Q. If we need to refer to a company that uses one of the new generic top-level domains as part of its name, e.g., a company called MNestateplanning.lawyer LLC, would we capitalize the L in lawyer?
from Eagan, Minn. on Fri, Jan 20, 2017
A. By guidance in the "company names" entry, generally follow the spelling preferred by the company, capitalizing the first letter.
Q. Is Farm Bill capitalized in all references?
from Tulare, Calif. on Fri, Jan 20, 2017
A. Generally farm bill is lowercase, as in the most recent farm bill passed by Congress. It may be capitalized for a specific piece of legislation with the year: the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill.
Q. If a headline written in upper and lower case, such as "The Way to a Man's Heart," has to be broken into two lines, and the second line starts with a word that would normally be lower case (such as "a", should it be capitalized simply because it's starting the new line?
from Phoenix on Fri, Jan 20, 2017
A. For a break within a column of type, keep the "a" lowercase in the quoted headline.
Q. Can I include a copyright line without the year?
from Atlanta on Fri, Jan 20, 2017
A. A news story may refer to copyright material, without specifying the year, particularly if it's current information.
Q. I have two questions about capitalizing titles. Though a preposition isn't capitalized in a title (when initial caps are being used), what about in verb phrases like "follow up" or "run down" and similar? Also, similarly, what about in the infinite of a verb "to be" or "to know"?
from Chicago on Thu, Jan 19, 2017
A. Capitalize both in titles.
Q. When I searched for "dozen" in Ask The Editor, the first item that comes up says to hyphenate four-dozen people. The last item that comes up says NOT to hyphenate two dozen people. Please clarify which one is correct. Thanks.
from Houston on Thu, Jan 19, 2017
A. No hyphen in two dozen people and similar formulations with dozen, based on check of AP news archives. I have corrected the previous Q&A to four dozen people. Thanks for pointing it out.
Q. Is it accurate to use the term -designate for someone who has been nominated but not yet confirmed? It's always been my understanding that someone remains a nominee until confirmation, but reporters and editors here have been sending stories about Trump's Cabinet picks that say things like Treasury Secretary-designate. I've been changing everything to nominee, but am I wrong in my thinking?
from Washington on Thu, Jan 19, 2017
A. In AP stories about Trump's cabinet choices, nominee is used more frequently with the name than -designate. The dictionary's definition of designate is someone who has been named for an office but isn't yet in it (ambassador designate). The definition of nominee is a person who is nominated, esp. a candidate for election. So the terms seem to be very close in meaning, if not synonyms.
Q. If a book title is used within a quote, would you use single quotation marks around the book title? For example: She said, "I think 'Pride and Prejudice' is terrible."
from Buffalo, N.Y. on Thu, Jan 19, 2017
A. Correct with single quotes around the title within a direct quote.
Q. Are semicolons are being phased out? I'm seeing fewer of them nowadays, and oftentimes the lists become quite confusing without them.
Would you place a semicolon before the "or" in this sentence?
For more information, contact Cultural Coordinator Jessi Jackson Smith at 386-736-5953, ext. 15872, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are the semicolons in this sentence appropriate? (Many reporters are leaving them out.)
Speakers include Jackson Bryer, president of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society; Kirk Curnutt, chair of English at Troy University; and Karen Poulsen, activities project manager for the Volusia County Public Library.
from Port Orange, Fla. on Thu, Jan 19, 2017
A. The Stylebook entry summarizes several crucial uses of semicolons. In your first example, the comma is better before the email address because the contract information is for the same person. The semicolons are correct in your second example to clarify the series of names and titles.
Q. Numerals or Numbers
Apologies if this has been explained before. I have checked various questions and the Numerals page but I'm still confused as to the usage for "hours" and "days" in the example below. Are these considered time measurements or modifiers? "The system%uFFFFs primer is recoatable after three hours at ambient temperature. As such, the system can be applied in one day as opposed to competitor systems that take two days or more to be applied. Other untested systems can take more than 12 days."
Many thanks, JN
from Clitheroe, XX on Thu, Jan 19, 2017
A. Figures under 10 with hours and days are spelled out, as in the TIMES examples in the "numerals" entry.
Q. When listing a person with a title of Dr. what is the proper way to list? We are listing the keynote speakers for an upcoming event. Do we list as "Dr. Allyson Rose, MD" or "Allyson Rose, MD." And what about those with PhD titles?
from San Jose, Calif. on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. By guidance in the "academic degrees" entry, use such abbreviations only when there's a need to identify many individuals on first reference. So in a long list of people: Allyson Rose, M.D.; John Doe, Ph.D., ....
Q. A grammar question about plural/singular nouns when talking about ratios.
A recent Oxfam executive said "It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day."
Should it be survive or survives?
My feeling is survive is correct, since the 1 in 10 doesn't refer to a single individual but hundreds of millions of people. If it were really just one person, then we wouldn't use the figure 1, we'd spell it out.
from Tokyo on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. Yes, the plural verb survive in agreement with a large group of impoverished people.
