Education Technology
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Writing Style Guide

TI must use language consistently to preserve its brand. Here are rules based on Associated Press style, with modifications or exceptions noted, and with TI-specific examples.

If you come across an issue not covered in TI Educational Technology Guide to Style and Usage, you can check the online edition of the AP Stylebook. TI has a certain number of licenses available for communicators throughout TI (plus freelancers and agency staff who support TI).

 

AP Stylebook

Why do we use the AP Stylebook as our primary style guide?

  • It’s one of the world’s most widely used English-language stylebooks
  • It’s used by most of the print media and has been used at TI for both media relations and employee communications for many years
  • It takes a straightforward, practical approach to style and usage

The online edition is fully searchable. The “Ask the Editor" column on the AP Stylebook website may address your question more completely than an official entry. It is also searchable for subscribers.

To access the online AP Stylebook, send a request to Rachel Raya at raya@ti.com.

 

Webster’s New World College Dictionary

The AP uses Webster’s New World College Dictionary as its official dictionary. A website called YourDictionary.com includes definitions from Webster’s New World on its site, among other sources like the American Heritage Dictionary.

However, YourDictionary.com is not as simple to use, nor as comprehensive, as the online version for Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary used by the Chicago Manual of Style, available at www.m-w.com.

Therefore, TI recommends www.m-w.com for spelling and usage questions not covered in this guide to style and usage or the AP Stylebook.

Capitalization

Capitalization: acronyms

In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization.

Do not capitalize the individual words in the spelled-out version of an acronym unless the words are proper nouns or part of an organization’s name:

  • Workshop Loan Program (WOLOP)

 

Capitalization: job titles

Capitalize formal job titles before a name, but lowercase them and set them off with commas after a name.

Lowercase informal titles, shortened forms of titles or job descriptions:

  • TI Chairman, President and CEO Rich Templeton
  • Rich Templeton, TI chairman, president and CEO
  • Annette Rebus, senior wireless silicon design engineer
  • TI engineer Annette Rebus

If a person’s job title is followed by or includes the name of the TI business unit in which they work, the business unit name is capitalized. However, if the title includes the words “business unit,” “group,” or some other common noun further qualifying the team name, those words are lowercase:

  • Tony Leonard, DLP® test development, Product Integration group

 

Capitalization: TI Technical Ladder

TI Technical Ladder titles are always capitalized. TIers elected to the TI Technical Ladder can include their specific designation either as their sole job title or after their current job title, on its own line.

The steps on the TI Technical Ladder are (listed here in hierarchical order from low to high):

  • Member Group Technical Staff
  • Senior Member Technical Staff
  • Distinguished Member Technical Staff
  • TI Fellow
  • TI Senior Fellow
  • TI Principal Fellow

Although TI Technical Ladder titles are commonly abbreviated (MGTS, SMTS, DMTS, Sr. Fellow, etc.), they should be spelled out, as many readers may not know the abbreviations.

 

Capitalization: headlines

A headline is:

  • A phrase at the beginning of a document that summarizes the content that follows
  • Words at the beginning of section that introduce or categorize

These kinds of TI communications use headlines:

  • Advertisements
  • News releases
  • Infolink stories
  • Contributed articles
  • Newsletter articles
  • Trade show graphics
  • Blast emails

The rule for capitalizing headlines is to capitalize only the first word and proper nouns. This practice is also called “downstyle” and has been proven in eye-tracking studies to positively influence both readability and clicking behavior because it allows readers to scan and absorb text quickly.

  • You’ve never seen math and science like this before

For consistency, you should apply the same treatment you used in your headline to any subheads. For example, a subhead on a web page or in an email should be downstyle.

Do not capitalize the second part of a hyphenated word in a downstyle headline unless it’s a proper noun:

  • Student wins all-American collegiate math honor

 

Capitalization: composition titles

A composition title is:

  • The distinguishing name of a written, printed or filmed production

These kinds of TI communications use composition titles:

  • Application notes
  • Books
  • Brochures
  • Data sheets
  • Product bulletins
  • Product clips
  • Selection guides
  • Solution guides
  • User guides
  • White papers

The rule for capitalizing composition titles is to capitalize the first word, all proper nouns, and “principal” words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. This practice is also called “upstyle”:

  • Reaching Common Ground in K–12 Mathematics Education
  • Como Mejorar la Educación de sus Hijos, Guía Para Padres Latinos

Here is the complete list from the AP Stylebook: book titles; computer game titles; movie titles; opera titles; play titles; poem titles; album and song titles; radio and television program titles; and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.

