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    Updated on Jun 23, 2020. Posted on Feb 4, 2014

    BuzzFeed Style Guide

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

    by ,

    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; ⌘ + F on a Mac) to search for specific words or topics.

    BuzzFeed's preferred dictionary for US/World style is Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition (m-w.com). 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). The preferred style manual is the AP Stylebook. Please consult the Chicago Manual of Style for issues not covered by AP Stylebook as well as for more detailed information and discussion, where applicable. Generally, AP Style 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 (see: Word List) and information on style issues particular to the site. It is not intended to be a comprehensive manual of grammar and style.

    You can find our BuzzFeed UK Style Guide here and our BuzzFeed Australia Style Guide here.

    The BuzzFeed News Standards and Ethics Guide is available here.

    Word List

    ?! (never !?)

    @replies, @mentions (on Twitter)

    @-ed, @-ing (for the verb form)

    11th hour (n.), 11th-hour (adj.)

    1D (abbreviation for One Direction)

    24/7
    3D

    3D printing (n.); 3D-print (v.); 3D-printed (adj.)

    4chan, 8chan: Lowercase "C," and avoid using it to start a sentence when possible.

    4th of July

    7-Eleven

    A

    A-list, B-list: Use when referring to celebrities, e.g., A-list celeb.

    ABCs
    AC
    (for air-conditioning)

    ABV (for alcohol by volume)

    AF (for as fuck)

    AFAIK (for as far as I know)

    afterparty

    agender (adj.): describes someone who does not have a specific gender.

    AIDS
    Airbnb
    airlift
    AirPods
    (not Airpods)
    airstrike
    aka
    : For as known as; use this way unless it starts a sentence, in which case AKA is acceptable.

    alcoholic drink names: Lowercase unless derived from a proper noun (exceptions: Bloody Mary, Old-Fashioned).

    Al Jazeera (not italicized)

    al-Qaeda (not al-Qaida)

    all-nighter
    a.m.
    , p.m. (OK to capitalize in headlines)

    Amex (for American Express)

    amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research)

    amirite
    AM to DM
    (but use a numeral for hashtags and tweets: #AM2DM and @AM2DM)

    anti-vax, anti-vaxxer
    apeshit
    the Apple Store
    Argentine
    : preferred to Argentinian as an adjective meaning of or relating to Argentina.

    A side (n.), A-side (adj.)

    AstroTurf
    autocorrect
    (not auto-correct)

    autofill (not auto-fill)

    auto-tune
    awards season
    , awards show (plural is preferable to award)

    B

    baby daddy, baby mama: Two words, but avoid using, except in a quote

    backseat (all forms)

    backstory
    bacteria
    (for both the singular and plural form)

    badmouth (v.)

    ballsack

    bandana
    bandmates

    band names: Usually take a plural construction, e.g., The band is on tour; but Arcade Fire are playing tonight.

    batshit
    BCE, CE
    : for before common era and common era; not BC, AD

    beatboxer, beatboxing
    beatdown
    (n.)

    Beautyblender

    Bernie Bros
    bestseller
    , bestselling (not best-seller, best-selling)

    BFF

    bi-curious

    bingeing
    binge-watch

    BIPOC (OK on first reference for Black, Indigenous, and people of color)

    bitchface
    bitcoin
    (always lowercase)

    Black (capitalize when referring to the shared identity, culture, and experience of people of the African diaspora)

    black girl magic
    blonde
    (n., adj.): Use for all genders.

    Bloody Mary, Bloody Marys
    blowjob
    bocce ball
    bodycam
    (n., adj.), body camera (n., adj.)

    bodyweight exercises
    body slam
    (n.), body-slam (v.)

    bookbag
    bougie (adj.), bougiest (from bourgeoisie)

    box office (all forms)

    boy band, boy-bander

    bread crumbs (for the food), breadcrumbs (for the computer-y term)

    breakdance (all forms), breakdancer

    breastfeed, breastfeeding (one word, all forms)

    Britpop
    bro-down
    bro-ing
    brony
    brunette
    (adj., n.): Use for all genders.

    Brussels sprouts
    BS
    , BS'd, BS'ing
    BTdubs

    bull dyke (n.), bull-dyke (adj.): Avoid, unless used in a direct quote.

    bused, busing, buses (for forms of bus)

    butt-dial (all forms)

    buzzer beater
    byproduct
    bytes
    : Measure digital storage capacity; abbreviate and capitalize kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, etc. when used with a figure, with no space between the abbreviation and the figure, e.g., My iPhone is 64GB, a 128GB storage capacity.

    B side (n.), B-side (adj.)

    C

    caj (for the abbreviation of casual)

    camel toe
    Cantopop
    Cap'n Crunch
    cash me ousside, howbow dah
    cashierless
    catfight
    catfished
    (v.)

    CBGB (not CBGB's)

    cc'd
    ceasefire
    (n.)

    celebricat (for a celebrity feline)

    celebridog (for a celebrity canine)

    cellphone (not cell phone)

    cesarean (i.e., C-section)

    champagne
    ChapStick
    chatroom
    (one word)

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

    checkbox

    checkmark (one word in all forms)

    childcare (all forms; not child care)

    chile vs. chili: Use chile powder to refer to ground dried chile peppers (like 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)

    chode
    chokehold
    cinderblock
    circle jerk
    cis
    , cisgender (both adj.)

    clapback (n.), clap back (v.)

    class action (n., adj.)

    click through (v.), click-through (adj., n.)

    cliffhanger
    co.
    (as in TK and company)

    Coca-Cola
    cockblock
    colorblock
    : one word, all uses; preferred to colorblocked.

    color-correcting (one word, all uses)

    come (v.), cum (n.) (omg yes, this is really here)

    comic con: for a generic comic con; adhere to self-stylization for specific cities, e.g., New York Comic Con, San Diego Comic-Con.

    coming-out (adj., n.), come out (v.)

    company and institution names: 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.

    Con Edison, Con Ed (OK on second reference)

    copydesk

    copyedit (v.)

    coronavirus (precede with an article — the coronavirus — in references to the pandemic)

    COVID-19
    Craigslist
    creepshot
    cringey
    crop top
    crossfire
    CrossFit
    cross-post
    crow's-feet (n.)
    crowdfund
    (all forms)

    crowdsource (all forms)

    crowdsurf

    Czechia (not the Czech Republic)

    D

    dab, dabbing (dance move)

    dadbod (and similar constructions, one word for all forms)

    dancehall (music genre)

    dark web, deep web

    dashcam
    daycare
    (not day care)

    Day-Glo, dayglow (n.): Capitalize the trademark, used for fluorescent materials or colors; lowercase, one word refers to airglow seen during the day.

    deadlift (n., v.)

    deal breaker (two words)

    decadelong, decadeslong
    deepfake
    Deep South
    deep state
    Deir ez-Zor
    (for the city in Syria)

    die-hard (adj.), diehard (n.)

    Disney Princess, Disney princess: Capitalize the brand/line of characters; lowercase "P" refers to a specific character from a Disney film.

    diss (meaning to disrespect)

    Division One, Two, etc. (for sports references)

    DIY
    DJ
    (n., v.), DJ'd, DJ'ing

    docuseries

    "don't ask, don't tell": lowercase, in quotes, with a comma for the US military policy; in subsequent references, no quotes or abbreviate as DADT

    dos and don'ts
    douchebag, d-bag
    donut
    (not doughnut)

    down-low (also, on the DL)
    Down syndrome
    downtime
    dox
    , doxed, doxing (not doxx)

    Dr.: Do not use the term Dr. to refer to 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
    duckface
    dudebro
    dumbass
    (n.)

    dumpster
    du-rag
    (not do-rag)

    E

    e-book, e-cigarette, e-commerce, but email

    Earth: Capitalize only when referring explicitly to the planet, e.g., the biggest on Earth but a down-to-earth guy)

    eBay
    Ecstasy (capitalize "E" for the drug)

    E. coli

    [editor's note:]: for editor's notes in running text; capitalize [Editor's note:] if it starts a sentence or is its own sentence.

    editor-in-chief
    electropop
    email
    emoji
    (singular, and as a collective language unit), emojis (plural)

    ever closer (no hyphen)

    ExxonMobil
    eyeing
    eyeroll
    eyeshadow

    F

    F-you (n., not eff-you)

    Facebook-stalk (v.)

    facedown (adj.)

    facelift

    facepalm (one word, all forms)

    face-swap (all forms)

    face-to-face (adj., adv.)

