AP Stylebook highlights

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This will tell you 90 percent (not % or per cent) of what you need to know.

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AP Stylebook highlights

  1. 1. AP Stylebook highlights This will tell you 90 percent (not % or per cent) of what you need to know
  2. 2. 1. States • In 2014, the AP Stylebook eliminated most abbreviations for states. Now abbreviations are only used in datelines.
  3. 3. 1. States • In 2014, the AP Stylebook eliminated most abbreviations for states. Now abbreviations are only used in datelines. • The AP does not use postal abbreviations. Consider the following datelines: – Incorrect: CONCORD, MA — Police arrested … – Correct: CONCORD, Mass. — Police arrested …
  4. 4. 2. Cities • Most cities and towns are also identified by state. For example, Annapolis, Maryland.
  5. 5. 2. Cities • Most cities and towns are also identified by state. For example, Annapolis, Maryland. • Many large cities do not need a state whether it is in the dateline or within the article. See “Datelines” in the AP Stylebook. – Wrong: Washington, D.C. – Wicked wrong: Washington, DC – Right: Washington
  6. 6. 3. Numerals • Spell out numbers from zero through nine and use numerals for 10 and up.
  7. 7. 3. Numerals • Spell out numbers from zero through nine and use numerals for 10 and up. • Ages are always rendered as numerals: the 5-year-old boy.
  8. 8. 3. Numerals • Spell out numbers from zero through nine and use numerals for 10 and up. • Ages are always rendered as numerals: the 5-year-old boy. • Percentages are spelled out with a numeral: 6 percent.
  9. 9. 3. Numerals • Spell out numbers from zero through nine and use numerals for 10 and up. • Ages are always rendered as numerals: the 5-year-old boy. • Percentages are spelled out with a numeral: 6 percent. • Numerals with millions and billions: 7 million, 4.8 billion.
  10. 10. 3. Numerals • Use numerals for large numbers lower than 1 million: 3,750 for example, or 375,000. • Money always takes a dollar sign, even when you are quoting someone: – 46 cents (no cent sign) – $46 – $4,600 – $4.6 million
  11. 11. 4. Politics • Wrong: US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was elected to the seat once held by Ted Kennedy.
  12. 12. 4. Politics • Wrong: US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was elected to the seat once held by Ted Kennedy. • Right: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, was elected to the seat once held by Ted Kennedy.
  13. 13. 4. Politics • We refer to President Barack Obama (including first name on first reference), but to the president (lowercase) when there’s no name.
  14. 14. 4. Politics • Official titles are capitalized when they appear before a name, but lowercased when used after a name. – Right: Secretary of State John Kerry took office shortly after Hillary Clinton stepped down. – Right: John Kerry, secretary of state, took office shortly after Hillary Clinton stepped down.
  15. 15. 4. Politics • Unofficial titles are akin to job descriptions, and are lowercased whether they appear before or after a person’s name. – Right: Romney senior strategist Eric Fehrnstrom had previously worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald.
  16. 16. 5. Our country • Spell out United States whenever it is used as a noun. – Energy prices in the United States tend to fluctuate depending on economic activity.
  17. 17. 5. Our country • Spell out United States whenever it is used as a noun. • The abbreviation U.S. is sufficient when used as an adjective. – The U.S. economy has a major effect on energy prices.
  18. 18. 5. Our country • Spell out United States whenever it is used as a noun. • The abbreviation U.S. is sufficient when used as an adjective. • The abbreviation US is always wrong. Two-letter abbreviations take periods (except AP).
  19. 19. 6. Punctuation • Commas and periods go inside quotation marks. – Wrong: The author will read from his new book, “Getting Rich”, today at 3 p.m. – Right: The author will read from his new book, “Getting Rich,” today at 3 p.m.
  20. 20. 6. Punctuation • Colons and semicolons generally go outside the quotation marks. – We must read three novels over the summer: Herman Melville’s masterpiece, “Moby Dick”; a 1920s classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “This Side of Paradise”; and Ernest Hemingway’s last major work, “The Old Man and the Sea.”
  21. 21. 6. Punctuation • With question marks and exclamation points, it depends on the context. – “Why is it taking so long to get there?” she asked. – Have you ever read “Moby Dick”?
  22. 22. 6. Punctuation • We use double quotes in all cases unless we need to use them inside quotation marks. – “He said we must read ‘Moby Dick’ before the end of the semester.” – Wrong: The sign said ‘Exit’ in bright red lights. – Right: The sign said “Exit” in bright red lights.
