Generalized Stylebook (N-Z)


There is an official AP Stylebook available online, for a fee. I prefer a printed copy, but there are advantages to an online edition, namely it is always up-to-date. Also, since some of our style preferences differ from the standards, you should know what the “real” rules are. Visit the AP site, or the AP Stylebook site: http://www.ap.org/, http://apstylebook.com/

The AP Stylebook cannot address every editing issue. According to the AP, the following books should be consulted whenever you have a word usage or grammar question:

  1. Associated Press Stylebook (http://www.ap.org/, http://apstylebook.com/)
  2. Webster’s New World College Dictionary
  3. The Word, by Rene Cappon
  4. The Chicago Manual of Style
  5. The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White

The list appears in order of preference. Consult the official AP guidelines before proceeding to other references. The other texts might not agree with the AP or each other, which is why the order of preference matters. Always check with your editor before adhering to any style guide, including the AP Stylebook.

Students and Scholars: Do not assume AP style is appropriate for academic writing — it isn’t. Teachers and college professors will complain if you use AP style to supersede Chicago, MLA, or APA style.

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Special: [Stand-Alone Cities] [Measurement Chart]


- N -

names - People are entitled to be named within articles as they want to be known. “Given” names should be used in academic and legal works, however.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Use NASA.

national anthem - Capitalize the proper name of any anthem, but not the phrase national anthem.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - Some publications prefer NAACP exclusively, avoiding colored people. Other publications use the full name on second reference, for clarity, but not on first reference in story leads or headlines.

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. - Use National Council of Churches. The organization represents most major Protestant and Eastern Orthodox denominations in the United States.

National Education Association - Use NEA on second reference.

National Governors’ Association - Plural possessive.

National Guard - Capitalize after a state, spell out the state’s name. Example: California National Guard

National Institutes of Health - Plural, there are 12 institutes within the NIH. Use NIH on second reference when discussing the set. Preferably, identify the specific institute, however. After using an institute name, use the institute on further references.

National Labor Relations Board - Use NLRB on second reference.

National Organization for Women - Notice it is for women. Use NOW on second reference.

National Rifle Association - Use NRA on second reference.

National Weather Service - Using the weather service is acceptable.

NATO - Use for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Naugahyde - Trademark for a synthetic leather. (Actually, not very leather-like.)

Nazi - Capitalize. The common name for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. (Yes, it started during the socialist uprisings in Europe and was dedicated to employment for Germans.)

NBC - Use for National Broadcasting Co., a division of General Electric.

New England - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

newspaper names - Capitalize The if that is the standard of a publication.

New Testament - Capitalize.

New Year’s Day - Note the apostrophe.

New York City - Most publications use New York, unless there is the risk of confusion. We prefer New York City for all references.

New York Stock Exchange - Use NYSE on second reference.

Nobel Prize - Five Nobel Prize awards were established by Alfred Nobel’s will. The categories are lowercase: Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Prize in chemistry, Nobel Prize in literature, Nobel Prize in physics, and Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. In 1969, the Central Bank of Sweden established the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

nolo contendere - “I do not contend,” pleaded no contest or no-contest plea may be used, depending on publication style. The defendant admits no guilt, but offers no defense. A defendant is sentenced as if convicted, but the charges may be denied in future legal cases.

Northeast - New England and the Middle Atlantic states.

Novacain - Trademark.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Use NRC on second reference.

numbers and numerals - There are several AP style rules for the use of numbers.

Spell out numbers at the start of sentences unless the number is a year.

Spell out numbers in expressions and sayings, such as “Thanks a million.”

Spell out zero through nine and first through ninth.

Use numerals for most values of 10 and more.

  • Act 1, Scene 2 or Act I, Scene 2
  • a 5-year-old child (AP style)
  • the 5- and 6-year-old children
  • the planes DC-10 and 747B
  • a 5–4 ruling, the 2nd District Court
  • the 1980s, the ’80s
  • a ratio of 2-to-1 or a 2–1 ratio

Nuremberg - Not Nürnberg or Nuernberg in AP style.

nylon - Generic.

