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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. How does AP Style handle the phrase "buy in"? Should it be "buy-in" with a hyphen in the following phrase: "Gain internal buy-in for your digital strategy"? I've seen conflicting versions online but cannot find anything in Ask the Editor. Thank you! – from Woodbridge , N.J. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. Often buy-in (n.), but two words in verb forms, buy in.

Q. I see that Webster's New World College Dictionary has coursework as one word. Does that change Ask the Editor's previous decision to stick with one word? Q. Is the standard still two words for "course work" - or should it be "coursework"...? Thanks! from San Antonio on Feb 27, 2013 A. I'd stick with course work, though the one-word spelling seems to be gaining usage. Webster's New World College Dictionary results: not favorite coursework (Source: Webster's New World College Dictionary) k%uFFFDrs %uFFFD w?rk n. the various assignments, exercises, examinations, etc. completed by a student to fulfill the requirements for passing a particular class or course of study – from Seattle , Wash. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. Yes, I'll defer to the coursework spelling in Webster's NWCD. AP stories this year favor the compound.

Q. Which is preferred, Great Britain or United Kingdom. Or are they interchangeable? – from Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. They aren't interchangeable. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales. For the United Kingdom, add Northern Ireland.

Q. Athens's or Athens' ? He was Athens's first leader OR He was Athens' first leader – from seattle, Wash. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. He was Athens' first leader.

Q. How would AP refer to ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on first reference? Should it be ALS or should the full name be used? Thank you. – from Austin, Texas on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. In AP stories, Lou Gehrig's disease on first reference. Stories specify that Lou Gehrig's disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks motor neurons, cells that control the muscles.

Q. We are debating the "And smiles" in this sentence after the quotation mark. It seems left hanging and incomplete. But what would make it right? "Boston," She says. "But it was not my Texas." And smiles. – from seattle, Wash. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. It's not clear as a fragment. Try this tweak: "Boston," she says. "But it was not my Texas," she adds smiling.

Q. Up-market or up market as in people with some wealth? Same as high net worth individual -- no hyphens? Examples: The company serves up-market and high net worth customers. -- or -- People in that town are more up market. (Used in quote so don't want to eliminate the wording.) – from New Jersey on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. It's upmarket (adj.) in Webster's NWCD.

Q. What is the proper headline? Clinical Data Abstractors Staff Receive Team Award Clinical Data Abstractors Staff Receives Team Award – from Lewisburg, Pa. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. The second example has correct agreement.

Q. I work with a lot of inexperienced journalists who like to begin stories with quotations. I hate it, as it looks abrupt and amateurish. Has AP weighed in on this? – from Prague, XX on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. Reserve that kind of lead for only the most memorable quotes.

Q. Continuing A Call To Action (A Call to Action italicized) - An Introduction or Continuing "A Call to Action" - An Introduction? – from Scranton, Pa. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. See the Stylebook's "italics" entry. For that reason, the second option.

Q. We capitalize mayor and commissioner before a name. Should we also be capping city clerk and city attorney before a name? – from Anna Maria, Fla. on Mon, Nov 24, 2014

A. Both positions could be capitalized as formal titles rather than occupational descriptions.

Q. Fuel-cell car or fuel cell car? – from Seoul, XX on Sun, Nov 23, 2014

A. Usually fuel cell car in AP stories.

Q. What is the AP style rule for using a comma before "too" or "as well" (both at the end of a sentence)? – from Deerfield Beach, Fla. on Sun, Nov 23, 2014

A. These words of emphasis usually aren't set off at the end of a sentence: He promised to help you too. She's driving home as well.

Q. In reference to a series of nations, do "U.S." or "United States" require "the" (e.g., Belize, Russia, the U.S.)? – from Clarkston, MI on Sun, Nov 23, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. I see AP has moved to consistently hyphenless spellings of "pushup," "pullup," and "situp." When quoting a Briton who refers to a "pressup" (which Americans would call a pushup), do you recommend the hyphenless spelling for parallelism or keeping the British-preferred hypenated form, "press-up"? – from Columbia, S.C. on Sun, Nov 23, 2014

A. Deferring to press-up (n.) in Webster's NWCD.

Q. When talking about a style of food that's associated with a specific region, should I hypenate the modifier, i.e. New York-style food, or Chicago-style pizza? Thanks – from Racine, Wis. on Sat, Nov 22, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. Victory in Europe Day -- V-E Day, VE Day or something different? – from Farmington, Maine on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. The Stylebook entry is VE-Day.

