Corrections and Additions

If you find an error, please let us know so we can correct it. With more than 10,000 items in the quiz choices, we occasionally get something wrong.

Updates to AP style

The following email on April 5, 2024 announced the changes in AP style that begin May 29, 2024, when the new edition of the stylebook comes out. Newsroom 101 will be updated to reflect the changes that affect its contents.

AP Stylebook: New entries and updates announced at ACES

A new primary dictionary for the AP Stylebook: Merriam-Webster

We are making our first change in our primary dictionary in decades, now turning to Merriam-Webster as our first source.

The full changeover will happen when we publish the AP Stylebook, 57th Edition on May 29.

We will offer a Merriam-Webster subscription add-on with AP Stylebook Online beginning on May 29.

Here are some of the upcoming changes to AP style for prefixes and suffixes based on this upcoming change:


The Stylebook's preferences on whether to use a hyphen following a prefix are based largely on Merriam-Webster. Generally we do not hyphenate. But there are exceptions.

A 2024 change: We no longer generally use a hyphen with these prefixes: out-, post-, pre-, re-. Previous guidance was to use a hyphen with those unless listed separately in the dictionary. This change aligns style on those prefixes both with our overall guidance and with Merriam-Webster.

Another 2024 change: no hyphen in semiautomatic and semiautonomous, adding those to the other no-hyphen semi- constructions.

In addition: While we now generally don't use a hyphen in anti- constructions (a 2024 change), there are a number of exceptions to align with Merriam-Webster.

Three rules are constant:

  • Use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel. Exceptions: cooperate, coordinate, and double-e combinations such as preestablish, preeminent, reenact, reelect.
  • Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized: un-American, for example.
  • Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph.

Here is the style for some commonly used prefixes. (Measurement-related prefixes such as centi- and milli- are listed individually in the book.)

In general, no hyphen with these prefixes except as noted in the above three rules:



anti- Generally no hyphen is a 2024 change for consistency. But note a number of exceptions. They include: anti-abortion, anti-aggression, anti-apartheid, anti-collision, anti-corruption, anti-cruelty, anti-labor, anti-racist, anti-racketeering, anti-secrecy, anti-terrorism, anti-war.


after- Generally no hyphen after this prefix when it is used to form a noun: aftertaste, afterlife, aftermarket. Exception: after-party. Follow after- with a hyphen when it is used to form compound modifiers: after-tax results, after-work celebration.


by- Exception: by-election.




ex- No hyphen for words that use ex- in the sense of out of, such as excommunicate. Hyphenate when using ex- in the sense of former, such as ex-president. Do not capitalize ex- when attached to a formal title before a name: ex-President Barack Obama. The prefix modifies the entire term: ex-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo; not New York ex-Gov. Usually former is better.

extra- No hyphen when extra means outside ofextralegal, extraterrestrial, extramarital. Follow extra- with a hyphen when it is part of a compound modifier describing a condition beyond the usual size, extent or degree: extra-base hit, extra-large book.

fore- No hyphen except for these nautical exceptions, based on long-standing practice: fore-topgallant, fore-topsail, fore-topmast.



in- In general, no hyphen when it means not (inaccurate, insufferable). Other uses without a hyphen: inbound, infighting, indoor, inpatient, infield. A few combinations take a hyphen, however, including in-depth, in-house, in-group, in-law.






mid- In addition to the general rules for prefixes, use a hyphen when a figure follows: mid-30s.




out- Generally no hyphen is a 2024 change for consistency.


post- Generally no hyphen is a 2024 change for consistency.

pre- Generally no hyphen is a 2024 change for consistency.

re- Generally no hyphen is a 2024 change for consistency. For some words, the sense is the governing factor: recover (regain); re-cover (cover again); recreate (relax); re-create (create again); resign (quit); re-sign (sign again).

semi- This includes no hyphen in semiautomatic and semiautonomous; style on those two words changed in 2024 for consistency.









In addition, no hyphen with measurement-related prefixes such as centi- and milli-. See separate entries with more detail on those.

Generally use a hyphen with these prefixes unless listed without a hyphen in Merriam-Webster:



half- Hyphenated combinations include half-baked, half-life, half-truth, half-moon, half-cocked, half-hearted (the latter a 2024 change). Two-word combinations without a hyphen include half dozen, half brother, half off. One word, no hyphen, for some words including halfback, halftone.

Also: halftime as a noun, in keeping with widespread practice in sports copy. But half-time as an adjective outside sports contexts.

like- Follow with a hyphen when used as a prefix meaning similar tolike-minded, like-natured. No hyphen in words that have meanings of their own: likelihood, likewise, likeness

off- Follow Merriam-Webster. Some examples: offbeat, offhand, offline, offset, offshore, off-brand, off-key, off-limits, off-load.

pan- Most combinations with pan- are proper nouns. Use a hyphen with those, and capitalize both pan- and the proper name it is combined with: Pan-African, Pan-American. No hyphen when combined with a common noun: panchromatic.



self- Always hyphenate: self-assured, self-government, self-defense

wide- Follow Merriam-Webster. Usually hyphenated. Some examples: wide-angle, wide-eyed, wide-awake, wide-open. Exception: widespread.

An exception to Merriam-Webster:

co- Use a hyphen for nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status: co-author, co-chair, co-defendant, co-host, co-pilot, co-star, co-worker.

As part of a formal title before a name: co-President Alexa Manola, co-Executive Director Alfredo Hudson. Use no hyphen in other combinations: coeducation, coexist, cooperative (but co-op), copay.

Cooperate, coordinate and related words are exceptions to the rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel. Co-op retains the hyphen to avoid confusion with a chicken's home.

No hyphen in coworking when the meaning is sharing workspace and amenities, such as Wi-Fi, a printer, fax machine and the like, when people don't actually work for the same company but instead are self-employed or remote workers.


