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A Crash Course in AP Style

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It’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite topic: grammar. OK, maybe it’s not your favorite, but we’re here to give you a crash course in the top AP Style tips that all folks that touch the communication realm should know. Hold on tightly, here we go:

Oxford comma (or lack thereof): The Oxford comma, or serial comma, is the final comma in a list. It is also the center of debate in and around the PR community, as it is not used in AP Style. For example, we love grammar, public relations and social media. We also love pizza, cheeseburgers and french fries. The list goes on and on, folks.

Numerals: The numbers and numeral rule can be a tough one. One through nine are spelled out, while anything higher gets the numeral. Avoid using numerals to start a sentence, unless it begins with a year. Ages always get the numeral, and never use an apostrophe when describing an age range. Check out the examples below.

– There are eight breweries in the area.
– The man is in his 60s.
– The girl, 6, dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

Books, songs and movie titles: Writing an article about your favorite song, movie or book? These titles all get quotation marks. Quotations are not used for newspaper or magazine titles and are also not italicized or underlined.

Here are a few examples:

– This summer, we are loving Jen Sincero’s New York Times best-selling book “You Are a Badass.”
– They danced to “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire.
– “Avengers: Endgame” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” are our top pick flicks of the year.
– The story appeared in The Washington Post.

Other tech terms: Capitalization, hyphens and other hang-ups can get in the way of an article about up-and-coming tech. Your favorite social media sites, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are all capitalized. Speaking of social media, the hashtag is written as lowercase and one word. Apple’s “i” products, including the iPhone and iPad, all get the lowercase “i” unless it starts a sentence. Smartphone is written as one word, while cell phone is written as two.

Stay up to date with AP Style on The Firm’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, where we frequently share helpful tips and tricks. For additional PR guidance for your business, give us a shout at 702.739.9933 or newbusiness@thefirmpr.com.

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