- O -

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Occidental - Being of Europe or the Western Hemisphere.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Use OSHA on second reference.

OK - Not okay in AP style. OK’d, OKs.

Old City of Jerusalem - Walled portion of the city.

Olympics - Capitalize when referring to the official athletic games. Also acceptable are the Summer Games, the Winter Olympics, and the Games.

on-line - Not online in AP style. We prefer online as more readable.

Oreo - Trademark.

Organization of American States - Use OAS on second reference.

OPEC - Acceptable in headlines and leads. Use Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on second reference, returning to OPEC in further mentions. OPEC member nations are: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Oscar - Trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, popular name for the statues given to the annual Academy Award winners.

Ouija - Trademark. (How do you describe a Ouija board?)

Oval Office - Capitalize the name of the president’s White House office.

Oyez - A call for silence.

Ozark Mountains - Also the Ozarks.

- P -

Pablum - Trademark for a brand of baby food. Some publications use lowercase when using pablum as a synonym for simplified or bland ideas.

page numbers - For a “jump” capitalize Page and use numerals. Example: see Page 2B

Palestine Liberation Organization - Not Palestinian. Use PLO on second reference.

pardon - Forgives and releases a convicted person from prison. A pardon does not expunge a record, only a court has that authority. Governors and presidents can grant pardons.

parole - The early release of a prisoner. Do not confuse with probation.

Parent-Teacher Association - Use PTA on all references.

Parkinson’s disease - Note the capitalization. Named for Dr. James Parkinson.

party affiliation - Use the following models:

  • Republican Sen. John Smith of California…
  • Sen. Sally Smith, D-Ariz., addressed the conference.
  • “No comment,” said Rep. Jose Garcia, R-N.Y., following the testimony.

patrolman / patrolwoman - Used by some jurisdictions instead of police officer or officer. Capitalize before a name.

Pentecostal churches - Conservative Christian congregations including the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, the United Pentecostal Church Inc. and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

Pepsi Cola - Trademark.

percentages - Use numerals, limit to two decimal places.

Peter Principle - Capitalize. Theory of Laurence J. Peter that employees are promoted until they reach their “levels of incompetence.”

Ph.D. - Use doctorate.

pica - In printing, the U.S. pica is slightly less than one-sixth of an inch. There are 12 points per pica.

pico- - The prefix for one-trillionth.

Ping-Pong - Trademark for a brand of table tennis equipment.

pistol - A hand-held gun, either an automatic or a revolver.

Pittsburg / Pittsburgh - Without the “h” the city is in California, Illinois, Kansas, or several other states. With an “h” the city is the well-known one in Pennsylvania.

plead, pleaded, pleading - Do not use pled for past tense.

Plexiglas - Trademark for “plastic glass.” Note the single “s” at the end.

p.m. / a.m. - AP style, but Chicago style is 10:00PM. If possible, we always like neat typography.

pocket veto - This can get confusing, but… a bill passed by the U.S. Congress but remaining unsigned by the president for 10 days meets one of two fates: if Congress is in session it becomes law, while if Congress is in recess the bill fails to become law — that is a pocket veto.

Polaroid - Trademark for the instant film and the camera.

Police Department - Capitalize when part of the formal name for a law enforcement agency. Some publications allow acronyms on second reference. Examples: NYPD, LAPD

Politburo - Use for Political Bureau of the Communist Party.

political districts - Capitalize and use numerals. Examples: the 4th District, the 10th Ward, the 3rd Precinct

political parties - Capitalize according to the custom of the party. Political philosophies are lowercase unless they are based on a proper noun.

Popsicle - Trademark.

port - “Left” in nautical terms, the side that was often aligned to a port or dock. See starboard.

