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Question from St. Louis, MO on Aug. 17, 2018

I'm getting push back in my workplace about how  to show the city/state in a sentence. In my current AP Stylebook, the guidelines are shown as follows: 

State Names (Pages 234-235)
• States should not be abbreviated when standing alone in the text. When used in conjunction with a city, town, village, military base or political party affiliation, some states may be abbreviated.
• Abbreviations of states DO NOT use postal codes. The AP Stylebook has its own abbreviations for each state which can be found in the "state names" entry.
• Eight states can never be abbreviated anywhere in the text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, 
Ohio, Texas and Utah.
• One comma should be placed between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence or dateline: "He was traveling from Nashville, Tenn., 
to  Albuquerque, N.M."

The online version of the Stylebook shows the following: 
EIGHT NOT ABBREVIATED: The names of eight states are never abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

The sentence I'm writing about is: 
Another goal of the foundation is to give back through scholarships to current and future dealership employees – and to raise enough funds to support the technician training program at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) in Okmulgee, Okla. 

Is showing Okmulgee, Oklahoma, correct.... or is Okmulgee, Okla. correct. 


I'm not sure what your current printed book is, but we've been spelling out state names in the body of stories (except for exceptions as noted) for several years. The online edition always has the most up-to-date guidance and I'm pasting the full entry below.

In answer to your question:

  • If you need to include the state name, it should be spelled out.
  • But in this case, we'd say that you really don't need to include the state name, because it's already implied (the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology wouldn't be in any state except Oklahoma, presumably.
  • We don't include acronyms in parentheses.

So we would write the sentence this way:

Another goal of the foundation is to give back through scholarships to current and future dealership employees – and to raise enough funds to support the technician training program at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee.

Here is the full state names entry:

 state names 

Follow these guidelines:
SPELL OUT: The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. No state name is necessary if it is the same as the dateline. This also applies to newspapers cited in a story. For example, a story datelined Providence, R.I., would reference the Providence Journal, not the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal. See datelines.
EIGHT NOT ABBREVIATED: The names of eight states are never abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
Memory aid: Spell out the names of the two states that are not part of the contiguous United States and of the continental states that are five letters or fewer.
IN THE BODY OF STORIES: Except for cities that stand alone in datelines, use the state name in textual material when the city or town is not in the same state as the dateline, or where necessary to avoid confusion: Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, Illinois. Provide a state identification for the city if the story has no dateline, or if the city is not in the same state as the dateline. However, cities that stand alone in datelines may be used alone in stories that have no dateline if no confusion would result.

ABBREVIATIONS REQUIRED: Use the state abbreviations listed at the end of this section:
–In conjunction with the name of a city, town, village or military base in most datelines. See datelines for examples and exceptions for large cities.
–In lists, agate, tabular material, nonpublishable editor's notes and credit lines.
–In short-form listings of party affiliation: D-Ala., R-Mont. See party affiliation entry for details.
Following are the state abbreviations, which also appear in the entries for each state (postal code abbreviations in parentheses):
Ala. (AL) | Md. (MD) | N.D. (ND)
Ariz. (AZ) | Mass. (MA) | Okla. (OK)
Ark. (AR) | Mich. (MI) | Ore. (OR)
Calif. (CA) | Minn. (MN) | Pa. (PA)
Colo. (CO) | Miss. (MS) | R.I. (RI)
Conn. (CT) | Mo. (MO) | S.C. (SC)
Del. (DE) | Mont. (MT) | S.D. (SD)
Fla. (FL) | Neb. (NE) | Tenn. (TN)
Ga. (GA) | Nev. (NV) | Vt. (VT)
Ill. (IL) | N.H. (NH) | Va. (VA)
Ind. (IN) | N.J. (NJ) | Wash. (WA)
Kan. (KS) | N.M. (NM) | W.Va. (WV)
Ky. (KY) | N.Y. (NY) | Wis. (WI)
La. (LA) | N.C. (NC) | Wyo. (WY)
These are the postal code abbreviations for the eight states that are not abbreviated in datelines or text: AK (Alaska), HI (Hawaii), ID (Idaho), IA (Iowa), ME (Maine), OH (Ohio), TX (Texas), UT (Utah). Also: District of Columbia (DC).
Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations only with full addresses, including ZIP code.
PUNCTUATION: Place one comma between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence or indicating a dateline: He was traveling from Nashville, Tennessee, to Austin, Texas, en route to his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She said Cook County, Illinois, was Mayor Daley's stronghold.
HEADLINES: Avoid using state abbreviations in headlines whenever possible.
MISCELLANEOUS: Use New York state when necessary to distinguish the state from New York City.
Use state of Washington or Washington state within a story when it's necessary to differentiate the state name from the U.S. capital, Washington. It's written Washington, D.C., with the added abbreviation only if the city might be confused with the state.


