AP Style Rules for Pride Month, the Economy and More

We know journalists are busy, and it can be difficult to keep up with recent AP Stylebook changes. So we’ve done the work for you, rounding up a few of the recent significant — and just plain interesting — updates to the AP Stylebook.

Some Timely AP Style Rules to Know

Over the past quarter, the AP Stylebook has released several timely rule reminders and updates.

Among them, the new inclusive storytelling chapter features 35 disabilities-related entries and expanded guidance on the usage of they/them/their pronouns — make sure to review it for your Pride Month coverage.

Below, we recap a few of the other AP Style reminders that have been shared recently.

🏳️‍🌈 Pride Month Reminders

As we celebrate Pride Month, here are a few rules to keep in mind when writing:

  • LGBTQ is acceptable in all references.
  • Gender refers to internal and social identity — it’s not synonymous with sex, which is made up of biological characteristics, such as chromosomes, hormones and reproductive anatomy. Not all people fall into one of two categories for sex and gender, so avoid phrases like “both sexes” or “opposite genders.”
  • Include a hyphen in gender-fluid and gender-fluidity.
  • Only identify people as transgender when it’s necessary.
  • As much as possible, use they/them/their to accurately describe and represent a person who uses those pronouns for themself. Don’t make assumptions about a person’s gender identity or their pronouns.
  • Sexual orientation is the correct phrase; don’t use sexual preference.

Find more helpful reminders in the gender, sex and sexual orientation entry.

⁉️ Punctuation Rules

I don’t know about you, but punctuation rules are ones that I commonly find myself second-guessing. Here are a few helpful reminders shared by AP Stylebook recently:

  • Hyphenate well- combinations that come before a noun (a well-known movie), but not when it comes after the noun (the movie was well known).
  • A hyphen is not needed for two-word phrases that include “very” or for adverbs ending in -ly. For example, a very cold morning and a hardly fought battle are correct.
  • The ampersand (&) is OK to use in a company’s formal name (like Procter & Gamble) and accepted abbreviations (B&B). Otherwise, you should generally not replace “and” with the ampersand.
  • Include a comma before and after the year when included with a date: The wedding is planned for August 27, 2023, in Miami. However, if the month and date are in the current year, it’s not necessary to include the year.

💰 Finance Terminology

As the country faces the largest inflation rates since 1981, the AP Stylebook published a timely finance-related topical guide, including reminders on the following:

  • A bear market is defined as “a period of generally declining stock prices over a prolonged period, generally defined as a 20% or larger decline in broad stock indexes such as the S&P 500.”
  • Need help remembering the difference between bear and bull markets? Bears hibernate (like a market retreating) and bulls charge (like a surging stock).
  • Spell out gross domestic product on the first use and define it for clarity. Subsequent mentions are OK as the GDP.
  • Use the % symbol when paired with a figure like 10.4%. Try to avoid starting sentences with a percentage, but if necessary, spell it out like “Ten percent.”

🦻 Deaf

According to the AP Stylebook, “Many deaf people who use sign language have a deeply ingrained sense of culture and community built around the experience of deafness and sign language, and use the uppercase form Deaf to signify that culture.”

Uppercase is acceptable in terms like the Deaf community or Deaf culture. Use the lowercase deaf for the condition of total or major hearing loss.

🖥️ Web3

Web3 (no space) is a catchall term for the prospect of a new stage of the internet. It should not be used without explanation. Web3 is driven by blockchain, the cryptocurrency-related technology that can store data and software code.

💼 Company Abbreviations

Don’t follow the full name of an organization or company with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses (“New users signed up for PR Newswire for Journalists (PRNJ) this week,” for example.). If an abbreviation or acronym would not be clear on the second reference without this arrangement, don’t use it.

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Rocky Parker is the Digital Content Lead at Cision PR Newswire. She works with journalists, bloggers, and content creators to create their targeted newsfeeds from PR Newswire for Journalists. Rocky has also counseled on content writing best practices. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines. In her free time, Rocky can usually be found cooking, binge-watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson. 

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