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Ask the Editor provides answers, clarification and guidance on style issues that go beyond the pages of the AP Stylebook. Before posing a question to AP editor David Minthorn, search the accompanying style archives for your topic. With thousands of questions and answers on file, your topic has very likely been covered. For typical style questions and responses, visit Ask the Editor FAQ.

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Ask the Editor questions from the past week:

Q. Is U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket hyphenated? Is it U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket? – from St. Paul , Minn. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Correct as Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Q. When adding [sic] to a direct quote, should it be in brackets? Should it be italicized? Thank you – from Fort Wayne, Ind. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Insert (sic) in the quote directly after the problem. The term is enclosed in parentheses but not Italicized in AP news stories. See the "(sic)" entry in the Stylebook for elaboration.

Q. I submitted the question below last week, and I am still confused. I was told by AP to change an acronym in a direct quote. Then, I read that AP does not change direct quotes. Will you please clarify? Thank you! Q. I quoted someone in a story for my company publication. They used a well known acronym (describing a program) to begin a sentence. I was told I should change the direct quote and use the full name of the program and use the acronym immediately afterward. I'm pretty sure he is wrong on this. I say it should be left "as is." Or should I spell out the full name and put it in parenthesis before the acronym to begin the sentence? That seems like it would be confusing to the reader. He said if the article is seen by clients or is re-purposed it will not be clear. What should I do? I need an answer fast! Thanks!%uFFFD from Madison, Wis., on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 – from Madison, Wis. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. On a second reading, I see your question is more complex than I understood on the first go-round. Yes, the quote should reflect the person's actual words unchanged, in this case the acronym. AP does not insert the full wording in parentheses after the acronym or abbreviation, but uses the full term in a subsequent reference if it's unfamiliar.

Q. Is broker associate ever capitalized? – from Eagan, Minn. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. AP doesn't capitalize job descriptions such as broker associate.

Q. Could you tell me what the capitalization rule is for using compound modifiers in section titles? For example, would it be On-site Services or On-Site Services? – from Altamonte Springs, Fla. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. In such uses, the second element of the hyphenated term is generally lowercase.

Q. Hello! Can you settle a departmental debate, please? I maintain that --spectra-- is the correct plural, not --spectrums--. Am I right? Please advise. Thank you much! – from Kansas City, Mo. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Most words ending in um add s for the plural. For the spectrum entry, Webster's New World College Dictionary lists spectra before spectrums as the primary noun plural spelling.

Q. Which is correct: Bennie is a good friend of my brother Billy. OR Bennie is a good friend of my brother Billy's? And what grammatical rule applies? – from Los Angeles on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Bennie is a good friend of my brother Billy. Or, my brother Billy's good friend is Bennie. These are possessive construction functioning as descriptions.

Q. Hi. Hoping you can help us out. Is it 3-step in a headline and three-step otherwise? – from Washington on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Use figures for specific numbers in headlines.

Q. For state highways abbreviations, what is the appropriate abbreviation on second reference? S.H. 183 (like U.S. 1) or SH-123 (Like I-35)? – from Plano, Texas on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Use the state route model in the "highway designations" entry: state Highway 183 on first reference, Highway 183 on second reference. The hyphenated letter-number designation on second reference is reserved for interstate highways.

Q. You can rest easy knowing that ... OR You can rest easily knowing that ... – on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. The common expression is rest easy.

Q. Is team builder two words or hyphenated when used as a noun? – from Katy, Texas on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. No hyphen.

Q. Following up on your earlier answer, does the fact that it's being used as a compound modifier of trends not matter? Q. In the following sentence, should base pay be hyphenated? "Exhibit 2 shows the base pay trends of the top..."%uFFFD from Raleigh, N.C., on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 A. The dictionary term is base pay, two words without a hyphen. – from Raleigh, N.C. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. It's a noun phrase without a hyphen.

Q. What's the proper format for non-numbered chapter names within a sentence, vis a vis capitalization, quotation marks, etc? For example: In the chapter titled "How to train your Pokemon," you will find several winning strategies. – from Hypoluxo, Fla. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. It's fine as written in your sentence if it duplicates the spelling of the actual chapter title. For other examples, see "composition title" entry.

