The PR Professional’s AP Style Cheat Sheet

For percentages, use numbers and do not use the % symbol. Example: 39 percent.


AP doesn’t like the Oxford comma. Do not use a comma before the last item in a simple series.

Punctuation always goes inside quotation marks. Example: “No exceptions,” I said.

State Abbreviations

AP doesn’t follow standard ZIP code abbreviations. Instead, each state has its own unique abbreviation. For example: Mass. for Massachusetts, N.Y. for New York, Calif. for California, Fla. for Florida, and W. Va for West Virginia. Note that eight states aren’t abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. In addition, omit state abbreviations for well-known U.S. cities (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, etc.)


Use a colon to separate hours from minutes, but do not use :00. Example: 1 p.m., 3:30 a.m. When referencing a.m. and p.m. always place the periods in this manner.


Formal titles that precede an individual’s name are capitalized. Titles that fall after are lowercase. For example: We clapped when XYZ Co-Founder Joe Bloe cut the ribbon. Patty Smith, director of marketing at XYZ, attended the ceremony as well.

Always give someone’s full name when first introducing them. After the introduction, refer to them by their last name.

This list covers the basics of AP Style, but it’s certainly not comprehensive. If you’re ever unsure about a rule, be sure to break out your book and look it up. You can also download AP StyleGuard[1], a solution that integrates with Microsoft Word and automatically checks your documents for AP style. It may seem trivial, but grammar matters – especially to journalists.

Tags: , , , [2][3][4][5]
Filed under: Execution, EXPERTISE[6][7]


  1. ^ AP StyleGuard (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ (
  4. ^ (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ Execution (
  7. ^ EXPERTISE (
1 2 3 4