As It Happens

AP changes writing style rules: 'more than' versus 'over'

Warning to the Associated Press Stylebook editors: you think this is more than? It's not more than. Oh, did I just use "more than" interchangeably with "over"? Well, it's no big deal now! Because yesterday, at the American Copy Editors Society conference in Las Vegas, AP Stylebook editors just casually announced that, when you're writing about a quantity, "over"...

Warning to the Associated Press Stylebook editors: you think this is more than? It's not more than.

Oh, did I just use "more than" interchangeably with "over"? Well, it's no big deal now! Because yesterday, at the American Copy Editors Society conference in Las Vegas, AP Stylebook editors just casually announced that, when you're writing about a quantity, "over" is totally fine. 

simplicity 6593 - mens leisure suit - unlined jacket and jeans 1974-f23061.jpgYou don't have to say "more than" anymore. Why? Oh, common usage, of course.

Polyester jumpsuits were once in common usage. That didn't make them right.

If you don't find this more-than-whelming, I guess you're just not a language nerd. Like the people who've been freaking out on Twitter.

Mike Shor tweeted, "More than my dead body!"

Scott Lilwall tweeted, "Have we ceased to be a society governed by rules and order, AP?"

And Philip Bump tweeted, "I hope newspapers are ready for the flood of calls from people confused because stories referred to one number as 'over' another."

I think that last one is sarcastic.

AP has clearly made its decision, so you may feel helpless. But you can still disassociate yourself from the Associated Press's stance. Keep using "more than" when it's appropriate. Sure, it's mostly just a question of feel, but you know when it's right. 

We may not be able to sway the editors of a certain news organization, but don't give up: there's over one way to skin a cat.

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