Ask the Editor

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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. three top 5 albums or three top-five albums? Numeral or spell out? – from Chicago on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. Spell out.

Q. In an always-on, always-connected world. Do I need the hyphens? – from San Antonio on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. Hello. How would you write "a drugmaker that makes generic drugs": "generic-drug maker," "generic-drug-maker" or something else? Thanks. – from Tustin, Calif. on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. The Stylebook spelling is drugmaker, so the first is correct.

Q. What dateline should be used when reporting from Native American property? We have two Native American tribes nearby. One owns sovereign land and we typically refer to this at ONONDAGA NATION in datelines. The other tribe owns land, but it is not sovereign. Should we use CAYUGA NATION for that property, or should we use the name of the township? – from , Syracuse, N.Y. on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. AP may use this dateline format when reporting from Native American lands: ST. REGIS INDIAN RESERVATION, N.Y. (AP) ... So we use reservation rather than nation if it applies as a location.

Q. Does AP have a preference for either "convert into" or "covert to" (e.g. an annuity)? One source says, "Convert into means to change from one thing to another; convert to means to switch allegiance, loyalty, or obligation." Thanks. – from Topeka, Kan. on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. Better run that by financial experts. While AP stories on annuities have used either term, there may be nuances of meanings to consider in specific contexts.

Q. I am looking for the correct way to spell mic'd. The sentance is "... which records a mic%uFFFDd, one-camera video of HD quality footage." I cannot find anything on this here or in M-W. – from Washington on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. The informal term for microphone is mic (n.), as noted in the AP Stylebook entry. Webster's also lists mike (n.) informal and the verb forms miked, miking. We defer to the dictionary on the verbs.

Q. Are the commas before the quotes (below) unnecessary? Or are they a courtesy to readers? ... the natural response was either, "Oh, so you want to go to law school?" or the more befuddled, "So what do you want to do with your life?" – from Carlisle, Pa. on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. The commas are needed. The guideline is INTRODUCING DIRECT QUOTES in the "comma" entry of the Stylebook's Punctuation Guide

Q. Do you have any guidelines for how to report on concurrent sentences in a criminal trial? – from New York on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. Example from an AP story earlier this week: Jones says Davis' three-year sentence will be served concurrently with a 39-month federal firearms sentence that he was given in late August.

Q. Good morning. I'm following up on your response to my question about abbreviating --South-- and using a period in a street name that follows the numbered portion of an address. You had said to use periods with abbreviations of compass points and quadrants in numbered address. However, previous style entries say that we should not use periods with the names of quadrants unless local custom requires them. Has AP guidance changed? Again, please advise. Thank you! – from Kansas City, Mo. on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. The quadrant examples -- NW, SE -- are two-letter abbreviations and clear without periods. For a one-letter quadrant abbreviation, be guided by the other examples that use periods: 222 E. 42nd St., 562 W. 43rd St.

Q. Nonbank with no hyphen, correct? Is there a more acceptable term for financial services firms that don't accept or insure deposits? – from Washington on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. AP business stories use the term nonbank financial companies, so it's widely understood.

Q. Name has two initials and last name. Would there be a space between initials" – from Indianapolis on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

A. Using the model of the "initials" entry, periods and no space with the letters, assuming the individual has no other preference.

Q. First reference for EMV technology please: Europay, MasterCard and Visa; Europay-MasterCard-Visa; Europay/MasterCard/Visa. – from Madison, Wis. on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. EMV technology on first reference, defined as chips embedded in credit cards to make them more secure. In a follow-up, the credit card companies involved may be named.

Q. is it as good of a chance or as good a chance when writing in AP style ? – from Fairborn, Ohio on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. In AP usage, of may be dropped from such phrases.

Q. Does AP have a standard for when an election is a "landslide". For example: a 51 percent election victory is not a landslide, but an 80 percent win is. – from Washington on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. By dictionary definition, an election landslide is an overwhelming majority for a candidate or party. By most standards, that would be at least a 6 percent or 7 percent margin.

