AP Style Cheat Sheet

Student Learning With Good Cup Of Tea

company, companies

Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.; always spell out March, April, May, June and July. Spell out all months when using alone or with a year alone. When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.

Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate a span of a decade or century: the 1890s, the 1900s. Years are the lone exception to the general rule that figures cannot be used to start a sentence: 1976 was a very good year.

nearsighted, nearsightedness

In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix when forming a compound adjective that does not have special meaning and can be understood if not is used before the base word: nonprofit, noncontroversial, nonaligned.

Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location: He ran to third base. She was first in line. They reviewed the Fifth Amendment in class. Use figures for 10th and above: She wrote her 15th book last year.

See separate entries for specific guidelines for addresses, ages, chapters, dates, dimensions, fractions, millions and billions, monetary units (dollars and cents), No., page numbers, percent, room numbers, telephone numbers, times and weights.

Abbreviating Words

  • Use only the most commonly recognized abbreviations: The most common,—such as NASA, FBI, and CIA—can be used on all references. Less well-known, but still common ones—such as OSHA and NATO—can be used after you spell out the full name on the first mention. In most cases, however, the stylebook suggests using a generic reference such as “the agency” or “the alliance” for all references after the first.
  • Don’t put unfamiliar abbreviations in parentheses after the first reference: “The American Copy Editors Society (ACES), for example, would either be repeated as the full name on subsequent references or replaced by a generic reference, such as “the society.”
  • Use an apostrophe and spell out academic degrees: “She holds a bachelor’s degree.” Use abbreviations for degrees only when you need to include a list of credentials after a name and set them off with commas: “Peter White, LL.D., Ph.D., was the keynote speaker.”
  • Abbreviate junior or senior directly after a name, with no comma to set it off: “Justin Wilson Jr.”
  • Spell out the names of all states when used alone: “He lives in Montana.” Abbreviate state names of seven or more letters when used with a city name, with commas before and after the abbreviation: “Pittsburgh, Pa., is a great weekend getaway spot for people who live in Youngstown, Ohio.” You’ll find the list of acceptable abbreviations under State Names in the hardcover and digital version of the AP Stylebook.
  • Be sure to use the stylebook abbreviations, and not the U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for states: The exception is if you are providing a full address, including ZIP code: “Send contributions to Relief Fund, Box 185, Pasadena, CA 91030”.
  • Spell out the name of a month when it is used without a specific date: “August is too hot for a visit to Florida.” Abbreviate months with six or more letters if they are used with a specific date such as “Sept. 28.” Always spell out those with five or fewer letters: “May 15.” You can find the list of preferred abbreviations under Months in the AP Stylebook.
  • Spell out titles used alone: “She was the first female senator from her state.” Abbreviate and capitalize most titles when they are used directly before a name: “Sen. Boxer posed hard questions for Rice.” To determine if a title is abbreviated, look for an entry for it in the AP Stylebook or check the listing under Titles.
  • Spell out titles with names used in direct quotes: The exceptions are Dr., Mr., and Mrs. “Governor Pawlenty is obviously no Jesse Ventura,” she said.
  • Spell out all generic parts of street names (avenue, north, road) when no specific address is given: “The festival will be held on South Charles Street.” When a number is used, abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.), street (St.), and directional parts of street names: “The suspect was identified as Michael Shawn of 1512 N. Mission St.”
  • In writing news stories, never abbreviate:
    • The days of the week
    • Percent as %
    • Cents as ¢
    • The word “and,” unless the symbol & is an official part of a name
    • Christmas as Xmas

    The AP Stylebook uses what’s known as downstyle—that is, words are lowercased unless a rule says to capitalize them. If you can’t find a rule for capitalizing a word in the stylebook, use it in lowercase. The most familiar capitalization rules are:

