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Is 30-year-old or 30 year old correct?

from Marshall, MO on Mar 22, 2017
The hyphenated version is correct either standing alone or as a compound modifier: the 30-year-old ... a 30-year-old house.

When referring to an association in a sentence, should an article, such as the, be used even if the official name does not contain 'the' (e.g. American Medical Association, National Rifle Association, etc.)?

from Chicago, IL on Mar 22, 2017
Often the organization's full name or the abbreviation is preceded by the or another article: The AMA announced ... A National Rifle Association survey showed ... However, sometimes no article is needed before the name or abbreviation: e.g., American Medical Association research revealed ... NRA statistics resulted in ... 

Hi, searched the site first, cannot find an answer. When discussing ballet terms, the word plie has an accent over the e. When discussing yoga terms I am finding it both ways--with an accent over the e and without the accent. Which is correct for yoga terms? Thank you.

from on Mar 22, 2017
This isn't a Stylebook term, and the dictionary spelling uses the accent for the noun from the French.  AP news stories in English don't use accents, which can't be transmitted through all computer systems. An online check of yoga references shows plie without an accent.

How should roommate be spelled?  One word or two words?

from Pullman, WA on Mar 22, 2017
Its roommate, one word, in the dictionary spelling.

What's are the current Stylebook spellings for an interactive computer screen?

from Washington state on Mar 22, 2017
The Stylebook entry is touch screen (n.) and touch-screen (adj.).

Is the phrase "shirt-sleeve" weather or "short sleeve" weather?

from Vancouver, WA on Mar 21, 2017
It's shirt-sleeve weather by the Stylebook spelling of the adjective.

Many news organizations in Florida use the abbreviation S.R. as a second reference for State Roads, such as S.R. 436.  Many people here commonly refer to the roads in that manner, too. Is there AP guidance for using that abbreviation? Would you defer to common, local usage? Thanks.

from Orlando, FL on Mar 21, 2017
AP news archives from Florida show occasional uses in past years of State Road, with either S.R.. or SR plus the number in follow-ups. If it's widely understood these days by your audience, that local usage should be acceptable. The Stylebook's highway designations entry includes the example of state Route 34, which seems to be the standard in other states.


How should design wise be written: design wise; or design-wise. 

Thank you kindly. 

from New york, NY on Mar 21, 2017
The Stylebook's -wise entry says no hyphen when it means "in the direction of" or "with regard to."  By that guidance, it's designwise. However, the entry also says to avoid contrived combinations. So you might consider rephrasing: i.e., for the design.

When referencing a specific state law, is it necessary to spell out the code: 
1) Indiana's Child Abuse and Neglect Law, Indiana Code 31-34-1, ..... 
2) Indiana's Child Abuse and Neglect Law, IC 31-34-1, ..... 

from INDIANAPOLIS, IN on Mar 21, 2017
News stories rarely include the code in a description of a state law. However, there may be a legal or other reason to do so in your specific situation. 

What is the correct way to attribute a standalone quote with the source's name, city and state? For example:
  • "Thank you for all you do." - John Doe, Tampa, Fla.

from Tampa, FL on Mar 21, 2017
That format could be fine for you. AP would you a dash instead of a bullet to introduce the quote, and a dash before the name. Florida would be spelled out.  See ATTRIBUTION and IN LISTS sections of the dash entry.

When using "according to" is it proper to write the statement then say "according to Joe Smith" OR is it ok to begin the sentence with "According to Joe Smith,..." 

from Danvers, MA on Mar 21, 2017
In AP news stories,  "said" is preferred for attributing direct quotes and factual references. "According to" is frequently used to attribute indirect quotes or for summarizing other citations. In your first  example, the Joe Smith attribution would be set off by a comma.

