past NEDA publications.
These concerns have been listed in alphabetical order for easier reference by the users.
While this guide tries to be extensive in its coverage of the major errors in style as
observed in various technical and other documents, some concerns might be missed.
Should this occur, it would be wise to refer to the established references on style, such
as: the University of Chicago Manual of Style; and The Elements of Style by W.
Strunk and EB White, among others. This guide is a work-in-progress. We also welcome
very much your comments, suggestions and contributions to ensure that this style guide
would comprehensively cover the basic issues we encounter in our day-to-day writing.
You can address your queries to: Edwin P. Daiwey, Development Information Staff,
National Economic and Development Authority, #12 Blessed Josemaria Escriva Drive,
Pasig City. 1605. Or you can send your messages through Internet via the e-mail


Abbreviations. When the abbreviation, or acronym, is first used in a composition,
write the words in full: thus, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
After the first mention, NEDA can be used again, if necessary. To avoid spattering the
page with capital letters, use the planning agency, or agency. (See Capitals)

Active, not Passive. In sentence construction, use the more direct subject-verb-object
rather than the other way around. Exports helped push economic growth is more alive
than Economic growth was pushed by exports. You may also find that by recasting
sentence from a passive to an active voice, the sentence also becomes shorter.

Acceleration. There is a sentence in an economic report that states: An acceleration of

the gross national product was noted in the last quarter, due mainly to higher revenues
from Filipino overseas workers. The proper term should be increase, or rise. To
accelerate means to hasten or quicken the velocity of a moving object.

Adjectives and Adverbs. These are both modifiers. As a rule, adjectives modify
nouns and pronouns while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.
(Adjective) Prudent fiscal policies are needed to control runaway inflation.
(Adverb) Deeply imbedded biases among Muslims work against a short-term
peace policy.
PREFERRED USAGE: Minimize use of adjectives or adverbs in documents.
Generally, good writers are generally suspicious of adjectives because these
words are essentially vague. If figures or numbers are mentioned in a
document, avoid unnecessary descriptions like less, more, small, big, etc..
Terms like key, major, significant, substantive, massive, prestigious, etc. are often
used and abused even when there is no mention of anything minor or
insignificant in the preceding or next statement.
So you dont say that: The major objectives of the Plan are. If there is no
mention of minor objectives, remove major.
In the same way: The key players in development are farmers, fishermen, church
people, etc. If everybody else is a key player, why bother with the word? Is
there such as thing as a minor player?
Another example: A massive information campaign shall be undertaken to
inform the people of the evils of jueteng. Everybody seems to think that
information campaigns are always massive.

Agreement (Subject-Verb). Errors on subject-verb agreements are common.

Herein are the more preferred and correct usages:


a. The subject and verb must agree in person and number.

Surveys show that overseas contract workers are mostly college graduates.
The number of dogs roaming in Pasig at night is greater than that of cats.
b. Use singular verbs for singular pronouns. The following indefinite pronouns
are singular:
Another, nobody, anyone, anything, everyone, either, many, a , one, nobody, no
one, neither, somebody, someone, each one.
Except: each and none. These use a singular verb if these refer to a mass noun.
A plural verb is used if the noun can be counted.
Each of the figures in the table is generated by the National Census Office.
None of the dwellings are habited.
None of the gas in the tank was saved.
(figures is a mass noun; dwelling is a countable noun; and gas is a mass noun)
c. Numbers, percentages and fractions: these are error-prone areas for NEDAs
Use a singular verb for a subject denoting quantity or number, if the subject
is regarded as a unit.
Twenty pesos does not mean much these days.

When a percentage is applied to countable units, use a plural verb.

About 21 percent of the housing units there are made of concrete and wood.
When a percentage is applied to units that could not be counted, use a
singular verb.
Ten percent of its gas content is helium.
About 30 percent of the exported product is imported material.

All fractions require a singular verb.

Two-thirds of foreign loans granted comes from Japan.

One-half of Samars child population is illiterate.
d. Use a plural verb for two or more subjects joined by and.
Sex and age are not considered in the study.


e. Use a singular verb when the two subjects are closely related in thought.
The format and style of the MTPDP is a hodgepodge of informal writing.
f. Use a singular verb for two or more singular subjects joined by or or nor.
Neither agriculture nor services is strong enough to influence the GDP.
BUT, if the subjects differ in number or person, the verb agrees with the
nearest of the two:
Neither the cow and the pigs are in the pen.
Either the rivers or the dam is overflowing with water.
g. Use a singular verb even for relative pronouns with plural antecedents if
preceded by the word one. If there is no precedent word, use plural verb.
One of the biases that influence decision-making is pressure from mob rule.
Biases influencing decision making are those that include mob rule.
h. Use a verb which agrees with its subject, not with its predicate noun.
WRONG: The main point of the analysis are the numbers from the NSO survey.
RIGHT: The main point of the analysis is the numbers from the NSO survey.
i. Phrases like more than one, row after row, volume after volume, and the like,
are idiomatically singular.
More than one project has been approved.
Row upon row of corn lies by the highway.
Volume after volume of research is produced by the NEDA every year.

