NewmanPR Official Stylebook


Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

37th Edition

April 2017


The following style notes include many items found in the AP Stylebook as well as variations from AP style or variant spellings from Webster’s New World Dictionary. Also included are idiosyncratic stylistic conventions and quirks, or specialized terms and expressions peculiar to our clients and idiomatic rules deriving from the Editor’s whimsy.  Included is an appendix with excerpted entries from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association stylebook. 

18-Mile Stretch — Treat as a proper noun with initial caps and hyphenate the compound modifier, and be careful driving on it.

a, an — The latest AP style update adds the word homage: Use the article an before vowel sounds: an energy crisis, an honorable man, an homage (the H is silent), an NBA record (sounds like it begins with the letter e), an 1890s celebration.

Abbreviations, acronyms — In accordance with AP style, we will not include parenthetical abbreviations or acronyms following the first mention of the entire name of a thing. If the abbreviation or acronym is not obvious, use the full spelled-out term. In general, Try Not To Overuse Abbreviations Or Acronyms (TNTOAOA).

accommodate, accommodations (mnemonic device: Count the Cs and count the Ms — there’s two of each of both of them!)

acronyms — An acronym is a word formed from the first letter (or letters) of each word in a series: NATO from North Atlantic Treaty Organization; radar from radio detection and ranging. (Unless pronounced as a word, an abbreviation is not an acronym.) When an acronym serves as a proper name and exceeds four letters, capitalize only the first letter: Unesco; Unicef.

addresses — Abbreviate the words street, avenue and boulevard when they appear after a numbered address. Also abbreviate compass directions when they appear with a numbered address. (50 S. Court St.; South Court Street). Never abbreviate drive, road, highway, place or any of the other words that might follow an actual street name. For mailing addresses there is no comma between the city and the state abbreviation, per U.S. Postal Service style:

         P.O. Box 527

         Islamorada FL 33036.

Also, in mailing addresses use the two-letter postal abbreviation for the state (AP).

Africana — An acceptable substitute for “Afro-Caribbean” in reference to cultural traditions associated with the African Diaspora in the Caribbean region.

afterward — Greatly preferred over afterwards.

ages — Cheese is aged, wine is aged, people, on the other hand, achieve an age, hence: runners age 75 and older; children age 12 and under; teens ages 13-15. But, the aged and infirm is correct.

Use a person’s age when deemed relevant to the context. If someone is quoted as saying, “I’m too old to get another job,” age is relevant. Generally, use ages in profiles, obituaries, significant career milestones and achievements unusual for the age: She wrote her own stylebook as a 4-year-old! Do not use ages for sources commenting or providing information in an official capacity. Appropriate background, such as a mother of two young children or a World War II veteran, may suffice instead of the actual age.

Always use figures for ages of people, animals and inanimate objects: The girl is 15 years old; the law is 8 years old; the 101-year-old house. When the context does not require “years” or “years old,” the figure is presumed to be years.

Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun. Examples: 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 race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s (no apostrophe).

AIDS — Acceptable in all references for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, sometimes written as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

allow, enable — When possible, use enable instead of allow to create a more positive and active sentence structure: The new dates were chosen to enable journalists to participate in Hemingway Days activities. Use allow when the sense of the context is permission.

all-terrain vehicle — ATV is acceptable on second reference.

a.m., p.m. — Lowercase, with periods. Avoid the redundant 10 a.m. this morning or the uber-egregious 12 p.m. noon.

Americans with Disabilities Act — Spell out on first reference, use ADA in subsequent references.

ampersand (&) — Although accepted as a symbol for the conjunction and, this squiggle is not a proper replacement for the word in headlines or copy. Don’t use unless part of a formal brand or name: Florida Keys & Key West; Smith & Wesson.

anglers — When available, include hometown in releases; include captain’s hometown.

anglers meeting — As in a meeting of anglers, hence, no apostrophe is required (see captains meeting).

art deco — Lowercase

audiovisual (one word, no hyphen)


back up (v.), backup (n. and adj.)

bait cast (n.), bait-casting (v., adj.)

bait fish — Two words.

barbecue — not BBQ or Bar-B-Q or any other tasteless variant

barracuda — Same spelling for plural or singular form

bed-and-breakfast — B & B is acceptable on second reference (with spaces).

best-seller — Hyphenate in all uses.

billfish — As in marlin, swordfish or sawfish.

billfishing — As in fishing for marlin, swordfish or sawfish.

biodiesel — no hyphen

board of directors — always lowercase per AP

boats — Names are treated like proper nouns, not italicized or quote-marked. Note: boats and ships have no gender; they are not a “she,” they are an “it.”  Also, in general, do not use the before a boat’s or ship’s name. Exception: “The Good Ship Lollipop.”

B-roll — background video; always cap the B

Bourbon St. Pub — Do not spell out “Street.”

bulleted lists — While NewmanPR eschews the use of bulleted lists in press releases as a symptom of narrative laziness and lack of imagination, we recognize there may be justifiable uses of them in other places. When using bulleted lists, use periods, not semicolons, at the end of each section. That’s whether it’s a full sentence or a phrase.

captainException to AP: Always spell out in reference to a captain of a fishing boat. Capitalize if the word occurs before the name. Capitalize and abbreviate per AP style when referring to a military rank before a name.

captains meeting — No apostrophe (see anglers meeting). It’s just a meeting of captains, it doesn’t belong to them.

cardholder, credit card holder




charterboat — One word; exception to Webster’s and AP

chamber of commerce — Capitalize only when part of a name: Key Largo Chamber of Commerce; but the chamber of commerce, the chamber.

check in (v.), check-in (n., adj.)

check out (v.), check-out (n., adj.)

city — Capitalize city if part of a proper name, an integral part of an official name or a regularly used nickname: Kansas City, New York City, Windy City, City of Light, Fun City. Lowercase elsewhere: a Texas city; the city government; the city Board of Education; and all “city of” phrases: the city of Boston.

Capitalize when part of a formal title before a name: City Manager Francis McGrath. Lowercase when not part of the formal title: city Health Commissioner Frank Smith.


collective nouns — Whether a collective noun, which is singular in form, is used with a singular or plural verb depends on whether the word is referring to the group as a unit or to its members as individuals. In American English, a collective noun naming an organization regarded as a unit is usually treated as singular: The corporation is holding its annual meeting. The team is having a winning season. The government has taken action. When a collective noun naming a group of persons is treated as singular, it is referred to by the relative pronoun that or which: His crew is one that (or which) works hard. In formal speech and writing, collective nouns are usually not treated as both singular and plural in the same sentence: The enemy is fortifying its (not their) position.

When the collective nouns couple and pair refer to people, they are usually treated as plurals: The newly married couple have found a house near good transportation. The pair are busy furnishing their new home.

The collective noun number, when preceded by a, is treated as a plural: A number of solutions were suggested. When preceded by the, it is treated as singular: The number of solutions offered was astounding.

Other common collective nouns are class, crowd, flock, panel, committee, group, audience, staff and family.

As a collective noun, variety, when preceded by a, is often treated as a plural: A variety of inexpensive goods are sold here. When preceded by the, it is usually treated as a singular: The variety of products is small.

