Style Guide

A guide to encourage coinsistency in FNGLA communications

The FNGLA stylebook is designed to achieve as much consistency as possible in written material emanating from FNGLA. This stylebook is based on Associated Press (AP) Style.

To keep this manual a valuable and dynamic reference tool, we invite your feedback. Please direct corrections or suggestions for improvements to Jaclyn Rhoads, Director of Communications.


The following reference books are suggested references to complement the FNGLA Stylebook. Refer to them for material not covered in this book.

First reference for spelling, style, usage and foreign geographic names: The Associated Press Stylebook, 42nd Edition; Basic Books, New York.

First reference for spelling, style, usage and foreign geographic names: Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition; Wiley, Hoboken.

First reference for place names in the 50 states: U.S. Postal Service Directory of Post Offices; U.S. Postal Service, Washington, D.C.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L,
, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


a, an

Use the article a before consonant sounds: a historic event, a one-year term (sounds as if it begins with a w), a united stand (sounds like you).

Use the article an before vowel sounds: an energy crisis, an FNGLA event, an honorable man (the h is silent), an NBA record (sounds like it begins with the letter e), an 1890s celebration.

abbreviations and acronyms

The notation abbrev. is used in this book to identify the abbreviated form that may be used for a word in some contexts. A few universally recognized abbreviations are required in some circumstances. Some others are acceptable depending on the context. But in general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize.Guidance on how to use a particular abbreviation or acronym is provided in entries alphabetized according to the sequence of letters in the word or phrase.An acronym is a word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words: laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). An abbreviation is not an acronym.Some general principles:

  • Before a name: abbreviate the following titles when used before a full name outside direct quotations: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Mr., Mrs., Rep., the Rev., Sen. and certain military designations. For guidelines on how to use titles, see courtesy titles; legislative titles; military titles; and the entries for the most commonly used titles in the AP Stylebook.

  • After a name: abbreviate junior or senior after an individual's name. Abbreviate company, corporation and incorporated when used after the name of a corporate identity. See entries under these words. In some cases, an academic degree may be abbreviated after an individual's name. See academic degrees.

  • With dates or numerals: Use the abbreviations A.D., B.C., a.m., p.m., No., and abbreviate certain months when used with the day of the month.
    • Right: In 450 B.C.; at 9:30 a.m.; in room No. 6; on Sept. 16.
    • Wrong: Early this a.m.; he asked for the No. of your room. The abbreviations are correct only with figures.
    • Right: Early this morning he asked for the number of your room.
  • In numbered addresses: Abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street in numbered addresses: He lives on Pennsylvania Avenue. He lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. See addresses.

  • States: The names of certain states and the United States are abbreviated with periods in some circumstances. See state names; datelines; and individual entries in the AP Stylebook.

  • Acceptable but not required: Some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized by their initials: CIA, FBI, GOP. If the entry for such an organization notes that an abbreviation is acceptable in all references or on a second reference, that does not mean that its use should be automatic. Let the context determine, for example, whether to use Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI.

  • Avoid awkward constructions: Do NOT follow an organization's full name with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses or dashes. If an abbreviation or acronym would not be clear on second reference without this arrangement, do not use it. Names not commonly before the public should not be reduced to an acronym solely to save a few words.

  • Special Cases: Many abbreviations are desirable in tabulations and certain types of technical writing. See individual entries.

  • Caps, Periods: Use capital letters and periods according to the listings in this book. For words not listed in this book, use the first-listed abbreviation in Webster's New World Dictionary. If an abbreviation not listed in this book or in the dictionary receives widespread acceptance, use capital letters. Omit periods unless the result would spell an unrelated word.

academic degrees

For materials other than news releases, B.A. Bachelor of Arts, M.A. Master of Arts, M.S. Master of Science, Ed.D. doctor of education, Ph.D. doctor of philosophy. No space after periods in abbreviations. The word degree should not follow a degree abbreviation: he has a B.A. in history, NOT he has a B.A. degree in history. Use bachelor's and master's degrees, never bachelors and masters degrees. When referring to degrees in general, lowercase the first letter of the degree and use the 's' ending they all had master's degrees in engineering. Capitalize formal names of academic degrees Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, Doctor of Philosophy. For copy to be forwarded to the news media, check the preference of AP Stylebook regarding the use of academic degrees and the prefix "Dr."

academic titles

Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as president, provost, vice president, chancellor, dean and chairman when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Never abbreviate professor. Lowercase before a name and don't continue in second reference unless part of a quote. Lowercase modifiers such as history in history department Chairman John Smith. Place longer titles after the name. Example: "John Smith, executive director of the Paul Nelson Center for the Study of Environmental Conservation, said he agrees."


accreditation designations

For correspondence or publications, place accreditation designations after academic degree designations for purposes of addressing correspondence: Jane Smith, Ph.D., APR Do NOT use accreditation designations in news releases. See academic titles.


Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues.

  • All similar words: alley, drive, road, terrace, etc. always are spelled out. Capitalize them when part of a formal name without a number; lowercase when used alone or with two or more names.

  • Always use figures for an address number: 9 Morningside Circle. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures with two letters for 10th and above: 7 Fifth Ave., 100 21st St.

  • Abbreviate compass points used to indicate directional ends of a street or quadrants of a city in a numbered address: 222 E. 42nd St., 562 W. 43rd St., 600 K St. N.W. Do NOT abbreviate if the number is omitted: East 42nd Street, West 43rd Street, K Street Northwest.


Lowercase: the administration, the president's administration, the governor's administration, the Reagan administration. Don't abbreviate.

adverse, averse

Adverse means unfavorable: He predicted adverse weather. Averse means reluctant, oppose: She is averse to change.


Not advisor

affect, effect

Each is a verb and a noun. In practice, however, affect is almost always a verb and effect most often a noun: drugs that affect the nervous system; affected poor grades to gain sympathy; the effect of drugs on the nervous system; his complaint had no effect on the dean.


African-American is acceptable for an American black person of African descent. Black is also acceptable. Follow a person's preference. See black


Not afterwards


Always use figures. When the context does not require "years" or "years old", the figure is presumed to be "years". Ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun use hyphens: A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy, 7, has a sister, 10. The woman, 26, has a daughter 2 months old. The law is 8 years old. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s (no apostrophe).

all right

Never alright. Hyphenate only as unit modifier he is an all-right student.

allude, elude

To allude is to make an indirect reference to something. To elude someone or something is to avoid, evade or escape from the person or thing.

already, all ready

Already means having occurred, all ready means prepared.

although, though

These are often interchangeable. Although is most often the first word of a concessive clause Although she was tired, she accepted. Though does not always come first: Tired though she was, she accepted. Though is the more common in linking single words or phrases wiser though poorer.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to groups of men and women.


See between.


Do NOT apply a personal pronoun to an animal unless its sex has been established or the animal has a name: The dog was scared; it barked. Rover was scared; he barked. The cat, which was scared, ran to its basket. Susie the cat, who was scared, ran to her basket. The bull tosses its horns. Capitalize the name of a specific animal, and use Roman numerals to show sequence: Bowser, Whirlaway II. For breed names, follow the spelling and capitalization in Webster's New World Dictionary. For breeds not listed in the dictionary, capitalize words derived from proper nouns; use lowercase elsewhere: basset hound, Boston terrier.


An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held in at least two successful years. Do NOT use the term first annual. Instead, note that sponsors plan to hold an event annually.

anybody, any body, anyone, any one

One word for an indefinite reference: anyone can do it. Two words when the emphasis is on singling out one element of a group: any one of them can do it.


Capitalize when referring to U.S. forces: the U.S. Army, the Navy, Air Force regulations. Do NOT use abbreviations. Use lowercase for the forces of other nations: the French army. This approach has been adopted for consistency, because many foreign nations do NOT use army as the proper name.


See like.


A person of Asian birth or descent who lives in the U.S. When possible refer to a person's country of origin. For example: Filipino-America or Indian-American. Follow the person's preference.


Do NOT abbreviate. Capitalize only when part of a formal title before a name: Assistant Secretary of State George Ball. Whenever practical, however, an appositional construction should be used: George Ball, assistant secretary of state.


Never abbreviate. Apply same capitalization norms listed under assistant.


Do NOT abbreviate. Capitalize as part of a proper name: American Medical Association.


Average refers to the result obtained by dividing a sum by the number of quantities added together: The average of 7, 9, 17, is 33 divided by 3, or 11.


bachelor of arts, bachelor of science

A bachelor's degree or bachelor's is acceptable in any reference. See academic degrees for guidelines on when the abbreviations B.A. or B.S. are acceptable.

because, since

Use because to denote a specific cause-effect relationship: He went because he was told. Since is acceptable in a causal sense when the first event in a sequence led logically to the second but was not its direct cause: They went to the game, since they had been given the tickets.

between you and me

Never between you and I.

between, among

Use between to show relationship between two objects; use among when more than two objects are involved.


