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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. Regarding Indian reservations: The Mashantuckets have asked that we change Ledyard to Mashantucket as the dateline and in the story related to Foxwoods Casino. What does the AP say about datelines and locations for Indian reservations. Foxwoods is in Ledyard, but it's on reservation land. What should we say? – from Providence, R.I. on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

A. For stories from the Foxwood Casino, AP uses the dateline MASHANTUCKET, Conn.

Q. For a headline would "Five, Free, Fun Things" or "Five Free, Fun Things" be correct? Note the placement of the commas. – from Oxford, Ohio on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

A. In AP headline style: 5 free, fun things

Q. Does "The Associated Press Stylebook" go in quotation marks? And is it that or "AP Stylebook"? – from East Northport, N.Y. on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

A. No quotation marks around the title of a reference book, per guidance in "composition titles" entry.

Q. I couldn't find an answer to my question in the stylebook. What do you do when an interviewee is quoting someone or a passage from a book in a Q&A? Do we use single or double quotation marks? – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

A. Double quotation marks with a Q&A.

Q. May I use more than one sentence in a quotation? – from nyack, N.Y. on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

A. Sure.

Q. Hi, Should a journal's title be italicized? Thanks. – from Malaysia on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. AP doesn't use italics in news stories. However, the AP Stylebook uses italics for examples. See the the "magazine names" and the "italics" entries.

Q. Hi, I asked yesterday about whether to say "the WHO" or just "WHO" on second reference for the World Health Organization. However, you replied twice with contradictory advice: "WHO is often written with the article" and "WHO is often written without the article." Which one is the correct advice? – from Tokyo on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. Sorry, a misfire. I've dropped the wrong reply. The answer now reads: WHO is often written without the article.

Q. Is this punctuated correctly? %uFFFDMamma Mia!,%uFFFD her favorite play, was on Broadway. – from Virginia, XX on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. No comma after an exclamation point: "Mamma Mia!" her favorite play, was on Broadway.

Q. How do you form the possessive of text in quotation marks. Should it be "Casablanca's" best scene or "Casablanca"'s best scene? – from Seoul, XX on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. Rephrase to avoid modifying a composition title. The best scene in "Casablanca" is ...

Q. When saying "1 in 5 people" should you spell out the numbers or keep them as numerals? – from new york, N.Y. on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. Use figures for a ratio.

Q. I read on your website that titles of newsletters are not italicized or in quotes. So the Rural Spotlight newsletter is correct without quotes or italics. N is not in caps either? – from Jefferson City, Mo. on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. Rural Spotlight is correct. Use newsletter lowercase.

Q. Hello. Is easier to use hyphenated in this instance "A more intuitive, easier-to-use application will be released shortly." Thank you. – from Garwood, N.J. on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. AP stories don't hyphenate easier to use.

Q. Is the idiom "to a tee" or "to a T"? – from Raleigh, N.C. on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. It's to a T.

Q. downhome or down-home ... as in downhome chili – from Pensacola, Fla. on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. The adjective is hyphenated: down-home chili.

Q. If you were going to write that something is the "Beer Capital of the World" or "Cheese Capital of the World"...is it capitol or capital? – from WI on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. Use the capital spelling.

Q. Is it flip-phone or flip phone? – from Houston on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. AP stories use two words, no hyphen for flip phone.

Q. should fleur de sell be capitalized? After all it's just salt. – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

A. Lowercase unless it's a brand name.

Q. On second reference, it is OK to say "WHO estimates that ..." or should it be "The WHO estimates that ..."? – from Tokyo on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. WHO is often written without the article.

Q. Hi, Which is correct?: "It is two kilometers (km)." or "It is 2 km." Thanks. – from Malaysia on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. It is 2 kilometers. Use the figure for an exact distance and km as the abbreviation.

