Ask the Editor

Last Seven Days

Answer

I'd use the hyphen.


Answer

If you're using the possessive, you need lowercase and a comma: Proctor and Gable's chief executive officer, John Smith.

Or, no possessive and capitalized:  Proctor and Gable Chief Executive Officer John Smith. 

Answer

We don't use courtesy titles in AP style. If the former job is relevant in a story after retirement, we'd refer to former Police Commissioner Julie Smith and then Smith on second reference.


Answer

Yes, unless it's more than five letters. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which uses three common nouns, is FBI.

From the abbreviations and acronyms entry:

Use all caps, but no periods, in longer abbreviations when the individual letters are pronounced: ABC, CIA, FBI.
Use only an initial cap and then lowercase for abbreviations and acronyms of more than five letters, unless listed otherwise in this Stylebook or Webster's New World College Dictionary.


Answer

We'd capitalize it, following this part of the company names entry:

Generally, follow the spelling preferred by the company, but capitalize the first letter of company names in all uses: e.g., Adidas, Lululemon. Exceptions include company names such as eBay, which have a capital letter elsewhere in the name. However, company names should always be capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.


Answer

We'd use 'K . But don't use the direct quote if it's not clear what the 'K means.


Answer

It sounds like the victim was known by others to use the he/him pronouns? We'd suggest using his own pronoun, and as part of a general description of his life, explain the background. Perhaps you could avoid direct quotes by the police and the relative in question, and instead paraphrase? 


Question from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on Oct. 17, 2019

Would "money loser" be hyphenated as a noun? The company was considered a money loser.

Answer

I'd hyphenate it.

Answer

They are listed individually in the general, alphabetical section of the book. There is an entry for Frisbee, for example, and one for Bubble Wrap. Plug the word trademark into the search box and what we have should show up.

Answer

I believe you're looking at the Webster's New World College Dictionary entry for presale. You have the option of getting the dictionary entries as part of your Stylebook subscription. We don't have a separate entry on it. 

pre•sale 

(prē´sāl)

adj. 1 made or done before something goes on sale [presale advertising] 2 of or having to do with a presale –n. a special sale of merchandise, tickets, etc., held before the regular sale

Neither we nor the dictionary has an entry for presold or pre-sold. One Ask the Editor response notes that AP stories typically use pre-sold.

I love consistency. But in my Stylebook tenure, I've become painfully aware that consistency isn't always possible or even prudent. 

Presale is a common term and easy to recognize. I'm not sure that's the case with presold. I'd use the hyphen in the latter just for the sake of clarity and ease of reading. I'd also avoid using presale and pre-sold in the same sentence ...


Answer

We don't have a rule about it. We think it's fine with or without the comma. Be guided by the rhythm of the sentence. The comma provides a bit of a mental pause and can add some emphasis.

Answer

Some government officials and forecasters use terms such as rain event and wind event. We prefer terms such as rainstorm, windstorm, heavy rain,  140 mph wind, or whatever the situation is. 

Answer

Yes: well-above-average moisture. Or, moisture that is well above average. (Though I'm not sure how you measure moisture or know what the average is.)

Answer

Is it necessary to use the term? It seems a judgment call on whether the term is intended as a descriptive term or a derogatory term in any given situation. In general, we'd simply avoid using it unless essential. Note this entry:

derogatory terms 


Do not use a derogatory term except in extremely rare circumstances — when it is crucial to the story or the understanding of a news event. Flag the contents in an editor's note.

Answer

We prefer 7 to 9 inches long.

Answer

I'd use two words. The one-word version isn't recognized by either Webster's New World College Dictionary or Merriam-Webster.


Answer

I'm not finding a way to make that phrase work. How about: Biophotonics will revolutionize health care like electronics did during the past century. Or ... just as electronics did ...



Answer

AP style doesn't use italics in anything for publication. 

Answer

I am pretty sure that the parent of any deceased child would not use the comma in such an example. Joe Biden's son Hunter.


Answer

Use the hyphen in both cases.


Answer

A donor who asked to remain anonymous.

Answer

Soft top.


Answer

In this case, I think it's best to do it as you have written it. That can help busy readers who might read over the "either" in the intro.

Speaking of the intro, how about just in October. Including this month is redundant.

Question from Englewood Cliffs, NJ on Oct. 15, 2019

Do the names of mobile apps take quote marks?

Answer

No quotation marks around the names of apps. From the composition titles entry:

— Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as WordPerfect or Windows; apps; or around names of video, online or analog versions of games: FarmVille, Pokemon Go, The Legend of Zelda, Monopoly.

Answer

First, I hope you recover quickly! Second, even with flu brain, you caught an error that was missed by the three of us who each read it several times. This is what happens when editors are too close to the topic. It always helps to have an outside pair of eyes. The question indeed is about possessives. Not plurals. Thank you.


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