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Quick Tips: Associated Press style

The Sacramento Press uses Associated Press (AP) style guidelines. Although Sacramento Press copy editors are able to edit your piece for spelling, grammar and AP formatting, becoming familiar with basic AP guidelines can help you to write cleaner and stronger articles, and it can be a valuable asset in your future writing career.

Use the tips below when writing your article, but remember to continue to send articles to journalism@sacramentopress.com before posting. Visit the AP Stylebook website for a more complete look at AP guidelines.

  • time
    • use a.m. or p.m. (not AM or A.M.)
  • abbreviate the following months if they are part of a date
    • Jan. 24, Feb. 18, Aug. 31, Sept. 19, Nov. 17, Dec. 31, 2012
  • when listing three or more items, do not use a comma before and
    • The governor visited Land Park, Elk Grove and West Sacramento.
  • for ages, always use figures
    • 5 years old
    • a 5-year-old boy
    • John Doe, 42, was elected…
  • Regarding headlines
    • do not capitalize every word. Besides the first word, which is always capitalized, only capitalize proper nouns. Examples of proper nouns include: Land Park, Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Kings, Raley’s, Halloween, etc.
  • always place commas and periods inside quotation marks.
    • “I did not kill him,” Doe said.
    • According to his wife, Jane Doe, “John would never hurt a fly.”
  • If an event happened within seven days, you can refer to the day of the week in the article (e.g. Tuesday), otherwise use the month and date (e.g. Jan. 4)

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