Antecedent Agreement (Pronouns). An antecedent is the word, phrase or clause

to which a pronoun refers. A pronoun and its antecedent must agree in number, gender
and person.
a. Use a pronoun that agrees with the nearer of two antecedents.
Anybody or anything which can solve the problem is welcome.
Anything or anybody who can solve the problem is welcome.
b. Use a singular verb for two or more nouns preceded by a single article. If
each noun is preceded by an article, use a plural verb.


The President and Commander-in-Chief is appearing on TV to announce the

declaration of martial law.
The President and the Commander-in-Chief are two distinct positions.

Availment. This is a term not normally found in the dictionary, although the Filipino
mass media has picked it up and is using it as it were a familiar word in development or
economics literature. . Like aggrupation, this could be another contribution of the
Filipino writer to the English language. Once mentioned, it should be followed by its

Brackets. When used, which is rarely, brackets enclose editorial interpolations,
corrections, explanations or comments in quoted material. Example: [This report was
written before People Power II which effected a change in government leadership
Brackets can also be used as parenthesis within parenthesis. Thus: {The Laguna Lake
Development Authority said the hyacinths [more known as the water lily] can be
processed into organic fertilizers.}

Capitals. The general rule is to capitalize the first letters of the names of organizations,
institutions, places and people.
a. Subgroups, committees or special groups of an organization need not be
capitalized especially if used in a sentence.
national planning and policy staff of NEDA, Finance Department darts club,
Baguio City task force on land use planning, CSO development information staff
b. Titles of people are capitalized and abbreviated when placed before their full
names. But the titles are spelled out fully before their last or family names.
Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Solita Monsod, Gen. Jose Nazareno, etc.
President Macapagal-Arroyo, Senator Monsod, General Nazareno, etc.
If the ranks or titles are used in the sentence minus the names, these need not
be capitalized.
the president, the senator, the NEDA director-general, the general, etc.


Chairman or Chairperson. If the person referred to is male, chairman is usually

used: if a female, chairwoman. Advocates of gender sensitivity have suggested
chairperson. The more crisp chair is gaining popular usage. Common sense usage,
however, suggests that if the title is used before the full or family name, Chairman or
Chairwoman should be used. If we are referring only to the title or position,
chairperson or chair may be used..
THUS: Chairwoman Jane Ramos moved that the meeting be postponed.
The chairperson (or chair) of the Green Subic Movement is Kate Gordon.
The Chairman of the Board, Joe Domogan, is from Baguio City.

Choppy Sentences. While it is useful to write in short sentences, overusing this

approach may result in choppy sentences. For this reason, mastering the art of
subordinating or coordinating ideas properly will be a great help
CHOPPY: Secretary Canlas saw the error. He corrected it. The idea became clearer.
PREFERRED: When Secretary Canlas saw the error and corrected it, the idea
became clearer.

Collective Nouns. These are nouns that are singular in form despite having two
members or more.. In usage, it may be plural or singular.
a. If the collective noun stands for a single entity, use the singular verb.
The council was elected last November.
The committee was undecided on the issue of privatizing the NPC
b. If the collective noun stands for its constituents, the plural verb is preferred.
(This is an issue of meaning, or sense.)
The council are split over the motion to privatize the NPC.
The flock have been agonizing over the omissions of the leaders.

If the word number is used in the sentence, the following rule applies:
The number of households favoring snap elections is 405.
A number of households are favoring snap elections this year.

d. Where the words majority or minority are used, the rule is: if either word is
used in an abstract sense, it takes the singular verb; if it denotes the elements
making up the majority or minority in a group, it is plural.
A two-thirds majority is needed to impeach the president.
A majority of the Senate are opposed to the disqualification of Ms. Rajas

e. There are nouns ending in s but uses the singular form such as darts, billiards,
physics, mechanics, etc. Law and order is also singular.

Conjunctions. A conjunction is a word that links words or groups of words in a

sentence. Conjunctions are of two kinds: coordinating this connects words or groups
of words of equal rank (and, but, for, or, nor, yet, either, neither); and subordinating
this connects dependent clauses to main clauses ( if, since, because, so that, although,
a. Common problems in the use of subordinate conjunctions relate to the
improper choice of conjunction.
WRONG: A drawback to road building efforts in Samar is that the island lies
along the typhoon belt, and require stronger infrastructure designs.
RIGHT: A drawback to road building efforts in Samar is that the island lies along
the typhoon belt, thus requiring stronger infrastructure designs.
b. Never use while or meanwhile to express contrast These are subordinate
conjunctions used to indicate time. A little less clearly, these express
concession, as in though, or although.
WRONG: About 98 people in Samar died of typhoid last year, while in Baguio,
there were only 12.
RIGHT. About 98 people in Samar died of typhoid compared with 12 in Baguio.
WRONG: The regional GDP in Central Visayas rose by 3.4 percent, meanwhile in
Southern Mindanao, the regional GDP was a negative 1.2 percent.
RIGHT: The regional GDP in Central Visayas rose by 3.4 percent, unlike in
Southern Mindanao whose regional GDP was a negative 1.2 percent.