Portuguese names - The format is sometimes given paternal maternal, with the paternal name used on second reference. In Portugal and Brazil, the maternal name is used on second reference, unless the person prefers otherwise.

post office - Lowercase.

poverty - Never assume to know what is poor or how the classes are defined. The U.S. Department of Labor (http://www.bls.gov/) maintains the U.S. statistics, as does the Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income.html).

premier / prime minister - The “first minister” is the prime minister throughout the Commonwealth. In the U.K., Prime Minister is generally capitalized. In France and former French colonies, use premier for the first minister of parliament. The French, as with many nations, also has a president with limited powers. The first minister of the German and Austrian parliaments is the chancellor.

Presbyterian churches - Organized in four levels: the local congregation, the presbyteries, synods, and a general assembly. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) represents 3 million members. Clergy are ministers, with pastors leading congregations. Use the Rev. before a minister’s name on first reference.

President - Capitalize the title before a name, lowercase at other times. The current U.S. president’s first name is not used by some publications. Example: President Bush met with business leaders.

Presidents Day - No apostrophe.

press conference - News conference is preferred by some publications.

press secretary - Always lowercase, even before a name. The official title of the U.S. president’s press secretary is assistant to the president for press relations.

prime rate - The interest rate charged by commercial banks to their best customers, including smaller banks in some cases. Large banks are charged an overnight rate, which is less.

prison / jail - Prisons are used to house felons, while jails house those convicted of misdemeanors. Jails also house those awaiting trial and those held on civil charges. Federal detention centers house those awaiting federal trials.

prisoner(s) of war - Use POWor POWs on second reference.

probation - The suspension of a sentence for a person convicted but not yet imprisoned. Judges can impose or revoke probation.

Professor - Never abbreviate when used as a title. Only use on first reference, but avoiding use as a title when possible.

profit-sharing - Hyphenate when used as a noun or adjective.

Prohibition - 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified Jan. 29, 1919, which took affect Jan. 16, 1920. Repealed with the 21st Amendment, Dec. 5, 1933.

Public Broadcasting System - Use PBS on second reference.

Pulitzer Prizes - Capitalize the word Prize. Endowed by the estate of Joseph Pulitzer, awarded by Columbia University since 1917.

pupil - Children through eighth grade are pupils. Use student for ninth grade and above.

Pyrex - Trademark for heat-tolerant glassware.

- Q -

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Q-Tip - Trademark.

Quaalude - Trademark. Not synonymous with illegal drugs containing methaqualone.

Quakers - Informal name for the Religious Society of Friends. The basic organization unit is the weekly meeting, not a church. There is no recognized ranking of clergy over lay people, but meeting officers are called elders or ministers. Members are called the Friends. Largest annual association of meetings is the Friends United Meeting.

quotations - Never alter a quote, even to correct grammatical errors or word usage. In the past, before 24-hour news networks and the Internet, most publications accepted minor corrections. Do compensate for regional differences in pronunciation. Avoid using brackets to clarify quotes, a trend we find annoying and insulting.

- R -

race - Avoid mentioning a person’s race unless essential to the content of a story.

racket - Not racquet in tennis or badminton.

radical - Avoid using as a political adjective.

RAM - random access memory, with no hyphen for random-access.

ranges of numbers - To avoid confusion, specify complete values. Example: There were 10 million to 15 million…

rayon - Generic.

Realtor - Trademark of the National Association of Realtors and title granted to its members. Use real estate agent unless the distinction is relevant and the person mentions is a Realtor.

Reconstruction - Capitalize the name of the period following the U.S. Civil War.

Red - Avoid the slang term for Communist unless part of an official name or period. Example: The Red Scares are part of U.S. history.

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - Not part of the Mormon church. see Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Republican Party - Use the party or GOP on second reference. GOP may be used in headlines.

Republican National Committee - Use RNC on second reference.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps - Use ROTC. When known, use Army ROTC, Navy ROTC, or Air Force ROTC on first reference.

Reuters - Use for the Reuters Ltd. news agency. Drop the “s” for a Reuter story and a Reuter correspondent.

Rev. - Precede with the on first reference to some members of the clergy. Use only a last name on second reference. Not all Christian ministers are addressed as Reverend.

RICO - The U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Used to prosecute criminal organizations (or organizations behaving criminally).

right-wing - Avoid using as a political adjective. As with left-wing, lacks clarity.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus - Note the and and &.

robbery - Theft with the threat or use of force. See burglary for details.

rock ’n’ roll - While there is a style rule, does anyone use the term anymore? Use more specific terms, since “rock” comes in so many varieties.

Rolls-Royce - Trademark has a hyphen.

ROM - Read-only memory. Some publications use read only memory, without a hyphen, to match the common style for random access memory.

Roman Catholic Church - Capitalize the full name. Governed by the Curia, a papal cabinet. The College of Cardinals are the papal counselors. Titles are capitalized before names and include: Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop, Monsignor, and Priest. Father is sometimes used by publications. For priests, the AP style calls for the Rev. before names. Sister and Mother are used for nuns.

Roman numerals - Add when a lower value follows a higher, subtract when the lower value appears before the higher. Some find it easiest to calculate right-to-left, subtracting as needed. Values are: I=1, V=5, X=10, L=50, C=100, D=500, M=1000. Example: VI=6 (5+1), IV=4 (5-1)

Roquefort cheese - Capitalize.

rosary - Recited, not said.

Rosh Hashana - Jewish new year. Not Hashanah in AP.

R.S.V.P. - Respondez s’il vous plait, capitalized with periods.

Russian, slavic names - Use the English spelling that most closely approximates the phonetic equivalent. Russian names do not end in “off” except when mistransliterated. (Rachmaninoff is a common error, now standard.)

- S -

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saint - Use St. before proper nouns.

San‘a, Yemen - Not an apostrophe.

Satan - Capitalize the name, but lowercase devil and satanic.

Scotch tape - Trademark.

Scotch whisky - Specific regional whiskey, notice the spelling. (No jokes about drunken…)

scuba - Lowercase acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. - Use Sears on second reference.

seasons of the year - Lowercase spring, summer, fall, and winter. Autumn is not used in AP style, but we think it works in some cases.

Secretary-General - Capitalized and hyphenated as a title.

Secret Service - Capitalized, as a specific U.S. government agency.

Securities and Exchange Commission - Use SEC on second reference.

Security Council - Capitalize. Also acceptable as U.N. Security Council. Avoid using the council when it might confuse readers.

Seeing Eye dog - Trademark, believe it or not, of Seeing Eye Inc.

Senate - Capitalize when referring to a specific legislative body.

Senator - Use Sen. before a name.

Seven Seas - Refers to the “known” seas before major European explorations. Arabian Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and South China Sea

Seven-Up / 7Up - Trademarks.

Seventh-day Adventist Church - Notice the capitalization. There are four levels of organization: local church, state conferences, union (regional) conferences, and the General Conference in Session. The General Conference meets every five years. The primary authority is the General Conference Executive Committee. Titles include: president, pastor, and elder. Do not use the Rev. before a name, as it is not acceptable within the church. There are 5.2 million members worldwide.

Shah - Capitalize before a name. Shah is a royal title, similar to king, used in Persian. Iran’s head of state was the Shah of Iran until the Islamic Revolution in 1980.

Shariah - Legal code of Islam, comparable to Talmudic tradition in Judaism.

Sheetrock - Trademark for a brand of gypsum wallboard.

(sic) - Avoid using (sic) except in quotations that might appear to be mistaken transcription.

Simoniz - Trademark for a car wax.

Sister / Mother - Capitalize before a nun’s name.

small-business - Hyphenate the compound adjective.

Smithsonian Institution - Not Institute. Use of the Smithsonian on second reference is acceptable.

Smokey Bear - Not Smokey the Bear.

Social Security - Capitalize the U.S. retirement and benefits system.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - Use SPCA on second reference.

SOS - No periods for the distress call.

S.O.S - Trademark for a line of household cleaning products. No trailing period.

