2016 Updates to the AP Stylebook

Mignon Fogarty
3-minute read
Episode #512

Do Not Use ‘Spree’ to Describe a Killing

The editors also advised not to use the word spree to describe a killing—people can still go on shopping sprees, but no more writing about people going on killing sprees.


Notorious is another word that the AP has decided needs special care. Notorious can have a positive or negative connotation. Some people think notorious means “famous in a bad way,” and other people think it means simply “famous,” so the AP recommends making sure your context makes it clear what you mean when you use the words notorious and notoriety

I think infamous is a good alternative if context isn’t helping and you want to be sure people know you mean someone has a bad reputation.

‘IM’ing’ and ‘IM’d’

Another change is that they clarified how to use IM (the abbreviation for instant message) as a verb. The same way they recommend using an apostrophe in OK’d and OK’ing, they recommend using an apostrophe in IM'd and IM’ing

‘Dashcam’ Is One Word

The AP also added some new words to the Stylebook. Dashcam is a new entry and that is one word, not two. 

‘Voicemail’ Is One Word

Like dashcam, voicemail is also now one word.

‘Normcore’ Is a New Word

Normcore is a new entry. The word is a portmanteau or blend of normal and hardcore, and AP defines it as a fashion trend that “is characterized by unpretentious, unisex, average dressing.”

‘Ride Booking’ Not ‘Ride Sharing’

When you’re writing about Uber, Lyft, and other such services, the AP says to call them ride hailing or ride booking services, not ride sharing services, which makes sense because when you think about it, if they were sharing their ride, you wouldn't have to pay for it. You really are just booking or hailing a ride. 

Those are some of the big changes and interesting additions, but the AP added about 250 entries, so if you rely on AP style, make sure you have access to the full update or new edition, which comes out in print in June.

Image courtesy of Thomas McGee of WinePress of Words.



About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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