Q. I searched for SSDI to see whether to cap the "disability insurance" portion, but there's only this: Q. The acronym is SSDI, so do we capitalize "Social Security Disability Insurance" along with it? from Eagan, Minn. on Mon, Aug 09, 2010 A. See my response to you of July 19. I can't find that response. I'm capping based on what I found at ssa.gov, but it would be more helpful to have something here. – from Washington, D.C. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. Yes, Social Security Disability Insurance on first reference. The abbreviation SSDI has been used on follow-ups, but the shortened disability insurance is probably clearer.

Q. Is the term Recommended Dietary Allowance capitalized? If not, is it acceptable to use the standard abbreviation RDA in second use? Thanks – from Livermore, Calif. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. In rare uses in AP stories, the term is lowercase. I don't see the abbreviation in health stories.

Q. Searching on "goaltender," I find contradictory answers -- Under "goalkeeper," goalie is acceptable but there is an admonishment not to use goaltender. However, under winter sports, goalie and goaltender are both listed as acceptable. Does that mean goaltender is fine for ice hockey but not soccer? And don't get me started on soccer/football .... – from Eatonton, Ga. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. Goalie and goalkeeper are used in soccer; goalie and goaltender for ice hockey.

Q. Let's say a family's last name is "Williams." Because it ends in "s," the plural is "Williamses." If I want to say that a house is theirs, would the correct version be "the Williamses' house" or "the Williams' house?" Thank you. – from Dallas on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. The Williamses' house for the possessive plural.

Q. Is special effects a noun phrase or compound modifier when preceding a noun, e.g., special-effects embellishment or special effects embellishment? – from Denver , Colo. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. It's a noun phrase. No hyphen.

Q. My editor and I are having a difference of opinion on whether or not there should be commas surrounding this Doctor's name in this sentence. Can you verify if this is accurate?: Urology expert, Dr. Conrad Maitland, understands the sensitivity surrounding bladder control issues and will be openly discussing... – from Detroit on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. The name is essential information in that sentence so it isn't set off. See "essential phrases, nonessential phrases" for elaboration.

Q. African grey parrot or African gray parrot? All Internet search results spell it "grey." Thanks! – from East Lansing, MI on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. African grey parrot is correct.

Q. In Nebraska, legislative bills are listed as LB. Should there be a space between LB and the bill #, such as LB 440, or no space, such as LB440. – from Imperial, Neb. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. An example from an AP story: The bill is LB 190.

Q. In writing a story about a military casualty who died at a prisoner of war camp, would you lowercase or uppercase Camp if it was specifically, say, Camp 3 or Three. This is in a story about recently identified remains. – from Shelbyville, Ky. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. AP stories about U.S. POWs in Vietnam generally refer to camp, without a designation or capitalization. How is it written in official documents? You could use that spelling with attribution.

Q. Why does AP insist on differentiating between toward and towards? Every other source I've searched on the issue says they are interchangeable and it's simply based on preference and dialect. – from Atlanta on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. Check Webster's NWDC, the Stylebook's main reference dictionary, where toward is the primary spelling.

Q. When talking about their airplanes, Boeing employees shorten 787-9 and 787-10 to just "dash-9" and "dash-10." Is that how we would write them in quotes, or just "-9" and "-10"? Or some other way entirely? – from Mount Pleasant, S.C. on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

A. That shorthand jargon hasn't come up in AP stories, which generally refer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Q. Is it Beijing New Airport Terminal Building or Beijing New Airport terminal building? – from Malaysia on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. As a generic description, lowercase all but Beijing.

Q. Do you italicize the name of an online-only news source, such as the Religion News Service? – from Spokane, Wash. on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. No. See "italics" entry.

Q. I am copy editing an article about a breed of dog I don't know Lagotto Romagnolo. I know Romagnolo should be capped. It is a region in Italy, but Lagotto is "lake dog." So should I lowercase Lagotto? – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. Not listed in the dictionary, so I'll defer to breed spelling list at the American Kennel Club website: Lagotto Romagnolo

Q. What is the opposite of enroll? Un-enroll? Unenroll? Disenroll? – from , on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. Got a dictionary handy? It's unenrolled in the "un" prefix listing.

