Now it’s % not percent in AP style — 2019 update

By Lauren Edwards

Tech PR friends, you might already be doing this — using the % symbol instead of spelling out percent in AP style. Now, that’s officially correct.

The Associated Press announces updates to the AP Stylebook in March each year. The changes then show up in the print edition each summer.

The other change of note for us is removal of the hyphen in African American, Asian American and related descriptions. This might come up if you write about survey results, diversity programs and other topics related to demographics.

The other changes are unlikely to affect your work. But if you want more details, I suggest the following posts by the Poynter Institute:

  • Several changes including the % symbol
  • Focused on race, including more detail than my note above

If you’ve been using the workbook from any of my previous AP style classes, the changes mean revising the yellow-highlighted section toward the front, where I list examples of correct examples of numerals.

What hasn’t changed is that percentages are always numerals; the number is never written out. So it was eight cats but 8 percent (now 8%).

For more posts related to AP style, scroll to the bottom of last week’s post.


If you liked this post, please share it with your team or on social media.

If you aren’t already getting my posts delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning, please sign up here.

Check out my full menu of posts here, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Almost all are practical tips you can immediately apply to your daily PR work.


Lauren Edwards is a former reporter for the Associated Press. She has been creating, customizing and delivering workshops for science and technology teams since 2000.

WriteCulture is now booking workshops for 2019. Click here to start an exploratory conversation.