All of the above is incorrect if you’re British, but if you’re reading this stylebook it means you’re writing for NewmanPR, in which case just follow these rules, old chap.

company — Abbreviate to Co. when part of a company’s name: Conch Republic Seafood Co.; but spell out when used generically: The company holds a picnic every year.

commas — AP’s latest guidance: The basic guideline is to use common sense. Punctuation is to make clear the thought being expressed. Most simple series don’t need a final comma for clarity. But if a comma is needed to make sure the meaning is clear, use the comma. Use a comma at the end of a series if an integral part of the series uses a conjunction: orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs.

Use a comma in an introductory phrase that is four or more words long; examples: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. At the library you can find a book about fishing. After paying the rent, she has just enough money left for food. To express her inner feelings, the woman wrote poetry. After talking about it for years, Joe finally got around to visiting Key West.

Exceptions: Use a comma when a sentence starts with a transitional word or phrase, such as: however (but not but), nevertheless, well, yes, no, meanwhile, furthermore, still, also, hence, consequently, therefore, moreover, fortunately, unfortunately, finally, what’s more, in fact, and after all.

company names — Do not use a comma before Inc. or Ltd., even if it is included in the formal name. The formal name need not be used on first reference — for example, Wal-Mart is acceptable for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Generally, follow the spelling and capitalization preferred by the company: eBay. But capitalize the first letter if it begins a sentence.


Do not use all capital letter names unless the letters are individually pronounced: BMW. Others should be uppercase and lowercase. Ikea not IKEA; USA Today not USA TODAY. Use an ampersand only if it is part of the company’s formal name, but not otherwise in place of and. Use the in lowercase unless it is part of the company’s formal name.

compose — The parts compose the whole, therefore, is composed of is the correct construction: The panel is composed of experts. Mnemonic device: Little things compose bigger things; big things comprise littler things.  (see comprise)

compound modifiers — Two-word modifiers before the noun should be hyphenated where doing so brings clarity or avoids ambiguity. Ex: He is a small business owner could mean that he was a short guy who owns a bakery. On the other hand, He is a small-business owner eliminates the confusion.  Likewise, Jones is the gay market sales manager should be Jones is the gay-market sales manager. Even though he is gay …

comprise — The whole comprises the parts, therefore, is comprised of is incorrect: The U.S. comprises 50 states. Mnemonic device: Big things comprise littler things; little things compose bigger things. (see compose)


conch — (käŋk, känch) n., pl. conchs (käŋks), but never conch·es (kän´chiz)  1. a) the large, spiral, univalve shell of any of various marine mollusks b) such a mollusk, often edible 2. Rom. Myth. such a shell used as a trumpet by the Tritons 3. concha (sense 1) 4. [often C-] [Informal] a longtime resident of the Florida Keys, specifically of Key West. All that is to say that a conch animal may occasionally be found in the Keys, but a Conch is a human denizen of the Keys or Key West.

conjunction/cooperation — “Conjunction” connotes an association in time: The barbecue is to be held in conjunction with the car show. “Cooperation” connotes an association: The gallery is staging the exhibition in cooperation with the Key West Art Guild.

coral reefs — When referring to the Keys’ barrier reef system, use the phrase the continental United States to refer to the coral barrier reef system. It can’t be the North American continent because of Mexico’s Yucatan reef, and it can’t be the United States’ only barrier reef because of Hawaii’s reef system. Reefs, as you can see, are complicated.

cornhole — A game that originated in the Midwest, also called bean bag toss, bag toss, etc. May be capitalized as a proper noun when used as part of the name of an event. Note that the term can take on an unsavory slang meaning and should be avoided in polite society.

corporation — Abbreviate to Corp. when part of a company name: Carnival Corp.; but spell out when used generically: She works for a multinational corporation.

currencies — Exception to AP style: In contexts where there may be ambiguity about references to currencies, designate U.S. dollars with a two-letter abbreviation before the dollar sign (no periods): US$500. Use the same style for dollars of other countries: AU$500 for Australian dollars, CA$500 for Canadian dollars, etc. Do not use symbols for either British pounds sterling or euros, instead spelling them out: 500 euros, 500 pounds.

customs — Capitalize in Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, formerly the U.S. Customs Service, now reorganized under the Department of Homeland Security. Lowercase elsewhere: a customs official; a customs ruling; she went through customs.

cyber-, cyberspaceCyberspace

is a term popularized by William Gibson in the novel “Neuromancer” to refer to the digital world of computer networks. It has spawned numerous words with “cyber-“ prefixes, but try to avoid most of these coinages. When the combining form is used, follow the general rule for prefixes and do not use a hyphen before a word starting with a consonant: cyberbullying; cybercafe.

DJ — Short for disk jockey; OK to use on first reference, however, “deejay” is never, ever appropriate. Ever. Same with “veejay.”

dashes — There are three dashes: em dash, en dash and hyphen, and each has its appropriate place and use. Em dashes are treated as a one-letter word, with spaces on either side. Use an en dash to connect two words to another word when forming compound adjectives. Ex: Key West–style. (See M dash and N dash entries).

data — Is acceptable as a singular term for information: The data was persuasive. In its traditional sense, meaning a collection of facts and figures, the noun can still be plural: They tabulate the data, which arrive from bookstores nationwide. (In this sense, the singular is datum, a word both stilted and deservedly obscure.)

dates and days — Don’t abbreviate the days of the week. Ever. Stand-alone months are spelled out: Christmas comes in December. Dates are abbreviated: Christmas comes Dec. 25. Always use ordinal, not cardinal numbers, hence:  Christmas comes Dec. 25, not Dec. 25th. Though Microsoft Word will force it on you, avoid superscripts in dates.

dateline — All in boldface; not indented, town in all caps, Florida Keys in upper and lowercase, followed by an em dash. Ex: KEY LARGO, Florida Keys —. In releases that cover the entire Keys, use only FLORIDA KEYS in bold, all caps.

dates/times — See times/dates.

days or dates? — Not apparent in the AP stylebook, but it ought to be. The common rule for publications is to use the days of the week — Monday, Tuesday, etc. — when referring to events within seven days before or after the publication date. When writing about events more distant, use months and dates, such as April 30 and June 5. In releases referring to events, use both: The art fest is slated for Saturday, April 30. Do not use yesterday, today or tomorrow to indicate when something happened, is happening or is supposed to happen. Do not use “on” before a date: NOT The event is on June 15, BUT The event is June 15.

debarbed — As in a stingray that has had its barb removed to facilitate safe interactions with humans. Fun fact: Like stone crab claws, they grow back!

distances — Always use numerals: the wreck was 6 miles offshore; the toss was 3 feet short; the race around Key West is 12 miles.

do’s and don’ts


due to — Should not be used as a substitute for because of (according to Joe Cool), though the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage says there is no grammatical reason for not doing so. The SNA Stylebook’s editorial board concurs with Joe Cool.

e- (for electronic) — formations using the prefix “e-“ as shorthand for “electronic” will take a lowercase, generic form. Capitalize when part of a name: “E-News.” Examples include e-release and e-newsletter.