Q. Which is proper style: Counter sue or countersue when used as a verb? Example: The judge also ruled card issuers could countersue retailers. – from Washington on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. It's countersue in the dictionary. See the Stylebook's "counter" entry for elaboration.

Q. In the following sentence, should base pay be hyphenated? "Exhibit 2 shows the base pay trends of the top..." – from Raleigh, N.C. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. The dictionary term is base pay, two words without a hyphen.

Q. I know that when some people abbreviate tablespoon, they capitalize the t. How does AP prefer: Tbsp. or tbsp.? – from Louisville, Ky. on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Per the "recipes" entry, AP Stylebook guidance is to spell out tablespoon, teaspoon, etc.

Q. Should titles of departments within an organization be capitalized such as fiscal services department or human resources department? – from Lexington,SC on Mon, Jul 21, 2014

A. Generic names of departments are lowercase in AP usage.

Q. Should French-door refrigerator be hyphenated? – from Seoul, XX on Sun, Jul 20, 2014

A. No hyphen.

Q. Following up on "their" as neutral-gender specific. You say "Their is third person plural possessive." Yet I hear all the time, "I wouldn't want to be in their shoes" (referring to an individual of unknown gender). (Vanity Faire has "A person can%uFFFDt help their birth.") It just seems to be time to accept common (street!) usage with this one. No? – from Eureka CA on Sun, Jul 20, 2014

A. When the gender isn't known, use the masculine pronoun.

Q. R.J. Reynolds is a tobacco company. If the name is to appear in a headline would it be R.J. Reynolds or RJ Reynolds? – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Sun, Jul 20, 2014

A. RJ Reynolds in a headline, R.J. Reynolds within a story.

Q. I am trying to find the correct way to link a formal title with an organization using for, at or of. Would it be, "the executive director for Olive Learning Center," or, "the executive director at Olive Learning Center," or, "the executive director of Olive Learning Center"? Also, would it be different depending on the formal title used? Thank you, Julia Rear. – from San Diego on Sun, Jul 20, 2014

A. It's usually of when linking a title to the organization.

Q. Is this an ok use of "their" ... if the person contemplating suicide believed it, he or she wouldn%uFFFDt want their life to be over.. – from Eureka CA on Sun, Jul 20, 2014

A. No. Their is third person plural possessive. For agreement, rephrasing is needed: If people contemplating suicide believed it, they wouldn%uFFFDt want their lives to be over..

Q. Would mommy be uppercase or lowercase here? "The little boy said that he made his escape by driving away in mommy's/Mommy's car"? – from Gary, Indiana on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. Lowercase.

Q. The M.D. stylebook entry does not mention the proper form of address for retired or formerly licensed physicians as far as I can see. – from TUCSON, Ariz. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. A doctor of medicine retains the academic title whether practicing or not.

Q. It%uFFFDs exclusive to the top 13 2-diamond or higher diamond level managers and the top 2 gold level managers. Is this correct? – from Omaha, Neb. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. It%uFFFDs exclusive to the top 13 managers in the two-diamond or higher diamond level and the top two managers at the gold level.

Q. When writing a timeline of dates/events should the verbs be in past tense or present tense? – from Sherman Oaks, Calif. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. Generally present tense for events in a timeline.

Q. Is it correct to use the initials M.D. for someone who is no longer licensed to practice medicine as in the case of a retired physician? – from TUCSON, Ariz. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. The Stylebook's position is summed up in the "M.D." entry, which covers both practicing and retired physicians.

Q. In the following sentence: Ergonomics injuries and illnesses typically make up about 30 to 40 percent of all serious (recordable) injuries at our plant. Should it be Ergonomic injuries or is Ergonomics correct. Thanks – from , Tucson, Arizona on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. The dictionary entry is ergonomics, with an s. Use that spelling for singular or plural references.

