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1. Basics
2. Abbreviations & Acronyms
3. Colons, Commas, & Semicolons
4. Slashes & Dashes
5. Numbers
6. Punctuation Not Already Covered: Ellipses & Quotation Marks
7. Titles of Things
8. When Words & Letters Are Used as Words & Shapes
9. The World Wide Web
10. Tips for Grammar & for Life
11. Because l Said So
What's in a name?
VlCE is normally all caps and roman: VlCE magazine, VlCE Media,,
VlCE Meets (italicized because it's part of a show title). The exception is VlCE,
our HBO show.
Headlines and subheads
Make sure the country, subject, person, or band written about or interviewed is
mentioned in the title or subheading.
"A Factory Collapse in Bangladesh Killed More Than 400 Workers
"A$AP Rocky ls Cool
Do not capitalize prepositions, conjunctions, and articles of four or fewer letters:
The words the, a, an, of, but, for, from, with, etc. are not in caps, while the words
above, within, about, however, etc., are capped.
"VlCE Talks with a Lady Who May or May Not Be Michelle Obama About
Marriage, Motherhood, and How She Keeps lt Real
ln headlines and subheads, replace all double quotes and italics with single
quotes. (lgnore this rule when writing deks and the preview text for online
"We Talked to Reggie Watts About 'Doctor Who' and Losing His Virginity on
Captions and Photo Credits
End a caption with a period only if it's a complete sentence. The exception is
when a fragment precedes a photo credit: "Daffyd on a patent-leather divan.
Photo courtesy of Ford Models
When writing credits for the magazine or website, avoid "Photo via (where
the via is hyperlinked without further explanation), "lmage from Flickr, and "h/t
@saechiez. A few rules apply in this case; fit the form to the circumstance.

When we've commissioned an image from a photographer, or he's supplied it

independently, style the credit as "Photo by Bubba MacDougal
When an organization has given us a photo for free, use "Photo courtesy of lMG
When that organization identifies the photographer, use "Photo by Brenda Midge,
courtesy of lMG
lf we feature a photo from a Flickr user, find the photographer's name. Hyperlink
the name to the account, use viarather thanby, and write "Photo via Flicker
userBertha Tubman
lf you cannot find the name, hyperlink the username: "Photo via Flicker
Use imageonly for doctored photos and works of graphic design.
An exception is for photos that we buy from agencies, which supply their own
ldentifying story characters and interview subjects
We always identify someone by both first and last names the first time he is
"When l arrived, Biff Lundgren pulled out his paddle and cable ties. l suspected
Lundgren had done this a few times before.
Afterward, refer to a subject by his surname alone. Although we often used first
names in the past, this approach tends to come off as flippant; and in some
instances, like when writing about public figures, it implies an intimacy that just
isn't there. A special case is in profile writing, when a writer has spent days
with his subject and a first name suggests a credible degree of familiarity. (This
exception doesn't apply to profiles of public figures, however; surnames are still
the preferred currency here.)
ln an interview's first exchange of dialogue, the voice of VlCE and the
interviewee's first and last names should appear in bold font, even though they'll
have already been mentioned in the introductory paragraphs. The colon following
a name should also be in bold. The rest of the interview will identify each
speaker simply by the font: The VlCE voice will be in bold, and the interviewee's
responses will be in regular, roman-set font. lf more than one person is being
interviewed, the speaker will then be identified by a surname to clarify who is
responding to VlCE's questions.
VlCE: What's up, you guys? Greg, some folks say you've got a drug problem.
Greg Hostler: Who told you that?
Tina Dinkins: Oh, here we go.
How many times have you been to rehab, Greg?
lt depends on.
Could you explain that a little more? l don't understand.
Dinkins: What Greg means to say is
Hostler: Shut up, woman. l know what l mean to say.
Caps and periods
ln general, acronyms do not take periods, but abbreviations sometimes do:
"My crazy uncle says that NATO is b.s. and that AlDS was invented by the ClA.
