8 Persnickety Rules From the Associated Press Stylebook
Serving as an authority for working journalists on grammar, capitalizations, abbreviations, spelling and so much more, the AP Stylebook can be found in almost every newsroom in the country. Although some publications (such as The New York Times) stray from the guide, it's become almost like a bible since its beginnings in 1953. Updates are officially made every year as each new edition is published, and to stay culturally relevant, new rules are added. The committee of editors who set style aren't messing around: They've determined what makes a boat a boat and a ship a ship, the spelling of "Daylight Saving Time," and that numbers above 10 must use numerals. Here are nine rules from the AP Stylebook that you might never know unless you looked them up.
None of this okay business. It's OK, OK'd, OK'ing, and OKs. (Yeah, it's going to look like you're shouting. It's OK.) This spelling may draw from the origins of the phrase.
2. Health Care
Although many in the industry spell it healthcare (one word), the AP persists in spelling it as two words—health care, although it's a hotly debated item that could change soon.
Add an s to the end of this word, and prepare for the wrath of every American copy editor's red pen. (Ditto on forward.)
4. Co-working vs. coworking
The people you see every day in the office (or the people on your team, even if they're halfway around the world) are your co-workers. But if you rent a shared work space, those are your coworkers, without a hyphen. And yes, that means it's called a coworking space.
Grab the bottle and check the label. If it's from the Champagne region of France, always capitalize. If made elsewhere, call it "sparkling wine."
For a long time, the AP Stylebook said to never use the little symbol for percent and always spell it out. For example, "About 80 percent of AP Stylebook users actually know this rule." (We just made that statistic up.) As of 2019, however, the AP Stylebook says the percentage sign is acceptable when paired with a numeral in most cases.
7. No Hyphenation on Dual Heritage Terms
In a new change for 2019, the Stylebook says not to hyphenate terms like African American, Asian American, and Filipino American.
8. No Italics
The Associated Press doesn't use italics. Instead, writers who follow the AP Stylebook put quotation marks around the titles of books, movies, plays, and the like.
It's OK to use brand names if you're actually talking about the brand name. But if you're unsure of whether it's the good stuff or generic, use common terms like "facial tissue" for Kleenex and "flying disc" for Frisbee.
A version of this list first ran in 2013.