Means every other week. Semiweekly means twice a week.


Acceptable for a person of the black race. African-American is acceptable for an American black person of African descent. Use Negro only in names of organizations or in quotations. Do not use colored as a synonym. The first black graduate student was enrolled at UF in 1958.


Capitalize only when an integral part of a proper name. See capitalization.

board of directors

Lowercase unless the proper name is part of the sentence such as the FNGLA Board of Directorss. See organizations and institutions entry.

botanical (or science) names

When writing a botanical name, the first name (capitalized) is the genus of the organism, the second (not capitalized) is its species. Both of these words are set in italics:

Astrophytum myriostigma or Astrophytum myriostigma

When listing several species within the same genus, write the entire genus name once, then abbreviate it with the first letter followed by a period for the rest of the list.

For example, if you are listing a group of juniper you could write Juniperus communis, J. horizontalis, and J. virginiana to denote common juniper, creeping juniper, and Eastern red cedar.

Bureau of Economic and Business Research

BEBR or bureau on second reference.



Capitalized when referring to group of advisers. Distinguish on first reference: Florida Cabinet, U.S. Cabinet.

call letters

Use all caps. Use hyphens to separate the type of station from the basic call letters: WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM.

can, may

Although the distinction is not often observed in everyday speech, these auxiliary verbs have different functions, especially in formal writing. Can is used to indicate ability to do something; may to ask, grant or deny permission to do it.

capital, capitol

A capital is the city where a seat of government is located: Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. A capitol is the building in which state and federal legislative bodies meet. Capitalize U.S. Capitol when referring to the building in Washington.


In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. Use a capital letter only if you can justify it by one of the principles listed here. Many words and phrases, including special cases, are listed separately. If there is no relevant listing for a particular word or phrase, consult a dictionary.

  • proper nouns: Capitalize nouns that identify a specific person, place or thing: Heather, Atlanta and Africa.
  • proper names: Capitalize common nouns such as party, river, street, west, college and university when they are an integral part of the full name for a person, place or thing: Democratic Party, Potomac River, Fleet Street, West Virginia, College of Fine Arts, University of Florida. Lowercase when they stand alone in subsequent references: the party, the river, the street, the college, the university. Lowercase names in all plural uses: the Democratic and Republican parties, Main and State streets.
  • titles: Capitalize formal titles when used immediately before a name. Lowercase formal titles when used alone or in constructions that set them off from a name by commas. See academic titles.

chairman, chairwoman

Chair is preferred: committee chair, but chairman or chairwoman for news releases. Never chairperson unless it is an organization's formal title for an office.

cities and towns

Capitalize them in all uses. See datelines for guidelines on when they should be followed by a state or a country name. Capitalize official titles, including separate political entities such as East St. Louis, Ill., or West Palm Beach, Fla. The preferred form for the section of a city is lowercase: the west end, northern Los Angeles. But capitalize widely recognized names for the sections for a city: South Side (Chicago), Lower East Side (New York). See directions, regions. Spell out the names of cities unless in direct quotes: A trip to Los Angeles, but: "We're going to L.A."


One word.

clean up, cleanup

One word as noun or adjective, but clean up as a verb.

close, near

Close is preferred when immediate proximity is meant.


Retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status:

  • co-author
  • co-pilot
  • co-chairman
  • co-respondent (in a divorce suit)
  • co-defendant
  • co-signer
  • co-host
  • co-star
  • co-owner
  • co-worker
  • co-partner

(Several are exceptions to Webster's New World in the interests of consistency.) Use no hyphen in other combinations:

  • coed
  • cooperate
  • coeducation
  • cooperative
  • coequal
  • coordinate
  • coexist
  • coordination
  • coexistence

Cooperate, coordinate and related words are exceptions to the rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.