Q. Should "cord cutter"/"cord cutting" be hyphenated. If so, in which usages?
from Portland, Ore. on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. AP stories use "cord cutter" as description for someone opting out of a cable TV subscription for a cheaper service, such as internet TV streaming.
Q. Micro drone? Microdrone? Micro-done? I can't find any solid precedence.
from Tyson on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. Words formed with the micro- prefix are generally unhyphenated, so microdrone should be right.
Q. Does AP Stylebook approve of the term "gender nonconforming?"
from Camarillo, Calif. on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. While not a Stylebook entry, the term has been used in AP stories to describe people who feel part male and part female.
Q. Is this hyphen usage in "ultra low-power operation" correct? Thank you.
from Irvine, Calif. on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. Generally no hyphen with the prefix, so ultralow-power operation.
Q. How do I write the second reference of a court decision? Do I still need to spell out the whole thing each time? (ie. Marbury v. Madison) or can I just use the first or second name of the case (ie. Madison)?
from Columbia, S.C. on Wed, Jan 18, 2017
A. In describing landmark rulings, AP stories sometimes use the first name in the court case on second reference. One example is Roe v. Wade, which may be called Roe in follow-ups.
Q. "America First" or "America first"? Seems to me we should lowercase "first" in the Trump slogan -- it's not a title and not a proper noun.
from Tokyo , XX on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. AP stories usually capitalize Trump's "America First" agenda.
Q. We are a regional publication with a Hmong community that prefers the RPA spelling, Hmoob. What do publications do under similar circumstances? Individual call?
from La Crosse, Wis. on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. AP stories use the Hmong spelling. The other term doesn't appear in AP news archives, nor does the abbreviation. It would need more research locally.
Q. Should home health and hospice always be capitalized?
from Bullhead City, Ariz. on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. Such terms are capitalized only as integral parts of named entities, such as companies and community services.
Q. How would I write "keyless" as in "keyless entry"? Would it be keyless or key-less?
from Bethesda, Md. on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. As you have it: keyless.
Q. Why is 911 the approved AP Style but the industry insists on 9-1-1?
from Schaumburg, Ill. on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. The emergency number is crystal clear as 911. In general, the fewer hyphens the better by Stylebook guidance.
Q. I noticed that "ride-sharing" is now a Stylebook entry. Can it be used interchangeably with "ride-hailing?"
from Austin, Texas on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. No, it's not to be used in the context of car services. See the "Uber" entry for the approved terms.
Q. Is it all-expense paid trip or all-expenses paid trip? Should there be a hyphen between expense/s and paid too? all-expense-paid trip or all expenses-paid trip?
from Houston on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. As a compound modifier, it's all-expenses-paid trip in AP stories. In other formulations, no hyphens in all expenses are paid.
Q. What is the proper AP Style on the surname of Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister%uFFFFAraqchi or Araghchi?
from Washington on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. AP stories from Iran use Abbas Araghchi for the deputy foreign minister.
Q. Would AP cap Library of Congress Subject Headings as a general term (not each of the headings, but the group of them)?
from farmington, me on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. In the one usage found in the AP news archive, it was Library of Congress subject headings.
Q. I see various styles on the web for the term: "Entrepreneur in Residence."
Among them: Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, entrepreneur-in-residence, Entrepreneur in Residence, Entrepreneur in residence, etc. The main issue seems to be whether the term uses hyphens or not. I prefer it without hyphens unless it's modifying a word: "Entrepreneur-in-Residence program," but I'd appreciate your verdict to settle this question!
from Tallahassee, Fla. on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. Agree, but AP stories don't capitalize the term unless it's used in a formal name.
Q. The stylebook used to include "words as words" in the "quotation marks" entry of the punctuation guide, indicating that words being used to refer to the words themselves should be in quotes. Is that still the AP rule? A site of the AP Stylebook website, including the archive, came up with nothing. Thanks!
from Athens, Ohio on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. That entry in the Stylebook's W section was dropped in 2008. The advice to enclose certain words in quotes for emphasis is covered in the IRONY and UNFAMILIAR TERMS sections of the "quotation marks" entry.
Q. In Westerns, the heroes always carry a gun - would that be a six gun, a six-gun, or a sixgun?
from farmington, me on Tue, Jan 17, 2017
A. Deferring to the dictionary's six-gun, also spelled six-shooter.
Q. Is it the River Danube and the River Thames, or the Danube River and Thames River?
from Tokyo on Mon, Jan 16, 2017
A. AP stories from England favor the River Thames. AP stories from the continent favor Danube River.
Q. Have you ever seen mosts' used as a plural possessive pronoun, as in, "Even a workmanlike Rick Harris draft is better than mosts' letter-perfect labors?"
from Atlanta on Mon, Jan 16, 2017
Q. Have a question about alphabetizing names in a list:
Earl Smith Jr.
Would the inclusion of Jr. put Earl Smith after Rickey Smith?
