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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. Use a comma.

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

A. The Stylebook entry is tiptop.

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

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

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

A. Your suggested phrasings should be fine.

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

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

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

A. No. See "administration" entry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. AP stories use Petco for this company.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. We is correctly capitalized.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. No comma needed.

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

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

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

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

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

A. It's hyphenated as in your second example

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

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

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

A. It's clear with commas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. No.

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

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

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

A. GI Bill suffices in most news accounts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. The second example is correct, meaning lowercase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. I've been told by writing coaches and editors that when comparing figures (or percentages) from year to year, the newest one should go first. Example: Reports of car burglaries in Austin have dropped from 40 in 2013 to 64 in 2012. Is this AP style, too? – from Austin, Texas on Sun, Nov 16, 2014

A. Do you mean that reports of car burglaries in Austin dropped to 40 in 2013 from 64 in 2012? Comparisons are often written that way in AP stories.

Q. Hello! Should "open access" be capitalized when referring to it as a movement? Example, "Open Access is gaining momentum" – on Sun, Nov 16, 2014

A. It's lowercase, as in fair and open access to the Internet.

Q. If you have a "non-paid-for" opportunity, do you hyphenate it, like that? Thank you. – from Chicago on Sun, Nov 16, 2014

A. Make it nonpaid opportunity or unpaid opportunity.

Q. AP stylebook says to use the term first lady on ly for the president's wife. but in New York City Mayor deBlasio's wife Chirlane has asked to be referred to as first lady. In keeping with referring to people by their preferred title do we use the term first lady when writing about her? First lady Chirlane McCray. – from Orysia, New York City, N.Y. on Sun, Nov 16, 2014

A. No, the "first lady" entry doesn't limit it to the U.S. president's wife. It says that it's not a formal title for anyone using it and it isn't capitalized.

Q. Hello, just wondering if you have settled on style for the Khorasan group. Thanks! – from Washington on Sat, Nov 15, 2014

A. Generally spelled Khorasan Group, though the "g" is lowercase in some AP stories and the trend may be that way.

Q. What would we do with the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign? Is the capitalization correct in this example. Thanks. – from Fort Wayne, Ind. on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. The Salvation Army website doesn't always capitalize red kettle campaign, so I'd spell it lowercase.

Q. Curious about the reasoning regarding homage. New World does not indicate a silent H. So why an instead of a? – from Washington on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. The American Heritage Dictionary entry for homage gives this example: The concert was an homage to jazz of the 1930s.

Q. Per your response below, when did the change about spelling out U.S. states occur? Q. Do you abbreviate the name of a Canadian province following the city name in a sentence as you would a U.S. state following the city name? %uFFFD from Raleigh, N.C. on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 A. Names of Canadian provinces are spelled out in all cases, including within a story and in datelines. U.S. states are now spelled out in a story following a city or standing alone. – from Raleigh, N.C. on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. It was announced for the May publication of the 2014 printed edition of the AP Stylebook.

Q. I've seen that AP doesn't use en- or em-dashes, but then what do you do in the case of joining more than two unhyphenated words together? e.g., I think the en-dashes here are necessary: James Beard Award%uFFFDwinner; Dungeness crab%uFFFDmango salad with coconut kaffir (Dungeness is the type of crab, not the type of crab-mango salad). Do you just assume the reader will be able to figure it out, and use hyphens always? – from Belleville, ON on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. James Beard Award winner John Doe; mango salad with Dungeness crab and coconut kaffir.

Q. Do you abbreviate the name of a Canadian province following the city name in a sentence as you would a U.S. state following the city name? – from Raleigh, N.C. on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. Names of Canadian provinces are spelled out in all cases, including within a story and in datelines. U.S. states are now spelled out in a story following a city or standing alone.

Q. In regard to recession, is double/triple dip hyphenated? – from Quito, Ecuador on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. It's double-dip recession.

Q. What is the correct spelling of the word "eye-catcher" (or eye catcher or eyecatcher)? – from Bielefeld, XX on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. The dictionary hyphenates eye-catcher (n.), eye-catching (adj.).

Q. In a Nov. 13 question, it was stated that no hyphen is needed in the phrase "the not too distant past." However, the style book states that compound modifiers preceding nouns should be hyphenated. Why is that not followed in this case? My guess would be "not too distant" is easily read by most people as a single phrase. – from Saint Louis, Mo. on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. Correct.