South, the - Sixteen-state region defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Southeast Asia - The nations of the Indochinese Peninsula and nearby islands.

Southeast Asia Treaty Organization - Use SEATO on second reference.

Soviet Union - Replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States on Dec. 8, 1991, consisting of 11 former Soviet republics.

Space Age - Began with Sputnik I, launched Oct. 4, 1957.

Spanish names - Customs vary, but generally given paternal maternal is common. On second reference, the paternal name is used.

sports leagues and organizations - Use of common acronyms is acceptable on all references within sports stories. Examples: CART, NBA, NCAA, NFL

Stalin, Josef - Not Joseph.

Standard & Poor’s Corp. of New York - Use of Standard & Poor’s is acceptable in many publications.

starboard / port - “Right” and “left” in nautical terms.

Star-Spangled Banner, The - Capitalize The.

states in the U.S. - Spell out state names unless they follow a city name or political affiliation. As a trivia point, there are four commonwealths: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. There are no “rules” for the AP abbreviations; they are based on common usage.

State AP Postal State AP Postal
Alabama Ala. AL Montana Mont. MT
Alaska Alaska AK Nebraska Neb. NE
Arizona Ariz. AZ Nevada Nev. NV
Arkansas Ark. AR New Hampshire N.H. NH
California Calif. CA New Jersey N.J. NJ
Colorado Colo. CO New Mexico N.M. NM
Connecticut Conn. CT New York N.Y. NY
Delaware Del. DE North Carolina N.C. NC
Florida Fla. FL North Dakota N.D. ND
Georgia Ga. GA Ohio Ohio OH
Hawaii Hawaii HI Oklahoma Okla. OK
Idaho Idaho ID Oregon Ore. OR
Illinois Ill. IL Pennsylvania Pa. PA
Indiana Ind. IN Rhode Island R.I. RI
Iowa Iowa IA South Carolina S.C. SC
Kansas Kan. KS South Dakota S.D. SD
Kentucky Ky. KY Tennessee Tenn. TN
Louisiana La. LA Texas Texas TX
Maine Maine ME Utah Utah UT
Maryland Md. MD Vermont Vt. VT
Massachusetts Mass. MA Virginia Va. VA
Michigan Mich. MI Washington Wash. WA
Minnesota Minn. MN West Virginia W.Va. WV
Mississippi Miss. MS Wisconsin Wis. WI
Missouri Mo. MO Wyoming Wyo. WY

Strategic Defense Initiative - Use SDI on second reference. Do not use “Star Wars” within articles.

Styrofoam - Trademark.

Supreme Court of the United States - Also U.S. Supreme Court. On second reference, the Supreme Court is acceptable, as is the Court at some publications. The chief justice of the United States heads the Supreme Court.

synod - A council of churches.

- T -

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Tabasco - Trademark for a pepper and vinegar sauce.

Talmud - The collection of writings that constitute Jewish religious law.

Tass - Russian news agency.

Teamsters union - Acceptable for International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America. Some publications use the Teamsters without “union” on second reference.

Technicolor - Trademark.

Teflon - Trademark.

TelePrompTer - Trademark for a video-based prompting system used by public speakers and television personalities.

television programs - Use quotation marks around program names and episode titles.

Ten Commandments - Capitalize.

theater - U.S. spelling unless theatre is part of the official name of a place. Theatre normally refers to an ensemble of actors, specializing in the production of classic works.

theft - larceny without a threat or a deceit, yet not a burglary. see burglary for details

thermos / Thermos - The generic is accepted, but Thermos is also a trademark.

times of day - Use numerals except for noon and midnight. see a.m. / p.m.

times - Use HH:MM:SS.hh format, hours:minutes:seconds.hundredths, for elapsed times.

time zones - Acronyms are acceptable for common time zones within the continental United States. Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones may be referred to by acronyms. Also, GMT is acceptable for Greenwich Mean Time in most publications.

TNT - Acceptable for references to trinitrotoluene.

tollhouse cookies - Generic term.

