You are on page 1of 8

LSU Manship School AP Style List

abbreviations / acronyms
academic degrees
Addresses
admit (admit v. acknowledge)
Ages
Allege
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae
a.m., p.m. / times / time element
amendments to the Constitution
bad, badly
capital, Capitol
Capitalization
children vs. kids
citizen, resident, subject, national, native
Claim
composition / magazine, newspaper titles
courtesy titles
days of the week / dates / months / years / seasons
decades
demolish, destroy
directions and regions
dimensions / weights
dollars / cents

AP Style _Fall 2016

each other/one another


either/or, neithernor
fireman vs. firefighter (gender-neutral titles)
holidays
homicide, murder, manslaughter
millions, billions
names
nationalities and races / race
nicknames
No. / numerals
people, persons
percent
political parties / party affiliation
possessives
rebut, refute
the Rev. / religious titles
social media/email/web/internet/website/webpage
state names, Washington, D.C.
temperatures
titles
verbs (agreement / split forms)
women vs. girls
yesterday / today / tomorrow (dont use in print)

LSU Manship School of Mass Communication AP Style Study Sheet


This study sheet is a guideline only. Refer to the AP Stylebook for complete definitions.
Definitions separated by a slash (ex: times / time element) indicate multiple entries.
Refer to the Stylebooks Punctuation Guide for correct use of punctuation marks.
(Note: Italics are used for clarity here and in the AP Stylebook but never in media writing.)

abbreviations / acronyms
Use full name of organization on first reference, abbreviation afterward. Ex: Johnson is
president of the states National Rifle Association. He said the NRA will petition the mayor at
Tuesdays 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 organizations full name with an abbreviation in parenthesis.
If an abbreviation/acronym is not clear on the second reference, do not use it.
academic degrees
When you have a choice, pick the most reader-friendly way to state academic degrees.
Lowercase majors and fields of study: Ex: Sanderson is a mass communication major with a
minor in political science.
Preferred: Johnson, who has a masters in education, is keynote speaker.
The terms masters degree and bachelors degree are possessive and lowercased.
No possessive in official degree names Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science or in the title
associate degree.
Use academic degrees (Ph.D., B.A., M.A.) only when necessary.
Use the title Dr. on the first reference only when referring to a medical doctor.
addresses
Always use figures for a specific address: She lives at 7 Mockingbird Lane.
Abbreviate street (St.), avenue (Ave.) and boulevard (Blvd.) only with a specific address: 114 Oak
St.
Spell out as part of a formal street name without the specific address: Oak Street
Lowercase with two or more streets: Viewers can watch the parade at Oak, Elm and Maple
streets.
Spell out First-Ninth for street names; use figures for 10th and above: 135 First St.; 802 10th Ave.
Abbreviate compass points with specific address: 222 E. 42nd St.; 600 K St. NW
Do not abbreviate compass points if the specific address is omitted:
East 42nd Street; K Street Northwest.
No periods in quadrant abbreviations NW, SE unless customary locally.
Use periods in abbreviations for P.O. Box numbers: P.O. Box 432.
admit (admit v. acknowledge)
Admit, admitted may erroneously suggest wrongdoing. A person who acknowledges that he is a
recovering alcoholic is not admitting to a crime. Preferred: The senator acknowledged he is a
recovering alcoholic.
Said is usually sufficient.
ages
Always use figures: The boy is 7 years old. The tour features the 101-year-old house.
When the context is clear, omit years or years old: He is 7.
Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives: The 12-year-old boy found the lost key.
Hyphenate ages when they stand alone as nouns: The race is open to 10-year-olds.
AP Style _Fall 2016

No apostrophe: The woman is in her 30s.


