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BuzzFeed Style Guide

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

Originally posted on
Updated on

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 fangirl.) 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.

BuzzFeed's preferred dictionary for US/World style is Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition ( 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 Merriam-Webster, 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.

Word List

?! (never !?)

@replies, @mentions (on Twitter)

11th hour (but hyphenate as an adjective, e.g., 11th-hour negotiations)

1D (as an abbreviation for One Direction)

(use a lowercase C, and avoid using it to start a sentence when possible)

4th of July



A-list, B-list (etc., when referring to an A-list celeb)

(for air-conditioning)

AF (for as fuck)


agender (adj., describes someone who does not identify with a specific gender)

(unless it starts a sentence, in which case AKA is acceptable — Aka just looks weird)

alcoholic drink names are usually lowercase unless derived from a proper noun (exceptions: Bloody Mary, Old-Fashioned)

Al Jazeera (not italicized)

, p.m. (OK to cap in headlines)

Amex (for American Express)

amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research)

the Apple Store
(preferred to Argentinian as adj. meaning of or relating to Argentina)

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

awards season
, awards show (preferable to award)


baby daddy, baby mama (two words)

backseat (all forms)


band names:
Usually take a plural construction (The band is on tour; but Arcade Fire are playing tonight.).
(for before common era and common era; not BC, AD)

beatboxer, beatboxing


Bernie Bros
, best-selling (e.g., the New York Times best-seller list)



(always lowercase)

black girl magic
(adj. and n., all uses)

Bloody Mary, Bloody Marys
blow job
bocce ball
(n., adj.), body camera (n.), body-camera (adj.)

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

bougie (adj.); bougiest (from bourgeoisie)

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)

(as adj. and n., all uses)

Brussels sprouts
, BS'd, BS'ing
B side
(n.); B-side (adj.)

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
(measure digital storage capacity) — abbreviate and cap 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)


caj (for the abbreviation of casual)

camel toe
Cap'n Crunch
cash me ousside, howbow dah
(v., lowercase)

CBGB (not CBGB's)


celebricat (for a celebrity feline)

celebridog (for a celebrity canine)


cesarean (i.e., C-section)

(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


checkmark (one word in all forms)

child care (all forms)

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)

circle jerk
, cisgender (both adj.)

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

class-action lawsuit
click through
(v.), click-through (n., adj.)
(as in TK and company)

(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 (n., adj.); 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)


copyedit (v.)

(as slang for crazy)

crop top

crowdfund (all forms)

crowdsource (all forms)

(not cuing)


dab, dabbing
(dance move)

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

dancehall (music genre)

Dark Web, Deep Web

day care
(two words)

Day-Glo (trademark, used for fluorescent materials or colors); dayglow (airglow seen during the day)

deadlift (one word, n. and v.)

deal breaker (two words)

Deep South
Deir ez-Zor
(for the city in Syria)

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

Disney Princess (for the brand/line of characters); Disney princess (when referring to a specific character from a Disney film)

diss (meaning to disrespect)

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

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


"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
(but Dunkin' Donuts)

down-low (also, on the DL)

Down syndrome


doxx (not dox)

DREAMer (when referring to advocates and beneficiaries of the DREAM Act)

drive-thru (n.)

Dr.: Do not use the term Dr. to refer to nonmedical doctors who hold a doctorate

drunk driving (n.), drunk-driving (adj., v.); preferred to drunken driving

drunk-text (hyphenate as a compound verb)

Duck, Duck, Goose



e-book, e-cigarette, e-commerce

Earth (capped only when referring explicitly to the planet; The biggest on Earth but a down-to-earth guy)

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

Ecstasy (cap E for the drug)

(singular, and as a collective language unit), emojis (plural)

ever closer (no hyphen)

Exxon Mobil


F-you (n.)

Facebook-stalk (v.)

facedown (adj.)


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.)

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

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

FBI (OK on first reference)
(all instances, regardless of gender)


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

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

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


flier for one who flies; flyer for the circular/paper

Frappuccino; Frap
freshman 15
friend zone
(n.); friend-zone (v.)

