Don’t get me wrong, I love my major (public relations).
I love the department I’m in (communications).
And I love the people I’m surrounded by each day (fellow extroverts).
But one thing that has been tricky for me since I began my communications courses is the oh-so-wonderful AP Style. (This is what it makes me do sometimes).
So, in the hopes that I am helping some of you who might also have to work with AP Style, here’s some GIFs to help you get through these tricky rules.
- Don’t disrespect the name (aka — Academic degrees)
When you’re talking about a degree someone is in school for (such as bachelor’s, master’s etc.) spell out the name of the degree and use an apostrophe.
- Example: She has a bachelor’s degree.
The only time you should ever use the abbreviation for a degree is when you are including a list of credentials after someone’s name. In addition, when writing the credentials out, set them off with a comma.
- Example: Haley Miller, LL.D., Ph.D., was the keynote speaker.
Just remember, people worked hard for those letters after their name so don’t get it wrong.
2. Don’t stalk (aka — you’ll know people’s address…don’t abuse the power)
When you’re writing includes the name of a street, spell out all the parts when there’s no specific address given (no numbers; no exact location).
- Example: Our main campus is on University Avenue.
But, when a number is included in the address, you have to abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.), and street (St.) in addition to directional parts (north, south, east, west).
- Example: I saw him standing outside his house at 4609 N. Mill St.
Just remember, when you see or hear the word “road,” do not abbreviate it!
3. Be respectful when referencing a person (aka — names)
When you write a name in an article, press release, etc., you should use their first and last name during your first reference to them. After the first reference, use only their last name (but don’t include their title).
Speaking of titles…don’t use their title unless it’s in a direct quote or you have to differentiate between two people with the same last name.
- Example: Liberty HealthShare CEO Larry Foster led the meeting. Foster said the education of health care sharing is very important.
But, sometimes I think it would just be easier if we didn’t have names so we wouldn’t have to worry about all of this.
4. There’s a difference between you’re and your (aka — apostrophes)
There are a few rules to remember when using apostrophes:
- For plural nouns ending in s and singular proper names ending in s, add only an apostrophe (the students’ tests; the Marrs’).
- For singular common nouns ending in s and plurals of a single letter, add ‘s (hostess’s; she had two B’s and an A).
- Don’t use ‘s for plurals of numbers or multiple letter combinations (1850s).
It may sound confusing, but it will come naturally after a few tries.
5. Don’t forget to break up your lists (with commas)
Don’t use a comma before a conjunction within a simple series.
- Example: the three-year project called for rebuilding of a specific area during a two-year window.
Use a comma in a series that uses and or or.
- Example: roses, tulips and sunflowers
6. What’s the difference? (semicolon vs. comma)
Use a semicolon to clarify a series that includes multiple commas. A semicolon should come before the conjunction.
- Example: I have a big test tomorrow; I can’t go out tonight.