Proper comma use in print writing:
The boy, 7, has a sister, 10. The woman, 26, has a daughter, 2 months old.
Note: See the Stylebook for other specific examples.
allege
Use with great care. Avoid suggesting you are making an allegation.
Specify the source of the allegation. For criminal cases, it should be an arrest record, an
indictment or the statement of an official connected with the case.
Use alleged bribe or similar phrase when necessary to make it clear that an unproved action is
not being treated as fact. Be sure to specify the source of the charge elsewhere in the story.
Avoid redundant uses of alleged: The district attorney accused her of allegedly taking the bribe.
Instead: The district attorney accused her of taking the bribe. Or: The district attorney alleged
that she took the bribe.
Do not use alleged to describe an event that is known to have occurred when the dispute is over
who participated in it. Do not say He attended the alleged meeting when you mean He allegedly
attended the meeting.
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae
Alumnus: one man who attended a school (alumni for more than one man).
Alumna: one woman (alumnae for more than one woman).
Alumni: a group of men and women.
a.m., p.m. / time element / times
a.m. / p.m.: lowercase and use periods.
Avoid the redundant 10 a.m. this morning, 10 p.m. Monday night.
Omit the zeroes when showing time on the hour: 10 a.m., 9 p.m.; NOT: 10:00 a.m., 9:00 p.m.
Use the words noon and midnight.
In other cases, use figures: 11 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 9-11 a.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Use the days of the week, not today, tonight or yesterday in print journalism.
Avoid redundancies last Tuesday or next Tuesday. The verb tense indicates which Tuesday is
meant: Smith said he finished the job Tuesday. He will return Tuesday.
amendments to the Constitution
Capitalize: Students studied the First Amendment.
Spell out First-Ninth; use figures for 10th and above: The case challenges the 14th Amendment.
bad, badly
Bad is an adjective and describes a person, place or thing: That is a bad idea. I feel bad.
Badly is an adverb and describes an action: The children behaved badly.
capital, Capitol
The capital is the city where a seat of government is located. Lowercased.
When used in a financial sense, capital describes money, or property used in a business.
Turner raised enough capital for the project.
The Capitol refers to the building in Washington or state buildings. Capitalized.
We visited the Louisiana governors office in the state Capitol.
capitalization
Avoid unnecessary capitalization. Only capitalize a word if you can justify it using an AP rule.
For example, dont 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.
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:
AP Style _Fall 2016

American, Christianity, English, Shakespearean


children vs. kids
The word children is preferred.
Only use kids in a direct quote.
In general, call children 15 or younger by their first name on second reference. Use the last name
if the seriousness of the story calls for it, as in a murder case.
citizen, resident, subject, national, native
Use resident not citizen to refer to inhabitants of cities or states.
Many Louisiana residents are of French descent.
A citizen has acquired the full civil rights of a nation either by birth or naturalization. U.S. cities
and states do not confer citizenship.
Native is the term denoting that a person was born in a given location or calls a location home.
Smith is a New Orleans native.
A subject belongs to a country that has a king, queen or other sovereign.
Citizen is acceptable for those in the U.K. where the term subject is often used.
National is applied to a person who lives away from the nation of which he/she is a citizen.
Johnsons neighbor is a Nigerian national who is studying physics at LSU.
claim
Said is a better verb.
This verb implies doubt, and its use in storiesSmith claimedcan imply the reporter does not
believe something.
Claim is most appropriate when an assertion is open to question and the story presents an
alternative point of view: Pro-government forces claimed they seized the town, but rebels
denied it.
composition / magazine, newspaper titles
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,
Windows).
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.
courtesy titles
Use (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss) only in a direct quote.
days of the week / dates / months / years / seasons
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.
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
decades
Use figures to indicate decades of history: 1980
Show the plural by adding the letter s: 1980s
AP Style _Fall 2016