Apply the same treatment you used in your composition title to any subtitles.

In regular text, put quotation marks around composition titles (except for session titles — this is an exception to AP style). Do not put quotation marks around reference books such as almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks. Do not use quotation marks around software programs such as WordPerfect or websites like Facebook.

 

Capitalization: publication names

Capitalize the common words in a publication’s name only if it is part of its formal name. Check the publication’s masthead or website to determine its preferred usage. Lowercase words such as “the” or “magazine” according to the publication’s convention:

  • TI | Nspiring Times
  • eCampus News
  • EdTech Show Daily
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Numbers

Numbers: general guidelines

Spell out whole numbers below 10:

  • View up to two entries and results simultaneously.

Use numerals for 10 and above:

  • The TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator supports six different graph styles and 15 colors to differentiate graphs from one another.

Similarly, spell out first through ninth and use numerals starting with 10th:

  • Place values display from hundredths through thousandths.
  • District averages for Title I students showed improvement from 63%–80% for students in seventh and eighth grades.

Do not superscript the “st,” “nd,” “rd” or “th” in an ordinal number.

 

Numbers: above and below 10

Apply the appropriate guidelines when text includes numbers above and below 10:
  • Enjoy access to the TI-Cares™ Knowledge Base 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Investigate what happens when you multiply 111 times a two-digit number with a digit sum greater than nine.

 

Numbers: exceptions to spelling out numbers

Always use numerals with currency, percentages, ratios, dimensions, proportions, sizes, speeds, and millions and billions:
  • Purchase a TI-Nspire™ CX CAS graphing calculator for as low as $199.99 online.
  • A $1 million grant
  • District averages for Title I students showed improvement from 63% of students demonstrating proficiency as seventh grade students to nearly 80% of those same students reaching proficient levels as eighth graders.

In third-party session guides (NSTA, NCTM, CAMT, etc.), leave grade numbers in titles and/or descriptions as is. Examples: “Grades 5–8;” “grades 7 and 8”

 

Numbers: commas, decimals, zeros

In numerals greater than 999, U.S. usage calls for commas to set off each group of three numerals (except for years):
  • 5,250
  • 10,000
  • 375,000
For sums in the millions and billions, consider using decimals:
  • $29.1 million
Don’t use extra zeros (.00) with sums of money:
  • Get $1,500 of TI technology, content and professional development — FREE

EXCEPTION: Dollar amounts placed in tabular format (such as on dealer sheets) can retain the “.00.”

 

Numbers: when numbers begin a sentence

Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Eighteen probability distribution functions, including the CDF and PDF for Normal, Binomial, Chi-squared, Geometric, t-, F- and Poisson distributions; Inverse Normal and Chi-squared distribution

Consider revising the sentence if spelling out the numeral is awkward.

Instead of:
  • One hundred twenty-five DPI screen resolution and 16-bit color enables students to visualize complex mathematical concepts.
Revise to:
  • The TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator supports a 125 DPI, 16-bit color display that enables students to visualize complex mathematical concepts.
EXCEPTION
A numeral that identifies a calendar year:
  • 1986 is the year that Professors Bert K. Waits and Franklin Demana initiated a program that has grown into the Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) global professional development community.

 

Numbers: fractions, equations ratios, decimals

Spell out fractions, using hyphens between the words, less than 1:
  • two-thirds
  • four-fifths
  • seven-sixteenths
Unless the fraction is part of an equation:
  • x2 + y2 ≥ 1⁄2 + y

Note from AP Stylebook on equations: Because plus and equals symbols may not transmit through computer systems, an AP news story would write it, one plus one equals two. (For ET purposes, we should never spell out “plus” and “equals” or other operation symbols.)

For ratios, use numerals and hyphens:
  • A 2-1 ratio
  • A ratio of 2-to-1
Use numerals and periods for decimals. Decimalization should not exceed two places in text (not tabular) material.
  • 0.03
  • 9.68

 

Numbers: telephone numbers and “No.”

When writing telephone numbers, use periods to separate numerical groups (this is an exception to AP style):
  • 214.621.1500 (U.S. number)
  • 91.80.41381665 (international number)

Use “No.” as the abbreviation for the word “number” in conjunction with a numeral to indicate position or rank. Note the capital “N”:

  • The sample sizes and interventions of these studies are summarized in Table No. 2.
  • The T3™ International Conference is the world’s No. 1 professional development event to help math and science teachers integrate TI solutions effectively in their classrooms. (Note: elsewhere in any communication using this T3IC form, spell out Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) [noun].)

