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					King County Editorial Style Guide
A summary of key entries in the online King County Editorial Style Manual
This style guide is a condensed version of the      Documents produced by consultants for King
online King County Editorial Style Manual—          County also should follow these standards. King       These references note some exceptions or
County launched this guide and the online           variations for some rules that might arise in
manual in 2004 to help you, other county            county correspondence and a few other uses.
employees, county communications staff, and         Style exceptions might be appropriate for limited
county consultants use consistent editorial         space in charts, tables, maps, and signs and for
style. These resources will also help us write      some established standards and practices in
correctly, clearly and concisely, leading to        advertising copy, technical publications,
enhanced credibility with our citizens,             environmental reports, and legal documents.
customers and clients.
                                                    If used, style exceptions should be applied
These resources benefit our readers as they         consistently in all related documents, and style
use the documents we produce for them. Their        within a document must be consistent. Of
suggestions on word usage, concise writing          course, clarity and correctness are high priority
and plain language also aid people who read at      in all King County documents.
all levels of time, interest, and literacy and
readers with limited English proficiency who use    Also, motions and ordinances of the King
English as a second language.                       County Council follow some differing style
                                                    guidelines. Please contact Anne Noris, the clerk
These references also help King County staff        of the council, 206-296-0364, or Bruce Ritzen,
use its valuable time effectively and efficiently   the code reviser, 206-296-1015, if you are
by answering many questions that arise when         drafting legislation and have any questions.
we’re writing.
                                                    For all other King County documents, follow the
This guide is a handy summary of the online         editorial style used in county motions and
manual. Use it and the online manual as your        ordinances only when quoting them directly.
first references when you have questions about      Likewise, follow the style used in other
abbreviations, capitalization, computer terms,      government acts, amendments, bills, charters,
grammar, the Internet, numbers, organization        codes, constitutions, laws, resolutions and
terminology, punctuation, spelling and word         statutes only when quoting them directly.
usage. Use them to answer questions when
you’re writing about King County and its            Standards in the style manual follow preferences
departments, divisions, sections, units, offices    of The Associated Press Stylebook and other
and work groups—and their personnel, plans,         respected style manuals. The Merriam-Webster
projects and programs.                              Collegiate Dictionary, Gregg Reference Manual,
                                                    Chicago Manual of Style, and other references
Please follow these writing standards in all        are consulted when needed. The AP Stylebook
external and internal county materials for broad    is available in print at local bookstores and for a
public or employee use. Affected county             subscription fee on the Web:
documents include articles, brochures,     (external link). For writing
business correspondence, displays, official         questions not answered in the county
e-mail messages, fliers, manuals, memos,            references, check the AP Stylebook or these
newsletters, news releases, pamphlets,              recommended references:
presentations, reports, Web pages (Internet
and intranet).
King County Editorial Style Guide--2                King County taxpayers, ratepayers, and other
aspx.                                                        clients and customers. It helps us communicate
                                                             with people who read at all levels of time,
The employee team of professional writers that
                                                             interest, and literacy and readers with limited
developed the online manual doesn’t expect
                                                             English proficiency. Plain language principles
everyone to become experts on style, grammar
                                                             can help you write clearly and concisely.
and usage. Comments, questions or
suggestions about writing or the style manual?               Guide to concise writing—
Contact one of these style manual developers:      
Gary Larson (chair), Cliff Chase, Al Dams, Logan             ng.aspx—Use this guide to help make your
Harris, Annie Kolb-Nelson, Jim Lindler, Anna                 writing easier to read and understand. Its three
Peekstok or Linda Thielke; your work group’s                 sections provide concise alternatives to
communications specialist(s); or your                        overstated, pompous words; wordy, bureaucratic
department’s public information officer(s)—                  phrases; and redundant phrases.
ceID=6764.                                                   Other resources on the King County
                                                             Intranet (internal links):
How to use the online style manual:
                                                             Printshop Services, Department of Executive
Like this style guide, the online style manual is in         Services—
alphabetical order. In your Web browser, click     
on the letter that begins the word or term you               —includes the county’s Graphic Design
have a question about, and you will go to the                Standards and Guidelines and information on
appropriate page:                                            getting the county logo.
A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O                                Disability Publications List, Office of Civil
| P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z.                 Rights, Department of Executive Services—
Broad topics—listing hyperlinked cross-            
references—include abbreviations and                         —includes information on disability language and
acronyms | capitalization | Internet | numbers               etiquette; alternative formats; how to announce
| punctuation | spelling. Under capitalization,              accessibility to public meetings, hearings,
you’ll find guidelines specific to King County,              conferences and events; access symbols; and
including council committees, facilities, job titles,        TTY use. Also available is a checklist for
organizational terms, Metropolitan King County               accessible printed materials.
Council, and programs, projects and plans. This              Web Services and Information, Office of
condensed version of the manual includes many                Information Resource Management—
of the cross-references.                            —
See a few exceptions or variations to these                  includes information on King County website
standards under correspondence. The county                   goals, requirements, standards, management
style manual is updated as needed.                           and development.
Except for this condensed guide to the online                -A-
manual, there is no print version.                           abbreviations and acronyms Abbreviations
Other King County writing tools:                             and acronyms must benefit your readers by
                                                             making written text simpler and less
Plain-language writing guide—                                cumbersome. Do not use an abbreviation or              acronym that would confuse your readers. When
.aspx—Plain language (or plain English) is an                in doubt, spell it out.
approach to writing that concentrates on the
needs of your readers. It's an approach ideal for
public sector employees who write to and for
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--3

Never abbreviate County or county. See other                 than six letters. Omit periods in most acronyms
individual terms and abbreviations in this guide             unless the result would spell an unrelated word.
and the online manual for preferred uses.                    Check this style manual or your dictionary for
                                                             exceptions to these guidelines. The word the is
Always spell out terms, common names and the
                                                             unnecessary before acronyms pronounced as
complete proper name of an organization,
                                                             words instead of letter by letter: OSHA, CAD.
project, process, program or document the first
time you use them, and repeat the complete                   Abbreviations: Put a period after each letter in
term or name at the beginning of sections in                 most two-letter abbreviations: U.N., U.S., M.A.
longer documents. Although abbreviations or                  Leave out periods in most abbreviations unless
acronyms are capitalized for some common or                  the result would spell an unrelated word: M.A.N.
generic nouns and terms, lowercase the spelled-              built the buses. When each letter is pronounced
out form. See capitalization.                                in longer abbreviations, capitalize every letter but
                                                             don't include periods: NBC, EIS, NEA. Check
If an abbreviation or acronym of the term or
                                                             this style manual or your dictionary for
name would not be clear on second reference,
                                                             exceptions to these guidelines. Use only one
avoid using it. Instead, use a shortened version
of the name or a generic word, such as the                   period when a sentence ends with an
                                                             abbreviation that includes periods. Use the
agency, the committee, the department, the
division or the company.                                     before abbreviations only when you would use
                                                             the before the full name: the ESA, the state
If using unfamiliar abbreviations and acronyms is            DOT, IBM.
necessary, an effective style on first reference is
                                                             Most common plural abbreviations are formed by
to follow the complete name with the
                                                             adding an s: UFOs, IOUs, Drs., chaps., CDs,
abbreviation set off between commas: The
                                                             ABCs, TVs. Some times, an apostrophe may
Endangered Species Act, or ESA, affects many
                                                             precede the s: when the abbreviation has
projects. Later references could use the
                                                             internal periods (M.A.‟s, M.B.A.‟s, Ph.D.‟s), when
abbreviation, a shortened version of the name or
                                                             the abbreviation is composed of lowercase
a generic word. Whenever possible, avoid
                                                             letters (pdf‟s), when the abbreviation is a single
following the name of an organization, project or
                                                             letter (A‟s, S‟s) and when the abbreviation would
program with an abbreviation or acronym in
                                                             be confusing if only the s were added (OWS‟s
parentheses or set off by dashes: state
                                                             instead of OWSs). In the last example, if your
Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
                                                             readers might misinterpret an abbreviation like
If you don’t use an abbreviation or acronym later            OWS‟s as showing possession, leave out the
in a document, don’t provide the abbreviation or             apostrophe.
acronym after first spelling it out.
                                                             Avoid using e.g., i.e.; et al.; etc.
If the meaning is clear to readers or explained
                                                             Before a name: See correspondence;
elsewhere in a document, abbreviations and
                                                             legislative titles; Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.; titles.
acronyms may be used in headlines and
headings. Avoid placing an abbreviation or                   After a name: See academic degrees, titles;
acronym in parentheses within a heading or                   company names; correspondence; junior,
headline.                                                    senior.
If the meaning is clear, abbreviations and                   With dates or numerals: See correspondence,
acronyms may be used in charts, tables, maps                 dates, days of the week, months, No.,
and certain types of technical writing. See file             numbers, time.
name acronyms.                                               For addresses and locations: See addresses,
Acronyms: When each letter is pronounced in                  correspondence, highway designations, state
most acronyms, capitalize every letter. Capitalize           names, United States, ZIP codes.
only the first letter in most acronyms with more
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King County Editorial Style Guide--4

academic degrees, titles Avoid abbreviations                 Spell out and capitalize words such as alley,
for degrees; instead, use a phrase such as Sally             drive, road, way and terrace when part of an
Forth, who has a doctorate in microbiology, a                address or name: He worked on Holman Road
bachelor‟s degree, a master‟s degree. Do not                 Northwest and lived at 200 Holman Road N.W.
capitalize the type of degree or major, except for           Lowercase them when used alone or in plural
proper nouns like English. If using abbreviations            forms: The crew will repave Holman and
such as B.A., M.A. or Ph.D., put them after a full           Somerset roads.
name, capitalize, include periods, and set off               When first used without a number, always spell
with commas: Charlie McCarthy, Ph.D., spoke.
                                                             out and capitalize the full name of a street,
(Exception: no periods in professional initials on           avenue, road or boulevard: He lived on South
county business cards.)                                      Washington Street. Also spell out compass
Also, capitalize and spell out titles like professor         points (South, Northwest, etc.) if omitting the
when they precede a name, but don’t capitalize               number: The building is on Northwest 252nd
modifiers: journalism Professor Bill Chamberlain.            Street.
Lowercase elsewhere: Bill Chamberlain,                       Compass points and common names (Street,
journalism professor. See doctor. Also see King              Avenue, etc.) may be left off in later references if
County Graphic Standards and Guidelines for                  the location is clear.
county business communications:              Lowercase street, avenue, boulevard or road
andards.asp (internal link).                                 and the compass point when using the plural
                                                             form: The property is between 75th and 78th
ADA See Americans with Disabilities Act.                     avenues northwest on Northwest 238th Street.
addresses Use numerals for an address                        But don’t lowercase those words when the form
number: She lives at 3456 N.E. 78th St.                      is not plural: You can catch a bus on Second or
                                                             Third Avenue. Also, lowercase and spell out
Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth in
                                                             street, avenue, boulevard or road when used
addresses when used as a street name: The bus
                                                             alone: He drove down the tree-lined boulevard.
drove down Fourth Avenue South. Use numerals
with two letters for 10th and above: He lives at             Use a ZIP code in mailing addresses, but don't
1234 56th Ave. S. Don’t use superscript: 56th,               include a ZIP code when giving the address of a
not 56th.                                                    meeting or other event. See ZIP code
Abbreviate compass points (N.W., S., etc.; all               For post office boxes, use periods in the
caps, with periods) in a numbered address: The               abbreviation P.O. when giving P.O. Box
building is at 543 N.W. 252nd St. Don’t                      numbers: P.O. Box 4311. Also, lowercase post
abbreviate South as So. The periods for                      office in all uses.
abbreviated compass points in numbered                       See correspondence for exceptions to King
addresses may be omitted in maps, charts and                 County’s editorial style manual in formal
                                                             business correspondence for the county. These
Abbreviate only avenue, boulevard and street                 exceptions apply to abbreviating, capitalizing and
(as Ave., Blvd. and St.) in a numbered address:              punctuating mailing addresses. The U.S. Postal
King Street Center is at 201 S. Jackson St. Also,            Service prefers various abbreviations, all capital
abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street when                 letters, limited or no punctuation, certain ZIP
using intersections to identify the location of              code uses, and sans serif fonts (like Arial or
department facilities: They used the park-and-               Helvetica) in mailing (or delivery) addresses,
ride lot at Fifth Ave. N.E. and N.E. 145th St. But:          especially for computer-generated labels and
King Street Center is at 201 S. Jackson St. on               bulk mailings. Follow other standards in this style
Second Avenue. Spell out other street                        manual for return addresses and mailing
designations (See mail stops.                                addresses within the text of a document.

Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--5

Also see the King County Graphic Standards                   Accessible or alternate may be substituted for
for county letterhead, business cards and                    alternative.
envelopes:                                                   The statement should be printed in black (not           colored) ink in an easy-to-read non-italic
(internal link).                                             typeface such as Arial or Helvetica of at least 14
ages Use a numeral when stating the age of a                 points. White lettering on black is also
human being or other animal in years. When                   acceptable. Do not hyphenate any words in the
using ages as adjectives before a noun or as                 phrase. Neither boldfaced type nor a box around
substitutes for a noun, use hyphens: A 7-year-               the statement is required.
old girl. The girl is 7 years old. The workshop is
                                                             ampersand (&) Do not use the ampersand to
for 10-year-olds. The man is in his 20s (also, no            replace and. Use the ampersand when a
apostrophe). Classes are for children 5-15 years
                                                             company uses it as part of its full name, as may
of age (or 5 to 15 years of age). Acceptable: The
                                                             be shown on its letterhead. See
law is 8 years old. This rule is one of the
                                                             correspondence. The ampersand may be used
exceptions to the general rule for numbers. Also             in charts and tables.
see hyphen.
                                                             And, But Despite what you may have learned in
Americans with Disabilities Act Spell out and                school, most past and present writing authorities
capitalize on first reference. ADA (all caps, no             approve the use of the conjunctions and and but
periods) may be used on later references.                    to begin sentences. They’re useful transition
Include a version of the following statements on             words between related (and) and contrasting
all printed material prepared for distribution to            (but) sentences--And instead of Additionally,
the public and employees:                                    Furthermore, In addition and Moreover, and But
                                                             instead of However. But don’t overuse them;
      Alternative Formats On Request                         they’ll lose their punch.
     XXX-XXX-XXXX | TTY Relay: 711
                                                             apostrophe (‟ ) This punctuation mark does four
This information is available in alternative                 things. First, it often shows possession: Dan
formats on request at XXX-XXX-XXXX                           Lindler‟s appointment. Second, it frequently
(voice) or XXX-XXX-XXXX (TTY).                               marks the omission of letters—including the
                                                             formation of contractions: finger lickin‟ good,
To request this information in alternative                   he‟ll, won‟t. Third, it’s used in abbreviations of
formats for people with disabilities, call                   years and decades: the class of ‟68, the ‟90s. It’s
XXX-XXX-XXXX (voice) or TTY Relay:                           not used, however, in plurals of decades: the
711.                                                         ‟70s, the 1980s. And fourth, it sometimes marks
                                                             the plural of single letters and abbreviations with
   Alternative Formats or Disability                         internal punctuation: Dot your i‟s. She got
    Accommodations on Request                                straight A‟s on her report card. M.A.‟s. See
XXX-XXX-XXXX | XXX-XXX-XXXX (TTY)                            abbreviations and acronyms, contractions,
                                                             it’s, its, plurals, possessives.
    Alternative Formats or Reasonable
       Accommodations on Request
    XXX-XXX-XXXX | TTY Relay: 711                            brackets ([ ]) Avoid using. Use commas, dashes
                                                             or parentheses instead. In quotations, however,
To request this information in alternative                   brackets may be used to show that the words in
formats or to request reasonable                             brackets were added or changed by the editor to
accommodations for people with                               clarify the meaning. Avoid altering quotations. If
                                                             a speaker’s words are clear and concise, use the
disabilities, call XXX-XXX-XXXX (voice)
                                                             full quotation. If cumbersome language can be
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--6