Q. How does one write an unusual verb derived from a noun? For example, would a broken-up band be described as having been "Yoko Ono-ed" or "Yoko Ono'd"? – from Philadelphia on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. Try rephrasing: The XYZ Band broke up over a disagreement with the lead guitarist's companion, a la the Beatles and Yoko Ono.

Q. Is the hyphenation correct in this sentence? "Additionally, courses in areas such as communication, career development and coaching, offered in one-credit-hour professional effectiveness modules, develop strong ethical and technical skills in our students." – from Saint Louis, Mo. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. It would be clearer as two sentences with a brief added explanation: Additionally, courses in areas such as communication, career development and coaching develop strong ethical and technical skills in our students. These courses are offered in one credit hour professional effectiveness modules, meaning xxx.

Q. Which is correct: "In appreciation for 16 years of dedicated service" or "In appreciation of 16 years of dedicated service"? – from Baltimore on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. The first.

Q. I noticed a typo in the stylebook. In the BlackBerry entry, BlackBerry Ltd. needs another uppercase B. – from Los Angeles on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. The online entry now reads BlackBerry Ltd. The printed book entry will be amended in future editions. Thanks.

Q. I quoted someone in a story for my company publication. They used a well known acronym (describing a program) to begin a sentence. I was told I should change the direct quote and use the full name of the program and use the acronym immediately afterward. I'm pretty sure he is wrong on this. I say it should be left "as is." Or should I spell out the full name and put it in parenthesis before the acronym to begin the sentence? That seems like it would be confusing to the reader. He said if the article is seen by clients or is re-purposed it will not be clear. What should I do? I need an answer fast! Thanks! – from Madison, Wis. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. AP spells out such terms on first reference, then uses the acronym or abbreviation on second reference. We do not enclose the short former in parentheses.

Q. two counts of taking/possessing an over-limit of bear, and one count of failing to register a bear. In this context is "over-limit" hyphenated, one word or two words? – from St. Paul , Minn. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. Make it ... taking or possessing an over-the-limit bear ...

Q. 2nd degree DWI Is that correct? – from St. Paul , Minn. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. Spell the ordinal: second degree DWI.

Q. Which is correct? "Our goal is to provide you with the highest caliber information and resources," OR "Our goal is to provide you with the highest caliber of information and resources." – from Houston on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. The first is fine.

Q. I understand that you hyphenate compound modifiers before a noun e.g., "one-page letter." What if there is another noun in the modifier chain e.g., "one-page cover letter?" Do you still hyphenate "one-page" or is it "one page cover letter?" – from Wayzata, Minn. on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

A. It's a one-page cover letter.

Q. Is "bobkitten" an acceptable word for a young bobcat? – from Fort Worth, Texas on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. The only usage I find in AP is a high school basketball team in Texas called the Bobkittens.

Q. Is Naval Service capitalized? The context is "the needs of the naval service." – from STAFFORD, Va. on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. The generic term is lowercase: naval service.

Q. Hello, I'm trying to figure out the correct way to punctuate the end of this sentence. The exclamation point is tripping me up. Thank you. If your fellow passengers are ignorant of basic elevator etiquette, you might have to fight your way out with a mix of elbow jabs and clench-toothed %uFFFDExcuse me!%uFFFDs. – from Atlanta on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. ... clenched-teeth exclamations of "Excuse me!"

Q. Is this an appropriate use of the word Oriental? Should it be capped or lc? "...marvel at the largest Oriental garden in Europe as you stroll through Buddha Eden." – from medford, MA on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. Better to use a national name associated with the garden, rather than the vague Oriental or Asian: e.g., ... marvel at the largest Japanese garden in Europe ...

Q. What is the AP style preference for including days of the week with dates? Should it be Tuesday, July 22, or just July 22? – from Concord, MA on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. The calendar date usually suffices in a news story. News calendar items may include the day of the week, as well as the calendar date, as you have it.

Q. There are two Ask the Editor questions regarding The New York Times best-seller list with answers that slightly differ. One answer indicates The New York Times' best-seller list, while the other states The New York Times best-seller list. I'm confused on if it is correct or not to treat The New York Times as a possessive in this situation. Please advise! – on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. It's usually written as a possessive in AP stories.