Q. Hello, what is the style for the military unit in the U.S. Army that deals with artillery. Is it fires brigade or Fires Brigade? And is FiB an acceptable acronym for it on subsequent references? – from Virginia, XX on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. Capitalized with a unit number: 17th Fires Brigade, 45th Fires Brigade. I haven't seen the abbreviation used in AP stories. It's probably not well-known outside the military. Better spell the term for clarity.

Q. To start a sentence, is it "On Wednesday," or is it "Wednesday,"? – from New York on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. The first is customary.

Q. Is it OK to say a building is ADA-accessible? – from St. Paul , Minn. on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. On first reference, it's the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Rather than the hyphenated term in a follow-up, alternative phrasing might say that the building complies with ADA access guidelines.

Q. My Farm Credit colleagues and I were pondering whether to use figures or spell out numbers when using acres. It's also a discussion we often had in newsrooms when I worked for newspapers. I see on the Ask the Editor FAQs page that acres take figures, but it's not spelled out in the print edition of the stylebook. Can we make a plea for indicating that acres take figures in print edition under the acres, numerals and dimensions entries? For example, the dimensions entry refers to length, width, height and depth, but not to area, such as 1 acre. – from Austin, Texas on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. Confirming numerals for acreage, including 1 acre. We'll look into adding the example.

Q. Would the Twin Cities region be capitalized in a story? (The Twin Cities refers to the urban area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota) .. Thank you! – from Uniondale, New York on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. In AP stories from Minnesota, it's Twin Cities region or metro region.

Q. In reference to countries in the Americas that are former colonies of Spain or Portugal, is it Ibero America, Iberoamerica, or Ibero-America? – from Washington, D.C. on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. Instead of that term, the Stylebook recommends Latin America for countries in the area of the Americas south of the U.S. where Romance languages derived from Latin are dominant.

Q. Is it Q&As or Q&A's or Q & A's? – from McLean, Va. on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. Q&A's for the plural abbreviation.

Q. Is it cabin closeup? Or cabin close-up? – from St. Paul , Minn. on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. See Stylebook entry: close-up (n. and adj.)

Q. Is it Energy Star%uFFFDrated in something like "The products are Energy Star%uFFFDrated?" Or no hyphen? – from NYC on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. Energy Star-rated, or Energy Star ratings with the actual number of stars per object.

Q. Hello, My client has used the phrase "tall, thin male adolescents," and I believe it should be "tall, thin adolescent males," but I can't find support for my position. Which should it be? Thanks. – from Huntingtown, MD on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

A. Either is correct because the term has two forms. In the first example, use adolescents for the noun. In the second example, use adolescent for the adjective.

Q. For headlines, does a foreign minister count as a "top diplomat"? The foreign minister is meeting with another country's ambassador, so I want to refer to both as "top diplomats" – from Tokyo on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. That works for a headline.

Q. I am a mass communication instructor at the University of Central Oklahoma. I have reviewed both the headline rule and U.S. rule in the stylebook. I am still unclear on how to write U.S. Census Bureau in a headline -- do I include the periods or write the headline as "US Census Bureau redesigns website" ... your response is appreciated. Thank you! Lorene – from Edmond, Okla. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. It's US without periods in a headline: US Census Bureau or US Census or simply Census: ...

Q. Which is correct in questions: "what" or "which"? Example: Which ( or what) leadership skills am I lacking?" And "Which (or what) assignments will equip me for what I need right now"? Thank you. – from Los Angeles on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. What leadership skills am I lacking? Which assignments will equip me for what I need right now?

Q. I know that AP prefers jihadi, but it appears that internationally, some news sources are referring to jihadism. What is AP's stance on the use of this term? Should it be used or should it be modified so jihadi can be used: for example, "the effects of jihadism's rise in power" replaced by "the effects of the jihadis rise in power"? – from Brooklyn, N.Y. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Haven't seen this formation used in AP stories. The Arabic noun jihad seems sufficient. See the "jihad" entry for elaboration.

Q. Are El Grito de Independencia and El Grito de Delores interchangable? – from Austin, Texas on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. The terms coincide. There may be nuances you could check with experts on the history of Mexico.

