BuzzFeed Style Guide

    The BuzzFeed Style Guide aims to provide a prevailing, and evolving, set of standards for the internet and social media.

    BuzzFeed publishes news and entertainment in the language of the web, and in our work, we rely on a style guide to govern everything from hard-hitting journalism to fun quizzes. We value consistency and accuracy across those formats and categories. (For instance, knowing how to treat numbers is important, but so is correctly spelling memeable.) Our perspective reflects that of the internet at large, which is why we hope other sites and organizations across the web will find these guidelines useful.

    This style guide is updated regularly to ensure it remains relevant and responds accordingly to changes in language and common, casual usage.

    Tip: Use the Find command (ctrl + F on a PC; ⌘ + F on a Mac) to search for specific words or topics.

    BuzzFeed’s preferred dictionary is In MW, the first spelling of a word should generally be used (unless it appears in the word list below or is preferred by the Associated Press Stylebook). Our preferred style manual is the AP Stylebook, which trumps MW, but any style point mentioned in this guide overrules those publications.

    This style guide provides a reference to common words and terms used on BuzzFeed and information on style issues particular to the site. It is not intended to be a comprehensive manual of grammar and style.


    A-list, B-list, etc. (n. and adj.): Use when referring to celebrities, e.g., “A-list celeb,” “celeb on the D-list.”


    abbreviations and acronyms
    • In most cases, do not use an acronym or abbreviation on first reference.
    • If it is clear and familiar enough in context, no need to put it in parentheses after a spelled-out reference; use your judgment.
    • Lowercase acronyms with six letters or more, e.g., “Nasdaq” (exception: NASCAR).
    • Possessive acronyms ending in S — like CBS or PBS — should take an ’s, not just an apostrophe, e.g., “CBS’s sitcoms,” “PBS’s programs,” etc.
    • Abbreviations should always be written in all caps, even if the abbreviation includes a preposition with fewer than four letters, e.g., “DOD” for Department of Defense (exception: “GoT” for Game of Thrones).
    • Do not use a period when abbreviating adverbs like “very” and “pretty,” e.g., “The weather is v nice today”; “He did a p good job.”
    Well-known acronyms and abbreviations do not need to be spelled out, even on first reference, e.g., CDC, CEO, ER, FDA, HBCU, HR, LAPD, MIT, NGO, NYPD, TSA, UCLA, UN, UNESCO, USDA

    ableism (see also disability):
    • Avoid ableist language (discriminating against people with disabilities), including figurative use of words like lame, crutch, or handicap (which historically described physical disabilities) and crazy, stupid, or insane (once used as official diagnoses for people housed in institutions) and idioms like lame duck (opt for outgoing president), turns a blind eye, or falls on deaf ears (use willfully ignorant instead). See Lydia X. Z. Brown’s glossary of ableist language to consider which words and terms to avoid and Ableism Is Embedded In Our Language. We Can Dismantle It.
    • Use nondisabled or person without a disability rather than able-bodied, which implies that people with disabilities lack “able bodies,” per NCDJ guidance.
    • Use low support needs or high support needs when writing about disabled people. Avoid high- and low-functioning; how someone is “functioning” can change day to day, but support needs do not change so often. Avoid special needs, differently abled, and handicapable.

    • When writing about abortion, use pro–abortion rights (adj.) and abortion rights advocate or activist rather than pro-choice. Use anti-abortion (adj.) and anti-abortion advocate or activist rather than pro-life.
    • Avoid heartbeat bill unless it’s in a direct quotation.
    • Use SB 8 in references to Texas’s six-week abortion ban.

    J.J. Abrams
    (for alcohol by volume)
    AC (for air conditioning)

    academic degrees:
    Bachelor’s and master’s degrees are possessive (whether used with or without the word “degree”); associate degree is not. Capitalize in the following instances: “Bachelor of Arts,” “Master of Science,” etc.
    • Style degrees like JD and MD thusly.
    • “Dr.” is unnecessary before a person’s name if their degrees follow, e.g., “Janie Smith, MS, MD, FACOG.”
    • If someone holds a PhD in a nonmedical field, do not use “Dr.” before their name. If it’s necessary to say a person has a doctorate, express as “who has a PhD in” or “who holds a doctorate in” after their name.

    • Follow AP guidance and use person-first language when writing about addiction.
    • Use terms like person addicted to drugs or person with a drug addiction. Avoid addict, user, abuser, and other terminology that reinforces stigma or is derogatory.
    • Use person with alcoholism, person recovering from alcoholism, or person with an alcohol addiction. Avoid an alcoholic unless individuals prefer that term.
    • Use terms like misuse, heavy use, or risky use when discussing addiction, which is a disease. Abuse can be stigmatizing.
    • Avoid clean when talking about sobriety.
    • Do not use the terms addiction and dependence interchangeably. Addiction usually refers to a disease or disorder; dependence may not involve one, as with some babies born to mothers who use drugs or cancer patients who take prescribed painkillers.
    • Finally, avoid using the language of addiction to describe an activity someone does a lot (e.g., “He is addicted to his phone”; “TikTok is addictive”), including derogatory terminology (e.g., “He’s a TV junkie”). Opt for phrasing like “She watches Netflix constantly” and “They can’t stop scrolling through Instagram.”

    addresses: For New York City street and avenue names that use numbers, always use numerals in street names (“6th Street,” “23rd Street”) and spell out the number in avenue names (“Second Avenue,” “Tenth Avenue”).
    administration (lowercase “a,” e.g., “It has been something the administration has avoided” or “the Biden administration”)

    • Use the neutral phrase place for adoption rather than give up for adoption, e.g., “She placed the child for adoption,” to avoid negative connotations that “give up” may imply.
    • Be mindful of using the appropriate terminology when describing nonadoptive parents. The terms birth parent and biological parent may not always be interchangeable. For example, a surrogate can birth a child without being a biological parent, and a sperm donor can be a biological but not birth parent. Use context (and, where applicable, a subject’s preference) as your guide.
    • To avoid othering adopted people, only mention someone's adoptive status if it's pertinent to the story.

    adviser (not advisor, e.g., “national security adviser”)
    AF (for as fuck)
    AFAIK (for as far as I know)
    Afghan (citizen of Afghanistan); afghani (currency)
    Afghanistan War
    (adj.): describes someone who does not have a specific gender

    • Use numerals for specific ages (“The 5-year-old had a party”; “She was turning 30”).
    • Use numerals for decades (“in your 30s”), but “twentysomething,” per MW.
    • Use older adult(s) or older person/people rather than senior citizens, seniors, or elderly. Do not use the elderly to refer to a group, as the term is vague and can be dehumanizing. Include age specifics when possible, e.g., “people 65 and older qualify.”

    (not Airpods)
    (for also known as): Use this style unless it starts a sentence, in which case AKA is acceptable.
    Bashar al-Assad
    album nicknames
    : An album best known by another name instead of its formal title should be styled in roman with no quotes, e.g., “the Beatles’ White Album.”
    alcoholic drink names: Lowercase, e.g., gin and tonic, except for parts of names that are derived from/themselves proper nouns, e.g., Singapore sling, Long Island iced tea (exceptions: Bloody Mary, Old-Fashioned).
    Al Jazeera (not italicized)
    alleged: Using “alleged” once toward the beginning of a story is legally advisable, but aim to avoid repeated uses. (See also sexual assault.)
    Muammar al-Qaddafi
    (not al-Qaida)
    Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
    , alterna-, avant-: Hyphenate all made-up constructions.
    a.m., p.m. (OK to capitalize in headlines)
    America: Generally, avoid America as a noun or adjective when referring to the United States, as it can also refer to other parts of the Americas and tends to be very US-centric. American(s) is OK when discussing people from the United States.
    Amex (for American Express)
    amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research)

    • Generally do not use spaces on either side of ampersands in constructions like Q&A, R&B, etc.
    • NEVER use a serial comma before an ampersand.
    • Don’t use an ampersand as a stand-in for “and” in headlines or running copy.
    • If using ampersands in recipe names, be consistent with their use throughout a post.
    • Adhere to self-stylization for companies, titles, musical artists, etc., that use an ampersand.


    • Hyphenate unless listed as closed in MW, e.g., “anti-gay,” “anti-labor,” “anti-terrorism,” but “antibiotic,” “antioxidant,” “antisocial.”

    • Use anti- prefix for terms related to discrimination instead of -phobic, e.g., anti-LGBTQ or anti-gay, not homophobic; anti-trans not transphobic; anti-Islam, not Islamophobia; anti-fat, not fatphobic.

    antifa: Use self-described “antifa” to describe that subsection of anti-fascist protesters.
    anti-Muslim: preferred to anti-Islam or Islamophobic
    antisemitism (no hyphen; for more information, see “Here’s Why BuzzFeed News Is No Longer Hyphenating ‘Antisemitism”)
    anti-vax, anti-vaxxer
    apps/social media platforms
    : When describing functions on social media platforms/apps, initial-capitalize and set in roman type, e.g., “The best thing you can do for your feed is use Hide Post liberally.” Within instructions, initial-cap and italicize function names, e.g., “Click Edit Preferences, then Prioritize Who to See First.” When using greater-than signs to progress through instructions, each function should be initial-capped and set in roman, e.g., “Settings > General > Restrictions.” See more examples in “Here’s How to (Very Politely) Remove People From Your Facebook Feed” and “I Switched On All My Phone’s Settings for a 10-Year-Old and It Was Fantastic.”
    the Apple Store
    : preferred to Argentinian as an adjective meaning of or relating to Argentina
    articles of impeachment (not capitalized)
    Asian: This is often used as a shorthand for East Asians and/or Southeast Asians. Use more specific identification when possible, e.g., South Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian.
    A side (n.); A-side (adj.)
    -ass: Hyphenate most forms, e.g., “wild-ass party” (exceptions: badass, kickass).
    AstroTurf (trademark), “astroturf” (in quotation marks for fake grassroots support)

    • Generally, all quotes should have attribution, even if it is obvious who is speaking. Avoid using colons to introduce quotes that are fewer than two sentences long; otherwise, aim for attribution within or after the first sentence of a quote. “Said” is the preferred verb for attribution; avoid she noted, he laughed, they contended, etc. “Explain” is also frequently misused; is the person quoted really explaining something?
    • Put the word of attribution after the name except when including an identifier, e.g., “Rihanna said,” but “said Rihanna, who recently reached billionaire status.” See also quotations.
     • In crowdsourced posts or posts with anecdotes by several different editors/people, quotation marks around the blurb are not necessary. Just add a “—FirstName LastName” (or “—Anonymous”) after the anecdote in italics.
    autism: Generally, use the phrasing autistic person rather than person with autism unless it appears in a direct quote. There are differing opinions within autistic communities about the language of identity, so ask an individual how they would like to be identified when possible. For more information, see “How Autistic People Are Showing the Limitations of Person-First Language.

    autocorrect (not auto-correct)
    autofill (not auto-fill)

    • Awards show names are set in roman, e.g., Academy Awards, MTV Movie Awards.
    • Initial-cap the names of individual awards given at official awards shows in all instances, including when shortened, e.g., Best Documentary, Best Gut-Wrenching Performance, Best Director, Best Live-Action Short Film, Best Adapted Screenplay.
    awards season, awards show (plural is preferred to award)


    baby boomer
    baby daddy
    baby mama (two words, but avoid using except in a quote)
    backseat (all forms)
     (for both the singular and plural forms)
    badmouth (v.)
    -bait: Generally close up, e.g., “clickbait, “linkbait,” “tweetbait.”
     (see also entry for -mate words)

    band names:
    • Usually take plural conjugation, e.g., “The band is on tour,” but “Haim are playing tonight.”
    • Lowercase “the” in band names that officially start with “the,” e.g., the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Strokes.
    • K-pop artists: Don’t cap every letter in an artist’s or band’s name, even if it often appears as such, e.g., G-Dragon, not G-DRAGON; Psy, not PSY.

    Kourtney Kardashian Barker (use on first reference, but just Kourtney Kardashian in headline)
    CE (for before common era and common era; not BCAD)
    Bechdel test
    (not Bechdel Test)
    Bernie Bros
    bestselling (not best-seller, best-selling)
    Big Oil
    Big Pharma, etc.; “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli with quote marks
    : Avoid outside of quotes; opt for marathon.
    BIPOC (OK on first reference for Black, Indigenous, and people of color)
    : Capitalize when referring to the shared identity, culture, and experience of people of the African diaspora. Use Black rather than African American when describing a person or thing unless it is relevant in the context of a story (e.g., “a conflict between African immigrants and African Americans”) or someone prefers to be identified as African American.
    Black girl magic
     (as in a voting bloc); black bloc (lowercase, in reference to the anarchist movement)
    blonde (n., adj.): Use for all genders.
    bocce ball
     (n., adj.); body camera (n., adj.)
    bodyweight exercises

    body image
    • Avoid the phrases real womenregular women, and normal women (or everyday people to talk about people). Instead, use nonmodels if you’re looking to describe people who are not professional models.
    • Be mindful of the terminology people use for themselves. Some are very publicly averse to the “plus-” label, for instance (though sometimes use of “plus-size” may be necessary in heds/deks for guiding the right people to the right post). Some people prefer “fat” for its directness or as a way of reclaiming the word; others prefer “curvy”; others prefer both or neither. If it’s unclear what a subject’s preferred terminology is, or if there’s no specific subject, offer multiple options.
    • If your post uses Instagram to illustrate a particular quality, e.g., a big butt, search the appropriate hashtag rather than assigning that quality to someone.
    • This goes without saying: Always avoid any type of body-shaming.
    • When warranted, include the following copy at the bottom of the post in italics: The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.

    body slam
     (n.); body-slam (v.)
    boogaloo bois (Use quotation marks or “so-called” or “self-styled” in first mention. Opt for member of the boogaloo bois/boogaloo movement instead of boogaloo boi in reference to an individual person. Read the Anti-Defamation League’s explainer on the boogaloo movement.)
     (adj.), bougiest (from bourgeois)
    box office (all forms)
    boy bandboy-bander
    bread crumbs
     (for the food); breadcrumbs (for the computer-y term)
    breakdance (all forms); breakdancer
    breastfeeding (one word, all forms)
    Breitbart (not Breitbart News)
     (adj., n.): Use for all genders.
    George H.W. Bush
    Brussels sprouts
    bull dyke
     (n.); bull-dyke (adj.): Avoid unless used in a direct quote.
    busedbusingbuses (for forms of bus)
    butt-: Generally close up, e.g., “buttcrack,” “buttface,” “butthole.”
    butt-dial (all forms)
    buzzer beater

    • Secondary bylines within text boxes are used exclusively in pieces where there are two or more authors of different copy blurbs throughout.
    • On first reference, insert byline one space after body copy ends, formatted as follows (em dash, no space, full name, italics): —Marty Rodriguez
    • On second and subsequent references, format byline as follows (em dash, initials each followed by a period, no spaces): —M.R.
    • If an editor who does not appear in a story’s byline contributed reporting to a story, add their credit at the end of the post as follows: Marty Rodriguez contributed reporting to this story.
    • At the end of a first-person story told to our editors, use italics, full name, and period on a new line after the last paragraph: As told to Marty Rodriguez.