Frisco (acceptable on second reference for San Francisco)

frontman, frontwoman
Froot Loops
(not Fruit Loops)

, (Fsociety in headlines, but avoid if possible)

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

fur baby


Gambia (not the Gambia or The Gambia)

Gchat, Gchatted, Gchatting

Generation X
, Gen X'er
(v.); GIFs, GIFable (pronounced gif with a hard G, NOT like the peanut butter Jif)

GIF set
Girl Scout Cookie
(as a synonym for girlish); girlie (featuring scantily clad women)

: Cap only if explicitly referring or alluding to a deity; lowercase otherwise, especially in common phrases ("Thank god she was OK," "Oh god, he thought," "And god knows we needed all the help we could get")

(per Merriam-Webster), goddamnit, goddamned

gonna (not gunna)

good Samaritan
(preferred over Google Plus)

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

(not grey)

grown-up (as n. and adj.)

Guantánamo Bay
guest star
(n.); guest-star (v.)


(interjection); ha-ha (n.)

hair care (n.); hair-care (adj.)

hair dryer (but blow-dryer)

half hour
(not half-hour) (n.)

hand job

(all uses)

hardcore (all uses)

(n.), hate-watch (v.)
"he said, she said"
head count
, 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.

higher-up (n.)

(as in Woodstock, peace and love, and all that)

hippy (as in big-hipped)

hi-top fade
and -negative (hyphenate in all uses, e.g., Are you HIV-positive? vs. the HIV-positive patients)

ho (plural: hos for the derogatory term)

homeowner, homeownership

homepage (also, homescreen, etc.)

(n.), hook up (v.)

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

(for hat tips, never H/t)

humankind (preferred over mankind)

Houthi rebels


ice cream (n., adj.; never hyphenate)

iced coffee (not ice coffee)

ID (for identification)

Ikea (not IKEA)

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

indie pop, indie rock (but hyphenate as modifiers, i.e., indie-rock band)

Instagram, Instagramming (capped in all forms)


Internet of Things
iPhone 5s
, iPhone 6 Plus (use lowercase S, C, etc., with model numbers)

iPad Mini
(OK on first reference for information technology)

It girl, It couple


(for the trademarked product); jello (as the generic term)


(not an actual word, but preferred to judgey in casual prose)

Juggalo, Juggalette


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

laundromat (lowercase)


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

left-swipe (hyphenate as a 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 Jane's party than at Julie's).

life hack
: Use commas on either side for an interjection: If you have, like, a really bad day… No quotation marks when used as a self-referential pseudo quote: 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, 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)

(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)

LOL'd, LOLing

longtime (adj.)

long-standing (adj.)


lookalike (one word, all forms)

lower/upper Manhattan
(lowercase L and U)



MAC (the cosmetics brand)

mac 'n' cheese
maiden name
: Avoid, 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)

manila envelope
, mansplaining
mason jar
(hyphenated in all uses)


mecca (lowercase)

meet-cute (n.)

meetup (n.)

, memeing (avoid phrasing like giant meme or viral meme, which are redundant and often hyperbolic; OK as a verb, e.g., Hurry, meme this cat picture!)

men's rights activists
(no caps)

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

(as the adj. or v. meaning to attach a microphone)

middle-aged (not -age)


Midtown Manhattan/Midtown (capped)

mile-high club
(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)

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

(lowercase as the hairstyle)

Molly (when referring to the drug)

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.)

MoMA (for Museum of Modern Art)

Muay Thai


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

Nae Nae (dance move)

nap time
(the cosmetics brand)

National Airport
or Washington National Airport: preferred over Reagan National Airport

Native American (not American Indian, unless a person self-identifies as such); Native is also used as an adj. to describe things specific to the population

Necco (not NECCO)

Netflix and chill (n. and v.)
never mind
News Feed
(when referring to Facebook's News Feed); newsfeed, one word, in other references

news gathering
New York magazine
New Wave (for film genre); new wave (for music genre)

nip slip
(as n. and adj.)

No. 1 for official rankings, like on music charts (except in quotes); spell out number one in all other uses (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 (I used to be completely terrified of heights. Now I'm generally OK with heights). When used colloquially, use a comma (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)



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

(adv. and adj.)

(no periods)

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

(three r's, but add more for intensity)

, 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)

(adv. and adj.)

Other, Otherness: Capitalize to indicate use of the term as a category, especially when discussing race (e.g., in this post, I think people make a clear distinction that [Lupita Nyong'o] is this exotic, fetishized Other — and therefore not 'black' like the rest of us.)


PA (for personal amplifier)

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

Paleo diet
peeping Tom
pet sitter
, pet-sit, pet-sitting

PhD, PhDs (plural)

phone calling (as a v., no hyphen)

photobomb, videobomb

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

the Pill: Capitalize when referring to birth control, but only when used as a n. 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.)