Use an apostrophe to indicate numerals that are left out: He was born in the 80s.
demolish, destroy
Both mean to do away with something completely, so something cannot be partially demolished
or destroyed.
It is redundant to say totally demolished or totally destroyed.
directions and regions
Lowercase north, south, east, west, northeast, etc., when they indicate compass direction.
Birds fly south for the winter.
Capitalize when they designate regions:
A storm developed in the Midwest. She has a Southern accent. He is a Northerner. Asian
nations are opening doors to Western businessmen. Showers were forecast for the Texas
Panhandle.
With states and cities, lowercase directional or area descriptions:
Brooks is from south Louisiana.
Lowercase regions in the names of nations unless they are part of a proper name:
They traveled throughout northern France. BUT: The student was born in South Korea.
Note: Consult the entry for regions to see more specific examples.
dimensions / weights
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-by12 rug. The storm left 5 inches of rain. The building has 6,000 square feet of space.
See the separate entries for dimensions and weights for more examples.
dollars / cents
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.
eitheror, neithernor
The nouns that follow these words are not compound subjects. They are separate and require a
verb that agrees with the subject closest to it. (The subject closest to the verb picks the verb.)
Neither they nor Sam is going.
Either Sam or his brothers are going.
each other, one another
Use each other for two people: Batman and Superman stared at each other.
Use one another for three or more people: Jon, Sam and Ben sang songs for one another.
fireman vs. firefighter (gender neutral titles)
Firefighter is the preferred term for a person who fights fires.
Whenever possible, chose gender-neutral titles. For example, say police officer, not policeman.
Note: The Stylebook does not have a separate entry for gender-neutral titles.
See individual entries for clarity regarding specific titles and job descriptions. Some are not
gender neutral, such as spokesman/spokeswoman and assemblyman/assemblywoman.
AP Style _Fall 2016

holidays
Capitalize and know how to spell them: New Years Eve, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr.
Day, Groundhog Day, Easter, July Fourth/Fourth of July, Hanukkah, Veterans Day,
Thanksgiving, Christmas
homicide, murder, manslaughter
Dont describe a homicide as a murder unless a person has been convicted of that charge.
Unless authorities say premeditation was obvious, do not say a victim was murdered until
someone has been convicted in court.
Instead, say that a victim was killed or slain.
See entry for examples of terms.
millions, billions
Use figures with the words millions and billions in all but casual references: 1 million, 500
billion. BUT: He looks like a million dollars.
Dont go beyond two decimal places: 7.51 million people.
Do not drop the word million or billion in the first figure of a range. He is worth from $2 million
to $4 million. NOT: He is worth from $2 to $4 million.
names
Refer to men and women by the first and last names on the first reference.
Use last names only in subsequent references. Sandra Stark will serve as president. Stark was
unanimously elected.
When its necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name (married
couple or brother and sister), use the first and last name on first and subsequent references.
In cases where two subjects, such as a husband and wife, have the same last name, using
pronouns (he/she) will help with clarity.
nationalities and races / race
Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes. (See entry for examples.)
Identification by race is pertinent in biographical stories that involve a feat or appointment not
routinely associated with members of a particular race or when it provides the reader with a
substantial insight into conflicting emotions in an event.
Race is pertinent in stories about crime suspects who have been sought by the police or missing
person cases, so long as police or other credible, detailed descriptions are used. When the
suspect is found or apprehended, the racial reference should be removed.
Do not use racially derogatory terms unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the
story.
nicknames
Use a nickname in place of a given name when it is the way the individual prefers to be known:
Magic Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods.
In other cases, use quotation marks to insert a nickname:
U.S. Sen. Estes Left Eye Kefauver was allegedly poisoned by a CIA assassin.
No. / numerals
(Some exceptions to this general numerals rule include ages, dimensions, weights, time,
temperatures, percent, dollars/cents and millions/billions.)
Use No. as the abbreviation for number with a figure to show rank: No. 1 man, No. 3 choice.
Use words for zero-nine and figures for 10 and above:
Frank has six dogs, four cats and 11 hamsters.
Use words for first-ninth and figures for 10th-above: Mia was first. Sydney won 11th place.
Spell out a numeral when it starts a sentence:
Nine percent of students admit to cheating.
BUT: Avoid starting a sentence with a large number that must be spelled out. Example: Three
hundred and ninety-three students enrolled the first day. Instead, rewrite the sentence: Nearly
400 students enrolled the first day.
This rule has one exception: Use numeral that identifies a calendar year to start a sentence:
1976 marked the U.S. bicentennial celebration.
Important: See the numerals entry for more specific examples.
AP Style _Fall 2016

