AP Stylebook Ends Language Arguments

Should professional titles be capitalized? Bet you’ve argued with a colleague about that. (See answer in the article.) The Associated Press is known for meticulous attention to language, from capitalization and punctuation to pronunciation. AP guidelines help you make ideas clearer, so you are more likely to accomplish what you intend with your writing.

The AP Stylebook was originally designed to guide newspaper writers and provide more consistent text on the newsprint page. Today, AP Stylebook is used in print and online by writers of every genre, everywhere as an authoritative source of writing rules and guidelines. In the online version (www.apstylebook.com), you even can set up your own custom style sheets. Definitely worth the small subscription fee.

In addition to consulting the stylebook as you write, sign up for AP Stylebook updates via tweet and/or email. This service includes definitive guidelines for using newer phrases, words and proper names. For example, AP editors make decisions about using current forms of technical words. Some time ago, editors made an official decision to drop the hyphen in “e-mail” and begin using “email” without a hyphen.

In many cases, AP Stylebook updates contain proper spellings and pronunciations of foreign leaders’ names or names of places often in the news. Because AP is so meticulous and prompt in updating, and because AP guidelines are respected throughout the world of writing and reporting, the AP Stylebook is considered a premier source of answers to language questions. It’s a must-have resource for anyone assigned to write in-house.

Here is what AP says about professional titles: “In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s name.” The style book contains examples and more detailed guidelines to help you make decisions in specific situations.