The Free Lance-Star
© The Free Lance–Star Publishing Cos.


Abel Lake     In central Stafford County. One of two reservoirs that supply the county’s drinking water (the other is Smith Lake in North Stafford). Named for the late W. Hansford Abel, who served 30 years on the county Board of Supervisors.

Abel Lake Water Treatment Plant

abortion     When we are doing the talking, the adjectives are anti-abortion and pro-abortion-rights. The people on either side are abortion opponents and abortion-rights supporters. In letters to the editor and in direct quotes, people can use any wording they want.

about     For times, use about rather than around. Example: He left about 4 p.m.

accents     Use accented letters if they appear in Webster’s first or second spelling of a word.

To insert an accented letter while working in Ted, place the cursor where you want the letter to appear in your text, press F10 to bring up a box of special characters, and double-click on the one you want. Here’s a list of accented words that we use with some frequency:

à la (also à la carte and à la mode, exceptions to Webster's)
crème brûlée
crème de cacao
crème caramel
crème de la crème
crème de menthe
crème frâiche
déjà vu
El Niño
fiancé (male) and fiancée (female)
filé (the powdered sassafras used in Creole cooking)
Fréjus (Fredericksburg’s sister city on the French Riviera)
lamé (the material interwoven with metal threads)
naïve (an exception to AP style)
pâté (a meat paste or spread)
première (the official opening of a film, play, etc.)

Accokeek Creek     Runs through central Stafford County and empties into Potomac Creek shortly before Potomac Creek empties into the Potomac River. (See the entries for Crow’s Nest, Indian Point and Marlborough Point.)

Accokeek Furnace     The remains of this 1726 iron blast furnace, owned by Augustine Washington (George’s father) and the Principio Co. of England, were donated to Stafford County by a developer in 1989. The property is on Accokeek Creek near Ramoth Church.

acre      Spell out numbers of acres under 10, use numerals for 10 and above. Examples: They sought to rezone a two-acre lot. They wanted to rezone eight acres for commercial use and 27 acres for houses.
An acre equals 43,560 square feet.

acronyms      With few exceptions, acronyms should not be used on first reference unless necessary to avoid a cumbersome lead. In that case, give the organization’s full name as soon as possible. DO NOT put the acronym in parentheses after the full name on first reference. Don’t overwhelm readers with capital letters; in later references, the commission or the organization will do.

     Uppercase an acronym such as FACRO. Names of companies, however, should have initial capital letters with the remaining letters lowercase—unless the letters are pronounced separately. Examples: Pepco, Geico, but CSX, IBM. See alphabetical listings in this stylebook and the AP Stylebook for specific guidelines on AARP, CIA, FBI, NAACP etc.

addresses      Use complete addresses to identify those accused of crimes. In other news stories and obituaries, say what locality a person lives in, giving a specific community or subdivision name. Example: the Four-Mile Fork area of Spotsylvania County.

Aegis Training and Readiness Center     Not “AEGIS.” At Naval Support Facility Dahlgren.

African–American     The preferred term is black. Use African–American only in quotations, names of organizations or if individuals so describe themselves (AP Stylebook). Also acceptable in columns or letters to the editor. We give it an en dash. See also the entry for race.

ages     Always use numerals.

aging     Acceptable in contexts such as the aging process or research on aging, but do not use as an adjective. Instead, choose a more informative description: an elderly diplomat; a fading photograph; a dilapidated building.

air bag

aka      No spaces; AP style, an exception to Webster’s. It stands for also known as.

Albemarle County      Not “AlbeRmarle.”

Allman’s Bar–B–Q     A restaurant on U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg; use en dashes.

All Saints’ Day

All Souls’ Day

al–Qaida     Use an en dash.

Alum Spring Park     A city park off William Street in Fredericksburg. Spring is singular.

Alum Spring Road     Runs west off Lafayette Boulevard just south of the Blue and Gray Parkway. Spring is singular.

America Online     AOL on second reference.

American Indian     Not “Native American”; see AP Stylebook entry for Indians.

American Life League     A national anti-abortion group based in Stafford County. The term pro- life is acceptable in direct quotes from representatives of this organization.

American Red Cross      Has two main divisions, each with its own structure and local offices: the Chapters Division, which handles education and disaster relief, and the Biomedical Division, which handles blood (and, to a lesser extent, tissue and marrow) donations. Local offices of the two divisions are called American Red Cross Rappahannock Area Chapter and American Red Cross Blood Services.

animal names     see species, pet breeds

Antique Court of Shoppes     A complex of stores with entrances on William and Caroline streets in Fredericksburg.

Aqua–Po     Former name of a Stafford County beach where Aquia Creek meets the Potomac River. It was renamed Aquia Landing in 1994. Takes an en dash.

Aquia Creek     In North Stafford. Empties into the Potomac River.

Aquia Episcopal Church     On U.S. 1 just north of Garrisonville Road in Stafford County.

Aquia Harbour     A large, private subdivision in North Stafford at the east end of Garrisonville Road.

Aquia Landing     A Stafford County beach and boat ramp where Aquia Creek meets the Potomac River. Formerly called Aqua–Po.

Aquia Movies 10     Owned by RC Theatres.

Aquia Town Center     A shopping center on U.S. 1 in North Stafford.

Arc–R     On second reference to Association for Retarded Citizens–Rappahannock Inc.

architectural styles     capitalize: Colonial Revival, Federal, etc.

area code     Separated from a phone number by a slash, not parentheses.
Example: 804/555-1212. An exception to AP style.

Arlington County     Ceded by Fairfax County to the federal government in 1789 as part of Alexandria County of the District of Columbia; retroceded to Virginia in 1846; separated from the city of Alexandria in 1870; name changed to Arlington County in 1920. Contains no cities or towns; there is no city of Arlington in Virginia.

ARTSPACE     All caps. A committee formed in 1989 and dissolved in 1995 after submitting its proposals for use of the old Maury School buildings. In March 2001 the Maury Design Committee, an ad-hoc group of Fredericksburg City Council members and city staff, looked at potential city use of portions of the Maury buildings.

art styles     capitalize: Impressionism/Impressionist, Art Nouveau, etc.

The Associated Press     Capitalize The in the name of the wire service, but lowercase in the AP.

associates      Do not use this word to refer to employees of Mary Washington Hospital, Walmart, Leggett or any other corporation. Associates is permissible in referring to members of law firms and business partnerships.

Association for Retarded Citizens–Rappahannock Inc.     Takes an en dash; Arc–R on second reference.


Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport     BWI on second reference.

Barkley Park apartments     In Fredericksburg, off U.S. 1 at its intersection with Confederate Boulevard.

Barksdale Theatre     A dinner theater at Hanover Courthouse. Use the common noun theater in later references.

Barnesfield Park     A King George County park on U.S. 301.

Battleground Athletic Complex     University of Mary Washington’s playing fields, on Hanover Street in Fredericksburg.

Bealeton      A community in eastern Fauquier County.

Beaverdam      A community in Hanover County in the area where Hanover, Louisa, Spotsylvania and Caroline counties meet; considered part of our coverage area for obituaries.

Beavis and Butt-head     

bed-and-breakfast      A private home or small hotel in which breakfast is provided as part of the price. The phrase takes hyphens. On second reference, B&B is acceptable.


Belle Harbor Marina     On Potomac Creek at the end of Belle Plains Road in Stafford County. Next to Belle Plains Boat Club.

Belle Plains Road     Runs from State Route 218 in Stafford County to Potomac Creek.

Belle Plains Boat Club     On Potomac Creek at the end of Belle Plains Road in Stafford County. Next to Belle Harbor Marina.

Belman's Plaza     A shopping center on Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg.

Belmont     The home of the late artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne. It is in Falmouth in Stafford County and is administered by the University of Mary Washington. The house and grounds are now referred to as Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont; on later references, Belmont alone is OK.

Bel Plains Drive     Off Belle Plains Road in Stafford County.

beltway     Capital Beltway on first reference, usually the beltway (lowercase) thereafter.

Beth Sholom Temple     At the corner of Lyons Boulevard and Plantation Drive, off U.S. 17 north in Stafford. The old temple is on Charlotte Street near Kenmore Avenue in Fredericksburg.

Big Lots     A store in Greenbrier Shopping Center on State Route 3.

BJ’s Wholesale Club     On State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County.

black     Preferred usage for those of the Negro race. (AP Stylebook)

Black History Month     February. Note initial caps.

Blades Corner     The intersection of State Routes 738 and 647 in southern Spotsylvania County. Berkeley Elementary School is located there.

Blaydes Corner Road     

Block House Road     Not "Blockhouse" Road.

Blue and Gray Parkway       Fredericksburg’s portion of the East–West Connector.

boards, commissions and committees     
• Capitalize Board, Commission or Committee when it’s part of the proper name of a specific body: the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.
• On second reference to a specific body, retain the capitalization even without the name of the locality: the Board of Supervisors.
• Do not capitalize board, commission or committee when it stands alone: the board.
• Never capitalize board of directors, board of trustees or board of visitors: the University of Mary Washington board of visitors.
• Do not uppercase member before a name: School Board member Diller Dollar supported the proposal.

board, council votes      On an issue that is the focus of a story, record the vote and make it clear who voted which way. If a council or board member was absent, say so. Votes are reported with numerals and en dashes. Example: The board approved the measure on a 4–3 vote.

Borders Books Music & Cafe     In Central Park; no apostrophe, no accent.

Botetourt     A county in Southwest Virginia; pronounced “BOT-a-tot.” The town of Fincastle is the county seat.

Bowling Green     The county seat of Caroline County. It’s at the intersection of State Route 2, State Route 207 and U.S. 301.

Bowman Center     A subsidiary of A. Smith Bowman Distillery that provides offices and staff for local businesses. It’s in the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park, adjacent to the distillery.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery      A company that makes and bottles liquor. Headquarters is at the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park off Routes 2 and 17 in Spotsylvania County.

boys sports     No apostrophe in such constructions as boys basketball or boys track. In this sense, boys is an adjective, not a possessive noun. But men’s basketball does have an apostrophe, in keeping with AP style.

Boys State     No apostrophe.

brackets      When inserting material into quotations, use brackets instead of parentheses. These are brackets: [ ]. These are parentheses: ( ). The Associated Press does not transmit brackets, so editors should review wire copy carefully and change parentheses to brackets when they appear in quotes, unless the parentheses appear in the original written matter that is being quoted. Do not cram expository material into brackets within quotes; bracketed insertions should be used only to clarify references within quotes, and they should not disrupt the flow of the words being quoted. Example: “I told Duke coach [Mike] Krzyzewski his team played a great game.”

Bragg Hill     A private, low-income townhouse development on the north side of Fall Hill Avenue between Central Park and U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg.

Bragg Road Extended     The section of Bragg Road between Spotsylvania Towne Centre and the Village Square Shopping Center in Spotsylvania County.

Brandy Station     The site of the largest cavalry battle in the Civil War. In Culpeper County.

Bristoe Station     The site of a Civil War battle in western Prince William County. Now the area is known as Bristow.

Brompton      The antebellum home of the president of the University of Mary Washington. Occupying a portion of Marye’s Heights and anchoring the northern end of the college’s Battleground Athletic Complex, it’s at Sunken Road and Hanover Street in Fredericksburg.

Brooke      An area of eastern Stafford County where the Virginia Railway Express has a commuter rail station.

Brooks Park     A park on Butler Road in Stafford County, run by the Fredericksburg–Stafford Park Authority. The building is the Brooks Park Activity Center. The park is named after the late St. Clair Brooks, a well-known Falmouth resident; its formal name is St. Clair Brooks Memorial Park.

’Burg     Colloquial abbreviation for Fredericksburg: the ’Burg.

bypass      Capitalize as part of the name of a road, for example U.S. 17 Bypass. Lowercase bypass when it stands alone. See also the entry for road names and numbers.


C–SPAN     Takes an en dash.

CADRE     Commonwealth Alliance for Drug Rehabilitation Education

Cafaro Co.     An Ohio-based company that developed and owns Spotsylvania Towne Centre.

Caledon Natural Area     A state-operated park in King George County known as a nesting area for bald eagles; located between State Route 218 and the Potomac River.

Camp 21     Former name for the Stafford Correctional Unit, a state-operated correctional facility on Eskimo Hill Road in Stafford County.

Capital Beltway     On second reference, the beltway.

capitalization of the     See entry for "the."

Capitol Hill     

Cards & Cones     Formerly Fine Lines. A business at William and Caroline streets in downtown Fredericksburg.

Carl’s     Not “Carl’s Frozen Custard.” It’s on Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg. It can be called Carl’s ice cream stand if explanation is needed for clarity.

Caroline County     Formed from Essex, King William and King and Queen counties in 1728. The town of Bowling Green is the county seat.