    : This unit measures digital storage capacity; use all-caps abbreviations for kilobytesmegabytesgigabytesterabytes, etc. when used with a numeral, with no space between the abbreviation and the numeral, e.g., “My iPhone is 64GB; a 128GB storage capacity.”
    B side (n.), B-side (adj.)


    Cabinet (cap when referring to the governmental advisers)
    caj (for the abbreviation of casual)
    cakewalk: Avoid. This term historically refers to dances performed by enslaved people on plantations. Instead, use easyeasy victory, cinch, breeze, etc.
    camel toe
     (preferred over marijuana, a word with racist roots)

    • Capitalize words that are “often” or “usually” capped per MW.
    Never begin a sentence with a lowercase letter UNLESS it’s a very well-known brand (like iPad or eBay), though where possible, avoid the awkwardness of starting a sentence with a lowercase letter.
    • With directionals, lowercase “north,” “south,” “east,” “west,” etc., unless using them to refer to specific regions, e.g., the Northeast, the South, the Western Hemisphere, Southern California, East Africa, West Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe). Lowercase directionals when referring to nondefined regions, e.g., “eastern/western Ukraine,” “southeast Brooklyn.”
    • Product and brand names should be initial-capped unless that name is made of initials, e.g., Ugg, Gap, Ikea, Asos, AT&T (exception: MAC).
    • Product names styled in all lowercase by the company should be capitalized in copy, e.g., iPod Nano, not iPod nano.
    • Intercaps that delineate new words are OK: BlackBerry, eBay, iPod, NyQuil, etc. Intercaps that are just graphic treatments are not: Prana, not prAna.
    • Do not adhere to vanity capitalization in media, e.g., Rihanna’s Anti; if there’s an album named The BeSt tHiNg EveR, please just style as The Best Thing Ever.

    Capitol Rotunda (but “the rotunda”; for more, see legislative and executive branches)
    Cap’n Crunch
    “cash me ousside, howbow dah”
     (use only in references to Bhad Bhabie’s appearance on Dr. Phil)
    caucusgoer (see also -goer words)
    CBGB (not CBGB’s)
    : Always use this abbreviation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    ceasefire (n.)
    celebricat (for a celebrity feline)
    celebridog (for a celebrity canine)
    cellphone (not cell phone)
    CEO (always abbreviate)
    cesarean (i.e., C-section)
    Chance the Rapper
     (lowercase “the”)
     (one word)


    cheese: Consult MW regarding capitalization, but here’s a list of some commonly referenced cheeses: Asiago, Brie, cheddar, Comté, feta, fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano.

     (all forms)
    childcare (all forms; not child care)
    child sex trafficking (not child prostitution or underage sex trafficking, which imply consent or a legal age)
    child sexual abuse images (not child porn, although you might find this phrase in legal charges; “pornography” implies consent)
    chile vs. chili: Use chile powder to refer to ground dried chile peppers (e.g., “ground ancho chiles” or “ground cayenne chile”). Use chili powder for the spice mix of cumin, paprika, and cayenne (and other stuff) that is often added to chili (the stew). (Note: British English generally uses “chilli.”)
    chocolaty (not chocolatey)
    circle jerk
     (n.); circle-jerk (v.)
    ciscisgender (both adj.)

    cities, states, and regions:
    • Spell out state names in copy when preceded by a city, e.g., “This happened in Boca Raton, Florida, in 2020.”
    • LA is acceptable for Los Angeles on first reference, but other city abbreviations (NYC, SF, DC) should not be used on first reference in body copy.
    • Descriptions of a Long Island background should include a specific town, e.g., “They’re from Manhasset, New York” (not “They’re from Long Island, New York”). As an adjective, “Long Island” can stand alone without “New York,” e.g., “The Long Island singer recorded her first album at the age of 18.”
    • Use datelines in all original reported news stories, spelling out both the city and state or country name in full. Our style is as follows: MULESHOE, Texas — Running copy lorem ipsum etc. etc. etc.
    • The following US city names are well known enough to stand alone without a state, both in datelines and in running text (supplementing the list in AP, which has not been re-created here). Note: Just use “Washington” for DC datelines, but “Washington, DC” in running text: Atlanta • Atlantic City • Austin • Baltimore • Berkeley • Boston • Chicago • Cincinnati • Cleveland • Dallas • Denver • Detroit • Honolulu • Houston • Indianapolis • Las Vegas • Los Angeles • Memphis • Miami • Miami Beach • Milwaukee • Minneapolis • Nashville • New Orleans • New York • Oakland • Oklahoma City • Orlando • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Pittsburgh • Sacramento • St. Louis • Salt Lake City • San Antonio • San Diego • San Francisco • Seattle.
    • Other prominent smaller US regions like those listed here may not require a state to ID them, but the context must be considered: Aspen • Bel-Air  • Beverly Hills • Big Sur • Buffalo • Cape Cod • Compton • Des Moines • Fort Lauderdale • the Hamptons • Harlem • Hollywood • Malibu • Martha’s Vineyard  • Nantucket • Santa Fe • Santa Monica • Silicon Valley • Soho (NYC and London) • South Beach • Times Square; also New York’s five boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island).
    • The following non-US cities and regions can stand alone (for Canadian provinces, adding the province name after a city is sufficient — “Montreal, Quebec,” not “Montreal, Quebec, Canada”): Acapulco • Amsterdam • Athens • Baghdad • Bangkok • Barcelona • Beijing • Belfast • Berlin • Budapest • Buenos Aires • Brussels • Cairo • Copenhagen • Dublin • Edinburgh  • Florence • Frankfurt • Geneva • Glasgow • Havana • Hong Kong • Istanbul • Jerusalem • Kyiv • Lisbon • Liverpool • London • Madrid • Manila • Mexico City • Milan • Monte Carlo • Montreal • Moscow • Mumbai • Munich • Nairobi • Oslo • Ottawa • Panama City • Paris • Prague • Quebec • Rio de Janeiro • Rome • Saigon • Sarajevo • Seoul • Shanghai • Singapore • St. Petersburg • Stockholm • Sydney • Tehran • Tel Aviv • Tokyo • Toronto • Tuscany • Vancouver • Vatican City • Venice • Vienna • Warsaw • Zurich

    civil rights movement
     (n.); clap back (v.)
    class action (n., adj.)
    click through (v.); click-through (adj., n.)
     (abbreviate in casual instances, such as “Carrie Bradshaw and company”)
    co-: Hyphenate only if readability is an issue, e.g., “co-owner,” “co-creator,” “co-counsel,” but “coworker,” “cofounder.” Also, be mindful of whether a co- combining-form word is redundant, e.g., “copartner.”
    • Complete sentences following a colon are capped; incomplete sentences following a colon are not capped.
    • In US stories, generally avoid using colons to introduce quotes that are fewer than two sentences long.
    colorblock (one word, all uses; preferred to colorblocked)
    color-correcting (all uses)
    come (v.); cum (n.)
    comic con: Use this styling for a generic comic con; adhere to self-stylization for specific events, e.g., New York Comic Con, San Diego Comic-Con.
    coming-out (adj., n.); come out (v.)
    commander in chief (no hyphens)

    • BuzzFeed uses the serial (aka Oxford) comma, e.g., “We picked up cyan, magenta, yellow, and black balloons for the party.”
    • With “too”:
    • When “too” is used in the sense of “in addition,” use a comma, e.g., “Oh, Joe Biden Won Nevada, Too,” but omit the comma when “too” refers to the subject of the sentence, e.g., “Oh, you like cats? I like cats too.”
    • Also use commas with “too” when you want to emphasize an abrupt change of thought, e.g., “He didn’t know at first what hit him, but then, too, he hadn’t ever walked in a field strewn with garden rakes” (from Chicago Manual of Style).
    • No commas before “Jr.” or “Sr.” in names.
    • To create a list within a sentence, use numbers or lowercase letters and closing parentheses and separate items with a comma, e.g., “When I grow up, I want to own a farm that has a) acres and acres of land, b) goats of all shapes and sizes, and c) a pack of huskies for dogsledding.”
    • Do not use a comma between words repeated for emphasis, e.g., “It’s what makes her her,” not “It’s what makes her, her.”

    company and institution names: In general, refer to a company as “it,” not “they.” In lighthearted, non-News posts, it’s OK to personify brands by using “they,” especially if the alternative sounds awkward and/or stilted. Omit Co., Corp., Inc., Ltd., etc. Do not capitalize “the” in an organization’s name, even if it is part of its official title, e.g., the North Face.

    composition titles
    • Names of movies, TV shows, books, albums, plays, art exhibitions/collections, web series, podcasts, radio programs, media franchises, newsletters, and video games are styled with italics.
    • Movie/play scenes, television episodes, article headlines, chapters, song titles, individual pieces of art (e.g., Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers," Pablo Picasso's "Guernica"), and names of studies use quotes.
    • News publication names (both print and digital), magazine and journal titles, news organizations, and local news affiliates should be in roman type. Do not capitalize “the” in the names of print/web publications or companies or institutions, even if it is part of the official title, e.g., the New York Times.
    • Italicize titles of newsletters that contain more than one article and are broken down into article-like sections, but use roman type (no quotation marks) for other (typically shorter, less dense) newsletters.
    • Still unsure? See AP vs. Chicago’s handy cheat sheet for when to italicize vs. use quotes.
    • Titles that would normally be italicized (movie names, TV shows, books, etc.) are set off with quotes in headlines (since they cannot be italicized in headlines/list subheds in our CMS). Do not, however, put ship or other vessel names in quotes in headlines! Use good judgment, though, if readability is an issue, e.g., this is an acceptable exception to the publication-titles-in-roman rule: “Solange Explained The Importance Of Intersectional Feminism Perfectly In This Month’s ‘Bust.’”
    • Titles of issues (including the word "issue") should be capitalized and in roman type, e.g., Now Toronto's Body Issue.

    Con Edison (Con Ed OK on second reference)

    • Capitalize references to the US Constitution (with or without the “US” modifier), but lowercase “the state constitution,” the “nation’s constitution,” etc. • Lowercase “constitutional” in all references.
    • Other countries’ constitutions take an initial cap with a modifier, e.g., Mexican Constitution, but Mexico’s constitution.
    • Spell out the numbers in the first nine amendments and use cap “A” when referencing specific amendments to the Constitution, e.g., First Amendment, 19th Amendment.

    copy desk
    copy editor (n.)
    coronavirus: Precede with an article — “the coronavirus” — in references to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    coroner’s office (lowercase regardless of whether it follows a jurisdiction’s name. see also district attorney’s office)

    • A correction should include the accurate information. It should explain the error, and it may restate the error when it’s necessary to clarify what it was or to debunk a claim. See sample corrections at the end of this section.
    • Corrections should be made for errors of fact — not misspellings, typos, or broken links. DO issue a correction, however, if a person or brand’s name is misspelled throughout a story (even if a name appears only once and is misspelled).
    • If a correction is issued for a misspelling, it should be stated simply as [TK person]’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.
    • The correction’s tone should echo the tone of the item, in keeping with its gravity. For a factual error in, say, a funny list, the language can be fairly colloquial and even humorous as long as it contains the basic building blocks — “we got something wrong, and here is the correct information”; for a news error, the language should be sober and direct. A basic mistake on a list of weird facts about Love Actually can begin with “Gah!”; a correction of an error of fact in a news story should not.
    • Corrections should be in plain English, not in the somewhat formal corrections style traditional among news organizations.
    • Be very thorough and careful. The absolute worst thing is to have to correct your correction. If the correction is about a person, it’s often a good move to read the correction on the phone to its subject before printing it.
    • Try to mention the correction on all channels the story went out on — if you tweeted it, tweet the correction, etc.
    • Using the “correction” option will autoformat and timestamp your correction.
    • Don’t add a correction without first running the proposed correction by your editor or team leader.
    • If someone on social media pointed out the error, be generous to that person — whether you are feeling generous or not, and no matter how obnoxious the comment. That person did you a favor by improving your piece. On Twitter, if possible, end the correction with “(H/T: @twittercorgi)” and a link to the tweet in question. If a hat tip appears in a dek or in the middle of running copy as a stand-alone sentence, use end punctuation.

    correction examples:
    • Newsy, simple correction: Twitter increased the value of its IPO shares to between $23 and $25. An earlier version of this post misstated the value range.
    • Newsy, restating the error: Twitter’s CEO could not be reached for comment. An earlier version of this post said Twitter’s CFO could not be reached for comment. (This is also an example of when what was maybe just a typo warrants a correction rather than just a quick fix.)
    • Newsy, where BuzzFeed reported what was correct at the time but was later found to be incorrect: An earlier version of this article, using information provided by the Las Cruces Police Department, misstated Battista’s charges. He is charged with breaking and entering.
    • Humorous, simple correction: Gah! Miley was first documented twerking in public on Jan. 20, 2013. An earlier version of this post had the wrong date.
    • Humorous, restating the error: Oops! Samantha moved to London in the Sex and the City revival. An earlier version of this post said she died. RIP our mentions!
    Other examples where restating the error is necessary:
    • Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane. An earlier version of this post said he had stormed the beaches.
    • On Drake’s new album, a credit wasn’t listed for the producer on the first track. An earlier version of this post said that a credit wasn’t listed for the writer.
    Siberian tigers are the most endangered big-cat species. An earlier version of this post said pumas were the most endangered big-cat species.

    corrections vs. updates: Updates should be used to reflect important new information or clarifications; corrections are for mistakes (see updates).

