Most newspapers adhere to “AP style” – that is, style components and conventions determined by smart people at the Associated Press. The New York Times has its own style book, and so does the Wall Street Journal. Here are some forms that might be new to you. Be sure to adhere to these forms in your next press release, in order to increase the likelihood of exposure.
- Grand Slam. Capitalize when referring to the four major tournaments in golf (the Masters, the United States Open, the British Open and the P.G.A. Championship) and the four in tennis (the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the United States Open). (nyt)
- Occident or Occidental. Capitalize when referring to Europe, the Western Hemisphere or an inhabitant of those regions. (ap)
- Bible, biblical. Capitalize Bible (but not biblical) when referring to the Old and New Testaments. But: the style manual is their bible. (nyt)
- dollars and cents. Sums of dollars and cents are usually given in figures: 5 cents; 25 cents; $10; $12.25; $10,629. But: $1 million; $3.6 million; $895 million; $1.53 billion. In the simple adjective form, do not use a hyphen: $2.5 million investment. But hyphens must be used in longer modifiers, like these: a $10-to-11-billion increase; a $2-million-a-year job. (nyt)
- disc and disk. Use disc in references to phonograph records (disc jockey, discography), optical and laser-based devices (compact disc, laser disc, videodisc), farm implements (disc harrow) and brakes (disc brake). Use disk in references to the magnetic storage devices used with computers (floppy disk, hard disk) and to the fiber and cartilage between the vertebrae (slipped disk). (nyt)
- follow up (verb) and follow-up (noun and adjective). When will you follow up with Matilda? Sassafras reluctantly scheduled the follow-up meeting for the second Tuesday of next week. (ap)
- Election Day. When referring to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, capitalize both words. (ap)
- congressional. Lowercase unless part of a proper name: exorbitant congressional salaries, the Congressional Quarterly, the Congressional Record.
- Nascar. Not NASCAR, for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. (nyt)
*Note: FYI only, although I take no issue with the above guidelines. While there will always be errors that find their way into AP style, it’s still good practice to be aware of what’s considered correct.