Caroline County Board of Supervisors     See entry on boards, commissions and committees.

Caroline Library     Has branches in Bowling Green, Ladysmith (Ruther Glen), Dawn and Port Royal. It is not part of the CRRL system.

carpool (noun, verb and adjective)     One word in all uses. See also Words.

cats     see pet breeds

CBLAB     Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board

CBLAD     Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Division

cement     Do not say cement when you mean concrete; portland cement (lowercase p) is a gray powder made from limestone and various additives. It is one ingredient of concrete. That big truck with a rotating drum on the back is not a “cement truck,” it’s a concrete truck.

cemeteries (active)

Caroline County: Evergreen Cemetery; Greenlawn Cemetery; Lakewood Cemetery; Mount Lawn Cemetery; Sts. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Cemetery; and Wrights Burying Ground
Culpeper County: Culpeper National Cemetery and Hillcrest Memory Gardens
Fauquier County: Warrenton Cemetery
Fredericksburg: City Cemetery; Confederate Cemetery; Oak Hill Cemetery; Shiloh Cemetery; and Fredericksburg National Cemetery
King George County: Meadow-Brooke Memorial Gardens (formerly Historyland Memorial Park)
Louisa County: Hillcrest Cemetery and Louisa Community Cemetery
Orange County: Graham Cemetery; Maplewood Cemetery; Oakwood Cemetery; Westview Cemetery; and Woodberry Cemetery.
Prince William County: Dumfries Cemetery; Stonewall Memory Gardens; and Quantico National Cemetery.
Spotsylvania County: Confederate Cemetery; Laurel Hill Memorial Park; and Sunset Memorial Gardens
Stafford County: Glen Haven Memory Gardens and Stafford Memorial Park
Westmoreland County: Oak Grove Cemetery

Centerport     A proposed residential, retail and industrial development in central Stafford County. Formerly called Centreport.

Central Park     A complex of stores, restaurants and offices developed by the Silver Cos. off State Route 3 west in Fredericksburg.

Central Rappahannock Regional Library     Serves Fredericksburg and the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford and Westmoreland. CRRL on second reference.
The CRRL headquarters or headquarters library (lowercase) is at 1201 Caroline St. in Fredericksburg. The other libraries in the system (we do not ordinarily refer to them as “branches”) are:

Short form, all references Full name Location
Snow Library C. Melvin Snow Memorial Library Spotsylvania Courthouse area
Salem Church Library Salem Church Library Salem Church Road (Spotsylvania)
Newton Library Blake T. Newton Memorial Library Hague (Westmoreland)
Montross Library Montross Library Montross
Cooper Library Abraham and William I. Cooper Memorial Library Colonial Beach
Porter Library John Musante Porter Memorial Library off Garrisonville Road (North Stafford)

Area libraries that are not part of CRRL include Smoot Library (full name L.E. Smoot Memorial Library) in King George County, Caroline Library in Caroline County and Orange County Public Library (see individual entries).

Central Virginia Battlefields Trust     

cha-cha     Takes a hyphen.

Chamber of Commerce     Acceptable on second reference to the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County. Lowercase the chamber when it stands alone.

Chancellor Center     A shopping center on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County. Food Lion is the grocery store there.

Chancellor House      Union headquarters for Joseph Hooker’s forces during the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Chancellor’s Village      A retirement community at State Route 3 and Kilarney Drive in Spotsylvania County.

Chatham      An 18th-century Georgian mansion overlooking the Rappahannock River that was used as a Union hospital and headquarters of Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside during the Battle of Fredericksburg. It’s owned and operated by the National Park Service and is part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Referred to by the Park Service as "Chatham Manor."

Chatham Bridge     The State Route 3 bridge over the Rappahannock River.

Chatham Heights     An area of southern Stafford County near the Chatham Bridge, along State Route 218 between State Route 3 and Butler Road.

Chatham Square      A shopping center on Butler Road in Stafford County.

Chatham Square Office Park     On Butler road in Stafford County.

Chesapeake Bay     Lowercase bay when it stands alone in copy, but uppercase in headlines.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel     The toll bridge and tunnels connecting the Hampton Roads area with the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Takes an en dash.

Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board     Use the board on later references.

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act      the Bay Act on later references or in headlines.

Chewning Park     A Spotsylvania County park on Post Oak Road.

Chick–fil–A     Use en dashes; note capitalization.

child care     Two words in all uses.

Chopawamsic Creek     Forms part of the line between Stafford and Prince William counties.

Chopawamsic Island      A Potomac River island off Marine Corps Base Quantico in northeastern Stafford and southeastern Prince William counties.

Christian right     Lowercase r; use only in editorials and quotes.

churches and synagogues     See selected alphabetized listings.

cinder block     Cinders were once commonly used as aggregate in concrete masonry blocks, and the term is still in wide use—but not by us. Except in direct quotes, say concrete block (adjective: concrete-block).

circuit court     Initial caps only if it refers to a specific locality; see courts.

city      Do not use City of before the name of a city. If this construction is necessary, use city of, lowercase. Do not refer to towns as cities or vice versa.

City Canal     Now called the Rappahannock Canal.

City Cemetery     It’s at the corner of Washington Avenue and William Street, next to the Confederate Cemetery.

City Council     See Fredericksburg City Council.

City Dock     A public dock on Sophia Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

city industrial park     Informal name for the Fredericksburg Battlefield Industrial Park; acceptable only in direct quotes.

City of Fredericksburg      Refers to the paddle boat that takes tourists up and down the Rappahannock.

Civil War

Civil War Roundtable of Fredericksburg

Clearview      A Colonial-era house in Falmouth, overlooking the U.S. 1–Butler Road intersection from the northeast.

Clearview Heights     A subdivision off Butler Road in Stafford County, just east of the historic house.

clerk of the Circuit Court     Initial caps on Circuit Court if it refers to a specific locality; see courts. Lowercase clerk unless used as a title before a person’s name: Clerk of the King George Circuit Court Vic Mason.

Clyde Beatty–Cole Bros. Circus      The name takes an en dash.

COBRA     Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (federal, re: insurance coverage)

colleges and universities     Below is a complete list of four-year colleges and universities in Virginia. See also individual entries for some schools.

Four-year colleges and universities in Virginia

Averett University in Danville
Bluefield College in Tazewell County on the West Virginia line
Bridgewater College in Rockingham County, near Harrisonburg
Christopher Newport University in Newport News
Eastern Mennonite College in Rockingham County, near Harrisonburg
Emory & Henry College in Washington County, about 10 miles north of Abingdon
Ferrum College in Franklin County, about 25 miles south of Roanoke
George Mason University in Fairfax
Hampden–Sydney College in Prince Edward County, near Farmville
Hampton University in Hampton
Hollins University in Botetourt County, about 10 miles north of Roanoke
James Madison University in Harrisonburg
Liberty University in Lynchburg
Longwood University in Farmville
Lynchburg College in Lynchburg
Mary Baldwin College in Staunton
University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg
Marymount University in Arlington
Norfolk State University in Norfolk
Old Dominion University in Norfolk
Radford University in Radford
Randolph College in Lynchburg (formerly Randolph–Macon Woman’s College)
Randolph–Macon College in Ashland
Roanoke College in Salem, near Roanoke
University of Richmond in Richmond
Shenandoah University in Winchester
St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, about 15 miles west of Emporia
Sweet Briar College in Amherst County, about 15 miles west of Emporia
Union Theological Seminary in Richmond
University of Virginia in Charlottesville (U.Va. on second reference)
Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond
Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, on the Virginia–Tennessee line
Virginia Military Institute in Lexington
Virginia Tech in Blacksburg
Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg
Virginia State University in Ettrick, near Petersburg
Virginia Union University in Richmond
Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk
Washington and Lee University in Lexington (W&L on second reference)
College of William & Mary in Williamsburg

colon      In headlines, capitalize the first word after a colon. In text, capitalize the first word after a colon only when that word starts a complete sentence.

Colonial Beach     A town in Westmoreland County. In headlines, it can be referred to as Beach, with an uppercase B to distinguish it from the common noun.

Colonial Theatre     On Caroline Street in Fredericksburg. Use the common noun theater on later references.


commissioner of revenue     Not “commissioner of the revenue.” Capitalize only as a title before a name.


commonwealth      Lowercase in referring to Virginia, either in the construction commonwealth of Virginia or standing alone.

Commonwealth Governor’s School     In subsequent references, governor’s school.

Commonwealth Transportation Board     

commonwealth’s attorney     Possessive; not “commonwealth attorney.” Capitalize only as a title before a name.

commuter rail     The informal name for the Virginia Railway Express. Commuter rail is a project of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

concrete     A building material made from portland cement (note lowercase p), aggregate (commonly sand and gravel) and water, used in the construction of highways, buildings, etc. Do not say cement when you mean concrete: a concrete sidewalk; a concrete wall. Ready-mixed concrete is delivered to the job site in a concrete truck.

Confederate Cemetery     It’s at the corner of Washington Avenue and William Street, next to the City Cemetery.

conference room     Uppercase in constructions such as: The meeting will be held in Conference Rooms A and B.

Cool Spring Road     In southern Stafford County between State Routes 3 and 218, east of Chatham Heights. Spring is singular.

corps      Capitalize in all references to the Marine Corps: the Corps. Lowercase on second reference to any other corps, including the Army Corps of Engineers.

Cosner Park      A Spotsylvania County park off Routes 2 and 17. Named after former Supervisor Hugh Cosner.

council      Use the council, not just “council” on later references to city and town councils.

councilman, councilwoman     Uppercase these designations in titles before names. Collectively, they are council members; use this term lowercase and only in the plural.

county      On first reference to a county, uppercase county after the name, even when the first reference is part of the name of a governing body. Use the name without county on all other references except in designations for legislators. It’s not necessary to use county in headlines or cutlines. Examples: Stafford County, the county.

courtesy titles     In general, don’t use them except in editorials, obituaries and wedding or engagement announcements. In other copy, use a courtesy title for a woman only if she specifically requests it or if we are certain she would prefer it. The Associated Press and some other wire services generally use courtesy titles for women; editors should apply Free Lance–Star style guidelines to wire copy. For guidance on courtesy titles in obituaries, see Obituaries Appendix.

courts      Capitalize the full names of courts. Some examples are:

First reference Later references
Fredericksburg Circuit Court Circuit Court
Stafford County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court juvenile court or domestic relations court
Spotsylvania County General District Court General District Court
Virginia Supreme Court the court or the high court
the state Court of Appeals the appeals court
4th Circuit Court of Appeals Appeals Court

Other guidance on federal courts is found in the AP Stylebook.

coverage area     The Free Lance–Star’s coverage area is defined as Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, Caroline, Culpeper, Orange, Fauquier and Westmoreland.

Crime Solvers     Two words.

Crowninshield Museum     On the grounds of Kenmore, it houses the Bissell Gallery and other facilities.

Crow’s Nest     Peninsula of Stafford County bounded by Accokeek Creek on the north and Potomac Creek on the south.

the Crucifix      A large crucifix at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Telegraph Road in North Stafford, placed by the Richmond Catholic Woman’s Club in the 1930s to commemorate Margaret Brent, whose family settled in the Aquia area in the early 1600s. The Brents are believed to have been Virginia’s first Catholic family.
     Always use the definite article: Boswell’s Corner is two miles north of the Crucifix.

C–SPAN     Takes an en dash.

CSX Corp.     Parent company of CSX Transportation, which owns the rail line that runs through Fredericksburg.

CSX Transportation     The railroad subsidiary of the CSX Corp. CSXT on second reference.

CSXT line     The rail line through the area. In stories about commuter rail, it can be called the Fredericksburg line.

CSX–RF&P line      The rail line through the area. In stories about commuter rail, it can be called the Fredericksburg line.

Culpeper County      Formed from Orange County in 1748. The town of Culpeper is the county seat.

CURB     Control Unrestrained Residential Building

Curtis Park      A Stafford County park off U.S. 17 in the Hartwood area.

CVS      A drugstore chain with several area stores.


DaimlerChrysler     No space.

Darbytown      An area of lower Charles and Princess Anne streets in Fredericksburg.

D.A.R.E.     Drug Abuse Resistance Education; all caps, with periods.

dash      Also called em dash or “long dash.” No space before or after. In wire stories, spaces around dashes should be edited out to conform to our style.

datelines      Do not use Va. in datelines except for datelines from Virginia localities that could be confused with bigger, better-known localities designated by The Associated Press as standing alone in datelines. Examples: Cleveland, Washington and Paris. When such localities are referred to in copy, do not use Va. Instead, identify them by their location in the state. Example: Cleveland, a community in Russell County in Southwest Virginia. Use datelines for Virginia localities outside our coverage area.

Dawn      A community in southern Caroline County.

day care     Two words in all uses.

daylight-saving time     With a hyphen; no “s” on saving.

daylily      One word, an exception to Webster’s.