Capitalize only when used without a qualifying term before the name of the person who directs an athletic team: Coach Urban Meyer, head coach Urban Meyer, the coach said.

collective nouns

The collective nouns faculty and staff can be used in singular and plural senses: the French faculty meets regularly with the other language faculties; the staff sometimes disagree among themselves.

committees, task forces

Capitalize names of specific committees and task forces: The People Awareness Week Committee met yesterday, and lowercase second references: the task force selected the guest speakers.

company, companies

Consult the company or Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations if in doubt about a formal name. Do NOT, however, use a comma before Inc. or Ltd. Do NOT use all capital letter names unless the letters are individually pronounced: CRX, USX. Others should be uppercase and lowercase. See organizations and institutions entry.

compose, comprise, constitute

Compose means to create or put together. It commonly is used in both the active and passive voices: She composed a song. The United States is composed of 50 states. The zoo is composed of many animals. Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace. It is best used only in the active voice, followed by direct object: The United States comprises 50 states. The jury comprises five men and seven women. The zoo comprises many animals. Constitute, in the sense of form or make up, may be the best word if neither compose nor comprise seems to fit: Fifty states constitute the United States. Fifty men and seven women constitute the jury. A collection of animals can constitute a zoo. Use include when what follows is only part of the total: The price includes breakfast. The zoo includes lions and tigers.

composition titles

Apply the guidelines listed here to book titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters: The Star Spangled Banner.
  • Capitalize an article (the, a, an) or a word of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title: "Of Mice and Men".
  • Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs or reference material, including almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications: Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Translate a foreign title into English unless a work is known to the American public by its foreign name: Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa".


An entity that is treated as a person in the eyes of the law. It is able to own property, incur debts, sue and be sued. Abbreviate corporation as Corp. when a company or government agency uses the word at the end of its name: Gulf Oil Corp., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Spell out corporation when it occurs elsewhere in a name: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Spell out and lowercase corporation whenever it stands alone. The form for possessives: Gulf Oil Corp.'s profits.

courtesy titles

In general, (outside of standard correspondence) do NOT use the courtesy titles Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms. on first and last names of the person: Betty Ford, Jimmy Carter in regular copy. Do NOT use Mr. in any reference unless it is combined with Mrs.: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith or Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

currently, presently

Currently means now, presently is in the very near future.


In plural form use curricula except for news media releases, where curriculums is preferred.


Photo captions. Use parentheses to denote position of persons in cutlines: Jaclyn Rhoads (center), director of Communications, shows Joe Smith (right), of Cocoa, and his partner, Bob Jones, the new style guide.


Datelines on news releases should contain a city name, entirely in capital letters, followed in most cases by the name of the state, county or territory where the city is located. Use AP style for state abbreviations, not ZIP code abbreviations. A dateline should tell the reader that the writer obtained the basic information for the news release in the datelined city. For more details, see the AP Stylebook.


Spell out days of week and months without days: September 2000. Abbreviate months with days: Sept. 1, 2000, except for March, April, May, June and July. Never use a comma between month and year when a specific day is not mentioned. Same is true for seasons: fall 1991. Comma should follow year when specific date is given: Feb. 8, 1990, was the date mentioned.

days of the week

Do NOT abbreviate, except when needed in a tabular format: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat. Three letters, without periods, to facilitate tabular composition.

days, months, years

Do NOT use date for an upcoming or past event if it is within a week of the news release date: The concert will be held Thursday, NOT Thursday, Jan. 10 (if the release is dated Tuesday, Jan. 8). Likewise, do NOT use the year if it is within a year of the release date. Do NOT use "on" with dates when its absence would not lead to confusion: the program ends Dec. 15, NOT the program ends on Dec. 15. To describe sequences or inclusive dates or times use an en-dash (-)for "to": Apply here May 7-9, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.. But NOT from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Spell out numerical designations first through ninth and use numerals with letter suffixes for 10th and above: the first semester, the 10th anniversary. Do NOT use "st" or "th" with dates: submit applications by Oct. 14, NOT Oct. 14th. Use 's' WITHOUT apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: UF became coed in the late 1940s. Use an apostrophe for class years: She belonged to the Class of ‘72.


Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc., to indicate depth, height, length, and width. Hyphenate adjectival forms before nouns: He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, the 5-foot-6-inch man, the 5-foot man, the basketball team signed a 7-footer. The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high. The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet, the 9-by-12 rug. The storm left 5 inches of snow. Use an apostrophe to indicate feet and quote marks to indicate inches: 5′6″ only in very technical contexts.

directions, regions

In general, lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc., when they indicate compass direction; capitalize these words when they designate regions. Some examples:

  • Compass Directions: He drove west.
  • Regions: A storm system that developed in the Midwest is spreading eastward. The North was victorious. She has a Southern accent.
  • With States and Cities: The preferred form is to lowercase compass points only when they describe a section of a state or city: western Texas, southern Atlanta. But capitalize compass points:
    • When part of a proper name: North Dakota, West Virginia.
    • When used in denoting widely know sections: Southern California, the South Side of Chicago, the Lower East Side of New York. If in doubt, use lowercase.