Colon. This indicates a break in grammatical construction greater than that marked by a
semicolon and less than that marked by a full stop, or period.
a. The most common use of the colon is that it introduces statements,
quotations and lists.
The contract states that: All contracting parties shall be male.
He said: You and I must make a pact.
The animals in the zoo include: goats, cows, giraffes, elephants and deer.
b. The colon emphasizes a sequence in thought between two clauses in a
sentence. It separates the two clauses, with one clause amplifying or
illustrating the other.


The fisheries subsector failed to perform well last year: this may account for the
poor performance of the agriculture sector.
Sometimes, it would be advisable to cut sentences separated by colons into
two. This is preferred if the sentence becomes too long and unwieldy.
The fisheries subsector failed to perform well last year. This may account for the
poor performance of the agriculture sector as a whole.

Comma. The comma is used in various situations. But as a preferred style, commas
should be used sparingly, especially in short sentences, where the active voice
dominates and where conjunctions are used.

Compound Words. Compound words indicate a relationship and when used as a

noun are spelled separately. There are instances WHEN THE USE THE HYPHEN OR
EN DASH IS PREFERRED. Here are some rules.
a. Compound words with elect are hyphenated except when the title of the
office has more than two words.

deputy governor elect

director general elect

b. Fractions are hyphenated, except when either numerator or denominator is

already hyphenated.
two and one-fourth


c. Compound words ending in book and house become single words.




This rule does not apply to: telephone book, business book, government house,
settlement house, etc.
d. Hyphenate compound words with better-, best-, ill-, all-, little- and the like
before a noun. If there is a modifier before such compound word, dont
better-written article
less-endowed province

ill-equipped camper
all-knowing economist

best-known bug
little-known town

BUT: very ill equipped camper, obviously better written report


e. Adjective-plus-past participle compounds, if placed before a noun, is

hyphenated: no hyphen if placed after.
one-sided argument

short-term measure

long-term plan

BUT: arguments that are one sided; measures in the short term.

Words with PREFIXES that are written as one include the following: pre-,
post- pro-, anti-, under-, over-, intra-, extra-, infra-, ultra-, sub-, super-, re-,
un-, non-, semi-, pseudo-, supra-, multi-, co- and hyper-.
semiprecious underrated
multinational withheld
Exceptions are prefixes which come before a proper noun, a number, or a
word similar in sound with others but having different meanings.
THUS: pro-American, pre-Martial Law, post-1900, re-cover, co-opt, post-APEC

Currencies. NEDA publications are read worldwide. So the use of PhP to mean
Philippine peso is encouraged. The US dollar is generally the standard currency in
international transactions. It is thus expressed simply as $. No need to say US$.
But A$ means Australian dollar; HK$, Hong Kong dollar; C$, Canadian dollar; and S$,
Singapore dollar. Currencies of countries other than dollars are spelled out: thus, baht,
yuan, lire, escudos, guilders, rand, rupees, rubles, kwacha, etc.
Other currencies that are abbreviated are DM (deutch mark), DKr (Danish kroner), SDR
(Special Drawing Rights), NKr (Norwegian kroner, SKr (Swedish kroner) and Y
(Japanese yen).
Abbreviations of currencies precede the figure, thus: PhP2.3 billion, not 2.3 billion
Philippine pesos; and Y1,000 not 1,000 yen.

Dash. There are two kinds: the em dash and the en dash. The em dash is twice the
length of the en dash which, in turn, is as long as the hyphen.
a. The em dash shows a sudden break in thought or abrupt change in a
sentence. It is also used to introduce an element that emphasizes or
explains a phrase in the main clause.


The gross national product or the total output of the local economy has not
improved despite pump-priming activities.
Islam the major religion in Sulu, traces its origins from Saudi Arabia.
b. The em dash can also be used to set off an enumeration of elements, or set
off a final summarizing clause.
The study focuses on use of appliances TV, radio, gas stoves, refrigerators,
washing machines and identifies the most commonly used.
Medalla, Monsod, Canlas these are the economists who headed NEDA.
c. The en dash or hyphen, is used to break compound words (see Compound
Words) or to indicate continuing or inclusive numbers like dates, time or
reference numbers.
THUS: pre-Martial Law; leech-like; 1998-99; 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; pp. 23-45; JuneJuly; Baguio-Manila trip; quasi-judicial; dome-like; thrill-filled; etc.

Dates. Prefer the traditional month, day and year order, not 10 March 2009 or 02 May
THUS: July I, 2001; May 23, 1987; etc. Also, it is July 20 not 20th of July; July 2000
not July, 2000; July 8-14, 2001 not July 8th to 14th, 2001.
For periods, write 1900s, not 1900s; 1995-99, meaning from 1995 to 1999; 20th
century, not twentieth century; 21st century technology not twenty first century
technology. Prefer Second World War to World War II or 2.

Due to. This phrase is often misused by writers who want to avoid using because of.
This phrase actually has three meanings:
a. caused by, as in: The postponement, due to President Estradas pleadings, of the
impeachment trial was considered unjust.
We dont say The impeachment trial was postponed due to President Estradas
pleadings. Aside from because of, we can also use owing to.
b. owed to, as in: About PhP540 million in amelioration pay is due to the teachers.

arranged, scheduled to or timed to, as in: The IMF-NEDA joint meeting is due
to end at 5 p.m.