D.C.     Acceptable in headlines that refer to Washington. In text, the District of Columbia or the district is preferable. See Washington.

DECA     Distributive Education Clubs of America.

Delco Chassis     Now called GM Powertrain.

Delmarva Peninsula     Peninsula, bounded by Chesapeake Bay on the west and Delaware Bay on the east, comprising the state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia.

Denny’s     A restaurant chain.

Department of Environmental Quality     The state agency that oversees air, water, solid waste and other environmental issues; created to consolidate several agencies.

Department of Motor Vehicles     The name of this state agency has changed from Division of Motor Vehicles. Local branches are at Massaponax Center in Spotsylvania County and on Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. DMV is acceptable in headlines and on later references in copy.

Department of Social Services     Not “social services” alone.

Department of Rehabilitative Services     

Di Peppe, Archer     There is a space in Di Peppe.

disAbility Resource Center     A local organization to aid disabled people. Capitalize the d in disAbility when the word begins a sentence.

Dixon Park     A park on Dixon Street in Fredericksburg.

doctoral degree, doctorate     The terms are interchangeable.

dogs     see pet breeds

Dominion     The Richmond-based parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. Also owns a number of other companies, inclding Dominion Generation, which runs the North Anna and Surry nuclear plants, the Possum Point power plant in Prince William County and other facilities.

Domino’s Pizza     

Donder, Donner     One of Santa’s reindeer; spelling varies. “Donner” is more commonly used, but we prefer Donder.

Dorothy Hart Community Center     On Canal Street in Fredericksburg; formerly Fredericksburg Community Center. Named after the late Dorothy Hart, who worked at the community center for 48 years and became the assistant recreation director.

dot-com (n. or adj.)     Takes a hyphen.


downtown     Avoid “Old Town.” See also Historic District.

Dr.     Use Dr. on first reference only for physicians, dentists, veterinarians or others who hold doctor of medicine degrees. Do not use the title on later references. In general, do not use Dr. for people who hold nonmedical doctoral degrees or for those who hold honorary degrees. Obituaries for college professors, however, may refer to them as Dr.

driver’s license, driver’s licenses     

Dulles International Airport     In Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Northern Virginia.

Duff Green Park     On the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford County; formal name is Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park.

duPont Hall     At the University of Mary Washington; houses duPont Gallery and Klein Theatre.

DVD     Acceptable for all references to digital video disc.


Earl’s True Value Hardware     Store in Chatham Heights.

Eastern Shore     The portions of Maryland and Virginia lying east of Chesapeake Bay. The Virginia portion is divided into the counties of Northampton and Accomack (note that the county is spelled Accomack, but the town is Accomac). Part of the Delmarva Peninsula.

East–West Connector     Use an en dash in the name of the road that connects State Route 3 in Stafford County to Lafayette Boulevard and William Street in Fredericksburg; the portion within the city is called the Blue and Gray Parkway.

Echols Scholar     Student participating in U.Va.’s program for “avid learners” in the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences.

Eid al–Fitr     Three-day festival marking the end of Ramadan. For current year's dates, click here.

Eid al–Adha     Three-day festival marking the end of the Hajj. For current year's dates, click here.

ElderStudy     No space; uppercase S. Meets at the University of Mary Washington.

Eley’s Ford     A shallow area of the Rapidan River, used as a troop crossing in the Civil War. The crossing, in western Spotsylvania County near the Orange County line, connects Spotsylvania and Culpeper counties. An exception to the ADC map book’s spelling. See below for variants: Eleys Ford, Elys Ford.

Eleys Ford Baptist Church     The church is on Elys Ford Road near Eley’s Ford.

Ellwood      A historic house owned by the National Park Service in Orange County off State Route 20. The amputated arm of Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is buried in a family cemetery on the property.

Elys Ford Road     Crosses Eley’s Ford, passes Eleys Ford Baptist Church and ends at State Route 3 in the Chancellor area of Spotsylvania. The ADC map book uses the Elys spelling for the road, the church and the river ford; we spell each one differently.

e–mail     Takes an en dash.

Embrey Dam     The Fredericksburg water supply dam on the Rappahannock River, off Fall Hill Avenue. The dam was built about 1920. The dam was blasted in February 2004.

Embrey Mill     ”Old town”-style subdivision in Stafford County.

Embrey Power Station     A building, now abandoned, on Caroline Street near Old Mill Park. The station generated most of Fredericksburg’s electricity until the 1950s.

Enchanted Castle     The 18th-century home of Gov. Alexander Spotswood at Germanna was nicknamed the “enchanted castle” by William Byrd II of Westover, a contemporary of Spotswood’s. The home was destroyed by fire in 1750; its foundation was discovered in 1977.

en dashes     En dashes are a part of our style. In type, an en dash is longer than a hyphen and shorter than a dash. En dashes are used in reporting scores, votes and party affiliations; to link words in combined names; and in many store names. En dashes are used in place of and and or constructions that otherwise would be linked with a slash mark (/). An en dash is used in the name of this newspaper. En dashes are not used in compound modifiers. Examples: The Free Lance–Star; Del. Bobby Orrock, R–Spotsylvania County; the 1994–95 budget; I–95 (second reference to Interstate 95); 2–4 p.m.; June 5–7; a final score of 13–6; a 5–1 ratio (a 5-to-1 ratio is also correct, but takes hyphens). See alphabetized entries.

Essex County     Formed in 1692 from old Rappahannock County (not the same as present-day Rappahannock County). The town of Tappahannock is the county seat.

extension agent     Uppercase only before a name: Extension Agent Regina Prunty. See Virginia Cooperative Extension.

extension office     Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Stafford office, not “the Stafford extension office.” See Virginia Cooperative Extension.


FACRO      Fredericksburg Area Community Relations Organization

Fairview Beach     A community on the Potomac River in King George County.

Fall Hill      A historic home overlooking the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg.

Fall Hill Avenue     Begins in Fredericksburg at the Rappahannock Canal and becomes Bragg Road at the Spotsylvania County line.

fall line     The line where the piedmont meets the coastal plain, and rivers change from nontidal to tidal. Interstate 95 roughly follows the fall line; the Rappahannock River crosses the fall line at the Falmouth Bridge. See also the entry for Tidewater.

Falmouth      Originally a town in Stafford County at the fall line of the Rappahannock River, settled in Colonial days. Falmouth today also refers to a wider area surrounding Falmouth Bottom.

Falmouth Beach     Informal name for Historic Port of Falmouth, formerly Falmouth Waterfront Park, a county park on the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford, just below the Falmouth Bridge. Use "Falmouth Beach" only in quotes, letters, etc. NOTE: As of May 2009, the sign at the park entrance still read "Falmouth Waterfront Park."

Falmouth Bottom     Low-lying section of Falmouth, below Belmont on the west side of the Falmouth Bridge in Stafford County.

Falmouth Bridge     The U.S. 1 bridge across the Rappahannock River.

Falmouth Waterfront Park     Former name for Historic Port of Falmouth, a county park on the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford, just below the Falmouth Bridge. Use "Falmouth Beach" only in quotes, letters, etc. NOTE: As of May 2009, the sign at the park entrance still read "Falmouth Waterfront Park."

FAMPO      Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Farrakhan, Louis     

Fas Mart     

Fauquier County     Formed from Prince William County in 1759. The town of Warrenton is the county seat.

FedEx Field     Formerly Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, Redskins Stadium.

Ferguson, Sarah     Duchess of York

Ferry Farm     George Washington’s boyhood home in Stafford County, owned and operated by The George Washington Foundation, which refers to it as George Washington’s Ferry Farm. Also Ferry Farm Baptist Church and Ferry Farm Elementary School. The nearby subdivision is Ferry Farms (plural). Washington moved to Ferry Farm in 1738, when he was 6, and lived there until he was about 20. The property was later sold to Gen. Hugh Mercer. It became an artillery base and river crossing point for Union forces in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Ferry Farm–Mayfield Bridge     The East–West Connector bridge across the Rappahannock River between Fredericksburg and Stafford County. The name uses an en dash.

Ferry Farms     A subdivision in southern Stafford County.

fess up     No apostrophe.

fiancé (m.)     

fiancée (f.)     

first come, first served     

first lady     Lowercase, even as a title before a name.

fiscal year     A fiscal year beginning in 2000 and ending in 2001 is referred to as fiscal 2001. It is not “fiscal year 2001,” nor is it “fiscal 2000–01.” In referring to a budget or other program that spans more than one calendar year, use an en dash and no apostrophe: the 2000–01 budget.

Five-Mile Fork     The area of Spotsylvania County where State Route 3 intersects with Old Plank Road. It is five miles west of downtown Fredericksburg.

FMC plant      This now-closed plant in Spotsylvania County, formerly owned by the Sylvania company and later by FMC Corp., made cellophane. The buildings are now part of the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park.

Food Lion      A grocery chain based in Salisbury, N.C., with stores in the Fredericksburg area.

Ford’s Theatre     In Washington. Note the possessive form. Use the common noun theater on later references.

Fort A.P. Hill      An Army training center in Caroline County and the home of the Virginia Military Academy. It can be referred to as an Army post, but do not call it a base. The National Scout Jamboree is held there every four years.

Fort Belvoir     An Army post in Fairfax County.

Four-Mile Fork     The area in Spotsylvania County at the intersection of Lafayette Boulevard (U.S. 1 Business), Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) and State Route 208. It is four miles southwest of downtown Fredericksburg. A hyphen is used.

401(k)     Lowercase k.

four-wheel drive     Use this form when drive is a noun and four-wheel is the modifier. Example: The car has four-wheel drive.

four-wheel-drive     Use this form when all three words are the modifier. Example: It is a four- wheel-drive vehicle.

fractions     In Ted, the fractions ¼, ½ and ¾ can be inserted as follows: Place the cursor where you want the fraction to appear in your text; press F10 to bring up a box of fractions, accented letters and other special characters; double-click on the one you want. For other fractions, hit F9 for the brackets and enter the fraction in this form: >fraction 1,2<

Frederick Place     Subsidized apartments on the south side of Fall Hill Avenue between Central Park and U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg     Founded in 1728 in Spotsylvania County; incorporated as an independent town in 1782, but still part of the county; incorporated as a city in 1887, at which time it became completely independent of the county.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park     Established in 1927 and operated by the National Park Service, the park comprises a number of sites related to the Civil War: the Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania Court House and Wilderness battlefields; Chatham; Ellwood; Fredericksburg National Cemetery; Salem Church; and Stonewall Jackson Shrine. Headquarters is at Chatham in Stafford County. The Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center is at the corner of Sunken Road and Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg; the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center is on State Route 3 west in Spotsylvania County.
Note: We lowercase battlefield in most instances: the Fredericksburg battlefield. This is in contrast to Park Service style.

Fredericksburg area      Hyphenate as a modifier before a noun; otherwise, do not hyphenate. Examples: The Fredericksburg area is growing. Fredericksburg-area businesses will be affected by the law.

Fredericksburg Area Community Relations Organization     FACRO is acceptable on first reference to avoid a cumbersome lead, but give the full name high in the story. The group was established in the late 1980s to improve race relations.

Fredericksburg Area Food Bank     formerly Fredericksburg Area Food Relief Clearinghouse

Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services     

Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization     FAMPO is acceptable on first reference to avoid a cumbersome lead, but give the full name high in the story. It is a regional transportation planning body with an office in Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center     A city-owned museum at William and Princess Anne streets in Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg Battlefield Industrial Park     Off the East–West Connector in Fredericksburg. Informally called the city industrial park.

Fredericksburg City Council     Use the full name on first reference; on second reference it’s the council, not just “council.”

Fredericksburg Fairgrounds     Off Routes 2 and 17 in Fredericksburg. A privately run facility.

Fredericksburg Farmers Market     It’s on Prince Edward Street by Hurkamp Park. Lowercase if just farmers market.

Fredericksburg Gun Manufactory     The first gun factory in America, built in 1775 by Charles Dick and Fielding Lewis on a site near Hazel Run. The site is behind the original Walker–Grant School on Gunnery Road.

Fredericksburg’s Historic District     Or the city’s Historic District. A 40-block section of downtown Fredericksburg and 11 mill sites along the Rappahannock River. The district was established to preserve history by limiting changes owners can make to their properties. Retain capitalization of Historic District on second reference.

Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department     formerly Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation Department.

Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce     The Chamber of Commerce serving Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford and Spotsylvania. The office is on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania. Use Chamber of Commerce or the chamber on later references.

FREDericksburg Regional Transit system     FRED on second reference.

Fredericksburg Savings and Loan Association

Fredericksburg Shopping Center     On U.S. 1 near Normandy Village subdivision. Food Lion is the grocery store there.

Fredericksburg Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals      On Olde William Street. SPCA is acceptable on second reference.

