Associated Press (AP) Writing Style Tips!

Here are some AP writing style tips that I have acquired. Whatever the style, consistency is key.

Number-related (Article 1)

Numbers. One through nine are spelled out, while 10 and above are written as numerals. She walked six blocks while carrying 12 books.

Percentages. Percentages are expressed as numerals and followed by the word “percent,” not “%.” Interest rates rose 3 percent.

Ages. Ages are expressed as numerals. Kevin is 29 years old.

Dollar Amounts. Dollar amounts are expressed as numerals, and the “$” sign is used. $1, $1o million.

Abbreviations

Street Addresses (Article 1). Numerals are used for numbered addresses. Street, Avenue and Boulevard are abbreviated when used with a numbered address, but otherwise are spelled out. Route and Road are never abbreviated. Our apartment is on 24 Independence Ave. We live on Independence Avenue. 

Dates  (Article 1.) Dates are expressed as numerals. The months August through February are abbreviated when used with numbered dates. March through July are never abbreviated. Months without dates are not abbreviated. “Th” is not used. The seasons – winter, spring, summer and fall – are never capitalized. Please note our meeting on Nov. 10. November is a beautiful month.

State abbreviations (Article 2). Each state has its own abbreviation: Mass. for Massachusetts; N.Y. for New York; Calif. for California; Fla. for Florida. Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah – are not abbreviated.

Titles

Job Titles (Article 1). Job titles are generally capitalized when they appear before a person’s name, but lowercase after the name. President Obama. Barack Obama is the president.

Film, Book & Song Titles  (Articles 1 and 2). Capitalized and placed in quotation marks (this includes TV shows, works of art, speeches, video games). Do not use quote marks with reference books or the names of newspapers or magazines. Magazine and newspaper titles are not italicized; just capitalized. I read in Politico that Congress is in session. My favorite book is “Creating a World Without Poverty.” Have you seen “Revenge?”

Grammar (Article 2)

More than, over. Use more than with numbers, and use over when referring to spatial elements. In college, I wrote more than 100 papers. The store is just over the hill.

Because, since. Because indicates a specific cause-effect relationship: I went because I was told. Since describes an event in a sequence that leads logically to the second. They went to the show, since they had been given ticketsSince the product’s 2010 launch, it has sold more than 1 million copies.

Toward/Towards. Toward never ends in an s, same for forward, backward, upward, downward, etc.

United States, U.S. United States as a noun; U.S. as an adjective. The United States is a country north of Mexico; I need all of my U.S. documents when traveling.

That, Which. Use that for essential clauses, important to the meaning of the sentence. I remember the day that we met. Use which for nonessential clauses, where the pronoun is less necessary, and use commas. The team, which won the championship last year, begins its new season next month.

Farther, further. Farther refers to physical distance. Pittsburgh is farther west than Philadelphia. Further refers to an extension of time or degree. If you have any further questions.

Some ad-hoc rules (Article 2). Boo-boo; bull’s-eye; dot-com (not dot.com); gobbledygook, G-string; hanky-panky; Kmart (no hyphen, no space, lowercase m); hell (not capitalized); OK; OK’d; pooh-pooh; T-shirt; U-turn

Article 1) Rogers, Tony. “The Basics of Associated Press Style.” About.com Journalism. About.com, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.

Article 2) Vittorioso, Steve. “Twelve Common Mistakes of AP Style Twelve Common Mistakes of AP Style.” InkHouse.net. InkHouse, 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.

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