Since I started as a part-time editor at the Akron Beacon Journal in early October, I’ve had to do a lot of AP style cramming to make sure I’m writing, correcting, and publishing everything correctly. It’s not too bad once you get the hang of it, but it can be daunting at the beginning.
But one thing I really appreciate about AP style is once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. You will always know what to say and how to say it, and everyone’s on the same page. And that’s a happy thought.
So to help other AP style beginners get a head start, here are some of the most common situations you’ll run into when writing or editing for a journal publication.
Never write out courtesy titles, such as ‘Dr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ Use the full name the first time you introduce the person in your article, and after that refer to them by their last name. If two people have the same last name, always write out their full name.
Formal titles are only capitalized when they precede the person’s name. If the title falls after the name, it is lowercase.
Mayor John Smith passed a new bill today allowing puppies to chew on shoes.
John Smith, mayor of Cuteville, passed a new bill allowing puppies to chew on shoes.
AP style follows its own code when it comes to state abbreviations, rather than following standard ZIP code abbreviations (why would they make it that easy?). For example, Massachusetts is not ‘MA,’ but rather ‘Mass.’ There are eight states exempt from abbreviation: Utah, Texas, Ohio, Maine, Iowa, Idaho, Hawaii, and Alaska are written out.
When writing about well-known cities, omit state abbreviations. For example, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago.
All months with more than five letters are abbreviated when referring to a specific date. If there is no specific date, or if it is referring to a year, write out the month.
Cranberry Township will host its annual trick-or-treat night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 30
Cranberry Township will host its annual trick-or-treat night in October.
Cranberry Township will host its annual trick-or-treat night in October 2013.
If the date of an event is within one week, only use the day. If it is more than a week away, use the full date
The farmer’s market is open all day this Sunday.
The farmer’s market will be open all day on Sunday, Nov. 10
If you are writing about a location with a full street address, abbreviate Boulevard, Street, and Avenue (Blvd, St., Ave.). If only the street is available, write it out. Never abbreviate the words road, terrace, drive, court, lane, or alley.
Nina lives at 123 Mulberry St.
Nina’s uncle lives at 800 Paige Ave.
Nina’s sister lives on 1 Bryden Court.
Nina’s mother lives on Cedar Street.
Numbers and percentages
Write out the numbers one through nine, and use figures for numbers 10 and above. For percentages, use numerals and write out the word percent. Do not use a % sign.
Joe has three apples.
Danica has 12 oranges.
The book store increased its sales this year by 5 percent.
Publications, books, etc.
Capitalize but do not italicize the titles of newspapers and magazines. Put quotation marks around compositions such as books, plays, speeches, video games, etc.
Jim read The New Yorker before playing “Need for Speed.”
The video game reminded him of the movie “Tokyo Drift.”
Always written time, date, place. Use ‘a.m.’ and ‘p.m.’ and leave a space between the number and a.m./p.m.
The council meeting will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 4. at City Council Chambers.
Only capitalize the first word of the headline, and any other words that are capitalized on their own (names or organizations, for ex.)
Penguins at the Cleveland Zoo are lobbying for a bigger swimming pool.
Man finds $20 in pocket of winter coat, sees it as a sign to quit his job.Volunteers are signing up for the annual Walk to End Hunger event happening in December.