Ask the Editor

Last Seven Days

Answer

Yes. And since the world of bitcoin is so new and unsettled -- and since this index is not quoted widely-- we'd probably try to link it to its creator. So it would be CoinDesk's bitcoin price index

Answer

I agree with all of those. And with that, I take a break for the coming week. My fine Stylebook colleagues will be stepping in.

Answer

I would say: Yes.

Question from Latham, NY on Dec 10, 2017

Re: % symbol — Thank you!

You said that using two consecutive (percent) symbols looks off to you.

Would you do this, then?


a 10- to 20%-off coupon

Or keep the % symbol after “10” in both cases, like this below?

a 10%- to 15%-a-year commitment

a 10%- to 20%-off coupon


Thanks again!

Answer

Good plan: 

The mayor said, “A 10- to 15%-a-year commitment has been made.”

a 10- to 20%-off coupon

Answer

Yes.

Answer

We generally steer clear of reducing names to initials on second reference. The names of Saudi royalty can be confusing; Mohammed bin Salman is the son of King Salman, and both their names often appear in the same story. So on second reference, we often refer to the son as the crown prince or Crown Prince Mohammed.

Answer

I wanted to say I'd do without the hyphens. But upon experimentation, I find that my supposed preference probably is worse, and you probably are taking the better approach. On the one hand, using two consecutive symbols looks off to me. On the other hand, a 20% a year commitment is off too. So yes, go with the hyphens.

Question from Moscow on Dec 09, 2017

Regarding the question I submitted earlier today: The hyphen/dash dilemma got exacerbated by another name in the article: Korean-Russian Science and Technology Cooperation Center. I saw this one written as "Korea Russia Center... ," "Korea-Russian Center... ," "Korea – Russia Center," etc. Since it looks like the name is unsettled, I'm inclined to use the double-adjective version, which makes more sense to me. The question is (1) whether I need a hyphen or a dash and (2) if this decision affects how I should style the Korean — Russian Artificial Intelligence Workshop that I mentioned in my previous question. Thanks!

Answer

AP style would use the hyphen for both of those. 

Answer

It's a mutually agreed-upon location.

Question from Centerville, UT on Dec 08, 2017

Is it Advent calendar or advent calendar? 

Answer

It's Advent calendar.

Question from on Dec 08, 2017

Is it civic education or civics education?

Answer

Civics education.

Question from Charlotte, NC on Dec 08, 2017

Is the preferred spelling cabbie or cabby for a cab driver?

Answer

Cabbie.

Answer

We say apps is OK on first reference. So, mobile apps is just fine.

Answer

I'd hyphenate it. And I'd want to be sure my audience knew the meaning of the term.

Answer

Agreed.

Answer

Lowercase company when it's standing alone: The company will do this and that. Also, AP style is to use Co. instead of Company as part of the name: Intermountain Gas Co. Of course, you certainly could choose to spell out the full name as part of your internal style.

Answer

The first one doesn't work. The second one is good. The third one is probably good but it may depend on the context and how essential the year is or isn't.

For the first two, I'd prefer to put the After clause first: After considerable contemplation, I think Mike is an AP style expert.

Answer

In AP style, we write out numbers other than a year if they start a sentence. Technically, that would mean: Twenty-five-point-two percent of citizens ..."
Clearly, that's not a good option.
So I recommend rewriting the sentence if at possible. For instance: The study found or we found that 25.2 percent of citizens ...
Or, decide to go against AP style in this example and just start with the numeral. It may look odd, but not as odd as writing out the full figure with the decimal.

Answer

Our style on flood plain is consistent with Webster's New World -- we haven't chosen to make an exception there. The same dictionary says it is, indeed, waterway. We've used  floodway on those rare occasions when the term's come up.

Answer

Webster's New World College Dictionary, which is the Stylebook's official dictionary, says typo is informal usage. I concur, and I'd go with typographical error in a formal report. 

Answer

Our official dictionary, Webster's New World College Dictionary, lists hardgoods as its preferred spelling.


Answer

Indeed. Here's the entry:

happy holidays, merry Christmas, season's greetings, happy birthday, happy new year 
 Lowercase except in exclamations (Christmas is always capitalized): Have a happy new year, wishing you a merry Christmas, sending season's greetings your way. In exclamations: Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Season's greetings! Happy New Year! (New Year is uppercase in this use for the Jan. 1 holiday.) Happy birthday!

Answer

Correct. 

Answer

Wow, those fans are having a great time! They are trying to fish home run balls from the water. Treat it as a noun phrase, meaning no hyphen.

Answer

Good question about whether an Ask the Editor answer trumps guidance from Webster's if there's not a separate entry. In general and in theory, yes it does. However, the editor(s) are human and thus capable of making the occasional error. Fortunately, we have eagle-eyed readers who point out errors or discrepancies, giving us a chance to correct any wrong.

Two points about the specific question:

-- We actually do have formal guidance about taekwondo (one word) as part of this entry in the Sports chapter.
-- Re the three-word version in a question that the Ask the Editor editor didn't correct: I'd guess that's because it was the formal name of the business, Ray's Tae Kwon Do in Miami Springs.

Thanks for your good question and your kind words!

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