email — Acceptable in all references for electronic mail. Many email or Internet addresses use symbols such as the “at” symbol (@), or the tilde (~) that cannot be transmitted correctly by some computers. When needed, spell them out and provide an explanatory editor’s note. Use a hyphen with other e-terms: e-book, e-business, e-commerce.
emcee — Phonetic spelling of the abbreviation for master of ceremonies. Acceptable on first reference: Sushi is to serve as emcee of the drag race.


ensure, insure, assure — Use ensure to mean guarantee: Steps were taken to ensure accuracy. Use insure for references to insurance: The policy insures his life. Use assure to mean to make sure or give confidence: She assured us the statement was accurate.

essential clauses, essential phrases or the that, which question If the word which is used to introduce a phrase or clause, precede it with a comma. Do not precede the word that with a comma. Use which to introduce nonessential phrases and clauses, which can be eliminated from a sentence without changing its essential meaning (as in this sentence). See? If you drop the clause which can be eliminated … , the remaining sentence still has the same meaning: Use which to introduce nonessential phrases and clauses. Use that when using a phrase or clause that cannot be removed from a sentence without changing its meaning (as in this sentence). Eliminate the essential clause from that sentence and you are left with Use that when using a phrase or clause, which does not make sense.

euros — When referencing the European currency, spell out the word after the figure. Do not use the symbol €, as it does not always render in every electronic environment: The tour cost 40 euros.

exclamation points are bad!!! Use only when absolutely necessary!!!

fewer, less — Use fewer for things that you can count. Example: I have fewer quarters than you do. Use less for things you cannot count. Example: I have less cash than you do.

filet, filletFilet is a noun that means a net or lace with a simple pattern on a square mesh background, and is an alternate (not preferred) spelling of fillet. Fillet is a noun (pronounced fil-it) that means 1) a narrow band worn around the head as to hold the hair in place; 2) a thin strip or band; 3) cooking: a boneless, lean piece of meat or fish. Fillet the verb (pronounced fil-ay) means 1) to bind or decorate with a band, molding, etc.; 2) to bone and slice meat or fish. Yes, it’s confusing, but get over it.



first annual — Do not use this phrase; an event is not “annual” until the second time. Just call the first one the first one.

first-come, first-served basis

firsthand (adj. and adv.)

fishing line — Use numerals to denote relative fishing line strengths, and do not use “test” in relation to the relative strength of fishing line. Tournament rules require 6-pound line.

fish-watching — Same as bird-watching, only with fish. Usually performed underwater.


fly fisherman (no hyphen)


follow up (v.), follow-up (n. and adj.)

fort — Do not abbreviate: Fort Lauderdale; Fort Zachary Taylor


froufrou — Fussy or showy dress or ornamentations: His Pretenders in Paradise outfit was considered by most to be unapologetically froufrou.

fundraiser, fundraising — One word in all cases.

furbelow — A flounce or ruffle; showy, useless trimming or ornamentation. Permissible usage: limited to Fantasy Fest–related releases only.

game fish — Two words.

gamefishing — One word.

gay — Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity. Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to sexual preference or to a gay or alternative lifestyle.


gender (man/male, woman/female)man and woman are nouns, but according to common usage, can be used in adjectival constructions; male and female are the adjectives used to describe gender. Such constructions as woman angler or woman artist are increasingly acceptable, though feel free to use female angler and female artist instead. An exception in angling is lady or ladies, in which case women who fish are given the benefit of the doubt. As the AP Stylebook says: Lady may be used when it is a courtesy title or when a specific reference to fine manners is appropriate without patronizing overtones.


gender (new guidance adopted by AP March 2017)

Not synonymous with sex. Gender refers to a person’s social identity while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people. When needed for clarity or in certain stories about scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females.

Language around gender is evolving, and decisions may need to be made, based on necessity and audience, on terms that differ from or are not covered by AP’s specific recommendations. For instance, the AP recommends the term sex reassignment for the medical procedures used for gender transition, while some groups use the term gender confirmation instead. The AP allows for LGBT and LGBTQ to be used on first reference without spelling out the acronyms; some other organizations use LGBTQIA and other variations on first reference or without explanation.


Some frequently used terms and definitions:

cisgender — May be used if necessary to refer to people who are not transgender in stories about gender, as a way to distinguish people from one another. Use only with explanation. Do not use terms like normal to describe people who are not transgender. Cisgender refers to gender and is not synonymous with heterosexual, which refers to sexuality.

gender nonconforming (n.), gender-nonconforming (adj.) —Acceptable in broad references as a term for people who do not conform to the traditional view of two genders: The group is providing scholarships for gender-nonconforming students. When talking about individuals, be specific about how a person describes or expresses gender identity and behavior: Roberta identifies as both male and female. Not synonymous with transgender. Only use other terms like bigender (a term for people who identify as a combination of two genders) if used by subjects to describe themselves, and only with explanation.

intersex — Term for people born with genitalia, chromosomes or reproductive organs that don’t fit typical definitions for males or females at birth. Gonzalez is an intersex person, Zimmerman is intersex. Do not use the outdated term hermaphrodite.

sex reassignment — The treatments, surgeries and other medical procedures used by transgender people to match their sex to their gender. The preferred term over gender reassignment; do not use the outdated term sex change. Sex reassignment is not necessary for people to transition their gender: Balducci weighed whether to have sex reassignment surgery during his transition.

transgender — An adjective that describes people whose biology at birth does not match their gender identity. Does not require sex reassignment. Identify people as transgender only if pertinent, and use the name by which they live publicly: Bernard is a transgender man. Christina came out as a transgender woman. The shorthand trans is acceptable on second reference and in headlines: Grammys add first man and first trans woman as trophy handlers.

Do not use as a noun or refer to someone as a transgender, or use the term transgendered. Not synonymous with terms like cross-dresser or drag queen, which do not have to do with gender identity. Do not use the outdated term transsexual. Do not use a derogatory term such as tranny except in extremely rare circumstances — only in a quote when it is crucial to the story or the understanding of a news event. Use the name by which a transgender person now lives: Caitlyn Jenner. Refer to a previous name only if relevant to the story: Caitlyn Jenner, who won a 1976 Olympic gold medal in decathlon as Bruce Jenner.

transition, gender transition — The process by which transgender people change the physical characteristics associated with their sex at birth to those matching their gender identity. May but does not need to include sex reassignment procedures: Washington is transitioning while helping his daughter consider universities. Chamberlain’s family offered support during her transition.

genus, species — In scientific or biological names, capitalize the first, or generic, Latin name for the class of plant or animal and lowercase the species that follows: Homo sapiens, Tyrannosaurus rex.

giclee — A recently invented ink-jet process that is a high-quality method of art reproduction (pronounced zhee-clay).

glass-bottom boat

-goer — One word in all constructions: concertgoer, beachgoer, moviegoer, theatergoer.

goliath grouper (no caps)

goody bag

GPS — Acceptable in all references to Global Positioning System. If a descriptive word is used following, use it in lowercase: The GPS satellite.

grass roots — Two words as a noun, hyphenated as a compound modifier: His campaign appeals to the grass roots. It is a grass-roots organization.

green — Capitalize when used as a proper noun, place in quotes when referring to environmental-related activities: Hotel Fleabag is a member of the Green Hoteliers Association, which means it implements “green” environmentally friendly practices.

guesthouse — One word.

guestroom — One word.

