How to Use the Basic AP (Associated Press) Style Grammar Rules as Required by Demand Studios


AP writing style is required for articles submitted to Demand Studios for review and publishing. Considered the journalists' bible, the AP Stylebook belongs on every writer's desk and is used by editors, journalists and broadcast news professionals throughout the country. Becoming familiar with the AP style will add professionalism, value and readability to your articles.

A few quick pointers will get you started on AP style, but if you are serious about perfecting your article writing, you need to invest in a copy of "The Associated Press Stylebook" and use it whenever various spelling or punctuation questions arise.

  • AP style's goal is clear, concise writing. The punctuation's goal is to guide readers, not confuse them. Use the least amount of punctuation and capitalization necessary to convey the intended message.

  • Write in active voice whenever possible, not passive (was, were, etc). Avoid writing in first person ("I did this" or "In my opinion").

  • Periods: Use one space after a period to begin the next sentence.

  • Commas: Use commas for long complicated groups of word thoughts. AP style rarely uses the serial comma, which would be the last comma used in a simple, short list of items: "She bought spackling, turpentine, paint and brushes" is correct. "She bought spackling, turpentine, paint, and brushes" is not.

  • Numbers: Spell out numbers under 10, use numerals for numbers 10 and above. Always use numerals for the following: time of day, ages, days of the month, sums of money, votes, scores, speeds, serial numbers, times of events, temperature degrees, proportions, days of the month, years and house numbers. Always spell out a number that begins a sentence, except for a year. Use Roman numerals (III, VI) for popes, royalty and wars. For large numbers (millions, trillions, etc), do not use all of the zeros, use the numeral, then the word (2.5 billion).

  • Percentages: Always expressed as numerals with the word percent spelled out: "The price rose 25 percent."

  • Abbreviations: If there is any doubt as to the meaning of the abbreviations that you might use, spell it out instead of abbreviating. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms that are not recognizable by the general public. Abbreviations may be used as a person's title when used before a name and the first letter should be capitalized: Dr. Brown, Rep. Don Smith, Gov. Harris. When used in the sentence after the name, it is not capitalized and is spelled out. When referencing a "Reverend", always use the word "The" before it: "The Rev. Thomas."

  • Cities and States: When writing a well-known city name, the state does not have to be added to it. The specific list of cities that do not require state listings can be found under the "datelines" entry in The Associated Press Stylebook;" all other cities need to include their state in the listing as well. So "Atlanta" used alone is OK, but Walla Walla, Wash., must include its state.

    When a state is used alone in a sentence, it needs to be spelled out. When a state is used with a city name, use the state's abbreviation. See provided link for state abbreviations.

  • Dates: Spell out months when used alone or with a date or year. You can abbreviate the month when used with both the date and year. Never abbreviate days of the week.

  • Quotes: Each quoted person should have its own paragraph with no exceptions. Use quotation marks for a direct quote only.
    Use single quote marks on a quote within a quote: He said, "She said, 'Be careful.'" The period or exclamation mark should be within the quotes.

  • Please note that there are many other punctuation rules for quotations, and periods. Refer to your Associated Press Stylebook for more in-depth rules.

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