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
     (e.g., member of a city council); counselor (senior adviser); counsel (n. or v., guidance or adviser, e.g., on legal matters)

    • Always use numerals for circuit courts, even as part of formal name, e.g., “US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit,” “7th Circuit judge,” “the circuit court.”
    • Italicize court cases/criminal trials and use v., not vs., e.g., Roe v. Wade. OK to italicize shorthand for court cases if they’re well known, e.g., Citizens United.
    • Use an en dash to denote decisions, e.g., “2–1,” “5–4.”

    COVID-19the coronavirus pandemic:
    • The disease caused by the novel coronavirus is called COVID-19 (commonly shortened to COVID), which stands for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
    • When we talk about cases of people who are sick, it makes sense to say “COVID-19 cases” and “deaths from COVID-19.” Similarly, people can be “infected by the coronavirus,” but they “get COVID-19.” When reporting on mass death, use phrasing that emphasizes the people behind the numbers: “X number of people have died” is better than “there have been X number of deaths.” Use direct language when writing about deaths, such as “she died,” rather than euphemistic language, such as “her life was lost” or “she passed away.”
    • Do not conflate rate and count when writing about cases or deaths; a rate is one number divided by another. Also avoid conflating infections with reported cases. The true number of COVID-19 infections is not known because many people may have been infected but never tested.
    • A phrase like “X number of deaths were reported yesterday” is more accurate than “X number of people died yesterday.” There is a lag in how COVID deaths are reported, so attributing a specific number to a particular date is never accurate.
    • The PCR test (stands for polymerase chain reaction) and antigen (or rapid) test are the two main COVID test categories. The former detects RNA specific to the coronavirus, while the latter detects proteins from the virus.

    crop top
    crowdfund (all forms)
    crowdsource (all forms)
     Lowercase names of cryptocurrencies, e.g., bitcoin, ether, dogecoin; "crypto" is OK as a shorthand.
    cyber-: Close up unless it affects readability, e.g., “cyberwarfare,” “cyberbullying,” “cybersecurity,” but Cyber Monday.
    Czechia (not the Czech Republic)


    dabdabbing (dance move)
    dancehall (music genre)
    dark webdeep web

    em dash
    • Create the em dash with keystroke option + shift + hyphen (on Macs)/alt + 0151 (on PCs)
    • Use the em dash to set off a phrase in a sentence, e.g., “I subsist off kefir — my breakfast of choice.” Try to avoid use of the em dash when parentheses, commas, or a semicolon would work just as well. Use spaces on either side of the em dash in this usage.
    • When an em dash is used to indicate interrupted speech, set it flush with the text and closing quotation mark: “I’m throwing my dog a bar mitz—”
    • For bylines, no space precedes the name (in italics), like so: —Marty Rodriguez (for more guidance, see bylines).
    corrections vs. updates: Updates should be used to reflect important new information or clarifications; corrections are for mistakes (see updates).
    en dash
    • Create the en dash with the keystroke option + hyphen (on Macs)/alt + 0150 (on PCs)
    • Do not use a space between the en dash and the adjacent words or numbers.
    Use an en dash 1) to represent a span or range of numbers, dates, or times (2003–2010, June 13–Nov. 19, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.); 2) for scores and votes (“the House voted 230–197”); 3) between words to represent connection (“US–Mexico border”); 4) to create compound adjectives with an open name or phrase (“the Washington, DC–based movie,” “the woman of color–owned business”); 5) to indicate temperatures below zero, e.g., “–10 degrees.”


    • “September 1961,” “spring 1955” are preferred over “September of 1961,” “spring of 1955” in news stories.
    • In most stories, format full dates as follows: “Oct. 3, 1983.” In features and essays, however, it is acceptable to spell out dates in full (“October 3, 1983”). Do not use “1st,” “2nd,” “3rd,” etc., in dates.
    • Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Spell out the month when using by itself or with a year alone.
    • When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day, and year, set off the year with commas.
    • Examples (these apply to headlines and deks as well):
    • “March 1983 was a good month because that’s when I came into the world.”
    • “Feb. 4 was the coldest day of the month.”
    • “His birthday is April 17.”
    • “Feb. 14, 2009, was the worst Valentine’s Day ever.”
    • “Episode 3 airs Saturday, Feb. 1, at 10:30 p.m.”
    • “They were the editor of the yearbook for the 2018–19 school year.”

    daycare (not day care)
    Day-Glodayglow (n.): Capitalize the trademark, used for fluorescent materials or colors; lowercase, one word, refers to airglow seen during the day.
    daylong, dayslong
     (n., v.)

    • The lowercase deaf refers to someone with no hearing. The capitalized Deaf is used by members of Deaf communities in relation to identity and culture. Avoid using hearing-impaired; use phrasing such as hard of hearing or partially deaf.
    • Do not use the term deaf-mute; the preferred phrasing is that an individual cannot hear or speak. (A person who does not speak may or may not be deaf.)
    • Per the National Center on Disability and Journalism, the terms deafblind, deafblindness, deaf-blind, and deaf-blindness are acceptable. Hyphenate or close up based on an individual’s preference.

    deal breaker (two words)
    decades: Use ’90s or 1990s (not 90’s, 1990’s, 90s, nineties, eighties, or any other combination!).
    Deep South
    deep state
    Defense Production Act
     (not Protection)
    Deir ez-Zor (for the city in Syria)
    • “In 18 to 49, there was…”
    • “Among 18- to 49-year-olds…”
    • “In the 18-to-49 demographic…”

    die-hard (adj.); diehard (n.)

    • We adhere to the AP Stylebook’s guidelines, which advise: “In general, do not describe an individual as disabled unless it is clearly pertinent to a story. If a description must be used, try to be specific. An ad featuring actor Michael J. Fox swaying noticeably from the effects of Parkinson’s disease drew nationwide attention. Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with or suffers from multiple sclerosis. Rather, has multiple sclerosis.” Do not use the word handicapped to describe people. Say accessible parking/stall rather than handicapped.
    • Ask a person whether they prefer people-first language (using a person’s name or the word “people” or “person” before a condition — “a person with a disability”) or identity-first language (“disabled person”). If you cannot ask someone their preference, either is fine. See also people-first language.
    • Use mentally disableddevelopmentally disabled, or intellectually disabled.
    • Use wheelchair user rather than confined to a wheelchairor wheelchair-bound. Only specify why a wheelchair is used if it is relevant to the story.
    • Avoid words that have ableist connotations or make light of disabilities. Instead of describing something as figuratively crippled or handicapped, use hamperedobstructed, or inhibited; instead of tone-deaf, use insensitiveobtuse, or oblivious.
    • The term sign language is lowercase, but capitalize American Sign Language (ASL on second reference). Someone who communicates in sign language is a signer, e.g., “an ASL signer.”
    • Use nondisabled, not able-bodied, when referring to people who do not have disabilities (see also ableism).
    • For further guidelines, refer to the National Center on Disability and Journalism’s style guide and the National Disability Rights Network’s Guidelines for Reporting and Writing About People With Disabilities.

    disease: We adhere to the AP Stylebook’s guidelines, which advise: “Avoid such expressions as: He is battling cancer. She is a stroke victim. Use neutral, precise descriptions: He has stomach cancer. She is a stroke patient.” Avoid describing sobriety as “clean” unless in quotations, since it implies a previous state of dirtiness instead of disease.
    disinformation: the intentional spreading of false or misleading information, often for political gain, e.g., “a disinformation campaign” (see also misinformation)
    Disney PrincessDisney princess: Capitalize the brand/line of characters; lowercase “p” refers to a specific character from a Disney film.
    Disney+ (not Disney Plus)
    diss (as in to disrespect)
    district attorney’s office: Lowercase in all instances — e.g., LA County district attorney’s office (the DA’s office is OK on second reference). Also lowercase district attorney unless the title precedes a noun, e.g., Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
    Division OneTwo, etc. (for sports references)
     (n., v.), DJ’dDJ’ing
    “don’t ask, don’t tell”
    : Lowercase, in quotes, with a comma, for the former US military policy; in subsequent references, omit quotes or abbreviate as DADT.
    dos and don’ts
     (all forms)
     (not doughnut)
    down-low (also on the DL)
    Down syndrome
    : Do not use the term “Dr.” before the names of nonmedical doctors who hold a doctorate
    DREAMer: Use when referring to advocates and beneficiaries of the DREAM Act.
    drive-thru (n.)
    drunk driving (n.); drunk-driving (adj., v.): preferred to drunken driving
    drunk-text (hyphenate as a compound verb)
    Duck, Duck, Goose
     (not do-rag)
    dwarfism: see little people


    e-booke-cigarettee-commerce, but email
    : Capitalize only when referring explicitly to the planet, e.g., “the biggest on Earth” but “a down-to-earth guy.”
     (capital “E” for the drug)
    E. coli
    [editor’s note:]
     (for editor’s notes in running text), [Editor’s note:] (if it starts a sentence or is its own sentence)
    elbow bump
     (n.); elbow-bump (v.)
    Election Dayelection night (do not hyphenate as modifiers)
    Electoral College

    • Use three dots in a row, no spaces between the dots: ...
    • If an ellipsis is used to indicate a mid-sentence pause, don’t use a space on either side, e.g., “We could go there...or not.” If an ellipsis is used to indicate a trailing off in thought or a long pause before a full sentence, insert a space before the next sentence, e.g., “I don’t know... Certainly, I don’t think it will be good.”
    • If an ellipsis is used after a full sentence to indicate omission of one or more full sentences (as in a spoken quote), use a period followed by a space before the ellipsis, e.g., “We moved to New Orleans in 2010. ... By 2012, we were back in New York.”
    • If an ellipsis is used to indicate omission of words in a spoken quote rather than a full sentence or is inserted mid-sentence, use a space on either side of the ellipses, e.g., “I adopted the cat yesterday and he’s the best. He’s already made himself right at home” would become “I adopted a cat yesterday ... He’s already made himself right at home”; “Let’s hang out on Saturday and do something fun because the weather is supposed to be nice” would become “Let’s hang out on Saturday ... the weather is supposed to be nice.”
    • If an ellipsis is used at the beginning of a text box/subheading, do not follow with a space, and generally lowercase the word following the ellipsis.
    • When inserting an ellipsis in a written quote, use brackets to indicate it was added by an editor and not part of the original text.
    • See more about ellipses on Grammar Girl.

    Emily's List
    (not EMILY's List)
    emoji (singular, and as a collective language unit), emojis (plural):; put emojis outside end punctuation, not inside.
    -esque: Either close up or use a hyphen depending on readability, e.g., “yolo-esque,” but “Kafkaesque.”
    ever closer (no hyphen)


    F-you (n., not eff-you)

    • likes — lowercase, not set in quotes
    • to friend someone — lowercase, not set in quotes
    • Capitalize proper nouns: Facebook Groups, Facebook Live, Facebook Memories, Feed, but “Facebook stories.”
    • Facebook-stalk (v.)

    facedown (adj.)
     (one word, all forms)
    face-swap (all forms)
    face-to-face (adj., adv.)
    FaceTime (Apple app); face time (n., all other uses)
    faceup (adj.); face up (v.)
    face mask (two words)
    fact-check (all forms); fact-checkerfact-checking
    fangirl: Avoid.
    fandoms: Capitalize, set in roman, no quotes, e.g., Beliebers, the Beyhive, Deadheads, Little Monsters.
    farmers market
    fast food
     (n.); fast-food (adj.)
    favedfaving (e.g., “I faved their tweet”)
    FBI (always abbreviate)
    FDA (always abbreviate)
    -fest: Most combining forms should be closed up, e.g., “lovefest,” “puppyfest.”
    fiancé (all instances, regardless of gender, not fianceé)
    final girl
     (horror trope)
    first family
    first ladyfirst gentleman (always lowercase, e.g., “first lady Jill Biden,” as they’re not formal titles)
    first-term (adj., for congressional representatives; not first-year or freshman)
     (n. and adj.; not freshmen or freshman)
    first-world problem (avoid)
    fist-bump (v.); fist bump (n.)
    flat iron
     (hair tool, n.); flat-iron (v.); Flatiron District
     (one word, both as n. and adj.)
     (no hyphen)
    flyer (for both a circular/paper and a person who flies)
    For You page: Initial-capitalize and set in roman type, e.g., “TikTok’s For You page kept serving me more fake African wedding videos.” (see apps/social media platforms for more)
    FOSTA-SESTA (hyphenate; not SESTA-FOSTA)
    FoxFox News (not FOX); Fox & Friends
    • When spelling out fractions in running copy, hyphenate: “You’ll need one-third of a cup of sugar for that recipe”; “More than one-half of the student body voted for removing soda machines from campus.”
    • In “and a half” constructions, e.g., “In two and a half weeks…” no hyphenation is necessary.
     (n.); freak out (v.)
    Freedom of Information Act (FOIA on second reference)
    friend zone (n.); friend-zone (v.)
    front line (n.); frontline (adj.)
    frontrunner (one word, contrary to AP)
    Froot Loops (not Fruit Loops)
    : Generally close up, e.g., “clusterfuck,” “bumblefuck.”
    fuckup (n.); fuck up (v.); fucked-up (adj., hyphenated when it precedes a noun)
    fur baby


    G20 (not G-20), G7 (OK on first reference; lowercase “summit”)
    Gambia (not the Gambia or The Gambia)
    games: Use italics for video game titles, including console, browser, and arcade. For board games, card games, and spoken games (e.g., Monopoly, Uno, Never Have I Ever), use roman type. App names should be roman and capitalized.

    gaslighting: A pattern of behavior meant to compel a person to question their own judgment or sense of reality. It is not synonymous with lying.