Hall-of-Famer — Cap and hyphenate when used to describe a sports figure. Preferably use the name of the sport associated with the hall as part of the proper noun: Participating in the celebrity fishing tournament is Baseball Hall-of-Famer Mookie Newton.

headlines — The first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as, that, etc.) are capitalized. Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions, regardless of length, are lowercased unless they are the first word or last word of the headline or subhead.

heavenly bodies — Capitalize the proper names of planets, stars,  constellations, etc.: Mars, Arcturus, the Big Dipper, Aries. For comets, capitalize only the proper noun element of the name: Halley’s comet. Lowercase sun and moon, but capitalize them if their Greek or Latin names are used: Helios, Luna. Capitalize nouns and adjectives derived from the proper names of planets: Martian, Venusian, but lowercase adjectives derived from other heavenly bodies: solar, lunar.

Holland America Line — The full three-word name “Holland America Line” should be used as a noun. “Holland America” is used as an adjective (especially in a possessive tense). We cruise with Holland America Line, but we sail aboard Holland America ships.

hookup — same spelling whether referring to either fishing or hot action in a singles bar.

husband, wife — Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested. Poor, long-suffering bastard can be used when appropriate.

hurricane categories — Capitalize category and use numerals: It was a Category 2 hurricane.

hurricane names — Treat as a proper noun: Hurricane Andy was a Category 3 storm.

ice age — lowercase because it does not refer to a single period, but rather to a series of epochs.

I.D. — Okay as second reference for identification. Note periods.

illegal immigration — Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use “illegal” only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include “living in” or “entering a country illegally” or “without legal permission.”

Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms “illegal alien,” “an illegal,” “illegals” or “undocumented.” Do not describe people as “violating immigration laws” without attribution. (AP)

incident — An incident is minor. Anything that causes death, injury, notable damage and the like is not an incident.


internet — Lowercase, now that the AP has come to its senses.


Jacuzzi — A name brand of whirlpool spa, not a generic term. Unless you know that it is a Jacuzzi brand tub, use whirlpool spa or hot tub instead.

Jet Ski — A brand of personal watercraft. Unless it is specifically a Jet Ski branded machine, use the generic personal watercraft.

Key West Innkeeper’s Association — note singular possessive punctuation.

Key West Visitors Bureau — no apostrophe

Key lime

Key lime pie

Key lime pie­–eating contest (note en dash)

kickoff — One word as a noun, two words as a verb: The tournament kickoff is to be held … ; The tournament is to kick off with a reception. Hyphenated as a modifier: The kick-off ceremony is to be held ….

kilometer — The metric unit equal to 1,000 meters. Abbreviate: km.  Spell out when using distances. Exception: in the case of the name of a race or in reference to a race, the form 5k or 10k is acceptable (use lowercase K, except in headlines) on first reference; it is also acceptable to use that form in copy: The runners were participating in a 5k walk-run.

Kite-board, kite-boarding

Kite-surf, kite-surfing


landline — An anachronistic throwback in an age of smart phones: a telecommunications device that is actually hardwired to the telephone network by an actual cord.

layperson(s) — Formerly used to identify those who taught or preached in religious context, but were not ordained, now used widely to mean a nonprofessional or someone not formally trained in a specialty.

LGBT, LGBTQ — Acronym for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Interchangeable with GLBT. LGBT is an abbreviation for “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.” Useful in headlines and short ledes, but should be explained in the first or in an early reference. The Q in LGBTQ can stand for either questioning (still exploring one’s sexuality) or queer, or sometimes both. LGBTQ is best used only in quotations or for formal names of organizations or events.

like, such as — In introducing an example or examples, “like” and “such as” are equally acceptable: Impressionist painters like Monet and Degas; expenses such as rent and utilities.


lines-in/lines-out — To avoid confusing constructions, hyphenate lines-in and lines-out in fishing tournament releases. This is not based on any dictionary or stylebook, but is predicated on the AP guideline of using hyphens to create clarity where none exists.

logo — see “NewmanPR”

Lost Generation — Term coined by Gertrude Stein that refers to the group of young artists and expatriates who lived in Paris in the 1920s, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Treat as a proper noun, capped, no quote marks.

M dash — Used in lieu of double hyphen, often written em-dash or 1/M in proofreader marks. Used to set off the dateline in a press releases, a word or phrase for emphasis (It is a festive homage to the Keys’ most popular delicacy — fresh stone crab.) or as an aside in a sentence (Officials advise weekend visitors to the Keys to continue their vacation plans, but they — and residents as well — should continue to monitor future advisories.). On the Mac, the M dash is made by pressing OPTION + SHIFT + HYPHEN. The M dash is treated like a one-letter word, with a space before and after the dash.

magazine — Usually not part of a magazine’s actual name, and should only be included within quote marks when it is officially part of the name: Time magazine, but New York Magazine.



Marine sanctuaries — The labels Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary and Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary are obsolete. Both areas fall within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and should be identified as such. Correct example: The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival is scheduled to take place at Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. NOT: The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival is scheduled to place at the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.

MasterWorks — One word with caps. The South Florida Symphony’s concert series.

mecca — Capitalize when referring specifically to the city; lowercase when used in a generic sense: Faithful Muslims travel to Mecca. Islamorada is a mecca for anglers.

media — In collective references to communication outlets and platforms, generally treat as singular: The news media is a favorite target of politicians; Social media is playing a crucial role in the uprising. Avoid referring to news outlets simply as the media; that broad term could include movies, television, entertainment, etc. In referring to artistic techniques or materials, treat media as plural (in this sense, the singular is medium): Many different media were on display in the student exhibition.

media names — Do not italicize names of publications or radio or TV shows. Instead, place inside quote marks. Do not capitalize magazine unless it is part of the actual name of the publication.

mega — Hyphenate words beginning with mega unless they are in the dictionary spelled as one word with no hyphen.

microbrew — A very small beer.

mile marker — Spell out and lowercase on first reference, followed by (MM), and abbreviate to MM in subsequent references within the same release (ex: mile marker (MM) 13; MM 89.2). Also, indicate whether the location is oceanside or bayside following the mile marker number, with no punctuation: MM 103 bayside. Always use numerals for mile markers: MM 5, mile marker 9, MM 87, mile marker 103. Plural form: MMs 103-104.

In calendar listings, “What’s New” or schedules of events, do not abbreviate “mile marker” after the first reference because readers might not read the entries in chronological order.

mini —  The rules for prefixes apply, but generally, no hyphen: miniskirt, minivan, miniseries


months — Do not abbreviate the following names of months: March, April, May, June, July.

motto — For most mottos, place in quotation marks and capitalize the initial letter: You’re never alone in the water.”  For country mottos, use caps, but no quotes: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Then there’s the Editor’s Motto: Employ Good Grammar and Spelling, or Be Unemployed!

