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Robinson Hall, Fairfax: 703-993-1200 Enterprise Hall, Fairfax: 703-993-1824 Founders Hall, Arlington: 703-993-4491 Occoquan Building, Prince Wililam: 703-993-8451

AP style Associated Press (AP) style is a type of style used by news organizations around the United States and beyond. AP style is a way for a news organization to write in a consistent manner and to be consistently clear in meaning. AP style is designed to help news organizations get the most out of their limited space by ensuring accuracy and brevity. AP also provides guidelines for objective language usage. Many publications supplement AP style with a style guide of its own, based on local geography or government. For instance, The Broadside may prefer to call George Mason University “Mason” or “the University” on second reference. AP style would not provide guidance on “Mason,” and AP style would recommend a lowercase “u” in the second. There are many entries in the AP style guide. When in doubt, look it up! Academic degrees: You’ll encounter academic degrees in writing a fair amount at a college newspaper. It’s preferred to avoid abbreviation. Example: Mike Smith, who has a master’s degree in biology, graduated from George Mason University. Addresses: Use abbreviations for streets only with addresses with numbers. Otherwise, spell out the abbreviations. Example: The president lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I walked up Constitution Avenue on Friday. Alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae: Alumnus: male, singular; Alumni: male or male and female, plural; Alumna: female, singular; Alumnae: female, plural Capitalization: Generally, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Use a capital letter only if you can justify it. Check out the AP style book when in doubt. Datelines: Datelines in stories should contain a city name (all capital letters) followed by the name of the state or territory where a city is located. The AP style guide contains a list of some cities that don’t need a state or territory (such as Chicago). For other cities, an example is “FAIRFAX, Va.” Names: Generally, use first and last name on first reference; use last name only on second reference. Also, people’s titles are uppercase only if the title is given before the name. If the title is written after the name, titles are lowercase. Numerals: Don’t begin sentences with numerals unless it’s a year. Example: Three hundred people attended the volleyball game last night. 2007 held the record for game attendance with 375 people. Seasons: Don’t capitalize winter, spring, summer or fall unless they’re part of a proper name Serial commas: Do not use the last comma between the final two items in a series. Example: We bought bacon, cheese, milk and soda at the grocery store. States: AP style gives many states their own abbreviations – and there are some states that do not get abbreviated at all. For instance, Virginia is abbreviated in AP style as “Va.” Texas doesn’t get abbreviated at all. U.S.: Never US.

Last updated 11/11/2009

© The George Mason University Writing Center 2009 | |

AP Style Quick Guide  

AP Style Quick Guide, Citation

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