Special Publication: Writing Guide for Public Documents | July 2015
MCC Terms: Using our Unique Vocabulary
Only capitalize when it is the official and complete activity title in a compact program.
Do not capitalize when used to refer to a presidential administration.
- MCC was created under the Bush administration.
- The administration prioritized global development in its foreign affairs strategy.
Only capitalize when part of a formal title.
The Federal Aviation Administration governs airport guidelines.
Do not capitalize unless accompanied by the name.
board of directors
Do not capitalize it unless used as part of the specific entity’s formal title.
- MCC’s Board of Directors meets Wednesday to select eligible countries. At its last meeting, the board voted to reinstate a suspended compact.
- Every MCA is governed by a board of directors or a similar governing body.
Do not hyphenate.
Compact is capitalized when used as a proper noun (directly preceded by the country name) and officially referred to as the “Millennium Challenge Compact.” Otherwise, do not capitalize it, including when preceded by “MCC” or used as an adjective (compact implementation, compact funding, compact development).
- The compact development process is often long and drawn-out, but development of the El Salvador Compact proved to be different.
- The MCC compact with Ghana was signed in 2005.
- Ghana’s Millennium Challenge Compact was signed in 2005.
- The Ghana Compact focuses on infrastructure and agricultural capacity building.
- MCC expects civil society consultation in the compact development process.
Use closeout, not close-out. Do not capitalize.
Do not capitalize
Use farmers’ association, not farmer association or farmers association. Do not capitalize.
Always capitalize when referring to a governmental body or thing. Do not capitalize when referring to a political ideology.
- Federal government;
- Federal websites;
- Federal Register;
- federal form of government
G-8, G-20, G-77
Use hyphen. No need to spell out “Group of 8” on first or subsequent references.
Use Government of [short-form country name] on first reference. Use country-specific adjective and “government” in lowercase on subsequent reference if preferred for style. Avoid using an acronym.
MCC and the Government of Jordan signed a five-year, $275 million compact.
MCC is partnering with the Jordanian government on rehabilitating the As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant.
MCC and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed a five-year, $275 million compact.
MCC is partnering with GOJ on rehabilitating the As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Do not capitalize individual indicators or categories of indicators.
- freedom of information indicator
- ruling justly, investing in people, encouraging economic freedom
Avoid usage, as this can be too technical for a public audience. Suggested alternatives include:
Avoid this phrase. Simply using “lessons” is better, because a lesson is not a lesson if it is not learned.
MCC is using lessons learned from its impact evaluation to improve future farmer training programs.
- MCC is using the lessons from its impact evaluation to improve future farmer training programs.
low income country
Do not capitalize; do not hyphenate. Abbreviate using LIC.
lower middle income country
Do not capitalize; do not hyphenate. Abbreviate using LMIC.
- Refers to the accountable entities in partner countries responsible for implementing MCC compacts. Spell out on first reference, except in blogs, and include a standard definition in all public documents. The standard definition explains that the MCA entity is “the local organization implementing the country’s MCC compact.” Afterward, use “MCA-[Country name].”
Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia is the local organization implementing the country’s MCC compact. MCA-Indonesia will introduce ecofriendly practices in rural villages.
- Some MCC partner countries have been granted waivers to use other names to designate the entity implementing their MCC compact.
- FOMILENIO (MCA-El Salvador)
- Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCA-Georgia)
Refer to MCC as “the Millennium Challenge Corporation” or “MCC,” not “the MCC.” Spell out on first reference, except in blogs.
- The Millennium Challenge Corporation seeks to reduce poverty through growth.
- MCC seeks to reduce poverty through growth.
- The MCC seeks to reduce poverty through growth.
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)
Millennium Challenge Account refers to the development assistance account created by the U.S. Congress and managed by MCC.
Millennium Challenge Act of 2003
Do not refer to the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003, MCC’s governing statute, as “MCA” or as “legislation.” Refer to the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 as a formally enacted statute.
Millennium Challenge Act of 2003, as amended (if legal reference, add cite 22 USC 7706 et seq.)
Refers to nongovernmental organization. Spell it out on the first reference and then use NGO or NGOs.
nongovernmental organization (NGO)
Use partner countries, not country partners.
Do not capitalize either word or hyphenate when used as a compact modifier.
Private sector activity is the engine to economic growth.
Only capitalize when it is the official and complete project title in a compact program.
The Tanzania Compact's Energy Sector Project will improve electricity service and coverage through the addition of new power generation, transmission and distribution capacity, and much-needed reinforcement of the existing network.
Hyphenate the compound modifier.
When possible, it is better to be more specific than use the catch-all phrase “stakeholder.”
- MCA-Indonesia consulted with stakeholders when forming its compact.
- MCA-Indonesia consulted with government ministries, civil society and residents of potential beneficiary communities when designing its compact.
Spell out full name of the state when used with a city name. This is an exception to AP.
- MCC does not have a compact with New Orleans, Louisiana.
- MCC does not have a compact with Alexandria, Va.
Capitalize when referring to the overall MCC Threshold Program or a country's specific Threshold Program. On subsequent references, use of lowercase “program” is acceptable.
- MCC’s Threshold Program assists countries with policy reforms.
- Kenya’s Threshold Program began in 2005 and includes agricultural training.
- The Honduras Threshold Program Agreement designed to bring good governance practices to Honduras.The three-year, $15.6 million program will focus on improving public financial management and create more effective and transparent public-private partnerships.
Use toward, not towards
Always capitalize government when preceded by U.S.
Always capitalize both words. Spell out United Nations when it is used as a noun. Use U.N. (always with periods) only as an adjective.
He visited the United Nations in New York to learn about U.N.-led programs.
Always capitalize both words. Spell out United States when it is used as a noun. Use U.S. (always with periods) only as an adjective. Never begin a sentence with U.S. Never write America as a noun, but you may use American as an adjective.
- The U.S. funded the compact.
- The United States funded the compact.
- The United States champions U.S.-led initiatives.
- United States-led initiatives champion economic growth.
upper middle income country
Do not capitalize; do not hyphenate. Abbreviate using UMIC.
Use U.S. Agency for International Development on first reference and USAID on subsequent references. Do not put USAID in parenthesis after first reference. Do not use United States Agency for International Development.
Use website, not Web site, Web Site or web site. Only capitalize website when it is the first word in a sentence.
Windup is an adjective and a noun. Wind up is a verb. Hyphenate neither.
- MCC is ensuring an orderly windup of the Mali Compact.
- MCC is winding up its operations in Mali.