    FaceTime (the Apple app), but face time (n.) (in all other uses)

    faceup (adj.); face up (v.)

    fact-check (all forms), fact-checker, fact-checking
    fanbase
    fanboy
    , fangirl (avoid)

    fansite
    fanfiction
    , fanfic
    farmers market
    fast food
    (n.); fast-food (adj.)

    fauxhawk
    fave
    , faved, faving (e.g., I faved his tweet)

    FBI (OK on first reference)

    fiancé (all instances, regardless of gender)

    fieldworker

    final girl
    finsta

    first-timer
    first-year
    (n. and adj.; not freshmen or freshman)

    first-world problem
    fist-bump
    (v.); fist bump (n.)

    flashpoint
    flat iron
    (hair tool, n.); flat-iron (v.); Flatiron District

    flatscreen (one word, both as n. and adj.)

    Fleshlight

    flyer for the circular/paper and a person who flies

    Frappuccino; Frap

    freakout (n.), but freak out (v.)

    friend zone (n.); friend-zone (v.)

    frontline (n. and adj.)
    Froot Loops (not Fruit Loops)

    froyo
    fsociety
    (Fsociety in headlines, but avoid if possible)

    fuckup (n.), fuck up (v.), fucked-up (adj.)

    fur baby

    G

    Gambia (not the Gambia or The Gambia)

    Gchat, Gchatted, Gchatting
    GED
    gel
    (v.)

    genderqueer
    genderfluid
    Generation X
    , Gen X'er

    Gen Z, Gen Z'er

    GIF/GIF'd (v.), GIFs, GIFable: It’s pronounced gif with a hard G, NOT like the peanut butter Jif.

    GIF set
    Girl Scout Cookie

    girlie (featuring scantily clad women), girly (a synonym for girlish)

    glow-up (n.), glow up (v.)

    glowstick
    god
    : 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."

    god-awful
    goddamn
    (per MW), goddamnit, goddamned

    gonna (not gunna)

    goodbye
    good Samaritan
    Google+
    (preferred over Google Plus)

    google (v.), Google (n.), google-able

    goosebumps
    gravesite
    gray
    (not grey)

    grown-up (adj., n.)

    G-spot
    Guantánamo Bay
    guest star
    (n.), guest-star (v.)

    H

    hacktivist
    haha
    (interj.), ha-ha (n.)

    haircare (all forms)

    hair dryer (but blow-dryer)

    hairspray
    hairstylist
    half hour
    (n.), half-hour (adj.)

    hand job
    handover
    (n.)

    Hanukkah
    happy-cry
    (all uses)

    hardcore (all uses)

    hashtag
    hate-watching
    (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.

    HBIC

    HBO Go

    "he said, she said"

    headcanon

    head count

    headscarf

    headshot

    healthcare (one word, all forms; not health care)

    heart-eyes emoji

    heartrending, gut-wrenching, nerve-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.

    high five (n.), high-five (v.)

    higher-up (n.)

    hijab

    hijabi (n. and adj. used for someone who wears a hijab

    hip-hop
    hippie
    (as in Woodstock, peace and love, and all that)

    hippy (as in big-hipped)

    a historic (not an historic)

    hitmaker
    hi-top fade

    HIV-positive and -negative: Hyphenate in all uses, but the language living with HIV or has HIV is preferred.

    ho (plural: hos for the derogatory term)

    homebuyer

    homeowner, homeownership

    homepage (also, homescreen, etc.)

    homestretch
    homeschool, homeschooled, homeschooler
    homie (not homey for the short form of "homeboy")

    hoodie

    hookup (n.), hook up (v.)

    hotspot (Wi-Fi connection place), hot spot (for other uses, e.g., vacation hot spots)

    hourlong
    Houthi rebels

    hoverboard

    H/T (for hat tips, never H/t)

    HuffPost (not HuffPo or Huffington Post)

    humankind (preferred to mankind)

    humblebrag

    I

    ice cream (adj., n.): Never hyphenate.

    iced coffee (not ice coffee)

    ID (for identification)

    Ikea (not IKEA)

    IMAX
    IMDb
    I'mma
    (i.e., I'm going to, as in: I'mma let you finish...)

    indie pop, indie rock: Hyphenate as modifiers, e.g., indie-rock band.

    Indigenous (capitalize in references to people and communities; lowercase in generic references — e.g., indigenous plants)

    Indigenous Peoples Day (no apostrophe in the holiday observed in the place of Columbus Day)

    Infowars

    Instafamous

    Instagram, Instagramming (capitalized in all forms)

    internet

    Internet of Things

    iPad Mini
    iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xr
    (use lowercase s, c, r, etc., with model numbers)

    IRL (Generally avoid redundant phrasing like IRL lives when using the initialism as an adjective.)

    IT (OK on first reference for information technology)

    It girl, It couple

    J

    J.Crew
    JCPenney

    Jell-O (trademark), jello (generic)

    jetpack

    JPG, JPEG: Both are acceptable acronyms for the common image format; stay consistent within a story.

    JPMorgan
    judgy
    : preferred to judgey in casual prose

    Juggalo, Juggalette

    Juul, Juul Labs

    K

    K-9
    keychain
    kimchi
    koozie
    (for beer/alcoholic drinks)

    Kyiv (not Kiev)

    L

    LA
    LaCroix
    ladies' night
    LARPer
    , LARPing (for Live-Action Role-Playing)

    laughing-crying face or tears of joy emoji
    laundromat
    (lowercase)

    lawnmower

    leaker: preferred term for someone who leaks information, regardless of intent

    left swipe (n.), left-swipe (v.)

    Lego, Legos (plural)

    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 a less of a risk with that option, There were fewer people at Li's party than at Lucia's.

    life hack
    lifespan
    likable
    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: There were like five dudes standing there. As a suffix: See Combining Forms section below.

    likes: As in, Facebook, lowercase and not set in quotes.

    lil' (for shorter form of "little")

    lip gloss, lip liner, lipstick

    lip sync (n.), lip-synch (v.)

    listicle: Avoid, use list instead.

    Listserv: Avoid unless referring to the trademarked software; use email list instead.

    livestream (all forms)

    live-tweet
    locs
    (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)

    lolcat
    LOL'd, LOLing
    longform
    long-term
    (adj.)

    longtime (adj.)

    long-standing (adj.)

    longread

    lookalike (one word, all forms)

    loveseat
    lower Manhattan, upper Manhattan
    (lowercase "L" and "U")

    lunchbox

    M

    MAC (the 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.): the act of making out

    makeup (when referring to cosmetics)

    mama
    man-child
    manila envelope
    mani-pedi
    mansplain
    , mansplaining
    manspreading
    mashup
    mason jar
    match-fixing
    (hyphenated in all uses)

    matzoh (not matzah)

    MD, MDs (plural)

    mecca (lowercase)

    meet-cute (n.)

    meetup (n.)

    megabank
    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!

    memeufacturing
    men's rights activists
    (no capitalization)

    #MeToo (not Me Too for the #MeToo movement)

    MIA

    mic’d (adj., v.): meaning to attach a microphone

    middle-aged (not -age)

    midseason

    Midtown, Midtown Manhattan (capitalized)

    mile-high club
    milkshake
    milkshake duck
    (n.), but milkshake-duck (v.)

    millennials: Avoid using this term when possible, except when referring specifically to demographics; otherwise, generally use twentysomethings, twenty- and thirtysomethings, or teens and young adults, depending on context.

    mindfuck
    mindset

    misgender (v.): to use a pronoun or form of address that does not correctly reflect the gender with which a person identifies

    mixtape
    M.O.

    ModCloth

    mohawk (lowercase as the hairstyle)

    molly (when referring to the drug)

    MoMA (for Museum of Modern Art)

    mommy blogger: Avoid; use parent blogger or lifestyle blogger instead.

    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.

    Mormon: 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.

    mother-effing for readability, but motherfucking
    mpreg
    Muay Thai
    (not mai tai)

    mugshot
    mustache
    (not moustache)

    N

    'n' (when using in place of and, e.g., mac 'n' cheese)

    Nae Nae (dance move)

    nap time
    NARS
    (the cosmetics brand)

    Nasdaq
    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.

    Necco (not NECCO)

    nerdom
    Netflix and chill (n., v.)
    never mind

    News Feed (Facebook's News Feed), newsfeed (lowercase, one word for other references)

    news gathering

    New Wave (film genre), new wave (music genre)

    New York magazine

    nip slip

    nonessential (adj., n.) (not non-essential; see also entry for non- words)

    nonprofit (adj., n.) (see also entry for non- words)

    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.

    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.

    the n-word (style thusly; see more under Profanity)

    NYC

    O

    "O Canada" (for both the national anthem and expressions)

    OB-GYN (not ob/gyn)

    O-face
    offscreen
    (adj., adv.)

    offseason
    OG
    (for original gangster; no periods)

    oh man, oh my god, oh no (all OK without comma after Oh)

    OK boomer

    OkCupid
    okurrr
    (three R's, but add more for intensity)

    ombré
    omega-3
    omelet
    on-again
    , off-again

    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)

    onesie
    onscreen
    (adj., adv.)

    other, othering, otherness: OK to lowercase to indicate use of the term as a category.