Lowercase in most uses.


Do NOT capitalize arthritis, emphysema, leukemia, migraine, pneumonia, etc. When a disease is known by the name of a person identified with it, capitalize only the individual's name: Bright's disease, Parkinson's disease, etc.


For news releases, use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of medicine, doctor of dental surgery, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of podiatric medicine degree: Dr. Jonas Salk. The form Dr., or Drs., in a plural construction, applies to all first-reference uses before a name, including direct quotations. If appropriate in the context, Dr. also may be used on first reference before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, because the public frequently identifies Dr. only with physicians, care should be taken to assure that the individual's specialty is stated in first or second reference. See academic titles.


Always lowercase. Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references or amounts without a figure: The book cost $4. Dad, please give me a dollar. For specified amounts, the work takes a singular verb: He said $500,000 is what they want. For amounts of more than $1 million, use the $ and numerals up to two decimal places. Do NOT link the numerals and the word by a hyphen: He is worth $4.35 million. He is worth exactly $4,234,234. The form for amounts less than $1 million: $4, $25, $500, $1,000.



Electronic mail. Note lowercase ‘e' and hyphen. Other examples: e-commerce, e-trading, e-retailing. When writing e-mail addresses, use all lowercase unless the address is case sensitive.


Exempli gratia or "for example." Do NOT confuse with i.e.


Use this word carefully and sparingly. It is appropriate in generic phrases that do not refer to specific individuals: concern for the elderly, a home for the elderly, etc. If the intent is to show that an individual's faculties have deteriorated, cite a graphic example and give attribution for it. Apply the same principle to terms such as senior citizen.

elicit, illicit

Elicit (verb) means to bring out or draw forth: questions designed to elicit straightforward responses. Illicit (adjective) is applied to what is improper: an illicit love affair or illegal: illicit traffic in drugs.


Use an ellipsis (…) to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word. See detailed discussion in the AP Stylebook.


See allude.

emeritus, emeriti, emerita, emitae

This word often is added to formal titles to denote individuals who have retired but 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 or Samuel Eliot Morison, professor emeritus of history.


See insure.

entitled, titled

Entitled means one has the right to do or to have something: she is entitled to the inheritance; use titled to introduce the name of a publication, musical composition, seminar, etc.



Lowercase unless part of name or title.

farther, further

Farther refers to physical distance: He walks farther into the woods. Further refers to an extension of time or degree: She will look further into the mystery.


See state.

fewer, less

In general, use fewer for individual items, less for bulk or quantity: I had less than $50 in my pocket; however, I had fewer than 50 one-dollar bills in my pocket.

Florida Agricultural College

Forerunner of the University of Florida. The college was established under the provisions of the Morrill Act in 1864 by the Florida Legislature at Lake City as the state's first land-grant university and was relocated to Gainesville under the Florida legislative provisions of the Buckman Act in 1906 and renamed the State University of Florida.

Florida Legislature

The Legislature on second reference.

follows, (as)

Never as follow.


Do NOT abbreviate for cities or military installations: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Bragg.


Spell out amounts less than 1 in news releases, using hyphens between the words: two-thirds, four-fifths, seven-sixteenths, etc. Use figures for precise amounts larger than 1, converting to decimals whenever practical. Fractions are preferred, however, in news releases about stocks. When using fractional characters, remember that most newspaper type fonts can set only 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, and 7/8 as one unit; use 11/2, 25/8, etc. with no space between the figure and the fraction. Other fractions require a hyphen and individual figures, with space between the whole number and the fraction: 1 3-16, 2 1-3, 5 9-10. In tabular material, use figures exclusively, converting to decimals if the amounts involve extensive use of fractions that cannot be expressed as a single character. See percent.

full time, full-time

Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: He works full time. She has a full-time job.

fundraising, fundraiser

One word in all cases



good, well

Good is an adjective that means something is as it should be or is better than average. The soup smells good. The music sounds good. When used as an adjective, well means suitable, proper, health. When used as an adverb, well means in a satisfactory manner or skillfully: a machine that runs well; he did well on his entrance exam.

Government in the Sunshine Law

Sunshine Law on second reference. Refers to state law regarding open meetings and public records in Florida.


Lowercase when classifying status by itself.

green space

Two words.


One word for both the adjective: a groundbreaking discovery and the noun: A groundbreaking for the new clinic will be held Friday.


One word.