Q. Is debuted a word, as in past tense of debut? – from Chesterfield Townshi, MI on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Yes, use debuted for the past tense.

Q. If a professor emeritus dies, do you then call him deceased professor emeritus ... – from La Jolla, Calif. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. The late Professor Emeritus John Smith.

Q. Is a doctorate considered a graduate degree? – from Phoenix , Ariz. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. Don Mason, assistant business editor, Houston Chronicle Did AP rescind this year's rule change requiring that state names be spelled out? I recall that it did, but am not finding that in the Stylebook or Ask the Editor archives. – from Houston on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. AP spells out state names in conjunction with localities if they differ from the city-state abbreviation in a dateline. See "datelines" and "state names" for elaboration.

Q. I see in Webster's new world that "wholly-owned" is an entry. But I have always followed AP style of not hyphenating -ly adverbs. I also saw you cite this "rule" in another "Ask the Editor" entry. So in "a wholly owned subsidiary" should I hyphenate or not? – from Indianapolis on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. No hyphen in wholly owned per the Stylebook's "-ly" entry guidance.

Q. When using the term LAN (local area network), the AP entry says, "Acronym acceptable on first reference but spell out in copy." Does this mean that LAN can be used as a stand-alone acronym in the body of a release or does it need to be spelled out either on first reference or in parenthesis after the acronym (again, on first reference)? Also, what is the verdict on USB? Does it need to be spelled out on first reference or is it okay by itself? Both are relatively common acronyms... – from Albany, N.Y. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. LAN may be used on first reference within a story, but the term should be spelled out on a subsequent usage. Don't enclose the abbreviation in parentheses. USB is OK as an abbreviation in all uses.

Q. Is western capitalized when referring to "Western culture?" – from Nashville, Tenn. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Usually capitalized in the context of history, culture and social norms of countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Q. Should 'year to date' be hyphenated? For example, "take a peek at current year-to-date stats." – from Dallas on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Yes, as modifier preceding a noun: year-to-date sales. It's often written without hyphens in other uses: in the year to date.

Q. Should it be agency-wide or agencywide? Also, It is nonmotorized or non-motorized? – from St. Paul , Minn. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. It's agencywide and nonmotorized or not motorized.

Q. IN the Cloud or On the Cloud? – from Poolesville, MD on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Preference seems to be in the cloud, with a lowercase c.

Q. Does AP use "CalPERS" or "CalPers"? Thanks – from Flagstaff, Ariz. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. It's CalPERS in AP stories from the state.

Q. Should I abbreviate South as S. in 123 Wood St., South? The address in question contains a city, state and ZIP code. I looked in the entry for addresses as well as the Ask the Editor submissions, but I didn't see an example like this one. Please advise. Thank you much. – from Kansas City, Mo. on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. Yes, per the "addresses" guidance to abbreviate compass points to indicate directional ends of streets or quadrants of a city in a numbered address.

Q. I'm quoting from an Audobon Socity report that capitalizes bird names (e.g. Brown Pelican, California Gull, and so on). Should I retain the upper case in quoted material? – from Tokyo on Tue, Sep 16, 2014

A. In AP usage, capitalize the proper noun parts of bird names: brown pelican, California gull, American bald eagle, etc.

Q. For the phrase "mid to late Sept." or "mid Sept. to early Oct." should mid- have a hyphen? – from St. Paul, Minn. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. Try mid-to-late September, mid-September to early October. Note that the month is spelled out in such constructions.

Q. AP seems to use UNHCR for the agency, never spelling out term in the copy. Is this AP style? (As far as I know the official name is still the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.) – from Chicago on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. AP stories often spell out the full term on first reference, then use UNHCR in follow-ups. Alternatively, shorter forms are used for to define the abbreviation: The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, ...

Q. When you are trying to verify a famous or historic quotation, what source does AP use to do this? – from Houston on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. Among the references books and databases: AP news archives, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Q. Cross shareholding or cross-shareholding? – from Seoul, XX on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. AP business stories hyphenate cross-shareholding.