    P

    PA (for personal amplifier)

    page 1, page 2, etc. (for references to book pages)

    pageview
    Paleo diet
    papercut
    (one word)

    Parliament (capitalize in US and UK stories)

    partier
    pawprint
    peekaboo
    peeping Tom

    pepper spray (n.), but pepper-spray (v.)

    pet sitter, pet-sit, pet-sitting

    PhD, PhDs (plural)

    phone calling (v.)

    photobomb, videobomb

    Photoshop (n., the program), photoshop (n., generically, an image that has been altered), photoshopped (adj.), photoshop (v.)

    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. There's a new pill on the market with a lower dose of estrogen.

    pinecone
    pins
    , pinners: on Pinterest; both always lowercase

    Pizzagate

    placemat
    Playboy Playmate
    playoff
    pleaded
    (not pled, for past tense of plead, per AP)

    Plexiglas (trademark), plexiglass (generic)

    plus-one (preferred to +1 in running copy)

    plus-size
    PJs
    Pokémon
    pop star
    , rock star
    Pornhub
    porta-potty
    Post-it Note
    pour-over
    (as in the coffee)

    PrEP (for the HIV prevention regimen)

    primetime (one word, all forms)

    pro tip (don't hyphenate)

    PS (for post script)

    pseudo words: Don't hyphenate, e.g., He rose from Obama stand-in to pseudo strategist.

    publicly (not publically)

    Pumpkin Spice Latte: Capitalize when referring to the trademarked Starbucks beverage.

    punchline

    Q

    Q&A
    quote-unquote
    (in speech)

    Qur'an (not Quran or Koran)

    R

    rainforest

    ratioed (for the past tense of ratio)

    rearview (adj.)

    Recode (the tech site)

    Reddit (capitalize in running text), redditor: lowercase, for someone who uses Reddit

    red-light district
    reform
    : Avoid in descriptions of political policy, and instead opt for specificity, e.g., tax-cut plan rather than tax reform.

    refriend, retweet, repin: see also entry for re- words

    ribcage

    rickroll

    ride-hail (n., v.), ride-hailing: preferred over ride-sharing to describe services like Uber and Lyft

    ride-share, ride-sharing: Use only when referring to a shared-ride service, like UberPool.

    riesling

    right-click (hyphenate all forms)

    right-swipe (hyphenate all forms)

    RIP (no periods)

    road trip (n.), road-trip (v.)

    rock 'n' roll
    Rock, Paper, Scissors
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
    roid rage
    rom-com
    : for romantic comedy

    room 1, room 202, etc. (lowercase "R" in reference to room numbers)

    round trip (n.), round-trip (adj.)

    roundtable (adj., n.)

    royal baby, royal family (lowercase)

    RT'd, RTs, RT: on Twitter, though "retweet" is preferred in running copy; see Social Media/Apps for more.

    runtime

    S

    Satan, satanic, satanism
    SBD
    (silent but deadly)

    sci-fi (but science fiction in all forms)

    Screen Actors Guild (no apostrophe)

    screensaver
    screencap
    screengrab
    screenshot (n., v.): Use screenshotted for past tense and as past participle.

    screentime
    seahorse
    seatbelt

    semiautomatic
    service member
    setlist
    al-Shabaab

    Sharia: Sharia is defined as Islamic law, and therefore Sharia law is unnecessary/redundant when discussing the general framework of Islamic religious law; the term 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.)

    Shiite, Shiites (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, Millennium Falcon.

    shippers (when referring to fans who yearn for a fictional couple's romance); ship, shipping (v.)

    shit list
    shitfaced
    shithole
    shitload
    shitpost
    shitshow
    shitstorm

    shit talk (n.), shit-talk (v.)

    shit ton
    shoebox

    shoegazer

    ShondaLand
    shoo-in

    shootout (not shoot-out)

    shortform
    shoutout
    (not shout-out)

    showrunner

    showtunes

    shrink wrap (n.), shrink-wrap (v.)

    shyest (not shiest)

    sideboob
    sidebutt
    side-eye
    sideview
    (adj.)

    skincare (all forms)

    slideshow
    slushie
    (n.), slushy (adj.)

    slut-shame (v.)

    smartglasses
    smartphone

    smartwatch

    Smokey Bear (no "the")

    snowblowed (for past tense of snowblow)

    snowglobe

    S.O. (for significant other)

    social distancing (compound n., never hyphenate), social-distance (v.; to socially distance is preferred)

    softcore

    Solo cup

    soulmate

    soundbite

    soundcheck

    SoundCloud

    soy milk

    spacewalk

    spandex

    spell-check (n., v.)

    spinoff
    spoke out
    : Avoid; said generally works just as well

    spray paint (n.), spray-paint (v.)

    Sriracha
    stand-up
    (comedy)

    Stanky Legg (for dance move)

    Starbucks drink sizes: tall, grande, venti, trenta (lowercase)

    startup
    the States
    (when referring to the United States)

    stay-at-home directive/order (but: were ordered to stay at home)

    STD, STI: 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 potentially confusing to the reader.

    stepgrandfather, stepgrandmother (close up all step relationships unless next word starts with a vowel)

    stop-and-frisk (hyphenate in all uses)

    storyline
    storytime

    straight-up: Hyphenate as an adjective before a noun, verb, etc., e.g., He was straight-up lying.

    Steadicam
    strap-on
    (n.), strap on (v.)

    streetwear
    struggle bus
    student-athlete
    (also, student-performer, and the like)

    subreddit: 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.)

    sugarcane

    supercut
    superfan
    superpredator
    (when referring to the 1990s crime myth)

    supervillain
    surfbort
    Sweet 16
    synthpop

    T

    tae kwon do (not Taekwondo)

    takeout (n.), take out (v.), takeaway (n.)

    TARDIS

    Taser, tase, tased, tasing: OK to use as a verb, contrary to AP.

    taste test (n.), taste-test (v.)

    tear gas (n.), teargas (v.)

    TED Talk
    teepee
    teleprompter
    TfL
    (as an abbreviation for Transport for London)

    TFW (for that feeling when)

    thinkpiece
    third world
    : Avoid; use developing world/country instead

    tick-tock
    TikTok, TikToker
    TIL
    (for today I learned)

    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)

    timeslot
    timestamp
    (one word, all forms)

    tl;dr: 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)

    touchscreen
    Tourette syndrome
    Toys 'R' Us
    TP'd
    (for toilet-papered)

    tracklist
    tractor-trailer
    transatlantic
    treehouse
    trendspotting
    T. rex
    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.)

    Twitter, tweeting, tweets, tweetstorm

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

    U

    ugly-cry (all uses)

    UK

    UN

    underboob

    underway (all uses)

    unfriend (not de-friend)

    unsee
    up front
    (adv.), up-front (adj.), upfronts (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.)

    US, USA (generally interchangeable)

    username

    V

    Viner (i.e., someone who uses Vine [RIP💀])

    Vine-ing (post a Vine or use Vine is preferred; capitalize in all uses)

    vinyasa yoga
    Vitaminwater
    V-card
    V-Day
    (as an abbreviation for Valentine's Day)

    V-neck
    V-shaped
    Vogue Paris
    , Vogue Italia (not "French Vogue," "Italian Vogue"), but British Vogue

    voicemail
    voiceover
    vs.
    (with a period, lowercase in list-y posts), versus (spelled out in news articles, longform stories); but v. for court cases

    W

    wack (adj.) (not cool, effed up); whack (n., v.) a hard or resounding blow, to hit with a hard or resounding blow; also gangster (as in Godfather) slang, to kill

    Wall Street: not Wall St. in running text, unless talking about a specific address

    Walmart (when referring to the retail store and the corporation)

    Washington, DC; the DC area — but in datelines just WASHINGTON

    watch list
    web
    , website, webpage

    web comic
    web forum
    webslinger
    (not web-slinger)

    weenus (not weenis)

    weightlifting (but weight lifter)

    Western: Capitalize for film or book genre, but lowercase for music genre.

    wetsuit
    whitelist
    , whitelisted (n., v.)

    whitewater (adj.): as in rafting

    whiz (n.)

    whoa

    who's who

    wide-awake (adj.): Hyphenate before a noun only.

    widescreen (adj., n.)

    Wi-Fi

    windbreaker
    windchill
    (not wind chill)

    wineglass

    wine varietals

    workflow
    workwear
    World Wide Web
    writers room

    www: 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.) — all very rare instances!

    X

    Xacto

    Y

    YA (for young adult lit)

    yaaass

    Yahoo (no "!")

    yeah

    yeehaw

    young'un

    YouTube, YouTuber

    Z

    zeitgeist (lowercase, even though MW ~often~ capitalizes)

    zip code (not ZIP code)

    Ziploc (trademark), ziplock (generic; not zip-lock)

    z's (aka sleep)

    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 is 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, DOS for Department of State, etc. Exception: GoT for Game of Thrones).