The Stylebook's preferences on whether to use a hyphen before a suffix are based largely on Merriam-Webster. Generally, we do not hyphenate. But there are exceptions.

Here is the style for some commonly used suffixes for nouns and adjectives. Consult Merriam-Webster for words not listed here.

Use two words for verb forms.

-down Generally no hyphen. Examples: breakdown, countdown, meltdown, showdown, slowdown, shutdown. Exceptions include sit-down, drop-down.

-fold No hyphen for twofold, fourfold, tenfold, hundredfold, thousandfold and similar. Rephrasing may be better.

-free Generally hyphenated. Examples: duty-free, fat-free, hands-free, interest-free, germ-free, scot-free, sugar-free, tax-free. But: carefree.

-goer No hyphen in commonly used words such as concertgoer, filmgoer, moviegoer, theatergoer.

-holder No hyphen in commonly used words such as bondholder, cardholder, jobholder, officeholder, placeholder, shareholder, stakeholder, titleholder. Exceptions include cup holder, pass holder, record holder, ticket holder. Also: credit card holder.

-in Generally hyphenated. Examples: break-in, cave-in, log-in, sit-in, walk-in-, write-in. An exception: login.

-less Generally no hyphen. Examples include waterless, weightless, wireless.

-like Generally no hyphen unless the letter l would be tripled or the main element is a proper noun. Examples: businesslike, catlike, childlike, doglike, lifelike. But: Norwalk-like, shell-like. An exception: flu-like.

-long No hyphen in daylong/dayslong, hourlong/hourslong, monthlong/monthslong, yearlong/yearslong, weeklong/weekslong.

-maker, -making No hyphen in commonly used words such as automaker, automaking; dealmaker, dealmaking; drugmaker (but drug-making); filmmaker, filmmaking; moneymaker, moneymaking; policymaker, policymaking; speechmaker, speechmaking. An exception: decision-maker, decision-making. Also: coffee maker. Avoid contrived combinations such as difference-maker and magic-maker. But if using less common terms such as those, include the hyphen. No hyphen with proper nouns, such as iPhone maker.

-off Generally no hyphen. Examples: cutoff, knockoff, layoff, liftoff, playoff, standoff, takeoff, tipoff. Exceptions include charge-off, send-off, show-off.

-out Generally no hyphen. Examples: dropout, fallout, hideout, pullout, walkout, wipeout. Exceptions include cop-out, fade-out.

-over Generally no hyphen. Examples: carryover, holdover, makeover, stopover, takeover, walkover. Exceptions include do-over.

-time No hyphen in Christmastime, daytime, nighttime, peacetime, springtime, wartime, wintertime and similar. But: She works full time; she has a full-time job. He works part time; he has a part-time job. They work half time; they have a half-time jobHalftime for the period in the middle of a sports match.

-up Many of these combinations are hyphenated. Examples: call-up, flare-up, follow-up, frame-up, grown-up, hang-up, mix-up, mock-up, runner-up, shake-up, tie-up, walk-up. Those with no hyphen include breakup, checkup, cleanup, holdup, letup, lineup, pileup, roundup, setup, startup. Use a hyphen for any not listed here or in Merriam-Webster.

-ward Generally no hyphen and no s. Examples: afterward, backward, downward, forward, homeward, inward, onward, outward, southward, skyward, toward, upward.

-wear One word, no hyphen for activewear, daywear, eveningwear, eyewear, headwear, menswear, outerwear, sportswear, swimwear, womenswear.

-wide No hyphen for commonly recognized terms such as citywide, countywide, statewide, storewide, worldwide. But use a hyphen — or don't use the construction at all — when combining with a proper noun and/or when the unhyphenated form would be awkward or hard to read, such as hospitalwide, NASAwide, Europewide. Often, it's better to rephrase.

-wise Generally no hyphen when it means in the direction of or with regard to. Examples: clockwise, lengthwise, otherwise. Avoid contrived combinations such as moneywise, religionwise. Use a hyphen in terms such as penny-wise and street-wise because they are compound adjectives in which wise means smart, not an application of the suffix -wise. The hyphenated street-wise is an exception to Merriam-Webster.

New entries and recent changes

X (Twitter) (revised)

A social network, formerly called Twitter, on which users share text, photos, video and links with their followers in short messages. Twitter existed from 2006 until 2023. Elon Musk purchased Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion. In July 2023, Musk renamed Twitter as X.

Use the social platform X on first reference. Reference to its former name of Twitter may or may not be necessary, depending on the story. Limit use of the verbs tweet and tweeted other than in direct quotations. Instead: posted on X, said in a post on X, etc.

Though its cultural relevance has declined, X is still used by influential people, including journalists, policymakers and celebrities. It is not necessarily reflective of the general population. It should not be a substitute for traditional interviews and reporting.

obese, obesity, overweight (new)

People with obesity, people of higher weights and people who prefer the term fat use diverse terms — including those and others — in reference to themselves. Many say the words obesity and obese are offensive or stigmatizing. On the other hand, the terms obesity and obese define a disease, according to global and national public health agencies, and are used by medical and health care professionals.

Use care and precision, considering the impact of specific words and the terms used by the people you are writing about. When possible, ask people how they want to be described. See below for details.

The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and other health groups say obesity is a chronic disease resulting from factors that can include genetics and a variety of social and environmental factors. About 42% of U.S. adults have obesity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The WHO says that 650 million people globally had obesity as of 2016, its most recent count, a number that has tripled since 1975.

The phrasing people with obesity or a person with obesity is acceptable when a general term is needed and is relevant, unless a group or person prefers other terms. The term obesity is used most often in a health or medical context: Researchers hope the treatment helps people with obesity.

Avoid the modifier obese when possible. Although obese is a variant of the term obesity, many medical professionals say the use as a modifier is more stigmatizing by putting a greater focus on the person rather than on the disease. That stigma can cause people not to seek treatment, they say.