Mount — While we don’t have them in Miami or the Keys, if you do encounter one, spell out “mount” in all uses, including the names of communities and of mountains: Mount Clemens, Michigan; Mount Everest.


multi- — Prefix rules apply — generally no hyphen: multiday, multipurpose, multimillion, etc.

music — Capitalize, but do not use quotation marks on descriptive titles for orchestral works: Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Orchestra; Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola. If the instrumentation is not part of the title but is added for explanatory purposes, the names of the instruments are lowercased: Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major (the common title) for violin and viola. If in doubt, lowercase the names of the instruments.

Use quotation marks for nonmusical terms in a title: Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony. If the work has a special full title, all of it is quoted: “Symphonie Fantastique,” “Rhapsody in Blue.” In subsequent references, lowercase symphony, concerto, etc.

myriad — Term for a group of 10,000 soldiers in the Roman army. Often used by lazy travel writers to mean a large amount or many, as in, There were a myriad of fish on the reef. If you can’t substitute 10,000 for myriad in a sentence, don’t use it. In fact, unless referring to Roman Legion troop movements, don’t use it.

N dash — The N dash (or en-dash, 1/N) is used to connect a two-word phrase to another word (Key West–based; Pulitzer Prize–winning; 16–pound line division). On the Mac, the N dash is made by pressing OPTION + HYPHEN.

nano — Prefix denoting one-billionth of a unit. Casually used to denote some small version of a thing. As with most prefixes, no hyphen, unless a letter would be doubled: nanobrewery, nanosecond, nano-oboe (You know, a really tiny oboe — we needed an example of a doubled letter).

none — Despite a widespread assumption that it stands for not one, the word has been construed as a plural (not any) in most contexts for centuries. H. W. Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) endorsed the plural use. Make none plural except when emphasizing the idea of not one or no one — and then consider using those phrases instead.

NASCAR — Acronym for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. OK to use on first reference, though why you would refer to it at all is a mystery.

National Guard — Capitalize when referring to U.S. or state-level forces, or foreign forces when that is the formal name: the National Guard, the Guard, the Iowa National Guard, Iowa’s National Guard, National Guard troops. When referring to an individual in a National Guard unit, use National Guardsman: He is a National Guardsman. Lowercase “guardsman” when it stands alone.


NewmanPR — Proper style when used in copy, not as a logo — no space between N and PR.

nicknames — If it is a person’s name, Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, use quotation marks. If it is a region, Sport Fishing Capital of the World, capitalize but do not quote-mark it.


Note to Editors: — The phrase used to introduce an explanation for a retransmission of a press release due to a correction, emendation or addendum to the original. Example: Note to Editors: We are retransmitting this press release because someone got their panties all in a twist over the date being wrong and the client’s name being misspelled in the original.

number one — exception to AP style of No. 1. Hyphenate as a compound modifier before the noun: Hawks Cay was named the number-one resort in the state. Our swimming team is number one in the district.

numbers — Spell out one through nine in most cases. Use numerals for 10 and above. Never start a sentence with a numeral except when it is a year: 1956 was a good year. Use numerals for weights, dimensions and distances (see “weights”). (See AP Stylebook for more information). Some examples: The reef is 6 miles offshore; Her cubicle is 8 feet by 10 feet; He caught a 6 pound, 5-ounce barracuda.


Mnemonic device, a poem:

“When to Use Numerals: A Stylistic Guide”


Over nine, numerals are fine,

And for weights they’re great,

And in instances of distances

As well as for measures, they’re treasures.


ocean-view — Hyphenate as a compound modifier: an ocean-view condo.


OK — OK’d, OK’ing, OKs. Do not use okay. OK?

onboard — One word in all cases, not hyphenated: She went onboard Carnival Fantasy where the onboard amenities were fantastic.

online — One word when referring to computer connectivity. Note that this is consistent with AP style, but contrary to Webster’s New World Dictionary.

on-site — hyphenated in all instances: The dive instructor was on-site. The on-site dive instructor gave the lesson. The hotel has a botanist on-site and on-site parking.


ordinal numbers — Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location: first base, First Amendment, he was first in line, second annual. Starting with 10th use figures. Do not use superscript with ordinal numbers. WRONG: 18th hole; CORRECT: 18th hole.

out-planting — Attaching cultivated corals to a reef to restore the natural reef environment in a volunteer program organized by Coral Restoration Foundation in the Keys.

over, more than — AP has decided that over and more than are interchangeable as amounts: More than 100 anglers from over 20 cities participated in the event.

Over-Sea Railroad — NOT the Overseas Railroad, the Oversea Railroad or the Oversea Railway. On first reference, always refer to it as: Henry Flagler’s Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad. Do not use the term “Flagler’s Folly” at all — even though some people who doubted Flagler at the time called it that and regardless of whether, a hundred years on, you still think it was a bad idea.

Overseas Highway

paddleboard, paddleboarding — a long, wide board whereupon a person stands and uses a long-handled paddle to propel the board; also called stand-up paddleboarding and abbreviated to SUP on second reference.

paddle surfing — a relatively new sport where the participant stands or kneels on a long, wide surfboard and paddles with a long paddle; hyphenate as a compound modifier: She participated in a paddle-surfing expedition.

paddle wheel — Mode of propulsion of old-time riverboats.

paddle-wheeler — A boat propelled by a paddle wheel.

pair — Treat as a singular noun when the pair is thought of as a single unit: A pair of egrets was seen at water’s edge; treat as a plural noun when the pair are thought of as separate entities: A pair of water’s-edge fireworks displays are scheduled.

pedicab — no hyphen

percent — Always spell out, never use the percent symbol (%), and always use numerals. Percentage ranges are written 5 percent to 10 percent, not 5-10 percent or 5 to 10 percent.

peruse — Rather than suggest that a reader peruse a Web site, instead suggest that the reader visit it, as it is a site or location. Note: peruse means to examine with critical care and in detail. In other words, don’t use peruse when read will do.

phone numbers — See telephone numbers.

planula — singular form of planulae, which is the larval stage of corals that results after the egg merges with the sperm in the annual coral free-sex orgy known as coral spawning that takes place around the full moons of August and September in the waters of the Florida Keys.

playgoer — one word

plein-air — French expression meaning “open air,” designating of or in the manner of certain schools of French impressionist painting of the late 19th century, engaged mainly in representing observed effects of outdoor light and atmosphere. Hyphenated per Webster’s.


plein-aquatic — sketching from life underwater, specifically while scuba diving

plethora — Medical term that means swollen to bursting, as with blood or pus. Overused by lazy travel writers to mean a large amount or a lot. Bad word. Don’t use it unless you mean it in the medical sense.


pole spear

pre-registration (hyphenated for clarity)

president — Capitalize president only as a formal title before one or more names: President Ronald Reagan, Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter.

Lowercase in all other uses: The president said today. He is running for president. Lincoln was president during the Civil War.

See titles.

FULL NAMES: Use the first and family name on first reference to a current or former U.S. president or the president-elect: former President Jimmy Carter, President George W. Bush, President-elect Barack Obama. On subsequent references, use only the last name.