Q. When referring to Naval officers, is the word commodore ever abbreviated, or does it remain written out in its full form since it is a position and not a rank? Is it capitalized? – from Port Hueneme, Calif. on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. It's written out and may be capitalized in some contexts: e.g., Commodore Perry.

Q. Is the hyphenation correct in the following sentence? I've checked the hyphenation section and don't see a specific entry addressing time periods or months. Common whitetails are summer fliers, taking flight near warm-water ponds and lakes mid-June to late August. – from Des Moines, Iowa on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. When referring to a date of birth which is more correct "birthdate" or "birth date"? – from Seattle on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. It's birthdate in AP stories.

Q. "public safety agencies" or "public-safety agencies"? – from Providence, R.I. on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. It's not hyphenated in AP stories.

Q. Does AP offer any guidance on using "to" vs. "toward"? For example,which would be correct: We're guiding others to or we're guiding others toward? – on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. The Stylebook entry is "toward" without an s. The context determines the preposition. Often either works. See dictionary definitions for various uses.

Q. Should "edge" be capitalized in the following headline: Leading-Edge Technology Used in New Discoveries – from houston, Texas on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

A. You could. It depends on your publication's headline style. AP would spell all words of this headline lowercase except the first.

Q. I asked this question earlier, but the response did not help me as I have not been able to dig up any information about ANPA text markup spec on the NAA website or anywhere on the internet. Can you possibly give me a link to the information you are referencing or tell me if the first line of every paragraph or just the first paragraph needs to be indented and whether there should be a linespace between paragraphs? Q. I'm sure I'm just not looking in the right place, but I can't find the answer to the following: What is the correct approach for indenting of paragraphs and line spacing between paragraphs for a magazine using AP style? %uFFFD from Portland, Ore. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 A. AP stories are transmitted using the standards of the ANPA text markup specification published by the Newspaper Association of America: http://www.naa.org/ – from Portland, Ore. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. You should contact NAA directly for advice on your format question. AP paragraphs are indented, with spacing between each written line.

Q. When dealing with a range of numbers, do you spell out numbers below 10 and hyphenate the range? Or use word "to"? Examples: A. It will take 4-5 days. B. It will take 4 to 5 days. C. It will take four to five days. Does it matter if only one of the numbers in the range is less than 10? A. It will take 9-10 days. B. It will take 9 to 10 days. C. It will take nine to 10 days. And does it matter what the number is referring to? (i.e., are the rules different for days or hours, similar to how we always use numerals for ages? Or does this apply to any range of numbers?) If the statement was "He ate 4-5 pieces of candy," do the rules change? I've read the 'ranges' entry and the 'range of numbers' question but still don't see the answer to this. – from Seattle on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. See OTHER USES section of "numerals" entry: four to five days ... nine to 10 days ... six to seven hours ... four or five pieces of candy. However, ages including ranges are expressed with figures: ages 5-10.

Q. Not-so-good, or not so good? As in "The good news is that you've taken a leap when it comes to bettering your health. The not-so-good news is that smoking speeds up your metabolism." – from Phoenix on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Correct as you have it.

Q. Lately, I've seen a lot of AP stories handle coroner's office like this: Sangamon County Coroner%uFFFDs office. Based on the way I read the Stylebook, if it is the official name of the office it would be Sangamon County Coroner%uFFFDs Office, and if not it would be Sangamon County coroner%uFFFDs office. Has AP Style changed on this point, or is my interpretation incorrect? – from Pekin, Ill. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. You're correct by the Stylebook's "office" entry. There may be some local usages that account for variations.

Q. For homeless population reporting, HUD lists both doubled up or doubled-up when referring to individuals or families living with friends/family. Should it be doubled up or doubled-up? – from KC, Mo. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. The dictionary spelling is double up, so no hyphen in the usage you list.