Q. Should megawatts be abbreviated (on second reference) when the object of a sentence? For example, %uFFFDThe two power plants generate a total of 60-MW.%uFFFD – from New York on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. The Stylebook's "watts" entry allows the abbreviation on second reference: 60 MW.

Q. In health care, there are compliance rules for short stays. What is the proper way of writing: Two-Midnight Rule/2 Midnight Rule/Two Midnight Rule? I've seen it so many ways... capitalized, hyphenated, numeral, etc. Please help! – from Nashville, Tenn. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. If AP were to use the term, it would be written as two-midnight guidance or rule, with a brief explanation.

Q. When referencing Bitcoin, please confirm this rule is still up to date: capitalize as concept and lowercase as a currency. – from San Diego, California on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. The 2014 Stylebook changed to bitcoin spelled lowercase in all uses.

Q. Would I hyphenate "health-aware" in this sentence? "Being health-aware isn't just about ..." – from Kansas City, Kan. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. It's an odd usage (noun-adjective). AP stories frequently use health awareness in various contexts. Better to rephrase it along those lines.

Q. Is it possible to paste the contents of a document in the ;electronic version of the AP Stylebook so the entire document is automatically checked for style and consistency against the stylebook rules? – from Blue Springs, Mo. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. See for several style checking products offered by subscription.

Q. Regarding this very timely question and answer: Q. When referring to the terrorist group ISIS, is it correct to write/say The Islamic State, the Islamic State, or just Islamic State? I keep seeing many versions in the media. %uFFFD from Moscow, Russia on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 A. In AP stories it's the Islamic State group. So, what should second reference be? IS or I.S. or just restate Islamic State? Thanks! – from Tampa, Fla. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. On second and subsequent references, Islamic State group. Individuals or units are referred to as Islamic State fighters or Islamic State militants. The IS abbreviation may be used in headlines.

Q. When referring to the terrorist group ISIS, is it correct to write/say The Islamic State, the Islamic State, or just Islamic State? I keep seeing many versions in the media. – from Moscow, Russia on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. In AP stories it's the Islamic State group.

Q. "May" or "can" as far as with word "reached"? Grew up with learning to say "may I" when asking permission. So if at the end of a story -- especially one by a freelancer or guest columnist -- would it be [author's name] "can be reached" at or "may be reached."? If we have permission to use the author's email address than permission is give to publish it and readers are allowed to send comments or questions -- so we could use "may." Or if that's the person's email, then they "can" be reached there. Any suggestions? – from New Jersey on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. Go with "can be reached," meaning the reader is able to contact the individual at the email address.

Q. I saw a question from Kansas City, MO on Sun, Feb 11, 2007, that seemed similar to this question... I'm working on marketing material where we have a poster with multiple times: Class 1 10 - 11 a.m., Class 2 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Class 3 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Class 4 3-4 p.m. Could you clarify whether it's correct to drop ":00" after some of the times in a table when others have minutes? – from Santa Barbara, Calif. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. Confirming for clock times at the top of the hour, 10-11 a.m., 3-4 p.m., etc.

Q. Where can I find guidance on writing the "time, date, place" sequence for news stories? – from Patuxent River, MD on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. AP stories generally list event, time, date and place in that order. The meeting is at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in the college auditorium.

Q. If Trinity is capitalized, would Trinitarian be capitalized if it precedes Christian? – from Oakton, Va. on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. When I need to write a town and state at the end of a sentence, for example Los Angeles, Calif., is the state abbreviated or written out? – from Vernon Hills, Ill. on Sun, Sep 14, 2014

A. Los Angeles stands alone without a state within AP news stories. But include the state name written out for most other localities, such as Riverside, California. See the "datelines" entry for stand-alone cities and "state names" for state abbreviations still used in datelines.

