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Last Seven Days

Answer

Are you asking about any point specifically?

A couple of notes: We use CFO only on second reference. And our style is catch-up. Other than that, I don't see any real problems.


Answer

Thank you! I will delete that.

Question from Washington, District of Columbia, on June 14, 2021


Do you ever use “DRC” to refer to the Democratic Republic of the Congo? If not, why not?

Answer

No, we don't. In general we try to avoid acronyms, which lead to alphabet soup and can be unfamiliar to many readers. If it works for your specific audience, then that's your choice.

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We use the Greek letters. Here's the guidance from the Coronavirus Topical Guide:

virus variant (revised)

Viruses often develop small changes, or mutations, as they reproduce. Some are harmless but others are more worrisome, especially if they make the virus more contagious or make people sicker. They also might curb the effectiveness of some treatments or vaccines. Use variant or version to describe a new form of a virus in general. Following guidance from the World Health Organization, refer to specific variants by letters of the Greek alphabet as assigned by WHO and include a brief reference to where the variant was first seen. For example: The latest outbreak was linked to the alpha variant, first detected in the United Kingdom. On later references, the alpha variant, or simply the variant if only one is referred to in the story. Avoid using the numbers given to variants, such as B.1.1.7 for the one first found in the U.K. Avoid using country labels like the South Africa variant.

Variants identified by WHO: alpha (first detected in the U.K.); beta (first detected in South Africa); gamma (first detected in Brazil); delta (first detected in India); epsilon (first detected in the U.S.); zeta (first detected in Brazil); eta (first detected in multiple countries); theta (first detected in the Philippines); iota (first detected in the U.S.); kappa (first detected in India). For a new variant that hasn't yet been named by the WHO, use phrasing such as the latest variant of concern, first seen in Iowa in May 2021 ...

If a variant is different enough in certain ways than previous ones, it might be designated as a new strain or lineage, but these are not interchangeable terms.


Answer

We'd stick with no hyphen, as done in the prison, jail entry. As with many hyphenation questions, often there's no absolute right or wrong answer. And we can't list every possible hyphenation combination in the Stylebook! If you prefer the hyphen, then go for it.

See this from the hyphen entry:

Use of the hyphen is far from standardized. It can be a matter of taste, judgment and style sense. Think of hyphens as an aid to readers’ comprehension. If a hyphen makes the meaning clearer, use it. If it just adds clutter and distraction to the sentence, don’t use it.

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No hyphen needed for any of those.

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Either is fine.

Answer

I agree with you; no hyphen is necessary. I view the term law enforcement as another example of what we cite in this section of the hyphen entry:

Other two-word terms, particularly those used as nouns, have evolved to be commonly recognized as, in effect, one word. No hyphen is needed when such terms are used as modifiers if the meaning is clear and unambiguous without the hyphen. Examples include third grade teacher, chocolate chip cookie, special effects embellishment, climate change report, public land management, real estate transaction, emergency room visit, cat food bowl, parking lot entrance, national security briefing, computer software maker.


Question from Brenham, Texas, on June 11, 2021

Punctuation for
He hung the Open sign on the door.

Answer

He hung the "open" sign on the door.

Answer

They have grade-level reading assignments. What is her reading grade level?


Answer

We prefer about to approximately, because it's shorter and less stilted. But approximately is fine, too. Around is more informal. It can be OK depending on the audience. Even though it's reasonable to assume that a number such as 3 million is an estimate, we prefer to qualify it (though not necessarily in a headline, where character count is at a premium). You can also say nearly 3 million or more than 3 million.

Answer

Yes. Here's the entry. We don't use the + symbol as part of the shorthand but you can choose to do so.

LGBT, LGBTQ (adj.) Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. In quotations and the formal names of organizations and events, other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained. I generally stands for intersex, and A can stand for asexual (a person who doesn't experience sexual attraction), ally (some activists decry this use of the abbreviation for a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports LGBT communities) or both. Use of LGBT or LGBTQ is best as an adjective and an umbrella term. Don't use it, for instance, when the group you're referring to is limited to bisexuals. Walters joined the LGBTQ business association. Queer is an umbrella term covering people who are not heterosexual or cisgender and is acceptable for people and organizations that use the term to identify themselves. Do not use it when intended as a slur. Follow guidelines for obscenities, profanities, vulgarities as appropriate.


Answer

Yes, with a space. But that assumes your readers know what it means.


Question from Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2021

Do I write 60W bulb or 60 W bulb?

Answer

We prefer 60-watt bulb. If necessary to abbreviate it, include the space.

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Straight and narrow.

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I vote with you.

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I'd use the hyphen.

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I'd use lowercase and an apostrophe, even though the apostrophe might not strictly follow the general guidance below. I think it makes the phrase clearer for those who aren't familiar with the meaning.

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.


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Disciplines works.

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We have no opinion on that. Any of those options work.

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I agree with you. In your mind, substitute should or must, which is implied in that construction: insistence that America (should) live up to its promises ...

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Thanks for the heads-up! We will fix that.

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For general readers, we'd stay away from it. Sounds like a speciality term or, really, jargon specific to a certain field or fields. And we don't like jargon! It's certainly just fine for those in the social sector to use it among themselves. In broader use, I'd say not. I do note that Merriam-Webster (which is entirely separate from Webster's New World College Dictionary) recognizes a different use. We don't like that one, either. And it adds another element of potential confusion.

Definition of sensemaking
: that makes sense : SENSIBLE, REASONABLE, PRACTICABLEa sensemaking proposal


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I say that, too.

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We don't have specific guidance. I'd add hyphens for readability. It's easy to decipher 123456 at a glance without breaking up the numbers. Something like 381063 is a little harder to read and 3-8-1-0-6-3 could help the poor readers' eyes.

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From the Topical Guides

Coronavirus Topical Guide

To help with coverage of the coronavirus and COVID-19, The Associated Press has prepared a guide based on the AP Stylebook and common usage in AP stories. coronaviruses A family of viruses, some...


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