It's people's


I think it's clear, and better, without the hyphens:We support our students in and out of the classroom. I'm assuming you wouldn't use it as an extended modifier before a noun; that would be very clunky and hard to read. If you absolutely have to write it that way, do use hyphens in that construction:  Our in- and out-of-the-classroom experiences are the greatest.


AP style calls for Dallas to stand alone without the state name attached, unless there's possibility for confusion. One might debate whether the state name is necessary here. That aside, yes, technically what you have is correct. But there's no reason to write it that way. Instead: the flight from Albany, New York, to Austin, Texas.


Yes and yes.


The collective nouns entry addresses this, in part:

 collective nouns 

Nouns that denote a unit take singular verbs and pronouns: class, committee, crowd, family, group, herd, jury, orchestra, team.
Some usage examples: The committee is meeting to set its agenda. The jury reached its verdict. A herd of cattle was sold.
Team names and musical group names that are plural take plural verbs. The Yankees are in first place. The Jonas Brothers are popular.
Team or group names with no plural forms also take plural verbs: The Miami Heat are battling for third place. Other examples: Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Alabama Crimson Tide.
Most singular names take singular verbs, including places and university names in sports: Coldplay is on tour. Boston is favored in the playoffs. Stanford is in the NCAA Tournament.
Some proper names that are plural in form take a singular verb: Brooks Brothers is holding a sale.
PLURAL IN FORM: Some words that are plural in form become collective nouns and take singular verbs when the group or quantity is regarded as a unit.
Right: A thousand bushels is a good yield. (A unit.)
Right: A thousand bushels were created. (Individual items.)
Right: The data is sound. (A unit.)
Right: The data have been carefully collected. (Individual items.)

However, this entry doesn't address your specific question, and it's one that the Stylebook team will consider in coming months.

Coldplay is on tour is correct. It also sounds better to U.S. ears than Coldplay are on tour. But, would we say or write: Coldplay is on tour and you can see it live in November? Or Coldplay is on tour and you can see them live in November

We will discuss.

Question from Newark, NJ on Aug. 16, 2018

Is it second-floor lobby or second floor lobby? thanks


Second-floor lobby.


We're not using the term, and don't have a position how to style it.


The Cairo to Athens flight.


 We'd say "the blob,"  lowercase and with quote marks, on first reference, followed immediately by a brief explanation or definition. On second reference, the blob.

Question from Columbia, SC on Aug. 15, 2018

Is there a hyphen in middle-level education? Thanks!


Yes, that should be hyphenated for clarity.


People could spend hours debating that one, and others like it. I vote for the singular.


I will be playing catch-up for a long time. Hyphenated.


Our names entry begins:  In general, use only last names on second reference.

The "in general" part certainly allows some wiggle room. The Stylebook doesn't specifically address the question of second-reference first names in informal contexts. But in practice, it's a reasonable approach in the context that you describe.

This would be an easy call if you were writing just for your own newsletter (if you had one). In that case, the audience is narrow and use of the first name would seem totally appropriate.

I can see the local newspaper's concern, though, if one column adopts a style that is different from what's in the rest of the newspaper.

The final decision obviously is up to the local editors. But you can let them know that the Stylebook does allow for some exceptions on the second-reference last name question. In fact, I'm willing to bet that an occasional AP story has used just the first name on second reference.


Technically, those are correct.


In general with all sports, including volleyball, the winner’s score should be listed first. Volleyball is a little complicated because it’s played in sets. Using your example: Team 1 lost to Team 2, dropping the fifth set 15-12. Full breakdowns of set scores are much easier using a match summary listing the winner first or with a sentence naming the winner first: Team 2 def. Team 1: 21-25, 25-16, 29-27, 16-25, 15-12. Most sentences will be more clunky if listing all the scores while naming the losers first, so better to simplify: Team 1 lost in straight sets. Team 1 lost to Team 2, winning the first set before dropping the next three. 


The dictionary we use is actually Webster's New World College Dictionary, which isn't related to Merriam-Webster. Regardless, both dictionaries do show audiobook, one word. We defer to Webster's New World College Dictionary and would use audiobook as well. I've deleted the previous incorrect answer. Thanks for noting it.


This is totally a judgment call with no definitive right or wrong. I'd make it special-purpose local option sales tax. No caps.


Yes, it's best hyphenated for clarity.


I'd use the hyphens.


If it's within the current year, AP style doesn't use years. Just: Oct. 21. If it's in a different year: Oct. 21, 2016.


Either is fine.


AP style doesn't capitalize those terms.


We don't have a specific style for that term. Our style in general is carmaker, one word. That's certainly fine in usages such as The carmakers are gathering for the auto show. But since electric modifies car and not carmaker, I'd use electric-car maker for clarity.


You need the article the in that construction: the Redskins' Morgan Moses. Or, Redskins player Morgan Moses.

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