    -gate: Close up and capitalize all forms, e.g., Pizzagate, Gamergate, Nipplegate.
    Gehad el-Haddad
    Generation X
    Gen XGen X’erGen ZGen Z’er, Gen Alpha (but millennial, lowercase)
    genres: Music genre names should always be lowercase, e.g., “new wave,” “indie,” “hip-hop” (exceptions: K-popJ-popR&B).
    “get out of jail free” card
     (v.); GIFsGIFable: It’s pronounced with a hard g, NOT like the peanut butter Jif.
    GIF set
    Girl Scout Cookie
     (magazine featuring scantily clad women); girly (a synonym for girlish)
    glow-up (n.); glow up (v.)
    : Capitalize only if explicitly referring or alluding to a deity; lowercase otherwise, especially in common phrases, e.g., “Thank god she was OK”; “Oh god, he thought”; “And god knows we needed all the help we could get.”
     (per MW); goddamnitgoddamned
    : Close up, e.g., “beachgoer,” “theatergoer,” “fairgoer,” “filmgoer,” unless readability is an issue.
    gonna (not gunna)
    good Samaritan
     (preferred over Google Plus)
    google (v.); Google (n.); google-able
    grades (as in school)
    : “He was in the first grade”; “she was a first-grader”; “they were both first-grade teachers.” Use numerals for grades 10–12.
    grandfathered in, grandfather clause: Avoid. The term grandfather clause comes from a Jim Crow–era law intended to disenfranchise Black voters. Today, it’s used to refer to an obsolete provision that applies to some people while others are exempt. Instead of grandfathered, use exempted, excused, preapproved, preauthorized, or legacied.
     (not grey)
    grown-up (adj., n.)
    Guantánamo Bay
    guest star
     (n.); guest-star (v.)
    gun controlgun rights (never hyphenate)

    gunman: Avoid. Instead, use “shooter,” “suspect,” “assailant,” etc.


    Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi
     (interj.); ha-ha (n.)
    haircare (all forms)
    hair dryer (but blow-dryer)
    : Follow MW: “half brother,” “half shell,” but “half-court,” “half-mast.” Hyphenate as a modifier, e.g., “My half-asleep ass didn’t pay attention in chemistry class.”
    half hour (n.); half-hour (adj.)
    handwashing (one word, no hyphen)
     (all uses)
    hardcore (all uses)
    hardline (adj.)
     (n.); hate-watch (v.)
    Hawaiian: Use Hawaiian or Native Hawaiian to refer to people indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands; use Hawaii resident for a person who lives there but is not native to it.
    “he said, she said”
    : Close up unless it interferes with readability, e.g., “metalhead,” “pothead,” but “hip-hop-head,” “Phish-head.”
    head count

    headlines, deks, and subheadings
    • Initial-capitalize every word in BuzzFeed headlines (our CMS will do this automatically), with no end punctuation (exceptions: question marks, exclamation points, and multiple sentences).
    • Use title case and quotes when citing a headline in the body of an article.
    • Treat deks as sentences with normal punctuation, and use roman type.
    • Subheadings and lists: Use common sense re: capitalization. Err on the side of consistency. If most sentences are full sentences, style and punctuate them accordingly. If it reads more like titles of images/things, e.g., Grumpy Cat, This Guy, Your Brother, recipe names, initial-capitalize each word (except for prepositions, articles, conjunctions that are three letters or fewer — and, at, but, for, of, etc.) and do not use end punctuation. REMINDER: In headlines/subheadings with initial-capped words, always capitalize “Is,” “Be,” and “Are,” which, although all puny words, are indeed verbs!
    • In lists, retain the “The” in superlative headlines, e.g., “The 30 Most Inspiring Films,” “The 25 Best GIFs Of 2016.”
    • With the exception of quizzes, generally avoid questions as headlines, particularly news headlines posed as ones that can be answered with a yes or no.

     (all forms; not health care)
    heart-eyes emoji
    gut-wrenchingnerve-racking: Via MW, “heartrending” denotes sadness; “gut-wrenching” is meant to describe something that causes great mental or emotional pain; and “nerve-racking” describes something causing someone to feel nervous.
    Pee-wee Herman
    high five
     (n.); high-five (v.)
    higher-up (n.)
    hijab, hijabs
     (n. and adj., used for someone who wears a hijab)
    hijinks (not high jinks)
     (as in Woodstock, peace and love, and all that); hippy (as in big-hipped)
    a historic (not an historic)
    hi-top fade
     and -negative: Hyphenate in all uses, but the language is living with HIV or has HIV is preferred.
    hohos (plural for the derogatory term)

    • Use phrases like person experiencing homelessnessperson who is homeless, and person without a home in running copy rather than homeless person. Some activists also use unhoused or houseless to describe this population, emphasizing the distinction between having a house and having a home.
    • Homeless person/people is OK for a headline where brevity is key, but avoid collective nouns like the homeless or the needy. Individualizing the housing crisis and using people-first language helps us avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
    Only mention someone’s housing situation when it is relevant. Use straightforward language and avoid descriptions that connote pity (e.g., struggling with homelessness).
    • Homeless shelter is an acceptable term for temporary residences typically operated by the local government.
    • Unhoused can be used in place of homeless and can describe someone who has been evicted. Unsheltered generally refers to someone who lives in a tent, vehicle, or other structure rather than consistently sleeping at a homeless shelter. Opt for people-first language, e.g., “people who are unsheltered,” in running text (these are newer terms and may not work well in headlines).

    homepage (also, homescreen, etc.)
    bell hooks
     (n.); hook up (v.)
    hotspot (Wi-Fi connection place); hot spot (for other uses, e.g., vacation hot spots)
    hourlong, hourslong
    Houthi rebels
     (for hat tips; never H/t)
    HuffPost (not HuffPo or Huffington Post)
    humankind (preferred to mankind)
    hunker down
     (not bunker down)
    hyper-: Follow MW, but typically close up.

    • Do NOT use a hyphen after an adverb (not limited to but including most words ending in “-ly”), e.g., “It was a poorly written book,” not poorly-written.
    • Note that other adverbs besides ones ending in “-ly” also don’t need hyphens (“the almost empty glass,” “an often misunderstood rule,” “a very strong beer,” etc.) unless their meaning is ambiguous, e.g., “a little-regarded athlete,” “a still-unknown number,” “a well-known presenter.”
    • Hyphens are usually not used when a phrase is made up entirely of nouns, e.g., “video game console,” “crime scene cleanup,” “toilet paper roll,” especially when the modifying compound noun can be found in the dictionary.
    • When adding a prefix before a compound adjective, use hyphens between all components, e.g., “a non-habit-forming drug” — but in extreme cases it’s better to reword the sentence to avoid awkward punctuation.
    • In a list where an element of the modifying phrase is not repeated, use a suspended hyphen, like so: “a university-owned and -operated bookstore”; “second-, third-, and fourth-grade teachers.”
    • Slashes are OK in specific contexts (like “and/or”), but use hyphens for basic compounds and double titles like “singer-songwriter” (not singer/songwriter) or “writer-director.”
    • When a modifying phrase is longer than a couple of words, quotation marks can sometimes be easier to read than a ton of hyphens, e.g., “He heaved a ‘back to the drawing board’ sigh.” Use quotes rather than hyphens in a modifying phrase that would be said aloud, e.g., “a ‘press 1 for English’ call,” “a ‘shit is getting real’ afternoon.”
    • When a hyphenated compound noun is part of a modifying phrase, use an en dash after the hyphenated noun, e.g., “an editor-in-chief–approved plan.”


    -ian: Close up, e.g., Trumpian, unless doing so makes the word unreadable.
    ice cream (adj., n.; never hyphenate)
    iced coffee (not ice coffee)
    ID (identification)
    Ikea (not IKEA)
    illegitimate: Do not refer to the child of unmarried parents as illegitimate. If it is pertinent to the story at all, use an expression such as “whose parents were not married.”
     (i.e., I’m going to, as in “I’mma let you finish...”)
    • In running copy, refer to people fleeing their countries as “people” (and variations thereof: “people fleeing war,” “people escaping Eritrea,” “people fleeing for Europe,” “people escaping the war in Syria,” etc.). This allows us to humanize the crisis.
    • Undocumented immigrant is acceptable terminology, but avoid illegal immigrant unless we’re referencing quoted material.
    • Young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children are referred to as DREAMers (retaining capitalization of the DREAM Act).
    • Avoid the use of import in any form used to refer to international people.
    • When shorthand is necessary, i.e., for headlines/deks, be precise:
    • Use migrant when referring to someone seeking economic opportunity.
    • Use refugee when referring to, per AP, “a person who is forced to leave [their] home or country to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.”
    • The UNHCR’s explainer of the distinction between the words is a helpful resource.
    • Refugee ban and travel ban describe different parts of the Trump administration’s contested immigration policy, with the latter describing the planned action against citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.

    inauguration when referring to the ceremony, Inauguration Day when referring to the totality of events on the day of the inauguration, per AP
    indie popindie rock: Hyphenate as modifiers, e.g., “indie-rock band.”
    Indigenousindigenous: Capitalize in references to people and communities; lowercase in generic references, e.g., “indigenous plants.” See also Native American.
    Indigenous Peoples Day (no apostrophe in the holiday observed in the place of Columbus Day)
    illegitimate: Do not refer to the child of unmarried parents as illegitimate. If it is pertinent to the story at all, use an expression such as “whose parents were not married.”
    : Use periods and no spaces when referring to someone’s initials in running copy, e.g., “We call him J.B. back home”; the only exception to this is in Q&As, when initials precede colons.
    inmate: Do not use inmatesex offenderparolee, or probationer outside of quoted material. Opt for phrasing that includes “person” or “people,” e.g., “incarcerated/imprisoned people,” “people in prison/jail.” For more information, see the Language Project from the Marshall Project.

    • Instafamous
    • Instagram, Instagrams (n.) (as in the photo[s] you posted)
    • Instagrammed, Instagramming (capitalized in all forms)
    • Instagram Live
    • Instagram story
    • As ~quirky~ verb form: “to ’gram”; “the ’gram” (noun)
    • Capitalize filter names: Amaro, Earlybird, Lo-Fi, etc.

    • Avoid “The Internet Did ____,” “All Of The Internet,” “Everyone On The Internet,” etc., as a frame/device in headlines.
    • Also avoid using “...broke the internet” in both headlines and in running copy; instead opt for more descriptive, specific language.

    Internet of Things
    : Use incarceration rather than internment when referring to the forced relocation of Japanese Americans to camps during World War II.
    iPad Mini
    iPhone 13 Pro Max
    iPhone SEiPhone XR (follow Apple’s capitalization for model names/numbers)
    Iraq War
    : Generally avoid redundant phrasing like “IRL lives” when using the initialism as an adjective.
    -ish: Close up unless doing so makes the word unreadable, e.g., “New Yorkish,” but “emoji-ish.”
    ISIS: Use ISIS, not ISIL or Islamic State, for the militant group (even to seeming redundancies like “the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria”).
    IT (OK on first reference for information technology)
    It girlIt couple


    Jan. 6: OK in reference to the insurrection, e.g., “the Jan. 6 riots” or “the Jan. 6 insurrection.” Add 2021 if needed for clarity in less specific references, e.g., “Trump’s speech on Jan. 6, 2021.”
    J. Law
     (abbreviation for Jennifer Lawrence)
    J.Lo (abbreviation for Jennifer Lopez)
     (no exclamation mark for the TV show)
    Jell-O (trademark); jello (generic)

    job titles
    • Use gender-neutral job titles, e.g., salesperson or sales rep rather than salesmanlawmaker rather than congressman/congresswomanchair rather than chairman/chairwomanspokesperson or representative rather than spokesman/spokeswoman. Avoid gendered terms like actresseditrix, and songstress outside of direct quotes and titles. Instead of using a gendered term like businessman, be specific — e.g., “entrepreneur,” “financier,” “broker,” “investor,” “business partner.”
    • Only capitalize formal titles. Lowercase occupational descriptions before a name.
    • Standard practice in entertainment coverage is never to capitalize a job title except when it starts a sentence. The same goes for every position on a movie set: “director Ava DuVernay,” “screenwriter Tina Fey,” etc. Executives within the studios, however, follow the standard AP rules for title capitalization.
    • Use Sen.Rep.Gov., etc., before a name and always cap them, even after an adjective (see below) — but those titles without names are lowercase and spelled out in full, e.g., “While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey introduced the Green New Deal, other Democratic representatives and senators had different approaches to address climate change.”
    • When referring to more than one current officeholder, capitalize and abbreviate their titles, e.g., “Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley,” “Govs. Greg Gianforte and Michelle Lujan Grisham,” “Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar.”
    • Capitalize department names when preceding a name, but lowercase as a stand-alone title: “Education Secretary Miguel Cardona,” but “the education secretary signaled a significant change in policy.”
    • Informal job titles are lowercase even before a name, e.g., “White House press secretary Jen Psaki,” “adviser Mike Donilon.”
    • Job titles following a region name, political affiliation, or similar should still be capitalized when preceding a name, e.g., “Russian President Vladimir Putin,” “Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” “Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.” Contrary to AP, lowercase a title after the words then, now, or former, e.g., “former president Donald Trump,” “then-president Ronald Reagan,” “now-president Joe Biden.”
    • Lowercase and use an en dash for titles that have two or more words in “then–” constructions: “then–vice president Mike Pence,” “then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton.”
    • For acting positions, lowercase “acting” but keep the title capitalized, e.g., “acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock.”
    • A politician’s party affiliation and the state they represent should routinely be included in a story as follows: “New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker,” “Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican,” etc. Do not use overly formal abbreviations like R-AL or D-NY following a name.
    • President-elect (hyphen, lowercase “elect”); Vice President–elect (with an en dash). Lowercase when not preceding a name: “The president-elect tweeted at 5 a.m.” or “The cast of Hamilton directly addressed Mike Pence, then the vice president–elect, following a performance in November 2016.”
    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
    Johnson & Johnson
    JPEG: Both are acceptable acronyms for the common image format; stay consistent within a story.
    : preferred to judgey in casual prose
    Juul Labs