Q. When you're using an acronym for second references, do you list that acronym parenthetically after the first reference for clarity, or is that outdated? – from Menasha, Wis. on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. AP does not list the abbreviation in parentheses directly after the name of the institution or group. However, the abbreviation, usually all caps, may be used on second reference. Alternately, the story may use a shorthand form of the full name on second reference, such as the association or the agency.

Q. Hyphen or no hyphen: extended care strategy / extended-care strategy – on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. That particular term doesn't appear in a search of AP story archives. However, similar terms in the archive such as extended care facility and extended care area are not hyphenated.

Q. "When attributing a quote, should you put the name (on second reference) before or after said." %uFFFDInstead of paying for an $8,000 paint job, you can do a wrap for about half of that,%uFFFD said Michaud. Or should it say Michaud said. – from Columbus, Ohio on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. Usually the name precedes the verb in an attribution. However, when an appositive follows the name, the verb comes first.

Q. Each of our representatives belongs to OR Each of our representatives belong to? – from NY on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. Each takes a singular verb, as noted in the Stylebook entry.

Q. Does the double prefix rule apply when two different prefixes are tied together? For example, "mini self-portraits" or "miniself-portraits." – from Lebanon, Pa. on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. In this phrasing, mini stands separately as a noun: mini self-portraits.

Q. Is it buzzword or buzz word? – from , on Fri, Nov 21, 2014

A. It's buzzword (n.) in the dictionary spelling.

Q. For a number range representing a period of time, such as a "5- to 10-year period," is there a more acceptable way to write it? – from Pickerington, Ohio on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. It's a five- to 10-year period, spelling the year figure under 10.

Q. I have one too many writers doing this and in the interest of not becoming "that bad ol editor" --- is "four-lane" a verb? "The Transportation Department want to four-lane less than a mile of highway" for instance. I've also seen "four-laning." It drives me a bit crazy, but more than one writer is doing this. I need a rule! – from Florence, Ala. on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. It's four lanes of highway or a four-lane highway in AP usage. Making it a verb sounds like bureaucratic language. The Transportation Department wants to build four lanes for less than a mile of highway.

Q. When predictions are made, should verbs such as expect, predict, forecast, be in the present or past tense? Ex: The analyst predicts/predicted the GDP will/would grow 3 percent on-year in 2015. – from Virginia, XX on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. In the initial APNewsAlert for a high priority news development, AP uses present tense for broadcast members and clients. For follow-up writethrus, past tense is customary. Headlines generally use present tense.

Q. How do you capitalize the word e-book when it occurs at the beginning of a sentence? Is it E-book or e-Book? When used in a title, is it E-Book? Thank you. – from Fleming Island, Fla. on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. E-book when starting a sentence or an AP headline. Based on the hyphenated example in "composition titles," E-Book. Within an AP headline, e-book.

Q. Is it ok to use "impact" as a verb to replace affect? For instance, "Your actions will impact children and families." – from Atlanta on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. Yes, but it's overused as a synonym for affect. Better to be specific about the expected results.

Q. Hello, how should statutes be written? Ex. 61 O.S. %uFFFD208 F. 2 or O.S. 62, %uFFFD 908 – from Oklahoma on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. That's beyond my ken. Better consult a specified reference. Rather than use such abbreviations, AP would briefly describe the statute in a news story.

Q. Would Dispensational Christianity be capped? Dispensational? – from Farmington, Maine on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. Lowercase "d" and uppercase "C" in that term, based on the American Heritage Dictionary entry.

Q. Has AP settled on a spelling for dreamer as it related to immigration? DREAMER? "dreamer"? Please advise. – from Phoenix on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. AP stories generally say that immigrants brought here illegally as kids are known as Dreamers or are called Dreamers by their advocates.

Q. How should we handle capitalization for hashtags? There doesn't seem to be a consistent style. I see capitalization in some instances and all lowercase in others, even with proper names. It's madness. – from Denver , Colo. on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. I would use the spelling of the hashtag's orginator or the spelling in current use.

Q. Should it be "each of you brings an important ingredient to the table" or "each of you bring an important ingredient?" My initial sense said 'brings' but now I'm leaning the other way. – from Austin, Texas on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. Each is singular, so go with your initial sense: each of you brings ...

Q. Why is it OK to use "OKs" without an apostrophe, which is the logical format since OK is not possessive, but not OK to use "OKd" or "OKing" - well, OK, in the last instance, it looks like "O King" - but still .... – from Deerfield, N.H. on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. OKs based on the MULTIPLE LETTERS section of the "plurals" entry. OK'd based on the OMITTED LETTERS section of the "apostrophe" entry and the "contractions" entry. OK'ing requires an apostrophe for clarity.

Q. Hi! Would this be considered a redundancy in the "times" category? The emphasis is that it happens every night. Each night at 10 p.m., he checks his Facebook status. Suggested edits/rewording is appreciated. Thank you! – from Exeter, N.H. on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. The word emphasis doesn't look right. Try condensing: It happens every night. At 10 p.m. he checks his Facebook status.

Q. Can I use a comma here, or must it be a semi-colon? Not only is it an important representation of your decor and color palette; it%uFFFDs dessert! – from Belleville, XX on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A. Use a comma.

Q. Hello, Tip top shape or tip-top shape? Thanks – from Seoul, XX on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. The Stylebook entry is tiptop.

Q. Recent AP stories have used the "sheikh" spelling, which does not appear to be the preferred spelling in the stylebook. Which should it be? – from Gainesville, Fla. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. In recent days, the online AP Stylebook amended the entry to the new spelling: sheikh A title for a religious or tribal leader. Also used as a term of respect. Sheikh is also used in certain Arab names, such as the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh .

Q. I don't think this is quite right, is it? "the region%uFFFDs workforce is slightly more educated than the national average." Should I change it to something like "The education level of the region's workforce is slightly higher than the national average"? On a related note, does this read OK? "A third of adults in our region have at least a bachelor%uFFFDs degree, compared to the national average of 29 percent." Thank you! – from Kansas City, Mo. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. Your suggested phrasings should be fine.

Q. In writing about a recent case where they do not have numbers yet (i.e., Hernandez v. Siegel, (September 2014) ___ Cal. App. 4th ___), can we omit the "___"? – from Concord, Calif. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. AP doesn't enclose the case details in quotes.

Q. Is a presidential administration capitalized? Truman Administration Truman administration – from Falls Church, Va. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. No. See "administration" entry.

Q. Do I omit the question mark in an italicized section subtitle when the subtitle is referenced at the end of a sentence? For example, do I omit the question mark in the italicized title Can I Enroll? in this sentence: Refer to the section Can I Enroll. – from Katy, Texas on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. Refer to the section "Can I Enroll?"

Q. Bottle-fed or bottle fed? – from Falls Church, Va. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. The American Heritage Dictionary hyphenates bottle-feed, bottle-fed. AP stories generally use that spelling.

Q. How would you label the remains of the dead? Is it bodies, remains, dead, corpse? It there a more correct way or is it a preference depending on context? – from Monrovia, Liberia on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. The context influences the term used to describe the dead, including the words you list.

Q. I apparently was not clear in my question about single or double quotation marks to designate direct quotes within the text of a Q&A format (which is without quotes and no italics). Here%uFFFDs the example I was referring to: T9: So he called me and he said, 'Hey, man, you want to buy this ticket for this seat at the World Series?' And I was like, 'Uh, yeah, I'll go.' – from Lincoln, Neb. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. AP interviews in the Q&A format use double quotation marks within the texts to designate direct quotes, titles, etc.

Q. I am writing an article about holiday travel. When advising travelers on packing, should I write "pack light" or "pack lightly." – from Sulphur, La. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. AP travel stories generally advise readers contemplating a trip to pack light. The adverb form is used with the past tense in some contexts: Police say if people must bring bags, they should be packed lightly and be kept in sight at all times.

Q. Should web series be treated like TV shows in terms of punctuation? We break from AP style by italicizing movies, books, plays and TV shows, so we're thinking web series should be handled consistently. (On that note: In the age of digital filing rather than over the wire, isn't the avoidance of italics outdated?) – from Seaside, Calif. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. AP doesn't use italics in news stories because the typeface won't transmit through all computer systems.

Q. When writing about a high school speech and debate team's performance at a local competition, would the names of the events (such as impromptu speaking) be enclosed in single quotes or capitalized? And would 'Speech and Debate team' itself be capitalized if featured in conjunction with the name of the high school? – from Portland, Ore. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. Lowercase speech and debate team as generic descriptions, just as a football team or basketball team are down in conjunction with the capitalized school name. Same for event names.

Q. How would you render bpm'online? Just as they do on their copyright page, or would you render it bpm-online? The ' symbolizes a triangle in their official name. – from Cambridge, MA on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. The name hasn't come up in AP news, but your suggestion of bpm-online would show the lowercase spelling of the product. AP doesn't use such symbols in news stories.