, pinners (on Pinterest) are always lowercase


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

Plexiglas for the trademarked product; plexiglass as the generic term

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

pop star
, rock star
Post-it Note
(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 (capped when referring to the trademarked Starbucks beverage)



(the tech site)

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

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

refriend, retweet, repin

rearview (adj.)



ride-hail (noun and verb), 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)


right-click (hyphenate all forms)

right-swipe (hyphenate all forms)

RIP (no points)

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

rock 'n' roll
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
roid rage
room 1
, room 202, etc. (lowercase R in reference to room numbers)

round trip (n.)

roundtable (n., adj.)

royal baby, royal family (lowercase)

RT'd, RTs, RT (on Twitter)



Satan, satanic, satanism
(silent but deadly)

sci-fi (but science fiction in all forms)

Screen Actors Guild (no apostrophe)

(a screenshot of text shared on social media)

screenshot (OK as n. and v.; screenshot as past tense and past participle)


service member

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.

Shiite, Shiites (not Shia, for the branch of Islam, but Shia is acceptable in quotes)

ship names: Capped, 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

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

shit ton
shoutout (not shout-out)
shrink wrap
(n.), shrink-wrap (v.)


skin care (two words, all forms)



(for past tense of snowblow)


S.O. (for significant other)

Solo cup
soy milk
(n. and v.)

spoke out
: Avoid; said generally works just as well

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


Stanky Legg (for dance move)

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

the States
(when referring to the United States)

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)

(hyphenate as an adjective before a n., v., etc.)

struggle bus
(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.)


(when referring to the 1990s crime myth)

Sweet 16


tae kwon do
(n.); take out (v.); takeaway (n.)

, tase, tased, tasing (OK to use as a v., contrary to AP)

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

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

TED Talk
(as an abbreviation for Transport for London)

The One (as in destined romantic interest)

third world
: Avoid; use developing world/country instead

Time magazine
(not TIME)

Time’s Up initiative (but #TimesUp)

time-lapse (adj.); time lapse (n.)

timeline (one word, all forms)

timeshare (one word, all forms)

(one word, all forms)

tl;dr (all lowercase, unless it starts a sentence, in which case, TL;DR; should be followed by a colon if introducing a sentence)

the Today show (not The Today Show)

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

T. rex
(one word, lowercase)

try to (not try and, as in, I'm going to try to call her later.)

Twitter, tweeting, tweets

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


ugly-cry (all uses)




underway (all uses)

unfriend (not de-friend)

up front
(adv.); up-front (adj.); upfronts (n., refers to the meeting held by television executives)

updog (Nothing, what's up with you?)

upvote/downvote (n. and v.)

US, USA (generally interchangeable)



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

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

vinyasa yoga
(as an abbreviation for Valentine's Day)

Vogue Paris
, Vogue Italia (not "French Vogue," "Italian Vogue"), but British Vogue

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


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 (spell out, rather than "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
, website, webpage

web comic
web forum
(but weight lifter)

Western (cap for film or book genre, but lowercase for music genre)

, whitelisted (one word, n. and v.)

whitewater (adj., as in rafting)

whiz (n.)

who's who
(hyphenate as an adj. before a noun)

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

wine varietals
: See AP

World Wide Web
writers room

www: Never use in a URL unless you can't access the site without it (or if the URL requires the odd www1. or www2.) — all very rare instances!


YA (for young adult lit)


Yahoo (no !)



YouTube, YouTuber


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

zip code (not ZIP code)

Ziploc for the trademarked product; ziplock as the generic term

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).

• 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:











CT scan












































Celebrities (including artists, athletes, authors, and characters):

Alexander Skarsgård

Alyson Hannigan

Angelina Jolie Pitt

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Azealia Banks

bell hooks

Benedict Cumberbatch


Cara Delevingne

Cee Lo Green

Chance the Rapper (lowercase the)

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Colin Farrell

Courteney Cox

Cristin Milioti

Daryl Dixon

Dave Chappelle

David Boreanaz

David Oyelowo

Domhnall Gleeson

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Elisabeth Moss

Ellen DeGeneres

Gabourey Sidibe

George R.R. Martin

Ginnifer Goodwin

Giuliana Rancic

Hailee Steinfeld

Hayden Panettiere

Hilary Duff

H.P. Lovecraft

Iggy Azalea

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jake Gyllenhaal

J.J. Abrams

J.K. Rowling

J. Law (as abbreviation)

J.Lo (as abbreviation)

James Corden

Jason Segel

Jason Sudeikis


Jennette McCurdy

Jodie Foster

Joe Manganiello

Julianna Margulies

K. Stew (as abbreviation)

Katharine McPhee

Khloé Kardashian (with accent)

