If you’re a public relations and communications professional working in the United States, chances are you are experienced in the basics of AP style, and likely have a well-worn copy of the Associated Press Stylebook close by.
Each year, a new version of the book is published with all the traditional rules you know, but some updates are made annually. Below is a round-up of some of the most important updates to the 2019 AP Stylebook.
Expanded Help for Deciding When to Use Slashes and Hyphens
New in 2019, AP Stylebook says to use a slash (/), rather than a hyphen, for constructions such as and/or, either/or, over/under, red state/blue state and more. No space is needed on either side of the dash. To break up the lines of a verse in poem or song, use a slash with a space on each side. Hyphens are being dropped from terms like “African American,” or “Asian American.” The hyphen can also be dropped from compounds like “third-grade teacher” and “chocolate-chip cookie,” as well as from double-“E” combinations like “preeminent,” “preempt,” and “preeclampsia.”
New Health and Science Chapter
This chapter includes guidelines on selecting stories, using scientific journals, citing expert sources and reporting the type of scientific study conducted. This chapter is great for any PR pro working with clients in healthcare, the environment and more. Specific tips from AP Stylebook include information on how to interpret scientific studies and new technology terms for e-cigarettes and other related terms.
Updates to a Few Common AP Style Practices
If you’ve spent any amount of time with AP style in your PR career, these are going to take some getting used to. AP Stylebook made some pretty significant changes to two stalwart rules in the 2019 edition:
- In April, AP Stylebook announced that you should now use the “%” sign instead of writing out the word “percent.” When its paired with a numeral, no space is needed in most cases. In amounts less than 1%, be sure to precede the decimal with a zero. In casual references, the guide still recommends using words rather than figures and numbers: “She said she has a zero percent chance of winning.” It encourages writers to avoid starting a sentence with a percentage, but if it’s necessary, to spell out both.
- You no longer need to add “(sic)” when indicating incorrect spelling or grammar by someone being quoted. AP Stylebook notes that many readers have no idea what it means when they see “(sic)” and suggest simply paraphrasing in a clearer or more direct way. The guide notes that if a direct quote is essential, simply use as it was written or spoken.
Need help keeping it all straight? Be sure to follow AP Styleguide on Facebook or Twitter, or purchase a digital subscription with access to several add-on features so you can always stay up-to-date on changes happening to AP Style guidelines.
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