Q. In the following sentence, what needs to be capitalized?
In this plan, we established a Windows Small Business Server environment with a Server and eight client machines.
from Aurora, Ill. on Fri, Dec 20, 2013
A. Capitalized words as written for the software product name but lowercase server on second reference.
Q. What is AP's rationale for referring to the USN's collegiate officer commissioning program as "Navy ROTC" sted "Naval ROTC," which is the official/proper name of the program?
from FORT MEADE, MD on Fri, Dec 20, 2013
A. It's in line with the names of two other military branches in the definition. In AP stories, it's written Naval ROTC as much as or more than Navy ROTC.
Q. My association, along with two unions, was recognized by a newspaper for an achievement. However, in the recognition statement, the newspaper refers to the three entities collectively as "the unions." (My organization is sometimes mistaken for a union because of our lobbying activity.) We would like to run the recognition statement in our association magazine. Is it permissible to delete the word "unions" and insert [organizations] in brackets within the quote?
from Alexandria, Va. on Fri, Dec 20, 2013
A. Did you point out the terminology to the newspaper for a publishable correction? That should result in an amended statement for your use.
Q. Is "forward thinking" hyphenated as modifier?
from RG, Bangalore on Fri, Dec 20, 2013
Q. In a table of contents for a newsletter, we list topics of interest from our online forum. They're separated by a comma, i.e., Twitter Etiquette, Pull My Byline?, Science Pitches, Price Discussion, Weekend Emails. I never know what to do when one of those topics is a question: Do I put ?, before the next topic (as I did here), or do I just use the question mark and go straight into the next topic? The latter seems really weird, but the former looks really strange.
from Madison, Wis. on Thu, Dec 19, 2013
A. Try using semicolons to separate the complex subjects introduced by a tag. Online forum: Twitter Etiquette; Pull My Byline?; Science Pitches; Price Discussion; Weekend Emails.
Q. Should "Delegate" be abbreviated "Del." when referring to members of state legislatures, such as the Virginia House of Delegates? Different sections of the stylebook conflict.
Delegate: "Abbreviate as a formal title before names, as local usage allows." http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=829&src=AE
Legislative titles: "Spell out other legislative titles in all uses." http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=entry&id=1724&src=AE
See also Q&A: "In practice, Del. preceding the name is often used in Congress, just like Sen. and Rep." http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=ask_editor&id=11416
Should the general practice for Congress also apply to state legislatures? Thanks!
from New York on Thu, Dec 19, 2013
A. Use the abbreviated title Del. preceding the full name of a member of the Virginia House of Delegates: Del. Steve Landes. It's the practice in other state legislatures with delegates.
Q. I know we wouldn't use an apostrophe if we said "He was born in the 1950s." But in a phrase such as the following, would it be "a 1950s sitcom" or "a 1950's sitcom"? Thanks!
from Carlsbad, Calif. on Thu, Dec 19, 2013
A. No hyphen in a 1950s sitcom, a descriptive phrase.
Q. Is there an AP policy on how you refer to a company now that in the past had a different name? For example, I worked for ABC, (now known as ....) I worked for ABC, predecessor firm to ABCD.
from Littleton, Colo. on Thu, Dec 19, 2013
A. I worked for ABC, now known as ABCD, ...
Q. In the sentence, "the business and public filings division of the California Attorney General," is business and public filings divison considered generic, or should it be capitalized?
from Austin , Texas on Thu, Dec 19, 2013
Q. My understanding is that it is AP style to capitalize words of three or more letters in a traditional "title case" style headline, meaning words such as "from" and "with" would be uppercase. Is that correct? Many thanks!
from Carlsbad, Calif. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. In "composition title, examples of which are listed in the entry, capitalize the principle words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
Q. Should a comma be included before a prepositional phrase at the end of a sentence? For example: The hotel features a variety of amenities from free wi-fi to 24-hour room service
from NC on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Yes, comma after amenities preceding the examples.
Q. Hello -
Does the phrase below need a hyphen? I have seen it written both ways all over the internet. Thank you!
municipally-owned or municipally owned
from WI on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. No hyphen with the adverb: municipally owned.
Q. Is the abbreviation No. (No. 10, etc.) also used in quotes?
Or in quotes, would it be spelled out (number 10, or perhaps Number 10)?
I've checked/searched for an answer, but sorry if I've missed something%uFFFD
from Bristol, Conn. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. The "quotations in the news" entry says follow basic writing style and use abbreviations where appropriate. By that guidance, No. 10 within a quote.
Q. Is longshoreman and shore man the same thing?
from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Not that I'm aware of. A longshoreman loads and unloads ships.