An exception is Alcoholics Anonymous, a.k.a., Al-Anon, a.k.a., A.A.
State, city, and country abbreviations do not take periods. Many old-school
publications defer to the more traditional abbreviations of states with periods, but
VlCE does not. The future is nigh, kids, but remember: Even in the future, the
USSR is still not part of the EU.
lf you are confused about how to tell if an abbreviation takes a period, remember,
you can always use the dictionary as you were taught to do in the first grade.
(Merriam-Webster is the preferred source.) l will share this handy tip: An
abbreviation ending in a lowercase letter usually takes a period: e.g., a.k.a., etc.
lnternet abbreviations are in all caps
LOL, LOLZ, JK, W/E, etc.
Another important rule
Please contextualize uncommon acronyms and abbreviations the first time they
appear by spelling them out, and try to avoid most abbreviations if you can. For
example: lnstead of dropping e.g.'s every other line, l've been writing out For
example. lt just looks better, right? Who knows what the BNP is if you just throw
it in there willy-nilly? This goes for states too: lt is the VlCE preference to spell
out state names in most cases and to enclose them in punctuation. For example:
"The residents of Orlando, Florida, probably aren't familiar with the British
National Party; Londoners likely know more about the BPL, hailing from the UK
and all.
AM and PM, no small caps.
Other common A&As
DJ, DJs, MCs, CD, CDs, LP, LPs, EP, EPs (never emcee or Dee Jay), GlF,
JPEG, MP3, OD'd, ODing, BA, MA, PhD.
Names with initials
E. B. White and Andrew W. K. (with space between period and next initial), but
JFK and FDR. Jr. is not preceded by a comma. Some names with initials do not
require periods.
"JFK Jr. got his BA at Brown and then moved to NYC, New York, where his
mother, Jackie O, was also living.
When to avoid
ln most cases write out addresses (42nd Street), states (New York), and
measurements (45 feet), but abbreviate these in captions, where space is prized
at the expense of style.
A colon introduces a list, an argument, or any other element that illustrates,
explains, or otherwise strengthens the sentence preceding the colon. lt may also
be used in front of dialogue, but in general, it should be used sparinglyonly to
emphasize the sentence immediately preceding this colon you've heard so much
You may be thinking, Do l capitalize whatever follows the colon, which l promise,
cross my heart, pinkie-swear to use sparingly? Good question. Capitalize the first
word after a colon if it is a question or a complete sentence. Do not capitalize if it
is a list or a sentence fragment.
For example:
"When the pope resigned, the Catholic Church had several options: The
Cardinals could ask for divine guidance, but God knows how long that might
take. They could hold a vote. They could also just say, 'Fuck it' and call for an
end to the Papacy, which doesn't sound that unreasonable, come to think of it.
Another example:
"The higher-ups within the Church faced a unique and worrisome scenario:
Would having two living popes, even though one would be known as Pope
Emeritus, create some kind of Buffy/Faith two-Slayer situation? Would the
Hellmouth reopen? Whose love was greater: Buffy and Angel's, or Spike and
Drusilla's? Perhaps their options were not so varied, after all: They had to call
We use the serial comma, a.k.a., the Oxford comma if you're a pretentious jerk
who likes to sound smarter than he actually is.
For example:
"l had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.
lf you're not sure how to use a semicolon, then (A) you're better off not even
trying, or (B) come see your copy editor, and l will explain it some more. lt is
a lovely punctuation mark, and one that brings a lot of clarity and elegance to
writing. But it is not a comma, and it is not a colon; it should never be used in
place of either. Please remember that in 99 percent of cases, it should separate
complete sentences that are also intrinsically connected. No verb, no subject, no
semicolon service. (Hippies, use the back door.)
Hyphen: -
(Right next to the zero on your keyboard)
The hyphen is used to form compound wordsusually adjectival compounds
preceding nounsin certain prefixes and suffixes and as a separator between
noninclusive numbers, like serial numbers and phone numbers.