The term medically classified as obese is acceptable in medical and health care contexts. Do not use the term morbidly obese.

Some people and groups identify as and prefer the term fat, seeking to eliminate the stigma around both the word and the people. Others say the word has long been seen as a slur and should be avoided. The terms fat and fatness are acceptable for people or groups that use it for themselves, but make clear that this is the preference of the person or group. A brief explanation may be helpful.

Some people with obesity use terms such as plus-sized, people of higher weight, larger-bodied, people of size and others. Those terms are acceptable for people or groups that use it for themselves, and in later references in general stories about obesity.

While some health agencies use the phrasing people with overweight, avoid that awkward term unless essential in a direct quotation. The term people who are overweight is acceptable.

Avoid writing that implies ableism: the belief that abilities of people who aren't of higher weight are superior.

Don't limit coverage of larger-bodied people to coverage of obesity, as that contributes to stereotypes and discrimination. Seek other angles including those in retail, arts and sports, and include the voices and images of people with obesity who are experts in a given area in stories about that topic.

The terms overweight and obese are not interchangeable because they have specific medical definitions. A person with a body mass index of 25 to 29 is considered overweight. A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered to have obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A BMI of 18.5 to 24 is considered a healthy weight.

Many experts acknowledge that BMI is a flawed metric because it does not directly measure body fat, but say it remains a useful and convenient guide. See body mass index.

climate change, climate crisis (revised)

Either term can be used in broad references to the general state of the climate: increasing extreme weather and rising average global temperatures, which both have big impacts on people around the world, while there is a steady rise in greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of climate change.

The terms often can be used interchangeably. But in general, use the term climate change when referring to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, and the science explaining or describing those shifts. These shifts have resulted in both slow-onset and extreme weather.

Slow-onset changes include increasing temperatures; loss of biodiversity; land and forest degradation; desertification (the change of arable land into a desert); ocean acidification; sea level rise; and glacial retreat. Extreme weather includes heat waves, droughts, storms, and floods from heavy rain or rising seas.

The term climate crisis, used by the United Nations and others, may be used when describing the current situation. But use the term sparingly, and provide specifics as much as possible.

Climate change, resulting in the climate crisis, is largely caused by human activities that emit carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according to the vast majority of peer-reviewed studies, science organizations and climate scientists. This happens from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, and other activities.

A report in February 2022 by the world's top body of climate scientists gave an alarming assessment of where the world is headed if more isn't done to decrease emissions. Already, more instances of extreme weather are happening across the globe, from longer, more intense and more frequent droughts and heat waves to devastating floods and wetter hurricanes, attributed at least in part to climate change.

Avoid attributing single occurrences to climate change unless scientists have established a connection. At the same time, stories about individual events should make it clear that they occur in a larger context.

For example: Scientists say that without specific study they cannot directly link a single weather event to climate change, but in general it's responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme storms, droughts, floods and wildfires.

The climate story goes beyond extreme weather and science. It also is about politics, human rights, inequality, international law, biodiversity, society and culture, and many other issues. Successful climate and environment stories show how the climate crisis is affecting many areas of life.

As climate change becomes a larger factor in the daily lives of many people, effective and accurate writing about this far-reaching and sometimes complex topic becomes even more important.

global warming Use the term global warming in referring to the increase of average temperature around the world. It is one aspect of climate change. Do not use this term as a synonym for climate change.

Telling the climate story

Avoid jargon. Use simplified terms and concepts to relay complex information.

Identify the source for specific climate change data and for any detailed predictions of how climate change will affect Earth. Sources of information should be from credible and nonpartisan groups, organizations and entities. No matter the source, when writing about a study or climate projection, always get outside perspectives from other scientists.

Avoid false balance — giving a platform to unfounded claims or unqualified sources in the guise of balancing a story by including all views. For example, coverage of a study describing effects of climate change need not seek "other side" comment that humans have no influence on the climate.

Scientific studies

Climate reports vary in focus and impact. Only studies from reputable scientific bodies that are independent are to be used. These studies include those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; NASA; the World Meteorological Organization; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.

When covering international studies or events, localize the issue so your readers can connect to it.

See the Stylebook's Health and Science chapter for more detail on handling scientific studies.

More terms and concepts

fossil fuels Coal, oil and methane, referred to as fossil because they are formed underground over millions of years. Use the specifics rather than the shorthand term fossil fuels when possible.

greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gas emissions are the main driver of climate change. They consist largely of carbon dioxide and methane. Do not use the abbreviation GHG. Two key greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and methane.

carbon dioxide Much of climate change comes from the extra carbon dioxide resulting from burning fossil fuels and biomass; land-use changes; industrial processes; and other human activities.

Carbon dioxide is responsible for nearly two-thirds of the heat effect, and stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. The shorthand CO2 is acceptable on second reference.

methane A powerful climate-warming gas that leaks from coal mines and from gas wells, pipelines and other parts of natural gas delivery systems; is released by livestock; is generated in landfills; and is produced by certain agricultural practices. It is the main constituent in natural gas. It lasts for decades in the atmosphere.

To compare emissions and how much they are contributing to climate change, scientists convert amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential, known as carbon dioxide equivalent.

When discussing emissions more broadly — not just carbon dioxide — use an all-encompassing term such as greenhouse gases, planet-warming gases or heat-trapping gases.