Q. When asked about hyphens in phrases like actor-turned-governor, Ask the Editor waffles in the several times the question is addressed. May we have a definitive yes or no to the use of hyphens? – from Louisiana on Sun, Sep 14, 2014

A. As stated previously, actor-turned-governor, actor-turned-California governor.

Q. Situated on a 28,000 square foot lot, the home blah blah blah. Correct, or 28,000 square-foot lot? – from Delmar, N.Y. on Sun, Sep 14, 2014

A. Hyphenated as a compound modifier: Situated on a 28,000-square-foot lot, the home ...

Q. When I asked my questions, "Is the 'b' in the abbreviation of British thermal units (btu or Btu) capitalized in a sentence?" and "Is the 't' in therm capitalized in a sentence?" Ask the Editor answered "See British thermal unit entry." I looked at that entry before submitting my question and it doesn't answer what I asked. The entry has the B in Btu capitalized because it's at the beginning of the sentence. My question is asks if the B is capitalized throughout a sentence. My other question was is the "t" in therm, capitalized and that isn't mentioned in the British thermal unit entry. – from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sun, Sep 14, 2014

A. It's Btu on second reference, cap B for British.

Q. Would you say, She gave me three twenties? or She gave me three 20s? or three $20's? three $20s? Thanks! – from Salina, Kan. on Sat, Sep 13, 2014

A. Either three twenties as a casual use of a currency figure or rephrased as three $20 bills.

Q. I know it's twofold, but what about for halves. Should it be "a 2.5-fold jump" ? Thanks – from Virgina, XX on Sat, Sep 13, 2014

A. No hyphen in "-fold" constructions, per the entry, which uses only whole numbers as examples. Make it a jump of 2 1/2 times or similar.

Q. Is the "b" in the abbreviation of British thermal units (btu or Btu) capitalized in a sentence? Also, is the "t" in therm capitalized in a sentence? – from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sat, Sep 13, 2014

A. See "British thermal unit" entry.

Q. Does AP allow starting a sentence with 24/7, or should it be written out? – from Colorado Springs, Colo. on Sat, Sep 13, 2014

A. With the exception of a year, such as 2014, numerals starting a sentence are spelled out. You might consider rephrasing to place 24/7 within the sentence.

Q. When a quote is more than one sentence long, is it necessary to break up the quote? For example: "I was so excited to ask the editor a question," she said. "I wonder if I will get an answer." or could we just say "I was so excited to ask the editor a question. I wonder if I will get an answer," she said. – from Baltimore on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Quotes may be longer than one short sentence. Either of your two examples is fine.

Q. I'm not finding an entry for "overdose" -- will you advise on AP's preferred approach? Does a person suffer an overdose, experience an overdose? Any guidance on a drug overdose story is much appreciated! – from Moccasin, Ariz. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. If authorities say a person suffered a drug overdose, the AP story may include that nuanced term. Otherwise, the phrasing may be more concise: Police said the deaths look like drug overdoses.

Q. Should sports teams be referred to with their or its? As in, "The volleyball team expects to improve on its/their record this season." – from Santa Cruz, , Calif. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Team is a collective noun taking a singular verb and pronoun. You could also rephrase the sentence to use a plural construction: The volleyball team members expect to improve on their record this season.

Q. Cross-linked polyethylene, a type of plumbing pipe, is abbreviated as PEX. Should we retain all-caps, even though it doesn't seem to be an acronym or initialism? – from Minneapolis on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. AP stories have occasionaly used PEX pipes on second reference for cross-linked polyethylene pipes.

Q. Is there a comma before "but" in the following example: "Sad, but true."? – from Seattle on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. The phrase is generally written without a comma.

Q. Is "indictment" usually singular only? Meaning, if someone is indicted on multiple charges, is that 1 indictment or is each charge its own indictment? – from Mount Pleasant, S.C. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Yes, the indictment would cite multiple changes, if that's the case.

Q. Is it proper to begin a paragraph with this first "non-sentence"? Two hundred twenty three. That's the current record for consecutive airline travel days, held by George Mandison of Wilshire, Ontario. – from Fairfax, Va. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Yes, with hyphenated twenty-three.

Q. When using a street address but NOT a zip code, would you abbreviate the state in this case? 650 N. Lake St., Madison, Wis. OR 650 N. Lake St., Madison, Wisconsin – from Madison, Wis. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. AP news stories now spell out state names in an address if the story is from another state. No state name is necessary if it's the same as the dateline.