    • Spell out both on first reference, but DOE is the abbreviation for the Department of Energy only, while ED is used for the Department of Education.

    • 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. Here are some that don't need to be spelled out:

    AIDS

    amfAR

    ASPCA

    CBS

    CD

    CDC

    CEO

    CIA

    CNN

    CPR

    CT scan

    DNA

    DUI

    ER

    ESPN

    FBI

    FDA

    FOIA

    HBCU

    HIV

    HMO

    HR

    IQ

    IRS

    LAPD

    MIT

    MRI

    NAACP

    NASA

    NASCAR

    Nasdaq

    NBA

    NBC

    NFL

    NGO

    NHL

    NYPD

    PBS

    PGA

    PMS

    SATs

    SPF

    SUV

    TSA

    UCLA

    UN

    UNESCO

    UNICEF

    USDA

    VCR

    WNBA

    WWF

    YMCA

    Names

    Celebrities (Including Artists, Athletes, Authors, and Characters)

    Alexander Skarsgård

    bell hooks

    Beyoncé

    Chance the Rapper (lowercase the)

    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

    George R.R. Martin

    H.P. Lovecraft

    Jada Pinkett Smith

    J.J. Abrams

    J.K. Rowling

    J. Law (abbreviation for Jennifer Lawrence)

    J.Lo (abbreviation for Jennifer Lopez)

    Jay-Z

    K. Stew (abbreviation for Kristen Stewart)

    Khloé Kardashian (with accent)

    Kim K (no period)

    Kim Kardashian West (no hyphen)

    Kobe (as in Bryant — OK to reference by first name)

    LeBron (as in James — OK to reference by first name)

    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Lupita Nyong'o

    Ne-Yo

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

    N.W.A

    NSYNC

    Omarosa Manigault Newman

    Oprah (OK to use just Oprah on first reference)

    Pee-wee Herman

    Pharrell (OK to use just Pharrell on first reference)

    Psy

    Pusha-T (with hyphen)

    Quvenzhané Wallis

    R. Patz (abbreviation for Robert Pattinson)

    RiRi (abbreviation for Rihanna)

    Run-DMC

    SpongeBob SquarePants

    T.I.

    T. Swift (abbreviation for Taylor Swift)

    Tyler, the Creator

    Weird Al Yankovic

    Will.i.am

    Zendaya (OK to use just Zendaya on first reference)

    Political and Religious Figures

    Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

    Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi

    Bashar al-Assad

    Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, use Fernández on subsequent references

    Gehad el-Haddad

    George H.W. Bush

    Gholam Hossein Mohsen Ejeie

    Hosni Mubarak

    Kim Jong Un

    King Salman or the Saudi king

    Muammar al-Qaddafi

    Mohamed Morsi

    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, use Crown Prince Mohammed or the crown prince on subsequent references

    the pope, Pope Francis

    the Prophet Muhammad

    Seif al-Islam

    Volodymyr Zelensky

    Formatting Guidelines

    Breaking News Posts

    • The header for the post’s summary, i.e., the bullets above the updates, should be written in sentence case, e.g., Here’s what’s going on:

    • Headers for each individual breaking item should be written in sentence case, with no end punctuation (unless it’s a question), e.g., Flynn insists he “crossed no lines” or Flynn’s handpicked Russia team is still in place — what does that mean for Trump?

    • Body copy can either summarize a story that’s already been posted or stand alone as an update and should be written in the style of a typical BuzzFeed News story. Examples here and here.

    • Attributions should be placed at the end of the breaking item, written in italics, and have no space between an em dash and writer’s name, e.g., —Reporter Name

    • Stand-alone links to corresponding stories should be roman, i.e., not italic, with end punctuation, e.g., Read more here. These links should be placed all the way at the end of an update (or in a post's footer) after a byline.

    • Post footers, which often include names of reporters who contributed to a post, should be italicized.

    Bylines

    • Secondary bylines within subbuzzes 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, roman): —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 first-person stories told to our editors, use italics, full name, and period on a new line after last paragraph: As told to Marty Rodriguez.

    Corrections

    • See the end of this document for a more detailed guide to BuzzFeed's correction policy, but all corrections should go at the end of a post in the following format when called for:

    Beyoncé released Lemonade in 2016. An earlier version of this post misstated the year.

    • Using the "correction" subbuzz option will autoformat and timestamp your correction.

    • Don't add a correction without first running the proposed correction by your editor or team leader.

    Headlines, Deks, and Subbuzz/Subheadings

    • Initial-capitalize every word in headlines (our CMS will do this automatically), with no end punctuation — unless it is a question mark, or, very rarely, exclamation. (The rare exceptions in which use of a period at the end of headline is OK is if it includes a multi-sentence quote and/or was transcribed with one, like in this post.)

    • 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, capitalize the first word only, use end punctuation, and treat as a normal sentence for all subheds in list. If list 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, please 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.

    Initials

    • 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 (see Entertainment section), when initials precede colons.

    Quotes

    • If you're using an em dash for attribution, one space before the dash, no space after. "Quote." —Person Who Said Quote

    • Use [sic] (italicized) after a word to indicate a misspelling in written quoted material.

    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.

    Updates

    • 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 in the subbuzz; 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. (See "Corrections" section.)

    • 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.‏

    Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation Guidelines

    Ampersands

    • 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, etc., that use an ampersand.

    Attribution

    • Generally, all quotes should have attribution, even if it is obvious who is speaking. A colon after the sentence that directly precedes a quote is fine; otherwise, aim for attribution within or after the first sentence of a quote. "Says" and "said" are preferred verbs for attribution; avoid "she notes," "he laughs," "they contend," etc. "Explain" is also frequently misused; is the person quoted really explaining something?

    • Most news posts should use past-tense attribution ("said"); service-driven posts generally should use the present tense ("says"). Use your best judgment.

    • 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.

    Capitalization

    • 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 (the Northeast, the South, the Western Hemisphere, Southern California, East Africa, West Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe); lowercase directionals when referring to nondefined regions (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 in all lowercase letters should be capitalized, 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 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; the Weinstein Company

    Combining Forms

    • Closing up or hyphenating combining forms generally depends on readability and whether closing up a word changes its meaning. Follow the guidelines below, and consult MW in most cases to see if a word has its own entry:

    anti- (hyphenate, unless it has its own entry in MW: anti-gay, anti-labor, anti-terrorism, but antibiotic, antioxidant, antisocial)

    -ass (typically hyphenated: wild-ass party; exceptions: badass, dumbass, kickass)

    -bait (typically closed up: clickbait, linkbait, tweetbait)

    butt- (typically closed up: buttcrack, buttface, butthole)

    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

    crypto- (closed up: cryptography, cryptocurrency, etc. Do not use as a stand-alone noun unless in a quote, where meaning should be clear from context)

    cyber- (closed up unless it affects readability: cyberwarfare, cyberbullying, cybersecurity, etc., but Cyber Monday)

    -esque (closed up/hyphens depend on readability: yolo-esque, Kafkaesque)

    -fest (most combining forms should be closed up: lovefest, puppyfest, etc.)

    -fuck (usually closed up: clusterfuck, bumblefuck)

    -gate (close up and capitalize all forms: Pizzagate, Gamergate, Nipplegate, etc.)

    -goer (hyphenate only if readability is an issue: beachgoer, theatergoer, fairgoer, filmgoer)

    half (follow MW: half brother, half shell, half-court, half-mast)

    -head (close up [metalhead, pothead] unless it interferes with readability [hip-hop-head, Phish-head])

    hyper- (follow MW, typically closed up)

    -ian (usually closed up unless doing so makes the word unreadable, e.g., Trumpian

    -ish (usually closed up unless doing so makes the word unreadable, e.g., emoji-ish, New Yorkish)

    -less (usually closed up; hyphenate if not found in MW: childless, witless, cashierless, audience-less, pants-less)

    -like (usually closed up unless doing so makes the word unreadable; use MW and good judgment, e.g., childlike, but doll-like, novel-like)

    -maker (follow MW: decision-maker, deal-maker, but policymaker, lawmaker)

    -mate (close up most combining forms: tourmates, cellmates, but running mate)

    mega- (generally hyphenate new forms, follow MW; also megadonor)

    mid- (close up most, follow MW for guidance: mid-1950s, mid-Atlantic, but midterm, midday)

    mini (use in an open compound, unless closed up in MW: mini cupcakes, but miniseries)

    multi- (follow MW)

    non- (close up non- words, unless readability is an issue or the next word begins with an "N", e.g., non-negotiable)

    now- phrases (hyphenate: his now-husband, the now-president)

    -plus (preferable to +, as in He was 20-plus years old.)

    post- (hyphenate, unless it has its own entry in MW: post-college, postmortem, postdoc, postwar)

    pre- (follow MW and close up unless doing so makes a word hard to read)

    re- (follow MW and close up unless doing so makes a word hard to read or changes its meaning; consider distinctions, e.g., between re-create vs. recreate and re-cover vs. recover)

    -seeker (job seeker, asylum-seeker, thrill-seeker)

    self- (hyphenate: self-absorbed)

    -shaming (hyphenate: slut-shaming, fat-shaming, body-shaming; also hyphenate compound verbs like victim-shame)

    -size/-sized: generally use -sized to describe the size of something (a nickel-sized spider); -size to describe something's function or utility (child-size furniture); also, bite-size, oversize, plus-size

    smart- (Close up most smart technology compounds: smartglasses, smarthome, smartphone, smartwatch, etc.)

    super- (generally hyphenate if it creates a compound modifier, otherwise two words: a super-long line, but that line is super long)

    then- phrases (hyphenate: her then-boyfriend, then-senator Obama)

    -time (generally close up, unless the preceding word ends in a "t": naptime, playtime, lunchtime, but breakfast time)

    -turned phrases (do not hyphenate, unless it comes before a person's name: the actor turned lawyer; actor-turned-lawyer John Smith...)