paraphrased fairly, use an indirect construction.            If necessary for emphasis, try other
“We support the [Metropolitan King County]                   typographical uses, such as boldfacing, italics,
council‟s decision,” she said. Square brackets               color, type size and different but
also may be used infrequently to insert words                complementary typefaces. See composition
into a statement that’s already enclosed in                  titles; headlines, headings; underlining.
parentheses. See quotation marks.
                                                             For capitalization guidelines specific to King
building Capitalize when it’s part of a proper               County, check individual items in the county style
name: The Exchange Building is on Second                     manual or see advisory committees, council
Avenue. Lowercase when it stands alone: They                 committees, facilities, job titles and
left the building after the meeting. Do not                  descriptions, King County organizational
abbreviate unless used in charts and tables. See             structure, Metropolitan King County Council
capitalization.                                              and programs, projects and plans below.
bureaucratese (n.) A style of writing and                    Follow differing capitalization styles used in
speaking characteristic of bureaucrats, thought              government acts, amendments, bills, charters,
of as being full of jargon and roundabout                    constitutions, laws, motions, ordinances,
phrases. Avoid by any means necessary.                       resolutions and statutes only when quoting them
But See And, But                                             directly. Also see cities and towns;
                                                             correspondence; titles.
                                                             Capitalization of abbreviations and acronyms
capitalization Avoid unnecessary capitalization.             varies. For guidance, see abbreviations and
Begin proper nouns, sentences, headings and                  acronyms, entries in this style guide for specific
the important words in publication titles with               words and terms, and your dictionary. Although
capital letters. A proper noun is the formal, official,      the abbreviation or acronym for some common
unique or popular name of a specific person, place or
                                                             or generic nouns and terms may be capitalized,
thing. A common noun, lowercased, is the name of a
general class of people, places or things. A common
                                                             lowercase the spelled-out form; for example, see
noun may also be used to identify a particular               environmental impact statement.
person, place or thing, typically on second reference,       Capitalize the first word of every sentence,
also lowercased: Communications Manager Lottie               heading and headline, including quoted
Press, the communications manager; Green Lake,               statements and direct questions.
the lake; Webster’s New World Dictionary, the
dictionary.                                                  Capitalize proper nouns that specifically identify
                                                             a person, place or thing, unless a person,
Excessive capitalization for other purposes, such
                                                             business or organization requests a lowercase
as highlighting words or stressing their
                                                             first letter. If a name begins with a lowercase
importance, impedes reading and reverses the
                                                             letter, capitalize the first letter of the name at the
intended effect. Do not capitalize the first letter of
                                                             beginning of sentences and headlines.
a word (or words in a phrase) simply to highlight
it or to express its importance. Check this guide            Capitalize common nouns when they’re part of
or the online style manual for a particular word,            the full name for a person, place or thing. But
phrase or type of word or phrase. If not listed              lowercase common nouns when they’re used
there, consult another style manual or your                  alone in later references. Examples: Exchange
dictionary. And if still in doubt, lowercase.                Building, the building; City of Seattle, the city;
                                                             Boeing Co., the company; Department of Natural
Except for acronyms and some abbreviations,
                                                             Resources and Parks, the department;
avoid capitalizing all the letters in a word,
                                                             Webster’s New World Dictionary, the dictionary;
phrase, sentence, heading or headline—
                                                             the Human Resources Division, the division;
including brand names, logos and trademarks.
                                                             Vashon Island, the island; Green Lake, Lake
That guideline applies to e-mail messages, Web
                                                             Washington, the lake; Cascade Mountains, the
pages, print documents and most other material.
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--7

mountains; Lincoln Park, the park; West Point                    advisory committees Spell out and
Treatment Plant, the plant; Sammamish River,                      capitalize the full name of advisory
the river; the Brightwater Siting Project, the                    committees: White Center Community
project; Northgate Shopping Center, the                           Advisory Committee, Metropolitan Water
shopping center; Puget Sound, the sound;                          Pollution Abatement Advisory Committee,
Seahawks Stadium, the stadium; Hanford Street,                    Accessible Services Advisory Committee.
the street; Paramount Theater, the theater;                       Refer to the committee (preferred) or
University of Washington, the university;                         abbreviate on later references (all caps,
Woodland Park Zoo, the zoo.                                       no periods): CAC, MWPAAC, ASAC.
                                                                 council committees On first reference,
For King County documents, some common nouns
                                                                  spell out and capitalize the full name of
are treated as proper nouns, typically on second
reference, in these cases: if used in place of the                the Metropolitan King County Council’s
official name of King County government; if used in               committees. The standing committees are
place of the personal names of independently elected              the Committee of the Whole; Budget and
officials; and when used as shortened versions of                 Fiscal Management Committee;
some organizational names. This style applies only to             Employment Committee; Growth
words used as nouns, not to words (including nouns)               Management and Unincorporated Areas
used as adjectives modifying a noun: the County                   Committee; Law, Justice and Human
established …, but not the County budget, the                     Services Committee; Legislative Steering
County program; instead, the county budget, the                   Committee; Management, Labor and
county program. For more information on these                     Customer Services Committee; Natural
exceptions to the standard style for lowercasing
                                                                  Resources, Parks and Open Spaces
common nouns, see these entries below: County
Executive, independently elected officials,                       Committee; Transportation Committee;
Metropolitan King County Council. Also see                        and Utilities and Technology Committee.
separate entries for county, councilmember,                       The regional committees are the Regional
independently elected officials, King County                      Transit Committee, Regional Water
Executive; and other related entries in this guide or             Quality Committee and Regional Policy
the online manual.                                                Committee. The Regional Transit
                                                                  Committee met last Thursday. Lowercase
Lowercase the plural form of a common noun                        committee when it stands alone: The
when listing more than one proper name:                           committee voted to adopt the measure.
Democratic and Republican parties, Madison                        See subcommittee, task force.
and Marion streets, routes 15 and 18, 108th and
                                                                 County Executive Always capitalize King
110th avenues northeast. But don’t lowercase
                                                                    County Executive and County Executive
the common nouns when the form is not plural:                       before a name and when used in place of the
She can catch the bus on First or Second                            officeholder‟s name: County Executive
Avenue.                                                             Ronald Michaels will be speaking. The
Capitalize the proper names of nationalities,                       County Executive will be speaking. See
                                                                    independently elected officials (below);
peoples, races, tribes, etc.: African American,
                                                                    King County Executive.
American Indians, Arab, Asian, Jewish, Latino,
Muckleshoot, Tulalip, Puyallup. Lowercase                        facilities Capitalize the official proper
black, white, red, etc.                                           name of all King County facilities:
                                                                  Northgate Park-and-Ride, Bellevue
For capitalization guidelines specific to King
                                                                  Transit Center, West Point Treatment
County, its departments and divisions, check
                                                                  Plant, Richmond Beach Pump Station.
individual items in the county style manual or see
                                                                  But lowercase common noun descriptions
the items below. Also see county:
                                                                  of facilities: the Bellevue and Renton
                                                                  transit centers, the park-and-ride lot, the
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--8

       transit center, the treatment plant, the                     used alone or set off from a person’s
       pump station. See facility.                                  name by commas. Capitalize the full
                                                                    name of departments, divisions, sections,
       When using part of a facility’s name,
                                                                    offices, units and groups when used with
       capitalize only the proper noun.
                                                                    a job title: Virginia Schwieterman, natural
       Lowercase the common nouns and
                                                                    resources and parks director; Billie Burke,
       adjectives when shortening the name:
                                                                    director of the Parks Division; Tim Wright,
       East Base, the transit base, the base;
                                                                    Aquatics Section manager; Mary
       West Point Treatment Plant, the West
                                                                    Munchkin, property agent; George Bailey,
       Point plant, the treatment plant, the plant.
                                                                    administrative specialist. Titles may be
       If words are added to a facility name to
                                                                    shortened or modified for clarity. Always
       explain, define or describe the function of
                                                                    lowercase job descriptions. See
       the facility, lowercase all common nouns
                                                                    correspondence; county executive and
       and adjectives in the description: Lake                      independently elected officials (above);
       Union Tunnel, but the Lake Union sewage                      King County Executive.
       tunnel. See courthouse.
                                                                 King County organizational structure
      independently elected officials. King                      Capitalize the names of all King County
       County's independently elected officials are               departments, divisions, sections, offices,
       the county executive, members of the King                  units and groups. For example, King
       County Council, assessor, elections director,              County Department of Development and
       sheriff, prosecuting attorney, District Court              Environmental Services, Building Services
       judges, and Superior Court judges. Capitalize              Division, Building Plan Review Section,
       these titles when used immediately before the              Fire Marshal‟s Office. Include the
       name of the person holding the office:                     complete name on first reference; for later
       Prosecuting Attorney Sam Duncan
                                                                  references, capitalized shortened versions of
       announced. Also capitalize these titles if used
                                                                    organizational names--without the words
       in place of the officeholder’s name: the
                                                                    department, division, section, unit and group--
       Prosecuting Attorney announced …. Except
                                                                    are acceptable: Public Health, Transportation,
       for correspondence, lowercase the title when
                                                                    Wastewater Treatment. Lowercase
       it’s set off from the officeholder’s name by
                                                                    department, division and so on if they stand
       commas: The prosecuting attorney, Sam
                                                                    alone. See county, governmental bodies,
       Duncan, announced …; Sam Duncan,
                                                                    King County, Metro.
       prosecuting attorney. Also lowercase these
       titles when used generically without reference            Metropolitan King County Council
       to an officeholder. See related entries in this              Capitalize Metropolitan King County Council
       section and correspondence; King County                      on all references. If the full name of the
       Executive; councilmember; county                             county is clear, capitalize the short form, the
       council.                                                     County Council, when used in place of the full
                                                                    name. Avoid using the Council alone: The
    job titles and descriptions Capitalize                         Council will meet next Thursday.
     official job titles only when used
     immediately before a name: Natural                             Capitalize chair when used as a formal title
     Resources and Parks Director Virginia                          before the name of a person in a council or
     Schwieterman, Parks Division Director                          committee position and when combined with
                                                                    Council in place of the councilmember‟s
     Billie Burke, Aquatics Section Manager                         name: Metropolitan King County Council
     Tim Wright, Property Agent Mary                                Chair Isaac Lincoln; the Council Chair called
     Munchkin, Administrative Specialist                            the meeting to order. Lowercase the chair
     George Bailey. Except in formal business                       when it stands alone.
     correspondence referring to specific
     individuals, lowercase titles when they’re                     Capitalize councilmember when used as a

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King County Editorial Style Guide--9

       formal title before a person's name and when          words in the titles and headings of charts and
       used in place of the officeholder’s name:             tables. Type styles and formats used in charts
       Metropolitan King County Councilmember                should be consistent throughout a publication.
       Joyce Klein; the Councilmember introduced             When referring to a chart or table in the text,
       the speaker. Lowercase councilmember when             capitalize the word chart or table and use the
       it stands alone after a name: Kathleen
                                                             numeral: As Table 4 shows, traffic is increasing.
       Williams, a councilmember, said .... The
       County Council and its members might have             cities and towns Capitalize the names of cities
       other styles for materials they produce. Also         and towns in all uses. Capitalize city as part of a
       see chairman, chairperson,                            proper name: New York City, Kansas City.
       chairwoman; county.
                                                             Lowercase city when used as an adjective or
    programs, projects and plans Capitalize                 noun: the city budget, mayor of the city.
     the full official name of programs, projects            Capitalize city when it’s part of the proper name
     or plans adopted formally by the                        of a governmental unit: He worked for the City of
     Metropolitan King County Council.                       Seattle. Omit the redundant city of (or lowercase
     Otherwise, avoid capitalizing them.                     it) when naming cities in other uses: They visited
     Always lowercase program, project or                    Chicago. They visited the city of Chicago. See
     plan when the word stands alone or when                 county.
     using only part of the formal name.
                                                             Capitalize well-known names for the sections of
cell phone, cellular phone, cellular telephone               a city. Local examples include Capitol Hill,
Cell phone (two words) is acceptable on first                University District, Magnolia, International
reference. Shortened as cell on county business              District, Eastside, West Seattle.
                                                             Lowercase general designations such as south
cents For amounts less than a dollar, use                    Seattle. And whenever possible, use more-exact
figures and spell out and lowercase cents. For               descriptions instead: Rainier Beach or Madrona,
larger amounts, use the $ sign and decimal                   for example, instead of south Seattle.
system: 25 cents, $1.01, $4.50. Do not use zeros
                                                             colon (:) The colon has three main uses, all of
if there are no cents: $6, not $6.00. See dollars.
                                                             which involve pointing the reader toward the
chair, chairman, chairperson, chairwoman                     words that follow the colon. The colon always
Use chair as the title for the heads of the                  follows a complete sentence in these uses. Don’t
Metropolitan King County Council, council                    combine a dash and a colon. Put only one space
committees and citizens advisory committees,                 after a colon within a sentence or book title.
unless the person in the position prefers
                                                             The most frequent use is to introduce a list, often
chairman, chairwoman or chairperson. Capitalize
                                                             after expressions such as the following or as
as a formal title before a name. Don’t capitalize
                                                             follows: Loretta Schwieterman appointed three
for temporary or informal positions. See
capitalization: Metropolitan King County Council.            people to the committee: David Allen, Greg
                                                             Edwards and Jean Rheinhard. The department
chambers The name of the meeting place of the                has scheduled open houses in the following
King County Council is the King County Council               communities: White Center, July 5; Kent, July 6;
Chambers. Lowercase chambers when it stands                  and Duvall, July 7. Don’t use a colon
alone.                                                       immediately after a verb. Incorrect: Loretta
charts, tables Abbreviations not typically used              Schwieterman appointed: David Allen, Greg
in text are acceptable in charts and graphs                  Edwards and Jean Rheinhard to the committee.
because of limited space. But abbreviations must             Correct: Loretta Schwieterman appointed David
still be clear to the reader and consistently used.          Allen, Greg Edwards and Jean Rheinhard to the
Also, charts and graphs should have titles.                  committee. For more information on creating
Capitalize the first letter of proper nouns and key          lists, see lists, semicolon.

Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--10

Second, the colon can be used to emphasize the               run-on sentences by combining two or more
word, words or sentence that follows it: He had              independent clauses with only commas. Either
only one thing on his mind: flowers. The news                insert conjunctions after the commas or break
was good: No one would be laid off. When used                the clauses into separate sentences. See
this way, the colon replaces such words as that              sentence length.
is, namely and for example. Capitalize the first             Third, use a comma to separate an introductory
word after a colon if it is a proper noun or the             phrase from the rest of the sentence: After
start of a complete sentence.                                graduating from college, he joined the Peace
                                                             Corps. It may be omitted after short introductory
Third, use a colon to introduce a quotation longer
                                                             phrases (less than three words) if no ambiguity
than one sentence within a paragraph and to end
                                                             would result: On Thursday the Metropolitan King
a paragraph that introduces a quotation in the
                                                             County Council will decide the issue. When in
next paragraph. Use a comma, however, to
                                                             doubt, use the comma, especially when it
introduce a quotation of one sentence that
                                                             separates two capitalized words.
remains within a paragraph. See comma,
quotations, quotation marks.                                 Fourth, enclose parenthetic expressions
                                                             between commas. Parenthetic expressions are
In addition, use a colon to separate numbers in
times (7:15 a.m.), to separate a title and                   word groups that are not essential to the
subtitle, and after a business salutation (Dear              meaning of a sentence. If a parenthetic
Mr. Hyde:).                                                  expression is removed, the sentence would still
                                                             make sense: The public health director, who
comma (,) The following guidelines treat                     toured the facility last week, will make her
frequent questions about eight essential uses of             recommendations today. They took one of their
the comma.                                                   sons, Travis, to the concert. His wife, Emily, is a
First, use commas to separate elements in a                  middle school teacher. As shown in the
series of three or more terms. In a complex                  examples, commas always go both before and
series of phrases, a serial comma before the                 after a parenthetic expression within a sentence.
final conjunction can aid readability: She opened            If you’d prefer to emphasize a parenthetic
the closet door, grabbed a coat, and picked up               phrase, put it between dashes; you can play
an umbrella. In a simple series, a comma before              down such a phrase by placing it between
the conjunction is optional: The van is                      parentheses. Also see this, that, who whom.
economical, roomy and dependable. Also, put a                Use commas to set off a person’s hometown
comma before the last conjunction in a series if             when it follows the name: Rachel Solomon,
an item in the series also contains a conjunction:           Seattle, opened a new restaurant. If using a
He likes jazz, rock, and rhythm and blues. Don’t             person’s age, set it off by commas: Tom
put a comma before the first item in a series or             O‟Rourke, 69, opened a new restaurant.
after the and in a series. In this example, the
commas in brackets are incorrect: The van is[,]              Do not use commas to set off an essential
economical, roomy, and[,] dependable. See                    phrase from the rest of a sentence. Essential
lists, semicolon.                                            phrases are important to the meaning of a
                                                             sentence: They took their daughter Jennifer to
Second, use a comma to join two independent                  school. Their son Harold works at Ticketmaster.
clauses with a coordinating conjunction. An                  (They have more than one daughter and more
independent clause is a group of words that                  than one son.)
could stand on its own as a complete sentence;
                                                             Fifth, use commas to set off words and phrases
it begins with its own subject. The most common
coordinating conjunctions are but, and, for, nor,            such as however, meanwhile, in fact, in addition,
                                                             moreover, nevertheless, as a result, thus,
or, so and yet: The council‟s Utilities Committee
                                                             therefore, for example, finally and in other words.
will review the resolution Jan. 12, and the full
council is scheduled to act Feb. 11. Don’t create            Usually, place a comma after such expressions
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--11

when they begin a sentence, and place commas                 Yahoo! Unless it's part of a company's formal
before and after the expressions when they are               name, replace the ampersand (&) with and.
within a sentence.                                           Abbreviate company, corporation, incorporated
Sixth, use commas to separate a series of                    and limited when using them after the name of a
adjectives equal in rank. If the adjectives could            corporate entity: the Boeing Co., American
be rearranged without changing the meaning of                Broadcasting Cos., Gulf Oil Corp. Do not
a sentence or if the word and could replace the              abbreviate the words Company and Corporation
commas without changing the sense, the                       in formal business correspondence. In business
adjectives are equal: A sleek, new car. A thick,             correspondence, spell out those words when
black cloud. See hyphen.                                     part of the proper name: the Boeing Company. .
                                                             See correspondence, incorporated.
Use no comma when the last adjective before a
noun outranks its predecessors because it is an              Spell out and lowercase company, companies or
integral element of a noun phrase: a silver                  corporation when used alone: The company
articulated bus.                                             showed a profit in the second quarter
Seventh, use a comma to set off a direct one-                Possessive spellings: the Boeing Co.‟s
sentence quotation within a paragraph:                       headquarters, National Broadcasting Cos.‟
Theodore Roosevelt said, “It‟s not the critic who            stations, Gulf Oil Corps.‟ profits.
counts.” Use a comma, before the second
                                                             composition titles Capitalize the main words in
quotation mark, in a quotation followed by                   titles of books, long poems, long musical
attribution: “No comment,” said Jerry Carson.
                                                             compositions, magazines, movies, newsletters,
See punctuation, quotations, quotation                       newspapers, plays and works of art such as
marks.                                                       paintings and sculpture. Italicize the names of
And eighth, use a comma to separate the parts                such works, or underline them if italic type is not
of numbers, dates and addresses. Use a comma                 available.
for figures higher than 999: More than 1,000
                                                             Use a colon between a book’s title and its
people attended the event.                                   subtitle: Woe is I: The Grammarphobe‟s Guide to
Use commas to set off the year in complete                   Better English in Plain English.
dates: The department released the report Nov.
                                                             Capitalize the main words and enclose in
16, 2002, for public review. But don’t separate
                                                             quotation marks the titles of dissertations,
the month from the year when not using a date.               essays, lectures, short musical compositions,
They held their first retreat in January 1994.See
                                                             short poems, short stories, songs, speeches,
dates.                                                       radio and television programs, articles in
Use commas to set off cities from names of                   periodicals and chapters of books. If the title is
states or nations: She went to Spokane, Wash.,               part of a sentence, commas and periods go
to tour the bridge retrofit program. He traveled to          inside the closing quotation mark. Other
Paris, France, on vacation.                                  punctuation, such as the question mark and the
                                                             exclamation point, goes inside the quotation
company names For most proper names,
                                                             mark if it’s part of the title; if it applies to the
capitalize the first letter of each word, or
                                                             entire sentence, it goes outside the quotation
capitalize a different letter if preferred by a
company: eBay. But capitalize the first letter if it         mark.
begins a sentence. Don't use all capital letters             Capitalize—but don’t italicize, underline or
unless each letter is pronounced: IBM, Subway                enclose in quotation marks—the names of
(not SUBWAY). Don't use exclamation points,                  brochures, bulletins and reports and catalogs of
asterisks and plus signs that some companies                 reference material, such as almanacs,
use in logos and marketing materials for their               directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias,
company (and product) names: Yahoo, not                      gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications.
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King County Editorial Style Guide--12

Also see magazine names, newspapers.                             See abbreviations, addresses,
                                                                 capitalization, punctuation.
compound words Compound words are formed
differently for different parts of speech. When                 In mailing addresses, abbreviate all compass
forming a compound, such as start up or start-                   points (or directionals): E, SW; and generic
up, first determine the part of speech you want,                 parts of street names (or suffixes): AVE,
such as a noun, adjective or verb. Then check                    BLVD, CIR, CT, DR, LN, PL, RD, RTE, ST.
the online style manual and your dictionary for                  Use numerals for numeric street names in
the correct spelling. If not listed in either source,            mailing addresses: 123 4TH AVE S, 5678 NE
follow these guidelines: Except for compound                     9TH ST. Spell out highway names in mailing
nouns formed with a verb and preposition, use                    addresses: 23905 HIGHWAY 99, 22729
two words for unlisted compound nouns: car                       STATE ROUTE 9. See highway
stop. Use a hyphen for unlisted verb-plus-                       designations.
preposition compound nouns: start-up.
                                                                In mailing addresses, eliminate all
Hyphenate unlisted compound verbs. Though
                                                                 punctuation except slashes in fractional
there are exceptions, use a hyphen for most
                                                                 addresses: 101 1/2 MAIN ST; required
unlisted compound adjectives (or compound
                                                                 hyphens in hyphenated addresses: 112-10
modifiers): rush-hour service. No hyphen is
                                                                 BRONX RD, KSC-NR-0505, BOX 19-2B; and
necessary within a single proper noun (a King
                                                                 the hyphen in the ZIP+4 code: 98104-3855.
County project), a single expression contained in
                                                                 Don’t put periods after abbreviations, and
quotation marks: (a “better than promised”
                                                                 don’t separate parts of the address with a
attitude), foreign-language phrases (the ad hoc
committee), percentages (the 2 percent tax
increase) and dollar amounts (a $2 million                      When a mailing address is a post office box,
budget). See capitalization, hyphen.                             abbreviate post office (with no periods and no
contractions Contractions can speed reading                      spaces): PO BOX 1968, PO BOX GL. If a
and assure accuracy. They also can soften the                    recipient uses both a street address and a
tone of your writing by making it more personal                  mailing address, such as a post office box,
and conversational. Contractions, however, may                   use only the mailing address if possible. Put
be too informal for some documents. Avoid                        the mailing address on the line above the line
overusing contractions, especially I‟d and he‟d,                 with the city name, state name and ZIP code.
because they can mean both I had and I would,                    Following post office guidelines, don’t include
he had and he would.                                             the ZIP+4 digits in return addresses printed
                                                                 on envelopes, postcards and publications.
correspondence The following exceptions to
the King County Editorial Style Manual apply to                 When giving a King County mailing address,
only formal business correspondence for                          put the mail stop on the line above the street
King County. Besides a few exceptions for                        address. In other mailing addresses, put
preprinted county stationery, all other King                     designations like apartment, room and suite
County style standards apply to business                         numbers after the street name if all the
correspondence. These exceptions follow U.S.                     information fits on one line. If the designation
Postal Addressing Standards and the Gregg                        must go on a separate line for space
Reference Manual:                                                reasons, put that line immediately before the
                                                                 street address. Use these common
   The U.S. Postal Service prefers various                      abbreviations for designations in mailing
    abbreviations, all capital letters, limited                  addresses: APT, BLDG, STE, RM. Avoid
    punctuation, and sans serif fonts (like Arial) in            using the pound sign (#) or NO (for number)
    mailing (or delivery) addresses, especially for              as designations; if the pound sign is needed,
    computer-generated labels and bulk mailings.                 separate it from the following number with a

Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--13

    space. See mail stops, No., pound sign,                     towns or villages. Put two spaces between
    room numbers.                                               the state name and the ZIP code in mailing
                                                                addresses. See state names, ZIP code.
   Official job titles for King County elected officials
    and other specific individuals may be                    council districts See districts.
    capitalized when they’re used alone or set off           councilmember Use the non-gender word
    from a person’s name: Sue Chin, Attorney                 councilmember instead of councilman or
    General, spoke at the meeting. The Attorney              councilwoman. Capitalize when used as a formal title
    General spoke at the meeting. Don’t                      before a person's name and when used in place of
    capitalize job titles used generically: We               an officeholder’s name: Metropolitan King County
    began advertising for an environmental                   Councilmember Steven Fujita attended the meeting.
    planning manager last week. The work group               The County Councilmember spoke at the meeting.
    has three transit planners. Also, spell out the          See capitalization: Metropolitan King County
    titles Governor, Senator, Representative                 Council.
    before names. See capitalization: job titles
    and descriptions; governor; legislative                  county Capitalize when part of a proper name: King
                                                             County, Pierce County. Also capitalize the short form,
    titles; titles.
                                                             the County, if used alone as a proper noun in second
   If it’s available, follow a company’s letterhead         references to King County government (or another
    for abbreviation, capitalization, punctuation            county government): He attended the community
    and spelling of its name. If letterhead is not           meeting to represent the County. The County is in
    available, follow this exception and the other           good financial health. He represented the County‟s
                                                             Department of Natural Resources and Parks
    guidelines in the King County Style Manual.
                                                             [possessive use of the County].
    Don’t abbreviate the words and (as &),
    Company (Co.) and Corporation (Corp.) in
                                                             Capitalize the full name of county governmental
    company names, unless necessary for                      units: the Metropolitan King County Council, King
    mailing addresses. Spell out those words                 County Department of Executive Services, King
    when part of the proper name: Boeing                     County Facilities Management Division, King County
    Company. See ampersand, company                          Hazmat Program. When they stand alone, lowercase
    names.                                                   the department, the division, the section, etc.
                                                             Exceptions: Capitalize County in County Council,
    See the King County Graphic Standards                    County Executive and the titles of other elected
    for letterhead, business cards and envelopes:            county officials if used in place of an officeholder’s             name. See capitalization, King County Executive.
    cstandards.asp (internal link).
   Spell out the names of all months when used              Lowercase county when used as an adjective to
    with dates: November 16, 2004, not Nov. 16,              identify or describe a department, program or other
                                                             element of King County: He represented the county
    2004. See dates, months.
                                                             Department of Natural Resources and Parks. The
   The courtesy titles Miss, Mr., Mrs. and Ms.              county budget is scheduled for adoption next week,
    may be used in business correspondence,                  reported county Finance Manager Bill Drake. The
    depending on a person’s preference. If you               ordinance affects all county employees. She will
    do not know if a person is male or female,               contact the county consultant for the project. See
                                                             capitalization, cities and towns, districts,
    don’t use a courtesy title; use the person’s full        governmental bodies, King County.
    name in the salutation. Plural forms of these
    titles: Misses, Messrs., Mmes., Mses. See                Also lowercase county when referring to the
    Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.                                     geographic entity: Population is increasing in the
   Except for ZIP code abbreviations in mailing             county. The county population is increasing.
    addresses, always spell out state names                  Lowercase plural combinations: King and Snohomish
    when used with the names of cities, counties,
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--14

Never abbreviate County or county.                           coming after 10 months of public discussion—is
                                                             effective Sept. 1. If you’d prefer to play down
county council Capitalize when part of a proper              such a phrase, consider placing it between
name: The King County Council scheduled a                    parentheses instead, or between commas.
meeting. Also capitalize if the name of the county
                                                             Third, use a pair of em dashes to set off a
is clear in the context: The County Council
                                                             phrase that contains a series of words separated
passed a motion. Avoid use of the Council alone.
                                                             by commas: Leif Hansen described the
Lowercase in plural uses: the King and Snohomish
county councils. See capitalization, chair,
                                                             qualities—intelligence, initiative and
councilmember, districts.                                    assertiveness—that he wanted in a manager.

