3 African American African American is preferable to black as a designator of race. Note that it is written without a hyphen, whether it is used as a noun or an adjective. • He is an African American. • The African American population of NSU is growing each year. See also nationality and race. after-school program See also before-school program. ages Spell out all ages under 10. Ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun use hyphens. If no age modifier is specified, it is presumed to be years. • She will turn 15 next week. • He is five years old. but • He is a five-year-old. See also numbers. aid (verb), aide (noun) • This discovery will aid in the fight against diabetes. • She works as an aide in Senator Johnson’s office. allow, enable, empower Allow: to let do, to let happen. Use enable instead, if the context is appropriate; it’s more active and positive. Enable: to provide with means, opportunity, power, or authority Empower: to give power or authority (Use sparingly. This word is becoming a cliche.) The governor signed the education bill, allowing it to pass, empowering school administrators to raise teachers’ salaries, and enabling thousands of children to return to school. all right, not alright Although MW says that the word alright has a respectable etymology, the expression is always written in its twoword form in university publications. all-time (adj.) Use the hyphen. Note: The phrase all-time record is illogical. The word record itself incorporates the data of all previous time, and no record can purport to stand for all time. a lot Always written as two words. Because this phrase lacks precision, try not to use it. See also lots. although Be sure not to confuse the usage of although with that of while, which suggests the passage of time. • Although I studied Shakespeare, I enjoy modern theater. • NOT While I studied Shakespeare, I enjoy modern theater. See also while. alumnus, etc. • One man: alumnus • One woman: alumna • Two or more men: alumni (last syllable rhymes with try) • Two or more women: alumnae (last syllable rhymes with tree) • For a group containing both men and women: alumni Alum can be used in casual conversation or informal writing only to describe one man or one woman. It is not preferred, but the second definition listed in MW is a shortened form of alumnus or alumna. Alums should never be used. a.m., p.m. Use periods and lowercase letters to express morning or afternoon. Always use four digits. Note: Avoid 12 noon and 12 midnight; noon and midnight are sufficient. Please lowercase these designations, as well. • 10:00 a.m. (NOT 10 a.m.; NOT 10 a.m. this morning). • The seminar will meet from 11:00 a.m. to noon. • NOT The seminar will meet from 11 a.m. to Noon.