Q. Do you generally follow the "stock" name of a company/corporation? For example: is it "Petco" or "Petco Animal Supplies Inc."? – from Falls Church, Va. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. AP stories use Petco for this company.

Q. In a Q&A format, which is run without quotation marks at the start nor in italics, do you use single or double quotation marks to designate direct quotes within the text? – from Lincoln, Neb. on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. For guidance, see the QUESTION-AND-ANSWER section of the Stylebook's "question mark" entry, and NOT-IN-Q-and-A section of the "quotation marks" entry.

Q. In video game reviews, is a game said to be side-scrolling, or sidescrolling, or side scrolling? This is a game where you move to the edge of the screen to progress through the level, e.g. Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog. – from Br%uFFFDgg, BE on Wed, Nov 19, 2014

A. An AP story about a video game used sidescroller, so the compound spelling seems right for other forms.

Q. The style book suggests "anti-abortion" when referring to "pro-life." This seems contradictory to other discussions of other groups(such as the Islamic State) where the consensus was that groups should be referred to by how they self-identify. Furthermore "anti-abortion" is inaccurate as the majority of the pro-life movement is also in opposition to other life-ending issues such as euthanasia, not just abortion. Why does the AP dissuade using the term pro-life? – from Holly, MI on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. Anti-abortion or opposed to abortion are fair descriptions of a viewpoint on that specific issue. AP stories do use pro-life when individuals are quoted using that self-description. Regarding self-identification, AP strives for accurate and neutral descriptions that may vary from an organizations own wording. AP uses Islamic State group to describe the Sunni militants in Syria and Iraq linked to al-Qaida. Using the word group indicates that it is not a recognized state or government.

Q. Hello, and thank you for always answering questions. I was wondering how capitalization works for unofficial holidays or awareness months--National Grandparents Day, National Unfriend Day, Equal Opportunity Day, Alzheimer's Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, etc. Thank you! – from Hartford, Conn. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. We don't automatically capitalize or even mention theme days or months, unless there's a true news significance.

Q. Should "we" in this sentence be capitalized or lowercase? Still, says White, %uFFFDWe dropped knee-deep in several crevasses, butt-deep in a few.%uFFFD – from Belleville, XX on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. We is correctly capitalized.

Q. Is it sub-tweet or subtweet? – from ames, Iowa on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. It hasn't come up in AP stories. Based on what I see in social media, subtweet.

Q. Is post test written as post-test, posttest, or post test? The same for pre test, is it one word, two words, or hyphenated? – from College Park, MD on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. It's post-test based on the Stylebook guidance for that prefix. However, it's pretest in the "pre-" entry.

Q. The AP Stylebook recommends enclosing titles of books, speeches, computer games and songs within quotation marks. Should the same be applied to the title of a classroom project composed of sixteen separate documents, delivered to teachers only on a website, or should the title simply be italicized, i.e. %uFFFDMara Cluster Project%uFFFD or Mara Cluster Project? – from Portland, Ore. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. Capitalize the main words without enclosing the title in quotation marks. See the Stylebook's "italics" entry.

Q. We shorten "Element Management System" to "EMS." Do you suggest making "EMS" plural by adding an "s" or by adding "es"? Without a specific example in the Stylebook, this one falls into a gray area between two AP rules on forming plurals: "WORDS ENDING IN CH, S, SH, SS, X and Z: Add es: churches, lenses, parishes, glasses, boxes, buzzes." and "MULTIPLE LETTERS: Add s: She knows her ABCs. I gave him five IOUs. Four VIPs were there." Thanks. – from Richardson, Texas on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. EMS is an abbreviation rather than a word, so add an s for the plural.

Q. Hi there. I work for Washington's community and technical college system. The printed AP Style Guide doesn't go into a lot of detail on academic degrees. I'd like to use the advice on this page, but need to check with you first: http://goodcopyfast.com/2013/05/ap-style-degrees/ Do you think this is accurate? Thanks! – from OLYMPIA, Wash. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. To conform with AP Stylebook entries, the degree major is lowercase unless it's a proper noun: Bachelor of Arts in music; Master of Science in engineering; doctorate in physics; bachelor's in English; master's in Russian history, etc. Also, MBA is abbreviated without periods. The AP Stylebook has many entries on this topic. See the examples in "academic degrees," "academic departments," "academic titles," "doctor," "Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science," "Master of Arts, Master of Science" and "Ph.D., Ph.Ds."

