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 -- April 20, 2021. For your reference. Updates have been made to any quizzes that use these terms.

American Indians, Native Americans -- Both acceptable. It is preferable to use the name of the tribe. Do not use Indian.

antisemitism (n.), antisemitic (adj.) -- Formerly anti-Semitism.

Asian American -- Without a hyphen. Similar: Filipino American, Indian American, African American.

AAPI -- Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Use only in quotes, and explain.

disabilities -- The entry has been expanded. When possible, ask people how they want to be depicted.

ableism -- Term for discrimination against people with disabilities.

A caregiver gives care to a person. A caretaker takes care of some thing.

Latino, Latina -- The preferred terms. Use Latinx only in quotations, organizations, or by special request, and explain it. Use Hispanic if the person prefers. When possible, give a more specific identification of the country of origin.

Oriental  -- Do not use when you mean Asian.

people of color, minority, racial minority, biracial, multiracial -- Acceptable when relevant, but when possible, be more specific.

post-  (as a prefix with a hyphen) Check Webster's New World College Dictionary for guidance. Note these common words without a hyphen: postscript, postgame, postwar, postgraduate. But post-mortem.

slaves, enslaved people -- Either is acceptable. Follow the preference of your subject.

special needs, special eduction -- Avoid. Replace with specifics.

transracial -- Don't use this term.

injuries may now be suffered, sustained or received, but simpler is better.

trauma -- Usually, replace this vague term with specifics.

Uyghur -- Preferred spelling for the ethnic group in China.

busser -- Replaces busboy and busgirl.

doctor -- Use the title Dr. only for medical and veterinary doctors. For others, explain like this: "Gerald Grow, who has a doctorate in English."

first lady, first gentleman, second lady, second gentleman -- Acceptable as informal titles for spouses of the president and vice president. May be used for governors and mayors.

Jan. 13, 2021

Arcane: The server was blocking -- as a suspicious pattern, possibly a malicious command -- the correct answer to "Identify the nouns 2," question 8, which consists of the words "time Chubb leash Jarrett." We worked with our provider to tweak the server, so that question should work now. Who would have thought a list of nouns could be so threatening?

AP B-3: Through an incomplete update of an AP change, two answers in AP B-3 became identical -- "Black" -- with only one of them correct. The incorrect answer should have been "black." We will fix this next time around.

June 19, 2020: AP capitalizes "Black" but not "white"

Capitalize Indigenous and Black when referring to race, ethnicity or culture.

UPDATE July 2020:  AP officially decided NOT to capitalize white when used in a similar context.

Thus: "A Black teacher and a white teacher led the workshop on race."

These changes will be incorporated into Newsroom 101 starting in August 2020.

You can follow such changes and often find discussion about them on the AP Stylebook twitter feed and blog.

May 2020: Some recent changes to the AP stylebook

Use "actor" and "host," instead of "actress" and "hostess."

Use "blond" as an adjective in all applications. Avoid "blond" as a noun. Do not use "blonde." Similarly, avoid "brunette" except in a quote. Say "She has brown hair."

Use "busser" instead of bussboy, etc. Use "business owner" or "business person" instead of businessman. They are "city leaders" not city fathers. "Firefighters" instead of firemen. "Humanity" not mankind. "Artificial" (etc.) not man-made. "Maintenance hole" not manhole. "Mail carrier" not mailman. "Police officer" not policeman. Avoid "salesman," "manhunt," "waiter," "songstress."

Avoid "mistress."

"Freshman" is still acceptable."

Prefer the terms "older adults," "older persons," "older people" over senior citizens, seniors, or elderly.

There are expanded sections on sexual abuse, sexual assault, and related matters; addiction; disabilities; race-related coverage; climate change; gender-neutral language.

Learn how to describe firearms. The details are important in a new section of AP style.

The term "preheat" had been reinstated to AP style, at the insistence of cooks.

"Voudou" - the religion practiced in Haiti. "Voodoo" - the religion practiced in Louisiana.

Update of Spelling Quizzes (Fall 2019)

I revised the Spelling quizzes to make them easier for students to use.

(1) Easier entry: Students now choose correct spelling from a list

(2) Quicker review: Students can complete all answers in a quiz, submit once, and see a list of correct and incorrect answers

(3) No prerequisites: Spelling quizzes may be assigned and completed in any order.

(4) 80% to pass: To receive credit, a student must earn 80% on a spelling quiz.

2019: Some recent changes to the AP stylebook

Use the % sign.

Use the % sign instead of writing out “percent.”
Old way: 25 percent.
New way: 25% (no space).

Data is singular.

In writing for a general journalistic audience, “data” now takes a singular verb. “The data confirms his claim.”