If discussing a certain type of emissions or polluting activity, be more specific in terms of which gas is being emitted.

carbon budget The amount of carbon dioxide, which when released into the atmosphere warms the planet, that can be emitted globally before the world will exceed the goal of limiting temperature rise thresholds set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. That 2015 agreement called for limiting warming to 2 Celsius at the top but ideally 1.5 C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2.7 degrees, respectively ). Then in 2018, upon further review, IPCC scientists said warming should be capped at 1.5 C to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Today, most international climate goals are based on the 1.5 C limit.

carbon capture Usually short for carbon capture utilization and storage. Refers to an effort to capture CO2 emissions that would otherwise escape into the air, most frequently at the stacks of power production facilities or other large industrial sites, and transport it for long-term storage, often underground. Many companies and nations include carbon capture as an essential part of their plans to reach net zero emissions. But so far, this is happening at scale in just a few places and is far from being a major climate solution.

carbon footprint Just about every business, government entity, product and mode of transportation has a carbon footprint, or an amount of greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide, but others as well) put into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases mostly come from the consumption of coal, oil and methane.

Organizers of a sporting event may say the event is "environmentally friendly" or "green." But if they can't give details about the event's carbon footprint, be skeptical of the claim.

An outdoor concert organizer may claim the event is "green" because cellphone charging stations are powered by solar panels. But solar power may just be a fraction of the total energy used by the event. Or the emissions avoided by using the solar panels (instead of electricity generated from fossil fuels) may pale in comparison to emissions from other aspects of the event, such as thousands of people driving in their cars.

When a company claims to be net zero or have low emissions, reporters should ask about the scope of emissions. There are three types of emissions.

Scope 1 is the type of greenhouse gas emissions a company makes directly, such as running furnaces or cars. Scope 2 is what a company is indirectly responsible for, such as what was needed to provide electricity or heating. Scope 3 is all encompassing for a company's products — not just what the company created to make the products but also emissions spewed when the product is used. A prime example of this is carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline-powered cars. That represents Scope 3 emissions from oil companies.

climate change deniers, climate change skeptics, climate change doubters Do not use terms like climate change deniers, climate change skeptics or climate change doubters. Be specific about an individual or group of people's beliefs. For instance: people who do not agree with mainstream science that says the climate is changing. Or people who do not believe that human activity is responsible for the bulk of climate change. Or people who disagree with the severity of climate change projected by scientists.

climate goals When referring to how a policy or action will impact climate goals, either negatively or positively, make sure to specify what goal or goals to which you're referring.

In 2015, countries at the United Nations climate conference signed the Paris Agreement, where they agreed to limit the average warming across the globe to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) and pursue efforts to cap warming to 1.5 degrees (2.7 F) compared to preindustrial times. Countries are expected to show how they plan to help achieve these goals by submitting their commitments to emissions reductions to the U.N. every five years. These submissions are called Nationally Determined Contributions.

When reporting on whether something is or is not in line with climate goals, always check whether this refers to the 1.5 C goal, the 2 C goal or national ambitions, and specify this in your reporting.

climate target This refers to temperature limits, concentration levels or emissions reduction goals used toward the aim of avoiding dangerous impacts on humans and the planet.

Other terms:

adaptation The process of adjusting to the current effects of climate change and preparing for future effects. For example, building a sea wall to combat flooding from rising seas is a way that a city may adapt to climate change.

baseline scenario This term refers to scenarios that are based on continuing with the current levels of emissions without mitigation policies or measures beyond those already in place or planned.

blue carbon This refers to carbon dioxide captured by living organisms in coastal and marine ecosystems and stored within these systems. These include mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses. Explain the term if used.

community solar A form of solar — larger than residential rooftop but smaller than an industrial solar farm for people who lack access to their rooftops, or have rooftops that are shaded or otherwise unsuitable. Users may pay a monthly fee or own a share.

desertification The process in which land becomes increasingly dry, with the amount and lushness of vegetation decreasing and eventually disappearing. Explain the term if you use it or quote someone using it.

direct air capture The effort to extract climate-warming carbon dioxide directly out of the air. Current efforts are expensive and extremely small scale.

equity When talking about climate change, equity is the principle of fairness in sharing the burden and is a basis for understanding how the effects and responses to climate change, including costs and benefits, are distributed in and by society in equal ways.

energy transition The global shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy for electricity, industry and transport to reduce climate change.

funding rounds Startup companies that offer climate solutions typically raise money in rounds as they ramp up, for example Series A, B and C.

geothermal Usually refers to the use of the Earth's heat to make steam that drives a turbine to make clean electricity. May also refer to using the heat without turning it into electricity, as with residential geothermal or district heating.

greenwashing Advertising or claims by companies, countries or other organizations that aim to deceive the public to believe a certain product, policy or organization is environmentally friendly. The term can be used independently or in direct quotations if one organization is accusing another of greenwashing. Explain the term when used.

high emitters When referring to how polluting a country or company is, it is sometimes helpful to look at those emissions in the context of how much the country or company emits into the atmosphere compared with others and for how long they have been polluting.

As carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, it is important to consider historical emissions in reporting.

Per capita emissions are sometimes used when comparing the carbon footprints of nations, particularly high-emitting countries like the United States, China, India, Russia and others.

hydrogen Believed by some to have a role in the clean energy transition because it can be burned, generating high heat without releasing carbon dioxide. However, two key questions that should be asked are: What is the source of the hydrogen? Most commercial hydrogen today is obtained from methane, a fossil fuel. And second, what kind of energy was used to separate hydrogen from other atoms? The only truly clean hydrogen is produced in a process that does not rely on fossil fuel and is powered by renewable energy.

mitigation Human intervention to reduce emissions or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases, efforts aimed at combating climate change.

Indigenous knowledge This refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. For many Indigenous peoples, Indigenous knowledge informs decision-making about fundamental aspects of life, from day-to-day activities to long-term management of rivers, wildfires and other aspects of the environment.