Fredericksburg–Stafford Park Authority      Operates four parks in Stafford County and Fredericksburg. In Stafford are Falmouth Waterfront Park and Pratt Park, both off River Road, and Brooks Park off Butler Road. In Fredericksburg is Old Mill Park off Caroline Street.

Fredericksburg–TideLand Times     A small advertising magazine.

Fredericksburg Theatre Company     A local community theater group.

Fredericksburg Visitor Center     On Caroline Street. It is run by the city Department of Tourism.

The Free Lance–Star      The is part of the newspaper’s name; it is dropped when the newspaper’s name is used as a modifier (a Free Lance–Star reporter) or in such constructions as “He saw the article in Tuesday’s Free Lance–Star.” The en dash is between Lance and Star.

Fréjus      Acute accent on the e. Fredericksburg’s sister city, on the French Riviera.

Friends of the Rappahannock     An environmental group formed to protect the Rappahannock River.

Fright ’N Friday     

Frog Level     A community on U.S. 301 in southern Caroline County.

Front Porch Fredericksburg     

Fuddruckers      No apostrophe in the name of this hamburger chain.

FUNdaMENTALS     A store on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

fundraiser (n.)     

fundraising (n., adj.)     

funeral homes

Caroline County:
     Cedell Brooks Funeral Home, Port Royal
     C.W. Edwards Funeral Home, Bowling Green
     Storke Funeral Home, Bowling Green
Culpeper County:
     Clore Funeral Home
     Found & Sons Funeral Chapels, Culpeper
     Geest–Johnson Funeral Home
     Marshall Funeral Home, Culpeper
     W.C. Thompson Funeral Home, Culpeper
Essex County:
     Marks–Bristow Funeral Home, Tappahannock
Fauquier County:
     Moser Funeral Home, Warrenton
     Bailey Funeral Service
     A.L. Bennett & Son Funeral Home
     Found & Sons Funeral Chapels, Fredericksburg
     Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Fredericksburg Chapel
King George County:
     Lee Funeral Home, King George
     Nash & Slaw Funeral Home, Ninde
Louisa County:
      Lacy Funeral Home, Orchid
     Thomasson Funeral Home, Louisa
     Woodward Funeral Home, Louisa
Orange County:
     Johnson Funeral Home, Locust Grove
      Preddy Funeral Home, Orange
Prince William County:
     Ames Funeral Home, Manassas
     Baker Funeral Home, Manassas
     Mountcastle Funeral Home, Dale City
     Mountcastle Funeral Home, Woodbridge
Spotsylvania County:
     Laurel Hill Funeral Home, Spotsylvania
     Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Spotsylvania Chapel
Stafford County:
     Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Stafford Chapel
Westmoreland County:
     Nash & Slaw Funeral Home, Colonial Beach
     Sanford–Casto Funeral Home
     Welch Funeral Home, Montross
     Weldon’s Funeral Home, Nomini Grove

FunLand     In Central Park; no space, uppercase L.


Garnet of Virginia     The company developing a commercial landfill in King George County. The facility will handle trash from the county and will charge other localities to accept trash and municipal ash.

Garrison Woods     Subsidized apartments off Garrisonville Road in Stafford County.

Gateway Village Shopping Center      On State Route 3 in Fredericksburg.

GED     Acceptable on all references to Virginia’s General Educational Development Certificate. Stories should explain that a GED is a high school equivalency diploma.

Geico      Acceptable on all references to Government Employees Insurance Co. Inc. The company’s regional office on U.S. 17 in Stafford County handles sales, service, claims and underwriting for car and property insurance. See also the entry on acronyms.

General Assembly      The General Assembly convenes the second Wednesday of each January. Sessions technically last 60 days in even years and 30 days in odd years, but they can be extended up to 30 days in any year. In practice, short sessions usually last 46 days. There are two houses, the House of Delegates and the Senate. There are 40 senators and 100 delegates. Senators serve four-year terms, and delegates serve two-year terms.

Use General Assembly on first reference and the assembly or the legislature on later references. Do not capitalize legislature or use the form “Virginia Legislature.” When the word assembly stands alone, it is not capitalized.

Capitalize House of Delegates (or House) and Senate.

Do not capitalize the common nouns senator or delegate. Capitalize only the abbreviated forms used as titles before names.

The first-reference form for a senator is Sen. Such N. So, D–Alexandria.

The first-reference form for a delegate is Del. I.M. Somebody, R–Northumberland County.

On first reference for a senator or delegate from a county, include the word County, uppercase, regardless of whether the county has already been mentioned in the story.

See also legislative designations.

General Products      A Spotsylvania County company that makes bi-fold doors and other products for use in the construction industry.

George Washington Birthplace National Monument     The site where Washington was born is in Westmoreland County, east of Oak Grove off State Route 3; it’s operated by the National Park Service. It was called Popes Creek Plantation when Washington lived there as a young boy, but an uncle later named it Wakefield Plantation, which was the name when the home on the property burned. Some people in the area still refer to the site as Wakefield, but we should do so only in direct quotations and explain the reference.

George Washington Boyhood Home Foundation     A private, nonprofit foundation founded to raise funds for the restoration of Ferry Farm.

George Washington Foundation, The     Nonprofit organization that oversees Ferry Farm, Kenmore and the Mary Washington Monument.

George Washington Regional Commission     The regional planning agency for Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford (Virginia Planning District 16); GWRC on second reference. Formerly called the Rappahannock Area Development Commission (RADCO).

Germanna      An 18th-century German settlement on the Rapidan River. Once the Spotsylvania County seat, the area is now part of eastern Orange County.

Germanna Community College     The main campus is on State Route 3 near Locust Grove in Orange County. The Fredericksburg campus is in Spotsylvania County near Four-Mile Fork.

Giant      A grocery store chain based in Landover, Md. The parent company is Giant Food Inc.

girls sports     No apostrophe in such constructions as girls basketball or girls track. In this sense, girls is an adjective, not a possessive noun. But women’s basketball does take an apostrophe, in keeping with AP style.

Girls State     No apostrophe.

Gloucester County     Formed from York County in 1651. The town of Gloucester is the county seat.

GM Powertrain     A division of General Motors that makes torque converter clutches for GM cars and trucks with automatic transmissions; formerly Delco Chassis. In Spotsylvania County on Routes 2 and 17.

go-kart     Takes a hyphen.

Goldvein      A community in eastern Fauquier County where gold was once mined.

Goodwill Industries     Provides manufacturing jobs and training so disabled people can do paid work.

Goolrick’s Modern Pharmacy     On Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Gordonsville      A community in Orange County.

Government Island     A Stafford County island in Aquia Creek where sandstone was quarried for use in many of Washington’s government buildings, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

Governor’s Mansion     Uppercase as the name of the Virginia governor’s residence. Lowercase the mansion on later references.

governor’s school, governor’s schools     Lowercase except as part of a proper noun; e.g., Commonwealth Governor’s School.

GPA     On second reference for grade-point average.

GPS     On second reference for global positioning system (not “satellite”).

Greenbrier Shopping Center     A shopping center on State Route 3 in Fredericksburg. Burlington Coat Factory is one main store there.

Greene County     Formed from Orange County in 1838. Stanardsville is the county seat.

groundwater      One word, an exception to Webster’s.

Ground Zero       Capitalize references to the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City.

Guinea Station     Site of the Stonewall Jackson Shrine in Caroline County.



Haight Ashbury     Two words, no hyphen.

Hampton Roads     A geographical area comprising Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg and the counties of James City, York and Isle of Wight. The Hampton Roads designation is preferred over “Tidewater” when referring to this area. See Tidewater.

Anne Hamrick Community House      A Fredericksburg preschool for underprivileged children; the school is named after the Rev. Anne Hamrick, founder of Falmouth United Methodist Church.

Hanover County     Formed from New Kent County in 1720. The town of Hanover is the county seat.

Harambee 360° Experimental Theater     A Fredericksburg experimental theater group.

Hardee’s      Note the apostrophe in the name of this restaurant chain.

Harrison Road Community Center     

Hartwood Airport      A private airport off U.S. 17 in Stafford County.

Haymount      A proposed planned community in Caroline County.

Hazel Hill     A subsidized townhouse complex at the south end of Princess Anne Street. Also the name of the estate of Brig. Gen. John Minor, the first legislative advocate of freedom for slaves in America; in 1782, he introduced a bill for the freedom of slaves in Virginia.

Hazel Run      The creek that runs behind Spotsylvania Towne Centre through Alum Spring Park and into the Rappahannock River near the Ferry Farm–Mayfield Bridge.

Head Start     Fredericksburg Regional Head Start

health care (two words in all uses)

Heartfields Assisted Living of Fredericksburg     in Stafford County

Heathsville     The county seat of Northumberland County.

Hechinger      A hardware store chain. Not “Hechinger’s.”

Hecht’s      A department store chain with a store at Spotsylvania Towne Centre.

Sally Hemings     

The Heritage Foundation     Uppercase T.

Heritage Hall Health Care     A nursing home in King George County. Center is not part of the name.

highway designations     See road names.

high occupancy vehicle      "HOV" is acceptable on second reference to the lanes set aside for carpools.

Hilldrup Moving & Storage

hip–hop     Takes an en dash.

Historic District     

Historic Falmouth Towne and Stafford County     A Stafford County preservation group.

Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc.     Use HFFI only in headlines; in text, it’s the foundation on second reference.

Historic Port of Falmouth     A county park on the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford, just below the Falmouth Bridge; formerly called Falmouth Waterfront Park, then Falmouth Beach Park. Use “Falmouth Beach” only in letters, quotes, etc. NOTE: As of May 2009, the sign at the park entrance still read "Falmouth Waterfront Park."

historic sites     See alphabetical listings.

Holbert Building      The Spotsylvania County administration building, named after the late Richard Holbert, a county supervisor.

homeless shelters     In the city, they are the Thurman Brisben Center in the Battlefield Industrial Park and Hope House on Lafayette Boulevard.

home page     Two words. The “front” page of a particular Web site.

homeowners association     No apostrophe.

Hope House     A residential homeless shelter on Lafayette Boulevard for women and their children. Operated by Rappahannock Refuge Inc.

Hopyard Farm      In King George County.

Hospice Support Care      A Fredericksburg-area group to help terminally ill people and their families.


Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville
Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton
HealthSouth Medical Center in Richmond
Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond
Inova Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria
Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church
Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria
Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg
[Hunter Holmes] McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond
Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge
Riverside Tappahannock Hospital in Tappahannock
VCU Medical Center in Richmond; VCU on second reference

hot line      Two words. Local examples are Telehelp and Teen Hot Line.

House of Delegates      The lower house of the General Assembly. The form for first references to delegates is: Del. Bobby Orrock, R–Spotsylvania County.

House of Representatives      The lower house of Congress. The form for first reference to members of Congress is: Rep. Common Man, R–Neb. For Virginia members, give the district: Rep. Herbert H. Bateman, R–1st District. When relevant to the story, describe the district and say where the member is from.

HOV      Acceptable on second reference to high occupancy vehicle lanes.

Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop      An 18th-century building restored as a museum offering a look at Colonial medical practices. At Caroline and Amelia streets.

Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church      Note the apostrophe in the name of this Stafford County church.

Humvee     From the acronym HMMWV, which stands for high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle.

Hunting Run Reservoir     In northern Spotsylvania County near the Orange County line. Hunting Run is a tributary of the Rapidan River.

Hurkamp Park      The Fredericksburg park bounded by William, Prince Edward and George streets and the Fredericksburg Rescue Squad building. It’s named after 19th-century Fredericksburg businessman John Hurkamp, who donated a wrought-iron fence to keep hogs from rooting up the bones of Civil War soldiers buried there.

Hyperion Espresso     A coffee shop at the corner of William and Princess Anne streets in Fredericksburg.


“In a telephone interview from...”     This phrase or a similar one is necessary in stories based on telephone interviews of people outside our coverage area. It is not necessary in stories based on sources in our coverage area, even if we did our interviews by phone.

Indian Acres     A recreational mobile home community off Morris Road in Spotsylvania County, between the communities of Thornburg and Snell.

Indian Point     A point of land where Accokeek and Potomac creeks meet; part of the Marlborough Point peninsula.

Industrial Development Authority     IDA is acceptable in headlines; the IDA or the authority on second reference.

Inova Fairfax Hospital     Not “INOVA.”

Interstate 95     I–95 is acceptable on second reference. An en dash is used.
Use place names, not mile markers, to identify locations of accidents or other newsworthy events along Interstate 95. Here’s the list of exits in our area (south to north) with their corresponding mile numbers, which should help you make the conversion. Spell out numbers below 10 if referring to distance. For example: “two miles north of the Thornburg exit,” NOT “at mile marker 120.”

