The internet, chickpeas and cross-dressers. What do these three things have in common?
They’re all addressed in the 2016 edition of the Associated Press Stylebook! This is one of my favorite (nerdy) events of the year, and I’m happy to share some of the latest do’s and don’ts from AP.
Finally, internet and web join the ranks of the lowercases. Like email before them, you no longer need to capitalize either term. And new in 2016, voicemail is now one word. If you were writing it as one word all along, you were wrong! But now you’re right!
In the legume category, the Stylebook’s editors “now prefer chickpea to Garbanzo bean.” And have declared that cross-dresser should be used in place of transvestite. Good to know.
Snafu is acceptable to use, despite its vulgar origin. (I had to think about that one for a while.)
Emoji and emoticon have been added. Do you know the difference? An emoji is a symbol, such as a cartoon face, hand gesture, animal or other object, that might be used instead of a word or as an illustration in text messages or on social media. An emoticon is a typographical cartoon or symbol generally used to indicate mood or appearance, sometimes looked at sideways. ;-)
Sadly, Zika made the book this year. And AP clarified the word spree is usually applied to shopping or revelry and should not be used in other circumstances, such as killing spree.
Normcore was a new one for me. That’s a fashion trend that combines “normal” and “hardcore” and is characterized by unpretentious, unisex, average dressing. Do we really need a word for this? Perhaps not. Even though it’s mentioned in AP’s “What’s New” section of the online stylebook, it has yet to appear in the “N” chapter listings.
Finally, I was intrigued to learn the entry for global warming had been updated. The terms global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably, while climate change is more accurate scientifically to describe the various effects of greenhouse gases on the world. Global warming, however, is more common and understandable to the public, AP says. Also of note, “to describe those who don't accept climate science or dispute that the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.
Why does AP style matter? It creates a set of standards for writing, specifically journalistic writing, which we need more than ever in today’s world of texting, emojis and emoticons. While you may not use many of the examples above in your organizational writing, recognize style does matter. And check out @APStylebook 2016.
Dana Coleman is a Vice President at Lovell Communications. Connect with Dana at: Dana@lovell.com