Editorial Style Guide
Word List and Usage A–Z
faculty, faculties Lowercase. Faculty is a mass (collective) noun—one that denotes something uncountable because it refers to an indeterminate aggregation of people. As the subject of a sentence, a mass noun usually takes a singular verb. But in a collective sense, it may take either a singular or a plural verb form. A singular verb emphasizes the group: The faculty is invited to a reception on March 16. A plural verb emphasizes the individual members: Faculty were to arrive at the ceremony by noon. (A better way of wording that sentence is: Faculty members were to arrive at the ceremony by noon.) The plural noun is faculties: The faculties of New York University and Columbia University held a joint conference in May.
FAQ Stands for frequently asked questions (do not use FAQs).
farther, further Farther refers to physical distance: She ran farther than he did. Further refers to an extension of time or degree: Further research is needed to prove his hypothesis.
fax Lowercase. The word fax is derived from the word facsimile; it is not an acronym, so it should not be expressed in all capital letters.
FBI Acceptable in all references for Federal Bureau of Investigation.
FCC Acceptable in second references for Federal Communications Commission.
FDIC Acceptable in second references for Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
federal Capitalize for the architectural style and for corporate or governmental bodies that use the word as part of their formal names: the Federal Trade Commission. Lowercase when used as an adjective to distinguish something from state, county, city, town, or private entities: federal laws, federal assistance, federal court, a federal judge, the federal government.
Federal Reserve Acceptable to use the Fed in second references.
FEMA Acceptable in second references for Federal Emergency Management Agency.
fewer See less, fewer.
filmmaking, filmmaker One word, no hyphen.
firm A business partnership is correctly referred to as a firm: She is a partner in the law firm. When referring to an incorporated business entity, use the company or the corporation instead.
first class, first-class Hyphenate as an adjective before a noun: The hotel offered first-class service. Otherwise, leave as two words: The service was first class.
firsthand (adj. and adv.) No hyphen.
flier, flyer Flier is the preferred term for a person flying on an aircraft or for a handbill (AP style, updated 1/16/16).
-fold In general, no hyphen when used as a suffix after a spelled out word: twofold, fourfold, hundredfold; but 25-fold.
follow up (v.), follow-up (n. and adj.)
forego, forgo To forego means to go before, as in foregone conclusion. To forgo means to abstain from, do without: He decided to forgo dessert.
freelance No hyphen.
freshman (singular n.; adj.), freshmen (plural n.) Use these terms for the first year of a four-year degree. Although first-year is preferred as a gender-neutral adjective, it can cause confusion. (Transfer students entering as juniors will be in their first year at Purchase.)
friend, follow, like (social media terms) Acceptable as both nouns and verbs when the context is clear.
full-time, full time Hyphenate as an adjective before a noun: She is a full-time student. Otherwise, leave as two words: He attends college full time.
fundraise, fundraiser, fundraising One word, no hyphen.
Updated Jan. 16, 2016