What is AP Style?

AP Style (a.k.a. Associated Press Style) provides guidelines for grammar and citations in news writing. It's the style guide most newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets use, so this style is a must-have for anyone who wants to work in journalism or media writing.

History of AP Style

The Associated Press was founded in 1848 by six New York newspapers who desired to share resources for international news.  The newspapers saved money by sharing the news that arrived by telegraph wire and dividing the expenses evenly; this prevented competition for information.  The AP is currently the largest news gathering organization in the world and uses its style to keep the news easy to read, concise and free of bias. First published in 1977, The Associated Press Stylebook lists the rules regarding grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage. The Stylebook is the standard guide for most U.S. newspapers, magazines and other media.

Using AP Style

Note: This is not a substitute to the AP Stylebook, which is changing often and contains thousands of entries.


Spell out numbers one through nine, but write numbers 10 and above as numerals.

Example: She bought three cats and 11 bags of cat food.


Write percentages as numerals, followed by the word "percent."

Example: The unemployment rate rose by 2 percent.


Write ages using numerals.

Example: He is 111 years old.

Dollar amounts

Express dollar amounts as numerals, preceded by the "$" sign.

Example: $5, $15, $150, $150,000, $15 million, $15 billion, $15.5 billion

Street addresses

Use numerals for numbered addresses. Abbreviate street, avenue, and boulevard when used with a numbered address, but otherwise spell them out. Never abbreviate route or road.

Example: He lives at 123 Washington St.

Example: His house is on Washington Street.

Example: Her house in on 234 Hancock Road.


Use numerals for dates, but do not include "th" after the date. Abbreviate months August through February when used with dates. Do not abbreviate months March through July when used with a date or any month without a date.

Example: The festival is on Oct. 15.

Example: She had her baby on July 12.

Example: I love the weather in November.

Job titles

Job titles are generally capitalized when they appear before a person's name, but lowercase after the name.

Example: President Barack Obama has two daughters.  

Example: Barack Obama was the president.

Film, book, and song titles

Capitalize titles. Put long works in italics and short works in quotes. Do not use quote marks with reference books or the names of newspapers or magazines.

Example: He rented Harry Potter on DVD.

Example: She read an essay called "How to Catch a Butterfly." 

For more information on AP Style, you should acquire a copy of the Associated Press Stylebook