Ask the Editor: Highlights
Ask the Editor is a forum on writing, style and phrasing issues that go beyond the pages of the AP Stylebook. AP Stylebook editor Paula Froke fields questions posed by subscribers to AP Stylebook Online. Below is a sampling of recent questions Paula has answered.
Click on a topic below to learn more about AP style:
Question from on Nov. 17, 2022
We always abbreviate months (except March, April, May, June, July) when used with a date: Jan. 6, Sept. 11.
Question from on Nov. 01, 2022
SHORT-FORM PUNCTUATION: Set short forms such as R-S.C. off from a name by commas: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said …
So: Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said ....
You could also use phrasing such as Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, or Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey ...
Question from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 02, 2022
"The Food and Literacy Center's (FLC's) objectives are available to read online."
Or should it be:
"The Food and Literacy Center's (FLC) objectives are available to read online."
AVOID AWKWARD CONSTRUCTIONS: Do not follow the full name of an organization or company with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses or set off by dashes. If an abbreviation or acronym would not be clear on second reference without this arrangement, do not use it.
Also: A few universally recognized abbreviations are required in some circumstances. Some others are acceptable, depending on the context. But in general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize.
Your example is another reason not to do it. There's no good way to punctuate it.
If you must include the acronym in parentheses, your best bet is to rephrase: Objectives of the Food and Literacy Center (FLC) can be read online.
Question from Vermont, on Aug. 01, 2022
I know the forum has taken this question before, but several years have passed. Is B.C. still preferred to BCE?
Please let me know. Thanks for all you do.
Question from Franklin, Tennessee, on July 15, 2022
When I search online for "United States," I get that entry (which doesn't address the question). So I search for U.S. and find the answer. Either United States or U.S. is OK when standing alone. If you're using the print book, the lengthy index in the back is very helpful.
Question from Fairfield, California, on Nov. 29, 2022
As for your specific question: No, the full term shouldn't be capitalized just because you later use an acronym.
Question from Mission Viejo, California, on Nov. 19, 2022
Nevada Continues To Grow With New Residents From California
Nevada continues to grow with new residents from California
Your example looks like a headline. So your second version is correct.
Here's the capitalization section of the headlines entry:
— Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in headlines that use AP style. Exception: The first word after a colon is always uppercase in headlines.
Question from Boston, Massachusetts, on Nov. 15, 2022
Question from on Nov. 03, 2022
Generally, follow the spelling preferred by the company, but capitalize the first letter of company names in all uses: e.g., Adidas, Lululemon. Exceptions include company names such as eBay, which have a capital letter elsewhere in the name.
Thus, our style is Worldstainless.
Question from Singapore, on Oct. 31, 2022
Question from Austin, Texas, on Nov. 15, 2022
I typically like to use "from" and "to" when I use one or another. But I also like sticking to your style and using a hyphen. The "from" in the first example seems to make the sentence flow better.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 9-11 a.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Question from on Oct. 19, 2022
Example: You are invited to attend the Christmas Pageant on Friday, December 16. or You are invited to attend the Christmas Pageant on Friday, December 16, 2022.
Question from Rochester, Michigan, on Sept. 15, 2022
Avoid such redundancies as last Tuesday or next Tuesday. The past, present or future tense used for the verb usually provides adequate indication of which Tuesday is meant: He said he finished the job Tuesday. She will return Tuesday.
So typically, if the time period is within a year, we would say simply He sold his goods at the show in January or She will sell her goods at the show in January.
If it's beyond a year in either direction, add the year. Or if there is any chance for confusion in the context, include last or next.
Question from Washington, District of Columbia, on July 22, 2022
She got sick with COVID-19 in March OF 2020? Or
She got sick with COVID-19 in March 2020?
Question from on June 10, 2022
Question from Dover, Delaware, on Nov. 08, 2022
Example: Car A had a zero-to-60 time of 7.6 seconds, but Car B came in at 8.0 seconds.
Or: Car A had a zero-to-60 time of 7.6 seconds, but Car B came in at eight seconds.
Since we're open to the breaking of rules when that makes most sense, you're certainly welcome to break two rules in this case ...
Question from on Nov. 02, 2022
Question from Baltimore, Maryland, on Oct. 29, 2022
Question from on Sept. 13, 2022
Question from on Sept. 06, 2022
Question from Columbus ,Ohio, on Nov. 18, 2022
On another point: If there is only one owner, you need a comma after the word owner. If there is more than one owner and you are talking specifically about the one who pays the salaries (not the one who speaks at public events), then no comma. See the essential clauses, nonessential clauses entry.
Question from Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 14, 2022
They asked if the child and/or parents are enjoying the show.
They asked if the parents and/or child are enjoying the show.
They asked if the parents and/or child is enjoying the show.
Question from Topsfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 13, 2022
"What makes Molly and I a great team is..." OR
What makes Molly and me a great team is..."
Think about it this way: Take Molly out. Would you then say: What makes I a great team (member) or What makes me a great team (member) ...
Question from COLUMBIA, South Carolina, on Aug. 29, 2022
Queen Elizabeth: "I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come."
Jack Dorsey: "My biggest issue and my biggest regret is that it became a company."
The second is like that. In that case I think it's more clearly one element that inspires separate emotinons. So, again, the singular verb.
Question from Columbia City, Indiana, on Aug. 29, 2022
Question from New York, New York, on Nov. 28, 2022
Question from Vermont, on Nov. 28, 2022
If I haven't used my answers allotment for the year, I have another question. I know there is no longer a hyphen in Asian American (and am glad of it.) Does this also mean that the hyphen is gone from similar constructions, as in Cuban American or Mexican American? Please let me know. Thanks.
dual heritage No hyphen for terms such as African American, Asian American and Filipino American, used when relevant to refer to an American person’s heritage. The terms are less common when used to describe non-Americans, but may be used when relevant: Turkish German for a German of Turkish descent. For terms denoting dual citizenship, use the hyphen: a dual U.S.-Australian citizen.
Question from on Nov. 21, 2022
Would I add an extra period to the end of the following sentence when using U.K. at the end of the sentence?
"The best example of this is from the U.K."
"The best example of this is from the U.K.."
Question from Syracuse, New York, on Nov. 20, 2022
How crisp is too crisp; what is overdone; what is just right; and what is not just right?
Question from Berkeley, California, on Nov. 16, 2022
Question from Corvallis, Oregon, on July 19, 2022
Question from Longmont, Colorado, on April 08, 2022
Question from California, on Nov. 22, 2022
I couldn't find anything in Webster. I found examples in medical journals that either had it as one word or hyphenated, but spell checkers seem to object to it as one word.
Question from New York, New York, on Nov. 17, 2022
AP's reply was that it would use carryforward losses (adj.), a carryforward (n.), carry forward (v.). Wondering why not "carry-forward" for an adjective, as in the "carry-forward losses."
Of course, if you prefer the hyphen, go for it!
Question from Marlborough, Massachusetts, on Nov. 11, 2022
Question from New Haven, Connecticut, on Nov. 03, 2022
Question from on Oct. 25, 2022
That said, some agencies do use the one-word councilmember for their own style.