    K. Stew (abbreviation for Kristen Stewart)
    Khloé Kardashian
     (with accent)
    Kim KardashianKim K (no period)
    Kim Jong Un
    King Salman
     (or “the Saudi king”)
    Kobe (as in Bryant — OK to reference by first name)
    koozie (for beer/alcoholic drinks)
    Kyiv (not Kiev)


    ladies’ night
    LARPing (for live-action role-playing)
    Latino, Latine, Latinx: These terms refer to those having Latin American origin; Hispanic commonly refers to people from countries colonized by Spain in the Americas. Use more specific identification when possible, e.g., Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, but generally use Latino/Latina rather than Hispanic when a broader term is necessary. (Defer to a person’s preference if possible.) Latine and Latinx are acceptable variations, making room for multiple genders despite the restrictions of language. There is mostly overlap between those who identify as Latino and Hispanic, but not all: One example of Latinos who are not Hispanic are Brazilians. Use Spanish only to describe the people who are from Spain.
    laughing-crying face or tears of joy emoji
    : preferred term for someone who leaks information, regardless of intent
    LeBron (as in James — OK to reference by first name)
    left swipe (n.); left-swipe (v.)

    legislative and executive branches (US government):
    • Lowercase congressional unless it’s part of a proper name, e.g., “congressional salaries,” but “the Congressional Quarterly,” “the Congressional Record.” Use numerals and capitalize District when joined with a number, e.g., “the 1st Congressional District,” “the 1st District.” Lowercase congressional district and district whenever they stand alone.
    • House of Representativesthe Housethe Massachusetts House, but in plural references, the Massachusetts and Connecticut housesStatehouse (singular) is always initial-capped even when the name of the state doesn’t precede it, but plural statehouses takes a lowercase “s.”
    • The capitol (lowercase) is the building in which lawmakers in each state meet, e.g., “The capitol building in Virginia is located on Bank Street.” It’s capped when referring to the US Capitol in Washington, DC, or those buildings in each state in constructions like “the New Hampshire Capitol.” The Capitol is used only in references to DC. Capital is used for a city or town where the seat of government is located, e.g., “Virginia’s capital is Richmond.”
    • Refer to legislation as it’s most commonly known, e.g., Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. In the absence of common shorthand, use the bill’s shortest proper title, not its number, e.g., the Justice Act, not S1689. Less well-known legislation should be followed by a short description.
    • Refer to existing legislation in the present tense until attempts to repeal it are successful. Refer to legislation in the conditional tense if it hasn’t been passed, e.g., “The New York sex decriminalization bill would legalize paid sex between consenting adults.”
    • A majority is more than half the votes cast; a plurality is the largest number of votes, but less than a majority; a supermajority is any institutionally defined threshold greater than a simple majority.
    • Use an en dash to denote vote counts, e.g., “52–48.”
    • Capitalize committee names, including inexact congressional committee names if they’ve become common parlance, e.g., US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senate Intelligence Committee. When naming multiple committees, lowercase committees, e.g., “the Intelligence and Oversight committees.”
    • Lowercase executive order in all uses.
    • Capitalize department names, even when not stating the full name to avoid making it appear to be a generic reference, e.g., “The charity has received millions from the Interior” (not “the interior”); “Housing and Urban Development was quietly advising lenders to deny loans” (not “Housing and urban development was”).

    LegoLegos (plural)
    -less: Usually closed up, but follow MW; hyphenate if not found in MW, e.g., “childless,” but “audience-less,” “pants-less” (exception: cashierless).
    less vs. fewer: Use “less” when referring to mass nouns, distance, or money; use “fewer” when referring to things that are quantifiable, e.g., “There was less of a risk with that option”; “There were fewer people at Li’s party than at Lucia’s.”

    letters (of the alphabet):
    • Individual letters and combinations of letters are not usually set in quotes (exception: instances relating to spelling, e.g., “Her name is JoAnne with a capital ‘A’”).
    • Letters that are used to represent shape are capitalized and not set in quotes, e.g., “an L-shaped couch.”
    • Letters used to denote grades are capitalized and roman, e.g., “If Yolo Studies were a class, I’d totally get an A”; “I had straight A’s up until I started doing krokodil.”
    • Italicize and lowercase letters denoting sounds, e.g., “I like the o and a sounds in the word.”
    • Add an apostrophe + “s” to pluralize letters: “the four F’s (famous people, festivals, fashion, and food).”
    • Add just an “s” to pluralize all abbreviations: DVDs, CDs, PhDs.


    When referring to the broader community, queer (as in “queer people”), LGBTQ, or LGBTQ+ (as in “LGBTQ people”) is appropriate. Gay is not. “LGBTQ” and "LGBTQ+" are only appropriate when referring to the broader community or groups of people, not when referring to an individual. To be inclusive, fewer or added letters can be used as needed if reflective of a quote or an organization's name, e.g., "LGBT center," "LGBTQIA community."  
    • Unless you already know based on research, it should be standard to ask how people identify themselves: gay, bi, genderqueer, queer, trans, etc.
    • A person can be trans WITHOUT also being gay or lesbian. Don’t assume.
    • Use cisgender (rather than non-trans) to refer to a person who is not transgender. Cis is also acceptable shorthand.
    • Trans and transgender are generally interchangeable.
    “Openly” vs. “Out”
     is preferred over out as a modifying phrase, e.g., “openly gay” or “openly trans,” but the terms can be used interchangeably if a writer or subject prefers. Be mindful, however, of whether a modifier is necessary given a story’s or sentence’s context; using it may be redundant.

    Transgender Terms (some of these are adapted from the GLAAD Transgender Glossary of Terms)
    • Transgender: An umbrella term (always an adjective, never a noun) for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, so use the descriptive term preferred by the person. Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.
    • Transsexual: An older term (NOT an umbrella term), which originated in the medical and psychological communities. Use as an adjective and only if preferred by an individual.
    • Cross-dressing: Occasionally wearing clothes traditionally associated with people of another sex. “Cross-dresser” should NOT be used to describe someone who has transitioned to live full-time as a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth or who intends to do so in the future.
    • If a transgender person has changed their name, always use their chosen name. Never use the birth name of a trans person who has changed their name, a process referred to as deadnaming.
    • Avoid pretransition photos in posts in which the subject is transgender. Never use "before" and "after" photos or stereotypically gendered imagery.
    • Use a person’s current pronouns, even when describing events before their transition.
    • Use anti-transgender bathroom bill (anti-LGBTQ bathroom bill is OK in a hed or where space is limited) to describe legislation geared at banning transgender/nonbinary people from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
    • Use transition or gender-affirming care, not sex reassignment or sex change. For more, consult the Trans Journalists Association style guide.

    life hack
    : Generally close up unless doing so makes the word unreadable; use MW and good judgment, e.g., “childlike,” but “doll-like,” “novel-like.”
    like: Use commas on either side for an interjection, e.g., “If you have, like, a really bad day...” No quotation marks when used as a self-referential pseudo quote, e.g., “I was like, we could never do that. And then we did.” Don’t set off with commas when used as a substitute for “about,” e.g., “There were like five dudes standing there.”
    likes (as in Facebook): lowercase and not set in quotes
    lil’ (for shorter form of little)
    Lin-Manuel Miranda
    lip gloss
    lip linerlipstick
    lip sync
     (n.); lip-synch (v.)
    listicle: Avoid; use list instead.
    Listserv: Avoid unless referring to the trademarked software; use email list instead.
    little people/dwarfism:
    • Use the term little person when referring to someone of short stature. Use dwarfism only if referring to the medical condition; per people-first guidelines, use person with dwarfism rather than dwarf. Never use the word midget.
    • Per the National Center on Disability and Journalism, some people prefer short stature instead of “little person.” When possible, ask the person which term is suitable.
    livestream (all forms)
     (for abbreviated form of dreadlocks)
    log in (v.), log-in (n.)
    logline (brief summary of a TV program or film); log line (used on ships)
     (n.): Avoid as a term for someone with long COVID. Instead, be more specific and use people-first phrasing, e.g., “person who has been experiencing long-term COVID symptoms.”
    long-term (adj.)
    longtime (adj.)
    long-standing (adj.)
     (one word, all forms)
    H.P. Lovecraft
    lower Manhattan
    upper Manhattan (lowercase “l” and “u”)
    : Set lyrics in quotes, use a slash between lines, and capitalize the first letter of each new line: “New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothing you can’t do.”


    MAC (cosmetics brand)
    mac ’n’ cheese
    maiden name; née
    : Avoid both, use birth name to refer to someone’s last name before marriage.
    make do (not make due)
    makeout (n., as in the act of making out)
    -maker: Follow MW, e.g., “decision-maker,” “deal-maker,” but “policymaker,” “lawmaker.”
    makeup (n. and adj.); make up (v.)
    : Avoid in reference to prejudiced writings; instead opt for screed, rant, or diatribe, per AP guidance.
    manila envelope
    : OK to capitalize the “-A-” in headlines.
    marriage: Use marriage equality and marriage for same-sex couples. Avoid gay marriage and same-sex marriage — as GLAAD notes, these terms “can suggest marriage for same-sex couples is somehow different than other marriages.”
    George R.R. Martin
     (hyphenate all forms)
    mason jar
    mass shootings
    : Do not include a shooter in the death toll. If a shooter dies, explain that in the running copy, not the headline. Do not be gratuitous with a shooter’s name, photo, and video in posts, headlines, thumbnails, social shares, and on platforms; because it exists doesn’t mean we automatically run it. Don’t censor the facts/news when naming a shooter, using a photo, or discussing the motive when it is necessary in the moment and during follow-up reporting. Use judgment each time.
    match-fixing (hyphenated in all uses)
    -mate: Close up most combining forms, e.g., “tourmates,” “cellmates,” but “running mate.”
    matzoh (not matzah)
    MD, MDs (plural)
    mecca (lowercase)
    meet-cute (n.)
    meetup (n.)
    mega-: Follow MW; generally hyphenate new forms, but close up megabank, megadonor.
    meme, memeing, memeable: Avoid phrasing like giant meme or viral meme, which are redundant and often hyperbolic; OK as a verb, e.g., “Hurry, meme this cat picture!”
    men’s rights activists (no capitalization)

    mental health: See our detailed guidelines for writing about mental health here, but generally:
    • Use words that end stigma, not perpetuate it. Avoid derogatory language like nutslunaticderangedpsycho, and crazy, especially when referring specifically to people. Some alternatives: wild, interesting, exciting, shocking, ridiculous.
    • Avoid using diagnosable conditions in a nonclinical sense. That is, don’t use a term like bipolar as a synonym for “moody” or OCD as one for “obsessive.” See also ableismdisability.
    • We also adhere to the AP Stylebook’s guidelines on mental illness, which include not describing a person as mentally ill “unless it is clearly pertinent to the story.” Mental illness is OK to use as a general term, but specific conditions should be used when possible. Do not use the term the mentally ill.

    #MeToo (not Me Too for the #MeToo movement)
    metric ton: Use this (not tonne) when referring to a unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms, e.g., “A private jet emits 2 metric tons of carbon dioxide per hour.”
    (adj., v.) (referring to having a microphone attached)
    microinfluencer (not micro-influencer)
    mid-: Close up most, but follow MW for guidance, and hyphenate when used with a number or proper nouns, e.g. “mid-1950s,” “mid-Atlantic,” but “midterm,” “midday,” “midseason.”
    middle-aged (not -age)
    middle class (n.), middle-class (adj.); also lower-middle class (n.), lower-middle-class (adj.), upper-middle class (n.), upper-middle-class (adj.), e.g., “an upper-middle-class upbringing”
    Midtown, Midtown Manhattan 
    mile-high club
    militant, militant group 
    (not militia when referring to an armed extremist or group)
    military: Per AP, US military organizations are capitalized, while non-US ones are not, e.g., “US Navy” and “US Air Force,” but “Chinese navy” and “Chinese air force.” 
    milkshake duck (n.); milkshake-duck (v.)
    millions and billions
    : Always use numerals, e.g., “6 million people.”
     (use in an open compound, unless closed up in MW: “mini cupcakes,” but “miniseries”)
    misgender (v.): to use a pronoun or form of address that does not correctly reflect the gender with which a person identifies
    misinformation: refers to falsehoods more generally without specific intent (see also disinformation)
    mistress: Avoid; use “girlfriend” or similar instead.
    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
     (use “Crown Prince Mohammed” or “the crown prince” on subsequent references)
    mohawk (lowercase when referring to the hairstyle)
    molly (when referring to the drug)
    MoMA (for Museum of Modern Art)
    mommy blogger: Avoid; use parent blogger or lifestyle blogger instead.
    • “99 cents,” “$8,” “$2 billion deficit”
    • Do not include .00 in a price, e.g., “$17” (not “$17.00”).
    • Style price ranges using an en dash and the currency symbol before both prices: “$10–$20”
    • When a price includes both numerals and words, never hyphenate, even when preceding a noun, e.g., “the $1.7 million house” (not “$1.7-million”).
    • Use symbols for dollars and British pounds (use option + 3 to get the £ symbol on non-UK Mac keyboards). Spell out all other currencies, e.g., euros, yen. For non-US dollars, clarify by using the currency’s abbreviation following the number, e.g., “$100 AUD,” “$25 CAD.”
    • In headlines and videos, OK to abbreviate thousands, millions, and billions thusly: “A $75K Salary,” “4.2M People,” “A $16B Company,” etc.
    more than vs. over: OK to use interchangeably, but typically, use “more” with quantities and “over” with spatial relationships, e.g., “There were more than 20 people packed into the apartment”; “The plane flew over the Atlantic Ocean.”
    monthlong, monthslong
    : Generally, follow AP’s guidance. Use Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on first reference in running copy, but Mormon and Mormon church are OK as qualifiers and in places where space is limited.
    Mohamed Morsi
    Gholam Hossein Mohsen Ejeie
     for readability, but motherfucking
    Lowercase and use numerals, e.g., “The dog was driving 7 mph.”
    mai tai
     (cocktail); muay thai (martial art)
    Hosni Mubarak
    : Follow MW.
    (not moustache)


