3D, chorizo, emoji and turducken. Nope, not a millennial's version of a Thanksgiving video game, but the latest additions and changes to the AP Stylebook. Any communications pro or word nerd knows the importance of making sure your copy is clear, grammatically correct and consistent for the brands you represent. Although learning the 200 new or revised entries might seem like a daunting undertaking, here are some of the most important changes you’ll need to know to hone your message.
Get tech savvy with internet terms
In the digital age, we’re always talking or writing about the internet and other technical terms. Phrases that got a refresh? Homepage and smartwatch are now one word. 3D finally loses its hyphen. For the social media savvy, the ever-important emoji can now be singular or plural and you can describe visual symbols of GIFs or emoji in text. The AP Style official example?
2018 AP Style Guide demonstrates how to describe GIFs or emojis in text
How to refer to groups of people or race relations
It’s always a good idea to be conscious of the proper ways to refer to groups of people or people from varying backgrounds. The AP Stylebook notes that biracial and multiracial are acceptable when describing large, diverse groups of people. Mixed-race should be avoided, unless the subject prefers the term. AP Style recommends being as specific as possible regarding an individual’s background. The gurus themselves have a good way to remember this distinction:
The AP Stylebook offers an example on how to handle race relations
Yum! An AP Style-menu
Everyone from hometown foodies to pro bloggers are raving about the food additions to the AP Stylebook. Despite sounding good enough to eat, the guide makes some important distinctions. Naan has adopted its official spelling (formerly nan), and AP Style clarifies the difference between chili, the meat or beans-based dish, and chile, the spicy peppers, sauces or gravies. We know your mouth is watering, but it doesn’t stop there! New additions also include: ahi, amaro, chorizo, churros, matcha, soba and udon. While your family is fighting over the turducken this Thanksgiving, you can also thank AP Style for clarifying the difference between dressing and stuffing — just don’t tell your grandma.
Sensitivities with phrases and reporting
As communications pros, we’re often handling sensitive topics and the AP Stylebook is here to help guide the way in how certain terms are used. For example, AP Style recommends exercising caution using the terms victim and survivor, as they can be imprecise and politically and legally fraught. Here, specificity and avoiding implicit bias is key. The Stylebook also advises on the proper usage of sexual misconduct vs. sexual harassment.
With November right around the corner, you might want to brush up on the AP Stylebook new chapter — that’s right, chapter — on polling and surveys, which aims to help communications teams accurately present information. They also add that polling results are a “piece of a story, never the whole story.” These changes reflect the understanding that your message should help the public understand and make sense of reliable data.
We know these changes might take some time to become as familiar as dropping the Oxford comma, but adopting the Stylebook’s new rules will help you and your team craft a brand’s message that’s not only on point, but in tune with the changing communications landscape. That is until someone invents the next turducken.