98—Doswell (Kings Dominion/State Fair)
104—Carmel Church
130—Fredericksburg (State Route 3)
133—Falmouth (U.S. 17)
136—Stafford Airport (Centreport Parkway)
140—Stafford Courthouse
143—Garrisonville (State Route 610)
148—Quantico Marine Corps Base
156—Dale City (Potomac Mills)
158—Woodbridge (Potomac Mills)

If you need others, the best site is probably

Islamic holidays     For current year's dates, click here.


Jabberwocky      A children’s bookstore on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Jackson Shrine     See Stonewall Jackson Shrine.

jamboree      Lowercase this word as a second reference to the National Scout Jamboree, held every four years at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County.

James Monroe Center for Graduate and Professional Studies     See the entry for University of Mary Washinton’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies.

James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library     James Monroe, the nation’s fifth president, practiced law in Fredericksburg, but not in this building at 908 Charles St. The museum, which contains personal possessions, furnishings and papers of Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth, is owned by the state and administered by Mary Washington College through the Center for Historic Preservation.

Jarrell’s Truck Plaza     Doswell

Jepson Alumni Executive Center & Kalnen Inn on Trench Hill     The alumni office for the University of Mary Washington on Hanover Street in Fredericksburg. Formerly Trench Hill.

JCPenney      No spaces or periods. Not “Penney’s.” The area store is at Spotsylvania Towne Centre.

Jefferson Davis Highway      Use this designation only in numbered addresses; do not abbreviate highway. Otherwise, it’s U.S. 1.

Juilliard     The Juilliard School, a school of music, drama and dance at Lincoln Center in New York City; the Juilliard String Quartet.


k     It's a 5K race, but a 401(k).

Kenmore     The home of Fielding Lewis and his wife, Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister. On Washington Avenue in Fredericksburg, it is owned and operated by The George Washington Foundation, which refers to it as Historic Kenmore.

Kenmore Club     A daytime retreat for mentally ill people.

Kenmore Inn     A bed-and-breakfast on Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg.

King and Queen County     Formed from New Kent County in 1691. The town of King and Queen is the county seat.

King George County     Formed from Richmond and Westmoreland counties in 1721. The town of King George is the county seat.

King George County Board of Supervisors     See entry on boards, commissions and committees.

Kings Dominion     A theme park at Doswell in Hanover County. Not “King’s Dominion.” Formerly Paramount’s Kings Dominion.

Richard Kirkland Memorial     In the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, 19-year-old Confederate Sgt. Richard Kirkland risked his life to carry water to wounded Union soldiers shot en masse as they approached the Sunken Road. Kirkland, known for his actions as the “Angel of Marye’s Heights,” fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg but was killed at Chickamauga, Ga. The Kirkland Memorial on Sunken Road was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, who sculpted the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington, and placed in 1965. See also Civil War appendix.

Klein Theatre     In University of Mary Washington’s duPont Hall. Use the common noun theater in later references.

Kmart      No space, no hyphen, lowercase m, in accordance with AP style.


Lake Anna     A lake that abuts Spotsylvania, Louisa and Orange counties. Created to provide cooling water for Dominion Generation’s North Anna nuclear power plant, which supplies electricity to Dominion Virginia Power.

Lake Anna State Park     A state park in Spotsylvania County.

Lake Arrowhead     A subdivision off Garrisonville Road in North Stafford.

Lake Caroline     A large, private subdivision off U.S. 1 south of Ladysmith in Caroline County.

Lake Land’Or     A large, private subdivision off State Route 639 west of Ladysmith in Caroline County.

Lake of the Woods      A large, private subdivision in Orange County off State Route 3 near the Spotsylvania County line. On second reference, it’s the subdivision, not “LOW,” which is unfamiliar to many of our readers.

Lake Wilderness     A subdivision off Orange Plank Road in Spotsylvania County.

Lancaster County     Formed from York and Northumberland counties in 1651. The town of Lancaster is the county seat.

Lansdowne Road     Note spelling, which may differ from ADC map book.

Lauck’s Island     A privately owned island in the Rappahannock River west of the Falmouth Bridge.

Leavells Road      No apostrophe in the name of this road in Spotsylvania County.

Leedstown      A community on the Rappahannock River in Westmoreland County. It was the site of the signing of the Leedstown Resolutions, a precursor to the Declaration of Independence.

Lee Hill District     

Lee Hill Industrial Park      Off Routes 2 and 17 in Spotsylvania County.

Leeland      An area of southern Stafford County where the Virginia Railway Express has a commuter station.

Leesburg     The county seat of Loudoun County.

Lee’s Hill      A large subdivision in Spotsylvania County between Mine Road and the U.S. 17 Bypass.

Lee’s Hill Golfers’ Club     

Leggett      Not Leggett’s. A family-owned department store chain formerly in Spotsylvania Towne Centre. There is no headquarters; the family members who run the company work in Danville, Lynchburg and South Boston and in Henderson, N.C.

legislative designations      For members of the General Assembly: On first reference, the standard form for a member of the Senate is Sen. I.M. Somebody, D–Alexandria. The standard form for a member of the House of Delegates is Del. Laws R. Us, R–Northumberland County.
For members of Congress: On first reference, the standard form for a U.S. Senator is U.S. Sen. R.E. Elect, R–Maine. The form for a member of the House of Representatives is Rep. Common Man, D–Minn. For Virginia representatives, use the numbered district: Rep. Common Man, D–1st District. See House of Representatives.

LibertyTown Arts Workshop     Art gallery and studio on Liberty Street. No space between “Liberty” and “Town”.

libraries     see the entry for Central Rappahannock Regional Library

literacy passport test      Lowercase in all uses.

Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic      A clinic in Fredericksburg for uninsured working people not covered by Medicaid. It is named after Dr. Lloyd F. “Jeppy” Moss, a retired family practitioner, and operates in the old Mary Washington Hospital off Fall Hill Avenue.

local government districts     Don’t specify the district represented by a board member or supervisor unless districts themselves become the issue or the information is otherwise germane to the story.

Locust Grove     An area of eastern Orange County.

Loriella Park     A Spotsylvania County park on Leavells Road.

Lorton Correctional Center      Formerly Lorton Reformatory. A correctional center in Fairfax County run by the District of Columbia Corrections Department.

Loudoun County     Formed from Fairfax County in 1757. The town of Leesburg is the county seat.

Louisa County     Formed from Hanover County in 1742. The town of Louisa is the county seat.

Lowe’s      A hardware chain, based in North Wilkesboro, N.C., with stores in the Fredericksburg area.


Made In Virginia Store      This store, on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg, capitalizes each word of its name.

Major League Baseball     The name of the organization takes initial caps, but: It was his first major-league game.

Male, female, man, woman     Male and female are adjectives. Man and woman are nouns.

Manassas     The county seat of Prince William County.

Marine Barracks     in Washington; not Marine Corps Barracks

Marine Corps Base Quantico     A Marine Corps base in Stafford and Prince William counties. It is the home of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and The Basic School. Other facilities on the base include the FBI Academy; HMX–1, the president’s helicopter squadron; and the Marine Corps University.

Market Square     A historic marketplace behind the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center.

Marlborough Point      In Stafford County, the point where Potomac Creek enters the Potomac River. More generally, the peninsula bounded by the Potomac River on the east, Potomac Creek on the south and Accokeek Creek on the west. The point of land where Accokeek Creek joins Potomac Creek is called Indian Point.

Marshall Center     

Marshall Park     

Mary Washington College     see the entry for the University of Mary Washington.

Mary Washington Healthcare     [Name changed from Medicorp Health System at beginning of 2010; still updating this entry.] This medical services holding corporation is the parent company of:

Mary Washington Hospital
Mary Washington Hospital Level II Trauma Center
Mary Washington Hospital Family Birth Place
Mary Washington Hospital Freestanding Emergency Department
Snowden at Fredericksburg
Outreach Laboratory: nine locations
Tomkins–Martin Medical Plaza
Stafford Hospital
Stafford Medical Pavilion
Fredericksburg Ambulatory Surgery Center
Virginia Heart & Vascular Institute
Human Motion Institute
Regional Cancer Center
Diabetes Management
Mary Washington Hospital Home Health Agency
Hospice Services
Private Duty Services
Imaging Services: Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg, Medical Imaging of Lee's Hill, Medical Imaging of North Stafford, Imaging Center for Women
Rehabilitation Outpatient Clinics: Rehabilitation Services of Fredericksburg, Rehabilitation Services of Lee's Hill, Rehabilitation Services of North Stafford
Senior Care Services
Sleep and Wake Disorders Center
NextCare Urgent Care: four locations
Rappahannock Wound Healing Center
Snowden Academy
Homecare America
Medical Arts Pharmacy
Ladysmith Medical Center
Anti-Coagulation Clinic
Health Link
Kids Station
Virginia Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Horizon Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery
Rappahannock Trauma and Acute Care Surgeons
Rheumatology Associates of Central Virginia
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation
Mary Washington Hospital Community Service Fund
Stafford Hospital Foundation
Stafford Hospital Community Service Fund
MediCorp Properties Inc.
Mary Washington Healthcare Services Inc.
Mary Washington Healthcare Clinical Services Inc.

Melchers Drive      Not "Melcher" as the Stafford map book would have us believe.

Mary Washington Hospital     Off U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg. Call it the hospital after the first reference. MWH is acceptable in headlines. It is a not-for-profit hospital whose parent company is Mary Washington Healthcare.

Mary Washington House     George Washington bought this home for his mother in 1772, and she lived there the last 17 years of her life. Now operated as a museum, it’s on Prince Edward Street in Fredericksburg.

Mary Washington Monument     A monument to George Washington’s mother. On Washington Avenue in Fredericksburg, it is owned and operated by The George Washington Foundation.

Marye’s Heights     A ridge above Sunken Road in Fredericksburg that the Confederates defended in the Civil War. See Civil War appendix.

Masonic Cemetery     A historic cemetery on Charles Street in Fredericksburg, owned by Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 AF&AM and administered by the James Monroe Museum. In 1992 the Center for Historic Preservation at then Mary Washington College completed an assessment of the site. Graves date to the late 1700s.

Masonic Lodge No. 4 AF&AM     George Washington became a Mason in this lodge in 1752. Its museum today contains memorabilia relating to his membership, including an original Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington. The lodge is on Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg.

Massaponax      The area of U.S. 1 in Spotsylvania County from the Massaponax interchange south to Massaponax Baptist Church.

Massaponax Creek     Runs through northern Spotsylvania County, beginning near State Route 3 west of Fredericksburg and emptying into the Rappahannock River via Ruffins Pond near New Post.

Massaponax Outlet Center     An outlet mall off U.S. 1 in Spotsylvania County, near the Massaponax exit off Interstate 95.

Master Gardener     

Master Gardener Association     

Mathews County     Formed from Gloucester County in 1791. The town of Mathews is the county seat.

Mattaponi River      Cuts through central Caroline County; the Matta, the Po and the Ni join in Caroline.

Maury field     In Maury Stadium. Lowercase field.

Maury School      The former Maury School in Fredericksburg stands on a tract bounded by George, Kenmore, William and Barton streets. There are two main buildings, connected by an open walkway: The one facing George Street was built in 1919 as Fredericksburg High School (auditorium added in 1929); the other was built in 1935 as Maury Elementary. The high school’s name was changed at some point to James Monroe High School, and it moved to the present JMHS site around 1952. Maury Elementary took over both buildings until Hugh Mercer Elementary opened about 1980 [information from Scott Howson]. The athletic field is still the home football field for James Monroe High School.
As of June 2006, Fredericksburg City Council voted to sell Maury School to Richmond-based Echelon Resources Inc. for development into loft-style residential units.

Maury Stadium     At Maury School.

Mayfield      A neighborhood off Dixon Street in southeastern Fredericksburg.

McDonald’s      Note the apostrophe in the name of the restaurant chain.

McLane Foods     A McLane Co. subsidiary that packages convenience store foods. It’s next to the McLane Mid-Atlantic distribution center off U.S. 17 in Stafford County.

McLane Mid-Atlantic     A facility off U.S. 17 in Stafford County that distributes products to area convenience stores and Walmarts. McLane Co., a subsidiary of Walmart, is the parent company in Temple, Texas. Formerly Southland Distribution Center.

McLaws Drive     No apostrophe in the name of the street or of the band.

Media General Cable of Fredericksburg     Serves Fredericksburg and parts of southern Stafford County.

Melchers, Gari     The artist who lived at Belmont in Falmouth.

Memorial Park     A park on Kenmore Avenue in Fredericksburg.

men’s and women’s sports     Use the apostrophe.

Merchants Plaza     A deck between buildings on Caroline Street.

Middle Peninsula      The peninsula bounded by the Rappahannock, York and Mattaponi rivers. It comprises the counties of Essex, Middlesex, Mathews, Gloucester, and King and Queen. See entries for individual counties.