    ’n’ (when using in place of “and,” e.g., “mac ’n’ cheese”)
    N95 (capitalize “N” and other letters when referring to air filtration certifications)

    • In news stories, use surnames on second reference (except for very young people); if there is a compelling reason to refer to a subject on first-name basis, that may be acceptable. If two or more people in the same story have the same surname, it’s OK to refer to all by their first name on second reference.
    • East Asian cultures generally place surnames first and then given names, e.g., Bong Joon-ho. Second reference should be the family name, Bong in this case. North Korean names are styled as three words without a hyphen, e.g., Kim Jong Un. South Korean names are styled with a hyphen, e.g., Lee You-mi. Exception: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeul. For more, AP has entries dedicated to Chinese and Korean naming conventions.
    • With surnames beginning with “al-,” “el-,” or similar prefixes, drop the prefix on subsequent references if using the surname only, e.g., Muammar al-Qaddafi on first reference, Qaddafi on second.

    nanoinfluencer (not nano-influencer)
    nap time
     (cosmetics brand)
    National Airport
     or Washington National Airport: preferred to Reagan National Airport
    Native American: Not American Indian, unless a person self-identifies as such; “Native” is also used as an adjective to describe things specific to the population. Don’t casually use terms and phrases derived from Native American culture like spirit animalpowwow, and low man on the totem pole. Don’t use off the reservationcircle the wagons, or other expressions with racist origins.

    natural disasters:
    • Capitalize “hurricane," "tropical storm," "typhoon,” or “superstorm” when it precedes the name that weather forecasters have assigned to a storm, e.g., Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina.
    • Use only storm names assigned by national meteorological agencies. Agreed names for tropical cyclones, which form at sea and include tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons (in the Western Pacific), are listed by the World Meteorological Organization here. European countries also assign names to storms that pose significant wind hazards. Avoid using names given by private agencies or companies, such as those used for North American winter storms by The Weather Channel.
    • Use “its” when referring to a storm (or any other natural disaster); do not use personal pronouns like “his” and “her.”
    • Always lowercase the word “fire” when referring to the names of wildfires, e.g., “the Silverado fire.”

    Necco (not NECCO)
    neck and neck, but hyphenate as a compound modifier when it precedes the noun, e.g., “The race was neck and neck,” but “a neck-and-neck race”
    Netflix and chill
     (n., v.)
    never mind
    News Feed
     (Facebook's News Feed), newsfeed (lowercase, one word for other references)
    news gathering
    Omarosa Manigault Newman
    New Wave
     (film genre); new wave (music genre)
    New York magazine
     (OK to abbreviate on first reference)
    nip slip
    No. 1
    : For official rankings, like on music charts. Spell out number one in all other uses, e.g., “Tuberculosis is the number one cause of death in people living with HIV”; #1 also acceptable informally.
    NOAA (pronounced "Noah"): Spell out the acronym for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at first reference.
    non-: Close up unless readability is an issue or the next word begins with an “n,” e.g., “non-negotiable.”
    nonconsensual sharing of sexual images/video (not revenge porn; see “‘Revenge Porn’ Is Neither Pornography Nor Revenge”)
    nonessential (adj., n.) (not non-essential; see also entry for non- words)
    nonfungible tokens, NFTs
     (adj., n.) (see also entry for non- words)
    now: When referring to time, do not use a comma, e.g., “I used to be completely terrified of heights. Now I’m generally OK with heights.” When used colloquially, use a comma, e.g., “Now, I’d never say that all cats are awesome, but I’ve never met one who wasn’t.”
    now-: Hyphenate phrases like “his now-husband” and “the now-president.”

     (see also fractions and weights and measures):
    • Generally, spell out one through nine; use numerals for 10 and above (exceptions below).
    • Be consistent when writing out numbers in succession, e.g. “9, 10, and 11,” NOT “nine, 10, and 11”; the same applies to ranges of numbers, e.g., “We are expecting eight to ten people” or “We are expecting 8 to 10 people” (both OK!).
    • Use a comma in numbers expressing quantity that are four digits or more.
    • Never start a sentence with a numeral — UNLESS a year starts a sentence (“2013 was a totally bodacious year”), but try to avoid this. Otherwise, spell out a number that starts a sentence and hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine. (“Thirty-five cats live on that island”).
    • Use “1 in 4 voters” (numerals) if it’s a large sampling. But spell out “six out of nine senators” because these are finite numbers under 10.
    • “More than 1 in 4 children are blonde” (not “is” when the subject is plural). Use a singular verb in constructions like “Around 1 in 3 students has the flu.”
    • In headlines: For lists, always use a numeral: “9 Adorable Photos Of Monkeys Riding Cats,” “8 Amazing GIFs Of Naked Presidents,” “5 Photo Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World.” For news headlines, use your best judgment: “Two Muslim Men Said Their American Airlines Flight Was Canceled After They Were Racially Profiled,” “A Shooter Killed 7 People At A Texas Nightclub.”
    • Always use numerals in video captions.

    the n-word (style thusly; see more under profanity)
    Lupita Nyong’o
     (OK to abbreviate on first reference)


    “O Canada” (for both the national anthem and expressions)
    Oath Keepers: Use member(s) of the Oath Keepers rather than Oath Keeper(s) to refer to individual people in the extremist group.
     (not ob/gyn)
     (adj., adv.)
     (for original gangster; no periods)
    oh manoh my godoh no (all OK without comma after “Oh”)
    OK boomer
     (three R’s, but add more for intensity)
    on board
    onboard: one word as a modifier (“onboard entertainment”), but “There was a baby on board”
    on demand (lowercase unless part of a service’s official title)
    The One (as in destined romantic interest)
     (adj., adv.)
    Oprah (OK to leave out Winfrey on first reference)
    otherotheringotherness: OK to lowercase to indicate use of the term as a category.


    PA (for personal amplifier)
    PACsuper PAC
    page 1
    page 2, etc. (for references to book pages)
    Paleo diet
    Panama Papers
     (one word)
    Parliament (capitalize in US and UK stories)

    parties and ideologies
    • Generally, cap the names of political parties, but lowercase ideologies unless they’re derived from proper nouns, per AP, e.g., Democratic Party, Republican Party, Libertarian Party, Chinese Communist Party, UK Conservative Party; Democrat, Republican, Marxism/Marxist, but “libertarianism/libertarian,” “communism”/“communist,” “conservatism”/”conservative,” “democratic socialist,” etc. Similarly, “registered independent” is lowercase.
    • Cap and use Democratic (not Democrat) as an adjective when preceding a political official’s title, e.g., “California’s Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra.” Use Democratic National Committee on first reference, DNC thereafter; Democratic National Convention on first reference, Democratic convention thereafter.
    • Cap and use Democrat when referring to a majority: “Democrat-controlled House” (not Democratic, contrary to AP).
    • GOP is OK in headlines and push notifications, but generally use only on second reference in place of Republican Party in running copy. Republican National Committee on first reference, RNC thereafter; Republican National Convention on first reference, Republican convention thereafter.
    • OK to use blue state and red state for variety, but Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning are preferred.
    • Lowercase the left and the right in all references. Left-wing and right-wing are hyphenated as adjectives, but two words as nouns, e.g., “the left wing of the Democratic Party.”
    • Use alt-right for both noun and adjectival forms, but far right as a noun and far-right as adjective. Put the “new right” in quotes on first reference.

    parts: Capitalize and use a numeral when describing elements of a work, including parts, chapters, episodes, and seasons, e.g., “For more, read Part 2 of our investigation”; “I loved Friday Night Lights — except for Season 2”; “I couldn’t make it past Chapter 1 of The Goldfinch.”

    pedophile: Do not use the term “pedophile” to describe someone who has abused children. (Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which someone experiences sexual desire for children.) Instead, state clearly if someone has exhibited predatory behavior toward children or refer to legal charges, such as “convicted of child sexual abuse.” 

    peeping Tom
    people-first language
    : People-first language refers to descriptions that center the individual(s) rather than the condition(s) — for example, using “person with a disability” instead of “disabled person.” Although PFL was created by disability advocates to emphasize the agency of disabled people, it has fallen out of favor in certain communities. That said, we default to using PFL over identity-first language when referring to mental illness or other specific diseases and disorders and identity-first language when discussing disabled people more generally. When a person’s disability is a focal point of an article, always ask what they prefer.
    Pepe the frog
    pepper spray
     (n.); pepper-spray (v.)
    percentages: Use numeral + percent sign — unless a percentage starts a sentence, in which case spell out the number and use the word “percent,” e.g., “The survey showed that 88% of people would rather hang out with Lil Bub than Anne Hathaway”; “Eighty-five percent of the staff voted for a pizza party” (exception: OWS terms the 1 percent and the 99 percent).
    person/people of color (POC): A generally acceptable term to describe people of races other than white in the US. Do not use “POC” interchangeably with specific racial identities, like Black Americans or Latinos.
    personal protective equipment (spell out on first reference before using PPE)
    pet sitterpet-sitpet-sitting
     (OK to use without last name on first reference)
    PhDPhDs (plural)
    phone calling (v.)
    phone numbers: 917-000-0000; 800-BUZZFEED

    photo captions and illustrations
    • Use parentheses to indicate a directional: “Former president Obama (center) meets with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”
    • If listing several names in a bigger group pictured, begin the caption with From left: (rather than From left to right).
    • Generally, credits should read: Photographer’s Name / Agency
    • Credits for in-house photographers, illustrators, and designers should read: Name / BuzzFeed News
    • Credits for commissioned art/photos and freelance designers and illustrators should read: Name for BuzzFeed News
    • Do not italicize photo captions.
    • Photo captions that are full sentences should end in a period: “Joe Biden’s dogs, Major and Champ, frolic on the White House lawn.” Captions that are fragments (e.g., simply names of people in the photo) do not take a period.
    • When a thumbnail image does not appear in a story, add its photo credit to the bottom of the post using the “small” HTML tags.

    Photoshop (n., the program); photoshop (n., generically, an image that has been altered); photoshop (v.); photoshopped (adj.)
    photo op
    photo shoot
    the Pill
    : Capitalize when referring to birth control, but only when used as a noun and after “the,” e.g., “She was on the Pill to regulate her period,” but “There’s a new pill on the market with a lower dose of estrogen.”
    pinners (on Pinterest; both always lowercase)
    Pinterest: pin, pinned, pinning; Pinterest board
    Pizzagate (see also entry for -gate words)
    Playboy Playmate
     (not pled, for past tense of “plead,” per AP)
    Plexiglas (trademark); plexiglass (generic)
    -plus: preferred to +, as in “He was 20-plus years old”
    plus-one: preferred to +1 in running copy
    : This takes a plural verb in sentences like “My politics are none of your business”; as a study/science, it takes a singular one, e.g., “I think politics is boring.”
    the popePope Francis
    pop star
    rock star

    • Use ’s for all singular possessive nouns, e.g., Chris’s, Bezos’s, Spears’s. Exceptions:
    • BuzzFeed News’ (e.g., BuzzFeed News’ reporting)
    • Corporation or brand names that are pluralized, e.g., General Motors’
    • When a proper noun is already plural, the usual rule for possessives applies: “the Smiths’ house,” “the Rolling Stones’ music,” “the United States’ policies.” 
    • Do NOT use an apostrophe when a word is primarily descriptive rather than possessive, e.g., “homeowners association,” “kids department,” “teachers college,” “writers room.”
    • Contrary to AP, words ending with an s sound before a word that begins with “s” take an apostrophe + “s”: “for appearance’s sake,” “for conscience’s sake” (but “for goodness’ sake”).
    • Use roman type for punctuation and possessives (e.g., apostrophe + s) that follow italicized titles of works or words as words, e.g., “Emily in Paris’s first season was panned by critics.”

    post-: Hyphenate unless it has its own entry in MW, e.g., “postcollege,” “postmortem,” “postdoc,” “postwar.”
    Post-it Note
     (as in the coffee)
    pre-: Follow MW and close up unless doing so makes a word hard to read.

    • Spell out numbers less than 10, e.g., “eight months pregnant,” “six-week abortion ban,” etc.
    • Use fetus when writing about pregnancy in general terms, but for personal stories about pregnancy, unborn baby is OK.
    • When writing about pregnancies in general, use gender-neutral language. Avoid referring to pregnant women or framing this as something that exclusively affects women. OK to stet “pregnant women” in specific cases (e.g., a study about pregnant women).

    PrEP (for the HIV prevention regimen)
    prepandemic (not pre-pandemic), postpandemic

    • Capitalize Pride in reference to Pride Month and as shorthand for a proper name or event after first full reference, e.g., “The NYC Pride Parade is Sunday”; “We went to Pride on Sunday”; “There are several Pride events this weekend.”
    • Use pride flag instead of rainbow flag or rainbow pride flag.
    primary suite (not master bedroom)
    primetime (one word, all forms)
    problematic: Avoid; use a more specific description.
    profanity: Inoffensive, “casual-use” profanity is OK in cases where it’s warranted by the tone or subject matter of a post, e.g., “They shit-talked their ex,” “They royally fucked up,” etc. should be spelled out in running copy as well as in heds and deks. More sensitive words, like the c-word or n-word, should generally be styled thusly; OK to spell out n-word if it appears in a quote or in song lyrics.