Q. Should the first letter following a hyphen in a title be capitalized? Ex: High-Performing – on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Yes, in a title. Within a headline, both parts a lowercase in AP usage

Q. Is it 21st Century Fox or Twenty-firstCentury Fox? The website has both 20th Century Fox and Twentieth Century Fox. I'm confused. – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Twentieth is spelled out in the "movie studios" entry.

Q. I'm sure I'm just not looking in the right place, but I can't find the answer to the following: What is the correct approach for indenting of paragraphs and line spacing between paragraphs for a magazine using AP style? – from Portland, Ore. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. AP stories are transmitted using the standards of the ANPA text markup specification published by the Newspaper Association of America: http://www.naa.org/

Q. Q. Is it "floorplate" or "floor plate" to describe habitable space for office occupancy on the floor of an office building? %uFFFD from Scottsdale, Ariz. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 – from Scottsdale, Ariz. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. It's floor plate, two words, in stories transmitted in AP services.

Q. In text is it proper style to use the ampersand when referring to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or to just spell out the word "and." The agency uses the ampersand, and I've seen it both ways in publications. – from Detroit on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. AP stories use the ampersand with this agency name.

Q. Is the comma correctly placed after the quotation question in this example? Once you've packed the car, filled the tank and the have kids properly preoccupied to avoid endless refrains of "Are we there yet?", it's time to hit the road. – from Durant, Wyoming on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Drop the comma. See MISCELLANEOUS section of the "question mark" entry in the Punctuation Guide.

Q. Please settle a debate about whether the comma in this sentence is mandated by AP style: We%uFFFDve made recent changes, while keeping the personal service customers expect from Acme. – from Clemmons , N.C. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. While is a subordinating conjunction introducing the dependent clause. Set off with a comma it's nonessential information. But it probably reads more logically without a comma in this phrasing.

Q. I was taught in college never to place a comma after 'thus' when it is used in beginning of a sentence. Should it be: Thus, the findings in the report should be the same or Thus the findings in the report should be the same. – from Cliffside Park, N.J. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Adverbs starting sentences are often set off with commas in a transition. It wouldn't be wrong without a comma if the writer sees no requirement for a pause.

Q. Which is preferred? U-shaped object or u-shaped object? Thanks. – from Buffalo, N.Y. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Hyphenated single letters are capitalized.

Q. In a bulleted list of one word phrases, should each phrase still get a period at the end? Ex: I bought: - Lettuce - Tomatoes - Bread – from Cincinnati on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Yes, by the guidance.

Q. I think the AP Style Quizzes are terrific, and I am curious how you plan to keep them current when there are style changes. For example, given the new rules regarding spelling out state names in body copy, it appears there is no correct answer option in Quiz 34, question 4 -- or have I misunderstood the new rule? Thank you! – from Miami Lakes, Fla. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. Thank you for pointing it out. I have updated the question and answer.

Q. I know AP frowns on use of italics in news stories, but I continue to see Supreme Court cases italicized. Is that incorrect? – from Washington on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. AP doesn't use italics in news stories because the typeface won't transmit through all computer systems. We recognize that other publications have the ability to use italics as needed, as in examples printed in the AP Stylebook.

Q. For the TV series about 30-somethings, would AP Style call for "Thirtysomething" or "thirtysomething," the latter from the show's title screen? – from Evanston, Ill. on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. The show title is lowercase unless starting a sentence.

Q. When abbreviating academic degrees, is it AP Style to use periods except for degrees with three or more capital letters? Example: John Smith, J.D., MBA – from Farmington Hills, MI on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. J.D. and MBA are correct. However, the abbreviations vary. See "academic degrees" for examples.

Q. When writing about Antipodean currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars, should the slang terms for those currencies be capitalized? Thus, the Aussie or the Kiwi? When referring to the U.S. greenback or the Canadian loonie, there is no capitalization. – from Toronto, Ontario, XX on Wed, Jul 16, 2014

A. I don't find any AP stories using those terms for currencies. Inevitably Aussie and Kiwi are capped in various other uses of the informal terms.

