• Use full name of organization on first reference, abbreviation afterward. Ex: Johnson is president of the state's National Rifle Association. He said the NRA will petition the mayor at Tuesday's council meeting.
• Use abbreviations on first reference for well-known terms only: CIA, FBI, NASA, CBS
• Use periods for abbreviations of two letters: U.K., U.S., U.N., B.C.
• No periods for abbreviations of three or more letters: CIA, FBI, NASA, GOP
• Do not follow an organization's full name with an abbreviation in parenthesis.
• If an abbreviation/acronym is not clear on the second reference, do not use it.
• Avoid unnecessary capitalization. Only capitalize a word if you can justify it using an AP rule.
• For example, don't capitalize words like public relations, advertising or journalism if they are
not the specific name or a person, place or thing:
The Jones Advertising Agency is looking for advertising majors to work as paid interns.
• Capitalize formal titles only when used immediately before a name: President Barack Obama.
AP Style _Spring2018 3
• Capitalize common nouns such as party, river and street when a part of the full name for a person, place or thing: Mississippi River, Fleet Street, West Virginia.
• Lowercase the common noun elements of names in plural uses:
Main and State streets, the Democratic and Republican parties, lakes Erie and Ontario.
• Capitalize words that are derived from proper nouns but still depend on them for their meaning: American, Christianity, English, Shakespearean
• AP Style does not allow italics or underlines.
• Composition titles require quotation marks. These include titles of books, poems, songs, TV
shows, movies, plays, songs, CDs, lectures, speeches, works of art, newspaper and magazine
articles, computer games and short stories.
• Exceptions: Titles of magazines and newspapers, the Bible, the Quran, reference books
(almanacs, dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, etc.) and software titles (InDesign,
• Capitalize the in a newspaper or magazine name if that is how the publication is known.
• Note: See the Composition Title entry in the Stylebook for specific examples.
• Always spell out days of the week.
• Spell out months when used alone or with the year alone:
January 2012 was a cold month.
• When using only the month and year, do not separate the year with a comma:
January 1972 was a cold month.
• Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec., with a specific date:
Sept. 11, 2001, is a date many Americans will never forget. (Note the comma behind 2001.)
Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month.
• Always spell out March-July, even with a specific date.
• When using the month, day and year, set off the year in commas:
Feb. 14, 1998, was the target date.
AP Style _Spring2018 4
• Lowercase seasons spring, summer, fall and winter and words like springtime unless they are part of a formal name: The Tiger Band performs at the LSU Fall Fest every fall semester
• Always use figures.
• Always spell out units: inches, feet, yards, miles, meters, millimeters, pounds, ounces, etc.: 5
inches, 13 feet, 9 yards, 105 miles, 4 millimeters. The baby weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces.
• Hyphenate compound adjectives before nouns: She had a 9-pound, 7-ounce boy.
• Examples: the 5-foot-6-inch man. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall. The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet, the 9-by-
12 rug. The storm left 5 inches of rain. The building has 6,000 square feet of space.
• Use figures and the $ sign:
The book cost $4. I paid $57 for my new shoes. The gourmet doughnut costs $6.50.
• Use words in casual references:
Give me a dollar. Dollars are flowing overseas.
• Use commas to separate zeros: 1,000 ... 100,000
• Use words to designate million, billion, trillion: $75 million, $13 billion, $3 trillion.
• For amounts more than $1 million, use up to two decimal places: She is worth $4.25 million.
• For specified amounts, the word takes a singular verb:
He said $500,000 is the highest bid.
• Spell out the word cents; use figures for amounts less than a dollar:
5 cents, 12 cents ... but $1.01.
• Note: The $ is the ONLY symbol used in AP Style.
• Gender is not synonymous with sex. Gender refers to a person's social identity while sex refers to biological characteristics.
• Language around gender is evolving. For our purposes in media writing, use the pronoun the interviewee requests.
• However, clarity is a top priority in the use of pronouns. In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree with its antecedent: The children love the books their uncle game them.
• The use of they/them/their as single, gender-neutral pronouns is acceptable in limited cases when alternative wording is awkward. They used in the singular takes a plural verb: Taylor said they need a new car.
• However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable.
• AP allows LGBT and LGBTQ on first reference.
• When possible, chose gender-neutral titles. For example, say police officer, not policeman.
• Terms such as firefighter, mail carrier and police officer are preferred.
• See individual entries for clarity regarding specific titles and job descriptions. Some are not
gender neutral, such as spokesman/spokeswoman and assemblyman/assemblywoman.
• Capitalize both the name of the party and the word party if it is part of the organization's name: the Democratic Party, the Republican Party.
• Capitalize Communist, Conservative, Democrat, Liberal, Republican, Socialist, etc., when they refer to a specific party or its members. Lowercase when they refer to a political philosophy: The liberal Republican senator and his Conservative Party colleague said they believe democracy and communism are incompatible.
• General forms: Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina said ...Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said... Sen. Jim DeMint also spoke. The South Carolina Republican said ...
• Set off short forms such as R-S.C. from the name in commas (as in example above).
• Note: The state abbreviation is not a ZIP code abbreviation but follows the AP's guidelines. See
the AP Stylebook's "State Names" entry for state abbreviation examples.
• Use R- for Republicans, D- for Democrats and I- for Independents.
• Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure's party affiliation.
• See the Stylebook on how to spell social networks names. Note: internet is not capitalized.
• Use email, but e-book, e-reader.
• Use the web, website, webcam, webmaster, webpage, etc.
• Capitalize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, YouTube, Wikipedia, Tumblr, etc.
• Spell out the state name in a body of a story, whether the state name stands alone or appears with the city name. The president toured Louisiana. The president will visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi, prior to his re-election bid.
• Note the punctuation of the city/state combination. Surround the state name (and D.C.) in commas: Our vacation included Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg, Virginia.
• AP Style state abbreviations will be used in political affiliation, datelines and photo captions. See the stylebook for state abbreviations. Eight states are not abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. (Hint: Spell out the names of the two states that are not part of the contiguous U.S. and of the continental states that are five letters or fewer.)