Kim K (no period)

Kim Kardashian West (no hyphen)


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

Kristen Wiig

Lea Michele

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lupita Nyong'o

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Mariska Hargitay

Matthew McConaughey

Meredith Vieira

Michelle Pfeiffer

Missy Elliott

Monica Geller


Nicki Minaj

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau



Oprah (OK to use just "Oprah" on first reference)

Pee-wee Herman

Peyton Manning



Pusha-T (with hyphen)

Quvenzhané Wallis

R. Patz (as abbreviation)

Ramsay Bolton

RiRi (abbreviation for Rihanna)

Ross Geller


Saoirse Ronan

Scarlett Johansson

Seth MacFarlane

Seth Rogen

Shia LaBeouf

Stephenie Meyer

Steve Carell

T. Swift (as abbreviation)

Taissa Farmiga

Weird Al Yankovic

Will Ferrell

Zach Galifianakis

Zooey Deschanel

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

Muammar al-Qaddafi

Mohamed Morsi

the pope; but Pope Francis

the Prophet Muhammad

Seif al-Islam

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.


• 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): —Jane Smith

• On second and subsequent references, format byline as follows (em dash, initials each followed by a period, no spaces): —J.S.

• 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: Jane Smith contributed additional 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 Jane Smith.


• 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:

The editor of BuzzFeed is Ben Smith. An earlier version of this post misstated his name.

• 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-cap 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-cap 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 cap 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 (e.g., Will Hillary Clinton...).


• 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.


• When manually adding hyperlinks, please double-check that the quotes in your links are "dumb," or straight, quotes and not "smart," or curly, quotes. Smart quotes will cause the links to be broken; especially double-check that your links work when you have copied and pasted your text from a Word or Google Docs document, which tend to retain all smart quotes, even in hyperlinks.

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


• There are several instances that warrant adding an update to a post. If a story has not been published in the breaking news template and has been written through as one article, for example, an update may be added to alert the reader that new information — e.g., an additional comment from a source — has been added since the post was initially published. (Example here.) An update may also be added to alert the reader that an image has been removed or replaced since a post was initially published. (Example here.)

• 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/Punctuation Guidelines


• 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.


• 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.


• 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., 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, kick-ass; exceptions: badass)

-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, but coworker, cofounder; also, be mindful of whether a co- combining-form word is redundant, e.g., co-conspirator or 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, 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)

-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

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)


• 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 less than two sentences long.


• 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 (e.g., per CMOS, He didn't know at first what hit him, but then, too, he hadn't ever walked in a field strewn with garden rakes.).

• 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).


• 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 sub-buzz/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—"


• 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.

Fashion Credits:

• Use the following format for fashion/product credits (going from the top down, left to right; main apparel first, followed by accessories; combining item credits if they are made by the same brand/designer):

Guess blouse and sequin shorts, Falke leggings, Julie Voss cross necklaces, Gemma Simone chandelier necklace, Clara Kasavina oval motif necklace, Pluma cuff (left), Push by Pushmataaha earrings and cuff (right), Christian Siriano shoes.


• 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 & Quotation Marks:

• Use italics for the names of movies, television shows, books, album titles, plays, art exhibitions/collections, web series, podcasts, radio programs, video games (including console, browser, and arcade; apps, however, should be roman, 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.

• Italicize titles of films, but use roman type for franchises in the general sense/when they act as a descriptor: e.g., "He has tons of Star Wars memorabilia"; "I can't wait to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi"; "I got a Fast & Furious tattoo." Italicize franchise names, however, when referring to a media series: e.g., "the Saw movies," "the Song of Ice and Fire books"; "What's your favorite Fast & Furious movie?"

• 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 — because it just looks weird! 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, italicize both genus (capitalized) and species (lowercase) names (e.g., Homo sapiens).

• For foreign words: If a word or phrase is unfamiliar to an English-speaking audience and it doesn't appear in MW, set in italics; use good judgment (e.g., no need to italicize terms as commonplace as "muy bueno" or "hola"). In identity posts and other stories by and targeted to people who speak a non-English language, italics are generally unnecessary for foreign words.

Job titles:

• Generally, use gender-neutral job titles unless you're referring to a specific person/group of people or gender is relevant to the story (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.

• 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


• 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).


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

Photo captions and illustrations:

• Use parentheses to indicate directional: President Obama (center) meets with Gov. Chris Christie (right).

