GrammarPhile Blog

Word Forms from the AP Stylebook

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Nov 5, 2013 5:30:00 AM

man reading newspaperDo you write for newspapers? Do you write press releases? Do you want your writing to be succinct, compact, to the point? Take your lead from the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, a copy of which belongs on every writer's shelf. Here are some excerpts showing preferred form and usage of words you might or might not use today:
  • Jet Ski - A registered trademark of Kawasaki for a type of personal watercraft.
  • Jell-O - A trademark for a brand of gelatin dessert.
  • online - One word in all cases for the computer connection term.
  • GIF - Acronym for graphics interchange format, a compression format for images. The acronym is acceptable in copy, but it should be explained somewhere in the story. Use lowercase in a file name.
  • JPEG, JPG - Acronyms for joint photographic experts group, one of two common types of image compression mechanisms used on the World Wide Web (along with GIF).
  • URL - Uniform Resource Locator, an Internet address. An example: where http: is the protocol, or method of transfer; // indicates a computer name follows; politics is the server; is the domain;/states is the folder; mi.html indicates the file (.html is the file type).
  • emeritus - This word often is added to formal titles to denote that individuals who have retired retain their rank or title. When used, place emeritus after the formal title, in keeping with the general practice of academic institutions: Professor Emeritus Samuel Eliot Morison, Dean Emeritus Courtney C. Brown, Publisher Emeritus Peter Dibley. Or: Samuel Eliot Morison, professor emeritus of history; Courtney C. Brown, dean emeritus of the faculty of business; Peter Dibley, publisher emeritus.
  • navy - Capitalize when referring to U.S. forces: the U.S. Navy, the Navy, Navy policy. Do not use the abbreviation USN. Lowercase when referring to the naval forces of other nations: the British navy. This approach has been adopted for consistency, because many foreign nations do not use navy as the proper name. [Ed. note: British readers, take this with a grain of salt; it's clearly from an American guide.]
  • Netherlands - In datelines, give the name of the community followed by NetherlandsAMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP)--. In stories: the Netherlands or Netherlands as the construction of a sentence dictates.
  • teen, teen-ager, (n.)teen-age (adj.) - Do not use teen-aged. (The hyphen is an exception to Webster's.)
  • war horse, warhorse - Two words for a horse used in battle. One word for a veteran of many battles: He is a political warhorse.
  • hurricane watch - An announcement for specific areas that a hurricane or incipient hurricane conditions may pose a threat to coastal and inland communities.
  • hurricane warning - Warns that one or both of these dangerous effects of a hurricane are expected in specified areas in 24 hours or less: (a) Sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher, and/or (b) dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves, even though winds expected may be less than hurricane force.
  • MiG - The i in this designation for a type of Russian fighter jet is lowercase because it is the Russian word for and. The initials are from the last names of the designers, Arten Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. [This can be especially useful in your next office trivia contest.] The forms: MiG-19, MiG-21s.
  • Procter & Gamble Co. - P&G is acceptable on second reference. Note it is NOT Proctor.
  • Seven Seas - Arabian Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, South China Sea. [Note that other sources differ in the oceans and seas associated with this phrase.]
  • thermos - Formerly a trademark, now a generic term for any vacuum bottle, although one manufacturer still uses the word as a brand name. Lowercase thermos when it is used to mean any vacuum bottle; use Thermos when referring to the specific brand.
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Topics: Associated Press Stylebook

Some Rules on Numbers

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jul 3, 2012 5:30:00 AM

When it comes to numbers, you may know that our standard style book, the Chicago Manual of Style, calls for spelling out whole numbers from one through one hundred. The Associated Press Stylebook calls for spelling out whole numbers only up to nine. Here are some more rules about numbers in your text.

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Topics: how to write out money in text, Associated Press Stylebook, figures, numbers, Chicago Manual of Style

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