    • Capitalize common nouns such as party, river, and street when they are part of a proper name for a place, person or thing: For example, the Libertarian Party, the Ohio River. But lowercase these common nouns when they stand alone or in subsequent references: “The party did not have a candidate for president,” “She nearly drowned in the river.” Lowercase all plural uses of common nouns: the Libertarian and Green parties, the Monongahela and Ohio rivers.
    • Lowercase the names of the seasons unless they are used in a proper name: the Summer Olympics.
    • Capitalize the word “room” only when used with the number of the room or when part of the name of a specially designated room:Room 315, the Lincoln Room.
    • Lowercase directional indicators: The exception is when they refer to specific geographic regions or popularized names for those regions. For example, “the Northeast” or “the Midwest.”
    • Lowercase formal titles that appear on their own or follow a name: In the latter case, they should be set off by commas. Capitalize formal titles that come directly before a name: “The students were delighted when they heard they would meet President Obama.” Never capitalize job descriptions: shortstop, police officer, attorney, and so on.

    Who Uses AP Style?

    Acronyms for Organizations

    Abbreviations for Formal Titles

    • Atlanta
    • Baltimore
    • Boston
    • Chicago
    • Cincinnati
    • Cleveland
    • Dallas
    • Denver
    • Detroit
    • Honolulu
    • Houston
    • Indianapolis
    • Las Vegas
    • Los Angeles
    • Miami
    • Milwaukee
    • Minneapolis
    • New Orleans
    • New York
    • Oklahoma City
    • Philadelphia
    • Phoenix
    • Pittsburgh
    • St. Louis
    • Salt Lake City
    • San Antonio
    • San Diego
    • San Francisco
    • Seattle
    • Washington
    • Amsterdam
    • Baghdad
    • Bangkok
    • Beijing
    • Beirut
    • Berlin
    • Brussels
    • Cairo
    • Djibouti
    • Dublin
    • Geneva
    • Gibraltar
    • Guatemala City
    • Havana
    • Helsinki
    • Hong Kong
    • Islamabad
    • Mexico City
    • Milan
    • Monaco
    • Montreal
    • Moscow
    • Munich
    • New Delhi
    • Panama City
    • Paris
    • Prague
    • Quebec City
    • Rio De Janeiro
    • Rome
    • San Marino
    • Sao Paulo
    • Shanghai
    • Singapore
    • Istanbul
    • Jerusalem
    • Johannesburg
    • Kuwait City
    • London
    • Luxembourg
    • Macau
    • Madrid
    • Stockholm
    • Sydney
    • Tokyo
    • Toronto
    • Vatican City
    • Vienna
    • Zurich

    How to Format State Abbreviations

    • Alabama: Ala.
    • Arizona: Ariz.
    • Arkansas: Ark.
    • California: Calif.
    • Colorado: Colo.
    • Connecticut: Conn.
    • Delaware: Del.
    • Florida: Fla.
    • Georgia: Ga.
    • Illinois: Ill.
    • Indiana: Ind.
    • Kansas: Kan.
    • Kentucky: Ky.
    • Louisiana: La.
    • Maryland: Md.
    • Massachusetts: Mass.
    • Michigan: Mich.
    • Minnesota: Minn.
    • Mississippi: Miss.
    • Missouri: Mo.
    • Montana: Mont.
    • Nebraska: Neb.
    • Nevada: Nev.
    • New Hampshire: N.H.
    • New Jersey: N.J.
    • New Mexico: N.M.
    • New York: N.Y.
    • North Carolina: N.C.
    • North Dakota: N.D.
    • Oklahoma: Okla.
    • Oregon: Ore.
    • Pennsylvania: Pa.
    • Rhode Island: R.I.
    • South Carolina: S.C.
    • South Dakota: S.D.
    • Tennessee: Tenn.
    • Virginia: Va.
    • Vermont: Vt.
    • Washington: Wash.
    • West Virginia: W. Va.
    • Wisconsin: Wis.
    • Wyoming: Wyo.

    Other Considerations For Dates and Times