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AP Style Isn’t So Scary – Sharing the Top Five Tricky Rules

October 17, 2022

Associated Press (AP) Style guidelines are the go-to writing and grammar rules for journalism. Public relations follow these same set of rules when drafting press releases and since this is news, we’re communicating directly to publications, news desks and journalists. Some might think that writing in AP Style is “tricky” but we’re here to share the top five “treats” or tidbits that’ll help you abide by the proper grammar guidelines. Do you catch the Halloween vibes we’re throwing down?

  1. AP Style does not use italics. That means that most titles go in quotation marks (i.e., The webinar, “How to streamline the trick or treat process” will be live on October 31. Quotation marks should be used for titles of books, songs, movies, and more.
  2. AP Style doesn’t always use the serial killer comma. Also referred to as the Oxford comma, adding the last comma isn’t kosher unless it’s needed for clarity.  
    • CORRECT: “Hocus Pocus 2” was just released again featuring the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Sarah and Mary.
    • INCORRECT: “Hocus Pocus 2” was just released again featuring the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Sarah, and Mary.
  3. Spell out only numbers one through nine.
    • One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13 …
  4. Job titles are lowercase.
    • Ben Frightened, chief scare officer
  5. Headlines are sentence case and present tense.
    • Halloween overtakes Super Bowl as the busiest day of the year for pizza orders

We hope you enjoyed our Halloween take on AP Style. And of course, whenever in doubt, give us a call or reach out to Kristen Quinn at kristen@paigepr.com to get the conversation started.