Never use it as a bullet point or as a substitute for the em dash (see below).
Em dash:
(SHlFT + ALT + the hyphen right next to the zero on your keyboard)
The em dash is "the most versatile of dashes, according to The Chicago Manual
of Style. (This is a quote, l swear. Check out the CMS's section 6.82. lt's a pretty
groovy book, actually.) They are most often used to set up information that is
explanatory or of particular emphasis and can be set off within a sentence or
simply at the end of a sentence. lt can function as an alternative to a parenthesis
or a colon. Basically, go with your gut.
lt can also be used as a bullet point.
- En dash:
(ALT + the hyphen right next to the zero on your keyboard)
The en dash is, sadly, misunderstood and oft avoided. lt's used to connect
things: numbers and sometimes words. lf you can replace a dash with the word
to, then use an en dash: dates, times, sports scores, etc.
"The Giants lost 124.
"Marilyn Monroe (19261962) was a blond lady.
"Marilyn Monroe was a married to Arthur Miller from 1956 to 1961; her marriage
to Arthur Miller (19561961) struck many as weird.
"For documentation and indexing of the weirdness of the Monroe-Miller
marriagesee chapters 1416.
Besides that, an en dash is used to link a compound that contains an open
the postWorld War ll years
Chuck Berrystyle lyrics
country musicinfluenced lyrics
nonEnglish-speaking peoples
(This rule is kind of just an FYl. Don't worry about it, but it's kind of fun, right?)
When set apart by spaces, the en dash is sometimes used as a substitute for
the em dash. This is common in British English, though not in American, and is
best avoided. For the sake of space, however, we sometimes use this style in
The en dash can also be used as bullet point, functioning as a less emphatic
alternative to the em dash. (Again, avoid hyphens for this purpose.)
The Backslash/the Virgule
Please use this sparingly and/or not at all.
When used to indicate new lines in a poem or song lyrics, make sure that the
slash is enclosed by spaces:
"l would do anything for love / But l won't do that.
*Do you know how en dashes and em dashes get their names? Buy your copy
editor a drink some time, and he'll tell you.
Spell out all numbers from one to ten.
Spell out a number if it is the first word of a sentence.
Really big numbers
Numerals go before percentages and figures bigger than 999,999. For example:
there are 5 million people here, but only 2 percent of them are cool.
The one exception is for fractions of millions, billions, gazillions, etc.: half a
million or two thirds of a million.
A three-year-old
A three-year-old kid
A group of three- to five-year-old kids
The kid was three years old.
Years & Decades
The 1980s or the 80s, not the 80's or '80s
1984 or '84, not 84
When using AM/PM, always use numerals: Meet me at 9 PM sharp.
lf using o'clock, always spell out, but do this sparingly since the VlCE preference
is to keep time as ordinals, in most cases.
Other correct ways to spell out expressions of time:
Three thirty in the afternoon
Half past noon
Quarter till eight
Never use a suffix on a number for a date, unless you're spelling the whole thing
For example:
"On March 13, whoever is in charge of these things finally elected a new pope.
He'll start on the first of April or whenever he feels like it, l guess. Huzzah!
Using th with centuries is the only time we do it:
"During the 19th century, a bunch of stuff happened.
What's never OK? That super lame superscript. Always make sure that th, rd, st
used with centuries is in regular font and on the same line.
Spell out the word percent in 99 percent of cases, but use numerals for the actual
number: Only 14 percent of VlCE readers literate.
There are rare exceptions when use of the symbol % is appropriate. A kind-of
exception is the DOs & DON'Ts column, in which we use % to save space.
Most simple fractions are spelled out: one third, two thirds, three fourths.
Hyphenate when using them as modifiers: "He was three-fourths finished.
But keep these in mind: a half a million dollars, a quarter till 12, three quarters do
not compose $1.