Q. Should there be a comma after the company name in the following sentence? With Company X everyone wins! (I cannot change the wording.) Thank you! – from Auburn Hills, MI on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. No comma needed.

Q. Things seem to be inconsistent in capitalization on the phrase "secretary of xxxx." On a search, you've got "former secretary of the Interior" (Salazar), "secretary of Veterans Affairs" (Shinseki) and "former secretary of Labor" (Solis), for instance," but then education and health and human services are lowercase. (An ask the editor note also said Homeland Security should be lowercase, but I see it's still up under Napolitano.) For consistency, I've always understood those all to be lowercase. Agree, or exceptions? – from Columbia, S.C. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. Inconsistencies in capitalization might appear in questions to Ask the Editor. Answers are always that the U.S. Cabinet titles are lowercase when standing alone or following the name of the office holder. The "Secretary of" title is capitalized when directly preceding the full name, also capped as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the like. See "titles" entry for additional examples.

Q. Is "21st century" hyphenated when used as an adjective? – from Tarzana, Calif. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. Yes, as a compound modifier: 21st-century achievements.

Q. When year is used as an adjective, is it hyphenated? Ex. a two year partial reprieve or a two-year partial reprieve – from Falls Church, Va. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. It's hyphenated as in your second example

Q. How would AP suggest using "kilometers" versus "km"? In copy, would you spell out "kilometer" and "kilometers" -- for example, "the maximum distance is about 20 kilometers." And would you use "km" in a list or table? Thanks. – from Richardson, Texas on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. The distance term is spelled out, though km is the abbreviation if used by a source or when converting miles to kilometers.

Q. Hello. Should the following sentence include semicolons or commas? Example 1: "History is the latest bachelor's degree, joining healthcare technology and management, information systems and technology, and nursing." (nursing 3 other degrees) Example 2: "History is the latest bachelor's degree, joining healthcare technology and management; information systems and technology; and nursing." Thank you! – from OLYMPIA, Wash. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. It's clear with commas.

Q. I'm trying to make sure the following bulleted list is in parallel form. If one of the bullet points begins with an adverb rather than a verb, is the list still considered to be in parallel form? - Learn about today's job market. - Build upon your current talents. - Potentially discover a new career path. – on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. If parallel verbs are essential, you might want to rephrase it along these lines: Discover (or uncover) your potential for a new career path.

Q. Can one "grow" crystals? "...researchers in Switzerland who were working in the medical field growing salt crystals that contained less sodium." It sounds strange to me, but other alternatives such as "cultured" don't seem much better. – from Cleveland, Ohio on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. AP stories have reported on laboratories that grow crystals.

Q. Which is correct - downward or downwards. – from Raleigh , N.C. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. Webster's NWCD lists downward (adj., adv.) as the primary spelling.

Q. I've always heard the term "FSA" referred to as a "Flexible Spending Account," but it's just been pointed out to me that the IRS website refers repeatedly to "Flexible Spending Arrangements." I've never heard or seen the latter term used. I don't see anything in the Stylebook or "Ask the Editor" on this topic, so I'm asking now: Does AP have a preference on what the "A" is "FSA" stands for when spelled out in stories? – from Arlington, Va. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. In AP stories, it's flexible spending account spelled lowercase. FSA may be used on second reference.

Q. I've looked for this but surprised nothing came back. Should i.e. and e.g. be italicized? They will be used in website copy, for what that's worth. – from New York on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. The Stylebook entries for "e.g." and "i.e." are not italicized. See the "italics" entry for elaboration.

Q. Informal plural of Cadillac in doggerel verse: Caddys or Caddies? – from Kansas City, Mo. on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

A. Probably with "ys" to distinguish from caddies in golf.

Q. When are you going to add an entry on the College Football Playoffs? That's coming up in less than two months. We would like the style clear on that. Thanks. – from Dallas on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. So far, AP football stories use College Football Playoff rankings, college football playoffs.

Q. Should sustainability be capitalized when referring to a company's sustainability efforts or reports? – from ,St. Louis on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. No.

Q. Hello, When is the term 'special plane' acceptable? Can it be used to name a flight by an important person such as a U.N. special envoy? – from Virginia, XX on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. AP stories occasionally use special plane to describe an aircraft used for a diplomatic or humanitarian mission, such as evacuating an Ebola patient or ferrying negotiators to a high-level meeting. The plane may be chartered, a part of the leased U.N. aircraft fleet or provided by an agency or other source.

