Thursday, March 27, 2014

The fight over “more than” may be lost!

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Imagine the shock last week when I learned that the AP Stylebook was changing its approach to “over” and “more than.” After decades of teaching that “over” generally refers to spatial relationships and “more than” was preferred with items that could be counted, the Associated Press announced that they could now be interchanged. Apparently it’s become common for people to say the cost of the jacket was “over” $60 or that the Packers scored “over” 35 points that the AP was giving up the fight.  

Of course, that doesn’t mean I have to give up the fight. I made it clear this week while proofreading something in the office that I will continue to suggest changing “over” to “more than” when dealing with numbers.

You see, I’m a traditionalist in many ways. Yes, I went along with the AP Stylebook when the change was made from two spaces after the period at the end of a sentence to just one space after the period. I was also OK with changing Web site to website. I’m even OK with some of the new words that have been added like SnapChat, emoji and selfie (not that you’ll ever hear me use the word selfie outside of this blog).

But making “more than” and “over” interchangeable is like instituting the DH in baseball – you can try, but you won’t be able to convince me that this is a good change.

So this morning as I checked out Facebook I saw this…“On March 26, Summerfest announced over 75 headliners!” While I didn’t cry out loud like I might have a week ago, I did still cringe. Maybe this is just something that only bothers old reporters like me who still spend more time reading the AP Stylebook than any bestsellers.

What do you think? Should “over” and “more than” be interchangeable? Will you still yell at the TV when someone says “over $2million?”

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