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AP Style
  • AP Stylebook
    • Definitive resource for all writers
      • Bible for media writers
        • Consistency and professionalism
      • Journalistic style, grammar, punctuation, abbreviations, usage, changes in language, social media guidance
        • Excellent punctuation guide, pp. 296-306
    • See Canvas: Files for
      • AP Style Guide for study guide
      • AP Style Quick Check for cheat sheet

  • Abbreviations
    • Avoid unfamiliar acronyms.
      • Do not introduce in parentheses.
    • Organizations may be abbreviated on second reference
      • The University of Florida is home of the Gators. Students at UF are die-hard fans.
    • Abbreviate St., Ave., Blvd. when used in complete street addresses
      • Use no abbreviations without the street number:
        • We live at 123 Easy St.  We live on Easy Street.

    • Abbreviate months when used in a specific date: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. 
      • Spell out the rest (March, April, May, etc.).
      • Spell out when used alone or with year alone.
    • United States is U.S. when used as an adjective.
      • May abbreviate on second reference when used as a noun.
      • Spell out states (new to 15th edition) in text.
        • Abbreviate when in datelines.
          • Datelines are not used with local stories.

  • Capitalization
    • In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization.
    • Capitalize proper names, including names of holidays, historic events, special events (Independence Day, World War II, Orientation Week) but not seasons (fall, summer, winter).
    • Capitalize regions (West Coast, Southeast, Central Florida) but not directions (north, south).
    • Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races and tribes (Mexican, Cuban, Hispanic) but not informal terms such as black, white or brown.

    • Capitalize main words and place quotation marks around names of books (except reference books and the Bible), plays, poems, songs, speech titles, hymns, movies, television programs when the full name is used (“Call of the Wild”; “Game of Thrones”).
      • See Compositions in “AP Stylebook”
    • More below under Names and Titles

  • Numbers
    • Generally:
      • Spell out numbers under 10 (one, nine), including ordinals (first, second).
      • Use figures for 10 and above.
    • Spell out any number that is the first word of the sentence: Twenty-five birds flew away.
    • Ages are always expressed in numerals
      • Mary is 5. John Ho, 18, will go to college today.
    • Words such as million and billion may be used with rounded numbers
      • 10 billion and 2.75 million for 2,752,123.
    • Use commas in numbers with four or more digits, except in years and street addresses.
      • 1,000
    • Don’t use “th,” “rd” or “nd” in dates
      • Not Sept. 11th, 2015, but Sept. 11, 2015).
    • Use numerals in
      • Dimensions: 5-foot-8.
      • Money: $2; $2.5 million
      • Percentages: 5 percent (spell out percent)
      • Weights (4 kilograms).
    • Generally, spell out fractions
      • We need a two-thirds majority.

  • Punctuation
    • Time: Use a colon and a 12-hour clock (1:30 p.m.), periods in a.m. and p.m., and lower case.
    • Hypens in adjective phrases (an up-to-date sylebook)
      • No hyphens with adverbs ending in ly (seriously late date)
      • Use with prefix ex: ex-president.
    • Omit the last comma in a series just before the conjunction, unless needed for clarity:
      • We ate an apple, an orange and a banana.
      • We invited the strippers, Obama, and Putin.
    • Omit commas in names before Roman numerals (John Paul II) and before Jr. and Sr.

    • Commas and periods go inside the last quotation mark
      • Colons and semicolons go outside.
      • Question marks depend on whether the quote is a question or a statement inside of a question. “I will come with you,” he said. Mary said, “I will, too.” “Will you come, too?” she asked. Was it Mary saying, “I will, too”?
    • Add only the apostrophe—not an s—with possessive words ending in s.
    • Apostrophes are used for omitted figures (class of ’76) and plurals of single letters (He got four A’s and two B’s.) but not two letters (The TAs are very helpful.).

    • Essential (restrictive) clauses,
      • The essential clause cannot be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence — it so restricts the meaning that its absence would lead to a substantially different interpretation of what the author meant.
        • It CANNOT be set off from the rest of the sentence by (a) comma(s).
    • Nonessential (nonrestrictive) clauses
      • Conversely, the nonessential clause can be eliminated without altering the basic meaning of the sentence — it does not restrict the meaning so significantly that its absence would radically alter the author’s thought.
        • It MUST be set off by (a) comma(s).

  • More on clauses
    • That is the preferred pronoun to introduce essential clauses that refer to an object or an animal without a name.
    • Which is the only acceptable pronoun to introduce a nonessential clause that refers to an object or an animal without a name.

  • Names and Titles
    • Generally use first name, middle initial and last name, unless both first and middle name are commonly used.
    • Give full name in first reference, with no courtesy title.
    • On second reference, use last name only and no courtesy title unless not using them would cause confusion, such as when a married couple are quoted
    • Proper titles are capitalized before a person’s name
      • Some are abbreviated.
    • Titles following a person’s name are generally spelled out and are not capitalized.
    • Titles standing alone in the text are not capitalized.

  • Time
    • There is no yesterday or tomorrow in AP Style; only today.
    • Name the day if the event falls within the week.
    • Use the date if the event falls before or after the current week.
    • Avoid using the day of week and the date together.
    • Drop the :00 (3 p.m., 10 a.m.)
    • Give minutes for times not at the top of the hour (7:30 p.m., 11:45 a.m.)

  • Attributions
    • The preferred attribution is said.
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