countywide One word, lowercase.                              As shown in the examples above, do not put a
                                                             space on both sides of an em dash. Avoid using
courthouse One word. Capitalize when naming                  more than one pair of em dashes in a sentence.
the jurisdiction: the King County Courthouse, the
U.S. Courthouse. Otherwise, lowercase: the                   A short dash, called en dash, may be used to
county courthouse, the courthouse. See                       mean “up to and including” when placed
capitalization.                                              between numbers, times, dates and other uses
                                                             that show range: 1993-96, $20-40, $340,000-
court names Capitalize the full proper names of              $370,000 (but $20 million to $35 million), 55-65
courts. Also capitalize the name if the county name,         years, 1:30-4 p.m. (but 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.), ages
city name, state name or U.S. is dropped: King               25-30, pages 145-63. It also may be used to
County Superior Court, Superior Court; Des Moines            replace to and versus in capitalized names: the
Municipal Court, Municipal Court; state Supreme              Seattle-Spokane train, the Huskies-Cougars
Court, Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the          game. Do not put spaces before and after the en
9th Circuit, Court of Appeals. Lowercase court unless        dash.
referring to a specific King County court: He
appeared before the Court at the Maleng Regional             Note: A hyphen (-) is not a dash. Most current
Justice Center.                                              word processing and design software can create
                                                             em dashes. If not possible, use two hyphens to
                                                             create an em dash. In Microsoft Word, if you
                                                             don’t space after the second hyphen, the two
-D-                                                          hyphens become an em dash. See hyphen.
dash (—) Long dashes, called em dashes, have                 dates In reports, news releases, Web pages and
three main uses. In these uses, em dashes are                other materials for broad distribution, abbreviate
usually less formal but more emphatic                        Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. when
substitutes for other typical punctuation marks.             used with a specific date: We began operating
To maintain the impact of dashes, avoid                      the pump station Feb. 11, 1994, after 11 months
overusing them.                                              of construction. Spell out those months in formal
First, use an em dash to amplify, justify or                 business correspondence. Spell out the names
emphasize in the second part of a sentence                   of months when using a month alone or with a
something in the first part: Riders filled all the           year alone: We began operating the pump
buses—the game was over. The road will open                  station in November 1994. Also, avoid using
Tuesday—if the paving is complete. The project               virgules (or hyphens) with numerals to give
was completed on time, within scope—and                      dates, especially if your readers could confuse
under budget. The manager was new to the                     the order of the day and month: 2/11/94, 11-16-
agency—brand new.                                            1993. See correspondence.
Second, use a pair of em dashes to make an                   When not including a specific date, do not
emphatic pause or abrupt, parenthetic change in              separate the month and year with a comma.
thought within a sentence: The rate increase—                Including the year is not always necessary in

Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--15

documents with a limited shelf life; however,                decades Use numerals. Use an apostrophe to
noting the month and year of publication in an               show numerals are left out. Add the letter s (with
inconspicuous location may be useful. Do not                 no apostrophe) to show plural: the „60s, the
follow numerals used with dates by st, nd, rd or             1980s, the mid-1920s. See century.
th. See century, comma, days of the week,
                                                             decimals Avoid going beyond two places after
decades, months, time, years.                                the decimal point. For amounts less than 1
Here are examples of the preferred styles for                percent, put the numeral zero before the decimal
punctuating times and dates (in formal business              point: 0.07. See fractions.
correspondence, spell out the names of months):              dimensions Use numerals and spell out inches,
    Classes begin Monday, Sept. 2, 2003, in                 feet and yards to show depth, height, length and
     King County. [Note commas after the day                 width. Also use numerals and spell out the
     of the week and the year.]                              descriptive word for area, size, volume and other
                                                             units of measurement: 3 acres, 9 gallons.
    Classes begin Sept. 2 in King County.
                                                             Hyphenate when used as adjectives before a
    Classes begin Monday in King County.                    noun: The fish is 9 inches long. The 5-by-8-foot
    Classes begin in September countywide.                  room. The division is building a 13,000-square-
                                                             foot building. The stream is 2 inches below
    The most recent changes took place in                   normal. Use an apostrophe to show feet and
     September 2002 in King County. [No                      quotation marks to show inches (5‟8") only in
     commas separating the year from the                     technical material. See distances.
     month and the rest of the sentence.]
                                                             directions and regions Lowercase east, north,
    The road closure begins at 10 a.m.                      southwest, eastern, etc., when they show
     Monday, June 16, 2003, near Covington.                  compass direction. Capitalize the words when
     [No comma after the time, but note                      they specify well-defined regions: He walked
     commas after the day of the week and the                east toward the sunrise. More people are moving
     year.]                                                  to the Northwest. The committee included
    The road closure begins at 10 a.m.                      members from throughout Western Washington.
     Monday near Covington.                                  Lowercase directions when combined with a
    The road closure begins at 10 a.m. June                 proper name unless used to designate a
     16 near Covington.                                      politically divided nation: western United States,
                                                             eastern Canada, North Korea.
    The road closure will run from Monday
     through Friday, June 16-20, except during               Lowercase compass points when they describe
     rush hours.                                             a section of a state, county or city: eastern
                                                             Idaho, north King County, south Bellevue,
    The road closure from June 16-20, 2003,                 southern Oregon. But capitalize compass points
     did not disrupt rush-hour traffic.                      when part of a proper name: North Dakota. Or
    The road closure in June 2003 did not                   when used to show widely known sections:
     disrupt rush-hour traffic.                              Eastern Washington, Southern California, the
                                                             Lower East Side of New York. When in doubt,
    The open house will run from 7:30-9 p.m.
                                                             lowercase, or be more precise in naming the
     Tuesday, Jan. 28, in the White Center
                                                             geographic area.
                                                             See capitalization, cities and towns.
days of the week Always capitalize days of the
week. Do not abbreviate unless needed in a                   director Capitalize as an official title before a
chart or table: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat            name, but lowercase when it stands alone or
(no periods). See dates.                                     comes after a name between commas:
                                                             Development and Environmental Services
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--16

Director Brian Jardine; Brian Jardine, director of           Avoid the use of disabled or crippled when
development and environmental services, said.                referring to inanimate objects such as disabled
... Capitalize the full names of departments and             vehicle. Try stalled vehicle or change the
divisions when used with the job title: Brian                sentence structure: The bus with mechanical
Jardine, director of the Development and                     problems blocked traffic for an hour.
Environmental Services Department. See
                                                             Treat people with disabilities with respect. Here
correspondence, titles.                                      are some reminders when writing about people
King County titles for division manager and                  with disabilities:
assistant division manager were changed to
                                                                 Confined to a wheelchair. People with
division director and assistant division director,                disabilities are not confined to wheelchairs
respectively, in March 2003. To avoid confusion                   or wheelchair-bound. Instead, say a
with the department director and assistant                        person uses a wheelchair or gets around
department director titles, the division reference                by wheelchair. Emphasize abilities, not
must always be used in public identification.                     limitations.
Correct: Brad Crowe, division director,
Community Services Division; incorrect: Brad                     cripple Considered offensive when used
Crowe, director, Community Services Division.                     to describe a person who is disabled.
disabled Recognize that people with disabilities                 deaf and dumb, deaf mute These
have rights, among them the right to privacy.                     archaic terms are disrespectful and
Treat them as you would treat other people. If in                 inaccurate because deaf individuals
doubt about referring to their disabilities, ask                  generally do have functional vocal cords.
them. People who are blind, for example, may                      Say a person who is deaf, a person with a
prefer to be called blind instead of partially                    hearing disability.
sighted or visually impaired.                                    disease Most people with disabilities are
Avoid mentioning a disability when it is not                      healthy. Use condition.
pertinent. When necessary to mention a                           handicapped parking Use accessible
disability, put the person first, not the disability:             parking instead.
The man who is blind. The woman who is
paralyzed. The child with a mental illness. Also,                invalid Do not use. It means not valid.
instead of using broad terms like a person with a                suffers from Don’t say a person with a
mental [or cognitive] disability or a person with a               disability suffers from the disability. Say
physical [or mobility] disability, consider using a               the person has a disability.
useful phrase that describes the effect of the
disability, if appropriate: He has a disability that             unfortunate An adjective that describes
makes it easy for him to become lost. Don’t use                   someone with bad luck, not a person with
the paraplegic, the schizophrenic, the arthritic,                 a disability.
the brain-damaged person.                                        victim Having a disability does not make
Disability and disabled are preferred to handicap,                a person a victim. Also, a person with
handicapped, impairment and impaired. Avoid                       AIDS is not an AIDS victim.
impersonal phrasing such as the handicapped or               disc, disk Use disc for phonograph records and
the disabled. Instead, say people with                       a type of farm tool. Use disk for most other uses
disabilities, using person-first language. Avoid             and to mean hard disk, fixed disk or magnetic
condescending euphemisms when writing or                     disk storage device. Not an abbreviation for
talking about people with disabilities:                      diskette.
handicapable, physically challenged and special,
                                                             distances Use numerals for 10 and above. Spell
for example.
                                                             out one through nine: The coach traveled four
                                                             miles. She ran 11 miles.
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King County Editorial Style Guide--17

districts When referring to congressional,                   containing these abbreviations may be contained
council and legislative districts, capitalize district       in parentheses.
when joined with a number: the 4th
                                                             ellipsis ( ... ) Avoid. An ellipsis is usually used to
Congressional District, the 21st Legislative
                                                             show the deletion of one or more words in
District, the 2nd District, County Council District
                                                             condensing quotations, texts and documents. It
5. Lowercase district whenever it stands alone.
                                                             also shows hesitation or trailing off in a
Do not spell out the numeral in this usage. See              quotation: “I wonder what I will say after we ...”
legislative titles.
                                                             Treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, with three
doctor Readers often identify doctor and Dr.
                                                             periods and a space on each end. Some
with physicians. Use Dr. on first reference as a
                                                             software can create an ellipsis that can replace
formal title before the name of a person with a              three separate periods.
medical or dental degree. Drop the title before
the name in later references. Avoid using Dr.                e-mail A shortened version of electronic mail.
before the names of people who hold other types              OK to use e-mail (lowercase) in all references,
of doctoral degrees, unless the context is clear,            including first. Capitalize as E-mail only to begin
such as in academic settings or references to an             sentences, headings and headlines. Do not
academic specialty or position. See academic                 eliminate the hyphen. Follow the same style for
degrees, titles; titles.                                     words like e-business and e-commerce. See
                                                             initial-based terms.
dollars Lowercase this word. Beware of
accidentally using the word dollars and the dollar           Acceptable to use as a verb: He e-mailed her
sign with the same amount: $465 dollars. Except              about the project. And used alone as a noun, e-
for informal references or amounts without a                 mail refers to e-mail in bulk. It takes singular
figure, use the $ instead: The book cost $20.                verbs and singular pronouns: He got so much e-
Dollars stopped flowing into King County.                    mail it overloaded his inbox. All her e-mail was
                                                             about the construction project.
The style for amounts less than $1 million: $5,
$36, $731, $3,830, $539,501. For amounts more                When writing about e-mail messages, it’s now
than $1 million, use the $ and numbers up to two             OK to refer to an e-mail or to several e-mails:
decimal places; don’t link the numbers and the               She wrote an e-mail telling friends about her new
word with a hyphen: The project will cost about              e-mail address. He read six e-mails about the
$5.25 million. It is worth exactly $5,248,739. He            project.
proposed a $125 million project. See cents,                  Write out e-mail addresses in all lowercase,
numbers.                                                     following Web convention:
For specific amounts of money, use a singular       E-mail
verb: They said $450,580 is needed. For vague                addresses are not case-sensitive. Avoid using
sums of money, use a plural verb: Millions of                the @ sign in other ways. See Internet, intranet,
dollars were wasted.                                         World Wide Web.
-E-                                                          environmental impact statement Spell out on
                                                             first reference. Capitalize only when used as part
e.g., i.e. Often confused. The first is the                  of a proper title: The Brown Street Tunnel Project
abbreviation for exempli gratia, a Latin phrase              Environmental Impact Statement. EIS (all caps,
meaning “for example.” The second is the                     no periods) is acceptable on second reference.
abbreviation for id est, a Latin phrase meaning
                                                             Avoid overuse of the abbreviation by substituting
“that is.” It introduces a clarification of the words        impact statement. As with other abbreviations,
that precede it. Unless the material is scientific or        don’t identify the abbreviation when first spelling
academic, use the simpler English words.                     out the term if the abbreviation won’t be repeated
Commas or semicolons usually precede both,                   in your document.
and commas usually follow both. Phrases

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Always spell out draft, final or supplemental                and the abbreviation for Fahrenheit used: The
when used with the document name or                          mercury hit 86 F yesterday (space before and no
abbreviation: The project team printed the draft             period after the F). See temperatures.
EIS last month. The supplemental impact                      FAQ Abbreviation for plural frequently asked
statement is ready for printing. Not: The project            questions; it doesn’t end with a redundant s.
team printed the DEIS. The SEIS is ready.
                                                             Except in headings, spell it out on first reference;
et al. Abbreviation for et alibi or et alii, meaning         FAQ is fine for later references. If referring to
“and elsewhere” or “and others.” Avoid using this            more than one FAQ document, use FAQ pages,
abbreviation. Be specific, if possible. It may be            FAQ listings, FAQ documents, etc.
used in technical reports as a reference citation:           file name acronyms Capitalize the acronym for
Light rail uses 34 BTUs of energy (Healy, et al.,
                                                             computer file name extensions when used in
                                                             text; lowercase the acronym when part of a
etc. Abbreviation for et cetera, a Latin phrase              complete document name. Examples: GIF,
meaning “and others,” “and so on,” “and the                  flowchart.gif; JPG or JPEG, countyexec.jpg or
rest.” It’s usually used for things, not people; the         countyexec.jpeg; PDF, newsletter.pdf; DOC,
Latin et al. is the correct abbreviation for                 report.doc; HTM or HTML, index.htm or
referring to people. But avoid using the                     index.html. The acronym is acceptable on first
abbreviations; use the simpler English words                 use if the context is clear; spell it out or explain if
instead.                                                     it’s not: Word document instead of DOC. See
Also, don’t use etc. if introducing a list with for          Internet.
example or such as. If using etc., set it off with           fractions Spell out amounts less than one in
commas at both ends.                                         stories, and hyphenate between the words: one-
                                                             third, three-fourths. Use numerals for specific
exclamation point (!) Use sparingly and only to
                                                             amounts larger than one: 5 2/3, 59 5/8.
express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or
                                                             Whenever practical, convert fractions to
other strong emotion. The exclamation point
                                                             decimals: 5.5, 43.5, 8.25.
goes within the quotation marks when it applies
to the quoted matter only. Use only one space                If using a whole number with a fraction, do not
after an exclamation point at the end of a                   hyphenate: 4 3/8, 15 ½.
sentence.                                                    Avoid numerals separated by a slash—5 1/2—
executive See King County Executive.                         when the typeface contains case fractions as
                                                             special characters, such as ½. The fractions 1/4,
exit numbers Capitalize them when referring to
                                                             1/2 and 3/4 are usually available as special
freeway exits: Exit 6, Exit 52.
                                                             characters in word-processing and desktop-
-F-                                                          publishing programs.
facility Unless this word is part of a proper                With phrases like three-fourths of X, the verb
name, avoid using it when possible, especially               agrees with X: Three-fourths of the project is
as a bureaucratic euphemism for building. Be                 done. Three-fourths of the visitors are from
more specific by naming or describing individual             Andorra.
facilities, such as base, building, laboratory,
office, plant, warehouse: The council appointed              In charts and tables, always use numerals.
her director of the new jail [not facility].                 Convert to decimals if the amounts involve
                                                             extensive use of fractions. See decimals
Fahrenheit In texts, on first reference use
numerals and spell out degrees. Also, spell out              -G-
and capitalize Fahrenheit: The mercury hit 86                gay, lesbian. Identify a person's sexual
degrees Fahrenheit. On later reference if the                orientation only when it is pertinent, and don't
context is clear, the degrees may be dropped                 refer to "sexual preference" or to a gay,
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King County Editorial Style Guide--19