Tommy gun - Trademark for the Thompson submachine gun.

ton - Three types of “ton” exist: short, long (British), and metric. see measurements

Tory / Tories - Acceptable for second reference to the Conservative Party in Britain.

Touch-Tone - Trademark, believe it or not.

trampoline - Generic, but formerly a trademark.

travelogue - Not travelog.

troupe - An ensemble of actors who work together on various productions.

Harry S. Truman - In many publications, and AP style, the form S. is used, despite the initial standing for no name.

tsar - Use czar.

T-shirt - Capitalize the T.

tuberculosis - Use of TB on second reference is acceptable.

TV - Capitalize, without periods, in AP style. Use television unless quoting or if TV is followed by a noun. Examples: cable TV, satellite TV

Twelve Apostles - Capitalize and spell out.

20th Century Fox - Use numerals within the name, as the corporation does.

- U -

U-boat - Capitalize the U. Some history texts now use submarine for the German U-boats, apparently to be politically sensitive, but we prefer the traditional name.

UFO - Capitalized, without periods. Use for all references to unidentified flying object.

UHF - Use for all references to ultrahigh frequency.

U.N. - Use as an adjective before other nouns. use United Nations when the organization stands alone. Example: U.N. General Assembly, U.N. Security Council

unemployment rate - Reported monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, within the U.S. Department of Labor.

UNESCO - Use for all references to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Define once within the text of an article.

UNICEF - Use for all references to the United Nations Children’s Fund. Originally, the organization was the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Unicode - Trademark of the Unicode Consortium. Unicode is a system for defining all known written languages in bytes. ASCII is a subset of Unicode.

Union - Capitalize when referring to the North in the U.S. Civil War.

unions - Most publications shorten union names to common forms. Avoid acronyms for most unions.

United States - Spell out when United States stands alone as a proper noun. Use U.S. as an adjective before nouns.

United Service Organizations - Use USO on second reference.

United Synagogue of America - Not synagogues.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator is not required, use URL on all references.

U.S. Court of Appeals - There is one Court of Appeals, in 13 Circuits.

user friendly - No hyphen. Avoid, since most things claiming to be “user friendly” are not.

U.S. Postal Service - Use Postal Service on second reference.

USS - United States Ship, if anyone is curious.

U.S. Supreme Court - See Supreme Court of the United States

utilize - To consume to complete a task; to use a less-than-ideal tool; to make practical and effective use of a tool in a specific situation. Editors suggest use in most cases.

U-turn - Capitalize U.

- V -

Valium - Trademark for diazepam.

Vaseline - Trademark.

VCR - Most publications use for videocassette recorder, while others use on second reference.

V-E Day - Victory in Europe Day, hyphenated, marking May 8, 1945.

V-8 - Hyphenate engine types.

Velcro - Trademark.

Veterans Day - No apostrophe.

Veterans of Foreign Wars - Use VFW on second reference.

VHF - Use for very high frequency.

Vietnam War - Always use Vietnam War, not Vietnam alone.

VIP - Capitalize, without periods.

V-J Day - Victory in Japan Day, hyphenated, marking either Aug. 15, 1945, or Sept. 2, 1945. Fighting ended in August, while formal surrender was two weeks later.

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Wall Street - Refers to all financial institutions, and those located near Wall St., in New York City.

weapons - Be sure to verify weapon names and types. This list is minimal.

anti-aircraft - Hyphenated.

artillery - Carriage-mounted cannon.

automatic - A firearm with an autoloading action. Use the form: 9 mm automatic

bullet - The projectile housed in a cartridge.

caliber - The diameter of a gun barrel.

cannon - Technically, a large gun, with projectiles loaded separately from propellant.

carbine - Short, lightweight rifle.

cartridge - A metal casing, primer, propellant, and bullet. Casings tend to drop where the weapon is fired.

gauge - Size of a shotgun barrel, expressed in terms of the number per pound of lead shot with a diameter equal to that of the barrel.

gun - Any small firearm.

machine gun - Fully-automatic gun that fires as long as the trigger is depressed.