Scientific and academic writing usually give “data” a plural verb: “The data confirm our hypothesis, but only in part.”


Changes in hyphens 

Drop the hyphen in African American, Asian American, etc.

Drop the hyphen in compound modifiers after “to be” verbs as in this example:

The food was first rate.

well-known judge. The judge is well known.

Drop the hyphen from compound modifiers that are clear and easily understood:

The AP’s examples of correct usage include:

third grade teacher, chocolate chip cookie, early morning traffic, climate change report, first quarter touchdown, real estate transaction.

Drop the hyphen from “ee” words made with pre- and re-, such as:


Use fewer hyphens in general. The basic rule remains: Consult the stylebook. If it does not provide an answer, use hyphens if they are necessary so readers can understand and avoid confusion. Otherwise, leave them out.


The hyphen remains in instances that have their own entries in the stylebook. For example:

A charge of first-degree murder may also be called a charge of murder in the first degree.

part-time student attends school part time.

It’s OK to split infinitives.

It is acceptable to sometimes split an infinitive or break the components apart in the compound form of a verb, if this makes the sentence easier to understand.

In the previous sentence, “to split” has been separated to illustrate the point.

Use no quotation marks around these titles.

Use no quotes around software titles, apps, games (video games, board games).

Replace “casualties.”

Casualties might refer to injuries or to deaths. Be specific.

Use “suspect” correctly.

Suspect: person believed to have committed a crime.

If an unknown person definitely committed a crime, don’t call them a suspect. (Notice the appropriately ungendered use of “them” here, which is acceptable in AP style.)

Entry on Latino, Latina, Latinx.

There are new entries on sex, gender, race and ethnicity.

Some gender and ethnic terms are in transition, and readers may not be know what they currently mean. Use Latinx only in quotes or when requested to, and then only by adding the explanation that is it used as a gender-neutral term.

Use Dr. on first reference only for medical doctors.

Use “Dr.” on first reference only when referring to doctors in one of the many medical fields. For persons with doctoral degrees in other fields, explain the degree first, then you can call them Dr., if you must.

Avoid “Indian” for Native Americans.

"American Indian" and "Native American" both acceptable. Never use just "Indian" when referring to American Indian. When possible, identify the tribe.

As usual, there are dozens of additions to the stylebook to help journalists write about this changing world.

2018: Some Recent Changes to AP Style Worth Noting

"They" can sometimes be used in the singular.

For a good summary, see this report from the Poynter Institute: AP style change: Singular they is acceptable ‘in limited cases’.

AP changed its usage of "flyer."  Use "flyer" now to refer to a handbill or a person flying on a plane. The term "flier" has been restricted to an unusual phrase for taking a risk.

There are now sections clarifying terms related to gender, immigration, and cyberattacks. The usage get complicated and is worth looking up.

The terms web and internet should be used lowercase.

3D is written without a hyphen.

homepage, smartphone, smartwatch, grassroots, livestream, livestreaming, microgreens, eggshell, dashcam, heatstroke, backstage, doughnut, landline, womenswear, takeout, wineglass - all are one word --

-- but not egg roll, jerry-built, oil field, cross-dresser, car wash, cross-country, all-star, drop-down, dog walker, ride-hailing, seat belt, drive-by, first aid, face-lift, flash mob, man-made, voice track, voice-over, sound bite, tie-dye, year-round, e-book, zip line.

IM is the abbreviation for instant message (acceptable on second reference). Its verb forms are IM'ing and IM'd.

Fractions. Spell out fractions less than one: one-half, two-thirds. If greater than one, us a space after the whole number, like this: 1 1/2, 6 2/3. Do not use fractions in percent, use decimal instead, as: 2.5%. (Recent change: No longer spell out "percent.")

Adding a bit of confusion, media can sometimes take a singular verb when it refers to the industry as a whole.

Refer to services like Uber and Lyft as "ride-hailing" or "ride-booking," not as "ride-sharing."

Spelling: sheikh; seat belt, safety belt, car wash (two words), a drive-by shooting (note hyphen); ID, LGBT; dashcam, onboard (one word); dis / dissing / dissed; and blue cheese (not bleu).

Walmart is spelled as one word.

Use cross-dresser instead of transvestite.

The AP has dropped its special use of collide. Previously, two objects could collide only if both were in motion. Starting in 2018, a moving object may collide with a stationary object in AP style: The car collided with the tree.

AP has dropped its insistence that persuade and convince have different meanings. They are now interchangeable.

Old rule: the witness' seat. New rule: the witness's seat. Use apostrophe-s to form the possessive of singular common nouns ending in -ss, even if the following word begins with s. 

Don't start a sentence with a numeral except for: 

  • the year -- "1968 was a turbulent year for many countries."
  • a number-letter combination, such as 3D.