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AP BLogSo I must be on an AP roll… Because I have decided to write another Associated Press (AP) #TipforTuesday blog. The last three blogs: my first annual blog, proper use of titles and correct use of time were very straightforward and by the “AP book.”

This week’s blog, however, will bring a little more controversy into AP style. Earlier this year, the AP Stylebook editors said that “over” is fine when referring to a quantity; you don’t have to change it to “more than.”

Gasp. What is this? How could this be happening? Is it the end of the AP world as we know it?

Calm down.

According to a recent article by Grammar Girl: “It all started way back in 1877 with the editor of the New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant. He didn't like people to use over before a numeral, and although he gave no reason for his disapproval, the rule made its way into many American newsroom style guides.”

So, basically we have become accustomed to using “more than” not “over”… because that is how it has always been done?

Although I was on the fence about this change, after doing some research, I do think there are instances where “over” might be more appropriate (shhhh). I know that many public relations professionals will not agree, because…. Well, because…. that is how it had always been, and it should continue to be that way?

Just a couple of examples of when one might be more appropriate:

She has “more than” 5,000 followers

She has “over” 5,000 followers

They raised “more than” $100,000

They raised “over” $100,000

Also, one last reminder from Grammar Girl (whom I happen to agree with), whichever way you go on this debate, remember that than is spelled T-H-A-N, not T-H-E-N.

So the question of the day: “more than” or “over?”

Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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