The AP Stylebook is every journalist’s bible.
It is the standard stylebook of grammar and punctuation for writers. It tells you how to spell words, write numbers and dates, and is your general guide in life. How else would you know that “health care” is two words? (Just to prove its relevance, the AP Stylebook proclaimed in 2010 that writers could stop spelling website as “Web site.”)
But AP Style is all-consuming and cruel. No matter how hard I try, I can’t turn it off. I want everything to follow AP Style’s sometimes random rules (except for the Oxford comma, but that’s a topic for another day). That flyer on the phone pole, that book, that website — it all should bow to the might of AP Style.
I can’t see anything without mentally editing it.
Here are all the ways the journalist’s bible has messed me for good.
- I write appointments in my calendar in AP Style. If I have an interview at noon, I will write noon, not 12 p.m. and never just 12.
- I feel guilty when I write that I went to college in Athens, GA and not Athens, Ga.
- A voice in my head screams “No!” when I start a sentence with a number that isn’t spelled out.
- That man didn’t state anything. He said.
- Dumpster, Jacuzzi, and Ping-Pong are trademarked words. I get a sinking feeling if I think of using them.
What ways has AP Style messed you up?