Ten Tips to Spring Clean Your AP Style

Mar 10, 2017 Christine Lewis

Spring is on the horizon and daylight saving time officially kicks off on Sunday, March 12, making our commutes home brighter. As PR people, we live and breathe AP Style, often finding ourselves writing in AP Style while texting or writing personal emails. Even so, there are certain rules that are often overlooked or misused. Here is a quick refresher to help us all spring clean our AP Style writing:

  1. When writing a month with a date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. Spell out March, April, May and June.

  2. Months should be spelled out when using alone or with a year alone (i.e. January or January 2017).

  3. Seasons are never capitalized: winter, spring, summer, fall.

  4. Numbers under 10 should be spelled out, unless it is a percentage or age.

  5. Percent should always be written out, never %.

  6. A job title should only be capitalized if it precedes an individual’s name. The title should be lowercase if it falls after the name.

  7. Use figures with times except for noon and midnight (i.e. 3:30 p.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

  8. Use “more than” when referring to numbers. “Over” is used as a direction.

  9. Quotes go in a stand-alone paragraph.

  10. Even the AP Stylebook stands up for equality! Women and men should receive the same treatment; writers should not use physical descriptions, sexist references, demeaning stereotypes and condescending phrases.

Read full AP Style guidelines

And here are a few bonus tips to help you spring forward:

  • Write “daylight saving time,” not “savings.” When linking with the name of a time zone, use only the word “daylight”: Eastern Daylight Time, Pacific Daylight Time, etc.

  • Spring break is two words.

  • Springtime and summertime are both one word.

For more spring tips, check out "Twenty-five signs of spring in Associated Press style."

Topics: Press Releases, Writing, PR
Christine Lewis

Christine is an account director at InkHouse.

Read more from Christine Lewis

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