Numbers: ages

Always use numerals for the ages of people and animals.
  • Forty-eight TIers between ages 22 and 63 and children of TIers as young as 7 competed in 21 events during the competition.
Follow the rules for numbers in all other cases:
  • The T3™ International Conference observed its 25-year anniversary in 2013. (Note: elsewhere in any communication using this T3IC form, spell out Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) [noun].)
A numeral is presumed to be an age when no unit of time is mentioned:
  • The engineer, 35, is the youngest ever to win the award.
Use hyphens for ages when they serve as adjectives:
  • R.J.’s 8-year-old daughter wrote a class paper about Jack Kilby

Numbers: units of measure

Place a space between a numeral and a unit of measure:
  • Processor Speed: 1.2 GHz (Recommended: 2 GHz or higher)
  • 1 GB
Place a hyphen between a numeral and a unit of measure when it modifies a noun, even if the number in question is a negative number or begins with a less-than or greater-than symbol:
  • Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems

Numbers: bits, bytes and kilos

A lowercase “b” stands for “bit.” An uppercase “B” stands for “byte.”

A lowercase “k” stands for “kilo,” meaning 1,000. A capital “K” also stands for “kilo,” but is often used to mean 1,024.

Here are the TI standard ways to abbreviate data rates:

  • kb = kilobit
  • KB = kilobyte
  • Mb = megabit
  • MB = megabyte
  • Gb = gigabit
  • GB = gigabyte

   To write “per second,” add the lowercase letters “ps” to the data rates above: Mbps, Gbps, etc.


Numbers: time and ranges of time

Use numerals (except for noon and midnight), separating the hours and minutes with a colon. Use the abbreviations a.m. and p.m. (note the periods):
  • 9:30 a.m.
For a range of times, either “from” or “to” or an en dash is acceptable, although “from” and “to” is more clear:
  • The session will run from 3 to 4 p.m.
  • The session will run from 3 – 4 p.m.
  • The session will run from noon – 2 p.m

    Note: Per our style (an exception to AP), for notations of time, we add a space before and after the en dash. (See Dashes for more information.)

When referencing time zones in the U.S., use the terms U.S. Central time, U.S. Eastern time, U.S. Mountain time and U.S. Pacific time. Do not include whether it is standard or daylight time or use abbreviations indicating this (CDT, CST). This alleviates complications that often arise during the conversion to and from daylight saving time.

 

Numbers: ranges, percent

Use an en dash or the word “to” when indicating ranges of numbers.
  • District averages for Title I students showed improvement from 63%–80% percent for students in seventh and eighth grades.

    Note: With percents, no spaces on either side of the en dash. (See Dashes for more information.)

Use the word “through” when indicating a range that includes a negative number:
  • -32,767 through -1
Use the percent symbol (%) in most instances. Per TI corporate, spell out the word “percent” in text only for news releases or very formal documents.
  • District averages for Title I students showed improvement from 63% of students demonstrating proficiency as seventh grade students to nearly 80% of those same students reaching proficient levels as eighth-graders.

Numbers: dates

Use figures when writing dates and years. Do not use ordinals such as 1st, 2nd and 3rd:
  • March 7, July 31
  • 1930, 2007
When a date includes the month, day and year, abbreviate those months that have more than six letters: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Nov. and Dec.
  • Deadlines: March 1, June 1, Sept. 1 and Dec. 1.
Do not abbreviate the month when only the year is included:
  • October 1935

   Do not include the year in a date if it is clear from context that you are talking about the current year.

Set off dates that include a day of the week, month, date and year with commas if the date appears in the middle of a sentence:

  • The next T3™ International Conference is scheduled for March 23–25, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Note: elsewhere in any communication using this T3IC form, spell out Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) [noun].)
Follow U.S. or European conventions for dates based on where your primary audience resides. Do not set off European-constructed dates with commas:
  • The London conference will take place 19 Dec.
  • The project’s 31 Jan. 2004 deadline could not be extended.
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Abbreviations and Proper Names

Proper names: people

Refer to both men and women by first and last name, without courtesy titles, on first reference.

For second and subsequent references, the rules vary.