Q. I think there was a misunderstanding of my question about cutlines. I'm not referring to ages. I was referring to jersey numbers. "So and so (15) goes to the basket as So and So (27)" defends or "So and so, left, scores as basket as so and so, right, defends." I could have sworn that in this case jersey numbers were set off with parentheses and directions were set off by commas. Is it commas for both? In the photo cutlines that I see on AP Exchange it is written in that way that jersey numbers are set off with parentheses and directions are set off with commas. – from Midland, Texas on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. OK, use parentheses for jersey numbers and use commas to set off the position in the photo.

Q. For the following phrase "marketing materials in both print and online formats" is "both print and online formats" the correct way to express this? I am not sure if "print" should be "printable" or "printed" and whether "formats" is the correct word in this situation. Thanks so much. – from WOODSTOCK, Ga. on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. Probably in both printed and online formats for the two distinct versions.

Q. I've checked the Ask the Editor archives but didn't find a listing for rig site or rigsite. Do you have a viewpoint? Energy industry publications (and the Society of Petroleum Engineers) are ambivalent. Same question for job site and well site. Thanks! – from Houston on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. AP stories generally use two words for each: rig site, job site and well site.

Q. What is the appropriate version for this headline? The Four D's of Diversification" OR "The Four Ds of Diversification" Thanks! – from University City, Mo. on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. The first because the plurals of single letters take apostrophes.

Q. I've reviewed the archive as well as the Stylebook and don't seem to find an answer to the question of when "the" should be capitalized in a title, such as in "The New York Times." I often see in articles an inconsistency with the word "the" in titles--sometimes capitalized and sometimes lowercase within the same article. Just wondering if there is a rule? – from North Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. Check the Stylebook's "newspaper names" entry for handling the definite article. The "composition titles" entry explains many other situations.

Q. Would I write 'supply-demand dynamics'? Or 'supply/demand dynamics' in a fiscal context? Thanks. – from London, England on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. Use the hyphenated spelling. The Stylebook's "slash" entry explains its very limited uses.

Q. Is this correct? "How about you to witness the glory of mountains?" Does this mean "How would you like to witness the glory of mountains?" Thanks – from Kathmandu, XX on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. The first sentence isn't clear. The second is phrased clearly.

Q. Is it patient identified data or patient-identified data (hyphen). Similarly, patient de-identified data or patient-de-identified data? – from New Delhi, XX on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

A. AP stories have occasionally used used the phrase patient identifying information. Does the second term mean that a patient's personal information is being withheld? If so, that would be clearer than using officialese.

Q. With the new state abbreviation rule, what do political party affiliations look like? Formerly, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; now . . . ? Sorry if this is somewhere and I missed it. Thanks. – from Trinidad, Calif. on Sun, Mar 01, 2015

A. Unchanged: Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. See "party affiliation" entry.

Q. How does the AP handle company and brand names with ampersands, like the grocer A & P, the television network A & E, or the aircraft maker B & F? Are they rendered with or without spaces (i.e., "A & P" or "A&P")? – from Columbia, S.C. on Sun, Mar 01, 2015

A. No spaces in A&P. See the "Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc." entry.

Q. Considering ... Q. What is the style on the word powwow from Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii on Aug 03, 2007 A. One word as you spelled it. However, proper names of some American Indian gatherings use two words, pow wow. ... When proper name is two words, how do you handle general references to the pow wow/powwow in the story when not part of the proper name? – from Oconto Falls, Wis. on Sun, Mar 01, 2015

A. See the "Native American" and "Indians" entries for the customary spelling.

Q. When using numbers to describe something, do we hyphenate? For example is it 120-room hotel or 120 room hotel? Likewise is it two-story building or two story building? – from Sharjah, XX on Sun, Mar 01, 2015

