Word list: D


One word.

decision making

Not hyphenated unless used as an adjective.

  • The project’s success hinges on effective decision making.
  • The project’s success hinges on effective decision-making strategies.


master’s, bachelor’s: lower case.

Abbreviated as: MA, MSc, BA, BSc, PhD.

degree subjects

Lower case unless proper nouns, e.g. mathematics, French.


Dependant is a noun; the adjective is dependent.

dire straits

Not dire straights.

discreet, discrete

Commonly confused. Discrete means separate, distinct or apart. You can have discrete manufacturing (the production of individual items such as cars or phones, which differs from process manufacturing – for example salt or oil). You can see discrete characteristics within a species or between species. You can plot discrete variables on a graph. You might have a discrete space in your house that you use as a workspace.

If you’re discreet, that means that you’re careful and prudent in your speech or actions; you keep things confidential; you’re secretive or circumspect. Or maybe you’re intentionally unobtrusive (“a discreet cough”).


One word.

driving licence

We call it a driving licence rather than a driver’s licence in UK English. See also licence, license.


A dropdown menu – one word.