Indigenous knowledge, or knowledges (both singular and plural are used), is increasingly talked about as a tool to combat climate change, the idea being that Indigenous peoples sustainably managed their lands for thousands of years.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change A United Nations group created in 1988 to evaluate and contribute to scientific study of climate change. IPCC is acceptable on second reference.

lithium ion Currently the most common type of battery, both for electric vehicles and for grid storage, but comes with intrinsic restrictions. These limitations plus the mining of lithium and associated environmental concerns have prompted a race for alternative battery chemistries.

livestock Domesticated animals and in particular cows release significant methane into the atmosphere via flatulence and belching.

landfills Landfills are a significant source of global methane. It is produced especially in wet environments when organic material is buried and its carbon bonds with hydrogen from water under anaerobic conditions.

loss and damage In international climate negotiations, the term is used to refer to the contention that developed nations, which have done the most historically to cause climate change, should compensate developing countries, which have contributed little to climate change but often bear the worst effects. Explain the term when used. If possible, provide details on the compensation being debated.

net zero The term is used by countries and companies and refers to balancing greenhouse gas emissions to the point that the amount taken out of the atmosphere is equal to the amount emitted. When using the term, be specific about the goal. For example, by 2030 several American tech companies are aiming to make their operations net zero. Hyphenate when used as a modifier. Explain the term when used.

phasedown, phaseout These terms come up frequently in negotiations over national goals for use of fossil fuels. Phasedown is understood to mean a gradual reduction in fossil fuel use. Phaseout means ending all use of fossil fuels by a specific time.

small island developing states A distinct group of developing countries facing specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. When using the term, explain it. Do not use the abbreviation SIDS.

storage Refers to storing clean electricity from solar and wind power for use later when those sources are not available, avoiding the need to make electricity at those times from climate-harmful sources such as natural gas or coal. Efforts are underway to develop batteries and other methods that can store clean power for days at a time,sometimes called long-term storage.

vulnerability The International Panel on Climate Change defines it as the propensity or predisposition to be adversely affected. Vulnerability encompasses a variety of concepts and elements including sensitivity or susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to cope and adapt.

weather event When possible, avoid this term and instead be specific if the reference is to a specific flood, landslide, mudslide, hurricane, etc.

Native Americans, Indigenous people/peoples (revised)

Generally use the term Native Americans in broad references when referring to two or more people of different tribal affiliations within the contiguous U.S. geographic boundaries. (See below for details on Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.)

Do not use the term Native American for an individual; see below for detail on more specificity when referring to one person or to citizens of the same tribe.

The term Natives is acceptable on second reference.

The term American Indians is generally considered outdated. However, some tribal citizens may use the term in reference to themselves, other tribal citizens or organizations. And it may appear in some legal contexts and organization names. It is acceptable in those contexts.

The term Indigenous people(s) is a broad umbrella term, describing the original inhabitants of a place globally. The term does not capture the political relationship or political status of Native American tribes or people, so use it only when the broad description is accurate. Be specific about a person's citizenship and/or affiliation, as noted below.

The term may be appropriate in some contexts, such as when generalizing across an array of geographies: Indigenous people in the United States and Canada; Indigenous people in the United States (encompassing Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives); Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.

Do not use phrasing such as a Native American or Native Americans (or an Indigenous person) for individuals or for citizens of a single tribe. Instead, specify the proper name of the tribe and the person's connection to the tribe. If that information is not immediately available, try to obtain it.

Some tribes and tribal nations use member; others use citizen. Try to determine the correct term in each case. If that can't be determined, use citizen.

It is also important to determine if an individual is enrolled (a citizen) of the tribe, or if they are a descendant (not enrolled but a biological descendant) of an enrolled citizen. She is an enrolled member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a descendant of the Comanche Nation. Some Native Americans describe themselves as descendants of multiple tribes. That lineage should be noted after the person's citizenship or enrollment affiliation.

For tribal affiliations, use the person's preference and clarify with the official name of the tribe if necessary. For example, some members of the Navajo Nation refer to themselves as Diné, the Navajo word for the people.

Do not use possessive language such as Canada's Indigenous people, Oklahoma's Native American tribes or South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. Instead: Indigenous people in Canada; Native American tribes in Oklahoma; the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The possessive form may be used for Native Hawaiians, however.

Use the term Hawaiian or Hawaiians only for members of the ethnic group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. They also may be called Native Hawaiians, Indigenous people in Hawaii or Hawaii's Indigenous people.

Hawaii is a creation of Hawaiians — the island chain was united by King Kamehameha and then was ruled by Hawaiians until the U.S.-backed overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. Many Hawaiians view Hawaii as a place that is rightfully theirs and a place to which they belong. Many Hawaiians believe the United States and the state of Hawaii are illegal occupiers of these lands and are fighting to return Hawaiian sovereignty to Hawaii.

In Alaska, the Indigenous groups are collectively known as Alaska Natives. Be specific when referring to individual tribes and Alaska Native villages and to individual people, as described above.

In Canada, the umbrella term Indigenous people(s) is used by the federal government to describe First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Be specific when referring to individual communities and people, as described above.

Indian is used to describe the peoples and cultures of the South Asian nation of India. Do not use the term as a shorthand for Native Americans, either a single person or a group. However, Indian is acceptable when part of a proper name, such as Indian Country, the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona or the Metlakatla Indian Community in Alaska.

homeless (adj.), homelessness (n.) (revised)

Homeless is generally acceptable as an adjective to describe people without a fixed residence.

Avoid dehumanizing collective nouns like the homeless, instead using constructions like homeless people, people without housing or people without homes. When possible, ask people how they wish to be identified and use their preference.

Some advocates and others prefer the term unhoused in an effort to focus on a person's lack of shelter. However, people without homes may have some sort of housing. So use unhoused only when quoting people, if an organization uses the term or if people use it for themselves.

As with the homeless, avoid the term the unhoused.

Do not stereotype homeless people as dirty, mentally ill, addicted to drugs or alcohol, reliant on charity, or criminals. Those conditions can often contribute to or be byproducts of homelessness, but many homeless people also hold jobs and are self-sufficient.