Sir Charles Thompson
Would the inclusion of Sir put Charles Thompson after Rex Thompson?
from Santa Monica, Calif. on Mon, Jan 16, 2017
A. Earl Smith Jr. before Rickey Smith. See BARONET, KNIGHT section of "nobility" for guidance on using an honorary title with a celebrity's name.
Q. What is the proper format for quoting a list? In this case, the list I am quoting uses bullet points, and each bullet point is multiple sentences long.
from Chicago on Mon, Jan 16, 2017
A. See first paragraph of the RUNNING QUOTATIONS section of the "quotation mark" entry.
Q. Is the plural of jerbait proper as jerkbaits, same with other bait, crankbait, etc. It sounds incorrect, as bait should be singular and plural, but I see a of of baits online.
from BREMERTON, Wash. on Mon, Jan 16, 2017
A. AP fishing stories have used the plural jerkbaits in references to bass lures.
Q. Dear Mr. David Minthorn,
I have the Webster's New World College Dictionary, but I don't know how to look up correct words using apostrophes, like for instance whether it is "guy's apartment" or "guys' apartment", etc. Would you mind informing me how to look up the correct word using the apostrophe in the dictionary?
Thanks so much.
from Surabaya, XX on Mon, Jan 16, 2017
A. See Apostrophe section of RULES OF PUNCTUATION in the dictionary's Reference Supplement.
Q. Please clarify inconsistencies in time ranges. In the time entry 1-5 p.m. say is preferred. In a very recent Q&A answer 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. is given as the proper format. Also, as the entry for midnight states that it is part of the current day not the upcoming one. How is this? Midnight = 12 a.m. As the clock strikes 12 a.m. a new day begins and the previous one ends, no?
from Washington, D.C. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. I don't find the 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. reference you mention, but it wouldn't be wrong, even though 1-5 p.m. is preferred for news copy. See other examples at "times" entry. As for midnight, we'll stick with the definition in the Stylebook entry for news purposes.
Q. What is the proper capitalization for the state office in this sentence..."It was presented to the State Attorney's office for prosecution." Thanks!
from Maitland, Fla. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. In AP stories from Florida, state attorney's office is usually spelled lowercase, unless part of a formal name, such as Dade County State Attorney's Office. Within your quote, the lowercase spelling of the shorter form looks right.
Q. Would "border adjusted tax" and "border adjustment tax" get a hyphen?
from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. The term border adjustment tax wasn't hyphenated in the single usage so far in the AP news report. The other version doesn't show in an archive search.
Q. The term NGL stands for natural gas liquids, but is the acronym NGL singular or plural? NGL is or NGL are?
from Houston on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. AP business stories use the plural abbreviation, as in these examples: NGLs include propane, butane and ethane. The NGLs would be transported from the gas fields in Ohio and Pennsylvania to Louisiana for processing. But NGL without an "s" is often used as a modifier: NGL market, NGL suppliers, NGL reserves.
Q. What is the correct format for the phrase "yes or no questions"?
from Dayton, Ohio on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. Usually written in AP stories as yes or no questions. Variations sometimes enclose the words in quotation marks: He answered "yes" or "no" to various questions that were posed.
Q. When discussing the region of the U.S. (rather than a sports conference), is it Mountain West, mountain West or mountain west?
from Jackson, Wyo. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. These eight states are referred to as the Rocky Mountain states or the Mountain West: Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Q. Is this an acceptable method when listing health care providers with varying degrees who would like to include their specialty as well?
Example: The health center recognized Dr. John Doe, OB-GYN, Dr. Kelly Brown, dentist, Susan Smith, psychologist, and Sam Li, licensed professional counselor and social worker, for their 20 years of service.
from Huntington, W.Va. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. Yes, or use articles with the descriptions: Dr. John Doe, an OB-GYN, Dr. Kelly Brown, a dentist, Susan Smith, a psychologist, and Sam Li, a licensed professional counselor and social worker, for their 20 years of service.
Q. When is the word "International' capitalized, barring the beginning of a sentence. For example, in the following sentences:
... International privacy law...;
... international product portfolio...;
... in the area of international public law.
from FLA on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. AP would spell international lowercase in your examples as generic descriptions rather than capitalized nouns.
Q. Brian Ewing here, first time, long time.
Where are we at on Internet-of-Things, internet-of-things, Internet of Things, internet of things, or some other combination? And how do we feel about "IoT"?
Thanks for all the hard work.
from Greensboro, N.C. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. Our preference is to spell out internet of things in all uses, all words lowercase in line with the 2016 Stylebook change to internet.
Q. We're seeking an answer for how to treat "cut and dry" when it isn't a modifier. Searching on Google for its appearance in AP stories, we found "cut and dried" and "cut and dry" --- some of them hyphenated and others not. Could use your advice. Thanks.
from Clemmons, N.C. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. Deferring to the dictionary spelling, which is cut and dried -- meaning prepared and arranged beforehand or routine.
Q. Would a military call sign be Bravo Six or Bravo 6?
from Alexandria, Va. on Fri, Jan 13, 2017
A. Probably the second: Bravo 6.