Middlesex County     Formed from Lancaster County in 1673. The town of Saluda is the county seat.

miles      Use figures in dimensions, formulas and speeds.
Example: The farm measures 5 miles by 4 miles.
For distances, spell out numbers under 10 unless the number is fractional, in which case use numerals. Examples:
He went on a five-mile run.
He went on a 5½-mile run.

Milford      A community in Caroline County southwest of Bowling Green.

military installations      Marine Corps Base Quantico is in Stafford and Prince William counties. Naval Support Facility Dahlgren is in King George County. Fort A.P. Hill is in Caroline County. Fort Belvoir is in Fairfax County. See alphabetized listings.

MJ Designs

Monroe Museum     See James Monroe Museum.

Montpelier      The home of James Madison in Orange County, off State Route 20. Also, a community in Hanover County that is the site of the annual Camptown Races.

Montross     The county seat of Westmoreland County.

Motts Run     No apostrophe.

Motts Run Reservoir     In Spotsylvania County off River Road.

Motts Run Water Treatment Plant     In Spotsylvania County off River Road.

Mozzarella Cafe     Not “Mozzarella’s.”

MyLine     No space.

MySpace     No space but the Web site is all lowercase An online networking forum.


NAACP    In headlines or on second reference to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

names in stories     On every story, reporters are to ask their subjects how they want to be referred to in the paper, and we will follow their preference. The exception will be in crime stories or injury lists, where full names, with middle initials, are necessary to avoid confusion.
For local officials or public figures frequently quoted, refer to the list in the appendix.
When wire stories refer to local officials or public figures, they should be changed to follow our names policy.


National Guard Armory     On U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg. Lowercase armory in later references.

National Historic Landmark     

National Mall     In Washington; the Mall on second reference.

National Park Service     NPS is acceptable in headlines.

National Scout Jamboree     An international gathering of Boy Scouts, held every four years at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County.

National Register of Historic Places     A listing kept by the federal Department of the Interior of properties considered of historical significance. See also Virginia Landmarks Register.

National Trust for Historic Preservation     


Native American     Acceptable only in letters, editorials and names of organizations; we say American Indian, following AP style.

Naval Support Facility Dahlgren     A Navy base in King George County. Most employees are civilians. When referring to the base as a location or as an installation in its entirety, our first-reference style is Naval Support Facility Dahlgren. That’s the name for the base as of November 2005. It's OK on second reference to refer to it as “the Navy base (or naval base--note lowercase) at Dahlgren.” The largest command on the base is the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. That used to be the name for the base as a whole, before the NSWCDD became a tenant. When referring to this particular command, use its full name on first reference and the acronym on later references. Other commands on the base are the Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC); the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS); Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense; the Aegis Training and Readiness Center (ATRC); and the U.S. Air Force 20th Space Control Squadron, Detachment 1.

New Post      A community in Spotsylvania County near the Caroline County line.

newspaper names     Several newspapers use The in their names. They include The Free Lance–Star; The Washington Post; The New York Times; The (Newport News) Daily Press; The Roanoke Times; and The (Norfolk) Virginian–Pilot. “The” is not part of the name of the Richmond Times–Dispatch. For other newspaper names, refer to the Editor & Publisher International YearBook or to the newspapers’ flags. A newspaper with a combined name, such as The Free Lance–Star, uses an en dash.

nicknames      Nicknames, when used with full names, appear in quotes after the first name and middle initial. Example: Theodore A. “Boots” Banker.

Ni River Reservoir      Off Gordon Road in Spotsylvania County.

North Anna nuclear power plant     One of two nuclear-powered plants that supply electricity to Dominion Virginia Power. It’s on Lake Anna, which was created to provide water to cool the facility. The other plant is in Surry County. They are run by Dominion Generation, a separate subsidiary of Dominion.

North Central Virginia Regional Task Force      A group of investigators from Fredericksburg and surrounding localities that works exclusively on drug cases.

Northern Neck      The peninsula bounded by the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers and ending at the Chesapeake Bay. It comprises Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond counties. King George County is sometimes considered part of this area. See entries for individual counties.
Neck is acceptable in headlines.

Northern Virginia     Do not abbreviate to “No. Va.”
N. Va. (with a space) is acceptable in headlines.

Northern Virginia Business Roundtable     

Northern Virginia Community College      Campuses are in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun County, Manassas and Woodbridge.

North Stafford     If this area of Stafford County appears in a lead, the next reference to the county must be to Stafford County, not just Stafford. Where possible, use Stafford County first and North Stafford later.

North Stafford Industrial Park     On Ramoth Church Road, adjacent to the site of the planned Stafford Regional Airport.

North Stafford Plaza     A shopping center on Garrisonville Road.

Northumberland County     Formed from the Chickacoan Indian District about 1645. The town of Heathsville is the county seat.

numerals     Always use numerals for ages, dimensions (as distinct from distances—see entry for miles), ratios, percentages, votes, scores, formulas, speed.


obituaries      See Obituaries appendix.

Olde Forge townhouses     Off U.S. 17 in Stafford County.

Olde Greenwich Shopping Center      A shopping center on Lafayette Boulevard in Spotsylvania County.

Old Mill Park     A park along the Rappahannock River, off Caroline Street in Fredericksburg. Operated by the Fredericksburg–Stafford Park Authority.

Old Stone Warehouse     On William and Caroline Streets at the Chatham Bridge.

Old Town     Avoid using this term in reference to Fredericksburg. Say downtown or the Historic District, as appropriate. See Historic District.

Orange County     Formed from Spotsylvania County in 1734. The town of Orange is the county seat.

Orange County Airport      On State Route 20 in Orange County.

Orange County Board of Supervisors      See entry on boards, commissions and committees.

Orange County Public Library     Has three branches: in the towns of Orange and Gordonsville and at Wilderness (Locust Grove).

original Walker–Grant School     Now used as a community center and for some Fredericksburg school programs, including Head Start. On Gunnery Road.


Park & Shop      The shopping center on U.S. 1 near the University of Mary Washington. Giant is the grocery store there.

parks      See alphabetized listings.

Partlow      A community in far southeastern Spotsylvania County.

Passapatanzy      An area of King George County off State Route 218 near Stafford County.

Peoples      Former name of CVS, a drugstore chain with stores in the Fredericksburg area.

Penney      See J.C. Penney.

pet breeds     Follow the list below for capitalization and spelling. For other breeds, consult Webster’s and the American Kennel Club and Cat Fanciers Web sites. Note, however, that these organizations capitalize the names of all breeds; we do so only in certain cases.

basset hound
bichon frisé (note acute accent on e)
border collie
Brittany spaniel
bull mastiff
chow (official name: chow chow—NOT “chowchow,” which is a type of pickle)
cocker spaniel
Doberman pinscher
elkhound (same as Norwegian elkhound)
Eskimo spitz
fox terrier
German shepherd
golden retriever
Great Dane
Great Pyrenees
Himalayan (cat)
Jack Russell terrier
keeshond (pl. keeshonden)
Labrador retriever
Lhasa apso
Norwegian elkhound
Persian (cat)
pit bull
sheep dog
Shetland sheepdog
Shiba inu
Shih Tzu
shorthair (includes American shorthair and British shorthair cats)
springer spaniel
Welsh corgi
Yorkshire terrier

Petro      A large truck service station off Interstate 95 in Caroline County.


Pfiesteria piscicida     A fish-killing organism. As with all species names, do not italicize in news stories.

Pharmhouse      A drugstore chain.

phone numbers      Write phone numbers with area codes this way: 202/555-1212. An exception to AP style. See area codes.

Picker’s Supply     Music store on Caroline Street that specializes in stringed instruments.

Pier 1 imports     A home furnishings store off State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County.

plant names     see species

P.O. Box     In an address we drop the “P.O.” and say simply Box 123.

Pokémon     Note the accent.

Popes Creek     No apostrophe.

Po River     Runs through Spotsylvania County.

Porter Library     Acceptable in all references to John Musante Porter Memorial Library, part of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Portobago Creek      In Caroline County.

Portobago Bay     A subdivision on the Rappahannock River in Caroline County. Also, a body of water at the juncture of of Portobago Creek and the Rappahannock.

Port Royal     A town on U.S. 301 and U.S. 17 in Caroline County on the Rappahannock River. John Wilkes Booth died at the Garrett Farm just south of the town.

Port Royal Town Council     It’s the council on later references.

Post Oak     A community off State Route 208 in Spotsylvania County.


Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission      PRTC is acceptable in headlines and on later references. The commission operates the Virginia Railway Express and coordinates other regional transportation projects.

Potomac Creek     Generally considered the dividing line between southern Stafford County and North Stafford. The creek empties into the Potomac River.

Potomac Mills      A large outlet mall in eastern Prince William County, along Interstate 95 in Woodbridge, near Dale City.

Potomac River      Forms much of the state line between Maryland and West Virginia, and then between Maryland and Virginia, before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay at the end of the Northern Neck. Legally considered a part of Maryland.

PPO     On second reference to preferred provider organization.

Pratt Medical Center      A large, private group practice with branches in Spotsylvania and Stafford counties; the main office is on Fall Hill Avenue in Fredericksburg.

Pratt Park     A park operated by the Fredericksburg–Stafford Park Authority, off River Road in Stafford. Its formal name is John Lee Pratt Memorial Park, after the late General Motors executive who lived at Chatham and donated Chatham and miles of riverfront land between Chatham and Falmouth to the Park Authority.

pre-born child      A phrase coined by the anti-abortion movement and used to describe a fetus. Acceptable only in direct quotes or letters to the editor. See abortion.

Presbyterian Church     It's on George Street, not Princess Anne Street. It's called The Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg, not "Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church"; note uppercase The.

preseason Prestige Cable TV      Serves Spotsylvania County, parts of Stafford County and the Lake of the Woods subdivision in Orange County. Prestige CV3 is the local origination channel.

Prince George’s County, Md.     

Prince William County     Formed from King George and Stafford counties in 1730. Its governing body is the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (NOT the Prince William County Board of Supervisors). The town of Manassas is the county seat.

pro-life     Acceptable only in direct quotes or letters to the editor. When we’re doing the talking, it’s anti-abortion. See abortion.

Public Defenders Office     A regional office, based in Fredericksburg, for the defense of people accused in criminal matters.

public defender      Capitalize as a title before the name of an attorney for the Public Defenders Office.


Quantico      A town in Prince William County, within the boundaries of Marine Corps Base Quantico.

quotation marks     For pullout quotes, in cutlines and in skyboxes, use single quotation marks around quotes. For quotes within those quotes, use double quotation marks. Pullout quote example:

‘I have always agreed with Shakespeare’s Polonius, who said, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”>thin<
—Councilwoman Penny Pincher

See AP Stylebook’s punctuation chapter for complete guidance on using quotation marks.

The Quotidian     The former newsroom newsletter, so-named because of a reference in Time magazine to The Free Lance–Star’s excellence in “chronicling the quotidian.” Ceased circulation in 2004 when Jim Mann retired.


race, how to describe      African American or African–American is acceptable in direct quotes, in letters to the editor and in special contexts such as cultural events or names of organizations. (Use an en dash if the original is hyphenated, or in verbal quotes.) Otherwise, we follow AP style and use black.
Other designations include Asian (Oriental is acceptable when describing rugs or cuisine, but not people), Hispanic (not Latino) and American Indian (not Native American).
Refer to the AP Stylebook for further guidance.

race, when to mention     Don’t mention a person’s race unless it’s germane to the story. Examples might include stories alleging discrimination or stories about cultural events. In police matters, specify race only if it is part of a very specific description of a suspect.

RaceTrac     One word.


radio and television stations      
• The Free Lance-Star Publishing Cos.’ three radio stations are collectively known as The Star Radio Group. Individually, our style for these stations is WFLS 93.3, Classic Rock 96.9 and 99.3 The Vibe. Any stories that name these should note that they are owned by The Free Lance-Star Publishing Cos.
• Refer to other stations by call letters, not frequency or nickname: radio station WFLS in Fredericksburg. The station’s frequency or nickname may be mentioned if relevant to the story, but should not be used to identify the station.
• Stories about WFLS 93.3, Classic Rock 96.9 and/or 99.3 The Vibe should mention the fact that they are owned and operated by The Free Lance–Star Publishing Cos.

Fredericksburg-area radio stations

Station nicknames and formats are subject to change. They should be double-checked when stories are written.

* WBQB and WFVA are jointly owned and operated.
** WFLS, WWUZ, WWVB, WYSK and WYSK–AM are owned and operated by The Free Lance–Star Publishing Cos.
*** WGRQ and WGRX are jointly owned and operated.
**** WJYJ is noncommercial.

