New AP Stylebook changes going to be a challenge to unlearn

Jun 2, 2010 by

For the past 15 years I’ve typed “Web site” to refer to what the Associate Press Stylebook now is referencing as the acceptable use of “website.”

Ugh.  For those of you who try to follow AP Stylebook rules like Mrs. Blair Gaines or Dr. Barbara Nixon still were going to give you an F if you put three to five of them in a writing piece, I have a feeling you know what I mean by that “ugh.”

All together now: Ugh.

But apparently there are enough people out there who have not been following the guides to make them turn mainstream.  Otherwise, I think it’d still be “Web site.”

According to the AP, “‘Web’ remains a capitalized proper noun when used as a shortened form of World Wide Web, and e-mail, with the hyphen, remains unchanged for electronic mail, along the lines of similar phrases such as e-book, e-reader and A-list.”

Other changes include:

  • The distinction between Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the corporate name of the discount retailer, and Walmart, for the stores themselves.
  • New entries recognize significant developments in world events: Great Recession, referring to the 2007-08 economic downturn that was the worst recession since the Great Depression, and tea party, for the conservative political movement.
  • Other new entries cover Alcoholics Anonymous, Bluetooth, Blu-ray, bondholder, Breathalyzer, flu-like, GED, International Space Station, mic as the shortened form for microphone, hard line, high-five, Taser, thumbs-up and Ultimate Fighting.

There are ultimately 42 changes included in the new edition.

I’m happy to see that mic is now acceptable.  The spell check didn’t even object to just leaving it hanging out there with not “rophone” on it.

Such is the evolution of words and an interesting perspective on how online social media is having an impact on the communications world.

And one has to wonder if Alcoholics Anonymous made the list from those of us who still use the AP Stylebook and sleep with it under our pillows out of fear of Mrs. Gaines or Dr. Nixon and their favorite red pens!

I still want to use Web site.  Hopefully, neither of them can find any additional violations in this piece.

Editor’s Note: Blair Gaines was my newspaper adviser when I was the Aumnibus editor my final year at Auburn University at Montgomery.  Barbara Nixon, Ph.D, is a graduate of Auburn main campus who now teaches at Georgia Southern. I highly respect both of them.

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