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2017 AP Stylebook Changes You Need to Know Before 2018

by Abbey Treamer

writing

Each year, the AP Stylebook is updated with new words, formats and grammar changes. As this year comes to a close and we prepare for future updates in 2018, it’s time to take a look at the important changes made in 2017.

Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

Stylebook 2017 now officially allows virtual reality to be shortened to VR on second mention, but specifies that augmented reality must be spelled out each time. This change reflects how commonplace virtual reality has become in daily life and communication. While VR uses glasses to provide a completely immersive experience, augmented reality uses everyday items and digital media to transform objects in the physical world. Although VR has exploded in the past few years, augmented reality is an emerging novelty and therefore still needs to be spelled out until it is adopted by the mass public.  

Reform ≠ Change

Change and reform are becoming buzzwords in today’s news climate; however, it’s important to make a distinction between them. A reform is put in place to improve upon something, whereas a change is making something different, not necessarily for good or bad.

Incident

AP provided clarification as to what “incident” means: it is only correct to use this word when describing a minor event. To avoid dramatization when writing, it’s important to pay attention to specific words used when describing an event.

Frequent Flyer

Sorry, jetsetters. “Flier” is no longer the correct spelling. After reviewing popular airline companies and their usage of the word, AP stylebook decided to drop the “i” and add the “y” as that’s what was used most often. (Not to mention, frequent flyers with BIGfish get access to TSA precheck. Just another work perk!)

Cyberattack 

Said to be an “overused” word, this is a new entry into the Stylebook. After consulting with computer experts, Stylebook determined that the use of this word must be kept to something with catastrophic consequences, not just cases of stolen or leaked data, to distinguish it as a more major event. Hopefully, we will start seeing less “cyberattacks” in stories and more descriptions of the event that actually occurred.

Food

Now onto the BIGteam’s favorite topic in the AP Stylebook: food. New food additions include ramen, poke and avocado toast. We’re already hungry.

The Stylebook made these changes to account for words and dishes popular in today’s culture. This ensures spelling of the words is the same throughout writing and articles. For example, you should note the change of kimchee to kimchi. And then look up the definition.

More importantly, you should capitalize only the names of people in food, not the entire dish (i.e bananas Foster).

Gender

Gender is arguably the largest change to the Stylebook this year. With debates about gender and sex happening throughout the United States, the AP Stylebook has provided a wide range of options to use when describing a person. This includes transgender, cisgender and gender nonconforming.

They is now acceptable as a singular use pronoun. This can be used in place of he/his/him or she/her/hers as gender neutral replacement. However, it is important to note that you should always make your writing clear when it is a singular-use and not implying more than one person. This is also now the proper alternative when gender is not known.

The Stylebook also provides further clarity between defining gender and sex: “Gender refers to a person’s social identity while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender.”

With 2018 fast approaching, are you up-to-date with these changes from 2017? Try out their quizzes here or grab yourself a copy of the 2017 Stylebook.

And be sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest PR news and updates!

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