A. It's a 120-room hotel and a two-story building. The compound modifiers are hyphenated.

Q. I could have sworn that AP's style in sports cutlines was to separate numbers with parentheses and separate directions with commas. For example "Shallowater%uFFFDs Carlie Breckel (15) and Morgan Bennett (23) celebrate a win against Wall in the Region I-3A semifinal match Saturday at Chaparral Center" or "Idalou%uFFFDs Carli Fulcher, left, passes while being covered by Jim Ned%uFFFDs Savannah Heath, right, in the Region I-3A semifinal game Saturday at Chaparral Center." We recently had a discussion about this in our newsroom and I was looking for something on AP Stylebook, but I guess I didn't know where to look and I couldn't find it. Am I wrong that numbers should be set off with parentheses instead of commas? – from Midland, Texas on Sat, Feb 28, 2015

A. Use commas, not parentheses, to set off ages, e.g., 15, and positions, left to right, of individuals in photo captions. Models are in the Stylebook's Photo Captions chapter.

Q. How do I format a schedule of events in news? This would include location, times, and people to attend. – from Fort Meade, MD on Sat, Feb 28, 2015

A. AP calendar items often list event, time, date and place in that order.

Q. Communication technology or communications technology -- is one preferred over the other? Thanks – from Virginia, XX on Sat, Feb 28, 2015

A. Usually the plural is used.

Q. I've reviewed the archive and couldn't find the answers I was looking for regarding commas. Is the comma placement correct in these two sentences? "John Smith, of Myrtle Beach, was named father of the year." "It is located at 1234 Bird Ave., in Miami." Finally, I have a capitalization question that I've tried finding the answer to in the archive as well as the style book. When is "the" capitalized with a title. I often see within the same article, an entity beginning with "the" going from being capitalized and then lowercase, such as "The New York Times." – from North Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Sat, Feb 28, 2015

A. Correct as punctuated: John Smith, of Myrtle Beach, was named father of the year. It is located at 1234 Bird Ave., in Miami.

Q. In an ask the editor Q and A: Q. The Stylebook says do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in "s" when it is used primarily in a descriptive sense: a Cincinnati Reds infielder. What about this: The Reds front office is the worst in baseball. Is that possessive or descriptive? If it's possessive, do you need the apostrophe? And what if you substituted "Red Sox" for Reds? Source: Ask the Editor A. The Reds' front office ... the Red Sox's front office. What is the difference between a Reds infielder and the Reds' front office? Would it be the Reds'right fielder? Thank you. – from st. paul, Minn. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. Use the possessive with an apostrophe: The Reds' front office is ... the Red Sox's front office. The definite article indicates possession: The Reds' right fielder.

Q. When referring to grades, does the plural form include an apostrophe (He received all A's and B's) or not (He received all As and Bs)? – from Kalamazoo, MI on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. For plurals of single letters, use apostrophe-s: He receieved all A's and B's. See "plurals" entry.

Q. I am confused by your response, below. Should I use the singular "kid's" with the plural "lives"?: Q. In an article about a children's hospital, would it be "Saving Kids Lives" or "Savings Kids' Lives"? In other words, would "kids" be descriptive or possessive in this case? %uFFFD from Towson, MD on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 A. In AP stories, the phrase is spelled as a possessive: saving kid's lives. Whether it's capitalized or enclosed in quotation marks depends on the usage. – from Towson, MD on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. Correction: I meant to write the plural possessive: saving kids' lives.

Q. Is it remote-control aircraft, or remote-controlled aircraft? – from Lewiston, Idaho on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. Generally it's remote control aircraft, though sometimes hyphenated as remote-controlled aircraft.

Q. I am quoting a news article that contains a quote within it. The complete paper quote is three short paragraphs, with P2 containing a quote from a story source. I used the multi-paragraph quote punctuation with open quotes on the end of graphs 1 and 2 BUT, we did not use the last part of the quote within the quote. Do I need an ellipsis there? It transitions directly back into the article from there. EX: "Newspaper verbiage from P1 here. (BREAK w/ open quote) "Newspaper verbiage P2 here 'Quote within the quote,' attribution here. (BREAK w/ open quote) (there was initially a second piece of quote here that we did not use so this is where I need to know proper punctuation) "Newspaper verbiage P3." – from Sparks, Nev. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. For the quote within, use a single quotation mark to open it and an ellipsis and single quote to end it. Then transition to the third paragraph of the complete quote, which is opened with double quotation marks.