• 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., "Empire" but "Jussie Smollett on Empire."

• For dates in photo captions (especially applicable to breaking news), only add the year if the photo was take 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 sub-buzz, using the "small" HTML tags.

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.


• Non-offensive, "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.


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 with which someone identifies. (See LGBT section.)

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.


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


• 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 plus 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).


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

• When writing out URLs, don't adhere to vanity capping (e.g.,, NOT

Words as words:

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

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


• Spell out states 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). (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.


Atlantic City














Las Vegas

Los Angeles


Miami (and Miami Beach)




New Orleans

New York


Oklahoma City






St. Louis

Salt Lake City

San Antonio

San Diego

San Francisco


Washington, DC

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




Beverly Hills

Big Sur


Cape Cod


Des Moines

Fort Lauderdale

the Hamptons




Martha's Vineyard


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

• Foreign 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"):











Buenos Aires











Hong Kong









Mexico City


Monte Carlo








Panama City




Rio de Janeiro







St. Petersburg




Tel Aviv





Vatican City






• 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.

• 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.

Disease, Disability, Disorders, Mental Health

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


• 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.


• We adhere to the AP Stylebook's guidelines, which advise: "In general, do not describe an individual as disabled or handicapped 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."

• 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.

• Avoid use of 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.)


• 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.


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.



• 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.).


• 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.


• 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).

• Name(s) of the interviewee(s) is/are bolded. On first reference, spell out entire name of interviewee; on second reference, use initials (capped, no periods). Exception: If there are more than two individuals being interviewed, we may consider identifying interviewees on second reference by either their first or last names, if that lends clarity (especially, for example, if there is dialogue among the interviewees where they refer to one another by their first names). Just use good judgment.

• 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]

Q&A example:

Why are you so cool?

Justin Bieber: Because I wear really fashion-forward pants.

What's your favorite thing to do?

JB: Be fun and wear cool pants, I guess. [laughs]

What's next for you?

JB: Finding even more fashion-forward pants to wear.

Television shows:
• Style seasons/episodes as follows: In Season 1, Episode 1 of Homeland

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)

Game of Thrones Style Guidelines

The names of the show, series, and individual books are italicized, but the episode names are in quotes:

Game of Thrones (abbreviated as GoT)

the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

A Dance With Dragons
Season 3, Episode 9, "The Rains of Castamere"

Miscellaneous terms:
crows (nickname for the Night's Watch)

direwolf, direwolves (one word, lowercase)


Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion

Faith Militant

Faith of the Seven

Free Folk


HBO Shop




Ser (not Sir), e.g., Ser Jaime Lannister, Ser Pounce

the Seven Kingdoms

Valyrian steel

the Wall

Warg (n. and v.)

White Walkers




The major players:

Alliser Thorne

Arya Stark

Bran Stark


Brienne of Tarth

Cersei Lannister

Daario Naharis

Daenerys Targaryen aka Dany (sometimes addressed

by her title, Khaleesi, which is not her name)

Davos Seaworth

Grey Worm

the High Sparrow

the Hound aka Sandor Clegane

Jaime Lannister (Jai- NOT -mie)

Jaqen H'ghar

Jon Snow

Jorah Mormont

Littlefinger aka Petyr Baelish

Lord Varys

Margaery Tyrell

Meera Reed



the Mountain aka Gregor Clegane

Ramsay Bolton (not Ramsay Snow)

Rickon Stark

Robb Stark

Sansa Stark

Theon Greyjoy (aka Reek)

Three-Eyed Raven

Tommen Baratheon

Tormund Giantsbane


Casterly Rock


the Eyrie



King's Landing


Storm's End

Cast members:
Alfie Allen

Emilia Clarke (with the final E)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Aidan Gillen

Iain Glen

Kit Harington (one R)

Isaac Hempstead Wright (no hyphen)

Harry Potter Style Guidelines

• The series (when referring to the books and movies) is italicized. The franchise in general (referring to non-media iterations) is not. Chapter titles are set in quotes.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Book 4, Chapter 9, "The Dark Mark"

"I love my Harry Potter socks."

Capitalize and italicize spells, charms, and jinxes, even when they include non-magical words, but don't italicize their nicknames: a Summoning Charm, e.g., Accio Broomstick!; the Killing Curse aka Avada Kedavra; the Unforgivable Curses; the Fidelius Charm; Reducto; Expecto Patronum; etc.

Capitalize the names of classes and Ministry of Magic departments: Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Department of Magical Games and Sports, etc.

