P

Pacific Rim/Asia Study-Travel Program, PacRim

page numbers
Use figures: The story is continued on page 48. Turn to page 72 to find out who was killed.

part time, part-time
Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: She works part time. She has a part-time job.

percent
See Numbers, percent, percentages.

Period

  • abbreviations
    When an abbreviation ends a sentence, no additional period is necessary at the end of the sentence. He lives at .
  • space after 
    Include only one space after a period in all cases.
  • quotation marks
    Periods are placed within quotation marks.

play titles
See Capitalization, compositions.

p.m., a.m.
See a.m., p.m.

Possessives

  • Plural nouns not ending in s
    Add ’s: the alumni’s contributions, women’s rights.
  • Plural nouns ending in s
    Add only apostrophe: the churches’ needs, the girls’ toys.
  • Nouns plural in form, singular in meaning
    Add only apostrophe: mathematics’ rules, measles’ effects, General Motors’ profits, the United States’ wealth.
  • Nouns same in singular and plural
    Treat them as plurals: one corps’ location, the two deer’s tracks.
  • Singular common nouns ending in s
    Add ’s unless next word begins with s: the hostess’s invitation, the hostess’ seat.
  • Singular proper names ending in s
    Use only an apostrophe: Achilles’ heel, Dickens’ novels.
    Note: President Thomas prefers the use of ’s with his name: President Thomas’s house is located on North 18th Street.  
  • Joint possession
    Use possessive form after only the last word if ownership is joint: Fred and Sylvia’s apartment, Fred and Sylvia’s stocks. Use apostrophe after both if individually owned: Fred’s and Sylvia’s books. An ’s is required, however, when a term involves a plural word that does not end in s: a children’s hospital, a people’s republic.

post-
Follow Webster’s New WorldCollege Dictionary. Hyphenate if not listed there. Some words without a hyphen: postsecondary, postgraduate, postseason.

post office
It may be used but it is no longer capitalized because the agency is now the U.S. Postal Service.

pre-
The rules in prefixes apply. The following examples of exceptions to first-listed spellings in Webster’s New World College Dictionary are based on the general rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel: pre-election, pre-eminent, pre-empt. Otherwise, follow Webster’s New World College Dictionary, hyphenating if not listed there. Some examples: prearrange, prehistoric, prenatal.

prefixes
Generally do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant. Three rules are constant, although they yield some exception to first-listed spellings in Webster’s New World College Dictionary:

  • Except for cooperate and coordinate, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.
  • Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized.
  • Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph.

premiere (n.)
A first performance or showing of a play, film, etc.

premier (adj.)
First in importance or rank; chief; foremost.

president
See Capitalization, president also Titles, occupational titles.

principal, principle
Principal is a noun and adjective meaning someone or something first in rank, authority, importance, or degree: She is the school principal. He was the principal player in the trade. Money is the principal problem. Principle is a noun that means a fundamental truth, law, doctrine, or motivating force: They fought for the principle of self-determination.

pro-
Use a hyphen when coining words that denote support for something: pro-abortion, pro-business, pro-labor.

professor
See Titles, occupational titles.