homosexual or alternative "lifestyle." Use gay (n.           To improve readability, avoid capitalizing all the
and adj.) to describe men and women attracted                letters in more than one or two words in
to the same sex, though lesbian is the more                  headlines and headings. For emphasis, other
common term for women. Avoid using                           typographical uses may be more effective than
homosexual except in clinical contexts or                    capitalizing every word: a different typeface,
references to sexual activity. Instead of referring          italics, color, boldfacing, larger type.
to lesbians and gays, consider using gay women
and men or lesbians and gay men. Lowercase                   Figures may be used for numbers in headlines. If
gay and lesbian except in names of                           the meaning is clear, abbreviations may be used
organizations. Don't refer to gays with                      in headlines and headings. See abbreviations
disparaging and offensive terms. Use gay and                 and acronyms, capitalization, numbers.
queer carefully in other contexts. See sex,                  Punctuate headlines like sentences. Some
sexism.                                                      exceptions: Commas may substitute for the word
governmental bodies Capitalize the full, proper              and. Use semicolons instead of periods to show
names of federal, state and local governmental               sentence breaks within the headline. But put no
agencies, departments and offices: the U.S.                  period after the headline. Use single quotation
Department of Health and Human Services, the                 marks instead of double quotation marks. In
state Department of Ecology, King County                     attribution, colons may substitute for said after
Department of Natural Resources and Parks, the               the speaker’s name (before a statement), and
county Department of Adult Detention. Also,                  dashes may substitute for said before the
capitalize the shortened version: the Health and             speaker’s name (after a statement). Don’t
Human Services Department, the Ecology                       hyphenate words in headlines and headings.
Department, Natural Resources and Parks                      he or she, he/she In avoiding the outdated use
Department. But lowercase the department.                    of the generic he, he or she is much preferred
Capitalize the full names and shortened versions of          over he/she, as are his or hers over his/hers and
King County departments and other organizational             him or her over him/her. Of course, the pronoun
units. See capitalization.                                   order can be reversed: she or he, hers or his, her
                                                             or him. To avoid overuse of he or she and its
government, governmental Always lowercase                    other forms, use a plural construction: All
the noun government, never abbreviate: county                participants must supply their own tools instead
government, state government, the U.S.                       of Each participant must supply his or her own
government. Use governmental as the adjective:               tools. See his, his/her.
a governmental agency.
                                                             highway designations For highways identified
governor Abbreviate and capitalize before a                  by number, spell out and capitalize on first
name: Gov. Lowercase after a name and when                   reference: Highway 99, U.S. Route 2, Interstate
standing alone. In business correspondence,                  5, State Route 520. On second reference,
spell out before a name. See correspondence,                 interstates and state routes may be abbreviated.
titles.                                                      Capitalize and use a hyphen: I-405, I-5, SR-520.
-H-                                                          Don’t abbreviate Highway 99. See
headlines, headings "Down-style" capitalization
is preferred for both headlines and headings;                his, his/her Avoid using the pronoun his in
that is, capitalize only proper nouns and the first          generic references or the awkward construction
word. The alternative is to capitalize the first             his/her. Instead, recast the sentence if possible.
word, proper nouns and key words. Capitalize                 Change: A truck driver should always try to keep
headings and headings consistently within a                  his/her composure. To: Truck drivers should
document, whether you use headlines or                       always try to keep their composure. See he or
headings or both.                                            she, he/she.

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home page Two words. It’s the “front” page or                high school classes. If necessary, rewrite
main page of a website; it’s not synonymous with             sentences to avoid stringing together a long,
Web page or website. See Internet, intranet,                 potentially confusing series of modifying adverbs
World Wide Web.                                              and adjectives before nouns.
homosexual See gay, lesbian; sex, sexism.                    Hyphens are unnecessary after the adverb very
                                                             and after all adverbs that end in ly: a very good
HTML Acronym for hypertext markup language.
                                                             time, an easily remembered rule, randomly
Spell out on first reference. Lowercase html and
                                                             selected addresses. See comma.
htm in Web addresses. See World Wide Web.
                                                             Do not hyphenate most compound modifiers if
hyphen (-) Hyphens link words together. Use a
                                                             they occur after the noun being modified, even if
hyphen to form a single idea from two or more
                                                             hyphenating them before the noun: The plan was
words: She recovered her health. She re-
                                                             well prepared. The man was little known. The
covered the torn seat. He is a small-business
                                                             woman was better qualified. His boat is 20 feet
man. He is a foreign-car dealer. Unclear: He is a
                                                             long, but He has a 20-foot-long boat.
small businessman. He is a foreign car dealer.
Also see guidelines at composition titles,                   Here’s the form for suspensive hyphenation: The
compound words, race.                                        agenda included a 10- to 15-minute period for
Do not hyphenate most compound nouns—two
or more words that function together as a noun:              Hyphenate co- when forming nouns, adjectives
Pilot testing is scheduled to begin in May. But              or verbs that show occupation or status: co-pilot,
consult this style manual or your dictionary for             co-chairman, co-worker. See prefixes and
preferred or commonly accepted terms:                        suffixes and separate entries for the most
president-elect, sister-in-law, good-for-nothing.            frequently used prefixes and suffixes.
To avoid ambiguity, use hyphens to link words in             A hyphen is not a dash. For example, the mail
compound adjectives (or compound modifiers)                  stop KSC-NR-0505 contains hyphens, not
before nouns. If you can insert and between the              dashes. See dash for preferred punctuation
modifying words before a noun and make sense                 between phrases and numbers, times, dates and
of the new construction, you do not have a                   other uses that show range, such as 1987-88,
compound adjective: And would make sense in a                $20-40, the Seattle-Spokane train. Also see
sunny, warm day; sunny, warm is not a                        ranges.
compound modifier. But and would not work in a
                                                             A hyphen may be used to divide a word at the
well-rounded employee; well-rounded is a
                                                             end of a line, especially to eliminate large gaps
compound modifier.                                           at the end of an adjacent line. Here are some
If two or more consecutive words make sense                  guidelines for hyphenation to aid readability and
only when understood together as a single idea               reduce reader confusion:
modifying a noun that follows, hyphenate that                    Divide words only between syllables, but
compound adjective: a well-prepared plan,
                                                                  don’t add a hyphen to a word or phrase
special-interest money, credit-card application,
                                                                  that already contains a hyphen, such as
high-frequency sounds, minimum-height                             decision-maker or re-election. Instead,
requirement, used-record store, 250-square-mile
                                                                  break the word or phrase at the existing
area, 5-ton truck, short-term solution, little-known
man, better-qualified woman, long-range plan,
know-it-all attitude, pilot-testing schedule.                    Don’t end more than two consecutive
                                                                  lines with hyphens.
Leave out hyphens in compound modifiers only
when no reader confusion would result from their                 Don’t hyphenate a word at the end of a
omission—or if the modifying words are                            line unless you can leave a syllable of at
commonly considered as a unit: post office box,                   least three characters on both the first and
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King County Editorial Style Guide--21

         second lines. Avoid dividing words with             in a state of flux. Some styles below may
         fewer than six letters.                             change, so check back occasionally for updates.
       Don’t divide the last word in a line when            See entries below for other Internet, computer
        the second part of the word would be the             and telecommunications terms:
        only “word” on the second line.                          cell phone, cellular phone, cellular
       Don’t hyphenate abbreviations,                            telephone See entry.
        contractions, numbers and words in                       database One word.
        headlines and headings.
                                                                 disc, disk See disc, disk
       Avoid hyphenating proper nouns.
                                                                 DOS Acronym for disk operating system.
       Don’t hyphenate words that jump from                      Spell out (all caps, no periods).
        one page to another page.
                                                                 download One word.
       Avoid hyphenating words that jump from
        one column to another column or that                     e-mail See e-mail.
        jump over a graphic image or photo.                      FAQ Acronym for frequently asked
See numbers.                                                      questions. See FAQ
-I-                                                              file name acronyms Including DOC, GIF,
                                                                  HTM, JPG and PDF. See entry.
incorporated Capitalize and abbreviate as Inc.
when used as part of a corporate name. Inc. is                   home page See home page.
usually not needed in company names, but when                    HTML Acronym for hypertext markup
it is, don’t set it off with commas: J.C. Penney                  language. See HTML.
Co. Inc. See correspondence
                                                                 inbox, outbox Each one word, no
independently elected officials Preferred general                 hyphen.
description (lowercase) for King County officials;
previously identified as separately elected officials.           intranet See intranet
King County's independently elected officials are the
                                                                 IT Abbreviation for information
county executive, members of the King County
Council, assessor, elections director, sheriff,                   technology. Spell it out.
prosecuting attorney, District Court judges, and                 LAN Acronym for local area network.
Superior Court judges. The County Council and other               Spell out (lowercased) on first use.
elected officials might have other editorial styles for
materials produced by their independent offices. Also            login/log in, logon/log on, log off, log
see capitalization; councilmember; county;                        out See entry.
county council; King County Executive.
                                                                 online One word in all uses.
initial-based terms All initial-based terms
                                                                 PDF See PDF.
separate the initial from the base word with
either a space or a hyphen: A-frame, B-movie, C                  software See software
ration, D-day, e-mail, G-string, H-bomb, I-beam,                 voice mail See voice mail
J-school, L-shaped, N-word, O-ring, T-shirt, U-
boat, X-ray, Y-chromosome. Capitalization                        WAN Acronym for wide area network.
varies. Check your dictionary or style manual for                 Spell out (lowercased) on first use. Avoid
specific terms. See e-mail.                                       using the acronym except in technical
initials Don’t put a space between initials: T.S.
Eliot. See middle initials.                                      Web, web- See World Wide Web.
Internet Capitalize. In later references, the Net is             World Wide Web See World Wide Web.
acceptable. Internet and computer terminology is
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intranet Usually lowercased. While there is one              King County Executive. The formal title of the
Internet, there are many intranets maintained                county executive. Capitalize County Executive before
within companies, organizations, government                  a name and when used in place of the officeholder’s
agencies and other computer networks. When                   name: County Executive Ronald Michaels, the
naming the unique internal computer network of               County Executive proposed. Lowercase the title in
                                                             other uses: Four people are running for county
an organization, intranet may be capitalized: The
                                                             executive in the primary election. Avoid using the
King County Intranet is well-used by employees.              Executive alone when referring to the County
Though not always possible, avoid using the                  Executive. See capitalization.
Web or, especially, World Wide Web when
referring to an intranet. An intranet page or                -L-
intranet site can look like an Internet page or
site, but it’s not actually on the World Wide Web.           legislative districts See districts.
See e-mail, Internet, World Wide Web.                        legislative titles On first reference, use Rep.,
-J-                                                          Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before
                                                             one or more names. Spell out and capitalize
jargon The technical terminology or specialized              those titles before names in business
vocabulary of a particular activity, class, work or          correspondence. Spell out and lowercase those
occupational group. Also, obscure and often                  titles in other uses. Add U.S. or state before a
pretentious language marked by long, unfamiliar              title if necessary to avoid confusion: U.S. Rep.
words and phrases. Avoid or rewrite. Example:                Warren Jackson spoke with state Sen. Henry
The biota exhibited a 100 percent mortality                  Magnuson. Do not use legislative titles before a
response. Rewrite: All the fish died. When jargon            name on second reference unless they are part
is necessary, explain or define the terms likely to          of a direct quotation. Also, lowercase legislative.
be unfamiliar to most readers. See                           See correspondence, councilmember, party
bureaucratese.                                               affiliation.
junior, senior Abbreviate Jr. and Sr. only with              legislature Capitalize when the name of a state
full names. Do not separate the abbreviations                comes before it: the Washington Legislature.
from the name with a comma: Dr. Martin Luther                Keep capitalization when dropping the state
King Jr., Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Similarly, do not            name but the reference to the state’s legislature
use a comma to separate Roman numerals from                  is clear: the state Legislature, the Legislature
a person’s name: Larry Moe IV, M.D., is losing               today.
his patience. Larry Moe V is in the nursery. Pope
John Paul George Ringo IV.                                   lists When listing information in paragraph form,
                                                             use commas to separate items in the list if the
-K-                                                          items are brief and have little or no internal
King County All publications, letterhead,                    punctuation. If the items are complex, separate
websites, signs, vehicles and other materials                them with semicolons. To emphasize sequence,
produced by King County departments and                      order or chronology of list items, each item may
divisions must make clear they are part of King              be preceded with a number or letter enclosed in
County government—through correct use of the                 parentheses or followed by a period.
county logo and, when possible, printed text: for            Use a colon to introduce a list only if a full
example, the King County division or, on first               sentence or clause precedes it. That sentence
reference, King County‟s Emergency                           would end with the following: or as follows: or
Management Division; King County International               Here are some examples: or phrases like that.
Airport; the King County Solid Waste Division.               Don’t use the colon after phrases like The
See capitalization, correspondence, county.                  problems include ... or The members of the task
Also see the King County Graphic Standards:                  force are .…
(internal link).                                             Here are two examples:
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King County Editorial Style Guide--23

