Sunday, November 06, 2011

AP Style - Achilles - apostrophe or not

A reminder from the AP style updates this week that it's Achilles' heel but Achilles tendon.

"homage" takes "an" because the "h" is silent.

Hodgkin lymphoma  - no longer "Hodgkin's disease." Distinguished from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The "industrial average" part of Dow Jones industrial average is lowercased. (Maybe someday there will be an entry on why AP and others continue to fixate on a price-weighted index of 30 stocks that is so unrepresentative of the market. Yeah, the answer usually comes back, but that's what the public knows. Yeah, is my reply, but someone has to take the first step ...)

twin towers - lowercase in reference to the two main World Trade Center buildings

Ramadan - don't call it a holiday. It's a holy month that ends with a holiday, but don't confuse the two.

From the "your results may differ department"

Keeping in mind the AP stylebook is the AP's stylebook and not the commandments, there are also these new entries that are likely to bring dissent:

Company names:
You must include the full company name somewhere in the story. This ensures that the story will be among the search results on Yahoo and other websites. Without the full company name, the story may get overlooked. Put me into the "this is often overkill" and "nice but not always necessary" department. I'm thinking that Wal-Mart is perfectly acceptable for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in most cases, for instance. It is wise to think about it, just as we need to think about using people's full names and not just their nicknames so that things are searchable. But if it gets in the way of the flow, ditch that advice.

illegal immigrant
Used to describe someone who has entered a country illegally or who resides in a country in criminal or civil violation of immigration law. Acceptable variations include living in the country without legal permission. Use of these terms, as with any terms implying illegalities, must be based on reliable information about a person's true status. Unless quoting someone, AP does not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or the term undocumented.
There's been so much written on the dispute over this already, so file this under the "just be aware" it's now official header.



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