AP Stylebook: Know these AP Stylebook changes


Is it “Walmart” or “Wal-Mart”?

Well, now we know. All references should be hyphenated (whether talking about the store or the company), according to The Associated Press Stylebook editors who last month announced this and other updates to the publication at the national conference of the American Copy Editors Society.

Photo of the cover of The Associated Press Stylebook 2013.

If you’re a blogger, you need to follow a style guide to be consistent and correct. The AP Stylebook is the gold standard for journalists. If you don’t follow AP style yet, you can order the Stylebook here. I recommend adding the official dictionary of The AP to your order also (Webster’s New World College Dictionary Fourth Edition). I did that when I renewed my online subscription to the Stylebook, and the cost for both with automatic renewal was just $22.

AP is so ‘over’ it

Whether you are going to write about Wal-Mart or not, The AP has many other new guidelines for writers of the world. For one thing, “selfie” is now officially accepted, according to the Stylebook. And you can write “LGBT” on first reference instead of spelling it out at the start, but AP suggests spelling out “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” later within the article.

Other changes  include the now-allowed use of “over” versus “more than” when talking about a number that’s of greater value. Previously AP preferred, “He makes more than $1 million a year…” rather than “He makes over $1 million a year.”  The word “over” is often used for physical scenarios, a newsroom editor told me years ago, like, “The cow jumped over the moon.”

To get the full list of changes and other tidbits, take a look at this ACES article on the updates revealed during the organization’s “Ask the AP Stylebook Editors” conference session. The updates are also available in real time if you have an online Stylebook subscription, and you can receive emails telling you any time the Stylebook is updated.

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