    • Always defer to the pronouns a person uses for themself. (It’s not rude to ask. In fact, it’s encouraged to ask, “What pronouns do you use?”)
    • They is acceptable (and preferred!) as a singular stand-in when gender is unknown or irrelevant, e.g., “If someone is knocking at your door and you don’t know who they are…” It should also be used when it is the pronoun someone uses.
    • Use he/him pronouns and she/her pronouns instead of male pronouns or female pronouns.
    • Instead of saying preferred pronoun, describe the pronoun with which someone identifies in neutral terms, e.g., “Sam Smith uses they/them pronouns.”

    the Prophet Muhammad


    • protester (not protestor), counterprotestercounterdemonstration
    • Capitalize formal and abbreviated formal names of protests, e.g., the Women’s March, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March on Washington.
    • In general, be as specific as possible when describing protests and groups of protesters. Do not use terms like alt-rightwhite nationalistleftist, or liberal as blanket terms unless you are sure they are accurate.

    pro tip (don’t hyphenate)
    PS (for postscript)
    pseudo: Don’t hyphenate, e.g., “He rose from Obama stand-in to pseudo strategist.”
    publication titles
    : Do not capitalize “the” in print/web publication names, even if it is part of the official title, e.g., the New York Times, not The New York Times; the Guardian, not The Guardian. News publication names (both print and digital) and magazine titles should be in roman type.
    publicly (not publically)
    Pumpkin Spice Latte: Capitalize when referring to the trademarked Starbucks beverage.
     (with hyphen)


    • When formatting Q&As, bold the question BuzzFeed asks (without identification of “BuzzFeed” or editor’s name as interviewer); answers by interviewee are not bolded, but the interviewee’s name is. Use a line space between every question and answer (and answer and answer, if more than one person is being interviewed).
    • Unless it is clear from context, interviewees’ full names are spelled out and bolded in their first response. If two or more people are being interviewed, use their initials to identify them in subsequent answers.
    • Don’t italicize the intro; add an extra space between the intro and the first question if the Q&A section does not begin in a separate text box.
    • Set off indication of laughing and such reactions as follows: [laughs]

    QAnon: Use collective delusion or mass delusion when referring to the conspiratorial movement; avoid conspiracy theory. For more information, see Here’s Why BuzzFeed News Is Calling QAnon a ‘Collective Delusion’ From Now On.”

    • verbs to avoid: Stick with neutral said — synonyms like contended, emphasized, claimed, and explained are distracting/editorializing and sometimes inaccurate/misleading.
    • tense: Use past tense for attributions (they said) and present when describing actions in a video, affidavit, book, etc. (she says in the lawsuit).
    • Google translate: Avoid this —  and word-for-word translations generally — at all costs. Instead, link to social media posts, statements, etc. and/or reliable translations from other outlets that capture nuance and use English sentence structure and idioms (e.g., She had fear —> She was afraid).
    • avoid using brackets and [sic]: Paraphrase if original is confusing. Do not correct/omit typos made in social media posts or interviews via text or email.
    • transcriptions: Read all transcriptions — whether your own or quoting from another source — for sense.
    • verbal tics: Generally OK to skip “stop words”/phrases like um and you know.
    • “that”: Never use a comma after this when it precedes a quote and use only with fragments.
    • commas: Use when introducing quoted speech/writing — but not preceding titles etc. in quotations etc. (Their pink T-shirts said “#FreeBritney”; The group chanted, “Free Britney!”)
    • punctuation with long quotations: For quotations comprising two grafs or more, start each graf with opening quotation marks and do not only use closing quotations until the end of the last graf.
    • location of “said”: Attribution follows the name (“Ivermectin is awesome!” Aaron Rodgers said), but it’s OK to flip when accompanied by an identifier: “Ivermectin is awesome!” said Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers).
    • don’t end a post with attribution: A kicker like “How do we sleep while our beds are burning?” loses its punch and power if it ends with Peter Garrett asked. Compare to: Musician and environmental activist Peter Garrett delivered an urgent call to action on climate change decades ago in an iconic Midnight Oil song, which asked: “How do we sleep while our beds are burning?”

    quote-unquote (in speech)
    Qur’an (not Quran or Koran)


    R. Patz (abbreviation for Robert Pattinson)

    race and ethnicity:
    • Use good judgment when determining whether it is appropriate to mention a person’s race/ethnicity in a story.
    • When describing suspects sought by the police or in missing person cases, race should be mentioned only if there is a detailed description to work with that includes attire and/or other identifying marks. Do not refer to the race of the person when apprehended or found.
    • Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc.
    • Do not use hyphens to denote dual heritage, ethnicity, or religion. This applies to both nouns and adjectives, e.g., Jewish American, Asian American, Turkish American, American Muslim. For more, see Henry Fuhrmann’s piece “Drop the Hyphen in Asian American” in Conscious Style Guide. For all of this, we defer to a subject’s self-identity, so writers should ask whenever possible.
    • Generally avoid the use of Black and white as nouns, except when referencing statistical information.
    • When describing the ethnicity of people with origins in Caribbean countries, use Haitian, Haitian American, Jamaican American, etc., rather than African American. In stories where race is a factor, when possible, ask people how they choose to self-identify. Do not use African American to describe African people who live in the United States unless it is a subject’s expressed preference.
    • Avoid clumsy euphemisms like urban-targeted or race-themed to describe films or television programs with majority-Black casts.

    ratings systems:
     Use numerals for rankings and reviews, e.g., “4 out of 5 stars,” “1-star Michelin restaurant.”
    ratioed (for the past tense of ratio)
    re-: Follow MW and close up unless doing so makes a word hard to read or changes its meaning. Consider the distinction, e.g., between “re-create” and “recreate” or “re-cover”and “recover.”
    rearview (adj.)
    reboot: Use this term when a series or franchise resets with a clean slate in terms of canon and continuity, often with the main characters recast, e.g., The Batman (2022), Lost in Space (2018). For nonfiction, telltale signs might be new hosts or a revised concept, e.g., Queer Eye (2018). See also remakerevival.

    • Order: List ingredients in the order in which they appear in the instructions.
    • Spell out measurements in lists of ingredients and instructions, e.g., “teaspoon,” “tablespoon,” “ounce,” “pound.” In videos and other situations where space constraints must be considered, OK to abbreviate measurements (“tsp,” “tbsp,” “oz,” “lb”).
    • Use numerals only throughout (in both ingredient lists and instructions): 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 servings, makes 12 servings, etc. Also: 2 to 3 tablespoons (not 2–3 tablespoons).
    • Use numerals in subheadings/recipe names like “7-Layer Dip” or “4-Ingredient Cake.”
    • Ingredients with nonspecific amounts or measures are initial-capped in lists, e.g., “Freshly ground black pepper.”
    • Include ingredients added “to taste” (also: cooking spray) in the list of ingredients.
    • Include an “F” for “Fahrenheit” after the º sign, e.g., “Preheat oven to 375ºF” (note: no spaces).
    • When republishing recipes from cookbooks or other previously published materials, print as they appeared in their original form.
    • Sample recipe copy: Upside-Down Apricot Cake

    Recode (the tech site)
    record companies: Capitalize the word “records” for all labels, e.g., Atlantic Records.
    record-keeping (n., adj.)
    redacted words/phrases: Style using the word “redacted” in all caps and in brackets, e.g., “If you have not done so already, [REDACTED] can contact [REDACTED], who may have a certain level of experience with these people.”
    Reddit (capitalize in running text); redditor (lowercase, for someone who uses Reddit)
    red-light district
    : Avoid in descriptions of political policy, and instead opt for specificity, e.g., “tax-cut plan” rather than tax reform.
    refriendretweetrepin (see also entry for re- words)
    remake: Use this term when a film or series retells the story of the original work, e.g., A Star Is Born (2018), Mulan (2020), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). See also rebootrevival.
    reopen (no hyphen)
    revival: Use this term when a series returns after a long time and picks up where it left off, with most core elements intact, e.g., And Just Like That (2021), Roseanne (2018), The X-Files (2016). See also rebootremake.
    ride-hailingrideshare and ridesharing also OK to describe services like Uber and Lyft
     (hyphenate all forms)
    right-swipe (hyphenate all forms)
    RIP (no periods)
    RiRi (abbreviation for Rihanna)
    road trip (n.); road-trip (v.)
    rock ’n’ roll
    Rock, Paper, Scissors
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
    roid rage
     (for romantic comedy; not romcom)
    room 1room 202, etc. (lowercase “r” in reference to room numbers)
    round trip (n.); round-trip (adj.)
    roundtable (adj., n.)
    J.K. Rowling

    royal family
    • Titles such as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or the Prince of Wales are capped at first mention, then subsequently decapped to “the duke and the duchess” or “the prince.” The exceptions are the King and Queen, whose roles are always capped.
    • Do not cap “royal” in phrases such as “the royal baby” or “the royal family.”

    RT’dRTsRT (on Twitter, though “retweet” is preferred in running copy; see apps/social media platforms for more)
     (all uses)


    S&M (not S and M)

    sanctuary citiesnonsanctuary cities

    : Avoid this racial slur, even in casual contexts that aren’t referring to people (e.g., do not use “savage burn” or “these memes are savage”).
    SBD (silent but deadly)
    sci-fi, but science fiction in all forms
    scientific names (binomial nomenclature): Italicize both genus name (capitalized) and species name (lowercase), e.g., Homo sapiensE. coli.
    Screen Actors Guild (no apostrophe)
     (n., v.); screenshotted (v.)
    : Do not hyphenate unless the compound is listed here or in the AP Stylebook, e.g., “asylum-seeker,” “thrill-seeker,” but “job seeker.”
    Seif al-Islam
    : Hyphenate, e.g., “self-absorbed.”
    : Use only between two complete sentences or in lists with internal commas, e.g., “We visited Buffalo, New York; Tampa, Florida; and Lima, Ohio.”
    service member
    sex trafficking
    sex work
    sex worker (not prostitutionprostitute); avoid escort as a euphemism for sex worker

    sexual assault
    • Avoid using the word accuser (except in a direct quote) since it implies a blame placed on the victim; alleged victim (though not perfect) is a better choice, but when possible, try to use more precise language.
    • Instead of prefacing everything with “alleged,” try to rely on more precise verbs like “said.”
    • Be wary of taking words verbatim from press releases and/or police reports. Keep language as neutral as possible. The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at Columbia Journalism School has a helpful guide for reporting on and writing about sexual violence.
    : Hyphenate, e.g., “fat-shaming,” “body-shaming”; this includes compound verbs like “victim-shame.”
    Sharia: “Sharia” is defined as “Islamic law,” and therefore “Sharia law” is unnecessary/redundant when discussing the general framework of Islamic religious law. However, “Sharia law” should be used to refer to a code of government-implemented criminal and civil laws that are claimed to be derived from Islamic teachings or a provision of such a code.
    shat (not shitted, for the past tense of shit)
    shelter in place, shelter-in-place order (hyphenate as adj.)
    sheriff’s office (lowercase regardless of whether it follows a city name. see also district attorney’s office)
    ShiiteShiites (not Shia, for the branch of Islam, but “Shia” is acceptable in quotes)
    ship names: Capitalize, with only the ship name (not the vessel type) italicized, e.g., USS Awesome, the Millennium Falcon.
    shippers (fans who yearn for a fictional couple’s romance); ship (n.); shipshipping (v.)
    shit list
    shit talk
     (n.); shit-talk (v.)
    shit ton
     (not shoot-out)
     (not shout-out)
    shrink wrap
     (n.); shrink-wrap (v.)
    shyest (not shiest)
    single-payer system
    : Generally use “-sized” to describe the size of something (“a nickel-sized spider”) and “-size” to describe something’s function or utility (“child-size furniture”). Also: “bite-size,” “oversize,” “plus-size.”
    • For clothing, format as “size 8,” “size 10,” etc., in all uses.
    • For bra sizes, format as “34B,” “36DD,” “A cup,” “B cup,” etc.
    Alexander Skarsgård
     (all forms)
     (n.); slushy (adj.)
    slut-shame (v.) (see also entry for -shaming words)
    smart-: Close up most smart technology compounds, e.g., “smartglasses,” “smarthome,” “smartphone,” “smartwatch.”
    Jada Pinkett Smith
    Smokey Bear
     (no “the”)

    • snap (n.) — lowercase “s”
    • Snapchatted/Snapchatting, snapped/snapping, or sent a snap — all terms are OK
    • Snapchat story, stories; snap story
    • Snapstreak

    snowblowed (for past tense of snowblow)
     (for significant other)
    social distancing (compound n., never hyphenate); social-distance (v., but to socially distance is preferred)
    socialite: Do not use this sexist term; instead, be specific and consider how you would describe a man in a similar circumstance.
    Solo cup
     (see also lyrics):
    • Song listings should always read as Artist Name, “Song Title”
    • Artist Name feat. Other Artist Name, “Song Title” (but spell out “featuring” in running copy; abbreviate only in lists)
    soy milk
     (n., v.)

    spoilers: If you want to include a spoiler warning, add (Warning: contains spoilers.) to the end of the dek, not in the running copy or headline.

    spoke out: Avoid; “said” generally works just as well.
    SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Scores: “5–3” (with an en dash); not “5 to 3.” Also, no comma necessary after “won” in a sentence such as “The Knicks won 110–98.”
    • Use digits for scores, statistics, and yard lines. Spell out everything else under 10, e.g., “ninth inning,” “first quarter,” “third base.”
    spray paint (n.); spray-paint (v.)
    : This is a collective noun that requires a singular verb, e.g., “staff is”; staffers (or staff members) takes a plural, e.g., “staffers are.”
    stand-up (comedy)
    LaKeith Stanfield
    Starbucks drink sizes
    : tall, grande, venti, trenta (lowercase)
    the States
     (when referring to the United States)
    stay-at-home directive/order (but “were ordered to stay at home”)
    STDSTI: STI (sexually transmitted infection) is preferred to STD (sexually transmitted disease) in body copy, spelled out on first reference, but STD is acceptable in headlines and when lots of quoted material in a story uses STD and using both terms interchangeably could be confusing to the reader.
    step-: Close up all “step-” relationships, e.g., “stepgrandfather,” “stepgrandmother,” unless the next word starts with a vowel.
    stop-and-frisk (hyphenate in all uses)
    : Hyphenate as an adjective or adverb before a noun, verb, etc., e.g., “He was straight-up lying.”
     (n.); strap on (v.)
    struggle bus
    student-performer, etc.
    subreddits: When naming a specific subreddit, add “r/” in front of it, e.g., r/thisismylifenow or r/The_Donald.
    sucker punch (n.); sucker-punch (v.)