Every one. This two-word phrase refers to a number. Everyone refers to everybody.
Enumeration. There are at least three ways of enumerating in a sentence: through
commas; colons and semicolons; and ordering either through numbers or successive
letters of the alphabet. The conjunction and is placed before the last enumerated item.
(Commas) The benefits of drinking tea include better bowel movement, clearer skin
complexion, improved sleep and better appetite.
(Semicolon followed by commas) According to economic analysts, there are at least
four ways of avoiding recession; through improved productivity, stronger exchange
rate, low inflation rate and higher investments.
(Colon followed by semicolons) The fearless forecast of Secretary Tan include: no
rain for the next few days; windy and slightly rough seas; warm temperatures; and
cloudy skies.
(Ordering through numbers) The Bontoks employ the following organic farming
practices: 1) fertilizers from animal manure mixed with dried sunflower plants; 2)
gravity-guided irrigation canals; 3) azolla cover in rice paddies; and 4) pruning of
unproductive crops.
(Ordering through letters) The people of Camiguin Island thrive on various
livelihoods, such as: (a) coconut farming; (b) handicrafts and manufacture of
souvenir items; (c) deep-line tuna fishing; and (d) backyard livestock raising.
The commonly used enumeration options are either commas especially for at three word
phrases or ordering through letters. Avoid using (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and so on. If the items
being enumerated consist of complete sentences, the bullets format would be more
appropriate. THUS:
The following assumptions were raised in an attempt to explain the rowdy behavior of
the Mendiola rallyists:
1) Several marchers were either intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
as evidenced by the presence of gin bottles and shabu paraphernalia;
2) Most of the rallyists were paid as much as P500 per head as confessed by
several participants; and
3) Many rallyists were simply pissed off or plain angry at the police.


Fewer. Dont confuse this with less. Use fewer numbers of individual items or people,
not less.
THUS: Fewer speeches are made daily by DIS speechwriters.
Less is used when referring to measured quantities or proportions. It takes the
singular form. If it is used to refer to a collective or nonmeasured item, it uses
the plural form.
THUS: Less than 20 kilos of sugar was missing from the clay pot.
Less than PhP350 was stolen from my wallet.
BUT: Less sugar were missing from the clay pot.
Less money are now in my wallet.

Figures. There are several preferred ways of using figures in NEDA-generated reports.
These include:
a. Dont start a sentence with a figure. Write the number in words instead.
WRONG: 12 percent of the growth in agriculture is accounted by fisheries.
RIGHT: Twelve percent of..
b. Spell out the words from zero to ten when used in a sentence. Numbers 11
and upward as well as those with decimal points or expressed as fractions
are expressed in figures.
THUS: eight, three, 15, 4.25, 0.4, , etc.
c. Fractions, when spelled out, should be hyphenated (one-half, two-thirds)
unless these are attached to whole numbers and even when these are
lower than ten.
THUS: About half of the area is devoted to palay, a tenth to mahogany trees,
and two-thirds to corn.
d. Million, billion, trillion are spelled out when these come after the figure
THUS: PhP7,000, PhP120 million, PhP 78.7 billion, $7 trillion
Avoid substituting million for the initial m, since it may also mean meter
or metric.


e. When presenting a ratio, spell it out than use its figure form. If the ratio
numbers involved are higher than 10, use the figure form with the word
to in between.
THUS: three to one, 27 to 10, 11 to 4, ten for every 1,000
NOT: three:one, 27:10, 11:4, 10:1000
But if the ratio is being used as an adjective form, figures and hyphens
are used especially when one number is higher than 10. Otherwise, spell
it out.
THUS: 13-7 vote; 50-30 odds, ten-to-four votes, three-to-one likelihood
f. For figures followed by measurements of symbols, the measures are
spelled out at initial usage. The symbol or abbreviated form is used
thereafter. (See also Dash, Abbreviations)
EXAMPLE: The town is 15 kilometers (km.) away from Imus. From the
south, it is 34 km. away from Tagaytay City.

Foreign Words and Phrases. Avoid using foreign words and phrases which are
unfamiliar to readers in English. If you do, put in a meaning or an explanation. Using
per capita, per annum and ad hoc are okay but not sancta mater ecclesia, nota bene et
populi. Use these foreign terms in its italics form.

Foundation. Cornerstone, centerpiece, or linchpin: these terms refer to different

things. Foundation means the basis upon which something stands, such as: Investor
confidence is the foundation upon which growth in the IT sector could be sustained.
Of the three words, cornerstone is closest to foundation in meaning: but not exactly
the same. A cornerstone is an event or thing upon which a development makes its
THUS: The Clean Air Act is the cornerstone of the governments program to control
unabated pollution of the atmosphere.
Centerpiece is neither a foundation nor a cornerstone. It refers to the central or
most auspicious aspect of an event, a program or an arrangement.
THUS: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the centerpiece of the
Macapagal-Arroyos program to enhance productivity in all economic sectors within
the decade.
Linchpin, for its part, refers to an element of a situation or structure that holds
such situation or structure together. It is a major part of a system.


THUS: Strong exports growth is a major linchpin in the governments effort to

attain a better balance-of-trade position in the face of dwindling OFW remittances.