Mention a person is homeless only when relevant. If a homeless person is accused of a crime, mention their city of residence, if available, the same way you would for anyone else: Roberts, of Los Angeles, was charged, not Roberts, who has no permanent address, was charged. And not: A homeless man was charged …

Homeless shelter is an acceptable term for a building that provides free or very inexpensive but temporary indoor refuge for people without homes, generally run by a government or charity. Do not use flophouse.

Government agencies do not always agree on what legally constitutes homelessness, but the term generally refers to people staying in shelters or on the street.

Avoid disparaging terminology such as derelict, bum, beggar, tramp and hobo. Terms like couch surfing (staying temporarily in various households) or transient (someone who moves from city to city but is not necessarily homeless) can be useful to describe specific situations. Avoid vagrant.

migrant is someone who moves from place to place for temporary work or economic advantage and is usually not considered homeless.

Indigent describes someone who is very poor and is not synonymous with homeless.

media (revised)

Generally takes a plural verb, as a reference to more than one individual organization. Try to avoid writing in a way that implies media are monolithic. Be specific when referring to, for example, news media, social media or paid media. Refer to specific organizations or companies individually when relevant.

quotations in the news (revised)

Never alter quotations even to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage. Casual minor tongue slips may be removed by using ellipses but even that should be done with extreme caution.

Do not use (sic) to show that quoted material or person's words include a misspelling, incorrect grammar or peculiar usage. (This is a change from previous guidance.) Instead, paraphrase if possible. If the quoted material is essential, simply use it as spoken or written, in line with the guidance below. In AP stories, use an editor's note to confirm for other editors: Eds: The spelling "Cristina" instead of "Christina" in the ransom note is as the note reads.

If there is a question about a quotation, either don't use it or ask the speaker to clarify.

If a person is unavailable for comment, detail attempts to reach that person. (Agarwal was out of the country on business; Park did not return phone messages left at the office.)

Do not use substandard spellings such as gonna or wanna in attempts to convey regional dialects or informal pronunciations, except to convey an emphasis by the speaker.

When quoting spoken words, present them in the format that reflects AP style: No. 1, St., Gov., $3. But quotes should not be changed otherwise for reasons of style. If the speaker says towards, do not change it to toward.

When quoting written words, retain the style used by the writer; do not alter the written words even if they don't match AP style.

Use quotations only if they are the best way to tell the story or convey meaning. Often, paraphrasing is preferable.

In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it's almost always better to paraphrase. If the quotation is essential, include the unclear word or phrase before the parenthetical clarification; deleting it creates questions in a reader's mind.

For example: "I heard him (the second attacker) yell, 'The sky is falling! Chicken Little was right!' before he drew the knife." Not: "I heard (the second attacker) yell, 'The sky is falling! Chicken Little was right!' before he drew the knife." Better: The witness said he heard the second attacker yell: "The sky is falling! Chicken Little was right!" before drawing the knife.

In general, use the verb said. The verb announced is acceptable when referring to an announcement. Generally avoid wording such as claimed, admitted, conceded, etc., which can sound loaded or judgmental.

In news stories, generally use the past tense. The present tense says may be appropriate in some stories, such as profiles, narratives or features, that aren't hard news or breaking news, and in broadcast stories. Do not alternate between tenses within a story.

Avoid verbs such as believes, hopes, fears, feels, etc., unless accompanied by attribution: She said (or says, in some stories) she hopes, not she hopes.

The construction Fernandez said, rather than said Fernandez, is generally preferred. Use the latter if a long title is involved: … said Fernandez, vice president for human resources and employee concerns.

FULL vs. PARTIAL QUOTATIONS: In general, avoid fragmentary quotations. If a speaker's words are clear and concise, favor the full quotation. If cumbersome language can be paraphrased fairly, use an indirect construction, reserving quotation marks for sensitive or controversial passages that must be identified specifically as coming from the speaker.

CONTEXT: Remember that you can misquote someone by giving a startling remark without its modifying passage or qualifiers. The manner of delivery sometimes is part of the context. Reporting a smile or a deprecatory gesture may be as important as conveying the words themselves.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS AND TEXT MESSAGES: Social media posts and text messages often contain emojiGIFs or other imagery that need to be conveyed to readers using words. Treat the visual material as context or gestures when important to include, describing by paraphrasing:

Chavis sparked a flurry of responses against the airline after posting a GIF of large crowds at the gate, with the message "#missinghoneymoon" and an emoji string of a worried smiley, a ring, an hourglass and an umbrella propped on a beach.

Be aware that some GIFs, emoji or other images may contain hidden meanings and nuances requiring consideration and more than just a simple description of the image posted.

Do not use parentheses to describe an emoji within a direct quotation, to avoid confusing readers by making it seem as if the person being quoted wrote out the description in text.

Many story platforms support displaying posts as they actually appear, or hyperlinking to posts on social networks, giving journalists several options to let readers see material for themselves. For example, some production systems may allow you to directly insert emoji into the text of a story. Additionally, most social networks allow for direct embedding of such material, and screen captures may also be acceptable if images are displayed in accordance with your newsroom's visual standards.

OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE: See the obscenities, profanities, vulgarities entry.

PUNCTUATION: See the quotation marks entry in the Punctuation chapter.

suicide (revised)

Generally, AP does not cover a suicide or suicide attempt, unless the person is well known or the circumstances are particularly unusual or publicly disruptive.

Avoid using the phrase committed suicide, which can imply a criminal act. Alternative phrases include killed himself, took her own life or died by suicide. Generally avoid any such phrasing in headlines, unless the circumstances were very public.

Suicide stories, when published, should not go into detail on methods used. Often, it may not be necessary to say anything other than that the person died by suicide.

Suicide prevention experts believe, based on experience and some studies, that the less said in the media about the methods of suicide, the less likelihood that a death will prompt at-risk people from taking their lives by that same method in the days immediately after.

