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Question from Henrico, Virginia, on Sept. 21, 2021

What is the AP Stylebook's stance on starting a sentence with Because?

Answer

We don't have a stance. Because you asked, I will give my thoughts. That certainly works. Or in conversational contexts (which can work in writing as well): Why can't I eat ants? Because your mother says so. But be careful; conversational approaches don't always work. This one is borderline, for example: I want to be an editor. Because I want to sit at a desk. 

Answer

Mostly, we say hyphenate to avoid confusion. In this case, it is not immediately apparent to the reader that "easy money" is a compound modifier for policy, so we would hyphenate.

Answer

You're right -- there is no explicit policy on "U.S." in front of Cabinet departments. But there is a style for titles: "In stories with U.S. datelines, do not include U.S. before the titles of Secretary of State or other government officials, except where necessary for clarity." The same advice would pertain to the names of departments.

Answer

I think it's OK to say more critically here, since it's used as an adverbial phrase modifying the following clause. It essentially means It is more critical to note that they learn to reflect on the world around them.

Answer

Thanks for asking. It should be veterans benefits, following this guidance:

DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES: Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in s when it is used primarily in a descriptive sense: citizens band radio, a Cincinnati Reds infielder, a teachers college, a Teamsters request, a writers guide.
Memory aid: The apostrophe usually is not used if for or by rather than of would be appropriate in the longer form: a radio band for citizens, a college for teachers, a guide for writers, a request by the Teamsters.
An 's is required, however, when a term involves a plural word that does not end in s: a children's hospital, a people's republic, the Young Men's Christian Association.


Answer

I'd keep the figure in this case. It's a gray area. But since it comes in the middle of a stream of words, I think the figure is easier to read. (And, well, those mental images ... )

Answer

I would go with improv'd. Improved would present obvious problems.

Answer

In countries that call their legislative body Parliament, it should be capitalized.

Answer

In some cases, we say it's OK to use the acronym on first reference. This is one of them.

Answer

No need for on in this instance, since its absence does not lead to confusion. See details in the on entry.

Answer

When of course is used as an interjection, as it is in your example, it should be offset by commas.

Answer

I would capitalize just Hispanic because it's a proper adjective, not because of any parallels with the phrase "historically Black colleges and universities."

Answer

The use of an ellipsis could indicate to readers that material was excised from the quote, which is not the case, so I'd use a dash or just a period for the effect you're trying to achieve: Flying is awful now — we are the worst. Flying is awful now. We are the worst.

Question from Los Angeles, California, on Sept. 16, 2021


However, in business press releases, it is common practice for quotes to started out with the attribution: Smith said, ""We are excited to enter into this LOI to acquire ABC Corp. We are confident this will greatly expand our production capacity and help us break into international markets."
 
By the above ruling, in a business press release that quote would be incorrect. But nobody would use a colon rather than the comma.

Smith said: "We are excited to enter into this LOI to acquire ABC Corp. We are confident this will greatly expand our production capacity and help us break into international markets."

Can you weigh in on this? For the record, if AP came out with a style guide specifically for corporate press releases (which have different unofficial "rules" and common practices than news story writing), I would be first in line to buy it. [That is a passively phrased request. :)]

Answer

We'd say our guidance applies to corporate press releases as well. But as always, anyone is free to modify (or ignore) as needed or appropriate for their own situations.

Answer

I wouldn't put it that way. It's hard to precisely define, because companies vary widely in what they consider to be a formal title vs. a job description. See this section of the titles entry:

A final determination on whether a title is formal or occupational depends on the practice of the governmental or private organization that confers it. If there is doubt about the status of a title and the practice of the organization cannot be determined, use a construction that sets the name or the title off with commas.

Answer

The province is Balkh, and the preferred spelling is Mazar-e-Sharif. 

Answer

Chances are, we wouldn't use a military title before a name in a headline. And if it is not before a name -- say, Panel questions top general on air strike -- we would not capitalize it.

Question from Bangalore, on Sept. 15, 2021

shelf-life settings/shelf life settings

Which is correct here?

Answer

Most likely, we would hyphenate in this case for clarity.

Answer

That would work -- no other punctuation would seem appropriate.

Answer

If your publication's style is to capitalize all words in a header, it would be High-Risk Specialists. But AP would make it High-risk specialists.

Question from Appleton, Wisconsin, on Sept. 15, 2021

How would you handle Railroad Retirement Tax in terms of capitalization? 

Answer

It appears that unlike the Railroad Retirement Tax Act, railroad retirement tax is not a proper name. So we would not capitalize it.

Answer

Either is acceptable; in the interest of brevity, we might come down on the side of omitting of.

Answer

Bail out is the correct phrase, as per Webster's New World College Dictionary. 

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