Q. When do I capitalize the word union, when referring to t=an organization? ex. This is a win-win situation for both the hotel and the union (or Union). – from Orlando, Fla. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. ... for both the hotel and the union.

Q. What is the proper way to type the abbreviation of an Assembly Bill... AB20 AB 20 AB-20 – from Sun Prairie, Wis. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. AP stories from Wisconsin have occasionally used this format under a dash below the story: The Assembly bill is AB 590. More often a description of the Assembly bill within the story suffices without citing a number.

Q. RSVP vs R.S.V.P. An archived submission from 2006 states that you've taken the periods out of RSVP. However, a tagline states: "Note: This is an archived submission and is no longer be a current style guideline." Please interpret. What is the 2014-15 style guideline - periods or no periods? Our policy is to use the acronym as a noun only. Does this impact the punctuation? Thanks. – from Jacksonville, Fla. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. No periods in the abbreviation RSVP, per the Stylebook entry.

Q. How do you properly spell the word split-off (hyphenated or not)? This refers to reorganizing an existing corporate structure in which the stock of a business division, subsidiary or newly affiliated company is transferred to the stockholders of the parent company in exchange for stock in the latter. – from Radnor, Pa. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. In AP business stories, the noun is hyphenated: split-off. The verb is two words without a hyphen: split off, splitting off.

Q. What is AP style on entities that use all caps? Eg. the union UNITE-HERE. – from Washington on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. In AP stories from Atlantic City, it's the Unite-HERE casino workers' union.

Q. In Chapter Filing guidelines (http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=5517&src=AE), we are advised to always include "http://" when providing URLs. Should this style also be followed in editorial content? – from Chicago on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. The Stylebook's "Internet" entry states: When a story prominently mentions a specific website or Web service, include within the text the full Internet address with http:// and set it off with commas.

Q. How do you use warmup as an adjective? Warmup stretch? Warm-up exercise? – from Houston on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. The online Stylebook's Sports Guidelines lists warmup (n.) warm up (v.). The one-word spelling also works as a modifer.

Q. In an article about a children's hospital, would it be "Saving Kids Lives" or "Savings Kids' Lives"? In other words, would "kids" be descriptive or possessive in this case? – from Towson, MD on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. In AP stories, the phrase is spelled as a possessive: saving kid's lives. Whether it's capitalized or enclosed in quotation marks depends on the usage.

Q. How do you cite international publications? Halifax Chronicle Herald (Canada) ... or Halifax (N.S.) Chronicle Herald (Canada)? – from San Diego on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Q. For video game titles, should we use quotation marks (e.g. Call of Duty Xbox Tournament or Super Smash Bros)? – from Piscataway, N.J. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. Video game titles are enclosed in quotes.

Q. Is the comma needed in the below sentence, or can it be omitted because the subject is the same for each clause. He graduated from the school in Charleston, and currently is a member of its Foundation Board of Trustees – from gillespie, Ill. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. No comma when the subject is shared for both clauses.

Q. Why does the AP's online New World Dictionary not show suggested hyphenation? I often have to fix word splits from line to line in text. – from Chapel Hill, N.C. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. Please send an example so our tech guru can take a look.

Q. If used in a sentence this way (as a modifier): The Indiana Basketball Slam-Dunk Championship was held...Is slam dunk still not hyphenated? Thanks. – from Annapolis, MD on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. If it's hyphenated in the official name, probably you should use that spelling.

Q. Hello. Could you please clarify if this is correct? The word "do" would be lowercase in a composition title because it's less than four letters, unless it's the first or last word in the title. Thank you. – from Gainesville, Fla. on Fri, Feb 27, 2015

A. Primary words in composition titles are capitalized, including the verb do.

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