Station Frequency Nickname Format Studio Transmitter
WBQB* 101.5 FM B101.5 Adult contemporary Stafford Stafford
WFLS** 93.3 FM WFLS 93.3 Country Fredericksburg Stafford
WFVA* 1230 AM The Memory Station Adult standards, news/talk Stafford Stafford
WGRQ*** 95.9 FM Oldies 95.9 Hits of the ’60s and ’70s Spotsylvania Spotsylvania
WGRX*** 104.5 FM Thunder Country Country/rock Fredericksburg Stafford
WJYJ**** 90.5 FM 90 Joy Contemporary Christian Spotsylvania Spotsylvania
WWUZ** 96.9 FM Classic Rock 96.9 Classic rock Bowling Green Bowling Green
WWVB** 99.3 FM 99.3 The Vibe Contemporary/rhythmic Fredericksburg Spotsylvania
WYSK**   Alternative rock Internet only Internet only
WYSK–AM** 1350 AM La Gran D Latino mix Fredericksburg Staffordb

RAG     Acceptable on second reference to Rappahannock Area Grassroots.

Rapidan River     The largest tributary of the Rappahannock River. Runs through Orange County and forms part of the northern boundary of Spotsylvania County before joining the Rappahannock.

Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging

Rappahannock Area Chapter of the American Red Cross

Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

Rappahannock Area Development Commission (RADCO)      Former name of the George Washington Regional Commission.

Rappahannock Area Grassroots     RAG on second reference.

Rappahannock Area Kids on the Block     A group that aims to educate children about disabilities and social concerns using puppet performances.

Rappahannock Area YMCA      Indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, on Butler Road in Stafford County.

Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters     

Rappahannock Canal      Formerly called City Canal or Vepco Canal.

Rappahannock County     Formed from Culpeper County in 1833. The town of Washington, Va.—sometimes referred to as “Little Washington”—is the county seat.

Rappahannock Falls Academy     A regional school for emotionally disturbed students. The school, based in Stafford County, accepts students from Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Caroline counties and Fredericksburg.

Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center      In Stafford, off of Courthouse Road.

Rappahannock Refuge Inc.      Operates Hope House shelter for women and their children.

Rappahannock Region Small Business Development Center     Provides assistance for small businesses in the Fredericksburg area and southeast through the Northern Neck. Administered by University of Mary Washington’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies, where it is based.

Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy     A regional police training facility in Spotsylvania County’s Lee Hill Industrial Park.

Rappahannock Regional Disability Services Board     

Rappahannock Regional Jail     A jail off Lafayette Boulevard housing inmates from the city, King George County and Spotsylvania County. Formerly the Rappahannock Security Center.

Rappahannock Regional Soap Box Derby     

Rappahannock River     Begins at Chester Gap in Rappahannock County, runs past Fredericksburg, separates the Northern Neck from the Middle Peninsula and empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

Rappahannock River Basin Study Commission      

Rappahannock Self Help for Hard of Hearing People      RaSHHH on second reference.

Rappahannock Solid Waste Management Board      See R–Board.

Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table     

R–Board      Acceptable in all references to the Rappahannock Solid Waste Management Board, which administers the Stafford County and Fredericksburg landfill. This name uses an en dash. Stories should explain what this agency does.

RC Movies 10      Theater complex off State Route 3 across from Spotsylvania Towne Centre.

RC Theaters     A movie chain based in Reistertown, Md., that owns every movie theater in the area except for those at Spotsylvania Mall.

Reagan National Airport     In Arlington County on the Potomac River. Formerly National Airport.

Red Cross

Redskins     See Washington Redskins.

Regal Cinema’s Movies 15     Off State Route 3 across from Spotsylvania Towne Centre.

Regional Jail Authority      Runs the Rappahannock Regional Jail. Formerly called the jail board. Lowercase the jail authority or the authority on later references.

regions of Virginia

Religious Right

Remington      A community in Fauquier County.

Renaissance Faire     On second reference, the fair.

Reva      A community in Culpeper County.

Revercomb building      King George County’s administration center, named for the late General District Court Judge Horace A. Revercomb. The building is behind the courthouse, off State Route 3.

RF&P Corp.     Formerly a railroad, now a real estate development and investment company owned by the Virginia Retirement System. It owns the Fredericksburg train station and other land along the CSX tracks.


Richmond County     Formed in 1692 from old Rappahannock County (not the same as present-day Rappahannock County). The town of Warsaw is the county seat.

Richmond International Airport     In Henrico County.

Richmond’s Landmark Theater     Use the full name. Formerly called the Mosque.

Ridderhof Martin Gallery     At the University of Mary Washington.

Rising Sun Tavern     Built by Charles Washington in 1760 as his home, later operated as a tavern. The building, on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, now is a tourist site offering a look at 18th-century tavern life.

Rite Aid     Two words.

Riverside Business Park     A large office complex off U.S. 17 in Stafford County that houses Signet Banking Corp.’s bank-card operations and previously housed Geico offices.

Riverside Center Dinner Theater     

road names and numbers     Use numerical designations for interstates, U.S. highways and state roads that pass through two or more localities. Use names for state or private roads that begin and end in the same locality, unless the number is needed to avoid confusion with another road of the same name. (In police matters, however, report road names the way law enforcement agencies report them to us.)


Interstate 95 (I–95 on second reference)
State Route 3 (not Kings Highway or Plank Road; Route 3 on second reference)
State Route 208
State Route 218
State Routes 208 and 218
U.S. 1
U.S. 17
U.S. 17 Bypass
U.S. 301
The section of U.S. 17 from Fredericksburg to New Post is referred to as Routes 2 and 17. From New Post to Bowling Green, it’s State Route 2 and past Bowling Green it’s U.S. 301.
There are six U.S. highways in our coverage area: U.S. 1; U.S. 17; U.S. 301; U.S. 15; U.S. 29; and U.S. 522.

Rock Hill      Two words in the name of this area in northwestern Stafford County off Garrisonville Road and in the name of the electoral district. The school, however, is Rockhill Elementary School.

Rod & Gun Club      A sportsmen’s club in Spotsylvania County.

room     Uppercase in constructions such as: The group will meet in Room A of the Holbert Building.

Roses      No apostrophe in the name of this discount store chain.

Ruby      A community in northwestern Stafford County.

Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company     A local community theater group. Use the common noun theater in later references.

Russell Stover     A candy company that packages and distributes chocolates from a facility in Caroline County.


Safeway      A grocery chain with a store at Four Mile Fork shopping center.

Saffire—The Uppity Blues Women     Use a long dash.

Safford Dodge     Not “Stafford.” A car dealership in Spotsylvania County.

St. John’s Catholic Church      In Orange; possessive.

St. Mary Catholic Church      In Fredericksburg; not possessive..

Salem Church     A historic church at the intersection of State Route 3 and Salem Church Road in Spotsylvania County. It was the site of a May 1863 Civil War battle.

Salem Church Library      On Salem Church Road in Spotsylvania County. Part of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Saluda     The county seat of Middlesex County.

Sammy T’s     A restaurant on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Scholastic Assessment Test      The new name of the Scholastic Achievement Test. SAT remains acceptable on second reference.

school boards

schools, private
Ambassadors Christian Academy in King George County (kindergarten through 11th grade)
Carmel Christian School in Ruther Glen (preschool through 12th grade)
Faith Baptist Schools (kindergarten through 12th grade)
Fredericksburg Academy in Spotsylvania County (kindergarten through ninth grade)
Fredericksburg Christian School in Spotsylvania County (preschool through 12th grade)
Fredericksburg Seventh-day Adventist Junior Academy in Spotsylvania County
Grymes Memorial School in Orange County (preschool through eighth grade)
Monroe Bay Christian Academy in Colonial Beach (preschool through 10th grade)
Montfort Academy in Fredericksburg (Catholic kindergarten through eighth grade)
Stafford Baptist Academy in Stafford County (kindergarten through sixth grade)
Westland Academy in Fredericksburg (preschool through sixth grade)
Woodberry Forest School in Orange County (boys, grades eight through 12)

schools, public
Caroline County:
Caroline High School (Cavaliers); Caroline Middle School; Bowling Green Elementary School; Ladysmith Elementary School; Bowling Green Primary School; Ladysmith Primary School.
Colonial Beach:
Colonial Beach High School (Drifters); Colonial Beach Elementary School.
James Monroe High School (Yellow Jackets); Walker–Grant Middle School; Hugh Mercer Elementary School; Lafayette Upper Elementary School.
King George:
King George High School (Foxes); King George Middle School; King George Elementary School; Potomac Elementary School; Sealston Elementary School.
Stafford County:
Brooke Point High School (Black–Hawks); Colonial Forge High School (Eagles); Mountain View High School (Wildcats); North Stafford High School (Wolverines); Stafford High School (Indians); A.G. Wright Middle School; Dixon Smith Elementary School; Drew Middle School; Gayle Middle School; H.H. Poole Middle School; Rodney Thompson Middle School; Stafford Middle School; Anthony Burns Elementary School; Anne E. Moncure Elementary School; Conway Elementary School; Falmouth Elementary School; Ferry Farm Elementary School; Garrisonville Elementary School; Grafton Village Elementary School; Hampton Oaks Elementary School; Hartwood Elementary School; Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School; Margaret Brent Elementary School; Park Ridge Elementary School; Rockhill Elementary School; Rocky Run Elementary School; Stafford Elementary School; Widewater Elementary School; Winding Creek Elementary School. Also, Alternative Education Center; Rowser Instructional Center.
Spotsylvania County:
Chancellor High School (Chargers); Courtland High School (Cougars); Massaponax High School (Panthers); Riverbend High School (Bears); Spotsylvania High School (Knights); Battlefield Middle School; Chancellor Middle School; Freedom Middle School; John J. Wright Middle School; Post Oak Middle School; Ni River Middle School; Spotsylvania Middle School; Thornburg Middle School; Battlefield Elementary School; Berkeley Elementary School; Brock Road Elementary School; Courthouse Road Elementary School; Harrison Road Elementary School; Chancellor Elementary School; Courtland Elementary School; Lee Hill Elementary School; Livingston Elementary School; Parkside Elementary School; Riverview Elementary School; Robert E. Lee Elementary School; Salem Elementary School; Smith Station Elementary School; Spotswood Elementary School; Wilderness Elementary School. Also, Spotsylvania Vocational Center.

scientific names     see species


Sealston      A community in western King George County that is the site of a coal-burning power plant (SEI–Birchwood) and a proposed private landfill that would take in trash and municipal ash.

SEI–Birchwood power plant     Acceptable in all references to Southern Electric International’s coal-burning power plant in Sealston in King George County.

Sena Foundation     A nonprofit organization in Fredericksburg that provides grief counseling.

Senate      The upper house of the General Assembly or Congress. Unless the context makes it clear that we’re referring to the Virginia state Senate, use state Senate on first reference to that body. In most instances, use U.S. Senate on first reference to the upper house of Congress. See legislative designations.

Sentry Box     A privately owned historic home on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg.

Serenity Home      Provides counseling for recovering substance abusers.

Sergeant Kirkland’s Museum & Historical Society     A privately owned U.S. history and Civil War museum, formerly on Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg near the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.

SERVE     Stafford Emergency Relief Through Volunteer Efforts Inc. Spell out on first reference to the local nonprofit organization.

Servicetown Truck Plaza     A service station and rest area for truckers, at the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 17.

7–Eleven      Note the en dash in the name of this convenience-store chain, owned by the Dallas- based Southland Corp.

Shannon Airport      An airport in Spotsylvania County off Routes 2 and 17.

Sheraton      The Fredericksburg Sheraton is acceptable in all references to the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center off State Route 3 in Fredericksburg.

sheriff’s office     Area sheriff’s agencies are called offices, not departments. Capitalize both words when used with locality names.

Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site)     On Princess Anne Street.

Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site)     On Sophia Street.

Shopper’s Food Warehouse     A grocery chain with a store in Aquia Towne Center in Stafford County.

Silver Cos.     Not Silver Companies. The possessive form is Silver Cos.'; use a singular verb: The Silver Cos. has requested a rezoning.

’Skins      Nickname for the Washington Redskins.

slash mark     Usually replaced by an en dash in Free Lance–Star style. See en dashes.

Smith Lake      A drinking-water reservoir in North Stafford.

Smoot Library     Located in the town of King George; it is not part of the CRRL system. Its full name is L.E. Smoot Memorial Library.

Snell      A community in Spotsylvania County, west of Thornburg.

Snowden Alliance     A Fredericksburg-based environmental association.

Snowden at Fredericksburg     A psychiatric hospital and addiction treatment center that provides inpatient and outpatient services. Off U.S. 1.

SOL     Acronym for Standards of Learning, Virginia’s standardized tests required for graduation. If construction requires it use “SOL tests,” not “SOLs.”

