5 updates in the 2012 AP Stylebook

The acceptance of ‘hopefully’ has sparked debate, but there are other important changes and additions to the go-to guide.

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Before you thumb through the nearly 500-page news writing guide, let me offer five important updates to the revised edition:

Hopefully. At the center of debate is AP’s updated definition of “hopefully.” The news service no longer objects to using hopefully as a floating sentence adverb, as in “Hopefully, the Boston Celtics will advance to the NBA Finals,” allowing the modern usage meaning, it is hoped.

Linguists, however, argue that hopefully is one word that waters down writing. They say it’s insignificant and doesn’t strengthen script, while one critic says, “it’s a free-floating modifier that isn’t attached to the verb of the sentence, but rather describes a speaker’s attitudes.” Other floating modifiers—sadly, mercifully, thankfully, or frankly—are common in English grammar and haven’t sparked discussion.

Fashion terminology. This new chapter lists 185 entries such as A-line, back-to-school clothing, bodysuit, cowl, Saks Fifth Avenue Inc., Tiffany & Co., Velcro, and wash and wear.

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