    -ward (not -wards, no "s": afterward, backward, toward, forward)

    -wear (close up unless doing so makes a word unreadable: businesswear, streetwear, workwear)

    über- (generally hyphenate if it creates a compound modifier, otherwise two words: an über-cool giraffe, that giraffe is über cool)

    -worthy (one word; use hyphen only if readability is an issue: newsworthy, Oscarworthy, lustworthy, law-worthy)

    Colons

    • 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.

    Commas

    • 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., I ate a slice of pie and three cookies, 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: 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 right-facing parenthesis 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.

    Ellipses

    • For ellipses, use three dots in a row, no spaces between each dot: …

    • If ellipses are used to indicate a mid-sentence pause, don't use a space on either side, e.g., We could go there...or not. If ellipses are 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 ellipses are used after a full sentence to indicate omission of a full sentence or more (as in a quote), use a period followed by a space before inserting ellipses, e.g., We moved to New Orleans in 2010. ... By 2012, we were back in New York.

    • If ellipses are used to indicate omission of words rather than a full sentence or are 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 ellipses are used at the beginning of a subbuzz/subheading, do not follow with a space, and generally lowercase the word following the ellipses.

    • When inserting an ellipsis in a written quote, use brackets to indicate they were added by an editor and not part of the original text.

    • More on ellipses here.

    Em Dash

    • Create the em dash with keystroke option + shift + hyphen (on Macs).

    • Use spaces on either side of the em dash.

    • Try to avoid use of the em dash when parentheses, commas, or a semicolon would work just as well.

    • If 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—"

    Emojis

    • Put emojis outside end punctuation, not inside.

    En Dash

    • Create the en dash with keystroke option + hyphen (on Macs).

    • Use the en dash (not hyphen) in sports scores, e.g., 5–3, date ranges, e.g., 1999–2005, 1980–83, and compound noun constructions such as "the New York–New Jersey border," "the US–Mexico border," "then–national security adviser Michael Flynn."

    • Use the en dash for clarity when using open compound nouns as modifiers, e.g., "a cool tennis shoe–rain boot hybrid," "a New York–born man," "a non–high school friend".

    • Do not use spaces on either side of the en dash.

    Hyphens

    • 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" 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."

    • Do use hyphens for clarity in the following situations (per Chicago Manual of Style):

    When compound modifiers such as "open-mouthed" or "full-length" precede a noun, hyphenation usually lends clarity. With the exception of proper nouns (such as "United States") and compounds formed by an adverb ending in "ly" plus an adjective, it is never incorrect to hyphenate adjectival compounds before a noun, e.g., "A First-Rate Movie," "Five-Alarm Chili."

    • Hyphens are usually not used when a phrase is made up entirely of nouns, e.g., "video game console," "crime scene cleanup," "health care reform," "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.

    • 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."

    "The Internet": Avoid in Headlines

    • Avoid "The Internet Did ____" / "All Of The Internet" "Everyone On The Internet" 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.

    Italics and Quotation Marks

    • Use italics for the names of movies, television shows, books, album titles, plays, art exhibitions/collections, web series, podcasts, radio programs, media franchises, and video games (including console, browser, and arcade; apps, however, should be roman and capped); use quotations for names of movie/play scenes, television episodes, articles, chapters, song titles, individual pieces of art, and names of studies. News publication names (both print and digital), magazine and journal titles, news organizations, and local news affiliates should be in roman type.

    • Italicize titles of newsletters that contain more than one article and will be broken down into article-like sections, but use roman type (no quotation marks) for other (typically shorter, less dense) newsletters.

    • Board games, card games, and spoken games should be capitalized and in roman type, e.g., Monopoly, Uno, Never Have I Ever.

    • Titles of issues (including the word "issue") should be capitalized and in roman type, e.g., Now Toronto's Body Issue.

    • Still unsure? Here's a handy cheat sheet for when to italicize vs. use quotes.

    • Normally, titles that should 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 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."

    • Keep all punctuation (including apostrophe + s) that follows italicized, bolded, or colored (via links) words in roman.

    • When using binomial nomenclature, i.e., scientific names, italicize both genus (capitalized) and species (lowercase) names, e.g., Homo sapiens; E. coli.

    • For non-English words: If a word or phrase could be unfamiliar to an English-speaking audience, use good judgment when deciding whether or not to italicize it. Traditionally italics have been used to indicate a potentially unfamiliar word, but these italics can often be distracting and especially, more importantly, can be othering. Consider audience and context — usually you can lose the italics without losing any meaning.

    Job Titles

    • Use gender-neutral job titles, e.g., "salesperson" or "sales rep" rather than "salesman," "lawmaker" rather than "congressman/congresswoman," "chair" rather than "chairman/chairwoman," "spokesperson" or "representative," if applicable, rather than "spokesman/spokeswoman"). Avoid gendered terms like "actress," "editrix," 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.”

    • For guidance on job titles for political figures, see Politics section below.

    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: an L-shaped couch.

    • Letters used to denote grades are capitalized and roman: "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: "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 an "s" to pluralize all abbreviations: DVDs, CDs, PhDs

    Names

    • 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, generally refer to all by their first name on second reference.

    • Per AP: Chinese names generally place surnames first and then given names, e.g., Deng Xiaoping. Second reference should be the family name, Deng in this case. For more, AP has an entry dedicated to Chinese naming conventions.

    • With surnames beginning with "al-" or "el-" (or similar prefixes), drop the prefix on second and subsequent references if using the surname only, e.g., Muammar al-Qaddafi on first reference, Qaddafi on second.

    Periods

    • Use one space between a period and the next sentence. Never two.

    Photo Captions and Illustrations

    • Use parentheses to indicate directional: Former president Obama (center) meets with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    • If listing several names in a bigger group pictured, begin 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 or set in smaller text (sometimes we'll make an exception to this, like in this post, where a normal-size caption font would blend in with the body copy and look distracting).

    • Photo captions that are full sentences or sentence fragments should be in sentence case with end punctuation; captions that are just one movie/show title or one person's name should not take a period, e.g., Killing Eve but Sandra Oh on Killing Eve.

    • For dates in photo captions (especially applicable to breaking news), only add the year if the photo was taken in a year other than the present one. Use specific dates ("Feb. 26") rather than days of the week ("on Wednesday").

    • When a thumbnail image does not appear in a story, add its photo credit to the bottom of the post in a separate subbuzz, using the "small" HTML tags.

    Possessive

    • Use 's for all singular possessive nouns, e.g., Chris's, Katniss's. Exceptions:

    • Corporation or brand names that are pluralized, e.g., General Motors'.

    • Proper nouns ending in "s" that make a "z" sound, e.g., BuzzFeed News', Serena Williams'.

    • When a proper noun is already plural, the usual rule for possessives applies: The Smiths', Rolling Stones', 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).

    • Personal pronouns never take apostrophes.

    Profanity

    • Inoffensive, "casual-use" profanity in cases where it's warranted by the tone or subject matter of a post, e.g., She shit-talked her ex, He 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.

    Pronouns

    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. (See LGBTQ section.)

    • Use “‘he’/‘him’ pronouns” and “‘she’/‘her’ pronouns” instead of “male pronouns” or “female pronouns.”

    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; etc. News publication names (both print and digital) and magazine titles should be in roman type.

    Semicolons

    • Use only between two complete sentences or in lists with internal commas, e.g., We visited Buffalo, New York; Tampa, Florida; and Lima, Ohio.

    Thoughts

    • Thoughts are set off with a comma, initial capped, and italicized. (I thought, What if I were to move to Switzerland?)

    Tildes

    • When using tildes for ~whimsical~ emphasis, put punctuation on the outside of the ending tilde.

