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Previewing a new AP Stylebook

, by Patrick Maks

During a virtual panel at the ACES: The Society for Editing national conference on Friday, AP Stylebook Editor Paula Froke announced that this year’s AP Stylebook will include new guidance on gender-neutral language.

The guidance is immediately available to AP Stylebook Online subscribers and will be included in the new print edition of the Stylebook, set to be published on May 27.

The new entry on gender-neutral language includes guidance to use terms that can apply to any gender; consider any word or term that has the effect of emphasizing one gender over another, for example “search” instead of “manhunt”; and use terms such as “chair” or “chairperson” unless the -man or -woman terms are specified by an organization. 

AP Stylebook Product Manager Colleen Newvine also announced at the meeting that future print editions of the AP Stylebook will be published less frequently to focus on the flagship AP Stylebook Online. The shift to printing a Stylebook every other year comes as more users subscribe to the digital product, which is updated continually throughout the year.

The upcoming AP Stylebook will include more than 200 new and revised entries. Some of the entries presented at the meeting that are now available to AP Stylebook Online subscribers include:

climate change  The terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably, but climate change is the more accurate scientific term to describe the various effects of increasing levels of greenhouse gases on the world because it includes extreme weather; storms; and changes in rainfall patterns, ocean acidification and sea level. Global warming, the increase of average temperature around the world, is one aspect of climate change. The terms climate crisis and climate emergency are used by some scientists, policymakers and others, and are acceptable.homeless, homelessness  Homeless is generally acceptable as an adjective to describe people without a fixed residence. Avoid the dehumanizing collective noun the homeless, instead using constructions like homeless people, people without housing or people without homes.
mistress – Do not use this archaic and sexist term for a woman who is in a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else. Instead, use an alternative like companion, friend or lover on first reference and provide additional details later. plus symbol  The symbol is acceptable when it is pronounced as part of a company, brand or event name: Disney+, Apple TV+, ESPN+, CompTia Network+preheatAcceptable to refer to heating an oven to a specific temperature before cooking.

Also taking effect today is new guidance on sexual abuse and sexual assault. The entry says to proceed with care when using these terms, and to pay close attention to legal definitions, which vary by jurisdiction.

The AP Stylebook is the definitive resource for journalists and a must-have reference for writers, editors, students and professionals, providing fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style.

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