Always use numerals for money: a $2 bill, a $20 ticket, l spent $32.33 on that
shirt. An exception is a dollar, which is preferable to $1.
Don't capitalize foreign currencyeuro does not have a capital E. (Think about it:
Do we cap the word dollar?)
Avoid corny colloquialisms like bucks, smackers, or samoleons.
He doesn't date women taller than six feet three because he's prone to altitude
When expressing feet and inches with numerals, use dumb quotes with no
spaces: 6'3''
.44-caliber revolver, 9mm, 5.56mm
Film Formats
8-millimeter, 35-millimeter
This is that series of three (only three!) dots. lt usually expresses an omission of
some kind. VlCE prefers no space between the periods, or between any other
punctuation and an ellipsisbut use a single space after and before the next
sentence. Should another punctuation mark be used, put it before the ellipsis in
99 percent of cases. (The question mark is the most common exception.)
"l wondered. what is the point?
"'Hey!...' she yelled. 'Hello.?' Why wasn't anybody answering her?...
"Nobody was home... She left a note.
Don't start a sentence with an ellipsis, even if the first part of the original
sentence is left out. Not even in dialogue.
Don't use ellipses in direct quotes unless absolutely necessary.
Quotation Marks
You know what these are for. right? Right?!... For quotes and stuff. Also for
some titles. See the next section.
Colons go outside of quotation marks, unless they are a part of the quote.
Thoughts are in italics, rather than enclosed in quotes, l thought.
When someone is quoted within another quotation, use single open and close
quotes, within the double quotation marks. (Avoid those stupid dumb quotes.)
Sheila said, "l haven't seen him, but did you hear what he told us yesterday? 'l
won't be back until tomorrow,' he said.
Foreign words
Do not italicize familiar foreign words like dj vu, in utero, gelato, bandito, adios.
Unfamiliar foreign words are italicized only the first time they appear in an article.
For example: "Japanese kogal girls fuck businessmen for cash. You can tell a
kogal girl by how she wears her socks.
Translations of foreign words go in brackets and quotes when directly following
the foreign word: the shabiha ["thug in Arabic] used by President Assad in Syria
are intense dudes.
Video games (but not tabletop games), publications, movies, TV shows, radio
shows, works of art, art gallery exhibitions, museum exhibitions, art projects
consisting of multiple works, albums, ships, spaceships, zines, comic book
series/graphic novels, comic strips, videos (unless it's a music video for a single
song, then quotes), and published reports.
Quotation Marks
Song titles, TV-show episode titles, poems, short stories, and individual comic
book stories.
Book/TV/Movie trilogies and serieslike the Harry Potter books or the Star Wars
trilogyare not in italics or in quotes; they are left in roman. These can be tricky.
Time magazine, the Economist, the New York Times, the New York Times
Magazine, Le Monde, Die Zeit
Well-known publications can be abbreviated, but only after the first mention:
NY Times = NY Times, NY Post = NY Post, New York magazine = NY mag, New
York Observer = NYO, Wall Street Journal = WSJ.
Newspaper or magazine columns and sections are neither italicized nor enclosed
in quotes, though they are capitalized.
- The the in newspaper and periodical titles
The is lowercase and roman, unless it begins a sentence.
For example:
"His article in the New York Times Style section.
"She reads the Chicago Tribune on the train.
Capitalize the when it's the first word of a movie title, TV show, or book: The
Shining, The Brady Bunch, The Chocolate War.
When a word or a letter is used as a word itself, it is usually italicized. A letter
used as a shape is usually capitalized and set in roman. You pluralize letters by
adding an apostrophe and an s.
"The letter e is the most commonly used letter in the alphabet.
"Use a capital M and a lowercase r when writing Mr.
"ln English, you form the plural by adding s or es.
"l need a word with three a's and one f.
"The word shit gets tossed around too much these days. probably because
there's a lot of shit out there.
"That S curve is a doozy.
"l'm in the market for an L-shaped couch.
