Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: V, Not Just for Vendetta


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?

Although it is a great movie, the letter, V, covers so much more than just the word vendetta.

It’s been a bit since we’ve done one of our individual letters of the alphabet days, so today, let’s talk about words that begin with the letter, V.


One of the red-flag words, vacuum has a double u in the middle.


Although not hard to spell at all, you might be interested to know it should be capitalized only as part of a full name, such as Mississippi Valley. The Associated Press Stylebook (AP) recommends to lowercase it in plural uses, like the Missouri and Mississippi valleys.

V-E Day, V-J Day

Get these two days mixed up? You’re not the only one.

V-E Day is May 8, 1945, the day the surrender of Germany was announced officially ending the European phase of World War II, according to AP.

V-J Day is September 2, 1945, when Japan formally surrendered to the Allied forces. AP states that “some commemorate V-J Day on August 14, 1945, when fighting with Japan ended and the armistice was declared, but the formal proclamation was not until September 2.”


AP advises to spell out versus. For court cases, use v., as in Roe v. Wade.

Video game

Two words at all times.


Both the noun and verb forms of videotape are one word.

Virtual reality, augmented reality

Here’s another tough, but important one to remember. Virtual reality, according to AP, is a “computer-generated simulation of an interactive, three-dimensional environment.” This typically “requires the use of headsets, hand-held controllers, and other electronic equipment that allow the person to interact with the simulation.”

Although a similar concept, “augmented reality involves the projection of interactive computer-generated images into a person’s real-world surroundings,” according to AP.

VR is acceptable on second reference, but AR is not.


One word.


According to AP, Voice over Internet Protocol is a “method of transmitting sound as data over the internet, allowing for inexpensive phone conversations.” AP also suggests avoiding the term in most stories. Why? Don’t know. There’s no explanation given.


Hyphenated at all times.

EFG Digest
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These books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2017 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of the Bibliophiles series, contemporary fiction with a sprinkling of the classics, and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


Mel Parish said…
You have to wonder who gets to decide these rules. Videotape is one word but Video game is two! The logic being...?
I think I learn something every time you do one of these blog posts.
Thanks, Karen.
You’re right, Mel. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to these rules. Editing is a tricky business, and I have to look things up constantly.

I’m so glad I can help.
Anonymous said…
I often see AR, whether it's acceptable or not. Perhaps the rule will change in time? :)

Is vs. acceptable as an abbreviation?
I think you're right about AR, angel011. Maybe in the next few years.

Regarding vs., AP states that vs. is okay to use "in short expressions," such as this example: "The issue of guns vs. butter has long been with us." FYI, I had to look up what "guns vs. butter" means, since I didn't study business in college. In case you're wondering, Investopedia.com explains it as the following. "In macroeconomics, the guns versus butter model is the classic example of the production possibility frontier. It models the relationship between a nation's investment in defense and civilian goods."
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the answer! And thanks for the "guns vs. butter" explanation, too, I've never heard of it before. :)
I default to Merriam-Webster since that's what the publishing world uses. Voice mail is two words as a noun and hyphenated as an adjective according to M-W, so that's what I always use.
Kelly, I looked up what CMS had to say about voicemail just out of curiosity, and I couldn't find anything. The closest is the word, email, which it suggests should be one word, no hyphen. I could assume it's the same for voicemail. More sources seem to use one word for voicemail, although I totally understand deferring to Merriam-Webster.

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