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Top 20 tips

Top 20 tips

Excerpts from the King County Editorial Style Manual. Clicking on the hyperlinks below will take you to the complete entry in style manual--as a Word document.

addresses. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth in addresses when used as a street name: The bus drove down Fourth Avenue South. Use numerals with two letters for 10th and above: He lives at 1234 56th Ave. S. Don't use superscript: 56th, not 56th.

Abbreviate compass points (N.W., S., etc.; all caps, with periods) in a numbered address: The building is at 543 N.W. 252nd St. Abbreviate only avenue, boulevard and street (as Ave., Blvd. and St.) in a numbered address: King Street Center is at 201 S. Jackson St. Spell out other street designations.

When first used without a number, always spell out and capitalize the full name of a street, avenue, road or boulevard: He lived on South Washington Street. Also spell out compass points (South, Northwest, etc.) if omitting the number: The building is on Northwest 252nd Street.

See correspondence for exceptions in abbreviating, capitalizing and punctuating mailing addresses.

capitalization. Do not capitalize the first letter of a word (or words in a phrase) simply to highlight it or to express its importance.

Capitalize common nouns only they're part of the full name for a person, place or thing. But lowercase common nouns when they're used alone in later references. Examples: Exchange Building, the building; Webster's New World Dictionary, the dictionary; Vashon Island, the island; Lake Washington, the lake; Cascade Mountains, the mountains; Lincoln Park, the park; Sammamish River, the river.

  • facilities. Capitalize the official proper name of all King County facilities: Northgate Park-and-Ride, Bellevue Transit Center, West Point Treatment Plant, Richmond Beach Pump Station. But lowercase common noun descriptions of facilities: the Bellevue and Renton transit centers, the park-and-ride lot, the transit center, the treatment plant, the pump station.
  • independently elected officials. Capitalize titles of the county executive, members of the King County Council, assessor, elections director, sheriff, prosecuting attorney, District Court judges, and Superior Court judges when used immediately before the name of the person holding the office: Prosecuting Attorney Sam Duncan announced. Also capitalize these titles if used in place of the officeholder’s name: the Prosecuting Attorney announced ….
  • job titles. Capitalize official job titles only when used immediately before a name: Natural Resources and Parks Director Virginia Schwieterman, Parks Division Director Billie Burke, Aquatics Section Manager Tim Wright, Property Agent Mary Munchkin, Administrative Specialist George Bailey. Except in formal business correspondence referring to specific individuals, lowercase titles when they're used alone or set off from a person's name by commas.
  • King County organizational structure. Capitalize the names of all King County departments, divisions, sections, offices, units and groups. For example, King County Department of Development and Environmental Services, Building Services Division, Building Plan Review Section, Fire Marshal's Office. Lowercase department, division and so on if they stand alone.

comma (,). Use commas to separate elements in a series of three or more terms. In a complex series of phrases, a serial comma before the final conjunction can aid readability: She opened the closet door, grabbed a coat, and picked up an umbrella. In a simple series, a comma before the conjunction is optional: The van is economical, roomy and dependable.

company names. Abbreviate company, corporation, incorporated and limited when using them after the name of a corporate entity: the Boeing Co., American Broadcasting Cos., Gulf Oil Corp. Do not abbreviate the words Company and Corporation in formal business correspondence. Spell out and lowercase company, companies or corporation when used alone: The company showed a profit.

county. Capitalize when part of a proper name. Also capitalize the short form, the County, if used alone as a proper noun in second references to King County government: He attended the community meeting to represent King County. The County is in good financial health. He represented the County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks [possessive use of the County]. Lowercase county when used as an adjective to identify or describe a department, program or other element of King County: He represented the county Department of Natural Resoruces and Parks. The county budget is scheduled for adoption, reported county Finance Manager Bill Drake.

dates. Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. when used with a specific date: We began operating the pump station Feb. 11, 1994, after 11 months of construction. Spell out those months in formal business correspondence. Spell out the names of months when using a month alone or with a year alone: We began operating the pump station in November 1994. Do not follow numerals used with dates by st, nd, rd or th.

dollars. The style for amounts less than $1 million: $5, $36, $731, $3,830, $539,501. For amounts more than $1 million, use the $ and numbers up to two decimal places: The project will cost about $5.25 million. It is worth exactly $5,248,739. Don't include unnecessary zeros in dollar amounts: $35, not $35.00.

man, manned, manning. Outdated. Do not use man as a verb. Use staff instead or forms of use, operate, worked or run. Change: Three employees man the office. To: Three employees staff the office.

numbers. Spell out most whole numbers below 10. Use figures for 10 and above: five, nine, 15, 650. Spell out first through ninth when they show sequence in time or location: second base, Third Avenue. See dimensions and other specific terms in the style manual for exceptions to this style.

In amounts more than a million-unless the exact amount is essential-round off to one decimal point. Write out the word million or billion: The grant was for $6.73 million. Always include the words million, billion or trillion when giving ranges: The project could cost $20 million to $25 million, not $20-$25 million.

If large numbers must be spelled out, use a hyphen to connect a word ending in y to another word. Don't use commas between the words that are part of one number: two hundred fifty-two.

percentages. Use numerals with decimals, not fractions: 3 percent, 6.7 percent, 33 percent. For amounts less than 1 percent, include a zero before the decimal-0.3 percent-or spell out the fraction-three-tenths of 1 percent.

quotation marks (" "). Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks.

semicolon (;). Use semicolons to separate parts of a series when at least one item in the series also contains a comma. A semicolon also goes before the final and in such a series: Attending were Tina Lopez, 223 Main St.; Ron Larson, 1414 Broadway; and Robert Zimmerman, 1976 E. Pine St.

spelling Frequently misspelled words are listed alphabetically throughout the county's online style manual. If two (or more) spellings are listed in your dictionary, use the first one unless the online manual lists a specific exception. If your dictionary provides different spellings in separate entries (gray and grey, for example) use the spelling followed by a full definition (gray). If a dictionary entry is listed as usually or often, use that entry.

state names. Abbreviate most state names when used with the names of cities, counties or towns, using standard abbreviations listed in the style manual, not ZIP code abbreviations. Except for ZIP code abbreviations in mailing addresses, always spell out the state name in business correspondence and on Web pages.

telephone numbers. Use a hyphen, not parentheses, to separate the area code from the rest of the phone number: 206-937-XXXX, 1-800-XXX-XXXX, XXX-NU2-XXXX, XXX-FOR-FREE (367-3733). Don't use periods (or dots) instead of hyphens. For extension numbers, abbreviate and lowercase extension, and separate it with a comma from the main number: 937-XXXX, ext. XXX.

time. Lowercase and use periods for a.m., p.m. Use numerals except for noon and midnight. Do not put a redundant 12 in front of noon or midnight. Don't use 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. Times on the hour do not take zeros: 11 a.m., not 11:00 a.m.

Excerpts from King County Editorial Style Manual