PR pros’ guide to AP style

This article originally ran on PR Daily in March of 2017.

For journalists, The Associated Press Stylebook is the industry bible.

They live and die by its grammar and style rules, and most have taken numerous journalism school classes to perfect writing in alignment with AP style.

AP style errors in press releases are glaringly obvious to reporters and could turn many journalists off from considering a press release. Still, mastering the 500-page book, which is updated every year, can be a daunting task.

Below are AP style tips that every PR professional should know, along with commonly made mistakes to avoid. Although you should always have an AP Stylebook at your desk, consider this your cheat sheet for quick reference.


Only use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. with a numbered address. Always use figures for a numbered address.


His address is 1600 Pike St.

He lives on Pike Street.

For street names that are numbers, spell out and capitalize First through Ninth. Use figures with two letters for 10 and above. Example: He lives on Third Avenue. She lives near 10th and 22nd streets.

Spell out Interstate on first reference, then abbreviate.


She drove down Interstate 5 to get to work.

She also took I-5 when she drove home.


When writing about height, weight or other dimensions, use figures and spell out words such as feet, miles, etc.


She is 5-foot-6.

He wrote with a 3-inch pencil.


Hyphenate the words that go together when using adjectives to modify words.

For example:

energy-efficient products, much-anticipated announcements, long-term relationships.

Generally, words that end in “–ly” are adverbs and shouldn’t be hyphenated.

More than versus over

In 2014, AP Stylebook ruled that both “over” and “more than” are acceptable terms when referring to something of greater numerical value:

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