We think he should (1) increase his                                    parentheses, but follow each with a period
administrative skills, (2) pursue additional                           and a space.
professional education and (3) increase his
                                                             Here are some guidelines for using indentations
                                                             in the list:
You should expect your vendor to do the
                                                                    Indent each item in the list if one or more
following: train you in the care of your system;
                                                                     of them develop a complete thought or
offer regular maintenance, with parts
                                                                     contain more than one sentence.
replacement when necessary; and respond
promptly to service requests.                                       If an item extends beyond one line, align
                                                                     the beginning of each line with the first
When listing information in a column, follow                         word of the item after the number or
these guidelines:                                                    bullet.
    End the introduction to the list with a colon           Here are some more examples:
     if it is a complete sentence, as shown
     above.                                                  The team is studying three alternatives:
    Capitalize the first word in each item if                      expanding the existing plant
     one or more of the items are complete                          building a new facility
                                                                    improving all existing facilities.
    Don’t end list items with a semicolon. And
     don’t use periods or other ending                       Here‟s the procedure for typing a three-column
     punctuation on items in the list unless one             table:
     or more of the items are complete                             1. Clear tab stops.
                                                                   2. Remove margin stops.
    Put a period after the final item in all lists.
                                                                   3. Find the precise center of the page.
Avoid ending the introductory phrase with a verb.                     Set a tab stop at center.
If that cannot be avoided
                                                             The vendor for your system should
    don’t use any end punctuation after the
     introductory phrase before the list (as                          train you in the care of your system.
     shown above).                                                    offer regular maintenance,
    each item in the list should complete the                         with parts replacement when necessary.
     sentence, beginning with a lowercase                             respond promptly to service requests.
     letter and ending with a period.
                                                             login/log in, logon/log on, log off, log out Use
    don’t put the word and after the second-                one word (a noun) for the process of gaining
     to-last item in the list.                               access or signing in to a computer system: Have
Here are some guidelines for using bullets and               you been told your login yet? Use two words (a
dashes in the list:                                          verb phrase) for describing the action: She was
                                                             told to log on to her computer. He logged in to
    Use bullets before each item in the list                the database program. Everyone was logging off
     when rank or sequence is not important.                 the network. Verb use is more common. Log in
    Avoid using an asterisk (*) or dash (—) to              and log on are interchangeable; so are log off
     represent bullets; most word-processing                 and log out. Don’t log into or log onto.
     programs create bullets easily.                         -M-
    If using numbers to introduce items in a                magazine names Capitalize the name.
     list, don’t enclose the numbers in                      Lowercase magazine unless it is part of the
                                                             formal title. Italicize magazine names if possible;
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King County Editorial Style Guide--24

underline them if not. Don’t put them in quotation           miles Use numerals for amounts under 10 in
marks. See composition titles.                               dimensions, formulas and speed: The site
                                                             measured 2 miles by 3 miles. The truck slowed
mail stop Two words. When giving a King
                                                             to 8 miles per hour. The bus gets 6 miles more
County mailing address, put the mail stop on the
                                                             per gallon. Spell out below 10 in distances: She
line above the street address; do not use the
                                                             drove eight miles.
M.S. abbreviation: King County Department of
Natural Resources and Parks, Environmental                   miles per gallon The abbreviation mpg
Planning and Community Relations, KSC-NR-                    (lowercase, no periods) is acceptable on second
0505, 201 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104-                 reference.
3856. When naming a mail stop without an                     miles per hour Abbreviation as mph (lowercase,
address, spell out mail stop: Send the memo to
                                                             no periods) is acceptable in all references.
mail stop KSC-NR-0505. See addresses,
correspondence.                                              Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms. Do not use the courtesy
                                                             titles Miss, Mr., Mrs. or Ms. Instead, use the first
manager Capitalize when used as an official title            and last names of the person. On second
before a name: Special Projects Manager Karen
                                                             reference, use only the last name. Courtesy titles
Drake. Lowercase when standing alone or
                                                             may be used in business correspondence. Plural
between commas after a name: Karen Drake,                    forms of these titles: Misses, Messrs., Mmes.,
special projects manager, toured the facility. See           Mses. See correspondence, names.
correspondence, capitalization.
                                                             months Always capitalize the names of months.
man, manned, manning Outdated. Do not use                    Except for business correspondence, abbreviate
man as a verb. Use staff instead or forms of use,
                                                             the following months when used with a specific
operate, worked or run. Change: Three                        date: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
employees man the office. To: Three employees
                                                             Spell out when using a month alone or with a
staff the office. See sex, sexism, staff                     year alone: The task force met in August. The
                                                             task force first met Jan. 16, 1994. The task force
Metro On first reference, use Metro Transit, King
                                                             first met in August 1994. See correspondence.
County Metro Transit or King County Metro. Metro
alone is acceptable for later references to the transit      When using the month, day and year, set off the
agency. Transit alone is acceptable on second                year with commas: The task force first met Jan.
references to the Transit Division. Do not capitalize        16, 1994, in SeaTac. See dates.
every letter in Metro; Metro is not an acronym. Also,
don't use Metro to refer to the regional sewage              -N-
treatment utility now operated by the King County            names People are entitled to be known however
Wastewater Treatment Division. See capitalization,
                                                             they want to be known, if their identities are
King County.
                                                             clear. In publications, use a person’s full name
                                                             on first reference, last name only on second
middle initials Use middle initials when they are
                                                             reference. Don’t repeat a person’s title before the
an integral part of a person’s name (as typically
                                                             last name on second reference. See
used by the person named): John F. Kennedy.
                                                             capitalization; correspondence; junior,
Also, use middle initials in stories or reports
                                                             senior; middle initials; Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.;
where they help identify a specific person, such
as in casualty lists and accident reports. See
initials.                                                    newspapers Capitalize all proper nouns that are
                                                             part of the official title. Italicize them if possible;
midnight, noon Don't capitalize, and don't put a
                                                             underline them if not. Capitalize the in a
redundant 12 in front of either word. Also, use
                                                             newspaper’s name if that is the publication’s
midnight and noon instead of vague and
                                                             preferred title. Don’t use quotation marks. See
potentially misleading 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. See
                                                             composition titles.
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King County Editorial Style Guide--25

nickname Use instead of a person’s given name                could cost $20 million to $25 million, not $20-$25
if the person prefers to be known by the                     million.
nickname. When inserting a nickname into the                 If large numbers must be spelled out, use a
identification of a person, use quotation marks,             hyphen to connect a word ending in y to another
not parentheses. But omit the quotation marks                word. Don’t use commas between the words that
when using a nickname without the person’s real              are part of one number: two hundred fifty-two.
name: Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt but Teddy
Roosevelt. See names.                                        Avoid beginning a sentence with a number. If
                                                             unavoidable, spell it out. Also, spell out casual
No. Use as the abbreviation for number when                  expressions: thanks a million, a thousand bucks.
used with a figure, in both singular and plural              See years.
forms: the No. 3 choice, invoice Nos. 4311 and
5207, lot No. 23. Don’t use the symbol or sign, #,           Avoid following the word for a number with a
to stand for No. or number. See                              figure in parentheses for the same number. It’s
correspondence.                                              redundant. Avoid: The contract will expire in
                                                             eight (8) days.
noon See midnight, time.
                                                             For exceptions and other uses, see addresses,
noun A noun is a word used to name a person,                 ages, cents, correspondence, dash, dates,
place, thing, quality or action. A proper noun               decimals, dimensions, distances, dollars,
names a specific person, place or thing and is               fractions, headlines, highway designations,
capitalized: Gov. Mike Yesler, Olympia, The                  hyphen, miles, No., page numbers,
Washington Capitol, Green Lake, Cascade                      percentages, ranges, ratios, room numbers,
Mountains, Lincoln Park. Don’t capitalize a                  speeds, telephone numbers, temperatures,
common noun, even if it refers to a specific                 time, votes.
person, place or thing: the governor, the city, the
building, the lake, the mountains, the park. See             -O-
capitalization, hyphen.                                      office Capitalize when part of an agency’s
numbers Spell out most whole numbers below                   formal name: Customer Assistance Office, King
10. Use figures for 10 and above: five, nine, 15,            County Sheriff‟s Office. Lowercase all other
650. See dimensions and other cross-                         uses: the executive director‟s office, the
references below for exceptions to those                     attorney‟s office.
guidelines. If you’re not already doing so, use the          -P-
number 1 key on your computer keyboard to
create the number 1. Don’t use the old-                      page numbers Capitalize page when followed
fashioned, potentially odd-looking lowercase L               by a numeral. Don’t spell out the number: Page
key to create the number l.                                  5.

Also, spell out first through ninth when they show           parentheses ( ) Parentheses may be used to
sequence in time or location: second base, Third             surround words, phrases or even whole
Avenue. Exceptions include county, legislative               sentences that are relatively unimportant to the
and congressional districts: She lives in the 2nd            main text. But they can distract the reader from
District. See districts.                                     your main point. If a sentence must contain
                                                             incidental information, setting off the information
In amounts more than a million—unless the                    with a pair of commas or a pair of dashes may
exact amount is essential—round off up to two                be more effective. Also consider placing the
decimal points. Write out the word million or                additional information in a separate sentence—
billion, and use numbers in all but casual uses: 3           with no parentheses. See abbreviations and
million, 85.2 billion, a $6.73 million grant, a              acronyms, comma, dash.
million bucks. Always include the words million,
billion or trillion when giving ranges: The project          Parenthesis marks always come in twos, one
                                                             opening and one closing ( ). Don’t use one
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King County Editorial Style Guide--26

without the other, including if they’re used in              percentages Use numerals with decimals—not
numbered or alphabetized lists. See lists.                   fractions: 3 percent, 6.7 percent, 33 percent. For
                                                             amounts less than 1 percent, include a zero
Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if
                                                             before the decimal—0.3 percent—or spell out
the material inside is not a sentence (such as
                                                             the fraction—three-tenths of 1 percent. Do not
this fragment). If a parenthetical sentence (here
is one example) is part of a sentence, don’t                 hyphenate when used as a compound adjective:
                                                             Staff reported a 5 percent increase. Round off
capitalize the first word or end the parenthetical
                                                             percentages to the tenths point: 45.9 percent,
sentence with a period. If the parenthetical
                                                             not 45.87 percent. Consider using half instead of
sentence ends with a question mark or
                                                             50 percent if you’re not using the figure
exclamation point, however, place a period after
the closing parenthesis (here‟s another                      alongside other percentage statistics.
example!). If the material in the parentheses is             period (.) This punctuation mark has two main
an independent sentence, capitalize the first                purposes. It ends all sentences that are not
word and place the period before the closing                 questions or exclamations, and it’s used in some
parenthesis. (Here is an example.)                           abbreviations.
party affiliation If mention of political party              Use periods to break up complicated sentences
affiliation is necessary, follow these examples:             into two or more readable sentences. See
    Republican Sen. Jerry DeSoto of Oregon                  sentence length.
     said ... or Sen. Jerry DeSoto, D-Ore., said             Use a period, not a question mark, after an
     …                                                       indirect question: He asked what the score was.
    Rep. Edmund Ballinger, D-Auburn, said ...               Don’t put a space between two initials: T.S. Eliot.
     (for Washington state representatives)                  Use periods after numbers or letters in listing
    Rep. Virginia Westerland, R-Idaho, said ...             elements of a summary: 1. Wash the car. 2.
                                                             Clean the basement. Or: A. Punctuate properly.
    Metropolitan King County Councilmember
                                                             B. Write simply.
     Shirley Cannon, D-District 3, said. ...
                                                             Periods always go inside quotation marks.
See correspondence, districts, legislative
titles.                                                      Use only one space after a period at the end of a
PDF Abbreviation for portable document format,               sentence.
a file format. The abbreviation is acceptable on             See abbreviations and acronyms, ellipsis,
first use when noting the format of a file on a              lists, punctuation, quotation marks.
website: (PDF file, 51KB). Lowercase when
                                                             plain English, plain language An approach to
giving a document name: newsletter.pdf. See the
                                                             communication that matches the needs of the
online manual for guidelines on telling readers              reader with your needs as a writer, resulting in
how to download free PDF reader software.                    effective and efficient communication. It stresses
percent One word. Use a singular verb when                   using familiar words; cutting useless words;
percent stands alone or when a singular word                 avoiding or explaining jargon and technical
follows an of construction: Sixty-five percent is            words; using abbreviations carefully; using
the goal. About 25 percent of the department                 inclusive language; writing in active voice;
was absent. Use a plural verb when a plural                  keeping sentences short; avoiding double
word follows an of construction: She reported                negatives; using punctuation correctly; using
that 60 percent of the councilmembers were                   lists; and using headings consistently. Also see
present. Do not use the symbol % in texts. The               the county’s Plain-language writing guide—
symbol may be used in charts, tables or scientific 
papers.                                                      .aspx—and Guide to concise writing—

Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--27                     names ending in y even if preceded by a
ng.aspx.                                                            consonant: the Carters, the McCoys, the
                                                                    Kennedys. Avoid using a possessive
plans, projects, programs Capitalize the full
                                                                    name as a plural: The free passes are
name of programs, projects or plans adopted
                                                                    available at four McDonald‟s restaurants.
formally by the Metropolitan King County
                                                                    Not: The free passes are available at four
Council. Otherwise, avoid capitalizing them.
Always lowercase program, project or plan when
the word stands alone or when using only part of                 Add s to figures: General Motors built the
the formal name: The project is under way. Avoid                  car in the 1940s. The Boeing Co. sold 12
interchanging the words program, project or plan                  more 767s.
within a text.                                                   To avoid confusion, add ‟s to single
plurals Follow the rules below for forming words                  letters: Dot your i‟s. She earned two A‟s
to show more than one of the things specified:                    and three B‟s on her report card. Add s to
For most words, add s: boys, ships. Here are                      multiple letters: He knows his ABCs. They
guidelines for some exceptions:                                   have three color TVs.
    Add es to most words ending in ch, s, sh,               For plurals not covered here, check your
     ss, x and z: buses, churches, foxes,                    dictionary. Also see abbreviations and
     fuzzes, glasses.                                        acronyms, capitalization, possessives.
    Change is to es in words ending in is:                  possessives Follow these rules for forming
     parentheses, theses.                                    nouns and pronouns to show possession:
    Add es to most words ending in o if a                       Add ‟s to singular nouns not ending in s:
     consonant precedes o: echoes, heroes.                        the girl‟s books, the church‟s needs,
     There are exceptions: pianos.                                Xerox‟s profits.
    Words with Latin roots: Change us to i in                   Add ‟s to singular common nouns ending
     words ending in us: alumnus, alumni.                         in s unless the next word begins with s:
     Change words ending in on to a:                              the bus‟s engine, the bus‟ seats, witness‟s
     phenomenon, phenomena. Add s in most                         answer, the witness‟ story.
     words ending in um: memorandums,
                                                                 Use only an apostrophe for singular
     referendums but not addenda, curricula,                      proper names ending in s: Drakes‟
     media.                                                       decision. And add only an apostrophe to
    Add s to compound words written as                           plural proper names ending in s: the
     single words: cupfuls, handfuls. For                         Parkses‟ home.
     compound words that use separate words                      Add ‟s to plural nouns not ending is s:
     or link the words with a hyphen, make the                    women‟s rights, women‟s room, men‟s
     most significant word plural: attorneys
                                                                  bike, children‟s passes.
     general, daughters-in-law, deputy chiefs
     of staff, assistant attorneys.                              Add only an apostrophe to plural nouns
                                                                  ending in s: the girls‟ books, boys‟ bike,
    Do not use ’s when referring to words as                     plants‟ supervisors, families‟ cars.
     words: His speech had too many ifs, ands
     and buts.                                                   When two or more people jointly possess
                                                                  an item, put the apostrophe after the noun
    Don’t change the spelling of proper nouns                    closest to the item: Eric and Phil‟s car
     when making them plural. Add es to most                      (they jointly own car), Eric and Phil‟s cars
     proper names ending in es or z: Joneses,
                                                                  (they jointly own more than one car). But
     Gonzalezes, Parkses. Add s to other
                                                                  when two or more people separately
     proper names, including most proper
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King County Editorial Style Guide--28