For presidents of other nations and of organizations and institutions, capitalize president as a formal title before a full name: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President John Smith of Acme Corp. On second reference, use only the last name.

prices — Use no decimals with round numbers ($12, not $12.00); for price ranges, do not use a dash (Seats range from $20 to $25.). Do not use free when you mean free of charge: NOT Children under 12 are admitted free; BUT Children under 12 are admitted free of charge.

prime time (n.), prime-time (adj.)

proximity — the state or quality of being near in space, time, etc.; hence the term “close proximity” is repetitive: The wreck is in proximity to the reef.

publications — Treat magazine titles as proper nouns, with no quotation marks or italicization: Travel+Leisure, Newsweek. Do not capitalize “magazine” unless it is part of the publication’s name: Time magazine, New York Magazine. Book titles should be enclosed in quotation marks, but not italicized. Except for the Bible, unless it’s “Gideon’s Bible.”

pump-out — As in sewage. Hyphenate in all usages.

quotations — Instead of, According to Claudia Pennington, executive director of the Key West Art & Historical Society that operates the museum, the historical accuracy of Sanchez’ work is as remarkable as his artistry. Better to write: The historical accuracy of Sanchez’ work is as remarkable as his artistry, said Claudia Pennington, executive director of the Key West Art & Historical Society, operator of the museum.

Also, avoid beginning quotes with As ________ tells it… EX: As Rosher tells it, with two fish hooked, “We were getting spooled in two directions, one east and one west.” Instead, write: “We were getting spooled in two directions, one east and one west,” Rosher said of the double hookup.
quotation marks — Use sparingly in applications other than names of publications or direct quotes. Themes, nicknames and names of events are simply treated as proper nouns — capitalized — unless quote marks would add clarity. Beware the “implied” “irony” that quote marks can “express.” Do not use on product names or names of boats or ships (The “Nautilus” semi-submersible boat is incorrect.).

quote marks in headlines — Use single quote marks in headlines.

R & B — Acceptable abbreviation of rhythm and blues. Note spaces between letters and ampersand. Exception to both AP and Webster’s because those publications are compiled by the tragically unhip.

recipe titles — Recipe titles that appear in stories or regular text are not capitalized unless the recipe title includes proper nouns. Recipe titles at the top of actual recipes are written in all caps.

re-create, recreateRe-create means to create again, as in They re-create the original scene every anniversary; recreate means to play, relax, have fun.

re-enact; re-enactor

respectively — Always precede with a comma: Second and third places are worth $1,000 and $750, respectively. But, respectfully, use respectively relatively rarely.

rodmaker, rodmaking — As in one who makes fishing rods, is one word.

roundtrip — A recent change in AP style to one word from a hyphenated compound in all cases.


runner-up — Note that the first runner-up would be in second place, second runner-up would be third, etc.

said — Never says with quotes. Note that said is always appropriate whereas elaborated, mused, speculated or other such terms might not be. Note, too, that Elmore Leonard never used any substitute for said — and he got the big bucks.

scientific names — see genus, species

seagrass, seagrasses (recent change due to popular usage)


semicolon — In a series that employs commas within parts of the series, the next-to-last punctuation is a comma, not a semicolon. Don’t ask why, that’s just the way it is. Ex: Rates start at $189 per person for three-day cruises from Miami, Fla., and four-day cruises from Long Beach, Calif.; $279 per person for four- and five-day cruises from San Diego, Calif., and $399 per person for seven-day cruises from Miami.

sensefulness n. The subjective feeling of peace and contentment that arises when one realizes that, if only for a moment and no matter how insignificant, something in the cosmos makes perfect sense.

Sept. 11 — Sept. 11 is the preferred term to use in describing the terror attacks in the United States Sept. 11, 2001; 9/11 is acceptable, but not preferred.

“sharing” economy — Sites such as Airbnb are vacation rental websites or short-term lodging services. Do not call them home-sharing sites or room-sharing sites.


shoreside — One word

shoutout — Slang term formerly called an acknowledgement, appreciation or expression of gratitude.

slam — In flats fishing, a “slam” is when an angler catches a bonefish, a tarpon and a permit — the Big Three of flats fishing — on the same day. In tournament titles such as the Key West Fishing Tournament Flats S.L.A.M. the word sometimes is capped with periods. Confirm the style with tournament officials, if necessary.

slash — Acceptable in descriptive phrases such as 24/7, or in Web page addresses (, but otherwise confine its use to special situations, as with fractions or denoting the end of a line in quoted poetry.

smartphone — An advanced cellphone that allows for email, Web browsing and downloadable applications.

sooey — the correct spelling of the sound one makes when calling a pig. For an auditory demonstration, please contact Julie Botteri.

spearfish — a species of fish usually harvested with a spear

spear fisherman

spear fishing — fishing with a spear

spearos — allegedly from the Greek, meaning an avid spear fisherman

split infinitives — Are accepted by grammarians but irritate many readers. Here are a couple of cogent explanations:

From The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage: In fluid writing, an adverb used with a compound verb should normally be placed between parts of the verb (the way normally is, a few words back in this sentence, and the way usually is, in the next example): He will usually take the opposing side. A similar rule applies when a verb like is links a noun to its modifier Refundable fares are often expensive (not often are expensive).

From Garner’s Modern English Usage (fourth edition): Many writers fall into awkward, unidiomatic sentences when they misguidedly avoid splitting up verb phrases. Although most authorities squarely say that the best place for the adverb is in the midst of the verb phrase, many writers nevertheless harbor a misplaced aversion, probably because they confuse a split verb phrase with the SPLIT INFINITIVE. H.W. Fowler explained long ago what writers still have problems understanding: “When an adverb is to be used with [a compound] verb, its normal place is between the auxiliary (or sometimes the first auxiliary if there are two or more) and the rest. Not only is there no objection to thus splitting a compound verb … but any other position for the adverb requires justification.”

sport fisherman

sport fish

sport fishing (n.), sport-fishing (v., adj.)

Sport Fishing Capital of the World — Nickname for Islamorada. Capitalize as a proper noun when used as a stand-alone nickname; no hyphen.

spin cast (n.); spin-casting (V., adj.)

stand-alone (adj.)


stand-up paddleboard, stand-up paddleboarding (can be abbreviated SUP after first reference)


stand-up paddling

state — lowercase in all state of constructions: state of Florida; do not cap state when used simply as an adjective to specify a level of jurisdiction: state Rep. William Smith, the state Transportation Department, state funds.

state abbreviations — Note: In mailing addresses, use the two-letter U.S. Postal Service state name abbreviation with no punctuation and no comma between city and state. In copy, spell out the whole state name. Eight state names are not abbreviated in datelines, but do have two-letter USPS abbreviations, as noted. AP abbreviation followed by USPS in parens.