If a dateline includes multiple cities, should the last city be preceded by "and" or just a comma -- e.g., "NEW YORK, LONDON and FRANKFURT" or "NEW YORK, LONDON, FRANKFURT"?  

from Maplewood, NJ on Mar 21, 2017
AP does NOT use multiple locations in a dateline. It's one location only with the AP logo, or no dateline under The Associated Press as the journalistic source of the information. The Stylebook's dateline selection entry states that a dateline should tell the reader that AP obtained the basic information for the story in the datelined city.  However, when a story has been assembled from sources in widely separated areas, the story may be transmitted without a dateline.

I've always taken what AP has written about "murder" to mean the only times we can use that word are when someone has been charged with murder or when there's a conviction. Is that right? In other words, can you refer to someone as a murder suspect? 

from Nashville, TN on Mar 20, 2017
Yes, AP generally avoids using that formulation without direct attribution. The Stylebook's accused entry cautions against any suggestion that an individual is being judged before a trial: do not use a phrase such as accused slayer John Jones; use John Jones, accused of the slaying.  The Stylebook's homicide, murder, manslaughter entry also gives examples of phrasing to use in describing homicide cases.

In reaction to your reference on megachurch, what is your style suggestion about megacommuter? Does that need a hyphen? 

from Reading Eagle on Mar 20, 2017
In a few stories in the AP news archive, the term has been hyphenated: mega-commuters -- people who spend at least 90 minutes and travel 50 miles to work.

Should secondary headings on websites include punctuation? For example, if a section has the heading This product includes, should there be a colon since it is introducing a bulleted list? And, does site design trump AP Style guidelines? Please help us solve a heated debate.

from Chicago, IL on Mar 20, 2017
The Stylebook's updated colon entry  says a colon should not separate a verb and its direct object in a sentence. To introduce a list, use either a complete sentence or a short phrase before the colon. Correct: Our partners: or These are our partners: Incorrect: Our partners are:  Your call on whether to heed the Stylebook guidance in your website phrasing.

Is it over improving or over-improving?

from on Mar 20, 2017
Make it overimproving by guidance in the over- entry that a hyphen is seldom used with this combining form.

An Ask the Editor submission in 2012 regarding the hyphenation of "re-examination" stated to hyphenate the term, per the "re-" section of AP Stylebook.  However, I just looked up the term in Webster's New World College Dictionary, and its main listing shows it unhyphenated (I've linked the dictionary for your reference):  <a href="">reexamination</a>.  Which should I abide by?

from Springfield, MO on Mar 20, 2017

In the Stylebook's re- entry, re-examine is listed as an exception to the Webster's NWCD spelling. By extension, it's re-examination in AP usage under the general rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.

In a birth announcement, is it incorrect to state that a baby "measured 21 inches long?"  Should the statement instead read, "Baby Doe  weighed in at eight pounds, 16 ounces and measured 21 inches" ? 

from Oklahoma City, OK on Mar 20, 2017
Use figures for measurements in birth announcements: Baby Doe weighed 8 pounds, 16 ounces and measured 21 inches long.  The guidance can be found in the weights and dimensions entries.

One hundred-thirty-first? One hundred thirty-first? Or rewrite for 131st?

from Brookings, SD on Mar 20, 2017
Within a news story text, AP would use 131st for this figure. See ORDINALS in the numerals entry for guidance.

When to capitalize master plan within a master plan document? Examples: Our planning department has developed the 2017  New York City Master Plan. A comprehensive Master Plan includes long-term strategies for the community. This Master Plan lays out the vision for the community's future. The Plan incorporates several strategies to achieve this goal.

from Mount Clemens, MI on Mar 20, 2017
While your document would likely capitalize the full title and Master Plan on second reference, an AP news story would likely use a lowercase spelling --- the master plan or the plan -- in a follow-up to the capitalized formal name.

Should you use periods within a table of contents? I am proofing a Power Point presentation where it lists  multiple content overview sentences and phrases under column #2. I am perplexed on whether to put periods or not. Thank you!

from Little Rock, AR on Mar 20, 2017
Generally the individual items in a table of contents don't take periods.  Each summary line is set flush left and the corresponding page number is set on the opposite side flush  right.

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