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Top Five Most Hotly Contested
AP Style Words in Marketing
by LAUREN HOFFMAN, Copywriter
JUL 09, 2010
As a writer, I’m often challenged when words are changed to reflect AP Style, which can change from year to year. For example, this year, Web site changed to website. This change caused arguing and much buzz among journalists, PR folks and obsessive advertising people. Although, most news organizations, including the New York Times, have maintained the use of the old version of “Web site” in articles.
Social media has mixed things up even more: Do you Tweet or tweet? With new terms showing up weekly, what’s the correct usage, especially since they’re not going to show up in AP for awhile? And what happens when they are adopted into the AP Stylebook — and changed from how you were using them?
Below are some highly contested industry terms with AP Style guides and our own thoughts on how to use them.
website – Recently changed from Web site to website took a little getting used to, especially since as an agency, we recently went with Web site. Felt kind of like when AP changed from two to one space after a period. Don’t forget that Web alone is capitalized.
click-through – When doing a Google search, click-through bests click-thru, which may be why it’s AP Style. Although our agency is split on this one, we’re sticking with AP.
Internet – Oh the interwebs, what a tangled Web you weave. Internet, sometimes [incorrectly] used internet, is capital “I.”
tweet – Don’t you hate it when someone calls it “twittering”? Twitter is always capped (‘cause it’s a proper noun), but when you tweet, it’s lowercase. And for the record, it’s tweeting not twittering!
word-of-mouth –The term social media gets a lot of play, but let’s not forget about good old word-of-mouth. MGH used to use this term hyphenated for an adjective, and non-hyphenated as a noun. But AP corrected us, and now it’s all hyphens, all the time. Although, when abbreviating word-of-mouth, you can keep the dashes out of WOM.
And here’s our take on some other industry words not yet AP Style-defined:
page views –With no AP entry, is it page views, pageviews or page-views? We like to use page views, two words, because it’s easier to read and understand its meaning in a sentence.
screenshot, screen grab and screen capture – None of these words get usage guidance props from AP either, but sometimes it’s best to go with what looks best and is easiest to read and understand, and what doesn’t bring up a red squiggly line in Word.
While our agency sticks to AP Style, it’s really important that whatever your company decides, whether it follows AP or not, it’s at least consistent.
What’s your take?