Write advisor not adviser. As in, Senior Advisor. This is a divergence from AP style.

Agency, agencywide, interagency

Only capitalize agency when it is part of an official agency name, e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency.

Agencywide is one word, no space or hyphen. It refers to anything that extends or exists throughout an entire agency.

Interagency is one word, no hyphen needed. It refers to something occurring between or involving two or more agencies.

Appropriation, appropriations, authorization

An appropriation is a law of Congress that provides an agency with budget authority.

Appropriations are the funds — either definite (a specific sum of money) or indefinite (an amount for "such sums as may be necessary").

Authorization is an act of Congress that permits a federal program or activity to begin or continue from year to year. It sets limits on funds that can be appropriated but does not grant funding which must be provided by a separate congressional appropriation.

Calendar year

The calendar year is January 1 through December 31. This term is often used to differentiate from the fiscal year and is sometimes shortened to CY. Generally, we should not use this acronym for writing because it will only confuse the reader. Write with the assumption that the calendar year is the default.

Congress, congressional

Always capitalize Congress when referring to the U.S. House and Senate together. The adjective congressional is lowercase. Congressional Justification is the name of a recurring report; do capitalize congressional when it is part of a proper noun, like the name of a report.

The possessive Congress adds one apostrophe with no additional s: Congress’

Country names

Use a country’s name, not the adjective, as a subject, except when modifying the word government (e.g., “we hope France will sign the resolution” or “we hope the French government will sign the resolution,” not “we hope the French will sign the resolution”).

Use both country names when referring to two countries (e.g., U.S.-India relations, not U.S.-Indian relations).

Use the pronoun it and the relative pronouns which or that for a country, not he/she or who. Who refers to people; that refers to things.


Only capitalize federal when it is part of a proper noun, like the Federal Register or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. General references to federal employees or federal laws, for example, should remain lowercase.

Fiscal year

The federal government's fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. When referencing the fiscal year, write it out the first time and then reference it by the acronym FY in subsequent references (e.g., “In fiscal year 2022 (FY22), we received x amount of funds”). Write the acronym with no spacing between FY and the last two digits of the year (FY21, FY22), and not FY 2021, FY 2022 with a space and the full year.

Use an en dash in a range of years e.g., fiscal years 2015–2020 (FY15–FY20), not fiscal years 2015 through 2020.

To avoid confusion, always use the term fiscal year and not budget year.

Health care

Use AP style, which is two words, not healthcare, even as a compound modifier (e.g., health care overhaul). Exceptions: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality uses one word. uses camel case.

Nationality and citizenship

Avoid using citizen as a generic term for people who live in the United States. How you refer to the public is largely dependent on context. People, the public, or users could all be appropriate.

Citizens should be used for information directly related to U.S. citizenship, such as when describing who is eligible to vote in federal elections.

This page last reviewed on November 14, 2023