Ask the Editor

Last Seven Days

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Our style is to conform with the company's preferred capitalization. Of course, we work for The Associated Press,

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The AP would not capitalize fall semester (just as we would not capitalize academic year).

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We'd probably hyphenate it as a compound noun, if only for clarity.

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I consulted our technology editor, and he says it should be chiclet -- no "k."

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It’s reasonable and not too cumbersome to say that Company A purchased (some or all of) the assets of Company B. And then follow up to say it will not take on debts, or whatever else as part of the transaction. The AP tends to write about this kind of transaction when the assets of a bankrupt company in Chapter 11 are snapped up. 

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We'd try to avoid repeating the first and last name throughout. We might do it in some instances, call him "the retiring board member" once, and use his last name alone when in context it is clear that we're talking about the man, not the school.

Question from Highland Park, Illinois, on May 06, 2021

When should you use "according to" instead of "said"? 

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"According to" is especially suited to instances where you are attributing news or a fact to an authority: "The Earth revolves around the Sun, according to Galileo."

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Either way is a little disorienting. It would work better if you spelled it out a bit: the California State Parks Department's Division of Boating and Waterways.

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I'm not sure which side of the argument you are making -- and would hate to make you pay for a run to Arby's -- but the answer is in your question. If the building doesn't have an actual name, and the number is merely the equivalent of a locator, we would not capitalize building.

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Correct.

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The AP has no style on this -- it would be up to you to set one for your publication.

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Yes -- this is a name for the flag, however  informal. And capitalizing the words makes it clear that the reference is not to the colors red, white and blue.

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I wouldn't hyphenate it.

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Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition, lists these editors:

Senior Editors: Andrew N. Sparks, Jonathan L. Goldman, Donald Stewart. Managing Editor: Steve Kleinedler. Editors: James E. Naso, Katherine Soltis, Stephen P. Teresi, Laura Borovac Walker, Jennifer Wellman Wason.


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No, we would use the lowercase.

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Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting is fine as it is.


Question from Faribault, Minnesota, on May 04, 2021

Good morning! Central Maine or central Maine? 

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We'd use central Maine.

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I'd use the plural verb. Others might differ. Arguments can be made either way.

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Because of the large volume of queries to Ask the Editor, topics of wider interest to AP Stylebook users normally get priority. Many issues have already come up, so before submitting a question check this archive to see if the topic has been dealt with in a Q&A.

Try to keep questions short and focused. An example for illustration can be helpful for responding in the right context. Avoid very long questions (more than 60 words), which can slow the system. We are unable to answer all questions. 

Because AP Style and usage evolve over time, some older responses have been overtaken by newer AP Stylebook entries or guidance. Use the responses of more recent dates if there's a conflict. This archive goes back to 2006; it's intended as a record.

It's safe to say that I'm not going to be going back a year looking for questions to answer. I'd suggest you submit your question again.


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You win! It's grades three to eight.


grade, grader 


No hyphen in most cases: a fourth grade student, first grader, she is in the fifth grade. (A change in 2019.) Do hyphenate if needed to avoid confusion, such as when combined with another ordinal number: He was the sixth fourth-grade student to win the prize; she is the 10th third-grader to join.

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I prefer the third. We don't have a formal style. 

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We lowercase professor both before and after a name. We also lowercase the departments unless they are proper names (French, for example). So our style for capitalization in your example is: associate professor of chemistry Teresa Shakespeare.

Question from Princeton, New Jersey, on May 03, 2021

In our work, we see a common usage of convening as a noun. Webster's lists it only as a verb; however, in the definition below for convention, it includes convening appearing as a synonym for convention, so as a noun. Please clarify. Thanks!
convention  n. [[ME convencioun < L conventio < pp. of convenire, convene]] 1 [Rare] a convening or being convened2 a) an assembly, often periodical, of members or delegates, as of a [more...]

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I can't speak for the dictionary. I'd go with how it gives usage in the primary definition of convening. I'm not finding much, if any, support elsewhere for the use of convening as a noun. How do you see it used? We will sponsor a convening next week? I wouldn't do it.

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There are differing opinions on this. In general, I prefer not to mix. In this example, I think it's OK. It's a matter of how things read. This reads easily to me. Other mixing and matching might present roadblocks to reading. 

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Below is my answer to a similar question a few days ago:

We haven't been able to detect particular rhyme or reason in the use or nonuse of the in front of acronyms/initialisms. Usage evolves in its own sometimes unfathomable way. Generally, in speaking, people instinctively say the FBI or the CIA, but NASA and NOAA without the article. The World Health Organization is referred to as both WHO and the WHO.

It's possible that generally, common usage is to use the article before acronyms/initialisms that are spoken as individual letters, but not before those that can be spoken like one word.  (We say C-I-A, not See-a or See-ya). WHO occupies a middle ground in which sometime people say and write simply WHO, and other times add the article to avoid confusion: The WHO says vaccinations are important, not WHO says vaccinations are important.

Presumably within your organization, people talk about the WWP or WWP. Which do they use spoken conversations? In your case I'd use the article, unless that's not the way local usage has developed.


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