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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. You said that we should cite "The public-private partnership called GAVI, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization" but I've seen AP stories that write "GAVI" as "Gavi." So can we use both? – from , on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. Indeed, the organization's website uses Gavi, an acronym pronounced as word. So that spelling looks correct. Thanks for pointing it out for a recheck.

Q. First I'd just like to thank you for being here. Over the years you have helped me resolve many issues for my paper. And now that I head up the copy editing department I value your expertise and experience even more. So my question is, do we write IPad and the beginning of a sentence and at the beginning of a headline? – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. Yes, IPad when starting a sentence or headline as in the "iPad" entry. Happy you find my advice helpful.

Q. How do you punctuate the following: New Mom's Room New Moms Room New Moms' Room – from Chandler, Ariz. on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. For a descriptive sign, use the second without apostrophe.

Q. How does AP treat italicized publication titles within overall italicized tex? Do you reverse the italic title treatment to set it off? – from Madison, Wis. on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. See the "italics" entry.

Q. For the spelling of the full name of the polymer commonly abbreviated as %uFFFDPEEK,%uFFFD would you recommend %uFFFDpolyether ether ketone,%uFFFD %uFFFDpolyetheretherketone%uFFFD or %uFFFDPolyEtherEtherKetone%uFFFD? (I%uFFFDve seen all three used in technical contexts online.) – from Irving, Texas on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. Generally, polyether ether ketone.

Q. Hello, When designating a Senator's political party & state affiliation, how do we note it next to their name? Sen. First Last (D., Minn.) OR Sen. First Last, D., Minnesota OR neither?? Thanks! Best, Amber – from Portland, Ore. on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. See "party affiliation" entry.

Q. Should a reference to a Purple Heart medal be upper or lowercase? – from La Grange, Texas on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. It's capitalized as you have it.

Q. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has rebranded itself as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. How should we cite it? For instance, should it be written as "Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has received $7.5 billion in pledges." Or is it "Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has received $7.5 billion in pledges." – from , on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

A. The public-private partnership called GAVI, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

Q. How many changes has the AP style manual made each year over the past three years? It seems like quite a bit has happened in the past couple years... – from Omro, Wis. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. See the What's New section of each annual edition for a summary of updates.

Q. What is the correct way to reference a website? For example, "for more information go to www.uscis.gov." or "for more information go to uscis.gov." Can we drop the www? – from WASHINGTON, District of Columbia on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. See the "Internet" entry for recommendations.

Q. what is the capitalization rule for use of the term registrar of voters when used without the name of the office holder? i don't capitalize district attorney but i do cap district attorney's office. thanks! – from chula vista, ca on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. It's lowercase unless directly preceding the full name of the title holder.

Q. How would you pluralize Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau. Would it be Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau's? – from Lansing, Ill. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. The simple plural is bureaus without an apostrophe.

Q. Is this language acceptable? -- Our team includes MBAs -- I queried AP's --MBA-- guidance but didn't see examples of the degree standing in for the person. Please advise; I cannot recast. Many thanks! – from Kansas City, Mo. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. It's rather informal but probably understandable.

Q. Is Presidential oath or presidential oath correct? – from Woodstock, Ga. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. The lowercase spelling is correct.

Q. Would deaf/hearing impaired by lowercase or capitalized in the following sentence? In January, six deaf/hearing impaired students at ... had the opportunity to participate in a unique educational opportunity that reached across the nation. – from Haltom City, Texas on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. ... six students who are deaf or partially deaf had the opportunity ...

Q. Should a comma be used to separate two independent clauses where the subject "you" is understood for each? Here is an example sentence: Use your resources that you opened on the previous slide for your analysis, and answer each question based on the information you have. – from Bloomington, Ill. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. The comma is correct in this sentence.

Q. In this sentence would "Expert Advisory Board Member" all be capitalized, as if it were Dr. John Smith's title? Or would "member" itself be lower cased? Or would the whole thing be lower cased? "___(Company Name) Expert Advisory Board Member Dr. John Smith speaks to..." – from Red Bank, N.J. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. The job description following the company name should be lowercase. It's better placed after the name of the individual with the Dr. title.

Q. How would one and a half hour tour be hyphenated, without using 90-minute tour? Does AP use fractions, decimals or words in this circumstance? Example: She enjoyed the one and a half hour-tour of the museum. – from Holland, MI on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. She enjoyed the 1 1/2-hour tour of the museum. She enjoyed a tour of the museum for an hour and a half.

