10 recent AP Stylebook changes and reminders you should know about

10 Rules of AP Style to Remember

You’re a busy person, so staying on top of the latest AP Stylebook changes can be a challenge.

We’ve done the work for you. Here are a few of the recent, significant, and just plain interesting updates to the AP Stylebook.

You say syrah, I say shiraz

Both a grape and a wine, shiraz is how it’s commonly referred to in Australia, while it’s known as syrah in France, its country of origin. Depending on origin, the wines produced from this grape can be quite different, so vintners may use the version of the word that more appropriately describes their product.

Glass of red wine with a vineyard in the background


The proper names for this holiday are Fourth of July or July Fourth, as well as Independence Day. Make sure to include periods in U.S. abbreviations, unless it’s in the headline. Those mentions don’t require periods.

Hand holding up a sparkler firework

Semiannual = Biannual

These synonyms mean twice a year. But be careful not to confuse them with biennial, which means every two years.

View of a calendar on top of a desk, surrounded by a laptop, clock, newspaper, and other office items

Pack your bags!

@APStylebook held an expert chat for travel-related questions on July 17. Here are some of the big takeaways.

  • The most commonly misspelled word in travel content is accommodations, says AP expert Beth Harpaz. It has two Ms.
  • It’s frequent flyer, not frequent flier.
  • Directions should not be capitalized. However, regions should be. For example, he lives northeast of here; he’s from the Northeast.
  • Don’t use AMTRAK. Amtrak is correct, and is an acronym for American travel by track.
  • No hyphen is needed for snowboard, surfboard, skateboard, or paddleboard. The same rule applies to mountain bike, Segway, and Rollerblade.

A man pulling a suitcase as he walks under an archway


Headline styles differ widely among publishers and writers, but if you want to follow AP Style guidelines, here are the rules:

  • Capitalize the first word and proper nouns only, as well as the first word after a colon
  • Use numerals for all numbers, unless it’s a casual reference like “hundreds” instead of “100s.”

Person reading a newspaper while sitting on a bench

Chile vs. chili

I’m from New Mexico, and your chile preference is our official state question.

So the distinction between chile and chili is a personal one for me. AP Style uses chile in reference to spicy peppers and their sauces and gravies. Chili refers to the meat- and/or bean-based dish.
Bowl full of small red, green and orange chile peppers

String of emoji

Emoji is used as both the singular and plural form of these symbols.

Whether you use one or 20 cry-laughing faces in your article, it’ll always be referred to as emoji.

Emoji balloon

Internet vs. world wide web

Internet is defined as “a decentralized, worldwide network of computers that can communicate with each other.”

The World Wide Web and email are subsets of the internet.

Make sure you’re not using these terms interchangeably.

Hands typing on a laptop


Defined as “a financing method in which money is raised through soliciting relatively small individual contributions from a large number of people, often via a website,” crowdfunding should be written as one word, no hyphen.

This is a new addition to the 2018 Stylebook.

Crowdfunding graphic on a tabletop with a laptop, clipboard, other office items

Football lingo

With football season ramping up, @APStylebook answered football-related questions on Aug. 22. Here are a few of the responses.

  • When talking about yardage, always use figures. For example, he ran 15 yards on third down.
  • The most common mistake in sports stories? According to guest expert Oskar Garcia, misspelled names appear all the time. Make sure you’re spell checking athletes’ names!

Football players preparing to kickoff

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Author Rocky Parker works in Audience Relations at PR Newswire. When she’s not working, Rocky can be found testing new recipes, binge watching a new Netflix series, or taking her pitbull puppy Hudson out around town.

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