14 AP Style Rules Every Journalist Knows
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14 AP Style Rules Every Journalist Knows

Some of these look plain wrong, but I can't stop doing them.

14 AP Style Rules Every Journalist Knows

When you're a journalist, you know AP Style. AP Style is the language we speak and write in. It's the bread and butter that gives us structure. It's also the bane of our existence since every single rule is the exact opposite of what normal English teachers have taught us. We journalism majors were re-taught how to write and format when we learned AP Style. Here are some of the quirky things we deal with on a daily basis when we are nose deep in that giant stylebook.

1. No Oxford commas. It looks so weird without them, but rules.

2. The percent symbol is written out as "percent."

We never use the percent sign. Ever.

3. You write out numbers one through ten...

...unless you are putting them in front of the word "percent," putting them into a ratio or score, or writing out a number like "2 million."

4. Yeah, we write out "million," "billion," "trillion," etc if it's a clean number.

Why? It looks neater and it saves up space. When you're formatting a newspaper and you don't have a lot of space, you take shortcuts. It also is easier for the reader to read "million" than count zeros.

5. We abbreviate all months with more than four or five letters if they are paired with a date or day of the week.

If they stand alone, you write that sucker out.

6. You NEVER abbreviate a day of the week. Ever.

Even if it's Saturday. Don't do it.

7. The only time you can start a sentence with numbers is if it's a year.

Otherwise, you need to write it out. In other words, avoid starting your sentences with numbers like 4,394,895.

8. You write out the number zero.

9. Write out degrees and other units of measurement.

Symbols are a no as well.

10. Plays, movie titles and books need to be in quotes. No italics.

11. There is no comma in Martin Luther King Jr or any other name with a suffix.

12. "We are going to downtown Troy." I know, "downtown Troy" looks wrong, right?

Well, it's not. It's correct. Unless you are referring to an actual place called "downtown Troy" and not the area, downtown needs to be lowercased. This goes for everything like that. Things you would not think are lowercased actually are.

13. "Susie is 5-years-old."

Dashes need to be between each word, and the number is always in numeric format with age. Again, another quirk.

14. Only majors that have to do with a language are capitalized.

Any name of a degree (i.e. bachelor's, master's, doctorate) is lowercase.

Want more? You can buy the latest AP Stylebook here, or visit here for a handy online cheat sheet. Happy styling! (Is it ever really happy?)

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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