- Yesterday, at the American Copy Editors Society conference (yes, there really is such an organization!), Associated Press editors declared that “over” is now fine when referring to a quantity. It doesn’t have to be changed to “more than.” So, it’s now ok with AP to say that McDonald’s has sold over 45 billion hamburgers. Most of you won’t get worked up over this, but suffice it to say it’s heresy to old-line editors.
Here’s the explanation from AP Stylebook Editor Darrell Christian: “We decided on the change because it has become common usage. We’re not dictating that people use ‘over,’ only that they may use it as well as ‘more than’ to indicate greater numerical value.”
- Last year, AP loosened its rule on the word “underway,” saying that it should now be one word in all circumstances. It used to be that “underway” was one word only when used as an adjective, as in, “It’s an underway project.” Otherwise, AP style dictated that a publication should write, “The project is under way.”
- AP now allows this construction: “Hopefully, they’ll be here soon.” Previously, “hopefully” was used only to mean “with hope,” as in, “We went hopefully to see the priest.”
Times change, but it seems odd to say a rule is changing because of common usage. Many of us use “ain’t” often, but that’s no reason to deem it acceptable. I, for one, will be sticking to the old rules on these matters.
Thanks for visiting. While you’re here, please look around the site. You can subscribe via e-mail or RSS feed. The tools to do so are at the top of the right-hand column. To share or retweet the entry, use the buttons below. You can follow me on Twitter: @peterfaur.