Magnum - Trademark for a high-powered cartridge. Usually fired from a heavier handgun.

pistol - Any handgun.

revolver - Handgun with cartridges stored in rotating chambers.

rifle - A gun designed with a long barrel having a rifled bore. Rifles are fired from a stationary position.

Saturday night special - No hyphens. Slang for a cheap pistol.

shotgun - Long barrel gun with a smooth bore. Sometimes with dual barrels.

submachine gun - A lightweight automatic gun using standard handgun ammunition.

weather terms - Use National Weather Service terminology.

blizzard - Winds of 35 mph or more, falling snow, and visibility near zero.

cyclone - A storm with strong winds rotating around a center of low pressure. Cyclone is also used to mean tornado in parts of the U.S. and hurricane in the Indian Ocean.

gale - Winds from 39 to 54 mph.

high wind - Winds of 39 mph or more, sustained for at least an hour.

hurricanes - A warm-core storm originating east of the international date line. West of the date line, the storms are called typhoons. The Saffir-Simpson scale:

  • Category 1: 74 to 95 mph winds
  • Category 2: 96 to 110 mph winds
  • Category 3: 111 to 130 mph winds
  • Category 4: 131 to 155 mph winds
  • Category 5: winds exceeding 155 mph

hurricane season - June through November.

National Hurricane Center - Located in Coral Gables, Fla., and responsible for tracking Atlantic hurricanes.

tornado - Most destructive localized atmospheric condition known. The United States has more tornados than any other nation. The Fujita scale:

  • F0: 40 to 72 mph winds
  • F1: 73 to 112 mph winds
  • F2: 113 to 157 mph winds
  • F3: 158 to 206 mph winds
  • F4: 207 to 260 mph winds
  • F5: winds exceeding 260 mph

Web - Capitalize when discussing the Internet. See World Wide Web.

webcast - Broadcast of audio or video via the Internet.

website - The AP Stylebook changed the preferred form from Web site in 2010. Because the AP still suggests Web page, we expect some confusion.

West, the - U.S. region of 13 states, known as the Mountain and Pacific states.

Mountain West: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming

Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington

White House - Capitalize the U.S. president’s official residence.

Windbreaker - Trademark for a brand of lightweight jacket.

World Bank - Use for International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

World Court - See International Court of Justice.

World Series - For baseball, the Series is acceptable on second reference.

World Wide Web - Capitalize. AP style also capitalizes website and Web page.

- X -

Xerox - Trademark.

X-ray - Capitalize the X.

- Y -

Yom Kippur - Jewish Day of Atonement.

YMCA - Use for Young Men’s Christian Association.

YWCA - Use for Young Women’s Christian Association.

yo-yo - Generic, though formerly a trademark.

- Z -

Zionism / Zionist - Avoid as inflammatory reference to Jewish individuals supporting the settlement of Israel or anyone supporting Israel.


Our guide to word usage is based on the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the primary style guide for reporters and editors at daily newspapers and many periodicals. The AP is not the Modern Language Association, nor does the AP adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style so many graduate students have struggled to master. Never assume the style of a publication, publisher, or university. Always ask for the name of the current standard to save yourself rewrites or rejection.


Sources

The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. (ISBN: 0226104036)

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law : With Internet Guide and Glossary. ed. Norm Goldstein, Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books, 2002. 0738203084 (pbk.)

The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual : With Appendixes on Photo Captions, Filing the Wire. ed. Norm Goldstein, New York, N.Y.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1994.

Christian, Darrell, Sally Jacobsen, and David Minthorn. The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. New York, NY: Associated Press, 2009. 0738203084

Copperud, Roy H. American Usage and Style: The Consensus. New York: Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1980. (ISBN: 0442249063)

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003. (ISBN: 0873529863)

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001. (ISBN: 1557988102)



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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 30-Nov-2013
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach