‘More than my dead body!’ Journalists react to AP’s over/more than change

On Thursday, we started seeing tweets from the American Copy Editors Society conference that the Associated Press announced a pretty big change. Since Andrew Beaujon wrote about it, Poynter’s had more than its usual traffic, so apologies if it takes over a few minutes for stories to load. (I’m done. I promise.)

Here’s how that change went over today on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • https://twitter.com/MikeSaffran Mike Saffran

    Perhaps instead of dumbing down styles, AP editors’ time might be better spent updating some of the atrociously outdated examples rife in the stylebook. I mean, c’mon … “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The vice president, Nelson Rockefeller” and “Carter outpolled Ford”? (While recently discussing the style for TV-show titles, I asked my students if they had ever heard of Mary Tyler Moore. Sad, but hardly surprising, perhaps two out of 20 knew of her.…)

  • Doug Fisher

    Thank you for proving my point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.cunningham.37 Jason Cunningham

    Doug, never have I used “careered,” nor will I! =)

  • Doug Fisher

    This actually reeks of common sense. If there is confusion, use the term that makes it clear. Otherwise, let the writer’s work be. It’s not worth the effort.

  • Doug Fisher

    Well then you do write something “is likely to” instead of “will likely,” don’t you, since likely is “correctly” an adjective. And you’re sure not to verb nouns, so it’s sent by facsimile, not faxed, right? And you make special efforts to say the car “careered” down the road instead of “careened”? And you do use “thou,” right? I could go on, but you see what I’m getting at. This is a usage and style issue, and those change constantly. Yes, common usage eventually does make many things “correct.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.cunningham.37 Jason Cunningham

    Again, common usage doesn’t make something correct.

  • von_todwin

    Most language changes come from common usage, so yeah. And cmon people, it’s not like AP heard a couple people using “over” differently yesterday and immediately thought to themselves, “To the style manuals!”

  • von_todwin

    Probably. That’s how language works.

  • Carol Anne Peschke

    The screen shot example illustrates precisely why the distinction is needed. Careless, careless, careless.

  • JTFloore

    sometimes ap’s decisions and policies are devoid of common sense.

  • SFMH57

    So AP will soon also declare nothing wrong with erroneous use of “one of the only” when the writer/speaker means “one of the few” because “everybody’s doing it”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.cunningham.37 Jason Cunningham

    So according to AP, when an incorrect usage becomes “common usage,” it is then the “correct” usage. Ridiculous.

  • Cynthia Roldan

    Dang. There goes my dream of being an editor who shakes her hands over her head like my
    journalism professor did while explaining where “over” is and how it
    differs from “more than.”