Ask the Editor

Last Seven Days

Would AP hyphenate domain name as a modifier? (Domain-name registration or domain name registration)

from Bothell, WA on Apr 28, 2017
Usually the term isn't hyphenated in AP usage: domain name registration.

When referring to Silicon Valley in a story, does it need to be identified as being in California. Example: The Silicon Valley, California-based tech company...

from Portland, OR on Apr 28, 2017

That phrasing is rather awkward. It should be sufficient to describe it as a Silicon Valley tech company, particularly from a dateline in California. If a fuller locator is essential, try describing it as a tech company based in California's Silicon Valley.

Do you hyphenate then-CEO?

from Ramsey, NJ on Apr 28, 2017
Yes, preceding the individual's name. Otherwise, the reference could follow the name without a hyphenated title: e.g., John Doe, CEO at that time.

What's the appropriate formatting: "touchup" or "touch-up?" 
Thank you!

from NY, NY on Apr 28, 2017
Based on guidance in the Stylebook's -up entry, touch-up (n.), touch up (v.).

Realizing that we use "transgender" as an adjective and not a noun -- and that "transgendered" isn't a thing -- is it safe to use "trans"? Several activists for LGBTQ rights use "trans" frequently (as in "trans community" and , as do the gay magazines Out and Advocate. Thank you. 

from Austin, TX on Mar 08, 2017
UPDATE: AP stories have used trans in follow-ups to transgender, which AP spells out on first reference. See the 2017 Stylebook's gender entry for fuller guidance.

Hi, do you recommend "the Sandwich Generation" or "the sandwich generation"?  Thanks!

from Edina, MN on Apr 28, 2017
Deferring to the dictionary's lowercase spelling: sandwich generation.

Hello! A June 2010 response indicates that "1 in 10" is correct, but every other question I've seen on the topic indicates that "one in 10" is correct. For example: "Approximately 1 in 10 eligible donors participate." Please clarify when 1 in 10 is being used as an estimate. Thanks!

from Lancaster , PA on Apr 27, 2017
For a ratio use figures within a sentence: Approximately 1 in 10 eligible donors participate. But if the sentence starts with a figure, spell it: One in 10 eligible voters participate.

Is it cheese-making, cheese making, or cheesemaking? 

from AUSTIN, TX on Apr 27, 2017
As a modifier, the term is often hyphenated in AP stories: cheese-making process, cheese-making business.  Standing alone, the term is often spelled without a hyphen: He mastered the art of cheese making.

We're reporting that our organization earned an A rating for financial transparency, and AP style appears to require no quotation marks around the letter A or the use of any other special treatment.
I'm basing this style on your
bond ratings entry, which refers to categories AAA, BBB-, BB+, CCC- and D.
Does your guidance on bond ratings apply here, to academic grades and to similar uses of capital letters?

from Plano, TX on Apr 27, 2017
Probably written as you have it. However, the rating style could be influenced by the format used by the outfit that provided the rating.   


from GRAPEVINE, TX on Apr 27, 2017
The dictionary entry is coarse (adj.), coarser, coarsest.

If Philly cheesesteak is written as just "Philly," would Philly be capitalized?

from Bellevue, NE on Apr 27, 2017
Let's keep it Philly cheesesteak, Philadelphia cheesesteak or cheesesteak as recommended in the Stylebook entry.

Is it down-select or downselect in reference to a company's attempt to get a government contract?

from billrica, MA on Apr 27, 2017
I don't find that term used in AP news stories. We'd no doubt take a few more words to explain the strategy.

Should "open house" be hyphenated in the following sentence? 
These two open house receptions have been arranged ....

from Wallkill, NY on Apr 27, 2017
The term usually isn't hyphenated in AP stories.

Regarding your recent revision on use of "they/them/their": If you're really accepting "they" as a singular pronoun, then why would you recommend using a plural verb? (See last paragraph in entry.) A singular pronoun takes a singular verb. 

from Northampton, MA on Apr 27, 2017
The entry example for an individual who uses the neutral pronoun: Taylor said they need a new car ... NOT: Taylor said they needs a new car. 

What is AP Style when referring to Emmanuel Macron's political party, En Marche! ?

from Ipswich, MA on Apr 27, 2017
AP stories from France use En Marche! (In Motion!), with the English translation in the parenthesis. 

Hi, our paper is writing about California SB 179. The title of it on government pages is Gender identity: female, male or nonbinary. Should the title be quoted and should the capitalization change?

from Santa Cruz, , CA on Apr 27, 2017
You could certainly quote the formal title of SB 179 as given on the government pages, though you'll no doubt provide a fuller explanation of the scope of the bill.  An AP story earlier this year said it would make California the first state to add a third gender option on state identifying documents, such as driver's licenses, birth certificates and identity cards.

Are animal breeds capitalized?

from on Apr 26, 2017
Some are capped, others aren't. The Stylebook's animals entry provides guidance.

In the phrase "... data sourced from state departments of motor vehicles (DMVs)," should "Departments of Motor Vehicles"  be capped? The general rule is to cap official department names, but I'm not sure if making the term plural makes a difference.

from Costa Mesa, CA on Apr 26, 2017
The plural form referring to various state would be lowercase in an AP story.  We don't enclose abbreviations in parentheses right after a term. However, DMVs could be used in follow-ups as a common abbreviation.

when noting a revision date with only the month and year, how should it be written (04/17; 04-2017, etc.)

from Kingwood, TX on Apr 26, 2017
An AP story would spell out the month with the year: April 2017.

How to make the search engine case-sensitive? I wanted to check if abbreviation "SEA" is acceptable in headlines and standfirsts for South East Asia, but could not find any relevant information.

from Beijing, AL on Apr 26, 2017
The Stylebook entry is Southeast Asia, with an explanation of the nations in the region. It doesn't include the abbreviation you list, nor do Ask the Editor archives. It's possible that an AP headline might use SE Asia in a tight-space situation, but more likely the full name would be spelled out.

Featured Tip


Recent Pronunciation Guide

Betsy DeVos


Trump’s secretary of education

View all

Current Topical Guide

March Madness 2017

The Associated Press compiled a list of essential basketball words, phrases and definitions for coverage of the NCAA Tournament for U.S. college men and women from mid-March through early April....

View all
Back to Top