people, persons
Use person when referring to an individual: One person waited for the bus.
People is preferred for all plural uses:
Thousands of people waited for the football game to start.
People is a collective noun but it takes a plural verb when referring to a single race or nation:
The American people are united.
percent
One word. Use figures for percent/percentages: 1 percent, 2.5 percent, 4 percentage points.
Takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an of construction:
The teacher said 60 percent was a failing grade. He said 50 percent of the club was there.
But percent takes a plural verb when a plural verb follows an of construction:
He said 50 percent of the members were in favor of the new rule.
plurals (This information is about unusual plural rules. See the Stylebook for other
examples.)
Some words are plural in form but take singular verbs: measles, mumps, news.
For compound words that are written as one word, add an s to the end: cupfuls, handfuls.
For those involving separate words or words linked by a hyphen, make the most significant word
plural: attorneys general, brothers-in-law, deputy chiefs of staff, postmasters general.
political parties / party affiliation
Capitalize both the name of the party and the word party if it is part of the organizations 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 APs guidelines. See
the AP Stylebooks 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 figures party affiliation.
See Stylebook examples for state legislators and other information.
possessives
This entry is lengthy. See guidelines for forming and using possessives.
For plural nouns ending in s, add only the apostrophe: the churches needs, the girls toys.
For singular nouns not ending in s, add s: the churchs needs, the girls toys, the ships route.
For singular common nouns ending in s, add s unless the next word begins with the letter s: the
hostesss invitation BUT the hostess seat, the witnesss answer BUT the witness story.
Singular proper nouns ending in the letter s: Use only an apostrophe:
Agnes book, Kansas schools, James friend
Joint possession: Use the possessive form after only the last word if ownership is joint.
Fred and Wilmas apartment.
rebut, refute
Rebut means to argue to the contrary. Avoid refute because it suggests success in an argument
and almost always implies an editorial judgment. Do not use except in a direct quote.
Instead of refute, use deny, dispute, rebut or respond to.
the Rev. / religious titles
When Rev. is used before a name, precede it with the word the because the abbreviation
Rev. (unlike Mr. or Mrs.) does not stand for a noun.
On second reference to members of the clergy, use only the last name: the Rev. Billy Graham on
first reference but Graham on second reference; Pope Benedict XVI on first reference but
Benedict, the pope or the pontiff on second.
For details on specific titles (priest, cardinal, rabbis, nuns, etc.), see the entries for major
AP Style _Fall 2016

denominations.
social media / email / web / internet / website / webpage
See the Stylebook on how to spell social networks names
Use email, but e-book, e-reader.
Use the web, website, webcam, webmaster, webpage, etc.
Capitalize Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, YouTube, Wikipedia, Tumblr.
state names and Washington, D.C.
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.)
temperatures
Use figures for all except zero.
Use a word, not a minus sign, for temperatures below zero: The days low was minus 10.
Temperatures get higher or lower, but they dont get warmer or colder:
Temperatures in Baton Rouge are expected to rise Friday.
titles
This entry is lengthy. See guidelines for punctuation, capitalization and abbreviation of titles.
Capitalize formal titles before a name. The book featured a speech by President Ronald Reagan.
These titles only are capitalized and abbreviated before a name:
Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep. and Sen.
Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with a name:
The governor toured the school.
Lowercase and spell out titles, and surround titles in commas, when they appear after a name:
Joe Biden, vice president, decided not to run for president in the 2016 election.
Job descriptions are not capitalized: The museum is dedicated to actor John Wayne. Our report
explained the career of astronaut John Glenn.
verbs (agreement / split forms)
In general, avoid awkward constructions that split infinitive forms of a verb (to leave, to help,
etc.) or compound forms (had left, are found out, etc.) See Stylebook entry for examples.
Awkward: She was ordered to immediately leave on an assignment.
Preferred: She was ordered to leave immediately on an assignment.
Occasionally, a split is not awkward and is necessary to convey the meaning:
The budget was tentatively approved.
women vs. girls
Use women when appropriate:
The Tulane University womens basketball team.
BUT: The Briarwood Elementary School girls basketball team.
yesterday / today / tomorrow (dont use in print)

AP Style _Fall 2016