Word list

If the term you're looking for isn't on this page, then consult a dictionary or check the Common Errors in English Usage site.

Word list

#

+1's, +1'ing, +1'ed
2-Step Verification
When referring to Google's 2-Step Verification, use initial caps. If you're referring to generic 2-step verification, use lowercase.
3D; not "3-D"

A

a and an
Use "a" when the next word starts with a consonant sound, regardless of what letter it starts with. For more information, see Articles (a, an, the).
abort
Don't use. Instead, use words like stop, exit, cancel, or end.
above
OK to use except for printed documentation, in which case use "preceding."
access (verb)
Avoid when you can, in favor of friendlier words like see, edit, find, use, or view.
access token
account name
Don't use. Instead, use username.
actionable
Avoid unless it's the clearest and simplest phrasing for your audience. If not, then consider options such as leaving it out or replacing it with a phrase like "that you can act on" or "useful." Don't use it in the legal sense without consulting a lawyer.
action bar
Don't use. Instead, use app bar.
address bar
Use to refer to the URL bar or the combined URL bar and search box in a browser. Don't use "omnibox."
administrator
Don't use. Instead, use "admin."
AJAX; not "Ajax"
At the moment (as of mid-2017), our help site writes the term as "AJAX," so that's how we currently write it in developer documentation as well. Our impression is that over time, more people are writing it as "Ajax," but "AJAX" is not uncommon. Jesse James Garrett, who coined the term, says it's not an acronym, but many others treat it as one.
all apps screen
among
See between versus among.
AM, PM
To be consistent with Material Design, use all-caps, no periods, and a space before.
Recommended: 9:00 AM
Recommended: 10:30 PM
& (ampersand)
In headings or text, don't use instead of "and"; however, it's OK to use in tables and UIs. And of course it's fine to use & for technical purposes in code.
and/or
Sometimes "and/or" is the clearest and most efficient way to express something. It's worth considering whether there's a good way to write around it, but it's not worth rewriting so that the text is harder to understand.
and so on
Avoid using "and so on" whenever possible. For more information, see etc.
Android (never "android")
Android-powered device; not "Android device"
any time (noun), anytime (adverb)
Recommended: You can change this setting at any time.
Recommended: Anytime you want a good video, you can watch YouTube.
API
Use "API" to refer to either a web API or a language-specific API. Don't use it when referring to a method or a class. For example, don't write "This resource has one API" when you mean "This resource has one method."
API key; not "developer key" or "dev key"
APIs; not "API's"
API Console; not "APIs console" or "developer console" or "dev console"
Short for "Google API Console."
API Console key
In most contexts, use "API key" instead of "API Console key." In Apps admin APIs, however, it's okay to use "API Console key" to distinguish from other API keys.
APIs Explorer; not "API explorer" or other variants
APK; not ".apk"
app; not "application"
application
Don't use. Instead, use "app."
app bar (formerly "action bar")
authentication and authorization
In general, use the word "authenticated" only to refer to users, and "authorized" only to refer to requests that are sent by a client application on behalf of an authenticated user. A user authenticates that they are who they say they are by entering their password (or giving some other proof of identity). The authenticated user then authorizes the client application to send an authorized request to the server on the user's behalf.
authN, authZ
Don't use. Instead, use "authentication" or "authorization."
autopopulate; not "auto populate" or "auto-populate"
autoupdate
Don't use. Instead, use "automatically update."

