Ask the Editor

Last Seven Days

Answer

I'd make it one word, following the lead of software. And explain it, if your audience could be unfamiliar with the idea.

Answer

It's open to debate, but I'd say it's clear without a hyphen and thus I wouldn't use one.


Answer

We call it PrEP and explain that it stands for preexposure prophylaxis.


Answer

Our style is not to use the trademark symbol for anything.


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That use is accepted by Webster's New World College Dictionary, which is the Stylebook's official dictionary: 

gift 

(gift)

n. [[ME < OE, portion, wedding gift (< giefan: see ) & < ON gipt, gift (< gefa, akin to GIVE), akin to Ger gift, poison]] 1 something given to show friendship, affection, support, etc.; present 2 the act, power, or right of giving 3 a natural ability; talent [a giftfor languages] –vt. 1 to present a gift to 2 to present as a gift —SYN. PRESENT, TALENT —look a gift horse in the mouth to be critical of a gift or favor: from the practice of judging a horse’s age by its teeth

Answer

We use numerals in headlines. So it could be two in the text of a story, but 2 in the headline. Or third in the text, but 3rd in the headline.


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I'd lowercase all but Ethel's. I think there could be arguments either way, though. 

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If the context makes absolutely clear that you're talking about the glass named for the drink, lowercase it. Otherwise, make this an exception to the general rule and capitalize it, to avoid confusion with a more generic use of the term old-fashioned. Not: He's an old-fashioned man who prefers old-fashioned glasses.

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I think they're interchangeable in that context.


Question from Austin, TX on June 21, 2019

It would be really helpful if AP could weigh in and clarify its rule on "half." We have two competing answers in Ask the Editor:

I see there's a rule for fractions less than one that aren't modifiers (AP rule is to spell out and hyphenate). What if it's a fraction greater than one that's a modifier? As in: He served for eight and a half years as president. Should it be as written, or: He served as president for eight-and-a-half years? Thank you!

from Williamstown, MA on Feb. 11, 2019

 
ANSWER
He was in jail for 4 1/2 years. The decimal would look a little odd in that case. Here's the relevant section from the fractions entry:

Use figures for precise amounts larger than 1, converting to decimals whenever practical.
Yes, that works.

Someone wrote to you on May 29 that your answer to the above question on May 25 was confusing, but it was never clarified. i join the chorus of those needing clarity.

Thanks!



Answer

Our entire guidance on numbers is in flux. We will clarify this in the future but it takes some time. Thanks for asking. For now, I would say to use the numerals: 4 1/2. Why? Because four-and-a-half  is clunky and unreadable. And 11-and-a-half is worse.



Answer

Our style for the uppercased Gospel is specific to the first four books of the New Testament. Since your use is "slightly generic," I'd use the generic lowercased gospel.

Gospel(s), gospel 


Capitalize when referring to any or all of the first four books of the New Testament: the Gospel of St. John, the Gospels.
Lowercase in other references: She is a famous gospel singer.


Answer

Technically, it's a one-to-two-hour session. But I'd rewrite for ease of reading: We will schedule a session of one to two hours with you.

Answer

We are indeed inconsistent and we need to address that. I can't do that on the fly, however. In practice, we typically don't use the capital The. We'll look to clarify Stylebook guidance in the coming year.

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AP style never uses italics (except in this forum to show examples). But newspaper names are not italicized, nor are website names nor anything else, in our style. So just use the name of the site.

Question from Anderson, SC on June 21, 2019

Proper capitalization? Aloe vera or aloe vera.
Italicized or not?

Answer

Lowercase, no italics, in AP style.

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There's no absolute right or wrong with this one. I'd use the hyphen.

Answer

There is a lot to digest in that question. OK. First, headlines usually aren't complete sentences consisting of all the usual verbs, articles, etc. In addition, headlines usually don't contain periods.

Not: A dog sees a cat and runs away.
Instead: Dog sees cat; runs away

You also could use a comma there; such a construction is sort of headline-ese and is acceptable.

It's OK to use periods for emphasis or special effect, such as:

Dog sees cat. Runs away. Hides for 3 hours.

As for colons: Capitalize the word following a colon if it's the start of complete sentence (or the headline version of a complete sentence) or if it's a proper name.

Today in humor: Dog sees cat; runs away
Today in humor: a silly dog






Answer

I agree. There's enough jargon and inside baseball in government coverage already without borrowing more from horse racing. (Or is that inside horse racing?)


Question from Glen Rock, NJ on June 19, 2019

Is a hypen used after a number; 100-course offerings

Answer

Yes, usually. 




Answer

We don't use that construction. Why would you need to number them? She went to the store to pick up milk, bread and cheese. Simpler and much more readable.
If you have longer elements, you're probably better off with a bulleted list or separate sentences.

Outside the AP, in casual writing and for emphasis, I might on occasion use this style: I prefer cats over dogs because 1) dogs drool and 2) cats purr. 


Answer

Sorry, but I'm not sure what the question is.

Answer

No apostrophe there.
We'd lowercase the season: spring of 2020.

Question from Westchester, IL on June 19, 2019

One out of four workers was/were out of work?

Answer

Use the plural; the sense is plural.

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Either is fine depending on the context. It largely depends on whether your readers know what the XXX is and also whether  it makes sense to use "the" with the brand name in question.

For instance, you wouldn't say The Advent is easy to install. Instead, The Advent monitoring system is easy to install.


Answer

Either is fine.

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