  23. 23. 6. Punctuation • We use double quotes in all cases unless we need to use them inside quotation marks. • No serial (Oxford) commas. – Wrong: Tom, Dick, and Harry. – Right: Tom, Dick and Harry.
  24. 24. 6. Punctuation • We use double quotes in all cases unless we need to use them inside quotation marks. • No serial (Oxford) commas. • No commas with Jr. – Wrong: Ken Griffey, Jr., was the greatest player of his era until injuries slowed him down. – Wicked wrong: Ken Griffey, Jr. was the greatest player of his era until injuries slowed him down.
  25. 25. 6. Punctuation • We use double quotes in all cases unless we need to use them inside quotation marks. • No serial (Oxford) commas. • No commas with Jr. – Right: Ken Griffey Jr. was the greatest player of his era until injuries slowed him down.
  26. 26. 7. Time • 1 p.m. or 10:15 a.m. Not 1 o’clock in the afternoon or a quarter after 10 in the morning.
  27. 27. 7. Time • 1 p.m. or 10:15 a.m. Not 1 o’clock in the afternoon or a quarter after 10 in the morning. • Midnight and noon are rendered just like that, without a 12. – The Rotary Club will meet from noon to 1:30 p.m.
  28. 28. 7. Time • Months are spelled out when used without a date. – She is hoping to take two weeks off in August.
  29. 29. 7. Time • Months are spelled out when used without a date. – She is hoping to take two weeks off in August. • Months are abbreviated when used with a date. – She plans to begin her vacation on Aug. 13. (Please note that it’s not 13th.)
  30. 30. 7. Time • Months are spelled out when used without a date. – She is hoping to take two weeks off in August. • Months are abbreviated when used with a date. – She plans to begin her vacation on Aug. 13. (Please note that it’s not 13th.) • We do not specify the year unless it’s in the past or the future.
  31. 31. 8. Addresses • Street names are spelled out when not used with a specific address. – He lives on Whalley Avenue.
  32. 32. 8. Addresses • Street names are spelled out when not used with a specific address. – He lives on Whalley Avenue. • Street names are abbreviated when used with a specific address. – He lives at 7 Whalley Ave.
  33. 33. 8. Addresses • Street names are spelled out when not used with a specific address. • Street names are abbreviated when used with a specific address.
  34. 34. 8. Addresses • Street names are spelled out when not used with a specific address. • Street names are abbreviated when used with a specific address. • Some types of streets are always spelled out, the most common example of which is road.
  35. 35. 8. Addresses • Street names are spelled out when not used with a specific address. • Street names are abbreviated when used with a specific address. • Some types of streets are always spelled out, the most common example of which is road. • Lowercase when referring to more than one. – The intersection of Smith and Jones streets. – The intersection of Smith Street and Jones Road.
  36. 36. 9. Possessives • Some style guides form the possessive of a proper name ending in s with ’s. – Fred Jones’s car is a rusting hulk of metal and random wires.
  37. 37. 9. Possessives • Some style guides form the possessive of a proper name ending in s with ’s. – Fred Jones’s car is a rusting hulk of metal and random wires. • AP style eliminates the s. – Fred Jones’ car is a rusting hulk of metal and random wires.
  38. 38. 10. Titles • AP style does not use italics at all except, incongruously enough, in the AP Stylebook in order to distinguish rules from examples (as I have done here). See the stylebook entry “words as words.”
  39. 39. 10. Titles • The names of newspapers, websites and magazines are rendered without any punctuation. – The Boston Globe (capitalize The because it is part of the name; always check) – Gawker – Entertainment Weekly – Talking Points Memo
  40. 40. 10. Titles • The names of books, movies, TV shows, albums, songs, video games and the like should be in quotation marks. – “Lincoln” – “In Cold Blood” – “30 Rock” – “Call of Duty: Black Ops” – “Highway 61 Revisited”
  41. 41. 11. Special digital considerations • The word Web is always uppercase • The word website is lowercase • The word Internet is uppercase
  42. 42. 12. A grammatical tip • Spend some time reading and understanding the stylebook’s sections on essential and nonessential clauses and phrases. • If you can understand why this sentence is telling us that Mary Smith has more than one husband, then you’re starting to get it: – Mary Smith and her husband John Jones appeared before the Planning Board on Tuesday.
  43. 43. Must-read stylebook entries • abbreviations • capitalization • datelines • essential clauses/nonessential clauses • essential phrases/nonessential phrases • numerals • possessives • A Guide to Punctuation
  44. 44. On Twitter @APStylebook @FakeAPStylebook
  45. 45. Credit • This presentation is based on the short guide to AP style in “Reporting for the Media” (ninth edition), by Bender, Davenport, Drager and Fedler.

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