Alaska (AK) Iowa (IA) N.H. (NH) Tenn. (TN)
Ala. (AL) Kan. (KS) N.J. (NJ) Utah (UT)
Ariz. (AZ) Ky. (KY) N.M. (NM) Vt. (VT)
Ark. (AR) La. (LA) N.Y. (NY) Va. (VA)
Calif. (CA) Maine (ME) N.C. (NC) Wash. (WA)
Colo. (CO) Md. (MD) N.D. (ND) W. Va. (WV)
Conn. (CT) Mass. (MA) Ohio (OH) Wis. (WI)
Del. (DE) Mich. (MI) Okla. (OK) Wyo. (WY)
Fla. (FL) Minn. (MN) Ore. (OR)
Ga. (GA) Miss. (MS) Pa. (PA)
Hawaii (HI) Mo. (MO) R.I. (RI)
Idaho (ID) Mont. (MT) S.C. (SC)
Ill. (IL) Neb. (NE) S.D. (SD)
Ind. (IN) Nev. (NV) Texas (TX)


State names — Follow these guidelines:

SPELL OUT: The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. No state name is necessary if it is the same as the dateline. This also applies to newspapers cited in a story. For example, a story datelined Providence, R.I., would reference the Providence Journal, not the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal. See datelines.

EIGHT NOT ABBREVIATED: The names of eight states are never abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

Memory aid: Spell out the names of the two states that are not part of the contiguous United States and of the continental states that are five letters or fewer.

IN THE BODY OF STORIES: Except for cities that stand alone in datelines, use the state name in textual material when the city or town is not in the same state as the dateline, or where necessary to avoid confusion: Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, Illinois. Provide a state identification for the city if the story has no dateline, or if the city is not in the same state as the dateline. However, cities that stand alone in datelines may be used alone in stories that have no dateline if no confusion would result.

Superboat — Capitalize

superscript — Do not use it with ordinal numbers. WRONG: 19th century; CORRECT: 19th century.

symbols — Do not use registered trademark ® or trademark ™ symbols in copy — even and especially if they are used by the property or business in product or promotional materials. Capitalize and treat as a proper noun. (AP)

T-shirt — With a capital T and a hyphen, already.

telephone numbers — Use figures in the form: 212-621-1500; 621-1500. Do not use parentheses, in accordance with AP style. For toll-free numbers, do not use the prefix numeral 1: 800-111-1000.  Exception: Where the number is given in words, keep the 1- construction: 1-800-ASK KEYS, followed by the actual numerals in parentheses: (800-275-5397), including in the boilerplate header of press releases. If extension numbers are given use a comma to separate the main number from the extension: 305-461-3300, ext. 364. For international numbers, use the country code (in parentheses) and city or regional code (where required): (44) 20-7353-1515. Use hyphens, not periods. Try not to break phone numbers at the end of a line.

test — Do not use in relation to the relative strength of fishing line. Tournament rules require 6-pound line NOT 6-pound-test line.


theatre — Do not use as a pretentious Europeanized substitute for “theater” unless someone had the poor judgement to employ it as part of a proper name. Use it in reference to the thing, but not to the idea: The Key West Red Barn Theatre stages many of the greatest American theater works.

themes — When citing an event’s theme in copy, set it off with quotation marks: The annual open-air fair is themed “Art & Music in a Natural Key” to reflect its wide range of creative and musical offerings, and inviting natural setting. Do not use quote marks for the name of an event or function, but treat as a proper noun: Fantasy Fest, Island Art Festival, Redbone Fishing Tournament, etc.

they, them, their — In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them.They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. Arguments for using they/them as a singular sometimes arise with an indefinite pronoun (anyone, everyone, someone) or unspecified or unknown gender (a person, the victim, the winner).

Tiki — Capitalize when referring to a generic type of bar, party or theme, as well as when referring to the Polynesian god or first man of creation.

times/dates — Use dashes for consecutive times and dates (4-6 p.m.; May 3-7), but use to in other cases (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; April 16 to May 23). Do not use the word “from” before a hyphenated time: The silent auction is 7-9 p.m., not The silent auction is from 7-9 p.m. If “from” is used, use “to” between the numerals: The celebration runs from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Always use “from” and “to” when the time spans noon or midnight (from a.m. to p.m. and vice versa).

titles — names of newspapers and magazines are treated as proper nouns and are not quote-marked. Names of books, TV shows and plays are placed in quotation marks but are not italicized. (see “publications”)

toll-free — hyphenate before or after phone numbers

towardNever towards


Truman, Harry S. — With a period after the initial. Truman once said there was no need for the period because the S did not stand for a name. Asked in the early 1960s about his preference, he replied, “It makes no difference to me.” AP style has called for the period since that time.

tween — A child between 8 and 12 years old; a preteen is a child between 9 and 12. Note, there is no apostrophe.

uber or über — A prefix meaning “super”: uberachiever.

Uber — Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft let people use smartphone apps to book and pay for a private car service or in some cases, a taxi. They may also be called ride-booking services. Do not use ride-sharing.

U.K. — Abbreviation of United Kingdom. Always use periods, even if the Brits don’t.

ultra- — Prefix rules apply, but generally no hyphen: ultraluxury, ultramodern, etc.

underway — One word in all instances — a recent AP style change.

U.S. — The abbreviation is acceptable on first reference as a noun or adjective for United States — always with periods.

U.S. Highway 1

utilize — Never use utilize when you can use use. It’s a pointless big word.

V bottom — a type of boat; The boat show will feature the latest V bottoms. The latest V-bottom boats will be on display.

veranda — Use this version, without the H, as it is Webster’s first spelling.

videography — When referring to a news or production entity shooting video, avoid using the word “filming.” Alternative words include shooting, taping or produced, etc.

Visit Florida — Although the organization spells its name in all caps, AP indicates that it should be treated as a proper noun and spelled with an initial cap and lowercase, so it won’t get all big-headed.

wake-board, wake-boarding

wake-skate, wake-skating

watercraft — something that floats, often at high speeds; singular and plural forms spelled the same

water skiing — a watersport involving water skis

watersport(s) — One word in all cases.

web — As in World Wide Web, should be lowercased now that the AP has come to its senses (see internet). In general, the use of World Wide Web is in decline, and internet and web are used interchangeably.

website — A location on the World Wide Web that maintains one or more pages at a specific address. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the web, web page and web feed. See web.


website names — Capitalize as a proper noun, no quotation marks, and do not use .com unless part of the legal name: Facebook, but Inc.

weeklong — One word as an adjective per AP; exception to Webster’s.

weights — Use numbers: the 36-pound dolphin; the winning fish weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces.


wet suit

“What’s New in the Florida Keys & Key West” Treat as a publication name in quotation marks, as this is a recurring, though not necessarily repetitive, press release.

-wide — As a suffix, no hyphen. Some examples: citywide, nationwide, continentwide, statewide, countrywide, worldwide, industrywide. Rule holds for proper nouns: Keyswide, Europewide, etc.

Wi-Fi — For the wireless networking standards.

will — In these uncertain times, avoid using will in releases (unless referring the last testament type), since there are no guarantees that an event will take place. Instead, use a less certain form of “to be,” as in refreshments are to be served; a captains meeting is to be held, etc. If possible rewrite to avoid awkward constructions: An awards dinner is slated for …; The exhibition is scheduled to …

World Wide Sportsman — The store in Islamorada associated with Bass Pro Shops.


