Long considered "the journalist’s bible," the Associated Press Stylebook issued an update yesterday to settle an important and controversial issue facing Chicago and the nation at large: the correct spelling of the Windy City’s network of elevated trains.
The clarification reads as follows:
L: The name of the Chicago train system. Not the El.
So there you have it folks, that’s at least one Chicago debate that can finally be put to rest — at least in the context of proper journalistic use. Though the single letter spelling has always been considered correct by the Chicago Transit Authority, "El" is still very much en vogue when it comes to referring to New York's elevated system, so future mistakes among laypeople and transplants are surely bound to happen.
While the Stylebook is the go-to reference book for journalistic style, spelling, and punctuation, the AP did not, however, specify the inclusion of the single apostrophes that commonly flank the ‘L’ in most official examples of its use (see map below).
It begs the question: are the marks part of the official name or do they simply signify that L is the transit network’s commonly used nickname? Perhaps a further clarification is due in the AP’s next Stylebook update.