If police or family members announce publicly the method of a suicide, it is acceptable in some circumstances to report that. But do not specify the method in the headline or lead, and do not go into specific details, such as the type of gun or other means used.

If the method is not initially announced but becomes public later, consider whether a story noting the method is necessary at all. If such a story is done, keep the details out of the headline and lead.

Notes or letters are another area for caution. Generally avoid reporting the contents.

Experts say there generally is not a simple explanation or a single reason behind a suicide, so avoid wording or framing that suggests or points to a single cause.

Discussion of general causes or concerns, such as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health, in broader stories about suicide may be appropriate. But consider carefully whether a broad story on some topics, such an unusually high number of suicides at one high school, is justified when weighed against a potential contagion effect.

Apply judgment involved with suicide coverage also to murder-suicides. Considerations may include the prominence of those involved and whether there was a threat to public safety.

Do not post video or other imagery of suicide attempts or completed suicides.

Do not refer to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Refer instead to an attempted suicide, and use this information only if a story is merited under the above guidelines.

Suicide prevention experts recommend including in U.S. stories the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988 or chat at

In AP stories, those details should be included in a publishable editor's note, generally within the first five paragraphs of the story. For example:

EDITOR'S NOTE — In the U.S., the national suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at


EDITOR'S NOTE — This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, the national suicide and crisis lifeline in the U.S. is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at

Outside the U.S., use similar language and format for resources that meet general AP standards such as impartiality.

More resources:; Tempos Tool Interactive:

See euthanasia, medically assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide.

crisis hotline (new)

AP stories may include publishable editor's notes with detail about relevant crisis hotlines in stories about suicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, mental illness, substance misuse and other topics.

Such notes generally should be placed within the first five paragraphs.

An example:


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story includes discussion of sexual violence. If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1-800-656-4673 in the U.S.


There may well be other hotlines that could be useful to AP's audience, depending on the story. The resources below are targeted for U.S. audiences. For stories in other parts of the world, other crisis hotlines with a strong, professional reputation may be used.

Some resources in the U.S.:

National suicide and crisis lifeline: 988

National sexual assault hotline: 1-800-656-4673

National domestic violence hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264 or text "NAMI" to 741741

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline: 1-800-662-4357

gender, sex and sexual orientation (revised)

bisexual Describes attraction to both men and women and now, with the growing recognition of gender as a spectrum, also can more broadly describe attraction to one's own gender and one or more additional genders. See sexual orientation.

out, openly The terms out and openly can imply that to identify as LGBTQ is inherently shameful, so use them only when relevant: Xiong is the group's first out gay president (which would allow for the possibility that previous presidents were gay but not out) or Xiong, who came out at age 29, wishes he had done so sooner.

Out is gaining acceptance over openly as a modifier, so consider confining openly to quotations, or ask subjects which term they prefer when relevant and possible. Do not use terms like avowed or admitted.

Don't assume that because news figures address their sexual orientation or gender transition publicly, it qualifies as coming out; public figures may consider themselves out even if they haven't previously addressed their identity or orientation publicly.

The terms outing or outed are usually used when someone's identity or orientation is revealed against their knowledge or will.

female, male In general, female and male are adjectives that can describe people of any age and are used only rarely as nouns, such as for a range of ages or an unknown age. The study included males ages 10-21. She is the first female governor of North Carolina.

Woman, women, man and men are usually reserved for use as a noun to describe adults, while girl, girls, boy and boys are typically used as a noun for people under age 18.

Be aware of nuances and pitfalls in the use of female and woman/women.

Since female primarily describes sex, not gender, some people object to its use as a descriptor for women because it can be seen as emphasizing biology and reproductive capacity over gender identity. It can also sometimes carry misogynistic tones that may vary in severity by race, class and other factors.

For this reason, woman or women is increasingly common as an adjective. But its use as such can often be awkward, especially if the words man or men would not be used adjectivally in a parallel sense.

For instance: He is the only man construction worker on the otherwise all-woman crew is awkward, and He is the only male construction worker on the all otherwise all-woman crew is not parallel. Options for being both sensitive and eloquent include He is the only man on the otherwise all-woman construction crew.

Avoid using male and female as modifiers that could convey assumptions about gender roles, such as male nurse, male nanny, female bodybuilder, etc. In general, make a point of someone's sex or gender only if clearly relevant.

See boy, girlgender-neutral language.

so-called, so called (revised)

(adj.) so called (adv.) Avoid this description, which can be seen as mocking or derogatory. Instead, use more words: what are often known aswhat are sometimes known aswhat supporters callwhat opponents call, etc. If so-called must be used, do not follow with quotation marks: He is accused of trading so-called blood diamonds.

designated days, weeks, months (new)

Capitalize all words in the name of a designated or branded day, week, month or other time period: Black History Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, World Religion Day, International Women's Day. Lowercase the time period in informal descriptions: Memorial Day weekend, Christmas week. See events.

numerals (revised)

In general, spell out one through nine: He had nine months to go. She has eight bicycles. The Yankees finished second.

However, use figures for 1 through 9 (and above):

  • For ages (of people, animals, events or things)
  • When preceding a unit of measure (inches, pounds, miles, quarts, temperature degrees, etc.) — except for time measurements
  • In other cases listed below

For time measurements (seconds, minutes, days, months, years, etc.), spell out one through nine unless it's an age. A six-year plan, but a 6-year-old plan. A five-month checkup but a 5-day-old baby.

Use figures in almost all uses for 10 or above. Exceptions: At the start of a sentence; in casual uses such as one in a million; in literary or special uses such as four score and twenty years ago.

Generally spell out zero: The day's low was 10 below zero; from zero to 60 as a figure of speech. Spell out zero percent: She said he has a zero percent chance of winning; they are offering zero percent financing. In technical contexts or ranges, the figure 0 may be appropriate: the car's acceleration from 0 to 60 mph; financing from 0% to 3%.

