14 AP Style Rules Every Journalist Knows
Start writing a post
Student Life

14 AP Style Rules Every Journalist Knows

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

4364
14 AP Style Rules Every Journalist Knows
Unsplash

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?)

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

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

429
8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List
Unsplash.com

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!

1179

The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.

2994
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey

At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Holidays With A Small Family

I wouldn't trade what we have for the world.

5268
Matt Johnsn

When I was a kid I always went to my grandparents house whenever we celebrated any sort of holiday. We were a decently sized family and it was always a blessing to be in their house and surrounded by love during the holiday season. However, that all changed when my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The family then began to drift apart and life went on, and we ended up all celebrating our own holidays with other family members.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Safe Spaces Or Regressive Spaces?

Turns out shielding yourself from ideas can be detrimental to your ability to learn

3954
www.semipartisansam.com

College is a place for people who want to learn. That is the primary function of any academic institution. Its purpose is not to coddle us, nor should the community always be in agreement with us. We are supposed to surround ourselves with a variety of viewpoints that challenge us to learn, not the same repetitive points of view that make us happy.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments