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January 19, 2017

7 AP STYLE REMINDERS TO WRITE LIKE A PRO

Are you using 

internet, climate change and PB&J correctly?


Love it or loathe it, the AP Stylebook is essential to a communicator’s toolbox. Primarily used by journalists, this Associated Press rule book sets standards for punctuation, capitalization, language and more. How else would we know that “on-site” has a hyphen and “online” does not?

The AP Stylebook is updated each June to reflect our evolving language. Let’s start 2017 with a refresher of recent stylebook changes to help you write like a journalist:

  1. Lowercase “internet” and “web” in all uses. This change ended a longtime capitalization rule for both.

  2. Take out the space: “Voicemail” and “dashcam” are among the two-word terms that are now one. 

  3. Remember that “over” is interchangeable with “more than” when referring to numbers. This change from the 2014 AP Stylebook reverses a longtime no-no and drew gasps when it was announced. Some will never be comfortable writing “Susan’s panda photo had over 150 likes in an hour.” 

  4. Add this reminder to your food and beverage folder: You can use “BLT” and “PB&J” on first reference.

  5. Use “global warming” and “climate change” interchangeably.

  6. Describe emergency response with the number of firefighters or quantity of equipment. “Three-alarm fire” is no longer correct.

  7. Be aware of updated cultural references: “Craft brewery” instead of “microbrewery” and “cross dresser” instead of “transvestite.” The stylebook also clarifies use of the terms marijuana, cannabis and pot.
What are your favorite (or least favorite) AP Stylebook changes? Tweet us at @JayRayAdsPR.