Q. Is "Paleo" capitalized when referring to the diet, since the abbreviation is based on the diet eaten by people during the Paleolithic era? – from New York on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. Capitalized book title or trademark diet program. Less formally, it is often written lowercase.

Q. For dates when the sentence is "between the XX of last month and XX of this month" can the format be 21st/15th, for instance? Thank you! – from Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. AP uses the calendar date in such formulations. Between Jan. 5 and Feb. 4 ...

Q. We are writing an article about creating a will for a local newspaper. Is the word "will" capitalized? Example sentence below: Every individual should have a current Will to ensure all personal goals and objectives are met, as well as designate who you appoint to handle your affairs. – from Reading, Pa. on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. Lowercase the common noun will.

Q. In a headline, what is the AP style for writing "Q&A"? – from Irving, Texas on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

A. As you have it.

Q. Is there a preference for using "about" versus "around"? For example, "There were about 50 students at the rally." – from Santa Cruz, , Calif. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. About is customary in such phrasings.

Q. When formatting date ranges, what is the cut off? So, for a date range of one year, it would be 2014-15. But what about for a longer range? 2014-88 or 2014-2088 OR 2014 to 2088? – from Santa Cruz, , Calif. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. The abbreviated range should be immediately apparent. Beyond five or 10 years, generally use the full numerals.

Q. If an artist or musician goes by a stage name that has a first and last name, and the artist's real name (including first and last) is also used in the story, should the artist then be referred to by his or her real last name or stage last name on second reference? – from Arkansas on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. Use the stage name in follow-ups if that's what the person uses in public life.

Q. Which is more correct? Both drivers were wearing a seat belt? Both drivers were wearing seat belts? – from Festus, Mo. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. Each driver was wearing a seat belt. Both drivers were wearing seat belts.

Q. Should DAYTONA 500 be in all caps or should it be Daytona 500? I've seen it both ways in news articles so I'm wondering if AP has any guidance on the term. – on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. In AP stories, Daytona 500.

Q. What is AP style for a small plane (not a drone) controlled by a remote? Is it remote-controlled plane, remote-control plane, remote control plane, ect.? – from , Idaho Falls, Idaho on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. Usually it's remote control plane, though sometimes hyphenated as remote-controlled plane.

Q. When a last name is multiple words and the first letter is lower-cased (such as van Buren), when you start a new sentence, do you capitalize the v? So: van Buren was a great professional OR Van Buren was a great professional. – from Salt Lake City on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. Capitalize the V if it starts a sentence.

Q. What is the preferred abbreviation for atrial fibrillation -- AFib, Afib, A-Fib, A-fib? – from Macungie, Pa. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. AP stories don't shorthand the term, but it's defined as a type of irregular heartbeat.

Q. When abbreviating college/university names not in a sports story and which are not part of the list of schools that can be abbreviated on first reference, should periods be used between each letter or not? For example, would University of Washington be UW or U.W., and Pacific Lutheran University be PLU or P.L.U.? Thanks. – from Tacoma, Wash. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. AP spells out school names within stories on first reference, then UW or PLU on follow-ups.

Q. For government contracts, is IDIQ contracts "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract" or "indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract" or other? – from McLean, Va. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. At the GSA website, it's indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts.

Q. Alphabetization -- Companies that start with the word The...like The Delfield Company. I would think they get alphabetized in the D's. This is easy to do on a printed piece. Does this apply on an electronic listing as well? – from Chicago on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. Yes, under the Ds.

Q. Is the correct usage "sliding scale fee" or "sliding fee scale"? – from Tulsa, Okla. on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. It's usually written sliding fee scale in AP stories.

Q. Does the below ruling also apply to "night vision device?" Q. Is it night-vision googles or night vision googles? %uFFFD from Parris Island, S.C. on Thu, May 17, 2012 A. Usually written in AP stories as a noun phrase without hyphens, night vision goggles. – from Ft. Meade, MD on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. Yes.

Q. When referencing the San Francisco Chronicle's San Francisco Gate free online publication, would you say, "San Francisco Chronicle via the San Francisco Gate" or just one of them, which one? – from San Diego on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. One possibility: SFGate.com, the online news publication of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Q. Is the hyphen grammatical in "He won his 11th-career Asian Cup on Sunday"? – from Tokyo on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

A. No hyphen in 11th career Asian Cup.

Q. I've seen two versions in AP stories: Gross National Happiness and "gross national happiness". What's the suggested style? – on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. It's lowercase, sometimes enclosed in quotes as an unusual term.