Somerset     A community in Orange county.

source names      See names in stories.

southern Stafford      Not “South Stafford” except in South Stafford Sanitary District. On first reference, it’s southern Stafford County.

Sparky the Fire Dog     

SPCA      Acceptable on second reference to the Fredericksburg Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

species     Lowercase the common names of plant and animal species, unless the word would ordinarily be uppercase: bald eagle, English sparrow.
Scientific names consist of two parts, the genus (capitalized) and species (lowercase): Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Passer domesticus. The plural of genus is genera.
We do not ordinarily italicize scientific names in general news stories.

SPF     On second reference for sun protection factor.

sportswriter     One word, lowercase except in bylines, where it is two words and uppercase. Not a formal title.

Spotswood, Alexander     Governed Virginia from 1710 to 1722 as deputy to George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney. Though Spotswood was technically lieutenant governor, Gov. Alexander Spotswood is the preferred first reference. Spotswood built a home at Germanna, then the seat of Spotsylvania County, which is named for him. He died in 1740.

Spotsylvania County Industrial Park     A business and industrial center off Routes 2 and 17 in Spotsylvania County. The A. Smith Bowman distillery is one main business there.

Spotsylvania County     Formed from Essex, King William and King and Queen counties in 1721.

Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors      See entry on boards, commissions and committees.

Spotsylvania County Parks and Recreation Department     

Spotsylvania County Planning Commission     

Spotsylvania County Planning Department     

Spotsylvania County Visitor Center     On Southpoint Parkway near the Massaponax Outlet Center.

Spotsylvania County Woman’s Club     

Spotsylvania Courthouse     

Spotsylvania Court House Historic District      Includes the courthouse; the Spotsylvania County Museum in the Old Berea Church; the restored Spotswood Inn; Christ Episcopal Church; the county’s Confederate Cemetery; and the old jail, built in 1781 and transferred to its present site in 1839.

Spotsylvania Crossing     A shopping center on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County. Giant is the grocery store there.

Spotsylvania Emergency Concerns Association     SECA on second reference.

Spotsylvania Mall Cinemas      Owned by Neighborhood Entertainment Inc. of Richmond.

Spotsylvania Office and Cultural Center     SOCC on second reference. Former Spotsylvania Middle School. Now the Marshall Center.

Spotsylvania Towne Centre      On State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County.

Spotsylvania Visitors Center      Off U.S. 1 in front of the Massaponax Outlet Center.

Stafford Airport Commission

Stafford Correctional Unit     A state-operated correctional facility on Eskimo Hill Road in Stafford County. Formerly Camp 21.

Stafford County      Formed from Westmoreland County in 1664.

Stafford County Board of Supervisors      See entry on boards, commissions and committees.

Stafford County Department of Parks and Recreation      

Stafford Courthouse     

Stafford Emergency Relief Through Volunteer Effort Inc.     SERVE on second reference.

Stafford–Fredericksburg Regional Landfill     

Stafford Sheriff’s Office      They do not refer to themselves as the Sheriff’s Department.

Stafford Wayside     The forested median between the northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. 1 between Stafford courthouse and Aquia.

staff reporter      Not a formal title; uppercase in bylines only. The form for a credit line is, in italics: Staff reporter Lucia Anderson contributed to this story.

Stanardsville     The county seat of Greene County. Not “StanDardsville.”

state police      Lowercase unless used with Virginia: The Virginia State Police, the state police.

state trooper     Lowercase unless it precedes a name.

Stevensburg      A community in Culpeper County.

Stonewall Jackson Shrine      The home and grounds at Guinea Station in Caroline County where Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson died on May 10, 1863, after having been shot accidentally by his own men at Chancellorsville. It is operated by the National Park Service and is part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Stratford Hall      A historic plantation off State Route 3 in Westmoreland County, completed in 1738 by Thomas Lee. It was home of the Revolutionary War hero Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee and of the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee. It is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. Since 1929 it has been owned and administered by the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association, which operates it as a private museum and 1,700-acre working plantation. It is the home of the Jessie Ball duPont Library, a collection of Lee pictures, manuscripts and books.

Sumerduck      A community in Fauquier County. Only one “m.”

Sylvania plant      Defunct cellophane plant off Routes 2 and 17 in Spotsylvania County; later was owned by the FMC Corp. The buildings are now part of the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park.

Sylvania Heights Church     

Sylvannah Baptist Church     


Tappahannock     The county seat of Essex County.

temperature     Use the degree symbol (hit F10 for the symbols table). The temperature last night was 10° Fahrenheit.

the      Unless the is the first word of a book, play or movie title, or of the name of a newspaper or magazine, it’s lowercase. Some exceptions are The Associated Press; The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico; and The Citadel. See entry for newspaper names.

TheatreVirginia     No space.

The Free Lance–Star     The is part of our name and is capitalized. Use an en dash between Lance and Star. Stories about the paper should mention that it is owned by The Free Lance–Star Publishing Cos.

Thornburg      A community in east–central Spotsylvania County. Not "ThornSburg."

3–D     With an en dash. But three-dimensional takes a hyphen.

Thurman Brisben Center      The area’s primary homeless shelter, in the Battlefield Industrial Park in Fredericksburg. It is named after the late Anna Thurman Brisben, one of the founders of the original shelter at the old Maury School.

Tickers Coffee     Located in the Westwood Shopping Center.

Tidewater      The Norfolk–Virginia Beach–Hampton area is known as Hampton Roads; Tidewater traditionally has been applied to any area of Virginia east of the fall line (roughly, east of Interstate 95).

time element      In news and feature stories, use yesterday, today and tomorrow; this is an exception to AP style. For meeting notices, event notices and obituaries, use today but specify the day of the week instead of saying “yesterday” or “tomorrow.”

Tinky Winky     

Todds Tavern     A community in west–central Spotsylvania County. No apostrophe.

Tompkins–Martin Medical Plaza      A doctors’ office building connected to Mary Washington Hospital; it’s owned by MediCorp Properties Inc.

Tour DuPont      An international bicycle race that comes through Fredericksburg. (The spelling differs from that of the company, which is Du Pont, with a space; Du Pont is acceptable in all references to E.I du Pont de Nemours & Co.)

townhouse      One word, an exception to Webster’s.

towns      Towns in our coverage area are: Bowling Green; Colonial Beach; Culpeper; Dumfries; Montross; Orange; Port Royal; and Quantico. The following places are often referred to as towns, but aren’t: Chancellor; Dahlgren; Dawn; Falmouth; Hartwood; the Spotsylvania Courthouse area; and Todds Tavern.

Toys “R” Us     Use double quotation marks and a regular uppercase R in the name of this toy-store chain.

Tri-County/City Soil and Water Conservation District     Use a hyphen.

Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg     

Tubal Furnace      Believed to be the oldest iron blast furnace in the state, built by Gov. Alexander Spotswood in 1715. The remains are in Spotsylvania County.

Tysons Corner     No apostrophe in the name of this highly developed business and retail section of Fairfax County.



Ulman’s Jewelry     A jewelry store on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg     

University of Mary Washington     UMW is acceptable after the first reference. Someone is a UMW student, not “an” UMW student. Buildings at UMW include: George Washington Hall, Lee Hall, Seacobeck Hall and the Phyllis Ridderhof Martin Gallery. Outside sports events are at Battleground Athletic Complex on Hanover Street. “The” is not part of its official name.
name changes:
1908: Established by the General Assembly as State Normal and Industrial School for Women, Fredericksburg; college opened 1911.
1914: State Normal School for Women at Fredericksburg.
1924: State Teachers College, Fredericksburg.
1938: Mary Washington College.
1944: Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia.
1972: Established as independent college; Mary Washington College.
2004: University of Mary Washington.
MWC went coeducational in 1970.

University of Mary Washington’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies
The graduate campus for the University of Mary Washington. Located off U.S. 17 north in southern Stafford County. Also the College of Graduate and Professional Studies of the University of Mary Washington UMW Stafford Campus on second reference.

University of Virginia      U.Va., no spaces, is acceptable in headlines and on second reference in copy.

URL     Acceptable in all references to universal resource locator, the address of a particular Web page. For proper formatting, see the entry for Web page.

U.S.     Use this designation for six highways in our coverage area: U.S. 1; U.S. 17; U.S. 301; U.S. 15; U.S. 29; and U.S. 522. See road names.

U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service     

U–turn     Takes an en dash.


vacation Bible school     

v–chip     Use a lowercase v and an en dash.

V–8 engine     Use an uppercase V and an en dash.

Village Square Shopping Center     The shopping center across Bragg Road Extended from Spotsylvania Towne Centre. The Leggett Outlet Center is the main store there.

Vint Hill      A military intelligence facility in Fauquier County, set to be closed. Virginia Aviation Board

Virginia Barbeque     On Jefferson Davis Highway in Fredericksburg. Not BBQ or Barbecue

Virginia Cooperative Extension     Uppercase extension agent or extension specialist only before a name: Extension Agent Regina Prunty. It’s Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Stafford office, not “the Stafford extension office.”

Virginia Department of Transportation     VDOT or the Transportation Department is acceptable on later references. Do not call it the “highway department,” as its scope has broadened.

Virginia Landmarks Register      The state Department of Historic Resources’ listing of Virginia’s historic homes, farms or communities. Property owners apply for inclusion on the list; in exchange, they give up some rights to make changes to their properties.

Virginia Lottery      Lotto is the pick-six lottery game. Lowercase lottery as a common noun.

Virginia Power     Former name of Dominion Virginia Power.

Virginia Railway Express     VRE is acceptable in headlines or on second reference. It’s also called commuter rail or the Express. The system is operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

Virginia regions     We uppercase the following:

the Middle Peninsula
the Northern Neck
Northern Virginia
Southside Virginia (or just Southside), meaning south of the James River.
Southwest Virginia (NOT “Southwestern Virginia”)
Tidewater Virginia for the portion of the state east of the fall line; do NOT use as a synonym for Hampton Roads.

We do not uppercase the following:

eastern Virginia
central Virginia

Virginia Register of Historic Places     

Virginians Theater      On Lafayette Boulevard in Spotsylvania County. It’s owned by RC Theaters.

visitors center      No apostrophe, lowercase when referring to a visitors center without using its formal name. The plural is visitors centers, also no apostrophe. See alphabetized listings.

Volunteer & Information Services     A United Way program that matches volunteers with community needs.


Walker–Grant Middle School     Use an en dash in the name of this Fredericksburg school.

Walmart     Use this form in most references. Use the parent company's full name -- Wal–Mart [with an en dash] Stores Inc. -- only if necessary, for example in a story about corporate profits, legal action, etc.
Do not refer to employees as “associates,” a Walmart practice.

Walnut Farms     A proposed housing development in southern Stafford County.

Warrenton     The county seat of Fauquier County.

Warsaw     The county seat of Richmond County.

Washington     Use Washington alone in most references to the city. Use Washington, D.C., only when Washington state or the town of Washington, Va., is also being mentioned and there’s a chance of confusion. Spell out District of Columbia when it stands alone. D.C. is acceptable in headlines and informal uses.

Washington–Baltimore Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area     From Spotsylvania and King George counties north to the Pennsylvania line and west into West Virginia. The designation links the area based on commuting and development patterns.

Washington Redskins, Redskins, ’Skins      A player is a Redskin, but as an adjective it’s Redskins: Redskins tickets, Redskins game, Redskins coach. However, the team practices at Redskin Park in the Loudoun County village of Ashburn.

Washington, Va.     Sometimes referred to as “Little Washington”; the county seat of Rappahannock County.

Web page     A full URL has the following form (elements in square brackets may or may not be present):


We trim it to:

Weichert, Realtors      Note the comma.

Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service     New name for the University of Virginia’s local government institute. Formerly called the Center for Public Service, and, before that, the Tayloe Murphy Institute.

Westmoreland County     Formed from Northumberland county in 1653. The town of Montross is the county seat.

Westmoreland State Park      Off State Route 3 in Westmoreland County.

Westwood Center     On State Route 3 in Fredericksburg. Staples is one main store there.

Wheat, First     

White Oak     A community in southern Stafford County.

Widewater      A peninsula of Stafford County bounded by Aquia Creek on the west and the Potomac River on the east.


Wilderness      An area of Orange County, west of Chancellor, that was the site of the Wilderness battles of the Civil War.

Wilderness Campground

Windows 95

wing–T     A football formation.

wishbone      A football formation.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts     A performing-arts park in Fairfax County operated by the National Park Service. Two facilities are the Filene Center and the Barns of Wolf Trap.

Woman’s Club of Fredericksburg     

women’s and men’s sports      Use the apostrophe.

Woodford     A community in northwestern Caroline County.

Woodmont Center     Not “Nursing Home.”

World Wide Web     


York County     One of the original “shires” of 1634. Originally called Charles River County; renamed York County in 1643. Yorktown is the county seat.

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