Wednesday, December 05, 2007

AP Style - drop those periods

AP has updated its headline style to allow US and UN, without periods.

The style with periods stays for now in text, but one wonders how long that will stick at a time when every micro-inch of paper is being put under scrutiny as a cost. (I also eventually expect to see the state abbreviations give way to the post office's two-letter versions in all uses.)


Another recent entry, this one new: The Muslim Arabic name for God. The word God should be used, unless the Arabic name is used in a quote written or spoken in English.

(Muslim was used in the early e-mail alert of the change, but AP has now gone back and tweaked the online stylebook entry.)

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At 12/5/07, 10:35 PM, Blogger fev said...

Gotta love the AP. "Allah" is not the "Muslim name for God." It's the Arabic word for "God." Islam being a religion, not a language, and all that.

At 12/6/07, 1:39 PM, Blogger Andy Bechtel said...

I like the periods in U.S. and U.N. in all uses. It's a matter of clarity.

A recent headline is an example:

Johansson to sue US

The story was about the gossip magazine, not the country.

At 12/6/07, 3:07 PM, Blogger ptotheatsign said...

What a ridiculous, unnecessary change in style by the AP (regarding U.S./US).

At 12/14/07, 1:45 AM, Blogger SGuilfoyle said...

I saw this coming four years ago, when I was briefly working as a desk editor in hell, oh, excuse me, Concord.
AP was sending out a ton of stories about the EU.
Pee You.

At 12/14/07, 12:08 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

AP has long allowed EU without periods following "custom."

As far as the US problem, maybe we should adopt Al Neuharth's solution and use USA on everything. Then we can all wear flag lapel pins and ...
oh, never mind.

At 12/14/07, 12:12 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

About the Muslim/Arabic name for "God" -- The blog post was off an early e-mail alert. Checking the online stylebook shows that AP made that editorial tweak and uses "Arabic" throughout now.

At 2/11/11, 3:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why we have to keep the periods in U.S. - used countless times a day - just to avoid confusion when actresses sue US magazine. That may happen often enough but the confusion could be avoided by simply calling it 'US magazine'. I'm for dropping the periods in most of these cases. Is F.B.I. easier to read than FBI? I don't think so.

At 12/3/11, 5:58 AM, Anonymous Andrew John said...

It's always struck me as inconsistent. I read (and have edited/proofread/indexed) lots of American text and you get "U.S." and maybe "L.A.", but then see "UN" or, as in this conversation, "AP". Where's the consistency? Why on earth do whatever authoritative bodies (Chicago Manual of Style, AP, whoever) discriminate? Or is it that writers and/or their copy editors and proofreaders just can't keep tabs on their own consistency, or that publishers, whether online news sources or print newspapers or book publishers, don't give a damn for consistency? Can someone explain this?

In the UK we just don't bother with points. Period. If it's lowercase, we mostly do, because that could be confusing. But caps? Nope. If you see something that says "US Senate", you ain't going to be thinking of the first-person-plural object pronoun. Our way keeps it simple and neat.

I find US English pleasantly refreshing in many ways, and could even go along with some of their single-l ("leveling", "canceled") and –er spellings ("center", "theater", for instance) if Britain just decided somehow that it was changing over. But the so-called "style" over when to put points in initialisms (different, note, from acronyms) that are made of big shiny capital letters for all to see beats me. And, anyway, it looks ugly – especially in headlines.


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