Capitalize the names of potions: Polyjuice Potion, Felix Felicis, Veritaserum, etc.

Most J.K. Rowling–created words and names are capitalized. Some common ones:


Animagus, Animagi

Apparate, Apparition





the Daily Prophet

the Dark Mark

Death Eaters



Floo powder


Golden Snitch, Snitch



house-elf, house-elves



Invisibility Cloak


the Knight Bus


Marauder's Map

Ministry of Magic

Muggle, Muggle-borns




Parseltongue, Parselmouth










Sorting Hat


Triwizard Tournament


wizarding world

Characters and Animals:
Albus Dumbledore


Bellatrix Lestrange

Blast-Ended Skrewt





Draco Malfoy


Fleur Delacour

Harry Potter


Hermione Granger

Fenrir Greyback (not "gray")

J.K. or Jo Rowling (pronounced like "bowling")

Luna Lovegood

Minerva McGonagall

Neville Longbottom

Peter Pettigrew aka Wormtail

Remus Lupin

Ron Weasley

Rubeus Hagrid

Severus Snape

Sirius Black

Sybill Trelawney

Tom Marvolo Riddle aka Lord Voldemort aka He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named aka You-Know-Who (also "My Lord" when addressed by followers)

Viktor Krum

Food and Drink:
Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans (note "u")


Chocolate Frogs

Ton-Tongue Toffee


Beauxbatons Academy of Magic

The Burrow

Diagon Alley

Durmstrang Institute

the Forbidden Forest

Godric's Hollow (Harry's birthplace)


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry aka Hogwarts Castle


Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

King's Cross Station

the Leaky Cauldron


Platform 9¾

Room of Requirement

Star Wars Style Guidelines

The series (when referring to the books, video games, TV specials, and movies) is italicized. The franchise in general (referring to all iterations throughout the Extended Universe, or when used as a descriptor) uses roman type: e.g., "She has to stop collecting Star Wars socks"; "I am camping outside the theater for The Last Jedi."

Only episodes I–VI (the original trilogy and prequels) include episode numbers. No need to include the year in running copy. Note punctuation.

Original trilogy:

Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977) (Episode IV or A New Hope are OK on second reference.)

Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Episode V or The Empire Strikes Back are OK on second reference.)

Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983) (Episode VI or Return of the Jedi are OK on second reference.)


Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999) (Episode I or The Phantom Menace are OK on second reference.)

Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002) (Episode II or Attack of the Clones are OK on second reference.)

Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005) (Episode III or Revenge of the Sith are OK on second reference.)

Sequel trilogy:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (This is technically episode VII, though not part of its formal name. The Force Awakens on second reference.)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) (This is technically episode VIII, though not part of its formal name. The Last Jedi on second reference.)

Anthology trilogy:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) (This is the first stand-alone anthology film of the Star Wars universe, and chronologically takes place between episodes III and IV. Rogue One is OK on first reference.)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Miscellaneous terms:



Battle of Takodana


Clone Wars


crime syndicate

Crimson Dawn

crossguard lightsaber (Kylo Ren’s saber)

dark side


Enfys Nest


the First Order (the Order is OK on first reference)

the Force

the Galactic Empire (the Empire is OK on first reference)

the Galactic Republic (the Republic is OK on first reference)

the Galactic Senate (the Senate is OK on first reference)


Jedi (both singular and plural)

Jedi Knight

Jedi Master

Jedi High Council (the Jedi Council is OK on first reference)

Jedi Order

kyber crystal



Millennium Falcon (ship names are italicized)


phaser (stands for Perpetually Heat-Activated Sonic-Emitted Ray)


Pyke Syndicate

the Resistance

Resistance Bomber




TIE fighter

TIE silencer

Unkar Plutt


wookiee (plural: wookiees)



Adm. Ackbar (Ackbar on second reference)

Anakin Skywalker (Anakin on second reference)

Aunt Beru



Boba Fett


Captain Phasma (Phasma on second reference)

Chewbacca (Chewie is OK on second reference)

the Cloud-Riders

Count Dooku

Darth Maul

Darth Vader (Vader is OK on second reference)

Dryden Vos

Elite Praetorian Guard

Finn (stormtrooper designation number: FN-2187)

General Hux

Han Solo (Han on second reference)

Jabba the Hutt (lowercase the. Also known as Jabba Desilijic Tiure. Jabba on second reference)

Jar Jar Binks


Kylo Ren (born Ben Solo. Kylo on second reference)


Lady Proxima

Lando Calrissian (Lando on second reference)

Luke Skywalker (Luke on second reference)