Q. For 2-and-a-half-year-old, is 1/2 spelled out, or written as numerals in the fraction? – from Seaside, Calif. on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. Use figures for ages, including factions, with hyphens as a compound modifier: a 2 1/2-year-old child.

Q. In the phrase, "the company reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$54 billion) for the fiscal year," does "US$54 billion" match AP style? Thanks. – from Richardson, Texas on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. For U.S. dollar conversions, the dollar sign suffices without US. See "currency conversion" entry.

Q. Would AP abbreviate lithium-ion as li-ion or capitalized Li-ion in the middle of a sentence? – from New York on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

A. In a recent AP story, it's lithium-ion, abbreviated li-ion.

Q. I'm mostly clear on the "bail/bond" entry, which is essentially use "bail" all the time. But what about a case like this? "Rydz, who is free on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, ..." It's not "personal recognizance bail," is it? – from Arlington Heights, Ill. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. AP stories use personal recognizance bond in jurisdictions where it applies.

Q. Not that an AP stories would be likely to contain copy of this sort, but do "50-ms performance" and "sub-50-ms performance" reflect AP style? Thank you. – from Richardson, Texas on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. Be guided by the "millimeter" entry: use a space but no hyphen with 50 ms performance; for the prefix sub preceding a figure, use a hyphen: sub-50 ms performance. \

Q. Would AP spell "patent holder" as two words without a hyphen? Thanks. – from Richardson, Texas on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. Yes, patent holder in AP stories.

Q. You have posted for OMITTED FIGURES: The class of '62. The Spirit of '76. The '20s. My question is: if the font shows a definite directional pull does the apostrophe face the 76 or face where the 19 would have been? Please help! We are submitting pages as we speak for our yearbook!! – from Dallas, Texas on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. The arc of the apostrophe loops toward the 19. The fatter part is up top.

Q. How do you abbreviate junior kindergarten? – from SPRINGFIELD, Mo. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. AP stories don't abbreviate the term, but preschool would fit as a shorter form.

Q. Would you use any hyphens in the expression "not too distant past"? – from Raleigh, N.C. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. No.

Q. AP capitalizes Internet as a proper noun. In the IT industry, the cloud is also used as if it's a proper noun. Why wouldn't cloud also, therefore, not be capitalized? – from Glendale , Ariz. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. The dictionary spelling is lowercase: cloud computing.

Q. More eager than beavers, these juniors they came OR More eager than beavers these juniors they came? Should there be a comma after --beavers-- or not? Please advise; I cannot recast. Thank you much. – from Kansas City, Mo. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. It reads like a bit of doggerel. If it's all in one line, the first is clearer. If two separate lines, the second works.

Q. What is the correct way to indicate a time range and is a hyphen or em dash used? 5:30-7:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. – from Falls Church, Va. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. Both are correct but 5:30-7:30 p.m. is more concise. Use a hyphen for the range.

Q. Should states be spelled out or abbreviated in an event invitation? Ex: Reston, Virginia (or) Reston, Va. – from Falls Church, Va. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. Can't speak for invitation style. In a news story, Reston, Virginia, if the dateline is a different state.

Q. If you caitalize a hyphenated word such as On-site or Well-being, is the second part of the word also capitalized? – from Altamonte Springs, Fla. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. If either hyphenated word starts a sentence, capitalize only the "O" or the "W." Within a sentence both parts are lowercase.

Q. Which is grammatically correct or are both incorrect? His advice for young professionals is, %uFFFDServant leadership: Always ask what more can I do for you?%uFFFD His advice for young professionals is, %uFFFDServant leadership: Always ask, 'what more can I do for you?'%uFFFD – from Florissant, Mo. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. His advice for young professionals: "Servant leadership: Always ask what more can I do for you?"

Q. Is it "Defense Authorization bill" or "defense authorization bill"? – from Falls Church, Va. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. It's spelled lowercase within a sentence.

Q. It's common to use "taller than me" in conversation but is it now correct to use "taller than me" instead of "taller than I" in written articles? – from Lexington, S.C. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. ... taller than I am.

Q. Which is correct? A report and accompanying letter of comment OR A report and -an- accompanying letter of comment (will be made available to the public). Please advise; I cannot recast. Thank you much. – from Kansas City, Mo. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

A. Both are correct. The second with "an" is probably used more often.