For internal communications, refer to TIers by their first name and non-TIers by their last name. For example:

  • Peter Balyta, Ph.D., is vice president of academic engagement and corporate citizenship for Texas Instruments, and president of its Education Technology business. Use Peter Balyta on first reference; Peter on subsequent references.
  • Steven Schlozman, M.D., a Harvard Medical School professor, is Steven Schlozman, M.D., on first reference; Schlozman on subsequent references.

For external communications, refer to both TIers and non-TIers by last name on second and subsequent references.

Abbreviations: people

Use the courtesy titles Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. only in direct quotations or Miss, Ms. or Mrs. in second or subsequent references when a woman specifically requests it.

Abbreviate courtesy, legislative, military and religious titles when used before a full name:

  • Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (D-Texas) was supportive of the proposal.
  • Retired Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders knows what it takes to be a leader.

Abbreviate junior or senior after a name. Do not place a comma between the name and the abbreviation:

  • Charles Russell Jr. from UT Dallas was a runner-up in the Vision for Voice contest.

Proper names: organizations

Because an organization name may differ slightly from a word entry as it appears in the AP Stylebook or in our preferred dictionary (www.m-w.com), always look up the organization name on its website and follow its example:

  • BeagleBoard.org (but Beagle Board when referring to the product)
  • SpaceX
  • eBay (lowercase the “e” unless it begins a sentence)

Proper names: capitalization

If a descriptive noun describing the organization is not part of the organization’s name, do not capitalize it:

  • TI | Nspiring Times newsletter
  • eCampus News magazine
  • EdTech Show Daily magazine

Capitalize common nouns only when they are an integral part of the full name of an organization:

  • TI Education Technology hopes to increase educator engagement at the T3™ International Conference. (Note: elsewhere in any communication using this T3IC form, spell out Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) [noun].)

Lowercase common-noun elements of proper names in all plural uses:

  • TI-Nspire™ graphing calculators provide advanced education technology that enables students to visualize connections among important concepts in math and science.

Proper names: products

Capitalize the proper name of a product. In regular text (not composition titles), if a descriptive noun describing the product is not part of the product’s name, do not capitalize it:

  • TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator
  • TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition graphing calculator
  • TI-Nspire™ and TI-Nspire™ CAS Teacher Software

Abbreviations: organizations

Abbreviate the words company, corporation, incorporated and limited when used after the name of a corporate entity. The proper abbreviations are Co., Corp., Inc. and Ltd.

Companies based outside of the U.S. sometimes append their names with the abbreviations Pty Ltd. This stands for proprietary limited. Pty rarely takes a period. Ltd may or may not take a period; look up the organization’s website and follow its example.

EXCEPTION: The full, formal name of the company is Texas Instruments Incorporated (with no comma between “Instruments” and “Incorporated”). Do not abbreviate “Incorporated” as “Inc.” Write it in its full form or leave it off completely.

Proper names: Texas Instruments

You can make Texas Instruments possessive by adding an apostrophe, but it’s almost always clearer and more natural to abbreviate to “TI’s,” use Texas Instruments as a modifier, or simply recast the sentence.

INCORRECT: Texas Instrument’s new fab is now up and running.

ACCEPTABLE: Texas Instruments’ new fab is now up and running.

BETTER: The newest Texas Instruments fab is now up and running.

BEST: TI’s new fab is now up and running. Texas Instruments recently opened its newest fab.

Abbreviations: months

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.

  • January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8. Feb. 14, 1987, was the target date. She testified that it was Friday, Dec. 3, when the accident occurred.

When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.

In tabular material, use these three-letter forms without a period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Abbreviations: states

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.

  • TI’s New Hampshire site reopened Thursday after the site was flooded earlier this week.
  • The next T3™ International Conference is scheduled for March 23–25, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Note: elsewhere in any communication using this T3IC form, spell out Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) [noun].)

Place one comma between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence or indicating a dateline:

  • Texas Instruments Incorporated is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and was founded in the 1950s.

If using in a dateline, abbreviate all states, except the following: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

Use the two-letter state postal abbreviation only in mailing addresses.

Abbreviations: general

Abbreviate words using capital letters and periods according to the listings in the AP Stylebook, using our preferred dictionary (www.m-w.com) as a backup reference.

Use periods in these two-letter abbreviations:

  • U.S. (even on first reference)
  • U.K. (even on first reference)
  • B.C.
  • A.D.

Abbreviations: acronyms/initialisms

An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words:

  • Workshop Loan Program (WOLOP)
  • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

Do not use acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize. Conversely, there is no need to cite an acronym if the term will be used only once in the communication.

Omit periods in acronyms unless the result would spell an unrelated word.