Q. Is it acceptable to simply use "GI Bill" in a story, or must it be spelled out as "GI Bill of Rights"? – from College Station, Texas on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. GI Bill suffices in most news accounts.

Q. I need to list the cost of something, ranging from $1.50 to more than $7. Can I say, "$1.50 to $7 " for shorthand? Or should I say "$1.50-$7 "? – from Atlanta on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. You need an exact figure to hyphenate the range. Try writing it as $1.50 to over $7.

Q. In a holiday events calendar, is it appropriate to refer to a Hanukkah party by its AP Style-approved spelling, even if the venue hosting the party spelled it 'Chanukah' in its promotional materials? Wouldn't doing so be offensive? – from Portland, Ore. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. Use the spelling of the organizers if quoting the promotional materials, but specify that the Jewish festival is also spelled Hanukkah.

Q. In the sentence below, is the use of 'to' and 'for' correct? What is the difference between these two prepositions? Applications to win a $3000 scholarship are available for graduating high school students who are at the top of their class, live in a home serviced by SECO, and are in need of financial assistance. – from Sumterville, Fla. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. The prepositions are correct as written. Recommend you look up the definitions in a dictionary. It should be $3,000 with a comma, though.

Q. Engines: V6, V8, V12, V16? Or V-6, V-8, V-12, V-16? There is an entry from four years ago that says to hyphenate when discussing a specific engine. Is this still correct? Charles – from Sarnia, XX on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. The Stylebook entry: V-8 the engine. Hyphenate the variations, too.

Q. "He enrolled in the Doctor of Management program" or "He enrolled in the doctorate of management program"? Thanks! – from Cleveland, Ohio on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. The second example is correct, meaning lowercase.

Q. Is it Convention and Visitor Bureau or Convention and Visitor's Bureau? – from Missoula, Mont. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. It's visitors as a descriptive rather than a possessive.

Q. For a headline referring to million square feet, would it be 5M s.f. or 5 m.s.f - or something else? – from Chicago on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. In a headline: 1 million sq. ft.

Q. Get a hold of or get ahold of? Both of the previous answers are in regards to use of the phrase in a quote. If not in a quote, should there be a space or not? – from Wilmington, Del. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. Webster's lists ahold as informal. The spelling is acceptable for direct quotes. Outside a quote, get hold of.

Q. To begin a sentence, which is correct: Two hundred forty people, or 240 people? – from Providence, R.I. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. Spell out the number starting a sentence. Better yet, rewrite the sentence so that 240 is within the text.

Q. A quick question on "it" verses "they"... Which is correct and why? The Niche.com rankings are especially exciting because it uses community reviews as well as assessments and test scores. The Niche.com rankings are especially exciting because they use community reviews as well as assessments and test scores." – from Columbia, S.C. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. ... rankings are ... they use ...

Q. What is the preferred spelling of the past tense of diagram, diagramed or diagrammed? Webster has it one way and oxford the other. – from Greensboro, N.C. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. In such cases, AP usually defers to the first spelling in Webster's NWCD, which is diagramed for past tense.

Q. when we are reporting on movie revenues would we use brand name Lionsgate or corporate name Lions Gate or Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. In such references, AP generally writes that Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Q. .. The point I was trying to raise with yesterday%uFFFDs question was do we call someone (in this case Mayor de Blasio%uFFFDs wife) by a title that is generally reserved for the wife of a chief of state? ...I know the AP Stylebook says to refer to someone how that person wishes to be called. But I think that is referring to the person%uFFFDs name. Like Chuck instead of Charles, and not intended to use a title not meant for that person%uFFFDs position. Personally I don%uFFFDt think the mayor%uFFFDs wife should be referred to as %uFFFDfirst lady.%uFFFD And I think it is inappropriate. Can you please clarify you two different answers please? – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. It's an unofficial description, not a title, used by governors' wives or, in the case of Oregon, the governor's girlfriend even before she became his fiancee. AP stories have also used first lady to describe the wife of the New York City mayor. It certainly appropriate to make clear that a woman uses that description. It's not something that's conferred but rather comes with the trappings of an office.

Q. Apple appears to say you make purchases "on" the App Store -- not "in" the App Store, so would you also use "on" when referring to information available via an app? For example: Get all your holiday recipes on the app. – from Knoxville, Tenn. on Mon, Nov 17, 2014

A. Yes, on the app is the customary phrasing.