Published On: February 1, 2008
A friend of mine asked why newspapers and magazines don’t follow the same punctuation rules that most high school English teachers instill in their pubescent students.
The two-word answer? AP STYLE
For those not familiar with the tenants of journalism (or the pontifications of Strunk & White), AP Style is, quite simply, the industry standard for virtually every grammatical situation imaginable. The AP Stylebook offers “rules” for style and usage in the wide field of journalism, be it newspaper, magazine, radio, television or so-called new media (the Web).
Wanna know why newspapers leave out the serial comma in a simple series? AP Style. Wanna know why street addresses with numbers abbreviate names, but those without spell the entire streets? AP Style.
The next time you read the newspaper, notice that a date is written like this: Feb. 1, 2008 (not February 1, 2008). Or notice that most states are abbreviated, when used with an accompanying city (ex. Franklin, Tenn. but not Franklin, TN or Franklin, Tn).
There are more than 450 rules contained in the AP Stylebook.
Think you know some of them? Try your hand at this online quiz. When you get there, click “Next Question” and see how well you do.