       possess items, put an apostrophe or an ’s             hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the root
       after each noun: Eric‟s and Phil‟s cars.              word that follows begins with the same vowel.
                                                             When in doubt, check for specific prefixes and
    Add only an apostrophe to nouns plural in
     form, singular in meaning: mathematics‟                 words in the online style manual. If a word is not
     rules, United States‟ wealth.                           listed there, check your dictionary. Insert a
                                                             hyphen if the first listing of the word includes
    Treat nouns that are the same in singular               one. If the word is not hyphenated or not listed,
     and plural as plurals, even if the meaning              drop the hyphen.
     is singular: the two deer‟s tracks.
                                                             In addition, use a hyphen when capitalizing the
Many pronouns have separate forms for the                    root word. And use a hyphen to join doubled
possessive that don’t use an apostrophe: yours,              prefixes: sub-subcommittee. At times, a hyphen
ours, his, hers, its, theirs, whose. Use an                  is necessary for clarity of meaning: He will
apostrophe with a pronoun only when the                      reform (correct or improve) the congregation.
meaning calls for a contraction: you‟re (you are),           She will re-form (change the shape of) the clay
it‟s (it is). Follow the rules listed above in forming       figure.
the possessives of other pronouns: another‟s
plan, others‟ plans, one‟s rights, someone else‟s            publication titles See composition titles,
umbrella. See contractions.                                  magazine names, newspapers.
                                                             Puget Sound Use Puget Sound on first
Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in s
                                                             reference. Lowercase sound on future
when using the word as an adjective—describing
                                                             references when the word stands alone: The
the following noun. If the prepositions for or by
                                                             study focused on Puget Sound. Scientists
would be more appropriate than the possessive
                                                             sampled the sound during November.
of, do not use an apostrophe: a radio band for
citizens, citizens band radio; a guide for writers,          punctuation Use common sense. Punctuation
a writers guide; a day for veterans, Veterans                should help reading—to make clear the thought
Day; a union for carpenters, a carpenters union.             being expressed. If punctuation does not help
Omit the apostrophe from citizens committee.                 clarify the message, it should not be there.
Add ‟s, however, when a term involves a plural
                                                             When more than one punctuation mark (not
word that does not end in s: a children‟s hospital.
                                                             including quotation marks, parentheses or
If you’re giving the proper name of an                       brackets) could be used at the same location in a
organization or other item, try to respect the style         sentence, use only the “stronger"—or more
it uses—even if that style differs from these
                                                             necessary—of the two. Question marks and
guidelines: the Metropolitan Teacher‟s
                                                             exclamation points, for example, are stronger
Association, The World-Class Speller‟s Guide.                than commas and periods: “Have all the ballots
Follow the rules above for possessive words that             been counted?” asked the reporter. (The
occur in such phrases as a day‟s pay, two                    question mark fills the role of the comma.) The
weeks‟ vacation, four years‟ experience, your                topic of his speech is “Customer service first!”
money‟s worth.                                               (No period following the exclamation point.)
pound sign (#). Avoid using as the symbol for a              See entries for specific punctuation marks:
pound as a unit of weight. It’s also the symbol on               ampersand (&)
the pushbutton on a standard pushbutton
telephone—the pound key. Also called the                         apostrophe (’)
number sign, don’t use to stand for number or                    brackets [ ]
No. See correspondence.
                                                                 colon (:)
prefixes Usually, follow these rules for adding a
prefix: Don’t hyphenate when using a prefix with                 comma (,)
a root word that begins with a consonant. Use a                  dash (—)
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King County Editorial Style Guide--29

       ellipsis ( ... )                                     Use only one space after a question mark at the
                                                             end of a sentence.
       exclamation point (!)
                                                             quotations Introduce full-sentence quotations
       hyphen (-)
                                                             with commas. Introduce multiple-sentence
       parentheses ( )                                      quotations with colons. When using partial
       period (.)                                           quotations and the titles of books, movies and
                                                             other publications, punctuate as if the quotation
       question mark (?)                                    marks weren’t there. See colon, comma,
       quotation marks (“ ”)                                composition titles and quotation marks.
       semicolon (;)                                        quotation marks (“ ”) Put quotation marks
                                                             around direct quotations: “No comment,” he said.
       virgule (/).                                         Smith said, “Report to work on time.” If a full
Also see correspondence, headlines,                          paragraph of quoted material precedes another
sentence length.                                             paragraph that continues the quotation, do not
                                                             put quotation marks after the first paragraph. But
                                                             do put quotation marks before the second
quarter Lowercase fall, winter spring and                    paragraph.
summer, when referring to academic quarters
                                                             Put quotation marks around words used
and first, second, third and fourth quarters when
                                                             ironically or unfamiliar terms used on first
referring to fiscal periods. Don’t separate the
                                                             reference: The “tycoon” turned out to be a
quarter and the year with a comma: She plans to
                                                             pauper. But avoid overusing single words in
graduate at the end of fall quarter 2001. The
                                                             quotation marks.
report is scheduled to come out in spring quarter
2001.                                                        Don’t put the words of one person into the
                                                             mouths of many: Witnesses at the accident said
question mark (?) Direct questions always take
                                                             there was “a tremendous bang, and then all hell
question marks: Who is going with you? Did he
                                                             broke loose.”
ask you if you were going? Indirect questions
never take question marks: He would like to                  Quotations within quotations: Use single
know who‟s going with you. For multiple                      quotation marks for passages contained within a
questions, either use a single question mark at              direct quotation ("She said, „Ouch!‟").
the end of the complete sentence: Did she plan               Punctuation: The period and comma always go
the project, manage the budget and supervise                 inside the quotation marks. The dash, question
the staff? Or emphasize each element by                      mark and exclamation point go inside the
breaking up the sentence: Did she plan the                   quotation marks when they apply to only the
project? Manage the budget? Supervise the                    quoted matter. Colons and semicolons go
staff?                                                       outside quotation marks. Also see punctuation,
Use a question mark and not a comma when                     question mark.
supplying attribution for a quotation: “Who is               In headlines, use single quotation marks: Man
going?” she asked. The question mark may go                  cries „Fire!‟ in theater, causes panic
inside or outside quotation marks depending on
the meaning: Who wrote “Everybody‟s Got                      See composition titles, nickname.
Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"?                  -R-
She asked, “How long will it take?” Also, use a
single question mark, inside the quotation mark,             race Identify a person’s race (or nationality) only
in sentences like this: Did you hear him say,                when it is pertinent. When an ethnic reference is
“Who wrote all the reports?” See punctuation.                needed to identify U.S. citizens, don't hyphenate
                                                             terms when used as nouns: an African
                                                             American, a Chinese American, Italian
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King County Editorial Style Guide--30

Americans. But hyphenate the terms when used                 rooms Capitalize the names of specially
as adjectives: a Mexican-American agency.                    designated rooms: Rainier Room. But fifth floor
                                                             conference room.
Be aware of stereotyping words, images and
situations that suggest all or most members of a             -S-
racial or ethnic group are the same: flashy,                 seasons Lowercase summer, fall, winter and
aggressive and happy-go-lucky blacks,                        spring. Don’t separate the season and the year
inscrutable Asian, conservative Briton, cold                 with a comma: The report is scheduled to come
Dane, hearty German, exuberant Italian, sleepy               out in summer 2004.
Mexican, tight Scot, fiery Spaniard.
                                                             semicolon (;) The semicolon has three common
Avoid using qualifiers that reinforce racial and             uses. Sometimes called a “supercomma,” the
ethnic stereotypes: Betty Wong is quiet and
                                                             semicolon shows a greater separation of thought
reserved might suggest that Asians are shy and
                                                             and information than a comma but less
docile. Avoid using ethnic clichés: fiestas when
                                                             separation than a period. Instead of using a
writing about a Hispanic.                                    semicolon as described in the second and third
Be aware of possible negative connotations of                guidelines below, breaking a long sentence into
color-symbolic words: a black reputation, yellow             two or more shorter sentences (and omitting the
coward.                                                      semicolon) can aid readability and clarity.
Be aware of language that might have                         First, use semicolons to separate parts of a
questionable racial or ethnic connotations:                  series when at least one item in the series also
Culturally disadvantaged implies superiority of              contains a comma. A semicolon also goes
one culture over another.                                    before the final and in such a series: Attending
                                                             were Tina Lopez, 223 Main St.; Ron Larson,
Avoid patronizing and tokenism toward racial or
                                                             1414 Broadway; and Robert Zimmerman, 1976
ethnic groups. But make sure publications
                                                             E. Pine St.
represent all groups fairly—in articles and
photographs.                                                 Second, use a semicolon to link two (or more)
ranges Use the form: $33 million to $40 million.             closely related statements that could stand alone
                                                             as independent sentences (or clauses): The train
Not: $33 to $40 million, unless you’re referring to
                                                             arrived on time; the passengers were overjoyed.
33 dollars. See dash.
                                                             If a coordinating conjunction such as and, but or
ratios Use numerals and a hyphen: The ratio is               or separates the two independent clauses, a
4-to-1. A 4-to-1 ratio.                                      comma would replace the semicolon: The train
river Capitalize as part of a proper name:                   arrived on time, and the passengers were
Duwamish River, Sammamish River. Lowercase                   overjoyed.
in other uses: the river, the Snoqualmie and                 Third, use a semicolon between two independent
Sammamish rivers.                                            clauses when the second clause begins with
road Capitalize when part of a formal name.                  transition words such as therefore, however,
Lowercase when used alone or with two or more                consequently and for example: The department
names. Do not abbreviate: We drove down                      had planned to discontinue the service; however,
Holman Road. The crew will pave Altamont and                 overwhelming customer demand persuaded
Pine roads. See addresses, correspondence,                   officials to keep it.
highway designations.                                        Place semicolons outside quotation marks.
room and suite numbers Use numerals and                      sentence length Varying sentence length
capitalize Room and Suite when used with a                   makes writing more interesting. Short sentences,
numeral: Room No. 9, Room 123, Suite 16,                     10-15 words or less, are good for emphatic,
conference Room 9B. See correspondence,                      memorable statements. Longer sentences, no
No.                                                          more than about 30 words, are good for detailed
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explanation and support. Try to include only one                    they. Not The worker ... he. Using plural
idea in a sentence, with an average length of 20                    pronouns with singular nouns is not yet
to 25 words. See lists, period.                                     widely accepted: The worker ... they.
sex, sexism Base communication on pertinent                      Use he or she and his or hers—but don’t
qualities of men and women, not on their sex or                   overdo it. Alternate between using those
sexual orientation. See gay, lesbian.                             phrases and other alternatives. See he or
                                                                  she, he/she; his, his/her.
Avoid use of words that restrict use or meaning
to males. Include all people in general                          Repeat the original noun or use synonyms
references by substituting asexual words and                      for second references to nouns like the
phrases: informal agreement for gentlemen‟s                       worker or workers. But don’t overdo that
agreement, homemaker for housewife,                               either. Make sure it’s clear to readers that
employees and their spouses for employees and                     the synonyms refer to the same person or
their wives.                                                      people.
Here are other examples: hours worked, staff                     Alternate male and female expressions
hours or working hours for man-hours; people,                     and examples. This style manual uses
human beings, the human race or humanity for                      examples involving both males and
mankind; physical strength, resources, human                      females.
effort, personnel, workers or work force for
                                                             Refer to women and men equally and
manpower; artificial, synthetic, manufactured or             consistently: Transit operators Larry Carson and
fabricated for manmade; and large, big,                      Emily Johnson won the awards. Not: Transit
generous or formidable for man-sized. Also,                  operators Larry Carson and Mrs. Gus Johnson
consider using sewer access, pipeline opening,               won the awards. See Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms..
utility maintenance hole or utility access hole for
manhole. See man.                                            Use parallel language when referring to people
                                                             by sex: Substitute husband and wife for man and
Avoid using man or woman as a suffix or prefix               wife, ladies and gentlemen for ladies and men
in job titles: Substitute business executive or              (or gentlemen and ladies, for variety). Neither
businessperson for businessman; worker,                      men nor women over the age of 18 are boys or
laborer or employee for workman; camera                      girls. Usually, use woman and man as the noun
operator, videographer or cinematographer for                and female and male as the adjective. Female
cameraman; firefighter for fireman, letter, mail or          and male are OK as nouns when talking about
postal carrier for mailman; and sales
                                                             animals, when it’s not known if a person is an
representative, agent or clerk for salesman. Use
                                                             adult or a child and when talking about a group
generic titles or descriptions for both men and              that includes both adults and children.
women. Avoid referring to woman managers,
male secretaries, men‟s work, women‟s interests              Grant equal respect to women and men. Do not
such as recipe swapping, sewing and fashion.                 describe men by mental attributes or
See chairman, chairperson, chairwoman.                       professional position and, simultaneously,
                                                             describe women by physical attributes. Only
Reword sentences to drop unnecessary gender                  refer to appearance, charm, intuition or physical
pronouns, especially the outdated generic he
                                                             strength when pertinent.
and his but also she and her. Here are some
alternatives:                                                software Software is a mass (or non-count)
                                                             noun, like postage, research, machinery,
    Try eliminating use of any pronoun.                     hardware, cash, advice and mail. Mass nouns
    Substitute the articles a or the for the                take singular verbs. To refer to software in
     pronoun where appropriate.                              countable or measurable—and plural—terms,
                                                             add countable phrases or use software as an
    Use the plural pronouns they and their in
                                                             adjective: Three types of software are available.
     reference to plural nouns: Workers ...
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King County Editorial Style Guide--32