WWW or world wide web — do not use “www” in URLs in press releases —even in the contact information boilerplate. HOWEVER, we do want the live hyperlink, so when you write a release, please type in the “www” in the URL, make the live hyperlink, and then delete the “www” leaving the live hyperlink. In other words, type “” and click so it’s a live hyperlink, then remove the “www” to leave it at “” This should be done in all instances.




EXCERPTS FROM: The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) Stylebook for Journalists


bisexual: As a noun, an individual who may be attracted to both sexes. As an adjective, of or relating to sexual and affectional attraction to both sexes. Does not presume nonmonogamy.


civil union: The state of Vermont began this formal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships in July 2000. A civil union provides same-sex couples some rights available to married couples in areas such as state taxes, medical decisions and estate planning.


closeted, in the closet: Refers to a person who wishes to keep secret his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.


coming out: Short for “coming out of the closet.” Accepting and letting others know of one’s previously hidden sexual orientation or gender

identity. See closeted and outing.


commitment ceremony: A formal, marriage-like gathering that recognizes

the declaration of members of the same sex to each other. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized by the U.S. government. See marriage.


cross-dresser: Preferred term for person who wears clothing most often associated with members of the opposite sex. Not necessarily connected to sexual orientation.


domestic partner: Unmarried partners who live together. Domestic partners may be of opposite sexes or the same sex. They may register

in some counties, municipalities and states and receive some of the same

benefits accorded married couples. The term is typically used in connection

with legal and insurance matters. See gay/lesbian relationships.


drag: Attire of the opposite sex.


drag performers: Entertainers who dress and act in styles typically associated with the opposite sex (drag queen for men, drag king

for women). Not synonymous with transgender or cross-dressing.


dyke: Originally a pejorative term for a lesbian, it is now being reclaimed

by some lesbians. Caution: still extremely offensive when used as an epithet.


fag, faggot: Originally a pejorative term for a gay male, it is now being

reclaimed by some gay men. Caution: still extremely offensive when

used as an epithet.


Families — Proper term for identifying families led by LGBT parents. Identify parents’ sexual orientation only when germane. Do not use “gay families.” Mention genetic relationships or conception techniques only when germane.


Gay — An adjective that has largely replaced “homosexual” in referring to men who are sexually and affectionally attracted to other men. Avoid using as a singular noun. For women, “lesbian” is preferred. To include both, use “gay men and lesbians.” In headlines where space is an issue, “gays” is acceptable to describe both.


gender identity — An individual’s emotional and psychological sense of being male or female. Not necessarily the same as an individual’s biological identity.


gender reassignment — The preferred term for the process by which transgender people change their physical, sexual characteristics to those usually associated with the opposite sex. May include surgery,

hormone therapy and/or changes of legal identity. Not synonymous with

gender reassignment surgery. Avoid the antiquated term “sex change.”


gender reassignment surgery — Any of a number of medical procedures in which transgender people acquire the gentalia usually associated with the opposite sex.


homo: Pejorative term for homosexual. Avoid.


homophobia: Fear, hatred or dislike of homosexuality, gay men and lesbians.


homosexual: As a noun, a person who is attracted to members of the same sex. As an adjective, of or relating to sexual and affectional attraction to a member of the same sex. Use only if “heterosexual” would be used in parallel constructions, such as in medical contexts. For other usages, see gay and lesbian.


husband — Acceptable term for a male, legally married partner of a man. Ask which term the subject prefers, if possible.


lesbian: Preferred term, both as a noun and as an adjective, for women who are sexually and affectionally attracted to other women. Some women prefer to be called “gay” rather than “lesbian”; when possible, ask the subject what term she prefers.


LGBT: Acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.” Often rendered LGBTQ for the added “questioning” for people who are still trying to figure it out. But for most purposes, stick to LGBT — by the time they get to Key West, most people have figured it out.


lifestyle: An inaccurate term sometimes used to describe the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Sexual orientation may be part of a broader lifestyle, but is not one in itself, just as there is no “straight” lifestyle. Avoid.


lover: A gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual person’s sexual partner.

“Partner” is generally acceptable. See gay/lesbian relationships.


marriage: Advocates for the right to marry seek the legal rights and

obligations of marriage, not a variation of it. Often, the most neutral

approach is to avoid any adjective modifying the word “marriage.” For the times in which a distinction is necessary, “marriage for same-sex couples” is preferable in stories. When there is a need for shorthand description (such as in headline writing), “same-sex marriage” is preferred because it is more inclusive and more accurate than “gay.”


obituaries: When reporting survivors, list partners of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender deceased in an order equivalent to spouses of heterosexual deceased.


openly gay/lesbian: As a modifier, “openly” is usually not relevant; its use should be restricted to instances in which the public awareness of an individual’s sexual orientation is germane. Examples: Harvey Milk was the first openly gay San Francisco supervisor. “Ellen” was the first sitcom to feature an openly lesbian lead character. “Openly” is preferred over “avowed,” “admitted,” “confessed” or “practicing.”


partner — The commonly accepted term for a person in a committed gay or lesbian relationship.


pink triangle — Now a gay pride symbol, it was the symbol gay men were required to wear in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Lesbians sometimes also use a black triangle.


Pride (Day and/or march): Short for gay/lesbian pride, this term is commonly used to indicate the celebrations commemorating the Stonewall Inn riots of June 28, 1969. Pride events typically take place in June. See Stonewall.


queen: Originally a pejorative term for an effeminate gay man. Still

considered offensive when used as an epithet.


queer: Originally a pejorative term for gay, now being reclaimed by some gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as a self-affirming umbrella term. Still extremely offensive when used as an epithet. Use only if there is a compelling reason.


rainbow flag: A flag of six equal horizontal stripes (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet) signifying the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.


sexual orientation: Innate sexual attraction. Use this term instead of “sexual preference.” See lifestyle.


special rights: Politically charged term used by opponents of civil rights for gay people. Avoid. “Gay civil rights,” “equal rights” or “gay rights” are alternatives.


Stonewall: The Stonewall Inn tavern in New York City’s Greenwich Village was the site of several nights of raucous protests after a police raid on June 28, 1969. Although not the nation’s first gay civil rights demonstration, Stonewall is now regarded as the birth of the modern gay civil rights movement.


straight (adj.): Heterosexual; describes a person whose sexual and

affectional attraction is to someone of the opposite sex.


transgender (adj): An umbrella term that refers to people whose biological and gender identity or expression may not be the same. This can include preoperative, postoperative or nonoperative transsexuals, female and male cross-dressers, drag queens or kings, female or male impersonators, and intersex individuals. If an individual prefers to be called transsexual, drag queen or king, intersex, etc., use that term. When writing about a  transgender person, use the name and personal pronouns that are consistent with the way the individual lives publicly.


transition: The process by which one alters one’s sex. This may include

surgery, hormone therapy and changes of legal identity.


transsexual (n.): An individual who identifies himself or herself as a member of the opposite sex and who acquires the physical characteristics of the opposite sex. Individual can be of any sexual orientation.

To determine accurate use of names or personal pronouns, use the name and sex of the individual at the time of the action.


transvestite: Avoid. See crossdresser.


wife — Acceptable term for a female, legally married partner of a woman. Ask which term the subject prefers, if possible.



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