Q. Would the second part of a hyphenated word in a title be capitalized, e.g. My Mischief-minded Child Prodigy OR My Mischief-Minded Child Prodigy? – from flower mound, Texas on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. Based on the "The Star-Spangled Banner" example the Stylebook's "composition titles" entry, cap the second part of the hyphenated word in that usage.

Q. As a follow-up to my question about "chupacabra," what about "sasquatch" and "bigfoot"? I often see them initial-capped, but considering there are probably more than one of those big, hairy guys skulking around out there, shouldn't those words be lowercase? – from Irving, Texas on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. These well-known names are capitalized but not enclosed in quotation marks in AP stories.

Q. When referring to the full military forces of the United States, should one use "armed forces" or "military?" Should either be capitalized? – from Amherst, N.Y. on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. Either U.S. military or U.S. armed forces.

Q. I am doing some research for the company I work for on our press release format, and came across a link referencing AP format guidelines (source: www.wikihow.com/Format-a-Press-Release-for-the-Associated-Press). In that article, it had the following recommendation: "Write "-more-"at the bottom of the page if you find yourself using multiple pages for your press release." My question: in this digital age (and with eReaders allowing people to determine their own font size and margins) is this still an AP recommendation? I couldn't find anything about this, in looking through the AP stylebook website. If you could send an answer to ted.mitchell@fmr.com, it would be greatly appreciated. – from Boston on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. More written at the end of a news story page or take to indicate an additional take will follow has pretty much gone the way of typewriters and teletypes. It wouldn't be wrong to write more on a press release, though numbered pages are also effective.

Q. Which is correct: "Are you a committed individual that ..." or "Are you a committed individual who ..." – on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. The pronoun who is preferred in such phrasing.

Q. Is this correct? "compared to other cities such as Fresno CA, San Antonio TX, Washington D.C. and Charlotte NC..." or are commas required after the city name? – from Raleigh, N.C. on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. Spelled and punctuated this way: ... compared to other cities such as Fresno, California, San Antonio, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina. See "state names" for elaboration.

Q. I'm seeing more publications use the term "migrant" to refer to the undocumented immigrant children in the news, especially in headlines. What is AP's guidance on this? – from New York on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. By dictionary definitions, migrant describes someone who moves from one country or region to another to take up residence or to seek employment. Use of the word in news reporting doesn't imply anything about the legalities of such travel. AP doesn't use undocumented in this context.

Q. Do you put "smart" in quotation marks when describing homes, watches, etc, e.g "smart" homes, "smart" watches, etc.? Or do you run those phrases without quotation marks, e.g. smart homes, smart watches, etc. – from New Providence, N.Y. on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. In such usages, smart generally isn't enclosed in quotes for functioning technology. An exception might be plans take "smart" technology in a new direction.

Q. is it "Eastern Bloc" or ...? Thanks – from Flagstaff, Ariz. on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. It's the former East bloc, meaning the old alliance under the Soviet Union.

Q. If a punctuated magazine title concludes a sentence, should you still place a closing period at the end of the sentence, after the magazine title's punctuation? – from San Francisco on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. The concluding punctuation in the title usually serves to end the sentence.

Q. Is it necessary to put a comma after the day of the month before thc cojunction in the following example: "The dates are Wednesday, July 30, and Thursday, July 31." – from Philadelphia on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. Yes.

Q. Hello, AP: Can you please tell me which of these is the preferred punctuation? "life stage-specific," "life-stage-specific" or "lifestage-specific" Thank you! – from Kansas City, Mo. on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. The first.

Q. I could not find the term veterans service organizations, or VSOs in second mentioned. Is the term to describe the collective group of several organizations capitalized? I do not believe this is a proper name such as the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). Thank you for your time and guidance. – from Falls Church, Va. on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. In AP reporting, VSO has been used on second reference for Veterans Support Organization, which has come under legal scrutiny in several states for allegedly misusing donations.

Q. How does one write the word "room" as part of an address? I.e. "123 Middle Ln., rm. 213, Bethesda, MD 20814" – from Bethesda, MD on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

A. Spell out room and lane in the address: 123 Middle Lane, Room 213, etc.

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