Monday, May 30, 2005

AP changes 2005 - new roundup

Now that I’ve gotten my new 2005 AP Stylebook and have had a chance to go over it, I see some other changes of note beyond those previously mentioned in this blog, so here they are, with my comments where relevant:

AIDS: Perhaps showing how, unfortunately, this has become so much a part of our existence, AP has significantly tightened this entry, thankfully removing the word that referred to it as an “affliction” and opting now for “disease.” It also has removed much of the detailed science about AIDS testing.

backyard: Now one word in all uses, noun and adjective. The time had come for this, based on what I’ve seen among my students’ and publications’ usage. (I think students are a good early warning sign of when a two-word or hyphenated construction is ripe to be spelled closed.)

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Explosives has been part of the name for some time, but usage has been uneven. So now AP says to use it. Bowing to tradition, however, ATF (not ATFE, BATF or BATFE) is fine on second reference, AP says.

child care: AP now says use this as two words in all uses, including the adjective, overriding Webster’s, which calls for the hyphenated form. I’ll admit I’m at a loss to see any improvement here. In fact, if AP was tacking this one, then why not also add an entry for the analogous day care? Instead, we are left now to hyphenate day-care as an adjective and not child care – or amend the in-house stylebooks.

metric system: Previously, AP listed guidelines to answer questions “as metric measurements gain acceptance in the United States.” Yeah, right. Reality has now set in, and the new wording is, “For U.S. members, use metric terms only in situations where they are universally accepted forms of measurement (16 mm film) or where the metric distance is an important number in itself.” I don’t expect that to change for many, many years.

Midwest region: Follows the Census Bureau in doing away with the ungainly North Central region. However, my copy of the stylebook still also has the old Middle West entry, which refers to North Central and is now out if date. So be alert. Given the size of the yearly updates, that’s going to happen occasionally. Norm Goldstein & Co. do a heck of a job on this every year.

PepsiCo: The C is now capped.

physician assistant: not physician’s

policymaker, policymaking: Ditch the hyphens. Webster’s didn’t use them anyhow. But, what to do about decision-maker? For now, it’s hyphenated. But if you’re going to follow parallel logic, should it be?

sync: not synch for the shortened form of synchronization or synchronize.

taps: It’s “lights out” for anyone who wants to cap this and put it in quotes.

video game: Two words in all uses. My jury’s out on two words as an adjective. I think the hyphen form would be better.

Other major changes previously announced and noted here:
best-seller: hyphenate all uses
fundraising, fundraiser: Now one word. From what I’ve seen so far, this one may take a bit to catch on.
U.S.: Now acceptable as both the noun and adjective. (and, by extension, U.N. may be used the same way)

And of course, there are those that acknowledge our changing political and business world:
Fatah: not Al Fatah, and now described as a secular political party
Middle East: drop Cyprus from the region
National Guard: Now can be capped for foreign forces for which it is part of the name (a bow to the Iraqi National Guard)
Sears Holding Co.: Now the parent of Sears and Kmart. Roebuck, we're gonna miss ya.
JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airways (now powers of the skies). And, of course, given the recent news, the Amerca West entry on page 15 may soon be no more.
voice mail: two words

These are not all the changes, just the most significant ones I see. As usual, Norm and those he works with have produced a good summary of all of them on one of the first pages for you to check out.


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