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How to use the AP stylebook

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by

Kirstie Hettinga

on 29 November 2010

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Transcript of How to use the AP stylebook

How to use the AP stylebook The AP stylebook is part dictionary, part grammar and punctuation guide and part encyclopedia
While certain parts of AP style should become second nature, memorizing the entire book would be a challenge
This presentation is going to familiarize you with the different kinds of entries in the stylebook and provide suggestions of how to use the book Despite the multitudes of entries in the AP Stylebook, the majority of the entries fall into one of five categories including:
Basics
Explainers
One-words
Refers
Similarities & Differences Basics
Basic references are exactly what they sound like
An entry of a couple of paragraphs, it gives a brief summation of how the word or topic is handled
Example: "adoption"
Adoption (p. 6) "The adoptive status of a child or his or her parents should be mentioned only when its relevance is made clear in the story. Use the term biological parents to refer to the birth mother and father." Explainers
These go into greater detail than basics and may be several paragraphs or pages
These are often larger categories that involve subsections and multiple words
Example "legislative titles" p. 161
This entry takes up roughly one page in the stylebook and includes descriptions of first and second references, how to use the titles "Congressman" and "Congresswoman" and organizational titles such as "Majority Leader." One-word entries
The briefest entries, these simply demonstrate how a word or phrase is used
Examples include:
"nobody" p. 199
"crisscross" p. 75
"Wilkes-Barre, Pa."
Some of these small entries help correct common misspellings, while others such as the "Wilkes-Barre, Pa." entry make editors aware of things that are uncommon. Wilkes-Barre, Pa. is one of very few cities in the U.S. that are hyphenated and include capitalization on the second word. Refers
These entries are also very brief and they redirect editors to other entries.
For example, say you were looking for how to describe the height of a basketball player, you might first go to the entry for "height" on page 132. This entry states "See dimensions."
"Dimensions" on p. 87 explains how to handle heights. Similarities & Differences
These entries help explain confusing word pairs such as "affect, effect" on page 6.
Similarities & Differences are often paired with "refer" entries.
For example, if you look up "effect" on page 98, you will be redirected to the "affect, effect" entry. In addition to the five major categories of AP style entries, there are also special sections to be aware of including:
Social Media Guidelines
Business Guidelines
Sports Guidelines and Style
A Guide to Punctuation
Briefing on Media Law
Photo Captions
Editing Marks Before You Go!
Try this AP Style scavenger hunt,
using the 2010 AP Stylebook find how to handle:
1. Datelines
2. Ages
3. Home runs
4. Podium
5. Ketchup

Click again to check your answers! Scavenger Hunt Answers
1. See the explainer entry for "Datelines" on p.79
2. Find the basics about "Ages" on p. 7
3. Home runs can be found in the sports section on p. 343
4. Podium is a refer entry, see "lectern" on p. 160
5. Ketchup is a one-word entry on p. 155
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