Wednesday, May 12, 2004

AP style update

The stylebook committee has been busy lately.

This update is to the "caps, periods" section of "abbreviations and acronyms." It now says:
CAPS, PERIODS: Use capital letters and periods according to the listings in this book. For words not in this book, use the first-listed abbreviation in Webster's New World College Dictionary. Generally, omit periods in acronyms unless the result would spell an unrelated word. But use periods in two-letter abbreviations: U.S., U.N., U.K., B.A., B.C. (AP, a trademark, is an exception. Also, no periods in GI and EU.)

Use all caps, but no periods, in longer abbreviations and acronyms when the individual letters are pronounced: ABC, CIA, FBI.

Use only an initial cap and then lowercase for acronyms of more than six letters, unless listed otherwise in this Stylebook or Webster's New World College Dictionary.
The old entry (from my 2003 edition) said to use Webster's New World Dictionary and then said, "If an abbreviation not listed in this book or in the dictionary achieves widespread aceptance, use capital letters. Omit periods unless the result would spell an unrelated word." Period.

To lowercase acronyms of more than six letters is good, but I wonder why six. At the very least, I'd go with six or more. And I would prefer five or more, which I believe is the rule at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Want more? There's a related thread at Testy Copy Editors.


At 1:27 AM, May 13, 2004, Blogger Paul said...

Periods in abbreviations is so last century (or grom another perspective pre-war).

At 10:45 PM, May 13, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

OK, Paul. Do explain "grom."

At 1:34 AM, May 14, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now we hear that the Washington Post is considering adding periods to EU! Would that be post-modern punctuation?

At 2:37 AM, May 16, 2004, Blogger Paul said...

The g key is next to the f key. One is a two-finger typist.

At 12:17 PM, May 16, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

Crap, Paul. I should have been able to figure that out. I was just excited to learn a new word. Sorry!

At 5:04 PM, May 16, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consolation prize. This from the Macquarie and one we use a lot because of our surfing beaches:

grommet 2 noun Colloquial 1. an idiot. 2. a young surfie. [OF gromet, groumet servant, valet, shop-boy]

At 9:41 PM, May 16, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

Perfect, Paul! That's exactly the kind of fun I was looking for.

At 3:19 AM, February 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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