One word.


historical periods

Capitalize names of historical periods, spell out first through ninth centuries, use numbers for 10th and above with century in lower case: the Renaissance, Baroque music, the 21st century.



id est or "that is." Do NOT use as "for example." See e.g.


See elicit.


Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as part of a corporate name. It usually is not needed, but when it is used, do NOT set off with commas: J.C. Penney Co. Inc. announced . . .


As a preposition, inside is capable of functioning without a following "of": remained inside the house.

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

UF/IFAS on second reference. An integrated system headquartered in Gainesville with statewide programs. Includes the Florida Cooperative Extension Service with offices in all 67 counties, the Florida Agricultural Experiment station with 16 Research and Education Centers located around the state, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which includes the School of Forest Resources and Conservation. UF/IFAS also includes elements of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

insure, ensure

Insure means to establish a contract for insurance of some type; ensure means to guarantee.


Don't capitalize when preceding a name: said interim President Bob Smith

it's, its

It's is a contraction for it is or it has: It's your choice. It's been a long day. Its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun: The company has earned its reputation.


Jr., Sr.

Do NOT precede with a comma: Joe Johnson Jr. except in business correspondence. Numerals never take comma: Joe Johnson III.


legislative titles

Use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names in regular text. When necessary for clarification, use: Sen. Sue Atkins or U.S. Rep. Tom Lee. Spell out and capitalize these titles before one or more names in a direct quotation. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. Spell out other legislative titles in all uses. Capitalize formal titles such as assemblyman, assemblywoman, city councilor, delegate, etc. when they are used before a name. Lowercase in other uses. For more details, see the AP Stylebook.


Capitalize when preceded by the name of a state: the Florida Legislature. Retain capitalization when the state name is dropped but the reference is specifically to that state's legislature.


See fewer.

libel, slander

Libel refers to injury through written, printed or pictorial statements, and slander to similar injury through utterance of defamatory statements.

like, as

Use like as a preposition to compare nouns and pronouns. It requires an object: Jim blocks like a pro. The conjunction as is the correct word to introduce clauses: Jim blocks the linebacker as he should.

like, such as

Like means similar to but not including. While like is used in every day speech to list examples, such as is preferred: Vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, and cucumbers are part of a healthy diet.

long term, long-term

Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: We will win in the long term. He has a long-term assignment.

ly, (-ly)

Do NOT use a hyphen between adverbs ending in -ly and adjectives they modify: an easily remembered rule, a badly damaged island, a fully informed woman. See the compound modifiers section of the hyphen entry in the AP Stylebook.


magazine names

Capitalize the name but do NOT place it in quotes. Italicize instead. Lowercase magazine unless it is part of the publication's formal title: Harper's Magazine, Newsweek magazine, Time magazine. Check the masthead if in doubt.

master of arts, master of science

A master's degree or a master's is acceptable in any reference. See academic degrees.

may, might

Might is the past tense of may. In modern usage, however, both verb forms are treated as subjunctives capable of expressing present and future time. In both senses, may is stronger than might: He may go. He might go. The example with "may" suggests greater likelihood.

meantime, meanwhile

Each of these is a noun and an adverb, but in usage meantime is more often a noun: In the meantime, he waited. Meanwhile is the more common as an adverb: She went inside; meanwhile, he waited.


(Singular form - medium.) When used as a subject, media (plural) always takes a plural verb: The news media are often the target of public criticism. NEVER medias. See news media.


See may.

military titles

Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual's name. For more details, see the AP Stylebook.

millions, billions

Use figures with million or billion in all except casual uses: I'd like to make a billion dollars. But The nation has 1 million citizens. I need $7 billion. Do NOT go beyond two decimals: 7.51 million persons, $2.56 billion, 7,542,500 persons, $2,565,750,000. Decimals are preferred where practical: 1.5 million NOT 1 1/2 million. Do NOT mix millions and billions in the same figure: 2.6 billion, NOT 2 billion 600 million. Do NOT drop the word million or billion in the first figure of a range: He is worth from $2 million to $4 million, NOT $2 to $4 million, unless you really mean $2. Note that a hyphen is not used to join the figures and the word "million" or "billion," even in this type of phrase: The president submitted a $300 billion budget.


Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone. When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do NOT separate the year with commas: January 1972 was a cold month. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas: Feb. 14, 1989, was the target date.

more than

See over.