Fund. This is a popular term in economics, but also one of the most misunderstood.
Technically, a fund is floating debt converted into more or less permanent debt at fixed
interest. Yet it is mistakenly equated with finance, money or when used as a verb, to pay
WRONG: Collections from road-user fees shall fund the improvement of
municipal roads.
PREFERRED: Funds from the collection of road-user fees shall finance the
improvement of municipal roads.

Gender. In common usage, gender is applied to grammar, not people. If a person is
female, we are referring to her sex, not her gender.

Hyphen. (See Compound Words, Dash, Figures) This is also used to avoid
ambiguities in construction.
THUS: A little-used car is different from a little used-car; or a high-school girl
from a high schoolgirl, resort from re-sort, pull-out from pull out, foreign policymakers from foreign-policy makers.
Hyphens are also used to form nouns from prepositional verbs. For example,
bail-out, build-up, get-together, set-up, shake-up, etc.
Hyphens also separate identical letters: book-keeping, coat-tails, trans-ship, reemerge, re-engineer

Impact. Be careful with this term. It is not the same as result. You dont say the
negative GNP rate impacted in more widespread poverty. Nor do you say that the
impact of the low savings rate is less capital for investments. This word assumes
different meanings according to usage.


When used as a noun, it refers to the degree of effect after contact. It is

synonymous with concussion, shock or brunt. Being an effect, it assumes a singular
form. Avoid adding s to impact.
THUS: The impact of the information campaign was hardly felt at all, especially in
the rural areas.
WRONG: The information campaigns impact was that the people in the rural areas
were moved to tears.
When used as a verb, it means to strike at or push against.
THUS: The falling value of the peso impacted on efforts to stem the tide of possible
increase in the price of oil.
As a verb, it also means to press together and mix into a tightly bound mass.
THUS: The rain and the exposed red clay impacted into some kind of abstract
sculpture of nature.

-ize, -ise. American English usage prefer the ize while British writers prefer the -ise:
thus, organize vs. organize or synchronize vs. synchronise. We must remember, however,
that there are words that really end in -ise whether or not it is American or British in
usage. These include: advertise, despise, disguise, franchise, supervise, improvise,
demise, televise, etc.
But we Filipinos tend to take the issue further, particularly converting a noun into a
verb by adding -ize. So we use prioritize, laymanize, manualize, rationalize,
serialize, etc. The problem here is that some terms really get bastardized (no pun
intended): you dont see these in the dictionary. Prioritize and serialize are familiar
words, but others are not.
The word rationalize, however, is vague. It may actually mean different things. To
rationalize government operations, for example, may mean to make operations more
efficient or to put order into how government activities are implemented. Sometimes,
what the writer meant could be to streamline.

Jargon. This seems an incurable malady in most technical writing, and most
specialized publications suffer from this . One reason, perhaps, can be traced to the
mistaken notion that a reports preciseness or accuracy would be lessened without the
specialist language. Fine. But we are not writing for ourselves. We are writing for other
people, to have them understand what we want to say. Yet we insist on using exponential
rather than fast; interface, instead of talk; convergence instead of joining or meeting; etc.
Look over the example statements below.


EXAMPLE: A precipitous rise in inflation rates, primarily from the devaluation,

immediately resulted. The estimates are consistent and do not necessarily depend
on the assumption of normality in consumption basket behavior. The first
sentence refers to the sudden rise in inflation rates because of devaluation. The
second sentence does not appear related to the first.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: (Excerpt from the MTPDP, 1999-2004) The
accelerated energization of geographically remote and economically
marginalized areas aimed to bring the rural population into the mainstream of
development. This simply means that providing electricity faster to the distant
and poor rural areas will hasten the peoples development.
A THIRD EXAMPLE: (Also from the MTPDP, 1999-2004) For bureaucracy to
be transformed into a well-performing institution that responds to the challenges
of globalization, it must address the pervading dysfunctions in the bureaucracy
which tend to weaken its capability to achieve its purpose and objectives. In other
words, there are flaws (dysfunctions) in the bureaucracy that must be corrected so
it could perform better.
The soul of jargon is in the specialized language used, and in the length of the
composition. It disdains the familiar to the technical. It prefers lengthy
argumentation than short and straightforward explanations. As a result, the
composition becomes harder to understand.
The point is this: public documents should be understood by the average
reader. One can still be precise in language without jargon. Stick to simple
writing by using familiar words, keeping sentences short, preferring the
active voice to the passive, using adjectives sparingly and using verbs more

Last. Last January means the previous January nearest to now. So, last month, in
December, means November. Last year, in 1998, means 1997. You dont say last
October 1997; just remove the word last. You also dont say the last issue of Economic
Monitor, especially if the publication has no plans of closing shop. You must be referring
to the latest issue, or the previous issue, or last months issue.

Less. (See Fewer)


Mainstreaming. From the noun mainstream. It makes no sense to say that ..Part of
the governments thrusts is mainstreaming the informal sector. What the sentence
actually means is that: The informal sector is being integrated into the socioeconomic

Manualize. Whats this? When the Civil Service Commission first used this term, it
explained that this refers to putting together all operating procedures and processes of the
office in one manual for easier reference. Avoid using this term, including other similar
nouns which could be transformed into verbs by simply adding ize like traumatize,
idiomatize, etc.

May, Might. Both words can be interchanged. There are, however, situations when
you may want to use might more. But may is the word to use when in doubt.
a. Might is preferred for conditional sentences using the subjunctive.
THUS: If the GNP were to grow by four percent this semester, industry might
have to perform better.
IF REPHRASED, may is used. If the GNP grows by four percent this semester,
industry may have to perform better.
Do not write: Joseph Estrada might be president of the country, but he lacks
economic sense. Joseph Estrada may be president is the preferred usage.

Measurements. Use the more familiar forms of measurements. The world has gone
metric, so avoid nonmetric forms of measurement. Hectares is preferable to acres;
kilometers to miles; meters to yard; liters to gallons; kilos to pounds; or Celsius to
The first usage of a measurement is usually followed by its abbreviated form in
parenthesis. This abbreviated form is to be consistently preferred in succeeding
uses. Hectares is not abbreviated.
Measure (Abbreviated From)

Measure (Abbreviated Form)

square inch (sq. inch)

square centimeters (sq. cm.)
square feet or foot (sq. ft.)
square meter (sq. m.)
cubic foot or feet (cu. ft.)
kilowatt (kW)
kilometers per hour (kph)

kilo (k.)
kilogram (kg.)
kilometer (km.)
hectare (hectare)
cubic meter (cu. m.)
kilowatt hour (kWH)
milliliters (ml.)


milligrams (mg.)
ton (ton)
metric ton (mt)
gallon (gal.)
megawatt (mW)
megawatt hour (mWH)
kilovolts (kV)
circuit kilometer (circuit km.)
linear meters (lm.)
million metric barrels of fuel oil equivalent (MMBFOE)

Numbers. (See Figures)
Objective. From the word object, which also means aim or goal. Dont interchange
with target. Objective is not exactly a target. A target is something more concrete and
expressed in measurable terms. Objective is more general and relates to reaching or
attaining an object.

Percent. This is not the same as percentage point. Nothing can fall, or be devalued, by
more than 100 percent.
When used in a sentence, it is spelled out after the figure or number. If the figure
and percent are enclosed in parenthesis, the percent symbol (%) is used.
THUS: The GNP grew by 4 percent in 2000, or .024 percent higher than in 1999.
The GDP likewise grew by 3.5 percent, mainly because of strong performance by
industry (8 %) and services (12%).
If zero of a whole number less than 11 precedes percent, the figure is spelled out
especially when mention is made only once in the sentence or in the paragraph.
But if percent is mentioned more than once in the sentence (as in comparison, or
in the form of a group or list), the figures are spelled out.
THUS: The economy grew by four percent, which is higher than that of the previous
year. This good news resulted in another bullish trading day at the stock market.
BUT: The economy grew by 4 percent which is higher than the previous years 3.8
percent. This good news resulted in another bullish trading day at the stock market.

Pre-requisite. Trash this word. It does not differ from requisite. Thus, say: The
requisites for economic growth are peace and order and a stable environment for


Punctuation Marks. (See Colon, Comma and Dash)

Apostrophes. Use the normal possessive ending s after singular words or names that
end in s. Use it after plurals that do not end in s.

bosss, caucuss, Jamess, Joness

Childrens, Frenchmens, medias

Use the ending s on plurals that end in s, including plural names that take a
singular verb.

Danes, bosses, Joneses Reuters, Barclays, Stewarts and Lloyds

Do not put apostrophes on decades: 1990s not 1990s

Brackets. Or parenthesis. If a whole sentence is within brackets, put the full stop or
period inside.

(The sun shone bright during the equinox.)

Inverted Commas, or Quotation Marks. This is used to enclose quotations. For

quotations within quotations, the single inverted comma is used.

When I say immediately, I mean some time before March.

Quotations. During those days when writing work was done on typewriters, quotation
marks ( ) were used to highlight or identify quotations within the sentence. With
computers, one may either continue using quotation marks or use the italicized form for
the quotation. Thus, it is alright to see a sentence reading this way: The old man said:
Youre truly amazing!
Quotations are the safest means of defining of describing something from the viewpoint
of another person, especially when you are not sure of what he has exactly said. It is also
a lazy writers way of narrating things or ideas, especially when used extensively.

Real. Is this word necessary? When used to mean after taking inflation into account,
such as real costs, then it is legitimate. But to say investors are taking a real interest in
the country, this is better left out. Often , this word is redundant.


Relatedly. This is often used as an adverb but it modifies nothing even though it is
placed as the first word of the sentence in the same sense as meanwhile, or moreover. It
means nothing, so avoid using it. The meaning of the sentence does not change without
it. So, say: The GDP growth was not impressive enough to trigger a rise in expectations
not Relatedly, the GDP growth..

Result. Things happen as a result of a previous action. These do not result from nor
result into such actions.

Sector. This is an example of an overused and vague development term. It refers to a
socioeconomic and political subdivision in society. So, we have the public sector,
private sector, religious sector, industrial sector, agricultural sector. Farmers and
fishermen are thus subsectors under agriculture, in the same way manufacturing and
construction are subsectors under industry.
THUS: We say exports industry, rather than exports sector. Or banks, instead of
banking sector. Private sector sounds legit, but should you also say private business
sector, or private business subsector?
Also, be careful about the adjective sectoral. This is a much-abused term and like
masteral, is not listed in certain dictionaries. It is alright to say sectoral concerns,
particularly when the sector has been earlier identified in a preceding line, or
sentence. But it is better to say agricultural concerns than agriculture sectoral

Slang. Avoid this in formal composition. Slangs sometimes sound like idiomatic
expressions aimed at making the mood or tone of the composition lighter. To say:
The president gave the green light to the NEDA-proposed BOT project, has an
uncomfortable effect when used in a formal document. This would be okay in a news
report. The president approved sounds better.

Slash, or /. As much as possible, avoid this. A draft report to the President a few years
ago contained the sentence: The guidelines/framework/action program/strategies for the
sustainable development efforts/program of the government are being finalized and shall
be submitted after two weeks for review/approval.
Choose the most appropriate word to use and stick to it especially if the words in
a group are synonymous. For words with entirely different meanings, substitute
the slash symbol (/) with and or or: THUS: After it is finalized, the document shall
be submitted for review and approval.


Slippage. This word isnt in the dictionary. Like availment, efforts should be made to
explain what the term means immediately after it is mentioned.

Some Time. This means at some point of time. Sometime means former.
Spelling. Programme, or program? Behaviour or behavior? Labour or labor? Whisky
or whiskey? British or American English? The World Bank and several development
organizations use British English in their documents. But Filipinos have been educated
in American English and are thus more comfortable in the language. A suggested usage
would be to stick to American English and use British English when it is used as quoted
or as part of a title of a document.

Stationary. This means still. If you are referring to writing paper, it is stationery.
Target. This is a noun. On several occasions, this word is inappropriately used as a
verb as in: The Plan targets the poor as its main beneficiaries. It would be better to say:
The Plans targets are the poor. Targeted is acceptable as a verb form. It means setting
a goal to be achieved, as in: Palay production is targeted at 300 metric tons (MT) per
square kilometer in 2005.

There is; There are. Often redundant. Rather than There are four sectors needing
safety nets, say Four sectors need safety nets. Or There are three problems facing the
banking industry would be better stated as Three problems face the banking industry.

Titles. (See Capitals Titles) For people, titles are important to them, especially when
earned. The overriding principle, therefore, is to treat people with respect. The rule of
the thumb is to abbreviate the title, as capitalized, before the full name when initially
used in a sentence or paragraph. Spell out the title followed by the family name in the
subsequent usage. In cases of Ph.D holders or doctors of medicine, qualify the persons
first with their academic accomplishments before using their title Dr.
EXAMPLE: Sen. Joker Arroyo denied that he opposed the bill proposing the
privatization of the National Power Corporation (NPC). The bill has already been
approved at the bicameral committee and is on its third and final reading at the
Senate. Senator Arroyo, stressed that his support for the proposal is in the Senate
EXAMPLE: Norma Bernal, a holder of a Ph.D. in Economics said the Dagum model
is not an appropriate tool for analyzing poverty incidence. Her statement drew several
reactions. But Dr. Bernal is not fazed and has even come out with a counter-model to
justify her stand. (Be careful with graduates from Italy whose undergraduates affix Dr.
to their names.)

How about Mr, Mrs., Ms. Or Miss? Dont bother using these at first mention. Plain
Juan de la Cruz or Margarita Planas will do. If these names crop out again in the
text, the Mr. de la Cruz or Miss Planas (if single) may be used, especially if they
are still living. Journalists usually dont bother with these titles.

Unique. This means one of a kind and cannot be qualified. Avoid using it to describe
something as very unique, most unique or rather unique.

Unnecessary words. These just eat up valuable space. These usually include
redundant terms, adjectives, prepositions after verbs, etc. Youll know that a word is
unnecessary if you remove it and the meaning remains intact or even improved.
EXAMPLES: cutbacks (this isnt any different from cuts), track record (why not
simply record?), weather conditions (weather), large-scale (big), major speech
(speech), substantially unfinished bridge ( unfinished bridge), a heart condition
(you must mean a bad heart?), industrial action (a strike?, a shutdown?)

Vagueness. A sentence is considered vague if it isnt clear on what it says or means.
This usually happens when abstract words are used. Saying that the Reyes family
suffered a lot because of the tragedy involving the youngest son results in the reader
asking more questions, like what tragedy a death, accident, failure in school?
Try to be more concrete: if you say the organization in a sentence, be specific: is it the
UN, Jaycees, the DOT, NEDA?
If a ceremony was observed at the building auditorium, was it a mass, a wedding or
awarding ceremonies?
The regional director was reported to have signed the document for monetary
consideration. Is this a reward or a bribe? Or could it be simply an honorarium?
Other vague terms to avoid are: accident, legal action, community (neighborhood,
village, town), document, instrument, etc.

Verbs. Verbs are among the most important parts of a sentence. Verbs connote action.
Thus they kick, scream, win, lose, soar or fall. In writing, select the best possible verb
to describe the action. If the GNP fell steeply, you may want to use plunged; if it
increased beyond expectations, you may want to used soared. Too often, we prefer to be
on the safe side that we become repetitious in our choice of verbs. Thus, prices always

decrease or they decrease. They dont go up, nor do they hit the ceiling. Try to be
creative but circumspect with your choice of verbs.
Avoid transforming nouns into verbs, especially through use of ize. Verbs ending
in ize are often unnecessary and often sound awkward. Take manualize. Or prioritize.




A publications format refers to the physical appearance of published document. This

section therefore suggests how development reports other than development news could
be package for publication. Packaging for publication presupposes printing the report for
a broader readership. Preparations for publication has three phases: (a) data and
information encoding; (b) publications design and layout; and (c) printing.
1. Data and information encoding is done by the document writers and reviewed by
competent editors . It is suggested that the following format be observed to facilitate the
next step of preparing the publication, which is design and layout.
a. Paper size to be used: A4
b. Fonts for titles, headings and subheadings:
1st Section Heading
2nd Section Heading


3rd Section Heading


4th Section Heading


5th Section Heading


(all caps, 12 pts., Times Roman)

(caps & lower case, boldface, 12 pts.
Times Roman)
(caps & lower case, bold-italics, 12
pts., Times Roman)
(caps & lower case, italics, 12 pts.
Times Roman)
(caps & lower case, underlined, 12
pts., Times Roman)

c. Fonts for tables -- titles, text, and footnotes:

Table No.

Table 12:

Table Title
Table Modifier

(In Percent)

Table Footnote

Source: NSO

(caps & lower case, 10 pts. boldface,

(all caps, 10 pts. boldface, Arial)
(caps & lower case, 10 pts. normal,
(caps & lower case, 10 pts, italics,


a. Preferred Software Encoding Programs

Considering that the final document shall be printed in book form, it may be laidout as camera-ready materials using the Adobe Pagemaker, ver. 6.5 format.
Hence, the initial material should initially use: Microsoft Word (versions 1998
or 2000) for text and for tables. While Microsoft Excel is the preferred program
for tables and charts, use these only when Microsoft Word cannot do the job.
Although it could be done, there is difficulty in inserting Excel-based programs
into the Pagemaker format.
2. Publications Design and Layout. This is prepared by a creative publications design
group or expert who which will prepare the following:
a. Cover Design. Three to five cover studies can be prepared by the lay-out artist
for final selection and possible revisions. The preferred program for design is
Adobe Photoshop ver. 7 or the Corel Draw 9.
b. Camera Ready. This is a clean hard-copy of the final document already
approved for publication, based on the previously prepared copies of the
document as reviewed, edited, and proofread. This is the copy to be submitted to
the printing press.
3. Printing. This final stage will require the document preparations staff to supervise
and guide the actual printing of the document. A clean blueprint of the document shall
first be produced by the printing press for final lookover and approval. Delivery is
usually completed 10-20 days after approval of blueprint without corrections.


(SAMPLE FORMAT for Document Draft Prelayout Stage )

Challenges for Infrastructure Support, 2001-2004

The anticipated growth of the economy is expected to exert more pressure for
infrastructure support. The next three years thus require an even faster pace of
infrastructure development on two fronts: (a) providing for the primary needs of the
population such as reliable and adequate water supply, shelter, health facilities and
transportation; and (b) providing support facilities for the productive sectors, with focus
on regional agri-industrial centers.
Inspite its importance to the countrys economic wellbeing, the rural sector
continues to be the most neglected and the most needy. This sector holds the key to the
countrys long-term, broad-based and rapid development. If poverty is to be reduced, the
sector must grow faster than its historical rate. The rural economy etc.
Sectoral Performance
In keeping with the proposed policy framework, the performance of the rural
sector was assessed based on the broad parameters of .etc.etc.
In the light of the continuing drop in productivity in the sector, the following
challenges have been identified. The sector.etc.//etc..
Policies and Strategies
Ensure energy availability and security at all times
The sources of energy and its various types will be diversified through: (a) use of
natural gas for power generation or other competitive uses; (b) exploration and
development of oil and geothermal resource potential; and (c)identify large-scale
hydroelectric sources for settlements far from established grids
Promote judicious and efficient use of energy

The efficient use of energy will be promoted through: (a) least-cost supply
options; (b) the restructuring of electricity tariffs to reflect cost of provision; and (c)
deregulation of the downstream oil industry through legislation.
Privatize the NAPOCOR and encourage greater private sector
participation in power generation
The pirvatization of the NAPOCOR should enable other efficient power
generating firms to fill in the rising demand for power which the state-owned firm could
not achieve because of its frail financial condition. The entry of competitive powergenerating companies should also result in lower costs of power which would benefit
greatly industrial and residential consumers.
Key Measurable Targets
Total energy supply is targeted to meet total energy demand, growing at an
average annual rate of about eight percent for the period 1996 to 1998. This implies that
production of oil must reach 24.5 million metric barrels of fuel oil equivalent
(MMBFOE) in 1998. This should improve the financial position of the various
government-owned corporations whose performance during the past planning period has
been very dismal (Table 6.1).
Table 6.1
(In Billion Pesos)





and Controlled Corporations
Government Financial
Social Security Institutions






(25.60) (9.69) (1.26)






(11.96) 0.01



(18.56) 3.79
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Source: DOF