Q. How do I capitalize gruner veltliner mid-sentence? "Veltliner" is a region (though not the region from which the wine originates; it's from Austria and inexplicably named after a region in Italy). This would imply "gruner Veltliner" is correct, but this looks odd to me. – from Portland, Ore. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. In AP stories, including from Austria, it's gruner veltliner within a sentence.

Q. Is the term 'gaming' acceptable in reference to casual tapletop games, such as Dungeons and Dragons or Magic: The Gathering? – from Ashland, Ohio on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Better stick to games. By dictionary definition, gaming (n.) refers primarily to gambling or training exercises for business or war.

Q. A colleague is formatting article titles that are links. Do the quotation marks go inside or outside the underlined portion of each link? I think they should go inside the link for a smoother read. I've searched high and low on the AP site for confirmation and found none. Please advise. Thank you much. – from Kansas City, Mo. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Probably inside. However, AP news stories cite the publication and provide a link to the article, as in this example: The Columbian reports ( the move was prompted by ...

Q. When using the word "help" followed by an infinitive, is it proper grammar to add "to" before the infinitive or not? Example: The scholarships will help students [to?] attend a university abroad. – from Los Angeles on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. The sentence reads smoothly without the preposition, though it's OK to include it.

Q. With the debut of Apple's new device, is AP sticking with "smart watch" as two words? – from Chicago on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. AP stories about the Apple device use smartwatch, one word.

Q. %uFFFDThe more no%uFFFDs you get the closer you are to a yes.%uFFFD I feel using the apostrophe to show pluralism in this instance is incorrect, but "nos" looks like a misspelling of nose. Please advise on how AP would stylize this construction. Thank you! – from Long Island, NY on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. Use the dictionary's first spelling for the plural: noes.

Q. Under AP guidelines, what would be the style for this? It looks like in the logo, it's "cc McKenzie" with the lowercase double c and a space. It reads funny in copy, so I wanted to check with you. Here's the website, in case you want to see how the company uses it: – from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. on Fri, Sep 12, 2014

A. The "company names" entry says to generally follow the spelling and capitalization preferred by the business. But capitalize the first letter if it begins a sentence.

Q. When there is chanting in a quote with letters, How do you write it? Forexample R-O-C-K! – from Gainesville, Fla. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Using the example of a "U-S-A!" chant in an AP story, "R-O-C-K!"

Q. Please forgive me if I am asking a question that appears to have been answered, but I am at a bit of a loss. In this sentence: "Remove as much stain as possible by sanding or scraping; clean the surface thoroughly; apply a primer, and follow with high-quality latex paint," what would you suggest as proper punctuation/phrasing? Should I have used a semicolon before the final "and?" Is there anything else that I could do differently to make it clearer? I am limited in the number of words I can use, and I cannot use bullets or a numbered list, so I am a stumped as to the best way to summarize these steps. Thanks much! – from Racine, Wis. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Remove as much stain as possible by sanding or scraping. Clean the surface thoroughly. Apply a primer and follow with high-quality latex paint.

Q. Is there a style rule for where titles go in a sentence in relation to a person's name? I've long believed that short titles generally go before a name and that longer titles should follow a name, to be easiest to read. Is that right? – from Albuquerque, N.M. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Usually the title most pertinent to the story or context goes directly before the name, the others follow the name.

Q. A while back, someone posted the following question and I'd like clarification on your answer. In what cases would you use half a million and not a half million? And, it's never $500,000, correct? Q. Which is preferred: "half a million" or "a half million"? (Same question applies to half dozen, etc.) from Seaside, Calif. on Nov 06, 2012. A. Probably the second, but there are cases where the first is more apt. – from Albuquerque, N.M. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. I can't dictate one or the other. Usage allows both. The precise figure is used all the time. An example: The house sold for $500,000.