The AP Stylebook says, “do not follow an organization's full name with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses … if an abbreviation would not be clear on second reference without this arrangement, do not use it.”

The Stylebook also notes, however, that “many abbreviations are desirable in tabulations and certain types of technical writing.” Because of this, TI diverges from AP on this point, listing acronyms after their spelled-out versions on first reference.

Always place the acronym after its definition, not before.

EXCEPTION: Widely known abbreviations such as PC, R&D and GUI are acceptable on first reference. You do not have to spell them out.

Abbreviations: number agreement

An abbreviation in parentheses should agree in number with the spelled-out version preceding it:

  • The new technology supports critical science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum requirements.

Beware of abbreviations such as FAQ, in which the final word abbreviated is already plural. It is only necessary to write FAQs with an “s” when referring to several discrete sets of frequently asked questions:

  • The site’s FAQ on TI-Nspire™ learning and teaching technology is popular, but it also features FAQs dealing with professional development and classroom activities.

Abbreviations: contractions

Contractions are acceptable in TI English-language communications and even desirable when seeking an informal tone:

  • It’s the right thing to do and has always been a part of TI’s culture — to know what’s right and do what’s right.

Abbreviations: resources

If you need to find out what an abbreviation or acronym stands for, see:

Note that these two lists capitalize each word of a spelled-out abbreviation just as a convention. Remember to lowercase common nouns.

  • TI’s preferred dictionary (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition) also includes some common abbreviations: www.m-w.com
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Punctuation

Apostrophes

Many exceptions exist when using apostrophes to form possessives. In general, however, apply these rules:

If a singular or plural common noun does not end with the letter s, add ’s to form a possessive:

  • This customer’s specifications
  • Women’s advancement

If a common plural noun or a proper singular noun ends with the letter s, add only an apostrophe:

  • Manufacturers’ published information
  • Texas Instruments’ TI-Nspire™ Student Software

If ownership of what is possessed is joint (and equal), add ’s only after the second word:

  • TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator TI-Nspire™ Student Software’s functionality enables students to visualize complex math concepts.

Bullets

While the Associated Press does not use bullets, our style is to utilize the “>>” bullet symbol. Also, do not use periods at the end of each section, regardless of whether it is a full sentence or a phrase.”

  • Here you will find quick reference cards on the following topics:
    • Phone instructions
    • LCDs
    • Projectors

Colons

Use a colon to introduce a list.

The powerful CAS engine is optimized for iPad® so students can:

  • Symbolically solve equations
  • Factor and expand variable expressions
  • Complete the square
  • More

Capitalize the first word after a colon if the word starts a complete sentence:

  • This fictitious scenario forces us to imagine: What will you be able to do in the wireless world of 2012?

You can also use a colon for emphasis rather than an em dash:

  • When you see a movie digitally, you see that movie the way its creators intended you to see it: with incredible clarity and detail.

Use a colon, not a comma, before long quotations within a paragraph, or when introducing a quotation:

  • Toward the end of the roundtable, Gregg addressed Suresh’s question: “Yes.”

Commas: in a series

Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before “and” or another conjunction in a simple series:

  • Multiple representations of expressions in problems are presented simultaneously, enabling students to visualize how algebraic, graphical, geometric, numeric and written forms of those expressions relate to one another.
EXCEPTIONS

When an integral element of the series contains a conjunction (like “and” or “or”):

  • The TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator’s built-in math applications provide Calculator, Graphs, Geometry, Notes, Data & Statistics, and Lists & Spreadsheet functionality.

When the elements in the series are complex phrases:

  • If you decide to elect a 2007 lump-sum distribution, you must initiate the pension payment process, retire from TI by Nov. 1, and properly submit the pension election authorization form.

Commas: separating adjectives

Use commas to separate a series of adjectives equal in rank. If the commas could be replaced by the word “and” without changing the sense, the adjectives are equal:

  • The T3™ International Conference provides educators with three days of hands-on, high-energy professional development. (Note: elsewhere in any communication using this T3IC form, spell out Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T3™) [noun].)

Do not use a comma when the last adjective before a noun outranks its predecessors. It is an integral element of a noun phrase, which is the equivalent of a single noun:

  • Dynamically linked multiple representations

For clarity and easy translation, minimize the number of adjectives in noun phrases. Pick only one or two of the most important qualities or features when initially describing a TI product.

