Career, Cocktail Chatter

Write Words Right; Associated Press Tells us How

September 28, 2011
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As editors and writers our world is words. And our world evolves constantly. Writing a sentence as simple as; I hope to  enjoy a chilled chardonnay with spicy Tex-Mex cuisine next time I’m in Pyeongchang – can cause considerable anxst. Is Chardonnay capilatized? Is it a region or a varietal… is Tex-Mex one word. Of course if I were going to Thailand, I wouldn’t be looking for Tex-Mex, but it is important that I knew how to write it. Is there a hyphen, no hyphen, capitalize “M”? And equally as important, which style guide do I adhere to? Do readers realize the mental gymnastics performed by copy editors across the nation each time they sit down to edit a line of text?  Probably not, and frankly they shouldn’t even think about it. However if you do have to put your best editorial foot forward (sans a copy editor)  we suggest clicking over to the AP (Associated Press)  website to join the community of word nerds … it’s actually pretty fun. Here are just a few words that reflect the evolution of our language.


check in (v.), check-in (n. and adj.)  Action associated with location-based social networking tools.
download To get information from another server or computer.
end user (n.), end-user (adj.)  A phrase commonly referred to by technology developers when imagining the audience for an application, software or hardware. End-user experience.
geotagging The act of adding geographical metadata to pieces of media or social media updates. A geotagged photo would indicate the latitude and longitude of the location the photo was taken.
link shortener  Tools that allow users to shorten a longer URL to make it easier to share. and TinyURL are two link shorteners.
stream  A method of processing and delivering media in real time over the Internet. Videos on YouTube are an example of streaming content, as are many on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu.
unfollow  To remove an account from the list of accounts that populate a feed, usually on Twitter. Note that unfollowing on Twitter is a one-way action: I may unfollow you, but you may continue to follow me.
user interface  The features of a device, program or website that enable control by a human. UI is acceptable on second reference.
WAP  Wireless Application Protocol. A standard that allows users to access information on mobile devices. Sometimes referred to as a WAP-optimized website, or a WAP browser. WAP is acceptable on second reference.


 The Huffington Post news website is affiliated with AOL. It’s HuffPost in shortened form.
Sudan  Use Sudan for the African country whose capital is Khartoum. South Sudan is the adjacent country that declared independence July 9, 2011. Its capital is Juba.
Abbottabad (AHBT’-uh-bad)  Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces
Abuja (ah-BOO’-juh)  Nigerian capital
Cairo (KEHR’-oh)  Illinois town at confluence of Mississippi and Ohio rivers
Juba (JOO’-buh)  Capital of new nation South Sudan
Minot (MY-naht)  North Central city in North Dakota
Pyeongchang (PYUHNG’-chahng) South Korea city hosting Winter Games 2018

Food terms

apples Most varieties are capitalized, including Cortland, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and McIntosh. An exception: crabapple.
French, a bite-sized dish served at restaurants before the meal, usually free.
bananas Foster
A dessert of sauteed bananas served with rum and vanilla ice cream. Created during the 1950s at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Named for a customer.

cast-iron (adj.) cast iron (n.)
A cast-iron pot, but the pot is made from cast iron.
A trademarked name for a sandwich made with peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff.

Wine names for grape varietals, such as chardonnay and shiraz, are not capitalized. Wines named for regions, such as Champagne or Chianti, are capitalized. 
Characterized by elements of Texas and Mexico, such as Tex-Mex Cooking.
One word, no hyphen.

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