Q. Is it proper to use "impacts" as a plural noun in the objective case(e.g., "Poor tax planning led to detrimental impacts on the investment portfolio.")?
from Radnor, Pa. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Plural impacts is vague. Could it be more direct? Poor tax planning had a negative effect on ...
Q. Style entry on "Dr." reads: If appropriate in the context, Dr. also may be used on first reference before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees.
Can you give an example of what constitutes appropriate context?
from Greenville, S.C. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Certain religious and academic leaders, such as university presidents, who use Dr. in their professional lives, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Q. Do you put a comma before too in this instance?
Adults love Christmas too!
from Port Orange, Fla. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
Q. Should a hyphen appear after "21st" in the following?
"...an important area for businesses in the 21st-century knowledge economy."
from Pittsburgh on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Yes, as a compound modifier.
Q. When do you stop calling a business a startup? In essence, when do you just call a business a business? After one year, two years, three years, etc.?
from Springdale, Arkansas on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. The transition from a startup to an established business varies. Check with the enterprise concerned for its view of where the process stands.
Q. Should "Draconian" be uppercase or lowercase?
from Providence, R.I. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Lowercase words that are derived from a proper noun -- Draco in this case -- but no longer depend on it for meanings.
Q. Would the term environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) be capitalized?
from St. Paul , Minn. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. AP spells such terms lowercase and doesn't put the abbreviation in parentheses.
Q. In a B2B newsletter, the writer has written this greeting: Happy New Year, Creators! Is comma necessary? Thanks.
from Emerald Hills, Calif. on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Yes, for the title of address.
Q. In this sentence, which is correct, has or have? Decades of clinical research has explored the psychology of human suffering.
from Chesterfield Townshi, MI on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. For decades, clinical research has explored ....
Q. Just want to know if these three sentences are gramatically correct.
1. The department is having a ground-breaking ceremony.
2. The department is having a groundbreaking.
3. The department is having a groundbreaking ceremony.
from Austin, Texas on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. It's groundbreaking (n. and adj.), so the second two examples are correct. The third is customary.
Q. "Steamed to perfection, it's easy to see why chicken roulade is the chef's signature dish." Isn't 'steamed to perfection' a dangling modifier in the above sentence and shouldn't we rephrase it?
from 115953, XX on Wed, Dec 18, 2013
A. Better rephrase: Steamed to perfection, chicken roulade is ....
Q. Example: "I'm really proud of you," coach Williams said.
Is coach capitalized because "coach"is subbing for the first name or is it lowercase?
from Killeen, Texas on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. It's a job description in this sentence so lowercase is correct. Also, it's preceded by the first name and surname on first reference. Thereafter, coach or Williams. See "coach" entry for elaboration.
Q. Is arts-and-culture (an in "an arts-and-culture monthly") hyphenated?
from Mt. Vernon, Iowa on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. No hyphens in arts and culture monthly.
Q. Freediving? Free-diving? Free diving? (Ocean diving as deep as possible without breathing apparatus)
from Washington on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Two words in AP stories, and occasionally hyphenated as a modifier.
Q. There seem to be conflicting responses about course names. Some Ask the Editor responses say that only proper nouns such as English are capitalized. Others say only to capitalize a course if there is a number associated, such as History 101, while still others tell us to capitalize the entire name if it is the formal name of the course. There doesn't seem to be an official Stylebook entry, so which of the three should we follow? For instance, in a sentence like this should anything else be capitalized that isn't? The board unanimously approved a writing-intensive new English course for seniors called technical writing %uFFFD a revamped version of an old offering called practical English %uFFFD a new advanced placement history class called AP European history and also beginning band, for students who want to play an instrument but lack the experience needed to participate in concert band.
from Pekin, Ill. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Correct as written. Treat these classes as generic names spelled lowercase except for proper nouns.
Q. Should laydown be lay-down?
%uFFFD Loading rubble onto trucks and transporting it from the work site to the laydown area for final inspection
from HARRISONBURG, Va. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. That usage doesn't appear in AP stories. Construction company websites use laydown area for staging equipment and materials at a building site.
Q. I have reviewed the archives but could not find this answer. What exactly is the rule for enumerating years as periods of time (not age)? Like "five years ago" or "x will happen in five years" or "x will take place over five years"?? And is it correct that you'd always spell out the number under 10 when you're preceding "centuries" and "decades," such as "two centuries" or "seven decades" ?? Thanks very much.
from Vancouver, Wash. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Figures are used for precise measurements of elapsed time or clockings. Spell out years, decades and centuries under 10: five years, six centuries, seven decades.
Q. What is your official call on capitalization of central business district?
Is this correct?
Located within Harris County, the site is 17.0 miles southeast of Houston%uFFFDs Central Business District.
The new shopping plaza is 17.0 miles southeast of the Central Business District.
from Columbus, Ohio on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. In AP stories from various cities, it's a generic term spelled lowercase.