Leia Organa Solo (born Leia Amidala Skywalker. Leia on second reference)

Lt. Connix/Kaydal Ko Connix (either name is OK. Connix on second reference)

Maz Kanata

Obi-Wan Kenobi (note the hyphen. Obi-Wan is OK on second reference)

Padmé Amidala (also known as Her Royal Highness, Queen Amidala of Naboo; and Her Excellency, Sen. Padmé Amidala of Naboo)

Paige Tico

Poe Dameron (Poe on second reference)



Rio Durant

Rose Tico

R2-D2 (R2 is OK on second reference)

Savage Opress

Supreme Leader Snoke (Snoke on second reference)

Tobias Beckett

Uncle Owen


Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Amilyn on second reference)






Canto Bight





the Death Star (not to be confused with Death Star II)







Mos Eisley



Starkiller Base




Yavin 4

Cast and crew members:

J.J. Abrams (director, writer)

John Boyega

Hayden Christensen

Benicio del Toro

Gareth Edwards (director)

Mark Hamill

Oscar Isaac

Rian Johnson (director, writer)

Lawrence Kasdan (writer, producer)

George Lucas (creator, director, writer)

Lupita Nyong'o

Natalie Portman

Daisy Ridley

Kelly Marie Tran

Alan Tudyk

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

TV specials and animated series:

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) (TV movie)

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984) (TV movie)

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) (animated series)

Droids (1985–1986) (animated series)

Ewoks (1985–1986) (animated series)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005) (animated series)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008–2014) (animated series)

Star Wars Rebels (2014–) (animated series)

Star Wars Forces of Destiny (2017–)



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

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

• 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.


• Use "marriage equality" and "same-sex marriage" rather than "gay marriage." Generally, in running copy when reporting on legal issues surrounding it, it is more accurate to refer to "same-sex couples' marriage rights" or something similar rather than "same-sex marriage," though this is still acceptable shorthand for space or clarity purposes (i.e., in headlines).


• 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.


• Always defer to the pronouns a person chooses to use for themselves.

(It's not rude to ask. In fact it's encouraged to ask, "What pronouns do you prefer to use?")

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

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

Transgender terms: Some of these are adapted from the GLAAD Transgender Glossary of Terms. See full document here.

• Transgender: An umbrella term (adj.) for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. 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.

• 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-LGBT 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.

Transgender terms to avoid:
Avoid: "transgenders," "a transgender"

Use: "transgender people," "a transgender person"

Transgender should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. NO: "Tony is a transgender." YES: "Tony is a transgender man."

Avoid: "transgendered" (adj.)

Use: "transgender" (adj.)

Avoid: "she-male," "he-she," "it," "trannie," "tranny," "shim," "gender-bender"

Avoid: "sex change operation"

Use: sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or gender affirmation surgery; adhere to a subject's preferred term

Avoid: "transvestite"

Use: "cross-dresser"

Avoid: "sex change," "pre-operative," "post-operative"

Use: "transition"

Avoid: "Gender Identity Disorder (GID)"

Offensive because it labels people as "disordered."


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.

• 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).


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


• 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.")


• 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.


• 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). When in doubt, defer to the music editors.

• 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)


• Spell out one through nine, use numerals for 10 and above (exception: OK to use numerals for numbers under 10 in lists of headlines, like in Celeb Gossip Roundup stories. Also OK to use numerals in news-y headlines like this "10 People Shot, 3 Killed At Detroit Barber Shop").

• Be consistent when writing out numbers in succession (e.g., "9, 10, and 11" NOT "nine, 10, and 11"); same applies to ranges of numbers (e.g., "We are expecting eight to ten people.")

• 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").


• 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).


• 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…").


• '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…

• 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."

Here's a link to HTML codes for fractions.

• 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," "54 Amazing GIFs Of Naked Presidents"

• If a number is not referencing the number of items in a list, then spell it out. "Eight-Minute Video Of Hillary Clinton," "Five Out Of Nine Supreme Court Justices Prefer Cats Over Dogs," etc.

Millions and billions:

• Always use numerals (6 million people).


• 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."


• 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 foreign 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.

Phone numbers:

• 917-000-0000; 800-BUZZFEED


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


• 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).


• 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.


• 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.


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



• 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.


• 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.

Legislatures and executives:

• 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; the North Carolina bathroom bill or HB2. 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 Texas anti-transgender bathroom bills would have a negative impact on the state’s economy, critics have claimed.

• 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.

• 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.

• Lowercase executive order in all uses.