The rules in prefixes apply, but in general, no hyphen. Some examples:

  • multicolored
  • multimillion
  • multilateral
  • multimillionaire




See close.

news media

Use instead of media when referring to news organizations.

newspaper names

Don't use quote marks around the name. Capitalize "the" in a newspaper's name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Lowercase "the" before newspaper names if a news release mentions several papers, some of which use "the" as part of the name and some of which do not. Where location is needed but is not part of the official name, use parentheses: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Consult the International Year Book published by Editor & Publisher to determine whether a two-name combination is hyphenated.


The rules of prefixes apply, but in general no hyphen when forming a compound that does not have special meaning and can understand if not is used before the base word. Use a hyphen, however, before proper nouns or in awkward combinations: non-nuclear. Follow Webster's New World Dictionary.

noon, midnight

Use without numeral 12 before. To avoid confusion, do NOT use 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. in reference to either noon or midnight.


Spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence, with one exception: a numeral that identifies a calendar year: 1968 marked a turning point in the Vietnam War. Spell out whole numbers below 10. Use figures for 10 and above: They had 10 dogs and four cats. When large numbers must be spelled out, use a hyphen to connect a word ending in ‘y' to another word; do NOT use commas between other separate words that are part of one number: twenty, twenty-one, one hundred forty-five.


In general, spell out one through nine and first through ninth, use numerals for 10 and 10th and above. For more details, see the AP Stylebook.


OK, OK'd, OK'ing, OKs

Do NOT use okay.


Do NOT use "on" before a date or day of the week when its absence would not lead to confusion: The meeting will be held Monday. He will be inaugurated Jan. 20. Use "on" to avoid an awkward juxtaposition of a date and a proper name: John met Mary on Monday. He told Reagan on Thursday that the bill was doomed. Use "on" also to avoid any suggestion that a date is the object of a transitive verb: The House killed on Tuesday a bid to raise taxes. The Senate postponed on Wednesday its consideration of a bill to reduce import duties.


One word in all cases for the computer connection term.

organizations and institutions

Capitalize the full names of organizations and institutions: the American Medical Association; First Presbyterian Church; General Motors Corp.; Harvard University; Harvard University Medical School; the Procrastinators Club; the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi. Use lowercase for internal elements of an organization when they have names that are widely used generic terms: the board of directors of General Motors, the board of trustees of Columbia University, the history department of Harvard University, the sports department of the Daily Citizen-Leader. For more details, see the AP Stylebook.

over, more than

The first refers to spatial relationships, the second to numbers or amounts: The shelf is over my head. The group raised more than $60.


people, persons

Use person when speaking of an individual: One person waited for the bus. The word people is preferred to persons in all plural uses: Thousands of people attended the fair. What will people say? There were 17 people in the room. Persons should be used only when it is in a direct quote or part of a title as in Bureau of Missing Persons. People also is a collective noun that takes a plural verb when used to refer to a single race or nation: The American people are united. In this sense, the plural is peoples: The peoples of Africa speak many languages.


Spell out, except in headlines. Always use figures with percents.

Ph.D., Ph.D.'s

The preferred form is to say a person holds a doctorate and name the individual's area of specialty. See academic degrees and doctor.


For documents forwarded to the news media, check the AP Stylebook for Latin phrases. Otherwise use the Latin: symposia, NOT symposiums; colloquia, colloquiums; millenia, NOT milleniums.


See currently.

President Rosemary Warner

President Rosemary Warner- Took office in July 2008.

President, President's Office

Capitalize if used as a reference to an official title: President Rosemary Warner. The president said she would attend.

Presidents of FNGLA



Associated Press style is lowercase before a name.


quotation marks

The period and comma always go within the quotation marks. The dash, the semicolon, the question mark and the exclamation point go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only.


Surround the exact words of a speaker or writer when reporting in a news release: "I have no intention of staying," he said. For dialogue or conversation, each person's words are placed in a separate paragraph, with quotation marks at the beginning and the end of each person's speech:

"Will you go?" "Yes." "When?"



Capitalize names of races and ethnic groups: Caucasian, Hispanic, lowercase black and white when used to refer to races.


The form: $12 million to $14 million. NOT: $12 to $14 million, unless the lower range actually is $12.


Use figures and hyphens: the ratio was 2-to-1, a ratio of 2-to-1, a 2-1 ratio. As illustrated, the word "to" should be omitted when the numbers precede the word "ratio". Always use the word "ratio" or a phrase such as a 2-1 majority to avoid confusion with actual figures.


See directions and regions.


See legislative titles.


Common title. Do NOT capitalize in title preceding a name.