Dashes

People often use a dash in situations in which a colon is more appropriate. Dashes are most often called for in the following situations:

Use an em dash (PC: Alt + 0151; Mac: Shift + Option + ) to indicate an abrupt change in a sentence:

  • Texas Instruments offers free webinars throughout the year — about once a week — to help educators use TI technology effectively.

When a phrase that would be set off by commas contains words that must be separated by commas:

  • Import digital images — including your own photos in .jpg, .jpeg, .bmp and .png formats — and overlay graphs and equations on them to see math at work in the real world.

An en dash (PC: Alt + 0150; Mac: Option + ) is used for ranges of numbers. (See time and percent/ranges for more in-depth information.) Per our style (an exception to AP), for notations of time only, we add a space before and after the en dash.

  • The session will run from 3 – 4 p.m.
  • District averages for Title I students showed improvement from 63%–80% for students in seventh and eighth grades.

Note: Do not confuse hyphens with dashes. (See hyphens for more information.)

Ellipses

In general, treat an ellipsis as a word, constructed with spaces on either side of the three periods.

Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that would distort the meaning:

  • “When I’m watching sports [on a DLP® TV] it’s like I’m back in the huddle,” Howie Long said, “except it’s my wife beside me instead of some ... ugly defensive lineman.”

Exclamation points

Exclamation marks express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion.

Avoid exclamation points in business writing. If a sentence is mildly exclamatory, use a period.

INCORRECT

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Hyphens

When a compound modifier (two or more words that express a single concept) precedes a noun, use hyphens between the words to improve clarity:

  • Real-world scenarios
  • Hands-on learning tool

The two major exceptions are constructions with the adverb very and adverbs that end in the suffix ly:

  • Dynamically linked documents
  • Highly optimized cache

Do use suspensive hyphenation:

  • Experts debated real- versus virtual-world scenarios.
  • Educators may choose from one- or two-day professional development seminars.

Formatting footnotes

Occasionally we need to use footnotes for information that needs to be called out from the text, including disclaimers. Since AP Style does not use footnotes, please use the following format for footnotes referenced in text and then called out at the bottom of a document/web page: one asterisk, followed by two asterisks, followed by a dagger, followed by a double dagger (this is different than two daggers).

This would look like this:
*
**

Parentheses

If a sentence must contain incidental material, commas or dashes are frequently more effective. On occasion, however, parentheses are the only effective means of inserting necessary background or reference information.

  • Spectral efficiency measures the data throughput of a standard against the theoretical maximum efficiency (as bounded by physics).

Place a period outside the closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a complete sentence (such as this fragment). (Place a period inside the closing parenthesis if the aside is a complete sentence, like this one.)

Periods

Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence:

INCORRECT

  • Mozilla has a built-in news reader. Internet Explorer uses Outlook Express as its news reader.

CORRECT

  • Mozilla has a built-in news reader. Internet Explorer uses Outlook Express as its news reader.

Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks:

  • “We have to come up with breakthrough products that allow our customers to enable new applications and differentiate products in the marketplace,” Mike said. “We have an unbounded opportunity for growth if we do our job right.”

Question and answer format

Do not use quotation marks when formatting text in a question-and-answer format.

Start a new paragraph for each question and its respective answer. Use “Q” and “A” followed by a colon:

  • Q: As one of our preferred suppliers, how have you leveraged your relationship with TI to market your business to others?
  • A: We always reference our business relationship with TI to prospective customers.

Quotation marks

Use quotation marks to surround the exact words of a speaker or writer:

Start a new paragraph for each question and its respective answer. Use “Q” and “A” followed by a colon:

  • The AP Stylebook editor wrote, “If a full paragraph of quoted material is followed by a paragraph that continues the quotation, do not put closing quotation marks at the end of the first paragraph.

    “Do, however, put opening quotation marks at the start of the second paragraph.”

Another use for quotation marks is around an unfamiliar word or phrase:

  • The new process employs “wet lithography,” a recent innovation required by ever-shrinking architectures.

Do not put subsequent references to unfamiliar words in quotation marks or use quotation marks for colloquial language.

Semicolons

Use semicolons to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can convey, but less than the separation that a period implies:

  • TIers worldwide should comply with TI values and ethics and with the “Code of Business Conduct”; managers are held accountable for this compliance.

The most common use of semicolons is in separating items in a series when any of those items include a comma:

  • This includes dramatic improvements in visualization; support for research-proved learning strategies; conceptual mastery; and improved student outcomes.

Note that the semicolon is proper before the final “and” in such a series.

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