AP Style Words That Give Me a Headache July 31, 2012

By Stephen Fashoro

For public relations professionals, broadcasters and journalists, the AP Stylebook is considered the go-to manual for checking grammar, punctuation and principles and practices of reporting. As a writer, I’m often challenged when words are changed yearly to reflect AP Style. For example, one of the biggest changes that I can recall being discussed on Twitter, newsrooms and the OCG office was the change of the word website. Is it Web site or website? The AP Style guide officially refers to it as one word, not capitalized – website. And don’t forget, Web by itself is capitalized.

Below are some AP Style rules that give me a headache.

  • tweet – This word refers to when you send out a message on Twitter. Twitter is capitalized since it’s a proper noun, but “tweet” is lowercased.
  • Internet – The AP Style guide says Internet should always be capitalized.  If used in later references, you can refer to it as the Net. Pretty tricky.
  • best-seller  –  When I look at this word, it seems like it should be one word, “bestseller” – but the AP Stylebook says otherwise.
  • page view – I have always thought  page view should be one word, “pageview” – but the AP Style guide lists it as two words.
  • click-through – This spelling of the word makes sense to me, but I have seen it online as click-thru, which is not AP Style.
  • voice mail – Just looking at it, you would think it would be one word, “voicemail” – but the AP Stylebook separates the term.
  • “care” words – The AP Style guide has child care, hair care, skin care, health care etc., as two words. I am sure most of us have seen these words used as one word on TV and marketing materials. I won’t lie; sometimes I get tempted to make them one word.
  • Q-and-A  – This AP Style version of the word has always looked weird to me and I hope I am not the only person that feels that way. I have always thought it should be “Q&A” because that is how it is commonly used and written.

Comment below to let me know your thoughts about these AP Style words and share any other AP Style entries that give you a headache. I’d love to hear from you, tweet me at @stephenfashoro.

One Comments
AnWulf September 7th, 2012

You see “click-thru” for that it is shorter, takes up less room on a webpage, and it makes soooo much more sense than the God-awful “through”.

The New Oxford American Dictionary has healthcare as one word … as is eldercare and many others http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/healthcare which follows the pattern of medicare, tenncare (in Tennessee) … Care can almost be thought of as suffix nowadays. So writing childcare or daycare isn’t wrong (not even flagg’d by spellcheck!).

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