Q. I need to alphabetize a list. I have numbers and alpha in the company names. What comes first? Do I list all alpha first and then the company names? Or, do I treat the numbers as if they were written, and alpha accordingly? Example: 10 Strawberry Street Commercial 3M A La Cart, Unified Brands A.J. Antunes & Co. Should I place the 3M and 10 Strawberry in the "T"s? Please advise. Thanks! – from Chicago on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. The Stylebook's "company names" listing of 125 major U.S. corporations begins with 3M Co. followed by Abbott Laboratories and others alphabetically. Using that model, put numbered companies up top in numerical order, followed by the others spelled out in alphabetical order.

Q. How would I spell out the number 656 at the start of a sentence? Six hundred fifty-six? Six hundred and fifty-six? Please advise? Thanks. – from Rosemead, Calif. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. It probably comes down to personal preference. To me the second is a little easier to grasp. Better yet, rewrite to use the numeral 656 within the sentence.

Q. Should Internet of Things have quotation marks around it? Is it reasonable to use the IoT acronym on the second reference? – from Madison, Wis. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. It's the "Internet of Things" in AP technology stories, meaning Internet-connected products. The abbreviation doesn't appear.

Q. I have a question about a sentence beginning with a number. It used to say in the "numeral" topic to spell out numbers that begin a sentence unless it begins with a year. Now it doesn't. Did the rule change? – from Jacksonville, Fla. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. The guidance in "numerals" is the same. Spell out: %u2013 At the start of a sentence: Forty years was a long time to wait. Fifteen to 20 cars were involved in the accident. The only exception is years: 1992 was a very good year. See years.

Q. Who in the legislative branch of government can be called "politician"? Is it everyone, no one, only political appointees (vs. career civil servants), only people who were elected (or tried to get elected) to the legislative branch of government in the past, or some other subgroup? – from 20009 on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. Deferring to Webster's New World College Dictionary: politician n. [[pol itic & -ian]] 1 a person actively engaged in politics, esp. party politics, professionally or otherwise; often, a person holding or seeking political office 2 a person skilled or experienced in practical politics or political science

Q. When using a common phrase, such as "not in my backyard," as a modifier, should I deploy hyphens, quotations or rephrase? EX: " ... the not-in-my-backyard mentality." – from Houston, Texas on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. Hyphenated you have it. No quotes needed for common phrases. Rephrasing is often better to avoid lengthy compound modifiers.

Q. Hopefully, you can settle a disagreement. I believe that the statement below is correct as is with nonreimbursable as one word. A colleague believes that it should be hyphenated as non-reimbursable. Who is correct? FLIK will fund 100 percent of the transition costs as outlined in the Opening Budget up to $85,540 in the form of a nonreimbursable investment that will be internally amortized on our books over 10 years. – from Charlotte, N.C. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. Terms formed with the "non" prefix are rarely hyphenated in AP Style. Nonreimbursable is correct based on the Stylebook entry and spelling models in Webster's New World College Dictionary.

Q. Karaoke DJ who works independently or a karaoke DJ that works independently? – on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. The first, although the Stylebook guidance is to spell out disc jockey on first reference.

Q. Would you say "is" or "are" in this sentence? "His talent, combined with his personality, is/are attractive." Thanks. – from Tustin, Calif. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. Better rephrase. His talent combined with his personality make him attractive.

Q. What is the AP's style policy for using "U.S." or "America" as a geographic reference. Are the two interchangeable? – from 21701, MD on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. Within texts, U.S. is preferred. America may be used for variety when the context is clear.

Q. How would you punctuate this? One of the first things I do is ask "why are you here?" OR One of the first things I do is ask, "Why are you here?" – from Tucson, Ariz. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. One of the first things I do is ask, "Why are you here?"

Q. Is "Paralympians" correct to specify athletes who compete in the Paralympic Games? Just like "Olympians" is for the Olympic Games? Thank you. – from Chicago on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. Correct.

Q. Is "restaurant level" hyphenated? – from Plano, Texas on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. It depends on the construction. Hyphenated as a modifier: restaurant-level margins. Unhyphenated in some other uses: Job cuts won't be made at the restaurant level.