Q. Does well-cared-for use hyphens? Thanks.
from San Diego on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. No hyphens in well cared for.
Q. How many stories would you say a building should be in order for it to be accurately referred to as a high-rise?
from Portland, Ore. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. At least six stories and equipped with elevator.
Q. Is it soundman or sound man (a man that runs a sound board at concerts)?
from Biddeford, Maine on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Customarily two words in stories referring to film or video technicians. Unless there's a specialized usage for concerts, two words should also apply.'
Q. In many a dining story, there is the word 'tableside.' But I can't find it in Webster's that way, so that would mean two words. What say ye?
from Chicago on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. It's tableside in AP stories about restaurants or poker competitions.
Q. Is this correct: A divorced woman (man) is the former wife (husband) of so-and-so, or the former Mrs. (Mr.) So-and-so? She (he) is NOT the "Ex-wife (husband)" of so-and-so. It's the "ex" that I find jarring. By the same token, a person whose spouse is no longer living is a widow(er), NOT the former Mrs. (Mr.) So-and-so.
When a woman marries after having been widowed, how is she referred to in print where the fact of her having been widowed is relevant to the story? Is it Mrs. SoAndSo SuchAndSuch?
Thank you for any clarification.
from , Ft. Meade, Maryland on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Correct. The "ex-" entry suggests using former in most cases involving people. Also, see the "divorce" entry for updated guidance. Correct on widow and widower, rather than former, but see that entry for additional guidance.
Q. Use of the word "snowblow" as a verb is common in snow country (i.e. He is snowblowing the driveway, he snowblowed the driveway), yet the word has not yet made it into dictionaries. The use of the term as a verb appears in various locations as one word, and also hyphenated as "snow-blow". How does AP Style advise on using "snowblow" as a verb, if at all? Should "use the snowblower" be used instead?
from Biddeford, Maine on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. AP archive search didn't yield any verb uses. However, the American Heritage Dictionary lists snowblow as a verb, but without other forms or tenses. The simple past could be a problem: snowblew? However, snowblown is quite common.
Q. In militaryspseak, the term "round" refers to a single cartridge of ammunition but may also refer to gunfire itself. With respect to jargon, should the phrase "a round struck his helmet" be "a bullet struck his helmet"?
from Fallbrook, Calif. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Round is often used for a tank, mortar or artillery projectile that strikes a target. Bullet is the usual term for a rifle or pistol projectile that hits a target, but round is also acceptable.
Q. I don't see anything that says yea/nay on ID'd, ID'ing. According to Webster's, these are ok. My thought is that ID stands for identification rather than identify. So they don't make sense to me. What say you?
from Kankakee, Ill. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. AP stories use ID card, but avoid the abbreviated verb forms.
Q. Does AP use a definite article for Central African Republic? The CAR or just CAR?
from New York on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. In most AP stories, it's the Central African Republic.
Q. If a proper name includes a comma, does another comma follow the second part of the name. For example: "The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, will feature..."
Since it is a proper name, the college name would be considered essential and therefore it shouldn't be considered a nonessential clause, correct? Comma or no comma following college name?
from Ocala, Fla. on Tue, Dec 17, 2013
A. Set off College of Central Florida as a nonessential phrase following the Appleton Museum of Art.
Q. Does AP style call for parenthetical commas with telephone extension numbers: Call 800-555-4444, ext. 1, for more information.
from Lawrence, Kan. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. The "telephone numbers" entry doesn't address that, but you've punctuated the extention correctly.
Q. Should Kaddish have an uppercase K and/or be encased in quote marks? What about the Mourner's Kaddish? (I mean the prayer, not the poem by Ginsburg or other modern compositions called "Kaddish.")
from Yucca Valley, Calif. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. Based on Webster's lowercase spelling of kaddish (n.), mourner's kaddish.
Q. "When you're talking about congressional budgeting, they reference future fiscal years as the "out years." Would that be one word, two words or hyphenated?"
from Washington on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. It's spelled outyear, one word, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, a backup reference for the AP Stylebook. Add s for plural.
Q. If I'm saying "This will cost our company untold time and money," is it untold or untolled?
from Tampa, Fla. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. ... untold time and money.
Q. Will 2014 Stylebook allow "tastebud" (or "tastebuds") as one word?
from North Chicago on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. We'll stick with taste bud (n.) used in dictionaries.
Q. Is it correct to say "log on to" or "log onto"? (Ditto for "log in to" / "log into")
from Kansas City, Mo. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. See "login, logon, logoff" entry, which says these noun forms are compounds, but use two words in verb forms: log in to, log on to.
