How AP’s New Stylebook is Changing Grammar Rules

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How AP's New Stylebook is Changing Grammar Rules
If you’ve read more than one of these Copy Corners, you’ll realize that grammar changes quite often. However, it is only quite recently that media organizations decided to run with those changes.

Let’s go over a few of the more recent changes:

In 2011, the Associated Press announced that it would be changing e-mail to email in its style guide.

As of December 2015, The Washington Post changed its style guide to allow use of they as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun.

On June 1 of this year, the Associated Press released a new copy of its Stylebook which no longer capitalizes internet or web.

So why do these changes matter?

These changes may seem small, and individually they are. But all of this together demonstrates how grammar and common usage changes, and reveals an adaptation to these changes by some of the biggest news organizations in the country.

For example, it might be cumbersome to write, “Your doctor should do whatever he or she deems necessary to protect you from harm.”  In reality, most people would instead say or write, “Your doctor should do whatever they deem necessary to protect you from harm.”

The adaptation by the Washington Post to accept they as a singular gender-neutral pronoun acknowledges this reality.

As for decapitalizing internet, Tom Kent, Associated Press standards editor, said in a recent interview with NPR that even though internet is “not based on any proper noun,” people may have begun capitalizing it because it was new, “but now it’s a routine part of daily life.”

This move towards common sense style shows the Associated Press is willing to move with the times and that it doesn’t believe that you stick with something because that’s the way it’s always been done.

Come back next week for a discussion about how to get over writer’s and editor’s block and as always, if you need help with content writing, give us a call: 888-521-3880.