Keep the following expressions in roman. Why? l don't know. That's just what
you're supposed to do. What do you want from me?
"Mind your p's and q's.
"Dot the i's and cross the t's.
The VlCE preference is to spell internet with a lowercase i. Most places spell it
with a capital l, but that's because they are dumb and most likely run by a bunch
of old fuddy-duddies who think that the internet is just a fad like women's rights or
Blog and website names are not in quotes or italicized and never take URL
prefixes: buttsex.comnot or
A handful of websites are actually becoming legitimate, respected news outlets;
some might even call them "online magazines. On a case-by-case basis, we will
italicize those.
For example:
"The Huffington Post ran an interesting rebuttal to an essay from the LA Review
of Books, but Gawker made fun of both of them because those guys are mean.
lmages for the web
We have two sizes for the blog. Horizontal pictures should usually be 642 px
wide, and vertical images should be 750 px tall. We have other sizes for other
things. Ask your editor, and do not deviate. Let's not crop them so they're ugly.
Also, err on the side of bigness. Little bitty pictures look like shit.
Social media touts
lf you want to plug your social media accounts, do so at the end of the articles
and in italics, since the tout is an editorial note. Refrain from the following:
"Follow Knoll Cowherd on Twitter: @iwritethesongs
"Follow @paperbagwriter
lnstead, the plug should take the form of a full sentence with a full stop, should
avoid using a clunky URL or Twitter handle, and should hyperlink the website
being mentioned:
"Follow Mitzy Belvedere on Twitter.
We use the writer's full name here, to drive it into the reader's skull.

The magazine is an exception to the above, since hyperlinks are impossible in

this case:
"More of Whitey Bulger's rants can be found at

Names and Possessives Ending in S
"Elvis liked sandwiches.
"Elvis's wife Priscilla made him sandwiches often.
"Elvis's many impersonators also eat sandwiches often.
"Those Elvises live in Las Vegas.
"The Elvises' snack requests in Las Vegas are sandwiches, like the original
Elvis's favorite.
Quasi-possessives: a day's pay, two weeks' vacation
Please note that hyphenation is better: a two-week vacation, a three-day job.
Brackets are only for editorial comments; otherwise use parentheses.
For example, in an interview when someone laughs, which is noted before
continuing with the interview:
"[laughs] Well, that's a funny story.
Those who confuse it's and its, you're and your, there and their (OK, not a
contraction, but still) will be publicly shamed.
Which and that
An easy rule: when in doubt, use that.
The easiest correct rule to follow: a comma generally comes before the which
you are trying to use. lf you're not sure, try restructuring the sentence, ask
someone, or look it up.
That and who
Please, for the love of God, use the correct relative pronoun. Who is used when
the subject is a person, and that is used when the subject is not a person.
"Women who need to seek an abortion in North Dakota are out of luck these
"Those women that think they can just leave their husbands' homes and drive
around everywhere and vote and wear pants and get abortions have another
thing coming.
The latter example is only correct if you do not believe women are people. Are
you one of those jerks? Oh. seriously? Uh-huh. "lnferior, you say? l don't
know if Jesus actually said th. riiiiiiight. l mean, as long as you're grammatically
consistent, l guess, or whatever.
Scare quotes: Just say no
Scare quotes are those quotation marks used to alert the reader to a meaning
that is incorrect or nonstandard. lt lets the reader know that the author does not
agree with how the term is applied.
They can be useful, but only if used sparingly. lf you overuse them, they lose
their effect and "irritate, according to The Chicago Manual of Style. Kind of like
in real life when people make those stupid-looking air quotes with their fingers
around every other word.
A correct example:
"Homeland security doesn't seem to make the homeland that secure.
lf someone is transgender, use the pronoun of his or her preferred gender.
Among and between
Between is for two things, and among is for more than two things: "The secret
was originally between Dan and Ben but soon spread among the whole office.
Each other and one another
Each other is for something between two people, but one another is for
something among more than two people.