UFO, UAP (new)

The U.S. government uses the term UAPs, short for unidentified anomalous phenomena, for what have long been called UFOs, short for unidentified flying objects.

NASA defines UAPs as observations in the sky or elsewhere that cannot be readily identified or scientifically explained. The government shifted to UAPs in order to be able to describe a broader range of unexplained sightings. The term UFOs refers specifically to flying objects.

Until the term UAP is more widely known, use UFO or UFOs on first reference. Explain later in the story that the U.S. government calls them UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena (including the spelled-out version in the explanation). Either UFOs or UAPs is acceptable in references after that explanation.

sexually transmitted disease, sexually transmitted infections (new)

Health professionals and agencies have been moving toward the term sexually transmitted infections for what long have been called sexually transmitted diseases. Not every person who gets infected will develop symptoms or the disease.

Either term is acceptable. Consider using the phrase a disease or infection spread through sex instead. STD or STDs and STI or STIs are acceptable on second reference for the respective terms.

lists, bulleted lists (revised)

AP uses dashes instead of bullets to introduce individual sections of a list in news stories, but may use bullets in other formats. Put a space between the dash or bullet and the first word of each item in the list. Capitalize the first word following the dash or bullet.

Use periods at the end of each sentence in a bulleted list. Use no punctuation at the end of a single word or single phrase in each section of a list. Do not use semicolons.

Use parallel construction for each item in a list:

  • Start with the same part of speech for each item (in this example, a verb).
  • Use the same voice (active or passive) for each item.
  • Use the same verb tense for each item.
  • Use the same sentence type (statement, question, exclamation) for each item.
  • Use just a phrase for each item, if desired.

Examples of phrases with no punctuation at the end:

  • Cat videos
  • Home improvement shows
  • Word puzzles

Introduce the list with a short phrase or sentence: Our partners: or These are our partners: or Our partners are:

unique (revised)

The word can mean one of a kind, unparalleled, having no equal, etc.; or highly unusual, extraordinary, rare, etc. If used in the sense of one of a kind, don't use modifiers such as very, rather, etc.

race-related coverage: locs, dreadlocks, dreads (new)

locs A rope-like hairstyle that is a common protective hairstyle among Black people. Specify dreadlocks, dreads when referring to people with the hairstyle who are of Jamaican descent or Rastafarian belief. Locks refers to hair in general.

lying in state (revised)

Only people who are entitled to a state funeral may formally lie in state, but the term is sometimes used informally by government leaders and is generally acceptable.

For a formal viewing for a well-known leader in a nongovernment building, such as a church or presidential library, terms like lying in repose or lying in honor are acceptable.

See lay, lie.

abortion (revised)

Use the modifiers anti-abortion or abortion-rights when a general term is needed. Whenever possible, be specific about the position of a person or group. For example: Jones favors a ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Don't use the terms pro-life, pro-choice or pro-abortion unless they are in direct quotations or proper names. Avoid abortionist, which connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.

Appalachia (revised)

In a broad sense, the word applies to the entire U.S. region along the Appalachian Mountains from Maine into northern Alabama.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, established by federal law in 1965, has a mandate to foster economic development in 397 counties in 13 states — all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

As a distinct cultural region, most interpretations of Appalachia are narrower, encompassing the rugged and rolling mountains, hills and valleys of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, southern and eastern Ohio, swaths of Pennsylvania and western North Carolina. West Virginia is the only state considered to be entirely included within the Appalachian region.

Appalachia has long been associated with economic depression, fueled by a history of labor and natural resource exploitation, the decline of the coal industry and the opioid epidemic. The region encompasses urban and rural areas that are home to many groups with varying backgrounds and has a rich heritage of music, literature and arts.

In stories, avoid using stereotypes perpetuated in pop culture depicting the region as backward, poor and universally white. Avoid pejorative terms like hillbilly and using quotes that exaggerate the region's distinctive dialect except in cases where they are relevant or necessary to the story.

extreme groups (new)

When writing about extreme left or right groups, be precise and provide evidence to support the characterization, which could include showing their actions, associations, history and positions.

Here are some related definitions:

"alt-right" A white nationalist movement. Avoid using without definition, because the term may exist primarily to make its supporters' actual beliefs less clear.

racism Asserting racial or ethnic discrimination or superiority based solely on race, ethnic or religious origins; it can be by any group against any other group. See further details in the race-related coverage entry.

white nationalism A subset of racist beliefs that calls for a separate territory and/or enhanced legal rights and protections for white people.

white separatism A term sometimes used as a synonym for white nationalism but differs in that it advocates a form of segregation in which races would live apart but in the same general geographic area.

white supremacy The belief that whites are superior to justify political, economic and social suppression of nonwhite people.

neo-Nazism Combines racist and white supremacist beliefs with admiration for an authoritarian, totalitarian style of government such as the German Third Reich to enforce its beliefs.

fascism Extremist, far-right, authoritarian political philosophy that exalts nation and race above the individual.

antifa Shorthand for anti-fascists, an umbrella description any far-left-leaning militant groups that resist fascists and neo-Nazis, especially at demonstrations. If using, include a definition.

See race-related coverage.


Access your AP Stylebook Online account any time, anywhere by visiting

Get assistance with AP Stylebook Online and other stylebook products by visiting our Help Center at

If you are having trouble logging in, try using your full email address as your username, and don't forget to try alternate email addresses if you have several. If you have elected to receive AP style emails, the email address where you get those messages is the one associated with your AP Stylebook Online account. If you need your password reset, please go here:

AP Stylebook Online lets you search for Associated Press style guidelines and add your own local style notes. Site licenses connect multiple users so they can share local style entries. Learn more at

If you do not want to receive these email alerts, please log into your account and go to the "My account dashboard" area and click on "Manage my email preferences" to deactivate the email alerts.

Thank you for your business,

The AP Stylebook team