    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.

    Verb Forms of Abbreviations and Nontraditional Words

    • Use ing or an apostrophe + d to create the verb form of an all-capped abbreviation, e.g., DIY'd, LOLing.

    • For a noun or other word that traditionally wouldn't take a verb form, use a hyphen + -ing to create the verb form if the word ends in a vowel, e.g., bro-ing, Vine-ing; use good judgment in terms of readability to determine if the past tense should be formed with an -ed or apostrophe + -d, e.g., bro'd down, Vined. If the word ends in a consonant, add -ing or -ed with no hyphen, e.g., computering, computered.

    Websites

    • Names of blogs and websites should be in roman type.

    • When writing out URLs, OK to use camel caps for readability, e.g., SalvationArmyUSA.org instead of salvationarmyusa.org.

    Words as Words

    • Use roman type in quotes. "He used the word 'chillax' way too often."

    • For profanity: the c-word the n-word, etc.

    Cities, States, and Regions

    • Spell out state names in copy when a city precedes it, e.g., "This happened in Boca Raton, Florida."

    • 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., "He's from Manhasset, New York" (not "He's 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."

    • Please 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:

    EL PASO, Texas — Running copy lorem ipsum etc etc etc

    • See below for US city names that are well-known enough to stand alone without a state, both in datelines and running text (supplementing the list in AP, which has not been re-created here). (Note: Just use "Washington" for DC datelines.) Stories published by BuzzFeed's international bureaus may use state names following the city names below for clarity at their discretion.

    Atlanta, Atlantic City, Austin, Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami (and 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, Washington, DC

    Other prominent smaller US regions may not require a state to ID them, but the context must be considered. These include:

    Albany, Aspen, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Big Sur, Buffalo, Cape Cod, Compton, Des Moines, Fort Lauderdale, the Hamptons, Harlem, Hollywood, Malibu, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, New York's five boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island), Santa Fe, Santa Monica, Silicon Valley, Soho (NYC and London), South Beach, Times Square

    • Non-US cities and regions that 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

    Dates

    • September 1961, spring 1955 are preferred over September of 1961, spring of 1955 in news stories.

    • In most stories, format full dates as: 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 alone, 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.

    • Use en dashes to indicate date ranges, e.g., 1999–2005, 1980–83.

    • 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.

    Disease, Disability, Disorders, and Mental Health

    As with any language surrounding identity, reporters, writers, and editors should ask individuals how they wish to be identified when possible.

    Autism

    • Generally, use the phrasing autistic person rather than person with autism unless it appears in a direct quote. There are differing opinions within the autistic community about the language of identity, so ask an individual how they would like to be identified when possible.

    The Coronavirus Pandemic

    • The new coronavirus or the novel coronavirus, officially named SARS-CoV-2, is a strain of the coronavirus virus family that originated in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

    • Always use the article the when discussing the coronavirus (e.g., the spread of the coronavirus, not the spread of coronavirus) — even in headlines (differing from AP here).

    • The disease it causes is called COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019. Since the coronavirus is more commonly used, explain the distinction on the first reference of COVID-19. For example: The US now has TK cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    • It is not accurate to write "a new virus called COVID-19."

    • 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.

    • Refer to the spread of the virus as the coronavirus outbreak.

    Disability

    • 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.

    • Use people-first language, i.e., using a person's name or the terms person or people before a condition, to avoid phrasing that could be seen as defining someone by their disability, e.g., people with disabilities rather than disabled people.

    • Do not use the term mentally retarded. Mentally disabled, developmentally disabled, or intellectually disabled are preferred.

    • Use wheelchair user rather than confined to a wheelchair or wheelchair-bound. If known/when possible, say why a wheelchair is used.

    • The lowercase deaf refers to someone with no hearing. The capitalized Deaf is used by members of the Deaf community 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 mute person may or may not be deaf.)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    (Note: In UK and Australia style, impairments is preferred to disabilities, and the term disabled people is preferred to people with disabilities. See the BuzzFeed UK Style Guide for more.)

    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."

    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 nuts, lunatic, deranged, psycho, and crazy, especially when referring specifically to people. Some alternatives: wild, interesting, exciting, shocking, and ridiculous.

    • Avoid using diagnosable conditions in a nonclinical sense. That is, don’t use terms like bipolar as a synonym for “moody” or OCD as one for “obsessive.”

    • 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.

    STDs/STIs

    STI (sexually transmitted infection) is preferred to STD (sexually transmitted disease) in body copy, spelled out on first reference. However, STD is acceptable in headlines and when lots of quoted material in a story uses STD and using both terms interchangeably could be potentially confusing to the reader; use your best judgment.

    Entertainment

    Awards

    • Awards show names are set in roman: Academy Awards, MTV Movie Awards.

    • Initial-cap the names of awards given at official awards shows in all instances, e.g., Best Documentary, Best Gut-Wrenching Performance.

    • Capitalize the name of the award, regardless of proper name, e.g., Best Director, Best Live-Action Short Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, etc..

    Fandoms

    • Capitalize, set in roman, no quotes, e.g., Beliebers, the Beyhive, Deadheads, Little Monsters

    Job Titles

    • 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 Martin Scorsese," "screenwriter Tina Fey," etc. Executives within the studios, however, follow the standard AP rules for title capitalization.

    Q&As

    • When formatting, 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]

    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.

    Reboots, Revivals, and Remakes

    reboot: when a series or franchise resets with a clean slate in terms of canon and continuity, often with the main characters recast, e.g., Batman Begins (2005), Lost in Space (2018). For nonfiction, telltale signs might be new hosts or a revised concept, e.g., Queer Eye (2018).

    revival: when a series returns after a long time and picks up where it left off, with most core elements intact, e.g., Roseanne (2018), The X-Files (2016), Arrested Development (2013).

    remake: when a film or series retells the story of the original work, e.g., The Ring (2002), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Ocean’s Eleven (2001).

    LGBTQ

    Community

    • When referring to the broader community, "queer" (as in "queer people" or "LGBTQ" as in "LGBTQ people") is appropriate. "Gay" is not. "LGBTQ" is only appropriate when referring to the broader community or groups of people, not when referring to individuals.

    Discrimination
    • Opt for "anti-gay" rather than "homophobic"; "anti-trans" rather than "transphobic."

    • In place of “homophobia,” use “anti-trans/anti-gay/anti-LGBTQ prejudice/discrimination/bias,” etc.

    Identification
    • 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.

    Marriage

    • Use "marriage equality" and "marriage for same-sex couples" rather than "gay marriage." 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."

    Pride

    • Lowercase "pride" if not part of a proper name, e.g., "a pride event."

    • Capitalize in 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.

    • Use "pride flag" instead of "rainbow flag" or "rainbow pride flag."

    "Openly" vs. "Out"

    • "Openly" 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.

    Pronouns

    • 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?")

    • If it is unclear what pronoun a person uses and it's not possible to ask them, use "they"/"themself."

    • Instead of saying "preferred pronoun," describe the pronoun with which someone identifies in neutral terms, e.g., "Sam Smith uses 'they'/'them' pronouns."

    Transgender Terms: Some of these are adapted from the GLAAD Transgender Glossary of Terms.

    • Transgender: An umbrella term (adj.) 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: To occasionally wear clothes traditionally associated with people of the other sex. "Cross-dresser" should NOT be used to describe someone who has transitioned to live full-time as the other sex or who intends to do so in the future.

    • Always use a transgender person's chosen name. It is never appropriate to put quotation marks around either a transgender person's chosen name or the pronoun that reflects that person's gender identity.

    • Deadnaming: The preferred term in the community for using a trans person's assigned name at birth. Generally avoid the practice of deadnaming in stories, unless it is preferred by the subject.

    • Please use the correct term or terms to describe gender identity. For example, a person who transitions to become female is a transgender woman, whereas a person who transitions to become male is a transgender man.

    • Avoid pronoun confusion when examining the stories and backgrounds of transgender people prior to their transition. It is usually best to report on transgender people's stories from the present day instead of narrating them from some point or multiple points in the past.

    • 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 sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or gender affirmation surgery.

    Music

    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 White Album (for the Beatles) and the Banana Album (for the Velvet Underground & Nico).

    alt-, alterna-, avant-
    • Hyphenate all made-up constructions.

    Ampersands
    • Avoid using unless it is officially part of the artist's name, e.g., Mumford & Sons.

    Band Names

    • All band names, even those singular in form, take plural construction, e.g., "Soundgarden return to a world without chops," "Limp Bizkit are the best band ever." This also applies to names with the words "band," "group," "clan," etc. ("Dave Matthews Band were on tour").

    • Lowercase "the" in band names that officially start with "the": the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Strokes.

    • K-pop artists: Don't cap every letter in the artist's or band's name, even if it often appears as such, e.g., G-Dragon, not G-DRAGON; Psy, not PSY.