    • When reporting on suicide, use language such as “killed oneself” or “died by suicide” (“Chester Bennington killed himself”; “She died by suicide”) and never specify the method in a headline or on social media. In fact, avoid stating the method unless it is specifically relevant to the story, as in this story about Chris Cornell’s autopsy results.
    • “Died of an apparent suicide” is also acceptable phrasing if information has not yet been confirmed. Avoid committed suicide and took one’s life unless in a direct quote; to some, “committed” may carry a criminal or negative moral connotation that we wish to avoid in reported stories, and the latter phrasings suggest passivity and veer into euphemism, respectively.
    • Do not refer to an unsuccessful suicide attempt; use “attempted suicide” instead.
    • Stories focused on suicide should include this copy at the bottom of the post in italics: Dial 988 in the US to reach the National Suicide Prevention LifelineThe Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. Find other international suicide helplines at Befrienders Worldwide (
    • The Diversity Style Guide is a great resource to consult for guidance for reporting on and writing about suicide and a variety of other topics, including aging, gender, LGBTQ terminology, race, religion, and more.

     (when referring to the 1990s crime myth)
    Sweet 16
    Syrian civil war


    T. Swift
     (abbreviation for Taylor Swift)
    tae kwon do (not Taekwondo)
    take out (v.); takeout (n.); takeaway (n.)
    : Follow AP guidance on this trademark. Use the generic “stun gun” if the brand is uncertain (e.g., “They fired a stun gun”). Don’t use verbs like “tasered” outside of direct quotations; when quoted, use lowercase: “tased,” “tasered,” “tasing.”
    taste test (n.); taste-test (v.)
    tea partytea partyers (cap only when referring to a specific group, e.g., Tea Party Express)
    tear gas (n.); teargas (v.)
    TED Talk

    television shows
    • Style seasons/episodes as follows: “In Season 1, Episode 1 of Killing Eve...”
    • When citing multiple seasons, lowercase “seasons” as follows: “Olivia Colman is taking over in seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown for Claire Foy, who played the Queen in seasons 1 and 2.”

    • Expressed as numeral + “degrees.” No need to repeat the word “degrees” if it’s implied, e.g., “It was 5 degrees out, but it felt like –10.”
    • Use an en dash to express temperatures below zero, e.g., “–15 degrees.”
    • Use numerals to express ranges of temperature, e.g., “It’s going up to the 30s today.” No need to include “Fahrenheit” if it’s clear from the context.

    TfL (Transport for London)
    TFW (for that feeling when)
    then-: Hyphenate, e.g., “her then-boyfriend,” “then-senator Obama.”
    third world
    : Avoid; use developing world/country instead.
    Three Percenters (not 3 Percenters3%ers, or III%ers)
    thoughts: Set off with a comma, initial capped and italicized, e.g., “I thought, What if I were to move to Switzerland?
     (for today I learned)
    tildes: When using tildes for ~whimsical~ emphasis, put punctuation on the outside of the ending tilde.
    time: Use numerals for time of day: “4:00,” “4 a.m.,” “8 p.m. ET,” “9 p.m. ET/8 CT” (when referring to programming times), “2 in the morning.” Spell out “noon” and “midnight.”
    -time: Generally close up unless the preceding word ends in a “t,” e.g., “naptime,” “playtime,” “lunchtime,” but “breakfast time.”
    Time magazine (not TIME)
    Time’s Up initiative (but #TimesUp)
    time-lapse (adj.); time lapse (n.)
    timeline (one word, all forms)
    timeshare (one word, all forms)
     (one word, all forms)
    : all lowercase, unless it starts a sentence, in which case TL;DR should be followed by a colon if introducing a sentence (not TLDR)
    the Today show (not The Today Show)
    Tourette syndrome
    tour names
    • If a tour is named after an album, the tour title is in italics and the word “tour” is roman and lowercase, e.g., “the Bigger Bang tour.”
    • If the tour name doesn’t refer to an album, it should be set in roman, and follow title case for capitalization, including “tour,” e.g., the 777 Tour, the Korn Reunion Tour.
    • Residencies, e.g., Vegas shows like Britney Spears’s Piece of Me, should be set in italics.
    TP’d (for toilet-papered)
    translated names of organizations/political parties
    : When translating these from a language other than English, format with adjective first, e.g., France’s National Front, the Socialist Party.
    T. rex
    trigger warning
    : Avoid this phrase when writing about rape, sexual assault, mental illness, or any similarly sensitive subject matter. Ultimately, if you feel a particularly explicit image or depiction warrants a warning in the dek of a story, please introduce with a phrase such as: “Warning: graphic images” or “Warning: detailed descriptions.” (Also avoid joke “trigger warnings.”)
    tristate (one word, lowercase)
    true crime (no hyphen as an adj.)
    try to (not try and, as in “I’m going to try to call her later.”)
    TSA (always abbreviate)
    Tumblr: Individual Tumblr blog names are capitalized, in roman, e.g., Hot Dog Legs, Reasons My Son Is Crying.
    turned: Do not hyphenate unless it comes before a person’s name or modifies a noun, e.g., “the rapper turned actor won a SAG Award” but “rapper-turned-actor Ludacris won a SAG Award”

    Twitter; X:
    Note the rebrand toward the top of the post, e.g., "The company recently rebranded to X" or "the company now known as X." Also acceptable: "posted on X, formerly known as Twitter."

    • tweeted (never “tweeted out”), tweeting, tweet (as verb and noun), Twitter user (preferred to “tweeter”), Twitterstorm, tweetstorm, live-tweet
    • For clarity and accessibility for screen-reader software, cap separate words in a hashtag, e.g., #ThrowbackThursday, in running copy.
    • Treat Twitter handles like proper names and retain the same capitalization as the actual handle.
    • Black Twitter (cap “B”), Weird Twitter (cap “W”)
    • “retweet” preferred over “RT” in running copy
    • subtweet, subtweeted, subtweeting (but never “subtweeted about,” i.e., “He subtweeted me,” NOT “He subtweeted about me.”)
    • DM, DMs, DM’d, DM’ing (for direct messages)

    two-buck Chuck
    type A
    type B (as in personality)


    über-: Generally hyphenate if it creates a compound modifier before a noun; otherwise two words, e.g., “an über-cool giraffe,” but “that giraffe is über cool.”
    Uber (ride-hailing company); ubered (v.)
    ugly-cry (all uses)
     (OK to abbreviate on first reference)
     (all uses)
    UNESCO (OK to abbreviate on first reference)
    unfriend (not de-friend)
    university names: Format university names with more than one location as follows: University of California, Berkeley, on first reference (using a comma after the location if it appears mid-sentence); UC Berkeley on subsequent references. Abbreviate universities as UPenn, UConn, etc.

     (see also corrections):
    • If a news story is still developing, add a note at the bottom of the story and link to BuzzFeed News on Twitter as follows: This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.‏
    • There are several instances that warrant adding an update to a post. If a story is not breaking news and has been written through as one article, for example, an update may be added to alert the reader that information has been added (e.g., an additional comment from a source) or removed (e.g., an image).
    • Typically an update should be added to the bottom of a post, using the “update” option; this will autoformat and timestamp it. The exception to this is a post that was not created in the breaking news template and is updated and requires several write-throughs. (Example here.) If it seems unclear, ask an editor which type of update is more appropriate.
    • Anytime a story has been updated, you should also check the “update checkmark” below the bylines and published timestamp to indicate the date and time at which the update was made.
    • To indicate that a post has been updated or is developing in the dek of a story, please do so in plain text. Do not italicize, bold, or place the “Update” or “Developing” in all caps (example here.) If necessary, add “This post has been updated” in a dek when there’s been a full write-through of the original post with new information.
    • Do not add an update to correct inaccurate information in a published post; if something has been corrected, issue a correction.

    up front (adv.); up-front (adj.); upfront (n.): The noun form refers to the meeting held by television executives and attended by advertisers and media.
    updog (Nothing, what’s up with you?)
    upvote/downvote (n., v.)
    USUSA (generally interchangeable)
    USDA (OK to abbreviate on first reference)
    Uyghurs (not Uighur): to describe the Turkic Muslim population living in China’s Xinjiang region


    verb forms of abbreviations and nontraditional words:
    • Use an apostrophe + “ing” or “d” to create the verb form of an all-capped abbreviation, e.g., “DIY’d,” “DM’d,” “BS’ing,” “DJ’ing”
    • When creating a verb form of a noun, use hyphen + “ing” if it ends in a vowel (e.g., “bro-ing”). If it ends in a consonant, do not use a hyphen (e.g., “computering”).
    vice president (no hyphen)
    vinyasa yoga
    virus variants
    : Capitalize the Greek alphabet name assigned to a variant by the WHO, e.g. Delta, Omicron. Avoid referring to a virus or variant by the place where it reportedly originated: Refer to the 1918 flu pandemic as such, not the Spanish flu; stay away from phrasings like “the British/South African coronavirus variant” and opt for more specific wording on first reference, such as “B.1.351, the variant found in South Africa” and “B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the UK.” For more information, see “The Coronavirus Is Not Chinese.”
     (as an abbreviation for Valentine’s Day)
    Vogue France
    Vogue Italia (not “Vogue Paris,” “Italian Vogue”), but British Vogue
     (with a period, lowercase in list-y posts); versus (spelled out in news articles, longform stories); v. (for court cases)


    wackwhack: Use “wack” for the adjective meaning “not cool” or “effed up.” Use “whack” (n., v.) for a hard or resounding blow, to hit with a hard or resounding blow, and for the gangster slang (as in Godfather) meaning to kill.
    Quvenzhané Wallis
    Wall Street
     (not Wall St. in running text, unless talking about a specific address)
    Walmart (when referring to the retail store and the corporation)
    -ward: not -wards (no “s”), e.g., “afterward,” “backward,” “toward,” “forward”
    war on drugswar on terror
    Washington, DC
    the DC area (but in datelines just WASHINGTON)
    watch list
    : Close up unless doing so makes a word unreadable: “businesswear,” “streetwear,” “workwear.”
    web comic
    web forum
    • Names of blogs and websites should be in roman type.
    • When writing out URLs, OK to use camel caps for readability, e.g., instead of
    webslinger (not web-slinger)
    , weekslong
    The Weeknd
     (not weenis)

    weights and measures: Generally, use numerals and spell out “inches,” “feet,” “yards,” “miles,” “pounds,” etc., to indicate depth, height, length, width, weight, and distance (exception: noun phrases like “8x10s”). However, in the context of a list, for instance, it is also acceptable to use foot and inch marks (5'6") to indicate a person’s height if spelling out “5 feet 6 inches” in context appears stilted/looks awkward. Use your judgment. Examples:
    • “She is 5 feet 6 inches tall”; “the 5-foot-11-inch man”; “the 6-foot-tall man”; “the basketball team signed a 7-footer”; “the orca is 20 feet long and weighs 7,000 pounds.”
    • “The ship is 200 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 50 feet high.”
    • “The room is 20 feet by 15 feet”; “It’s a 20-by-15-foot room.”
    • “Forecasters are predicting 8 inches of snow tonight.”
    • “I live in a 750-square-foot apartment.”
    • “A gallon of water weighs more than 8 pounds.”
    • “They autographed 8x10s.”
    • “8 mm film”

    weightlifting (but weight lifter)
    well-: Per AP, “Hyphenate well- combinations before a noun, but not after: a well-known raccoon, but the raccoon is well known.”
    Western: Capitalize for the film or book genre, but lowercase for the music genre.
    : Use “send a WhatsApp message” rather than “send a WhatsApp.”
    whistleblower (not whistle-blower)
    the White House: Places in the White House are also capped, e.g., Rose GardenWest WingEast Room, etc. The White House takes a singular verb, e.g., “the White House is...”
    whitewater (adj.) (as in rafting)
    whiz (n.)
    who’s who
    wide awake
    wide-awake (adj.): Hyphenate before a noun only.
    widescreen (adj., n.)
    Wi-Fi (not WiFi)
     (not wind chill)
    words as words
    : Use roman type and quotation marks, e.g., “He used the word ‘chillax’ way too often.”
    : Close up unless readability is an issue, e.g., “newsworthy,” “Oscarworthy,” “lustworthy,” but “law-worthy.”
    writers room
    : Never use in a URL in running copy unless you can’t access the site without it (or if the URL requires the odd “www1.” or “www2”).




    YA (for young adult lit)
     (no “!”)
    Weird Al Yankovic
     (use Kanye West on first reference, note that he has legally changed his name, and use Ye on subsequent references)
    , yearslong


    zeitgeist (lowercase, even though MW ~often~ capitalizes)
    Volodymyr Zelensky
    zip code
     (not ZIP code)
    Ziploc (trademark); ziplock (generic; not zip-lock)
    z’s (aka sleep)


    ?! (never !?)
    @replies@mentions (on Twitter)
    @-ed, @-ing (v.)
    11th hour (n.); 11th-hour (adj.)
    3D printing
     (n.); 3D-print (v.); 3D-printed (adj.)
    4chan8chan: Lowercase “c,” and avoid using either to start a sentence when possible.
    4th of July

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