Q. Is American capitalized in American cheese? – from San Diego on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. Is the comma after loan data necessary? "We offer report writing services for customer and loan data, and can quickly meet your report needs through our large inventory of existing reports." – from Raleigh, N.C. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. No comma because both clauses share the subject we.

Q. In the following, should the first letters in the words %uFFFDsenator%uFFFD and %uFFFDsir%uFFFD be uppercase or lowercase?: %uFFFDWell, that%uFFFDs not what I said, senator. What I said, if I could, sir, is we know a great deal more about the makeup of the opposition,%uFFFD Carney said. – from Arlington, Va. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Correct as written lowercase.

Q. I am editing a book and want to know if, when referring to a range, is it "one to five" or "1-5?" – from Vernon Hills, Ill. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Use figures for ranges. See the "range" entry for models.

Q. In this list, should there be a "the" before each title, or is the one before "governor" sufficient for the entire list? "The other seven members are ex officio: the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the state assembly, state superintendent of public instruction, president and vice president of the Alumni Associations of the UC and the UC president." – from Santa Cruz, , Calif. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. The before governor suffices. However, capitalize Assembly and lowercase alumni associations. On first reference, it's the University of California.

Q. I do not see that the "Bible" category answers the question about citing a Bible verse in "Ask the Editor" from earlier today. Specifically should "the citation come before the verse, or after the verse and set aside in parentheses?" – from Portland, Ore. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. The Biblical citation model isn't in parentheses. We don't specify it's placement before or after the verse.

Q. Does AP have a standard for the following medical abbreviations: IVIG (or IVIg) and SCIG (or ScIg, or SCIg) when not spelling out %uFFFDintravenous immunoglobulin%uFFFD or %uFFFDsubcutaneous immunoglobulin%uFFFD? Thanks! – from Clinton Township, MI on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Per the Stylebook entry, IV is acceptable on all references for intravenous. The accompanying term is written out, as is the other on first reference.

Q. Is it Irish Traveller or Irish Traveler when speaking of the ethnic group? – from Altoona, Pa. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. AP stories from the U.K. have used Irish Travelers, described as a group similar to but ethnically distinct from Gypsies or Roma.

Q. In this sentence, "Circuit Court (trial court) decisions have no binding precedential value on any other Circuit Court." wouldn't circuit courts be lc (except for the first word)? – from medford, MA on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Capitalize the full proper names of courts at all levels. That doesn't seem to be the case in your sentence.

Q. How do you cite a Bible verse if it is standing alone in an article? Should the citation come before the verse, or after the verse and set aside in parentheses? – from Statesboro, Ga. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. See the "Bible" entry in Religion Guidelines, which includes a format for citations.

Q. What is the current AP recommendation for electronic newsletters, e-newsletter or enewsletter? Thanks. – from Houston on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. With the exception of email, electronic terms are hyphenated: e-newsletter.

Q. When referring to a chapter of a book or the name of a particular section in a document, should its title be capitalized and/or put in quotation marks? – from Washington on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. See "chapters" entry. Formally named sections of renowned documents are capitalized: the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

Q. When referring to a "button" on a website a user should select or click, should the button name be capitalized or put in quotation marks? – from Washington on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Usually written without quotes: click on the start button.

Q. Should this say *between* or *among*? ...relationships *between* industries and service lines... I can't recast. Please advise. Thank you much. – from Kansas City, Mo. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. For multiple relationships, among is probably the better choice.

Q. Are the following punctuations of Packers correct? The Packers' new-look defense was a dud in Week 1. They must do more to keep Packers fans happy. And one more: He was a lifelong Packers fan. ... or ... He was a lifelong Packer fan. – from Shawano, Wis. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Generally AP prefers to write team names as descriptives, without an apostrophe, rather than possessives. Packers fans is usual. The singular Packer might be used in a singular construction.

Q. AP style says lower case for tweet but upper case for Googling and Googled. Why not be consistent? – from Englewood Cliffs, N.J. on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

A. Google is a trademark, so other terms formed from that word are also capitalized. Twitter is the trademark, so use capital T for Twitter message. The commonly used tweet is a different word and spelled lowercase in AP usage.

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