Q. I am editing a book in which the author uses one acronym to refer to a term that can have two different endings. For example, BE would be used for “book editor” and “book editing.” Sample sentences: “BE is a complicated process. As a BE, one can make a million dollars.” How should I handle this? How would you spell out the acronym on first mention? (I am working on the second edition, and the use of the one acronym was accepted for the first edition.)

A. I’m afraid this won’t be very helpful, but such use of an acronym just won’t wash. I would spell out BE as “book editing” or “editing” in all instances. (Re the million dollars: we’re going to need a copy of this book as soon as it’s available.)