Fifteen AP Style Rules for Back to School

Aug 13, 2012 admin

In a few short weeks, students across the country will settle into classrooms for another hopefully productive school year. While they might sport the latest fashion and technology trends to stay hip in the halls, here are some back-to-school-related terms from the Associated Press Stylebook to help us writers make the grade:

  1. academic departments: Lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives. The marketing department; the department of English.

  2. ballpoint pen: Proper style for students’ writing instruments.

  3. bus, buses: Proper style for the transportation vehicles. The verb forms: bus, bused and busing. Add an extra s, and you’re insinuating kissing.

  4. chapter: Capitalize when used with a numeral in reference to a section of a book or legal code. Always use Arabic figures. Chapter 1, Chapter 20. Lowercase when standing alone. The book chapters are short.

  5. day care: Two words, no hyphen in all uses.

  6. dean’s list: Lowercase in all uses. He is on the dean’s list for fall semester. She is a dean’s list student.

    Read full AP Style guidelines
  7. encyclopedia: Lowercase, but follow the spelling of formal names: Encyclopedia Britannica.

  8. First quarter, first-quarter: Hyphen when used as a compound modifier. She earned highest honors in the first quarter. His first-quarter marks earned him recognition.

  9. F-word: Proper style of an obscenity that when said by students will most likely send them to the principal’s office. Don’t use vulgarities in writing unless they’re part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them.

  10. half day (noun), half-day (adjective): The school has a half day of classes. His half-day classes were easy.

  11. hooky: Proper spelling of what some seniors may play toward the end of the school year.

  12. Pledge of Allegiance: Proper style of the expression of loyalty to the U.S. that some students recite at the beginning of the school day.

  13. principal, principle: Principal is a noun or adjective meaning someone or something first in rank, authority, importance or degree. She is the principal of our school. Principle is a noun that means a fundamental truth, law, doctrine or motivating force. He argued for the principle of family affairs.

  14. Rhodes scholar: Lowercase scholar and scholarship.

  15. zero, zeros: Correction marks students don’t want to receive for their graded assignments.

To ensure writing doesn’t stay inside for recess, review essential ingredients for crisp writing and grammatical staples.

Topics: Writing

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