A

ATM Acceptable in first reference for automated teller machine. It

should be

spelled out somewhere in the story. Do not use ATM machine, which is

redundant.

 

Ages

Always use figures for people and animals but not for inanimate

objects.

 

Examples:

The girl is 8 years old.

The law is eight years old.

 

Albertsons The grocery store chain. No apostrophe. Same with Ralphs and Vons.


At/about "At" indicates a specific time. "About" indicates an approximate time.
An event happened either at 10:45 or about 10:45. It did not happen "at about" 10:45.

B

bandanna

Note the spelling.

 

Because of The phrase functions as an adverb and modifies verbs.

Examples:

He resigned because of ill health. (because of modifies resigned)

Officials closed the highway because of a fire. (because of modifies

closed)

 

C

Cabinet

A specific body of advisers heading executive departments for a

president, king, governor, etc.: The president-elect said he has not made his Cabinet selections.

 

cabinet

a cupboard

 

CEO

Acceptable on first reference as a title before a name or as a stand-alone abbreviation for chief executive officer. But spell it out somewhere in the story. (Spell out chief financial officer and chief operating officer,which

are less familiar as abbreviations.)

 

Hi all,

Charles Levin makes this good point about CEO.

An fyi on this entry. In the case of Ventura County's top administrator, it stands for county executive officer.

 

council member

When referring to members of a city council generically, use council

members. Otherwise, it's Councilman John Smith or Councilwoman Jane Jones.

Do not use council members as a formal title.

 

Wrong: Council Member John Smith.

Wrong: Councilmember John Smith.

Right: council member John Smith

 

convince/persuade

You may be "convinced that" something or "of" something. You must be

persuaded "to do" something.

 

Right: The robbers persuaded him to open the vault.

Wrong: The robbers convinced him to open the vault.

 

Right: The robbers convinced him that it was the right thing to do.

Wrong: The robbers persuaded him that it was the right thing to do.

 

D

 

district attorney

Do not abbreviate. Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name:

District Attorney Hamilton Burger.

Use DA (no periods) only in quoted matter.

 

drunk, drunken
Drunk is the spelling of the adjective used after a form of the verb to
be:
He was drunk.

Drunken is the spelling of the adjective used before nouns: a drunken
driver, drunken driving.

 

due to The phrase functions as an adjective and modifies nouns.

Example:

His resignation was due to ill health. (due to modifies resignation)

The highway closure was due to a fire. (due to modifies closure)

 

E

either
Use it to mean one or the other, not both.
Right: She said to use either door.
Wrong: There were lions on either side of the door.
Right: There were lions on each side of the door. There were lions on both sides of the door.

every day (adv.), everyday (adj.)

 

She goes to work every day.

 

He wore his everyday shoes.

 

Elections DivisionNote the s.

 

ensure, insure
Use ensure to mean guarantee: Steps were taken to ensure accuracy.
Use insure for references to insurance: The policy insures his life.

F

 

Fires

brush fire (two words)

wildfire (one word)

For fire names, capitalize the first word(s) that describe the location

And lowercase fire: Topanga Canyon fire, Malibu fire, Shekell fire.

 

From staff reports

This should be styled "by title," just like a byline.

 

Farmworker One word when used to refer to a farm laborer.

G


good will (n.)
He was a man of good will.
goodwill (adj.)
a goodwill tour

 

Groundbreaking (adj., n.) - one word.

 

Groundbreaker (n.) - one word.

H

 

I

 

Itís, its
Itís is a contraction for it is or it has: Itís up to you. Itís been a
long
time.
Its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun: The company lost its
assets.

J

K

L

 

light, lighted, lighting

Lit is acceptable as the past tense form.

 

Examples:

He lighted a candle.

He lit a candle.

 

(AP changed its style on this.)

 

-like

Do not precede this suffix by a hyphen unless the letter l would be

tripled or the main element is a proper noun:

bill-like†††

Norwalk-like

businesslike†††

shell-like

M

mid-

No hyphen unless a capitalized word follows:

mid-America†††

midsemester

mid-Atlantic†††

midterm

But use a hyphen when mid- precedes a figure: mid-30s.


millions, billions
Use figures with million or billion in all except casual uses.
Examples:
I'd like to make a billion dollars.
The nation has 1 million citizens.
I need $7 billion.

 

Museum of Ventura County
Formerly the Ventura County Museum of History & Art

N

O

 

The Oaks mall Note the uppercase T and lowercase m.


On
Do not use "on" before a date or day of the week when its absence would not lead to confusion.
Examples:
The meeting will be held Monday. (not, The meeting will be held on Monday).
He will be inaugurated Jan. 20. (not, He will be inaugurated on 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. (This could also be written: The House on Tuesday killed a bid to raise taxes.)

Only
Generally, the modifier "only" should be as close as possible to the word, phrase or clause modified, preferably in front of it. Sometimes, however, idiom calls for a departure from this general rule.
Want to see how "only" can change a sentence? Take the sentence "I punched him in the nose yesterday" and move "only" to different positions to get different meanings.

P

 

Pacific View mall Note the lowercase m.

 

Persuade/convince

You may be "convinced that" something or "of" something. You must be

persuaded "to do" something.

 

Right: The robbers persuaded him to open the vault.

Wrong: The robbers convinced him to open the vault.

 

Right: The robbers convinced him that it was the right thing to do.

Wrong: The robbers persuaded him that it was the right thing to do.

 

plead, pleaded, pleading Do not use the colloquial past tense form, pled.

 

pore The verb pore means to gaze intently or steadily.

Example:

She pored over her books.

 

pour The verb pour means to flow in a continuous stream.

Examples:

It poured rain. He poured the coffee.


Presidents Day
(no apostrophe)

Q

R

 

Ralphs

S

soldiers
Generally associated with the U.S. Army. Do not use as a generic term. Use troops or service members instead. Do not describe Marines as soldiers.

sweat shirt Two words

Also,

sweat pants

sweat suit

 

sneaked

Preferred as past tense of sneak. Do not use the colloquial

"snuck."

 

sport utility vehicle No plural s in sport; no hyphen.

SUV is acceptable on second reference.

 

stationary, stationery
To stand still is to be stationary.
Writing paper is stationery.

T

 

that which (pronouns) Use "that" and "which" in referring to inanimate objects and to animals without a name.
Examples:
The jacket that I bought is brown.
The cat, which had been left at the shelter, was adopted this morning.
Use that for essential clauses, important to the meaning of a sentence, and without commas.
Example:
I remember the day that we met.
Use which for nonessential clauses, where the pronoun is less necessary, and use commas.
Example: The team, which finished last a year ago, is in first place.
(Tip: If you can drop the clause and not lose the meaning of the sentence, use "which"; otherwise, use "that." A "which" clause is surrounded by commas; no commas are used with "that" clauses.)

Trick or treat! - traditional greeting used by trick-or-treaters (Webster's dictionary includes the exclamation point in its entry Ė no kidding - but I think we can probably ignore it.)

 

Trick-or-treater, trick-or-treating

note the hyphens

 

U

 

under way

Two words in virtually all uses:

The project is under way.

The naval maneuvers are under way.

 

One word only when used as an adjective before a noun in a nautical

sense: an underway flotilla.

 

United Farm Workers of America Two words when referring to the organization.

V

 

Veterans Day no apostrophe.

 

Vons

W

X

Y

Z