AP updates its ‘hyphen guidance’

The Associated Press Stylebook has introduced new “hyphen guidance.”

  • “No hyphen is needed in a compound modifier if the modifier is commonly recognized as one phrase, and if the meaning is clear and unambiguous without the hyphen,” reads a tweet from the AP Stylebook’s account.
  • So, in simpler, terms, you don’t need slip in a hyphen between words if — together — they are commonly recognized as a single idea or concept.
  • Of course that “if the meaning is clear and unambiguous” line leaves a little up to interpretation and may depend on context and knowledge of your audience.
  • There may be cases, however, where not hyphenating an even commonly known phrase could result in confusion because of the words that surround it or the context it’s used in, so reworking the sentence could be a good way to avoid having to add a hyphen back in.
  • In general, this will lead to a reduction in hyphens — which can result in cleaner looking copy.