Q. I've seen copy that initial caps "Old Hollywood." For example %uFFFD%uFFFDIt's easy to achieve Old Hollywood glamour. Is this correct or should "old" be lowercase? Thanks!
from Clinton Township, MI on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. Lowercase the modifier in old Hollywood glamour.
Q. "limited liability company" or "limited-liability company"
from Providence, R.I. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
Q. Some style guides say that when there is a possessive immediately preceding a title, you should omit the initial "A" or "The" of the title. Example: Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice." What is AP style?
from Plano, Texas on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. AP uses full titles, including articles.
Q. What should be included in parenthesis after a phone number that uses letters? For example, would "800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227)" or "800-MEDICARE (633-4227)" be correct?
from San Diego on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. The Stylebook's "telephone number" entry says to use figures, so it would be 800-633-4227.
Q. Would it be Third-Party Safety Audit Program or Third Party Safety Audit Program?
from Charlotte, N.C. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. No hyphen in third party.
Q. "A variety of limits is available" or "A variety of limits are available"?
from San Antonio on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. A variety, the sentence subject, has a plural sense, so use a plural verb for agreement.
Q. Which is correct? "One in five Americans attain/attains affluence."
from Watertown, N.Y. on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. One in 5 Americans attains affluence.
Q. In a book review, would we refer to someone as an author-illustrator or an author/illustrator when he has both written and illustrated the book?
from Farmington, Maine on Mon, Dec 16, 2013
A. Use the hyphenated spelling in formal writing: author-illustrator.
Q. In a story where multiple military services are discussed, is it appropriate to differentiate between people with the same rank, but assigned to different services? "Army Staff Sgt. Joe Smith was reportedly seen attacking Air Force Staff Sgt. Tom Jones."
from Joint Base Andrews, Md. on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
A. Correct. Readers would want to have those details.
Q. Would you capitalize the name of a generic medication (I know you'd capitalize the brand name of the same drug)?
from Germantown, MD on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
A. Lowercase the generic.
Q. I can't find a citing for ranges in millions such as this. Is this correct? "Pheochromocytoma is a rare disease with an estimated rate of two to eight per million per year." Thanks!
from Germantown, MD on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
A. ... a rare disease with an estimated two to eight cases per million people a year, according to (cite the source).
Q. In describing a car, would it be "It had dual exhaust with chrome tips" or "dual exhausts"? The former is what's most commonly used in conversation by enthusiasts, so the latter sounds odd. I could duck it by saying "dual-exhaust system," but no-one but an engineer would use that, so it's clunky -- and an obvious cop-out.
from Thornton, N.H. on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
A. In AP auto reviews, dual exhaust or dual exhaust pipes.
Q. Should I capitalize this entire phrase, Naval Presentation Sword, or just capitalized Naval Presentation sword? Thank you.
from New York City on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
A. In reference to U.S. forces, Navy presentation sword or naval presentation sword.
Q. How does AP punctuate this time, day and date sequence: 8:30-9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 8?
from Falls Church, Va. on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
A. At 8:30-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8.
Q. What's the preferred abbreviation for "percentage point?" E.g., 14PP? 14PPT? 14ppts?
from North Vancouver, XX on Sat, Dec 14, 2013
A. AP spells out percentage point. I'm not aware of an accepted abbreviation.
Q. Does AP have a preferred spelling for the cloth used to polish a car? Would it be chamois or shammy?
from Oklahoma City on Sat, Dec 14, 2013
A. A cloth used to polish a car may be either a chamois, which originally was made of mountain goat leather, or a shammy, a synthetic material with similar water-absorbing effects.
Q. What is the official name of the Sochi airport? Adler/Sochi International Airport? Sochi-Adler Airport? Should I use the slash or hyphenate?
from Centerville, Utah on Sat, Dec 14, 2013
A. In AP stories, it's Sochi airport. The formal name is Sochi International Airport, which is located in the Adler district of the Black Sea resort.
Q. The numbers used in AP's "ranges" entry are all greater than nine and are, of course, written as figures instead of spelled out. But what about ranges including numbers fewer than 10? Do those follow the standard rule that nine and fewer are spelled out and 10 and greater are figures? For example, "Participants said they watched two to six TV shows per week." Also: "Participants said they watched two to 16 episodes per week."
from Columbia, Mo. on Sat, Dec 14, 2013
A. The topic of the range determines whether numbers below 10 are spelled out or written in figures (e.g., monetary amounts, ages). Your TV survey examples are correct as written.
Q. I'm unable to find a ruling on "tooth fairy." In this example, is each instance of tooth fairy properly capitalized? Example: It%uFFFDs happened to all of us tooth fairies %uFFFD we get busted in the act doing the under-the-pillow swap or forget to play the Tooth Fairy altogether.
from Fort Worth, Texas on Sat, Dec 14, 2013
A. Lowercase tooth fairies and tooth fairy.