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Editing Words: AP style on 'valentine' and tax terms
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By Michael Toeset
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Valentine greeting postcard
Public domain
A Valentine greeting postcard circa 1900.
Feb. 8, 2012 12:01 a.m.

A couple quick tips for Valentine's Day (it's coming up soon, men!):

- When you use "valentine" - as in "she's my valentine" or "I gave a valentine to my teacher" - it's lowercase.

- It's Valentine's Day or St. Valentine's Day, but not Valentines or Saint Valentine's.


Tax day is right around the corner, and you'll soon feel the urge to write "Tax day cometh" or some variation - try to refrain from using this cliche.


Some tax-term tips:

- Lowercase "tax day."

- The deadline for federal returns this year is April 17. Check with your state on their deadline.

- If you use "Washington, D.C.," make sure you put commas around "D.C."

- AP says to spell out "Internal Revenue Service" on first reference. "IRS" is acceptable thereafter.

- Most tax terms are not capitalized, so be on the lookout for stray capping.

- "Social Security" is capitalized, however. If you write "Social Security number," "number" is lowercase.

- The correct style on "401(k)" is just so - no space after the "1," and a lowercase "k" in parentheses.

- AP's Ask the Editor recently ruled that "taxman" should be one word, not two.


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