    Genres

    • Genre names should always be lowercase (new wave, indie, hip-hop, etc.). Exceptions: K-pop, J-pop, R&B.

    Lyrics

    • 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.")

    Songs

    • 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)

    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 all words should be initial-capped, including "tour," e.g., the 777 Tour, the Korn Reunion Tour.

    • Residencies, e.g., Vegas shows like Britney Spears' Piece of Me should be set in italics.

    Miscellaneous

    • Do not adhere to vanity capitalization, e.g., Rihanna's Anti; if there's an album named The BeSt tHiNg EveR, please just style as The Best Thing Ever.

    • Avoid the word "problematic" at all costs.

    • No. 14 on iTunes

    • Record companies: Capitalize the word "records" for all labels, e.g., Atlantic Records.

    • Side One, Side Two (in album references)

    Numbers

    • 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 ("Thirty-five cats live on that island.")

    • Use 1 in 4 voters (figures) if it's a large sampling. But spell six out of nine senators because these are finite numbers under 10.

    • More than 1 in 4 children are obese (not "is" when the subject is plural). Use a singular verb in constructions like "Around 1 in 3 students has the flu."

    Addresses

    • For New York City street and avenue names that use numbers, always use figures in street names (6th Street, 23rd Street) and spell out the number in avenue names (Second Avenue, Tenth Avenue).

    Ages

    • Use numerals for specific ages ("The 5-year-old had a party," "She was turning 30").

    • Spell out decades ("in your thirties") and variations ("The twentysomethings…").

    Decades

    • '90s / 1990s (Not: 90's, 1990's, 90s, nineties, eighties, or any other combination!)

    Demographics, e.g., in Entertainment Stories
    • In 18 to 49, there was…

    • 18- to 49-year-olds…

    • In the 18-to-49 demographic…

    Fractions
    • 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.

    • When spelled out, i.e., at the start of a sentence, hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine.

    Grades (as in School)
    • He was in the first grade; she was a first-grader; they were both first-grade teachers. Use figures for grades 10–12.

    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 Gunman Killed 7 People In Texas In A Highway Shooting Rampage"

    Millions and Billions

    • Always use numerals (6 million people).

    Money

    • 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 figures and words, never hyphenate, even when preceding a noun, e.g., "the $1.7 million house" (not $1.7-million).

    • Spell out other currency rather than using symbols (euros, yen, etc.), except for British pounds (£), which we use the symbol for in all posts (use option + 3 on non-UK keyboards). For nations that also use 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.

    Pregnancy

    • Always use figures: 8 months pregnant, 6-week abortion ban, etc.

    Percentages

    • Use figure + percent sign — unless a percentage starts a sentence, in which case spell out the number and use the word "percent." ("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."

    Phone Numbers

    • 917-000-0000; 800-BUZZFEED

    Ratings Systems

    • Use figures for rankings and reviews: 4 out of 5 stars, 1-star Michelin restaurant.

    Sizes

    • For clothing, format as size 8, size 10, etc., in all uses. For bra sizes, format as 34B, 36DD, A cup, B cup, etc.

    Sports

    • 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).

    Temperature

    • 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 numerals to express ranges of temperature ("It's going up to the 30s today"). No need to include "Fahrenheit" if it's clear from the context.

    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, noon, midnight

    Weights and Measures
    • Generally, use figures and spell out "inches," "feet," "yards," "miles," 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 man; the basketball team signed a 7-footer; the orca whale is 26 feet long.
    The ship is 200 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 50 feet high.
    The room is 20 feet by 15 feet; the 20-by-15-foot room.
    Forecasters are predicting 8 inches of snow tonight.
    The 750-square-foot apartment.
    He autographed 8x10s.

    Miscellaneous

    • 8 mm film, 8-track tape, Hot 97, 55 mph

    Politics

    Constitution

    • 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.

    • Spell out the numbers in the first nine amendments and cap “A” when referencing specific amendments to the Constitution, e.g., First Amendment, 19th Amendment.

    Courts

    • 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 and use v. instead of 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.

    Legislative and Executive Branches

    • Lowercase congressional unless it's part of a proper name, e.g., congressional salaries, the Congressional Quarterly, the Congressional Record. Use figures and capitalize district when joined with a figure, e.g., the 1st Congressional District, the 1st District. Lowercase congressional district and district whenever they stand alone.

    House of Representatives, the House, the Massachusetts House, but in plural references: the Massachusetts and Connecticut houses. Statehouse (singular) is always initial-capped even when the name of the state doesn’t precede it, but statehouses plural 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 Marijuana 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.

    FOSTA-SESTA (hyphen, not SESTA-FOSTA)

    • Capitalize department names, even when not stating 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…”).

    Job Titles

    • 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. Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley, Govs. Steve Bullock and John Hickenlooper, Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar.

    • Capitalize department names when preceding a name, but lowercase as a stand-alone title: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, 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 Stephanie Grisham, adviser Jared Kushner.

    Vice president never takes a hyphen.

    • Job titles following a region name, political affiliation, or similar should be capitalized, e.g., Russian President Vladimir Putin, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Contrary to AP, lowercase a title after the words then, now, or former, e.g., former president Jimmy Carter, then-president Ronald Reagan, now-president Donald Trump.

    • Lowercase and use an en dash for titles that have two or more words in then– constructions: then–vice president Joe Biden, then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

    • For acting positions, lowercase “acting” but keep the title capitalized: acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

    • 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.

    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, but Democrat, Republican, libertarianism/libertarian, communism/communist, conservatism/conservative, Marxism/Marxist, 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. (While we’re here, Pepe the frog takes a lowercase “f”.)

    Protest

    protester (not protestor), counterprotester, counterdemonstration

    • 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.

    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.

    anti-Muslim, preferred to anti-Islam or Islamophobic

    • Use self-described “antifa” to describe that subsection of anti-fascist protesters.

    neo-Nazi in all uses

    • In general, be as specific as possible when describing protests and groups of protesters. Do not use terms like alt-right, white nationalist, leftist, or liberal as blanket terms unless you are sure they are accurate.

    War, Peace, and Intrigue

    • Per AP, US military organizations are capitalized, while non-US orgs are not, e.g., US Navy and US Air Force, but Chinese navy and Chinese air force. For BuzzFeed Canada posts, Canadian Navy and Canadian Air Force are acceptable.

    Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Syrian civil war

    • Lowercase war on terror. Same applies to similar phrases, e.g., war on drugs.

    • Use ISIS (not ISIL or Islamic State) for the militant group. This applies even to seeming redundancies like the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

    • UN is OK on first reference.

    G20 (not G-20) and G7 are OK on first reference. Lowercase "summit."

    • Be specific when making references to citizens of non-US countries so as not to risk generalizations based on nationality, e.g., in Trump–Russia coverage, use Russian lawyer or Russian banker in a headline if the subject of the story is already known, rather than a Russian or the Russian on first reference, and aim to be as specific as possible in a headline identifying a new person of interest, or in running copy generally.

    Miscellaneous

    administration (lowercase “a,” e.g., It has been something the administration has avoided or the Obama administration)

    adviser (not advisor, e.g., national security adviser)

    articles of impeachment (not capitalized)

    Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc., “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli with quote marks

    BlackBerry, BlackBerrys (let’s face it, politicians are the only people who still use them)

    bloc (as in a voting bloc); black bloc (lowercase, in reference to the anarchist movement)

    Cabinet (cap when referring to the governmental advisers)

    caucusgoer
    civil rights movement

    commander in chief (no hyphens)

    councilor, e.g., member of a city council, counselor (senior adviser), counsel (n. or v., guidance or adviser, e.g., on legal matters)

    Election Day, election night (do not hyphenate as modifiers)

    Electoral College

    election-rigging, vote-rigging

    first family and first lady (always lowercase as it’s not a formal title, e.g., first lady Michelle Obama)

    first-term for congressional representatives, not first-year or freshman

    Fox News (not FOX); Fox & Friends; Breitbart (not Breitbart News)

    frontrunner (one word, contrary to AP)

    fundraiser, fundraising (one word, contrary to AP and MW)

    gun control, gun rights (never hyphenate)

    hardline (adj.)

    health care (all forms); also single-payer system, preexisting condition, Obamacare

    inauguration when referring to the ceremony, Inauguration Day when referring to the totality of events on the day of the inauguration, per AP

    Mar-a-Lago: OK to capitalize the "-A-" in headlines.

    megadonor

    middle class (n.), middle-class (adj.); also lower-middle class (n.), upper-middle-class (adj.), e.g., an upper-middle-class upbringing

    neck and neck but hyphenate as a compound modifier, e.g., The race was neck and neck, a neck-and-neck race

    PAC, super PAC

    politics 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

    reelect, reelection

    runoff (all uses)

    sanctuary cities, nonsanctuary cities

    staff is a collective noun that requires a singular verb, e.g., staff is; staffers (or staff members) takes a plural, e.g., staffers are

    tea party, tea partyers (cap only when referring to a specific group, e.g., Tea Party Express)

    The Donald

    the White House, places in the White House are also capped, e.g., Rose Garden, West Wing, East Room, etc. The White House takes a singular verb (e.g., "the White House is...")

    whistleblower (not whistle-blower)

    WikiLeaks, Panama Papers

    Race and Ethnicity

    • Use good judgment when determining whether it is appropriate to mention a person's race/ethnicity in a story. Per AP, appropriate situations include:

    — In biographical and announcement stories that involve significant, groundbreaking, or historic events, such as being elected US president, being named to the US Supreme Court, or other notable occurrences, e.g., Barack Obama is the first Black US president. Jeremy Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

    — When reporting a demonstration or disturbance involving race or such issues as civil rights or slavery.