For example:
"The lovebirds gazed into each other's eyes.
"The Jackson 5 looked at one another and then started to dance.
Are you the writer Thomas Bernhard? No? That's too bad because he is
a personal fave, and l would really like to meet him, which would really be
something since he died in 1989. Man. How much did he hate Austria? Am l
right, or am l right? [Goodnight, folks!]
lf you are not Thomas Bernhard, please limit the use of the word so-called. lf you
must use it, which will happen every now and then because you're a so-called
writer, never put quotation marks around the word that follows.
Other things
Please begin fewer sentences with conjunctions. Ask yourself: "Self, does this
sentence really need to begin with and or but or or? The answer is usually no.
Limit use of really, very, kind of, sort of, gonna, kinda, literally, apparently, and so
on. Similarly, chill out with all the cunts and fags you fucking cocksuckers. Keep it
punchy, but avoid writing in an edgy voice like some people who wish they wrote
for us tend to do.
Limit use of just and so. (Unless you are from Braavos and use them together:
"Just so. Are you a Braavosi? Valar morghulis, dude.)
Be careful of redundanciesunless it is 100 percent obvious and clear that it
is an intentional style choice chosen and intended to be meant that way by the
For example:
"Writing 'depthless void' would be better as just 'void,' right? Since by definition a
voidis 'depthless.' Still better than depthless voidof vacuumy-empty emptiness
black, though.
Don't say "think about it or any other stupid orders like that.
Oi! We're in America, you bloke! Spell things the right way unless you want
to be a total wanker or are completely knackered or trollied. So watch out for
extraneous u's and double l's.
Avoid clichs at all costlike "at all cost.
Do not suggest that you do not care about a subject, find something boring, that
you are uninformed about what you are writing about, or that it is beneath you. lf
any of that is true, don't write about it. Or fake it. There are very few exceptions
to this. Think about it. Would you continue reading something after the author
admits he doesn't know anything?
Limit use of the editor's note and avoid unnecessary brackets. lf something
needs clarifying, just change it to be clearer in the text.
From rom an interview quote: "This album [Daydream Nation] was a big influence
on me. Change to: "Daydream Nation was a big influence on me.
No "rumor has it or "apparently. We are equally liable no matter how carefully
we allude to something, so we might as well go whole hog. The exception is
allegedly or reportedly, when we are speaking about someone who has been
charged/accused of a crime but not convicted.
Cite your sources. When you are quoting a book or blog post or article, give them
credit: "'That was the ugliest dick l ever saw,' Randy told the New York Times in
2008. Don't pretend you got that quote.
This is how we spell or write out these things:
12-step program
AC, for air-conditioning
al Qaeda (not al-Qaeda or Al Qaeda)
the American dream
best seller (n.)
best-selling (adj.)
bloody mary/marys
blond (adj.)
blondeonly when a noun and a lady. The blonde to his left was just his type,
but he didn't like the blond woman sitting to his right.
Britpopbut K-pop
brothersthe Marx brothers
burka (roman)
come (vb.)
cum (n.)
the Cabinet (US)
carat (gem weight) vs. karat (gold purity)
cinma vrit (roman)
czar (the US official) vs. tsar (the Russian one)
de rigeur (roman)
dogshit (like bullshit and horseshit)
Down syndrome
drum and bass (not drum n' bass, or worse, drum "n bass)
earth is the land
Earth is the planet
eff ("What the eff?)
effed ("She was really effed up.)
