Q: How do you create a “thin space” in Word?
A: In Word, use the shortcut to the ¼ em space character under Insert/Symbol/Special Characters. The Unicode value for the ¼ em space is 2005, and it’s in the General Punctuation section of any Unicode font. The 1/6 em space is also used as a thin space; the Unicode value for that is 2006, and it’s also in the General Punctuation section of any Unicode font.
Q: Is it necessary to include http:// in a URL? What about http://www.? I like to avoid long strings for URLs and if it’s OK to shorten them, that’s what I’d like to do.
A: The http:// in the URL is only necessary in text to ensure that the reader knows that the information provided is a website. If that information is clear from the context without http://, it is not necessary. To know whether www is necessary or not, you should try the URL without it. Some URLs require the www, while others will not work if www is added. To ensure that the URL is correct, you should check it on the Internet.
Q: Can you please tell me how many journals use the AMA Manual of Style? Does a list of these journals exist?
A: I don’t have the data you request…and I’d certainly be interested myself. I can tell you that we’ve sold almost 30,000 copies of the print book, in addition to site licenses and individual subscriptions to the online book. Although this doesn’t answer your question precisely, the number of copies sold might be of some help.—Cheryl Iverson, MA
Q: I have a question about biologic vs biological and physiologic and physiological. How do I know which version to use?
A: It may have been “hidden,” but the tricky “-ic/-ical” question is addressed in the manual on page 396 (section 11.1). This section specifically addresses biologic/biological and physiologic/physiological, 2 pairs of words where the different endings may have a different meaning.
Q: In section 8.3.1, why do you show a hyphen in “The rash was a treatment-related adverse event.” but not in “The adverse event was treatement related.”?
A: The policy of hyphenating a compound when it precedes the noun it modifies but not when it follows comes up in many examples in the Hyphens section of the manual. The rationale for this policy is based on easier comprehension. Much may precede and modify a noun. The use of hyphenation (as in “treatment-related adverse event”) helps make the relationships of the words that precede the noun clearer and easier for a reader to understand. In the case in which this word string follows the noun, the hyphenation is not required for easier understanding (“The adverse event was treatment related.”) You see this same logic in so many places:
It was a 5-cm distance.
The distance was 5 cm.
He was a well-known author.
The author was well known.
Q: Would it be acceptable to use bit.ly as a way to shorten URLs in references in a scientific article’s reference list?
A: Using bit.ly to shorten URLs in the reference list for a scientific article is probably not consistent with best practices. We do use bit.ly in our style manual tweets, to save space, but the reference list of a scientific article is a different matter. Use of the full URL allows readers to know the original domain name (like nih.gov). We are also not sure how permanently stable a shortened link would be.
NOTE: The person who inquired noted: “Regarding shortened URLs and transparency, there is one bright spot for people citing US government publications. The government created its own vanity bit.ly domain, 1.usa.gov.
http://gov20.govfresh.com/usa-gov-adds-1-go-usa-gov-url-shortener-for-civilian-use/.”—Cheryl Iverson, MA