The AP Stylebook 2014 just came out, and my copy arrived in the mail on Wednesday. I have studied it searching for changes you might want to know about (if you don’t subscribe to the AP’s tweets), and they appear below. If you are not familiar with The AP Stylebook, it’s a style guide for writers and editors. Most U.S. newspapers and newsletters, along with many businesses, follow it. (I just peeked at it to be sure my rendering of U.S. is correct with periods. It is–but use no periods in a headline.)
Over vs. more than. I am delighted that AP has finally joined The Chicago Manual of Style, The Gregg Reference Manual, and Garner’s Modern American Usage in accepting over as synonymous with more than. AP 2014 describes over as “acceptable in all uses to indicate greater numerical value” and offers this example: “The crop was valued at over $5 billion.”
Names of states. The other significant change for business writers is the spelling out of state names in sentences, even when they appear with cities. Last year’s AP Stylebook would have approved “The students from Portland, Ore., visited two Springfield, Mass., colleges. But AP 2014 wants the sentence this way: “The students from Portland, Oregon, visited two Springfield, Massachusetts, colleges. For those of us who cannot remember W.Va. for West Virginia and Wyo. for Wyoming–or who don’t like abbreviations in our sentences–this change is a gift.
District of Columbia. Like states, District of Columbia is AP‘s new preference over D.C. Second references to the District of Columbia should now be the District (formerly the district).
These new AP entries will help your punctuation and usage:
dis, dissing, dissed (not defined in AP, but it’s a slang verb meaning “to disrespect”)
first aid as a noun, first-aid as an adjective
goer as part of a compound word does not require a hyphen (concertgoer, partygoer)
hands-free is always hyphenated
in vitro fertilization has no hyphen
onboard is one word as an adjective (“onboard entertainment”), two words otherwise (“let’s get on board”)
Q&A format now has no hyphens (AP used to prefer Q-and-A format)
whistleblower now has no hyphen
These new entries will confirm your spellings:
“Auld Lang Syne”
gyp, meaning “to fraud or swindle someone”
Capitalization questions? These new entries may help:
ID (acceptable abbreviation for identification, ID card)
LGBT (acceptable on first reference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; spell out in body of the story)Lyme disease MERS (correct on second reference for Middle East respiratory syndrome)
If you write about sports, note that AP now says Super Bowls should be identified by their year, not by Roman numerals, except in formal references. (Past Stylebooks recommended using Roman numerals sparingly for Super Bowls.) Also, AP now stresses that soccer is an American term for what the rest of the world calls football.
Need to use the latest weather terms? AP 2014 has added derecho, monsoon, polar vortex, and storm surge. If you need to use these terms, you probably know what they mean.
Do you write about food? Among the 36 food terms appearing for the first time in AP are:
amaretti (AP says this is an Italian macaroon, but my Italian dictionary says it’s a plural word, with amaretto as the singular)
angel food cake (three words, no capitals)
applesauce (one word)
Baileys (liqueur, no apostrophe)
beef stroganoff (no capitals, compare beef Wellington)
Buffalo wings (capitalized because of Buffalo, New York)
caipirinha (a Brazilian cocktail that is hard to spell)
chiffonade (AP says “to slice vegetables very thinly”; other sources use chiffonade for the vegetables themselves or the technique)
demi-glace (a rich sauce with a hyphen)
foodways (“refers to a set of food traditions”)
kitchen parchment (use instead of parchment paper or baking paper)
Mornay sauce (note the capital letter)
sugarplums (one word)
napa cabbage (note the absence of a capital letter)
taproom (one word)
Tiki bar (note the capital T)
The 2014 version also has a new religion section. You will not need to search for religious terms in the long alphabetical list. Find agnostic, atheist, Allah, Baha’i, Baptist churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and others side by side in the same section.
If you, like me, need to have the latest style manuals at hand, I recommend getting The AP Stylebook 2014. Where else would you learn kitchen terms like foodways and cracklings or find Vatican City one entry away from Voodoo?
The print edition of The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law retails for $20.95. You can also buy an online subscription and automated style checkers. (It would be useful to have the new terms above added automatically to your software’s dictionary, wouldn’t it?)
Will you buy the new guide? Have you tried the online style checkers?