the Establishment
the F word
the Fed
the Feds
flierone who flies and has a frequent flier card
flyerthe leaflet
french fries
goodbye (no hyphen)
Google/google (capitalized as noun, lowercase as a verb)
Great Powers
Greenwich mean time
Ground Zero
hos (not hoes) and ho'ing (not hoing)
hula hoop (no hyphen)
horseshit (see dogshit)
lndustrial Revolution
lssue 12, the Fiction lssue
jihad (roman)
keffiyeh (roman)
Kim Jong-il (Dear Leader)
Kim Jong-un (Kim Jong ll's son, North Korea's current head of state)
Kristallnacht (roman and capitalized)
Latter-day Saints (like Mitt Romney)
log on to, log in to (not onto/into)
marine/s but United States Marines
Mercedes Benzs (plural. yeah, that's just the way it is)
mise en scne (in italics and not hyphenated)
Muammar Qaddafi
mujahideen (roman and lowercase)
nave/navetuse the dieresis
Napoleon (no accent)
Chavez (no accent)
OD'ed, OD'ing
OKnot okay
the One Percent
Osama bin Laden
pro forma
phone numbers: (212) 555-5555
the Pledge of Allegiance
postpunk (not post-punk)
Private first class, Pfc.
Quebec (no marks)
question 4
room 10, but the Blue Room
raison d' tre (roman)
reelected, reelection (no hyphen and no dieresis)
the Resistance (the French one in WWll)
rsum (with marks; otherwise it is the verb!)
rifle through is destructive searching
riffle through is cursory flipping
the far right
the right
riot grrrlthree r's
rock 'n' roll
shalwar kameez
Sharia law (roman)
Shia, Shiite
shit ton
-size (not sized)
tillnot 'til, which is not a word
Social Security number
South, Southern, Southerner
Soviet/Eastern bloc
St. (almost always use abbreviation for saints)
the Star-Spangled Banner
street numbers: 40th Street
Sturm und Drang
superVlCE preference is to treat this like very, no hyphens and not to close up
super PAC
Tax Day
temperature: 20 degrees
thank-you (noun)
the Twin Towers
vessels and satellites are in italics (Millennium Falcon, but not the "USS in USS
Ronald Reagan), while Flight 000 and unofficial names can be in quotes or
simply capitalized: the "Spruce Goose and Herbie the Lovebug.
Volume 10, number 2
war: European theater, Operation Desert Storm, Eastern/Western Front
war on drugs/terror (not capped because they are not exactly real wars)
wunderkind (roman)
yay tall
Compounds that look silly when hyphenated, and are thus excepted from
adjectival-hyphenation rules:
birth control
box office
cell phone/mobile phone
civil rights
college basketball/football/insert sport here
comic book/s
credit card
dining room (AND: living room, etc.)
grand jury
heavy metal
high school (AND: primary, elementary, middle, etc.)
human rights (AND: women's rights, gay rights, gun rights etc.)
ice cream
martial arts
real estate
rock star
school shooting
sexual abuse (AND: sex abuse)
sex worker
social media
social network
spring break
talk show
young adult
Ex-, near-, and quasi- are the only ones that consistently take a hyphen.
Close prefixes and modifying words, unless the last letter of a prefix is the same
as the first letter of the word (chaos!), before proper nouns and compounds, or if
it makes a word that already exists.
Here are some of these exceptions and more:
re-cover (vs. recover)
re-creation (vs. recreation)
Style and odd as suffixes take a hyphens:
What does family-style mean at a restaurant, anyway?
This Chicago-style hyphenation is confusing.
Who else enjoys 1920s-style dancing? Oh, nobody.?
Twenty-odd men stood in line for something or other.
- Like, ish, and esque should be closed up unless they are used with proper
nouns, compounds, or the last two letters are the same.
For example:
Antiracist skinheads are very pinheadesque.
Her haircut was kind of bell-like.
Stand-alone cities/regions
The following places require no elaboration (for instance, write "Seattle instead
of "Seattle, Washington). Locations not on this list should be further identified.
Atlantic City
Beverly Hills
Colorado Springs
Jersey City
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
New Orleans
New York
Oklahoma City
St. Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
Santa Fe
Buenos Aires
Guatemala City
Hong Kong
Kuwait City
Mexico City
New Delhi
Panama City
Quebec City
Rio de Janeiro
Su Paulo
St. Petersburg
Vatican City