Uppercase in such uses as Florida Hall, Room 346.

room numbers

Use figures and capitalize room when used with a figure: Room 2, Room 211.




Capitalize when part of a proper name: Public School 3, Madison Elementary School, Doherty Junior HighSchool, Crocker High School, the School of Building Construction.


Lowercase for fall, winter, spring and summer and all derived words such as springtime. Capitalize only when part of a formal name: Winter Olympics.

series comma

Do NOT use comma before "and" or "or" in lists of three or more items unless ambiguity would result. red, white and blue


See libel.


As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 16-state region is broken into three divisions. The four East South Central states are Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The eight South Atlantic states are Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The four West South Central states are Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. There is no official U.S. Census Bureau definition of Southeast.


If the dictionary gives two spellings of a word, use the more preferred or the first example given.

spokesman, spokeswoman

Never spokesperson.

state, federal

Lowercase state in all references. Capitalize federal as part of corporate or governmental bodies that use the word as part of formal name, lowercase when used as adjective to distinguish from state, county, city, town or private entities: our state universities, federal loans, the state of Florida, state grants, Federal Communications Commission.


Spell out when they stand alone. Unless addressing an envelope, abbreviate according to AP Stylebook, NOT postal rules, when listed with a city: Orlando, Fla., unless giving a full mailing address within a news release: Applications may be mailed to 1533 Park Center Drive, Orlando, FL 32835.

student classifications

Do NOT capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. Do capitalize a class designation: He is a senior communications major. The Senior Class sponsored the lecture. Plural of freshman is freshmen.


telephone numbers

Include the area code in parentheses with a space between parenthesis and number: (407) 295-7994. When listing an extension within an office, write the number followed by a comma, a space, "ext." and the number: (407) 295-7994, ext. 132.


(conjunction) Use the conjunction that to introduce a dependent clause if the sentence sounds or looks awkward without it. See the AP Stylebook for examples.

theatre, theater

Constans Theatre, Department of Theatre, theater major.


See although.

time-date-place sequence

For consistency, when giving time, date and location of an event, list as follows: The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday in Room 212. Note order: time, date, location.


Use figures except for noon and midnight: 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11 a.m., 3:30 p.m. The word "o'clock" is cumbersome: NOT 4:00 o'clock, which would be redundant; the colon and numbers are short for o'clock. Also avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. this morning. Time listings with a.m. or p.m. are preferred, except in formal invitations and announcements. The construction 4 o'clock is acceptable, but time listings with a.m. or p.m. are preferred.


See entitled.


See academic titles.


Use only in direct quotations and in phrases that do not refer to a specific day: The world of tomorrow will need additional energy resources. Use the day of the week in other cases.

total, totaled, totaling

The phrase "a total of" often is redundant. It may be used, however, to avoid a figure at the start of a sentence: A total of 650 people were killed in holiday traffic accidents.


Not towards.


A trademark is a brand, symbol, word, etc., used by a manufacturer or dealer and protected by law to prevent a competitor from using it: AstroTurf, for a type of artificial grass. In general, use a generic equivalent unless the trademark name is essential to the news release. When a trademark is used, capitalize it. The International Trademark Association, located in New York, is a helpful source of information about trademarks.


under way

Two words when describing something in progress; one word when used as adjective: the underway flotilla.


Lowercase unless in specific title.

University of Florida

UF or, as preferred for official correspondence, the university (lowercase) on second reference. Not the UF.

videocassette, videotape

Note one-word constructions.

web site

Two words (an exception to Webster's New World college Dictionary first listing), and web page. But webcam, webcast, webmaster.

web site addresses

In most cases, http:// maybe omitted: www.fngla.org


See good.


Which is the only acceptable pronoun to introduce a non-essential clause that refers to an inanimate object or an animal without a name. The pronoun "which" occasionally may be substituted for "that" in the introduction of an essential clause that refers to an inanimate object or an animal without a name. In general, this use of "which" should appear only when "that" is used as a conjunction to introduce another clause in the same sentence: He said Monday that the part of the army which suffered severe casualties needs reinforcement. See that. Also, use who and whom when referring to people or animals with a name.

World Wide Web

Part of the Internet; Web on second reference.



Use figures, without commas: 1986. Use an 's' without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1900s. Years are the lone exception to the general rule in numerals that a figure is not used to start a sentence: 1976 was a very good year.


Use only in direct quotations and in phrases that do not refer to a specific day: Yesterday we were young. Use the day of the week in other cases.