B

backend
backoff (noun), back off (verb), back-off (adjective)
backward compatible; not "backwards compatible"
base64
Except where it starts a sentence or heading, in which case it's init-capped; or where it's part of a name where it's init-capped. Generally not in code font. However, it is in code font if and only if it's a string literal or otherwise quoted from code.
below
OK to use except for printed documentation, in which case use "following."
beta (all lowercase)
between versus among
It's fine to use between when talking about more than two things; however, between isn't interchangeable with among.
In particular, use between when you're talking about two or more distinct things:
  • Recommended: JavaScript introduces dependencies between the DOM, the CSSOM, and JavaScript execution.
Use among when you're talking about things that are part of a group or things that aren't distinct:
  • Recommended: ... a traditional SQL database that can be shared among multiple applications.
More examples:
  • Not recommended: Because screen dimensions vary widely between devices (for example, between phones and tablets, and even between different phones), you should configure the viewport so that your pages render correctly on many different devices.
  • Recommended: Because screen dimensions vary widely among devices (for example, between phones and tablets, and even among different phones), you should configure the viewport so that your pages render correctly on many different devices.
  • Not recommended: You can share services between multiple clients.
  • Recommended: You can share services among multiple clients.
See also Grammar Girl's discussion of "Between" Versus "Among".
boolean
In most contexts, you're talking about a specific datatype in a specific programming language, in which case use code font and the exact spelling and capitalization of the programming keyword. But when referring to the abstract datatype, use lowercase. (In the unlikely event that you refer to "Boolean mathematics" or "Boolean logic," use uppercase.)
branding information
In the API Console, the phrase "branding information" refers to the information that Google shows to users when the client asks them to authorize access: specifically, the project's name and logo, and the developer's Google Account. This information is set in the Consent screen page.
built-in
button
In a UI, a link is not the same as a button; don't use the term "button" to refer to a link.
Use "button" to refer to mechanical buttons (such as the Home button on the front of the phone and the Volume up/down buttons on the side of the phone) and capacitive touch buttons on the phone. You "press" mechanical buttons, and "tap" capacitive and on-screen buttons.

C

cell phone
Don't use. Instead, use "mobile" or "mobile phone" or (if you're talking about more than just phones) "mobile device." Using "phone" (without "mobile") is fine when the context is clear.
cellular data
Don't use. Instead, use "mobile data."
cellular network
Don't use. Instead, use "mobile network."
chapter
When referring to documentation that isn't in the form of a book, don't use the term "chapter." Instead, refer to documents, pages, or sections.
check
Don't use to refer to marking a checkbox. Instead, use "select."
Not recommended: Check Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Select Automatically check for updates.
checkbox; not "check box"
clear
Use (as a verb) to refer to clearing a check mark from a checkbox.
Not recommended: Uncheck Automatically check for updates.
Not recommended: Deselect Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Clear Automatically check for updates.
click; not "click on"
Use "click in" when referring to a region ("click in the window"), but not when referring to a control or a link.
For Android apps, don't use "click". Instead, use "tap."
clickthrough (noun), click through (verb)
click here
Don't use. For details and alternatives, see Link text.
client
In REST and RPC API documentation, "client" is short for "client application"—that is, the application that the developer is writing. Don't use "client" as an abbreviation for "client library"; instead, use "library."
client ID
client secret
codebase; not "code base"
codelab; not "code lab"
combo box (noun), combo-box (adjective)
command line (noun), command-line (adjective)
compile time (noun), compile-time (adjective)
contents (noun)
In its singular form, "content" can be a noun, adjective, or verb. In its plural form, it's nearly always a noun. In our documentation, we use the noun, so keep it plural.
content type
Don't use when referring to types such as "application/json"; instead, use "media type."
Control+S, Command+S, etc.; not "Ctl-S" or "Cmd-S" or "Cloverleaf-S"
To refer to a Control character, use Control+character. (In most cases, use an uppercase letter for character.) Note that in macOS, many keyboard commands use the Command key instead of the Control key, and there's an Option key instead of an Alt key. If your audience includes macOS users as well as Windows or Linux users, then mention both keyboard commands. Example: "Control+S (Command+S on Macintosh)".
cross-site request forgery

D

data
In our usage, "data" is singular, not plural. Say "the data is," not "the data are." Also, in our usage, data is a mass noun, not a count noun; for example, say "less data" rather than "fewer data."
data center; not "datacenter"
dataset; not "data set"
data type; not "datatype"
deep linking; not "deep-linking"
However, if it would work to replace with "linking," then do that.
deselect
Don't use to refer to clearing a check mark from a checkbox. Instead, use "clear."
Not recommended: Deselect Automatically check for updates.
Not recommended: Uncheck Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Clear Automatically check for updates.
Developers Console
Don't use. Instead, use "Google API Console" or "API Console."
Developer's Guide
Not "Developer Guide" or "Developers' Guide."
dialog
Use "dialog" for the UI element sometimes called a dialog box. Use "dialogue" only for verbal interaction between people.
directory, folder
If the context you're documenting (such as an IDE's GUI) uses one term or the other, use that term. If not, then use "directory" in a command-line context, and "folder" in a GUI context. When in doubt, default to "directory."
disable, disabled
Don't use. Instead, use "turn off" or "off."
display (verb)
Don't use as an intransitive verb. Display is a transitive verb; therefore, it requires an object. It is often misused in technical documentation, as demonstrated by the following example:
Not recommended: The Output Directories area displays.
Recommended: The Output Directories area appears.
Recommended: The Output Directories area is displayed.
The following example demonstrates correct usage of the verb display but means something quite different from the preceding examples.
Recommended: The Output Directories area displays the vector image.
docset; not "doc set"
documentation or document or documents, whichever is applicable; not "doc" or "docs"
double-tap

E

each
"Each" refers to every individual item taken individually, not a group of items taken collectively. In other words, "each" is not a synonym for "all." For example, "a list of each item" is ambiguous; "a list of all the items" or "a list of the items" is generally clearer.
easy
ecommerce; not "e-commerce"
e.g.
Don't use. Instead, use phrases like "for example" or "for instance." Too many people mix up "e.g." and "i.e."
either
Usage note 1: When using "either," use parallel syntax—"Do either foo or bar" is fine, as is "Either do foo or do bar," but not "Either do foo or bar."
Usage note 2: We recommend using "either" only for a choice between two things, not for a choice among multiple things; however, this is a weak recommendation rather than a firm rule. Saying "either A or B or C" will annoy and distract some readers, but if it's the best phrasing for your situation, then use it.
element (for XML and HTML elements); not tag
HTML 4 elements are often referred to as "tags," but the equivalent items in modern HTML and XML are officially known as "elements."
email; not "e-mail" or "Email" or "E-mail"
As of mid-2017, Merriam-Webster dictionaries still prefer "e-mail" to "email." But the AP style manual switched to "email" in March 2011, and the New York Times switched to "email" in October 2013.
In some contexts, "mail" may be a better choice.
emoji
Use "emoji" for both singular and plural forms. See Don't know the difference between emoji and emoticons? Let me explain and What's the Plural of Emoji?
enable, enabled
Don't use. Instead, use "turn on" or "on."
endpoint; not "end point"
end user (noun), end-user (adjective)
Also consider just "user".
error-prone (adjective)
etc.
Avoid both "etc." and "and so on" wherever possible, but if you really need to use one, use "etc." Always include the period, even if a comma follows immediately after.
Not recommended: Your app may experience instability, high latency, and so on.
Not recommended (but acceptable): Your app may experience instability, high latency, etc.
Not recommended (but acceptable): If your app experiences instability, high latency, etc., follow these steps:
Recommended: Your app may experience problems such as instability or high latency.
expander arrow
The UI element used to expand or collapse a section of navigation or content. We don't often refer to these explicitly in documentation, but when we do, use the terms "expander arrow" and "expandable section" rather than terms like "expando" or "zippy."
exploit
Don't use to mean "use." Only use in the negative sense.

F

filename; not "file name"
following
Recommended: ... in the following code sample ...
frontend
functionality
On the one hand, everyone knows what this means. On the other hand, it's kinda jargony. So where possible, use terms like "capabilities" and "features" instead.

G

gender-neutral he, him, or his (or she or her)
Don't use. Instead, use the singular "they" (see Jane Austen and other famous authors violate what everyone learned in their English class). If you can't stand that, then use "he or she," or rewrite to avoid singular gendered pronouns. For example, using plurals can often help. (For more suggestions, if you have access to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, then see section 5.225, "Nine techniques for achieving gender neutrality.") Don't use "he/she" or "(s)he" or other such punctuational approaches.
GIF
Don't use a filetype extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use "GIF file" rather than ".gif file."
Google, Googling
Don't use as a verb or gerund. Instead, use "search with Google."
Google Account, Google Accounts (capital A)
Google API Client Library for Foo (Java, .NET, etc.) (or just "Foo client library" on later use)
Google API Console; not "Google APIs Console"
OK to shorten to "API Console" after first use on a given page.
Google Developers Console
Don't use. Instead, use "Google API Console" or "API Console."
Google I/O; not "I-O" or "IO"
Google Play services
Google Play services SDK
grayed-out
Don't use. Instead, use "unavailable."

H

hackathon; not "hack-a-thon"
hardcode (verb), hardcoded (adjective)
hit
Don't use as a synonym for "click."
home screen
hostname; not "host name"
HTTPS; not "HTTPs"

I

ID
Not "Id" or "id," except in string literals or enums. In some contexts, best to spell out as "identifier" or "identification."
i.e.
Don't use. Instead, use phrases like "that is." Too many people mix up "e.g." and "i.e."
If
Wondering whether to use "if" or "whether"? See whether.
in order to
If at all possible, don't use "in order to"; instead, use "to." Very occasionally, "in order to" does clarify meaning or make something easier to read.
interface
OK to use as a noun, but don't use as a verb. Instead, try "interact," "talk," "speak," "communicate," or other similar terms.
internet
Changed to lowercase in August 2017, in part because several other style guides have recently made this change.
I/O (see also Google I/O)
IoT
OK to use as an abbreviation for "Internet of Things."

J

jank
Use with caution. Think about whether your audience will understand it.
JPEG
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use "JPEG file" rather than ".jpg file."

K

key-value; not "key/value", especially as in "key-value pair"
kill
Don't use. Instead, use words like "stop," "exit," "cancel," or "end."

L

lead-in (noun)
learnings
Don't use.
legacy
If possible, use a more precise term. If you do use legacy, include or point to a definition to clarify what you mean in the current context. Do not use legacy with any sort of pejorative connotation.
let's (as a contraction of "let us")
Don't use if at all possible.
Not recommended: Let's click the OK button now.
lifecycle; not "life cycle" or "life-cycle"
limits
In an API context, usually refers to usage limits (number of queries allowed per second or per day). Best to use the term "usage limit" where possible, because "limit" can refer to many different kinds of limits, including rules about acceptable use. See also quota.
lint
Write both command-line tool name and command in lowercase. Use code font except where inappropriate.
livestream; not "live stream"
lock screen
login (noun or adjective), log in (verb)
But, for the verb form, "sign in" is better.

M

macOS
The operating system formerly known as "OS X" has been rebranded as "macOS." If you're referring to a specific version of the Apple operating system, then use its official name at the time of its release (such as "OS X 10.11"); but if you're referring to the operating system in general, use "macOS."
Material Design
markup (noun), mark up (verb)
No hyphen. As a verb, it's two words.
media type
In most contexts, use "media type" instead of "content type" or "MIME type."
metadata (no hyphen)
metafeed (no hyphen)
meta
Most words that start with "meta" don't have hyphens in them. For example, "metaprogramming" and "metalanguage" have no hyphens.
MIME type
"MIME" stands for "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions," and thus refers specifically to email. In non-email contexts, use "media type" instead. If you feel that'll be ambiguous to an audience familiar with the term "MIME," then you can write "media (MIME) type" for clarity.
mobile, mobile device, mobile phone
Use one of these terms instead of cell phone.
mobile data
Use instead of "cellular data."
mobile network
Use instead of "cellular network."

N

namespace; not "name space"
neither
Say "neither A nor B," not "neither A or B."
nonfatal; not "non-fatal"
notification drawer

O

OAuth 2.0; not "OAuth 2" or "OAuth2"
OK or okay; not "ok" or "Okay"
omnibox
Don't use. Instead, use "address bar."
once
If you mean "after," then use "after" instead of "once."
open source (no hyphen, not even as an adjective or verb)
overview screen
Don't use. Instead, use "recents screen."

P

parameter
In our API documentation, "parameter" is usually short for "query parameter"; it's a name=value pair that's appended to a URL in an HTTP GET request. In some contexts, however, the term may have other meanings.
parent-child or parent/child; not parent – child or parent—child
page
Preferred term when referring to a web page in general, and to a sub-page of the API Console in particular.
path
Avoid using "filepath," "file path," "pathname," or "path name" if possible.
PDF
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use "PDF file" rather than ".pdf file."
persist
Don't use as a transitive verb, and best to avoid using as a verb at all, especially in passive voice.
Not recommended: The token is persisted ...
Not recommended: To persist the token ...
OK: To make the token persist ...
Recommended: To make the token persistent ...
plain text (but "plaintext" in cryptography context)
please: see tone
plugin (noun), plug-in (adjective), plug in (verb)
PM
See AM, PM
PNG
Don't use a filetype extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use "PNG file" rather than ".png file."
preceding
Recommended: ... in the preceding example ...
precondition; not "pre-condition"
predefined; not "pre-defined"
prerecorded; not "pre-recorded"
press
Use for keyboard actions such as pressing a key. Also use for mechanical buttons. Use "tap" for on-screen and soft (capacitive) buttons.
property
In our API documentation, a "property" is an element in a resource. For example, a Task resource has properties like kind, id, and title.

Q

quota
In API contexts, usually refers to API usage limits. Best to use the phrase "usage limit" instead (except in cases where "quota" appears in a UI), because the word "quota" means many different things to many different people.

R

real time (noun), real-time (adjective), Realtime (as part of product name)
recents screen; not "overview screen"
Representational State Transfer
Don't use. To people unfamiliar with REST, this acronym expansion is meaningless; better to just refer to it as REST and don't bother trying to explain what it theoretically stands for.
review
If you mean "read, potentially for the first time," then use "read" instead of "review." Of course, if you mean "read critically, commenting on problems" (as in "code review"), then "review" is fine; the usage to avoid is phrasing like "If you've never heard of OAuth, then review the OAuth documentation."
runbook; not "run book"
runtime; not "run time"

S

screenshot; not "screen shot"
Search Console
select
Use to describe choosing an item from among multiple options, selecting text, or marking a checkbox.
Not recommended: Check Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Select Automatically check for updates.
service
In our API documentation, a "service" is a Google product, such as Google Calendar or Google Books.
setup (noun or adjective), set up (verb)
SHA-1
Not "SHA1," except in string literals/enums and in hyphenated phrases such as "HSA-SHA1."
should
Generally avoid.
When telling the reader what to do, "should" implies recommended but optional, which leaves the reader unsure of what to do. Better to use "must" or just leave out the word "should."
When telling the reader what "should" happen:
  • If the event that should happen doesn't happen, the reader is left wondering whether something has gone wrong. In this case, leave out the word "should" so that the reader knows that something has gone wrong if the event doesn't happen.
  • In most contexts, it's hard for the reader to tell who should cause the situation to come about. For example, if a reference document says "The value should be true or false," does that mean "You must set the value to either true or false" or "The server sets the value to either true or false"? Also, "should be" can suggest that it won't necessarily be; what happens if it isn't? So try to rephrase to be more precise about who should do what.
Not recommended: The Classroom Share Button should conform to our min-max size guidelines and related color/button templates.
Recommended: Ensure that the Classroom Share Button conforms to our min-max size guidelines and related color/button templates.
Not recommended: The column of the data table that the filter should operate on.
Recommended: The column of the data table that the filter operates on.
Not recommended: Whether it's a brand new project or an existing one, here's what you should do.
Recommended: Whether it's a brand new project or an existing one, perform the following steps.
sign-in (noun or adjective), sign in (verb)
sign-on, sign on
Don't use either form on its own. Use the hyphenated version as part of "single sign-on."
since
If you mean "because," then use "because" instead of "since." "Since" deals with the passage of time and "because" deals with causation or the reason for something.
simple
single most; not "singlemost"
single sign-on (noun or adjective)
smartphone
Don't use. Instead, use "mobile phone" or "phone."
ssh and SSH
To refer to the terminal tool ssh (used for creating a secure terminal connection), use lowercase, both for noun and verb: "use ssh to connect to your remote shell" or "Then ssh into your remote shell."
"SSH" (uppercase) can refer more generally to a secure communications protocol, such as for running commands in a remote shell environment over secure connections, for tunneling, or for port forwarding.
ssh'ing
Use alternatives to "ssh'ing" unless there is just no way around it.
Recommended: ... connect/connecting via SSH.
Recommended: ... use/using SSH to connect/forward/tunnel/log in.
startup (noun or adjective), start up (verb)
status bar
style sheet; not "stylesheet"
This is the official spelling, per the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
subclass; not sub-class; noun or verb
sub-element
subtree; not "sub-tree"
sync (noun, verb); not "synch"
Recommended: in sync
Recommended: sync, syncing, synced

T

tab
When referring to the sub-pages of the API Console, use "page" instead of "tab".
tablet
"Tablet" is OK. If you don't know whether it's a tablet or a phone, use "device."
tap
Use for on-screen and soft (capacitive) buttons. For mechanical buttons, use "press."
Use instead of "touch." However, "touch & hold" (not "touch and hold") is OK to use. (Note the "&". It's OK to use in this case.)
"tap & hold" or "tap and hold"
Instead, use "touch & hold." (Not "touch and hold.") (Note the "&". It's OK to use in this case.)
target
Avoid using as a verb when possible, especially in reference to people. For some readers, may have aggressive connotations. Instead of "targeting" audiences, we should try to attract them or appeal to them or make their lives easier. (Using it as an adjective, as in "target audience," is probably fine.) Alternatives include terms such as "intended for," "looking for," "focused on," and "interacting with."
terminate
Don't use. Instead, use words like stop, exit, cancel, or end.
they (singular)
This is our preferred gender-neutral pronoun. Whether used as singular or plural, it always takes the plural verb. For example, "A user authenticates that they are who they say they are by entering their password." See also gender-neutral he.
their (singular)
this, that
Where possible, put a noun after "this" or "that" for clarity. If doing so results in clunky prose, then don't do it; but even then, try thinking about what the noun would be. If you aren't sure what noun "this" or "that" refers to, then consider rephrasing.
timeframe; not "time frame"
Avoid where possible, or use an alternative such as "period," "schedule," "deadline," or "when." But if you do use it, write it without a space in the middle.
timestamp; not "time stamp"
timeout (noun), time out (verb)
time zone (noun), time-zone (adjective)
touch
Don't use. Instead, use "tap." However, "touch & hold" is OK to use.
touchscreen; not "touch screen"
typically
Use to describe what is usual or expected under normal circumstances. Don't use as the first word in a sentence, as doing so can leave the meaning open to misinterpretation.

U

Unix-like
uncheck
Don't use to refer to clearing a check mark from a checkbox. Instead, use "clear."
Not recommended: Uncheck Automatically check for updates.
Not recommended: Deselect Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Clear Automatically check for updates.
unselect
Don't use.
URL
All caps. Plural is "URLs."
Write "a URL" rather than "an URL", because the most common pronunciation starts with a consonant sound. For more information, see a and an.
user base; not "userbase"
username; not "user name"

V

vs.
Don't use "vs." as an abbreviation for "versus"; instead, use the unabbreviated "versus."
voila
Don't use.

W

wake lock (noun), wake-lock (adjective)
walkthrough; not "walk-through"
web (lowercase)
web page
Not "webpage." But where possible, avoid both by using "page."
website (lowercase w); not "web site"
whether
whitespace; not "white space"
Wi-Fi; not "wifi" or "WiFi"
When possible, instead use "wireless."
with
Don't use with when expressing ownership:
Not recommended: A handset with 2 GB of RAM.
Recommended: A handset that has 2 GB of RAM.
Don't use with when expressing use:
Not recommended: Debug this tool with the debugging tool.
Recommended: Use the debugging tool to debug.
World Wide Web
Don't use. Instead, use "web."

Z

zip
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use "zip file" rather than ".zip file."
zippy
Don't use to refer to expander arrows, unless you're specifically referring to the Zippy widget in Closure.

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Google Developer Documentation Style Guide
Google Developer Documentation Style Guide