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., Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Sen. Lindsey Graham said they were in favor of the bill, but other Republican representatives and senators demurred.

• Lowercase all formal job titles unless they precede a name, e.g., the president, but President Donald Trump; the Senate majority leader, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Informal job titles are lowercase even before a name, e.g., White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, special counsel Robert Mueller, chief of staff John Kelly.

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. Claire McCaskill, but, contrary to AP, lowercase political/job titles in the following scenarios:

- preceding two or more names, e.g., former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Exceptions: e.g., Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown, Reps. Mark Meadows and Justin Amash.

- after an adjective, including the words then, now, or former, e.g., former president Jimmy Carter, then-president Ronald Reagan, now-president Donald Trump.

- 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. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican; etc. Do not use the overly formal (R-AL) or D-NY following a name.

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, 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.

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”.)


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, G20 (not G-20), G7 are OK on first reference.

• 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, rather than a Russian or the Russian on first reference, use Russian lawyer or Russian banker in a headline if the subject of the story is already known, and aim to be as specific as possible in a headline identifying a new person of interest, or in running copy generally.


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)

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)

civil rights movement

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)

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



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, non-sanctuary cities

Sarah Huckabee Sanders on first reference, Sanders on second

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.

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.

• 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.

• 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. Latin@ — a construction common on Tumblr and Twitter — and Latinx (pronounced la-teen-ex) are also acceptable variations, making room for multiple genders despite the restrictions of language.

• There is mostly overlap between those who identify as Latino and Hispanic, but not all: One example of Latinos who are not Hispanic are Brazilians. (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.


• 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:


Serves 10



4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

4 tablespoons bourbon

One 1-pound package wide egg noodles

6 eggs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 pound full-fat cottage cheese

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to salt water for noodles


2 cups cornflakes

1 cup whole shelled pecan halves, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1/4 cup brown sugar

Special Equipment
Food processor or blender

9x13-inch baking dish

Aluminum foil

Gallon-size ziplock bag

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

For the casserole: Wrap sweet potatoes individually in foil and roast in the oven until soft and completely cooked through, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Peel skin off sweet potatoes using your hands (and a table knife, if it helps), then puree with the bourbon in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. This should yield about 3 cups of puree. If you yield more than 3 cups, set the excess aside for another use or discard. (If you want, you can do this ahead and refrigerate the puree for up to 2 days.)

Lower oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a pot of heavily salted water, cook the egg noodles al dente (about 5 minutes, or 2 minutes less than the package directions say). Pour into a colander to drain, running cold water over the noodles until they are cool to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly.

In a very large bowl, beat eggs, then add brown sugar and beat just until combined. Add cottage cheese, melted butter, and the sweet potato puree, then mix with a rubber spatula until combined. Finally, add salt and the cooked noodles, and mix with a spatula until combined.

Pour noodle mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes (if noodles start to brown during this time, cover your baking dish with foil).

While kugel is baking, prepare the pecan topping: First, put the cornflakes in a ziplock bag and crush with your hands. The cornflakes should be in small pieces, but not dust.

Brown butter in a medium saucepan. When butter is brown, turn off your head and add sugar, chopped pecans and crushed cornflakes and stir with a spatula until just combined.

After it has baked for the full 50 minutes, remove kugel from the oven and sprinkle pecan mixture on top in an even layer. Bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, or until set. If pecans start to brown before kugel is set, cover with foil. Serve immediately.

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"). See more examples in this post.


• 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 Live

• Facebook Memories


• Instagrammed, Instagramming

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

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


• pin, pinned, pinning

• Pinterest board


• snap (n.) — lowercase "s"

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

• Snapchat Story/Stories, but snap story


• Tindering/Tindered OK as a verb


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


• 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


• Vine should be capped in all uses: Vine (n.), Vine-ing (v.), but "post a Vine/use Vine" is preferred


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

Miscellaneous Style Guidelines


• 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.


• 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 non-adoptive 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 "non-models" 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.


• Contrary to AP, "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.


• 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 J-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. Run such posts by your manager before publishing to make sure that language in the hed and dek is clear about the content of the piece, rather than using a trigger warning. 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."


• When reporting on suicide, use language such as "killed oneself” (Chester Bennington killed himself) and never specify the method in a headline or on social media. In fact, the method is best avoided 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," "died by 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

• 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, LGBT terminology, race, religion, and more.

Translated names of foreign organizations/political parties:

• When translating these from a foreign language into English, 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.


• 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'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 and talk to our copy editors.