Everyone’s favorite grammar blogger, Barry Wood, wrote about company names a few weeks ago. Errors in company names, whether giving it the wrong cap, missing a hyphen or flat out spelling it wrong, is a major no-no.
So the AP Stylebook says to always make sure you take the time to search for the company’s website and check their preferred manner of spelling/punctuation.
Barry got us started with these major ones:
Wal-Mart: The Associated Press adopted this style this year. The official name of the company is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. But when referring to an actual store, it’s a Walmart, one word, no hyphen, lowercase “m.”
Walgreen: The corporate name is Walgreen Co. The individual drugstores operate under the name Walgreens, plural.
Schnuck: The corporate name, according to its website, is Schnuck Markets Inc. — singular Schnuck, plural Markets. The brand name for an individual store is Schnucks, plural.
Here are some more tips from “Working with Words” by Brian S. Brooks, James L. Pinson and Jean Gaddy Wilson.
Never use a comma around the abbreviation Inc. in a company name, i.e. Merck & Company Inc. is a pharmaceuticals company.
Write out the full name of the company on first reference, and abbreviate on second reference. Use only well-known abbreviations in headlines.
Exceptions include CIA, FBI and GOP — these abbreviations may be used on first reference.
Use the abbreviations Co., Cos., Corp., Inc. and Ltd. at the end of a company’s name even if the company spells out the word.