Why it Matters
• Different types of writing follow different style
guidelines. For example, in your other college
courses, you may be required to adhere to the
MLA, Turabian or APA styles guides. In
journalism and public relations, you must
know Associated Press Style.
Why it Matters
• Therefore, you must know Associated Press
style if you intend to get a job in the media or
Why it Matters
• Strictly following a particular usage style
provides consistency, accuracy and clarity in
grammar, punctuation and other language
Why it Matters
• While some publications, such as The New
York Times, have their own unique style, the
vast majority of newspapers, magazines and
press releases follow the rules of the AP
Stylebook. And because communicating with
the media is a significant part of public
relations, PR practitioners must know and
utilize AP style, as well.
Why it Matters
• AP style aims to be totally accurate, clear to
anyone with a high school education and
inoffensive (curse words are generally
avoided, for example) -- all while being as
succinct as possible. Note that AP style differs
significantly from style guides typically used in
English classes, such as the APA and Oxford
How to Study
• Read some of your AP Stylebook every day.
Keep it handy and refer to it often. You
probably won't be able to memorize
everything inside the book, but you should at
least remember common style issues (such as
the aforementioned rules) and be familiar
enough with the book that you can look up
other issues quickly when you're writing on
Practice Makes Perfect
• Many free practice quizzes are available
Top 15 AP Style Rules
• The AP Style book contains hundreds of rules.
But some come up much more often than
• What follows are 15 of the most common AP
Style rules. You should memorize these. And
you must follow these in your writing
assignments for this course, or you will lose
1. Use a person's full name and title the first time
you mention him or her in an article. For example,
write Terrence Ross, professor of communications,
not Prof. Ross. Once people have been fully
identified, refer to them by last name only. There
are exceptions, so always check the AP Stylebook.
Also: Do not use courtesy titles such as Mr., Miss,
Mrs., or Ms., except in direct quotes or where
needed to distinguish between people of the same
name. Using courtesy titles may be polite. And The
New York Times uses them in its articles. But it is
not AP Style.
2. Capitalize formal titles used before a name.
For example, write Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson. Very long titles may be shortened or
summarized unless they are essential to the
story, but the shortened form should not be
capitalized (for example, you may use
spokesperson instead of Vice President for Public
Affairs and Communications). Use lowercase
when formal titles follow a name (e.g., Rex
Tillerson, secretary of state). General titles, such
as actor Matt Damon and activist Malala
Yousafzai , are lowercased.
3. Abbreviate months when used with days,
and use numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) not ordinal
numbers (1st, 2nd, etc.). Exceptions are March,
April, May, June and July -- write them out,
don't abbreviate. For example, write Feb. 2,
2017, not February 2nd, 2017. But, when using
only the month and year, spell out the month.
4. Generally, spell out the numbers zero
through nine and use numerals for 10 and
higher. Note, however, that numbers used at
the beginning of a sentence are spelled out.
Example: Five hundred twenty-four students
attended. It is better, however, to rewrite the
sentence so that it doesn't begin with a number.
Example: Attending the event were 524
students from local colleges. Years are one of
the exceptions. For example: 2016 was a bad
year for investors.
5. But use numerals even for ages younger than
10. This is another exception to that
aforementioned number rule. When used like
an adjective, say X-year-old, including the
hyphens. Otherwise, don't use the hyphens. For
example: the 5-year-old girl kicked her brother,
who is 8 years old.
6. Spell out the word "percent" but use
numerals for the actual number. Examples:
Participation increased 5 percent. Nearly 28
percent of all students don't like algebra.
Exception: use may use the % sign in headlines.
7. To indicate time, use figures and lowercase
letters (9 a.m., 6 p.m.). Put a space between the
figure and the letters. Exceptions are noon and
midnight. Do not say 12 noon or 12 midnight --
8. Spell out abbreviations or acronyms on first
reference. For example, use Nassau County
Community College the first time you refer to
the college in a story. You may use NCCC on any
references made after that. Another example
would be to use UC only after you have spelled
out University Center on first reference. Note:
there are some exceptions, such as FBI.
9. Capitalize names of people, places or things
to set them apart from a general group. These
include proper nouns such as Mike, Canada,
Hudson River, and Garden City High School. But
use lowercase for common nouns (i.e. nouns not
coupled with a proper name), such as the river
or the high school. Also, put a word in lowercase
when you have more than one proper noun
sharing the word. Example: Nassau and Suffolk
counties. Capitalize the first word in a sentence.
Refer to the dictionary or AP Stylebook, if
needed. When in doubt, use lowercase.
10. For addresses, abbreviate street, avenue
and boulevard when they’re used with a specific
address, such as 1 South Ave., but spell them
out otherwise (e.g., We took a drive down
Nassau Boulevard). Spell out First through Ninth
is they’re street names, then go to numerals
after that (e.g. 222 10th Ave.) If you have a
complete address, abbreviate any compass
points, such as 712 Jones St. S.E. But, without an
exact address, it’s just Southwest Jones Street.
11. For States: Spell out the names of the states
in text when they appear alone (e.g. Wildfires
continued to rage through southern California
yesterday). Abbreviate states when they appear
in conjunction with the name of a city, town,
village or military base (e.g. Garden City, N.Y.).
See AP Stylebook for the acceptable state
abbreviations. When referring to the United
States as a noun, spell out United States As an
adjective or part of an organization’s name, use
U.S. with no spaces.
12. Use the name of the website rather than
the Web address. For example: YouTube, no
YouTube.com or New York Times, not
nytimes.com. Keep in mind that a URL is merely
a source’s address in cyberspace. So, for
example: when you cite sources, saying
adelphi.edu instead of Adelphi University would
be the equivalent of saying “According to 1
South Avenue in Garden City,” instead of
“according to Adelphi University.” Use the
source’s name, not address (physical, Internet
•Periods: Use a single space after the period at
the end of a sentence. Do not put a space
between initials (e.g. C.S. Lewis).
•Commas: Do not put a comma before the
conjunction in a simple series (e.g. John, Paul,
George and Ringo). Use a comma to set off a
person's hometown and age (e.g. Pat Smith, 34,
was arrested yesterday).
14. Quotation Marks (“ ”): In dialogue, each
person’s words are placed in a separate
paragraph, with quotation marks at the
beginning and end of each person’s speech.
Periods and commas always go within quotation
marks. Dashes, semicolons, question marks and
exclamation points go within the quotation
marks when they apply to the quoted material.
They go outside when they apply to the whole
sentence. Use single marks for quotes within
quotes (e.g. She said, "He told me, 'I love you.'").
15. Money: When referring to money, dollar
amounts are always expressed as numerals and
the “$” sign is used. For cents or amounts of $1
million or more, spell the words cents, million,
billion, trillion etc. Examples: $3, $26.52,
$250,000, $8 million, 6 cents.