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I know this is somewhat insignificant, but I need help from anyone who has access to an AP Stylebook to settle a disagreement. Most of what I'm going on is my memory of AP style, and references I can find on the internet of someone else's interpretation of AP style. But I no longer have access to an AP Stylebook, and I'd like a direct reference, if I can get one.

When writing a newspaper article, and referencing a past governor, what is the proper honorific?

I was always under the impression that if the past governor (or president) completed their term of office, or retired from office, the proper reference was "Former Governor" and if that person resigned in disgrace or was recalled, etc, it was "Ex-Governor".

Example: "Ex-Governor Spitzer" or "Former Governor Granholm".

Am I correct, or is the newspaper who is trying to tell me that "Ex" is appropriate to use in either case the one who is correct?

We never refer to Bush as "Ex-President Bush". He's generally referred to as "Former President Bush", or just "President Bush" (which, if I'm not mistaken is somewhat incorrect, as he's not the sitting president, and when there is only one person who can hold that office at a time, the honorific isn't used).

Now, I realize that "ex" can be used in context for any person who used to do something or be something. But I'm talking AP style for writing articles and headlines.

I know this sounds kind of silly, but it's kind of significant to me.

Thanks for your help.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

    by second gen on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:06:03 AM PST

  •  The 2011 stylebook... (5+ / 0-)

    ...doesn't make a distinction that I can find.  

    Under "Titles", "Past and Future Titles", it only offers advice on capitalization, i.e. "former President Bush", not "Former President Bush".  

    Under "Ex", they use both "ex-President Richard Nixon" and "ex-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo" as examples, so I don't think they're assuming it implies wrongdoing.  They do add, "Usually former is better".  But they don't explain why.

    •  I'm sure there is a place where it discusses (0+ / 0-)

      why. It's just so long since I've had a stylebook, I can't even think of where it would be.

      Yesterday, I found a reference that specifically stated that it depended on their conditions of leaving office, but I'm not sure if it was a direct AP style reference, or that person's interpretation of such, and now I can't find the link.

      Thanks for looking.

      "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

      by second gen on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:43:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  For an ex-Governor, it's 'Honoroble' (4+ / 0-)

    but not 'Governor', and it's done that way for an interesting reason:

              The Honorable (full name).
       In the saluation use:
                Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./General/Judge/Senator/etc. (name):  
       Former office holders go back to whatever they were before they were governor. Only a Governor in office is formally and officially addressed as Governor (name).  The reason? There is only one Governor at at time, and it's not respectful of the current office holder to refer to former office holders as it they were still in office.
        I know we hear newscasters referring to former governors as "Governor."  But officially is incorrect.
               -- Robert Hickey

    The same holds true for 'President', for the same reason.

    “Are you calling the Koch brothers during the recess?” - Henry Waxman

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:29:40 AM PST

    •  This is correct, but it is in reference to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, thenekkidtruth, lgmcp

      writing a letter.

      I'm talking about writing a newspaper article, which is often different.

      Thank you for that, though.  It does bother me when people say "President Bush" when he is no longer the president.

      "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

      by second gen on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:33:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Strictly speaking, the same should hold true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        second gen, lgmcp

        when referring to an official in writing, but it would be too cumbersome to explain, "well, I'm calling him 'ex-President', but it's not because he was impeached, or anything - it's simply because his term ran out".

        That's obviously too much.  I think the rule, above, is only strictly honored when addressing the official directly, and not in writing about the individual in the third person.  If you really want to distinguish, you can use the modifier "sitting governor", for instance.

        “Are you calling the Koch brothers during the recess?” - Henry Waxman

        by thenekkidtruth on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:40:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  With informal usage "ex-" is used (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thenekkidtruth, second gen

          to emphasize the temporal aspects of the situation, without imputation as to the terms of leaving office.  

          "Former" serves the same role and more honorifically, but may I think may be eschewed without disrespect in the interests of brevity.  

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:58:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Stymied (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill W, second gen, Catte Nappe

    Well, I learned this:



    https:/www.apstylebook.com?do=faq#online

    How much is the 2011 AP Stylebook?
    The spiral-bound 2011 AP Stylebook is $19.95 a copy. News organizations that are AP members can pay a discounted rate of $12.75 a copy. College bookstores can buy the book wholesale for $12.75. Shipping is additional.

    How much is the AP Stylebook Online?
    Rates are based on the number of users, and the cost per user decreases as you add more users to your site license.  Annual subscription rates start at $25 for an individual user, with discounts for AP members and for renewing customers. Site license rates are available for 10 users and more.

    So I went looking to see if the large university library system to which I have access, made the online database available.  Apparently they don't have THIS one.  If I wanted the American Sociological Association's style guide online, now THAT they have, also the MLA's, also a generic e-book one, and a few others.   But no AP, unless I'm missing it somehow.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:54:27 AM PST

    •  Amazon has it as well. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, second gen

      Paperback edition is $12.99, spiral bound is closer to $20.

    •  I think the reason it's not available is because (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      they do subscriptions. If they allow it to be referenced sporadically, then why would anyone bother to buy a subscription? You should know by now, AP doesn't give anything away.

      The biggest reason I am asking this here, rather than buying the book (which I will probably do) is because I need an immediate answer because it's about a current headline and don't have time for the book to arrive to state my case, and I was certain someone here would have a stylebook.

      "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

      by second gen on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 10:06:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's an opinion: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thenekkidtruth

    verbmall

    This is one of the many manufactured controversies that bedevil people and make their lives unnecessarily complicated. Both ex- and former are properly used as designations for persons who have previously held the office in question.

    “I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve.” PBO

    by OleHippieChick on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 10:13:43 AM PST

    •  However, in my head I always equate "ex" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second gen

      with having blown it and been thrown out and "former" with having left office respectably.

      “I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve.” PBO

      by OleHippieChick on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 10:37:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Having nothing to do with titles of elected (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OleHippieChick

        officials, in addition to what I believe is correct, I guess I just equate it this way: If you get a divorce, you have an ex-husband. If your husband dies, he's a former husband, or a first husband, or something else that denotes that your marriage didn't end badly.

        "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

        by second gen on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 11:00:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          second gen

          If you have an ex you hate, but still like his relatives, he's your ex and they're your former m-i-l, f-i-l, etc.

          “I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve.” PBO

          by OleHippieChick on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 11:17:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Or, "ex" may be derisive, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OleHippieChick

        Like in an ex-husband or ex-wife, depending on the degree of acrimony during the divorce. Good feelings for him or her they would be former wife or husband.

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