Three software products are available. Capitalize            pages and direct quotations. See
software titles like Windows and PageMaker.                  correspondence, ZIP code.
Use quotation marks around only computer                     For punctuation, put one comma between the
game titles: “Where in the World is Carmen San
                                                             city and the state names and another comma
                                                             after the state name, unless ending a sentence:
speeds Use figures: The bus was moving about                 She moved to Portland, Ore., from Portland,
8 miles per hour.                                            Maine. Do not use ZIP code spellings for state
                                                             names in written text unless part of an address:
spelling Frequently misspelled words are listed
                                                             For more information, write King County Office of
alphabetically throughout the county’s online
                                                             Civil Rights, 400 Yesler Way, Room 260, Seattle,
style manual. Also listed are preferred spellings
                                                             WA 98104-2683
for words with more than one possible spelling.
For more guidance, see capitalization,                       Avoid using the redundant the state of before
collective nouns, compounds, hyphen,                         most state names. But use state of Washington
plurals, possessives, prefixes, suffixes,                    or Washington state—with lowercase state—
verbs.                                                       when necessary to distinguish the state from the
                                                             District of Columbia.
For spelling and definitions not covered in the
online manual, consult a dictionary, such as                 Lowercase state when used as an adjective: a
Webster‟s New Collegiate Dictionary. If two (or              state map, the state flag. They visited the state
more) spellings are listed in your dictionary, use           of Washington. Capitalize state when referring to
the first one unless this manual lists a specific            the state government: He worked for the State of
exception. If your dictionary provides different             Washington.
spellings in separate entries (gray and grey, for            Don’t capitalize state when used as an adjective
example) use the spelling followed by a full                 to specify a level of government: state Rep. Ellen
definition (gray). If a dictionary entry is listed as        Berger, state funds, state Department of
usually or often, use that entry.                            Ecology. But capitalize the full name of state
state names Spell out the names of the 50 U.S.               governmental units: Washington State
states when they stand alone: He moved to                    Department of Ecology. See governmental
Washington after living 20 years in New York.                bodies.
State names may be abbreviated in charts and                 Below are the standard abbreviations for state
tables, using the standard abbreviations below.              names. Don’t put a space between parts of an
Except in business correspondence, Web pages                 abbreviation: N.M., not N. M.:
and direct quotations, abbreviate most state                  Ala.          Ind.     Neb.       R.I.
names when used with the names of cities,
counties, towns or villages--using the standard               Alaska        Iowa     Nev.       S.C.
abbreviations. Spell out the names of the six                 Ariz.         Kan.     N.C.       S.D.
states that have five or fewer letters and the two
states that are not part of the continental United            Ark.          Ky.      N.D.       Tenn.
States: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine,                   Calif.        La.      N.H.       Texas
Ohio, Texas and Utah.
                                                              Colo.         Maine    N.J.       Utah
Do not use the two-letter ZIP code abbreviations
for state names unless part of a mailing address:             Conn.         Md.      N.M.       Vt.
For more information, write King County Office of             Del.          Mass.    N.Y.       Va.
Civil Rights, 400 Yesler Way, Room 260, Seattle,
                                                              Fla.          Mich.    Ohio       Wash.
WA 98104-2683. Always spell out other uses of
state names in business correspondence, Web                   Ga.           Minn.    Okla.      Wis.
                                                              Hawaii        Miss.    Ore.       W.Va.
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King County Editorial Style Guide--33

Idaho           Mo.        Pa.         Wyo.                  -T-
Ill.            Mont.                                        task force Capitalize the full name of a task
                                                             force established by the Metropolitan King
street Abbreviate only with a numbered address:
23905 N.W. 74th St. See addresses,                           County Council or its committees. Lowercase
                                                             when using only part of the name.
correspondence for exceptions.
                                                             telephone numbers Use a hyphen, not
subcommittee Lowercase when used with the
name of a legislative body’s full committee: a               parentheses, to separate the area code from the
                                                             rest of the phone number: 206-937-XXXX, 1-
Transportation subcommittee. Capitalize when a
                                                             800-XXX-XXXX, XXX-NU2-XXXX, XXX-FOR-
subcommittee has its own proper name: the
                                                             FREE (367-3733). Except for internal King
Regional Transit Committee‟s Service Evaluation
Subcommittee.                                                County publications, always use an area code.
                                                             Don’t use periods (or dots) instead of hyphens.
suffixes See separate listings in the county’s
                                                             For extension numbers, abbreviate and
online style manual for commonly used suffixes.
                                                             lowercase extension, and separate it with a
Usually, do not hyphenate words formed with the
                                                             comma from the main number: 937-XXXX, ext.
suffixes wide, down, less. If in doubt, follow your
                                                             XXX. Refer to toll-free number instead of 800
dictionary. If it does not list a word combination,
                                                             number: 1-800-XXX-XXXX (toll free).
use two words for the verb form and hyphenate
any noun or adjective forms. See capitalization,             When giving the alternative phone number for
titles.                                                      people with a hearing disability, use this format:
                                                             206-XXX-XXXX (TTY). If a TTY is unavailable,
Here are some general rules:
                                                             use the statewide 711 access number: 711 (TTY
        The suffix-able is more common than-ible,           relay). See disabled.
         and it is used mostly with complete root
         words: workable, dependable,                        Also see Americans with Disabilities Act about
         changeable, noticeable. The final e is              the required statement on printed materials.
         dropped in some root words: desirable,              temperatures Except for zero, use numerals for
         excusable, indispensable, usable.                   all temperatures: It‟s 33 degrees Fahrenheit. In
        Only -able follows g, i and the hard c ("k”         texts, use a word—not a minus sign—to show
                                                             temperatures below zero: It‟s 8 degrees below
         sound): navigable, amiable, irrevocable.
                                                             zero. See Fahrenheit.
        The suffix -ible is commonly used after
                                                             that, which, who, whom That is the defining, or
         double consonants (like 11), s, st, some d
                                                             restrictive, pronoun for essential clauses: The
         sounds and the soft c ("s” sound):
                                                             lawn mower that is broken is in the shop (tells
         infallible, divisible, credible, forcible.
                                                             which one). Which is the nondefining, or
        The -ance/ant and -ence/ent suffixes don’t          nonrestrictive, pronoun for nonessential clauses:
         follow any firm rules, so use your memory:          The lawn mower, which is broken, is in the shop
         attendance, maintenance, relevant,                  (adds a fact about the only mower in question).
         resistant; existence, independence,
         persistent, superintendent.                         In the examples above, note the correct use of
                                                             commas: Which clauses are always set off with
supervisor Capitalize as an official job title               commas (or sometimes dashes or parentheses),
before a name: Division Two Supervisor Connie                and that clauses aren’t. Essential that clauses
Tyler. Lowercase when standing alone or                      cannot be cut without changing the meaning of a
between commas after a name: Keith Jagger,                   sentence. Don’t set off an essential clause from
motor pool supervisor, thanked his crew. See                 the rest of a sentence with commas.
capitalization, correspondence, titles                       Nonessential which clauses can be dropped
                                                             without changing the meaning. Set off a
                                                             nonessential clause with commas.
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King County Editorial Style Guide--34

When an essential or nonessential clause refers              addressed the convention. Use this construction to
to a human being or something with personal                  set off a long title from a name: Tina Chin, the
human qualities (such as a family), introduce it             manager of the long-range service planning project,
with who or whom. Do not use commas if the                   said ...
clause is essential to the meaning. Use them if it
is not.                                                      See capitalization, correspondence, King
                                                             County Executive.
time Lowercase and use periods for a.m., p.m.
Use numerals except for noon and midnight. Do                trademark Unless a company’s trademark name
not put a 12 in front of noon or midnight. Don’t             is essential to an article, use a generic
use 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. (In Latin, these                      equivalent: facial tissue instead of Kleenex,
abbreviations stand for ante meridiem, “before               photocopy instead of Xerox, cola instead of
noon,” and post meridiem, “afternoon.")                      Coke. When using a trademark or proper name
                                                             of a product, capitalize the first letter of each
Times on the hour do not take zeros. Use a                   word. Don’t capitalize every letter unless the
colon to separate hours from minutes: 1:30 p.m.,             word is an acronym or abbreviation. Use of the
11 a.m., not 11:00 a.m. Here’s the style for                 trademark and registration symbols—TM and ®—
giving ranges of time: The hours are 8:30-10                 is unnecessary, unless certain commercial
a.m. and 6-9 p.m. (or 8:30 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 9             products are named in advertising materials.
                                                             type fonts. According to the King County
Avoid redundancies like 11 a.m. this morning or              Graphic Standards, “The Arial family (or
11:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Instead, use 11:30                 Helvetica) and the Times family are the only
a.m. today, 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. The wording 3                approved type fonts that are to be used for day-
o‟clock in the afternoon is acceptable but wordy.            to-day printed communications. ... These type
See dash; dates.                                             fonts should be used on both printed and
                                                             electronic communications. Printed business
titles Abbreviate these position titles when using           communications such as letters, faxes, news
them before a full name outside direct quotations:           releases, etc., and King County Internet and
Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Mr., Mrs., Rep., Sen., the Rev.         intranet sites should be prime users of these
Spell out all except Dr., Mr., Ms. and Mrs. when using       fonts. Highly designed promotional and
them before a name in direct quotations. See                 information publications generally have a wider
academic degrees, titles; legislative titles; Miss,          range of type font possibilities based on subject
Mr., Mrs., Ms. See exceptions for titles of King             matter, audience and design preferences.
County elected officials under capitalization. Also
                                                             Brochures, reports, manuals, newsletters, etc.,
see correspondence.
                                                             fall into this category. Readability and
Capitalize job titles used directly before a person's
                                                             accessibility should be a major consideration in
name: Treatment Plant Operator George McCartney,             choosing fonts for these pieces.” For more
Environmental Planner Paul Starkey.                          information, visit the King County Graphics
                                                             Standards website:
Except for business correspondence when referring  
to specific individuals, lowercase and spell out job         (internal).
titles when they are used alone or follow a person's
name: Sue Chin, transportation planner, spoke at the
meeting. The transportation planner spoke at the             underlining Avoid underlining text in
meeting.                                                     publications and on the Web to emphasize
                                                             words and phrases. Instead, use other options,
If a title applies to only one person in an organization,    including italics, boldface, color and size.
include the word the if the title is between commas:         Underlining cuts through the tails of several
The county executive, Aretha Turner, addressed the           letters and punctuation marks—the comma,
convention. Or Aretha Turner, the county executive,
                                                             semicolon and letters g j p q y—making them
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--35

harder to read. Also, on the Web people expect               Use the virgule—or forward slash—in Internet
underlined text to be a hyperlink. Underlining               addresses:
Web addresses in publications is optional.         
                                                             Use the backslash (one word)—\—for writing
United States When abbreviating as an
adjective or noun, include periods: U.S. No                  commands in DOS and computer directories.
                                                             See World Wide Web.
space between the letters in the abbreviation.
                                                             voice mail Two words. Hyphenate when used to
                                                             modify a noun: Thirty people left voice-mail
verbs Use a singular verb form after each,                   messages about the project.
either, everyone, everybody, neither, nobody, no
one, someone, somebody: Although both routes                 votes Use numerals and a hyphen for pairs of
                                                             votes: The council voted 10-3 for the project.
serve Bellevue, neither serves the Overlake
                                                             Spell out numbers under 10 in other uses: The
park-and-ride lot. Everyone at the meeting wants
                                                             proponents won by a seven-vote margin.
to speak.
Use a plural verb when the word and joins two or             -w-
more nouns in a compound subject. Exceptions                 work units See capitalization.
to this rule include compound subjects qualified             World Wide Web If the context is clear, the Web
by each or every and certain compounds, often                is acceptable on first reference. Also, Web
clichés: Every window and mirror on the truck                address, Web browser, Web page, (all two
was broken. Give and take is essential to good               words, uppercase Web), but webmaster,
communication.                                               webcam, website. Use website, not Web page,
A singular subject takes singular verbs even if it           when referring to a site with more than one page.
is connected to other nouns by with, as well as,             Also see e-mail, home page, Internet, intranet.
in addition to, except, together with and no less            Refer to a Web address as a Web address, not
than: The plant manager, as well as her                      as a Universal Resource Locator or URL. Use
supervisors, is involved in the training.
                                                             the spelling and capitalization of the website
virgule (/) Avoid using the virgule—also called a            owner. Instead of ending a sentence with a Web
slash, forward slash, diagonal or slant—to                   address and then a period, consider separating
represent omitted words or letters. Examples                 the address and the period with a phrase like on
include per in 40,000 tons/year, to in                       the Web after the address: ...
price/earnings ratio, or in his/her and oral/written on the Web.
tests, versus in parent/child issues, with in
                                                             If an address breaks between lines, split it before
table/mirror, w/o for without and c/o for in care of.        a slash or a dot (a period) that is part of the
Also, avoid using virgules (or hyphens) with                 address; don’t insert a hyphen unless a hyphen
numerals to give dates, especially if your readers           is part of the address.
could confuse the order of the day and month:
2/11/94, 11-16-1993.                                         Here’s the recommended style for Web
The virgule may replace and in some compound
terms: the Seattle/King County region, the                   wth/CompPlan.aspx (with no http:// before the
May/June issue, an innovative                                Web address). Special typographical
classroom/laboratory. Using and, however, may
                                                             treatments—such as color or boldfacing—are
be less ambiguous. When using the virgule,                   optional, as are brackets or dashes that separate
don’t separate the punctuation mark from                     Web addresses (and e-mail addresses) from
adjacent words or numbers with spaces.                       other text and punctuation. See underlining.
The virgule may be used to separate the
numerator from the denominator in numbers
containing fractions. See fractions.
Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:
King County Editorial Style Guide--36

years Use numerals without commas: In 2003, a                                                      Rhode
                                                              Alabama       Indiana—    Nebraska
severe flood hit the region. Use an s and no                  —AL           IN          —NE
apostrophe to show spans of decades or                                                             RI
centuries, but use an apostrophe at the start of a                                              South
                                                              Alaska—                   Nevada—
year when omitting the first two numbers: 1990s,                            Iowa—IA             Carolina-
                                                              AK                        NV
1900s, „68, „60s.                                                                               SC
Years are the one exception to the rule against                                North               South
                                                              Arizona— Kansas—
beginning a sentence with numerals: 1994 was                                   Carolina            Dakota—
                                                              AZ       KS
one of his best years. See dates, numbers.                                     —NC                 SD
-Z-                                                                                     North
                                                              Arkansas      Kentucky               Tennesse
zero, zeros Don’t include unnecessary zeros in                                          Dakota—
                                                              —AR           —KY                    e—TN
times and dollar amounts: 10 a.m., $35; not                                             ND
10:00 a.m., $35.00. See cents, time.                                                    New
                                                              California    Louisiana              Texas—
ZIP code Use all caps for the abbreviation for                —CA           —LA                    TX
Zone Improvement Program, but always                                                    e—NH
lowercase the word code. Abbreviation                                                   New
                                                              Colorado      Maine—
acceptable in all uses.                                                                 Jersey—    Utah—UT
                                                              —CO           ME
Use ZIP codes and ZIP code abbreviations for                                            NJ
states only in mailing addresses. Do not use                                            New
                                                              Connectic Maryland                   Vermont
ZIP codes in street addresses to show the                                               Mexico—
                                                              ut—CT     —MD                        —VT
location of a building, facility, meeting or event.                                     NM
See state names for standard abbreviations in
other uses.                                                   Delaware               New     Virginia—
                                                              —DE                    York—NY VA
Except for mailing addresses in business                                    MA
correspondence, put only one space between
                                                              Florida—      Michigan    Ohio—      Washingt
the state abbreviation and ZIP code; use two
                                                              FL            —MI         OH         on—WA
spaces in business correspondence. Do not put
a comma between the state name and the ZIP                    Georgia— Minnesot         Oklahoma Wisconsin
code. Following post office guidelines, don't                 GA       a—MN             —OK      —WI
include the ZIP+4 digits in return addresses                                                       West
printed on envelopes, postcards and                           Hawaii—       Mississip   Oregon—
publications. See correspondence.                             HI            pi—MS       OR
Below are the approved ZIP code abbreviations.                              Missouri    Pennsylv   Wyoming
                                                                            —MO         ania—PA    —WY
                                                              Illinois—     Montana
                                                              IL            —MT

                                                             Updated July 20, 2010

Entire King County Editorial Style Manual:

Description: Capitalization Job Titles document sample