Q. Which is correct for the spelled-out form of SMEs -- subject-matter experts, or subject matter experts (sans hyphen)? I have seen it both ways. Thanks, J.J. – from Fanwood, N.J. on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. the term is usually without a hyphen in AP stories.

Q. How is the AP spelling/punctuating the name of Saudi Arabia's new king? – from Washington on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

A. King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman. He's Salman on second reference.

Q. For subsequent uses of kilogram, I know the AP Style is to abbreviate them 'kg'. But what if the word gram is used after kilogram has been spelled out? Should we spell it out or abbreviate it 'g' ? Thank you. – from Richmond, XX on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. On first reference, spell out gram.

Q. Is there some rule regarding not having to use year with month/date if its within a couple months of the cureent month? If so, I can't find it. Ex Dec. 19, 2014 use in a story published Jan. 26, 2015. Could you just use Dec. 19? – from Richmond, Va on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. In AP usage, the calendar date generally suffices if the previous year is obvious from the context, as in your example.

Q. To be more succinct with the phrase "in which industry or industries the client is involved," I'd like to use parentheses immediately after the word "industry" to show the possibility of multiple industries, but should it be shown as "industry(ies)" or "industry(s)?" – from Chicago on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. The plural is industries. However, the parenthetical is awkward. Better to stick with industry or industries.

Q. Is the punctuation in the following sentence correct? Do you agree with most people who say, "You're no good."? Thanks. fw – from medina, Minn. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. Better rephrase as an indirect question, which doesn't get a question mark: Do you agree with most people who say you're no good.

Q. If a hospital capitalizes a unit in their facility, should we? For example, Intensive Therapy Unit or should it be intensive therapy unit? – from Nichols Hills, Okla. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. Lowercase the common name of the unit.

Q. Is "cross-use" hyphenated, or should it simply be "cross use"? I have seen the phrase appear both ways. Thank you! – from Woodbridge , N.J. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. Your call on that. It doesn't show in AP stories, dictionaries or other references.

Q. Hello, today my question is actually two questions. I am reading something about different platforms and came across this sentence%uFFFDPublisher Simon and Schuster has released its Simon Says platform of online video courses taught by popular authors. Should the platform be in quotation marks? And the second question refers to name of courses provided by whoever runs the SimonSays website. The name of the one of the courses is A Short Guide to a Long Life. does it get quotation marks? – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. Both look OK as written without quotation marks.

Q. If an email address has one or more CAPS, does that get carried over into stories? Or all letters lowercase? – from Akron, Pa. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. Render the email address as written by the account holder, including capital letters.

Q. How would I reference a local news affiliate in web or print copy? For example, is it "WTVR-6 CBS" or "CBS WTVR-6", or simply "WTVR-6"? – from Richmond, Va. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. If essential to include the network, place that in apposition to the call letters: WTVR-6, a CBS affiliate.

Q. Thoughts on using the word "drone" vs "unmanned aerial vehicle" or the like? Some people at work feel "drone" has a government, militaristic tone, but I see it used everywhere. Thanks. – from Rochester, N.Y. on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

A. Drone is widely used and understood. The other term might be used as a brief explanation, though it's a bit bureaucratic.

Q. Can overseas be used when you can travel to that country via land? Ex: The North Korean leader will make his first overseas trip of 2015 to Russia. – from Seoul, XX on Sun, Jan 25, 2015

A. No. It's his first foreign trip of the year.

Q. Do you need dashes when you say, for example "2-to-3 feet of snow?" – from , on Sun, Jan 25, 2015

A. ... 2 to 3 feet of snow.

Q. Hello Editor, Would apostrophes be needed here and, if so, where should they go considering that the sharks are no longer the rightful owners of these teeth? "Midwestern visitors to Florida's west coast love to collect the prehistoric sharks' teeth that wash up on the beach. There is even an annual shark's tooth festival." – from Detroit on Sun, Jan 25, 2015

A. Florida's west coast is correct as a possessive. Also, the annual Shark's Tooth Festival in Venice uses the apostrophe, based on news references and the event's website. The other reference might be better written as prehistoric shark teeth.

Q. AP style seems to vary on terms with "yard." What is the recommended style when "yard" is combined with "rail" ... "railyard" (one word) or "rail yard" (two words)? Is there a rule? Thank you. – from Long Beach, Calif. on Sat, Jan 24, 2015

A. AP stories use two words for rail yard.

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