    • When describing suspects sought by the police or 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.

    • Per AP: Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc.

    Person/people of color (POC) is 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.

    • Do not use hyphens to denote dual heritage, ethnicity, or religion. This applies to both nouns and adjectives, e.g., Jewish American, the Asian American man, Turkish American, American Muslim. For more on why we’re going against AP, see this piece in Conscious Style Guide. For all of this, we defer to a subject’s self-identity, so writers should ask whenever possible.

    • 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 if someone prefers to be identified as African American.

    • Generally avoid the use of black and white as a noun; they are acceptable when referencing statistical information.

    • Asian 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.

    • 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.

    • Avoid clumsy euphemisms like urban-targeted or race-themed to describe films or television programs with majority black casts.

    • Don't casually use terms and phrases derived from Native American culture like spirit animal, powwow, and low man on the totem pole.

    Latino refers 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 rather than Hispanic when a broader term is necessary. Latinx (pronounced la-teen-ex) is an acceptable variation, 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. (A helpful resource can be found here.) Reserve "Spanish" only to describe the people who are from Spain.

    • Generally, avoid America as both a noun and 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. Americans is OK when discussing people from the United States.

    Recipes

    • Order: List ingredients in the order 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 list of ingredients.

    • Include an "F" for "Fahrenheit" after the º sign: "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

    Social Media/Apps

    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 this post and this one.

    Facebook

    • Never use as a verb (Facebooking, Facebooked) — instead, use language such as "posted to Facebook."

    • likes — lowercase, not set in quotes

    • News Feed

    • to friend someone — lowercase, not set in quotes

    • Facebook Groups

    • Facebook Live

    • Facebook Memories

    • Facebook stories

    Instagram

    • Instagrammed, Instagramming

    • Instagram, Instagrams (n.): as in the photo(s) you posted

    • Instagram story

    • Instagram Live

    • As ~quirky~ verb form: "to 'gram" for short

    • Capitalize filter names: Amaro, Earlybird, Lo-Fi, etc.

    Pinterest

    • pin, pinned, pinning

    • Pinterest board

    Snapchat

    • snap (n.) — lowercase "S"

    • Snapchatted/Snapchatting, snapped/snapping, or sent a snap — all terms are OK

    • Snapchat story, stories; snap story

    • Snapstreak

    Tinder

    • Tindering/Tindered OK as a verb

    Tumblr

    • Individual Tumblr blog names capitalized, in roman, e.g., Hot Dog Legs, Reasons My Son Is Crying.

    Twitter

    • tweeted (never "tweeted out"), tweeting, tweet (as verb and noun), Twitter user (preferred to "tweeter"), Twitterstorm, tweetstorm, live-tweet

    • hashtag

    • For clarity, cap separate words in a hashtag name, e.g., #ThrowbackThursday, in running copy.

    • Treat Twitter handles like proper names: Retain same capitalization as actual handle, add just an apostrophe for the possessive of handle names ending in "S," etc.

    • 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)

    • Twitter Moments

    WhatsApp

    • Use "send a WhatsApp message" rather than "send a WhatsApp"

    Miscellaneous Style Guidelines

    Abortion

    • 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.

    Adoption

    • 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 the latter phrasing 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.

    Academic Degrees

    • Bachelor's and master's degrees are possessive (when 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.

    Body Image

    • Avoid the phrases "real women," "regular women," or "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.

    Immigration

    • "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.

    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 person-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.

    Mass Shootings

    • Do not be gratuitous with a shooter's name, photo, and video in posts, headlines, thumbnails, and 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.

    Migrants and Refugees

    • 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.

    • When shorthand is necessary, i.e., for headlines/deks, be precise:

    - Use "refugee" when referring to, per AP, "a person who is forced to leave his home or country to escape war, persecution or natural disaster."

    - Use "migrant" when referring to someone seeking economic opportunity.

    • The UNHCR's explainer of the distinction between the words is a helpful resource.

    Natural Disasters

    • Capitalize "hurricane" or "superstorm" when it precedes the name that weather forecasters have assigned to a storm, e.g., Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina.

    • 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.

    Rape and 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. Note: Using "alleged" once toward the beginning of a story is legally advisable, but aim to avoid repeated uses. (See suggestions for language in next bullet points, and here's a good example of a story that manages to avoid use of any form of "allege" in all but one instance.)

    • Instead of prefacing everything with "alleged," try to rely on more precise verbs.

    Original: The woman looked shaken as she described how the man allegedly pushed her.

    Better: The woman looked shaken as she testified that the man pushed her down.

    Original: The girl alleged that the school nurse was not supportive when she tried to file a claim.

    Better: When asked why she did not file a claim, the girl said that the school nurse was not supportive of her effort to.

    • Instead of using the word "victim" frequently, or using the word "accuser," try to write about the subject as you would one of any other story.

    Original: The alleged victim said she was worried about reporting the man.

    Better: The girl said she was worried about reporting the man.

    Original: The judge let the alleged victim speak for two full minutes.

    Better: The judge let the woman speak for two full minutes.

    Original: The accuser claimed that he had told close friends about the alleged incident.

    Better: The man testified that he had told close friends.

    • Instead of relying on verbs like "claims" or "alleges" to indicate legal uncertainty, look for descriptions that don't have judgmental connotations — "said" almost always works.

    Original: She claimed…

    Better: She said...

    Original: The prosecution claims that…

    Better: The prosecution said…

    Original: The prosecution claims that…

    Better: Her lawyer said…

    Original: She alleged that...

    Better: In her view…

    • 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.

    • Avoid the phrase "trigger warning" 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 story, please introduce with a phrase such as: "Warning: graphic images" or "Warning: detailed descriptions." (Also avoid joke "trigger warnings.")

    Royal terms (UK)
    • Titles such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or the Prince of Wales are capped at first mention, then subsequently decapped to the duke and the duchess or the prince. The exception is the Queen, whose role is always capped.

    • The Duke of Cambridge is also called Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, can also be referred to as Kate Middleton in headlines, deks, and lighter posts. She should never be called Princess Kate, however.

    • Do not cap "royal" in phrases such as "the royal baby" or "the royal family."

    Suicide

    • 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, e.g., 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: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line.

    • 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.

    Translated Names of Organizations/Political Parties

    • When translating these from a non-English language, format with adjective first: France's National Front, the Socialist Party, etc.

    BuzzFeed Corrections Policy

    Corrections are important for two reasons: First, because we need to be right. And second, because transparency is a core value for BuzzFeed. That's why you don't hear us saying things externally that you don't hear internally or vice versa; that's why we are so open to engaging critics on Twitter and elsewhere. We live in the social conversation, and we can't hide from it. And while every error is a weakness, some errors are inevitable, and fully and openly correcting them is a strength.

    This policy has two goals. One is to have a better handle on any mistakes we make. But the other is to avoid the one thing worse than making an error — which is resisting correcting it. We all make mistakes sometimes; the fullness and speed of corrections is one of the delights of digital journalism, and we should embrace it in full.

    How BuzzFeed Does Corrections

    • 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 doc.

    • Corrections should be made for errors of fact — not misspellings or 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"; whereas for a news error, the language should be more sober and direct. A dumb 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.

    Hat Tips

    Be generous to the person on Twitter who pointed out the error — whether you are feeling generous or not, and no matter how obnoxious the tweet. That person did you a favor by improving your piece. If possible, end the correction with "(H/T: @twitterlunatic)" 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.

    Corrections vs. Updates

    Updates should be used to reflect important new information or clarifications; corrections are for mistakes.

    Process

    Writers should draft corrections, but run them by their editor, team leader, or the after-hours list for approval/editing before putting them in.

    Sample Corrections

    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! Kim Kardashian West's favorite selfie pose is the smize. An earlier version of this post said her favorite selfie pose is duckface.

    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 Kanye'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.

    Questions and/or suggestions? Email BFstyleguide@buzzfeed.com and talk to our copy editors.