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AP What? – Tips and Tricks to conquer AP Style

» Posted by on Jul 13, 2017


For most people, this may be the first time you’re hearing of such a thing as AP style. Not to be confused with other, more popular, styles such as APA or MLA, AP is unique to the journalism and PR fields. It makes sure we’re all literally speaking the same language in the fast paced news world. A press release for immediate distribution won’t slow anybody down and can be immediately sent without adjusting grammar and other common word formatting.

However with an uncommon writing style comes many issues professionals see every day. If you’re looking to sharpen up your writing skills, here are some common mistakes.



Formal titles are capitalized only when they are placed before an individual’s name.

Ex: Mayor John Smith led the meeting yesterday.

John Smith, mayor of Tampa, led the meeting yesterday.



If there is no specific date you are writing about, then you will write out the month.

Ex:  The fall festival will be in May.

However, if there is a specific date or the month is longer than five letters it should be abbreviated.

Ex:  Thanksgiving this year will be on Nov. 23, 2017.



Only use the full date when the event is more than a week away.

Ex: We are getting excited for the fall festival on Saturday, Nov. 4.

We can’t wait for the fall festival this Saturday!



When writing an address, the words, “avenue”, “street” and “boulevard” are abbreviated. Other words such as “drive” and “lane” are not.



Keep in mind there are only eight states that do not have an abbreviation: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. Rather than list every proper abbreviation from Arkansas (AR) to Washington (WA) we recommend searching these as they come up.



Write out numbers one through nine and use numbers for numerals 10 and higher.

Ex: My little sister is seven years old. Or My mom is 40 years old.


The Extra “S”

None of these words have an S at the end: toward, farther, upward, etc.


Further vs. Farther

Further: used when referring to extension of degree or time

Ex: After much confusion, I asked further questions.

Farther: refers to physical distance

Ex: I ran farther Monday than I did yesterday.


That vs. Which

Use “which” for essential clauses and use “that” for non-essential clauses.

Ex: I remember the day that I met the President of United States.

The company, which won business of the year, will be at the convention next week.


We know, when running a business, there’s no time to sweat something like grammar. Let the professionals worry about it instead. The Publicity Agency is a full-service, national PR firm that specializes in helping businesses, newsmakers, entertainers, and professionals be represented in the public eye. With an emphasis on strategy and tailor-made campaigns, The Publicity Agency is ready to help clients of any size and background with over a decade’s experience in crisis management, press relations, image consulting and more. For more information, visit or contact us at

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Glenn Selig founded The Publicity Agency in 2007 and has represented some of the biggest newsmakers and most influential business leaders and companies nationwide. He is a frequent guest on MSNBC, Fox News Channel and on CNN. Reporters call him for an expert PR opinion on high profile cases to offer perspective. He also appears on air to publicly defend his clients. View the PR firm website and follow him on Twitter @GlennSelig