‘Emoji,’ ‘turducken,’ ‘HIPAA’ and more: AP style rules to remember

This year’s edition of the Associated Press Stylebook includes new and revised entries about politics, race, food, technology, social media, health care and more.

The newest version of the AP Stylebook is here, and savvy communicators should read up now to hone their copy.

The 2018 edition, which became available Wednesday, has roughly 200 new and updated entries. It also includes a chapter on polls and surveys, meant to guide journalists and other communicators to “report responsible on public opinion research heading in to the U.S. midterm elections.”

Here’s a look at several AP style guidelines that have been added or revised in its most recent edition:


When writing a news story, it’s best to use the day of the week instead of the more confusing “today” or “tomorrow.” For example:

On Thursday, PR Daily published an article highlighting this year’s AP style revisions and added entries.

However, feel free to use the terms outside of news articles:

Co-worker vs. coworking

Though AP style still hyphenates “co-worker,” drop the hyphen when referring to freelancers and remote employees sharing office space:


There is a cornucopia of new food entries in this year’s AP Stylebook:

For those already looking forward to Thanksgiving, you might be pleased to find out that “turducken” is now included in the Stylebook:

Also note the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”—but you can revisit these rules in November.

Race relations

When referencing people of different racial backgrounds in your writing, use terms to properly describe both individuals and groups of people, but be prepared to explain your subject’s background:

AP Stylebook warned that certain terms are best to be avoided:

Balance sensitivity with AP style

Writing about legislation surrounding pregnancy and abortion requires careful thought and precise wording. Here’s what AP Stylebook recommends:

Emoji and GIFs

The 2018 AP Stylebook also gives guidance for writing about content and culture on the internet (note the lowercase “i”), which is especially important given the rise of social media and how it affects both news cycles and reporting.

Use “emoji” when referring to single and plural instances:

You can also include uses of emoji or GIFs in your copy by describing the visual symbols and images:

However, take care not to confuse readers when describing the emoji or GIFs used.

When possible—and as it fits your organization’s style guide—embed or link to social media posts, including those using emoji and GIFs. That way, readers can view the visuals in the full context. Many communicators use screenshots for tweets that have been or might be deleted.

2D, 3D and other tech terms

If you’re referencing a film you saw in 3D (perhaps for an article on what kind of “Avengers” character bestrepresents your PR personality), go without a hyphen. You also can start a sentence with “3D” or “2D”:

Additional technology terms, such as “homepage” and “smartwatch” are one word. However, AP Stylebook noted that “health care” is still two words:


Speaking of health care: If you’ve ever incorrectly used the acronym “HIPPA” when referring to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, you’re not alone. Many health care communicators have done the same—as AP Stylebook itself did in heralding the new edition.

It’s “HIPAA,” but you can avoid a mistake by using the entire name (even though it’s lengthy):

Proofreading your copy is crucial, but remember: Even the most diligent writers and editors can make mistakes.

What do you think of these recent AP style entries and revisions?


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