The AP Stylebook: Tips for Interns

“Google is the lazy person’s Stylebook” – Sean Connolly, Senior Director.
If you have ever done any extensive work in English, communications, editing or journalism the Associated Press Stylebook is probably familiar to you. It is the “Go To” guide for grammar and style questions. Its goal – to encourage consistent formatting.
The Stylebook (found at a desk or in a library near you) is a necessity for a Bravo PR/Communications intern. As Sean said, do not use Google, use yourStylebook. The more style rules you know, the better your writing will be. The 2001 version is 402 pages long and includes:
  •    Stylebook
  •    Sports Guidelines and Style
  •    Business Guidelines
  •    Punctuation Guide
  •    Briefing on Media Law
  •    Photo Captions
  •    Filing The Wire
Interns: When In Doubt Check the Stylebook 
Here are some of the most common style mistakes for you to watch out for in your own writing:
  • Who/Whom
      Who is used when someone is the main focus in the sentence, phrase or
      clause.
      Example: The man who found the dog left the house. Who is in the attic?
      Whom is used when someone is the main focus of a verb or preposition.
      Example: The man to whom the dog was given left the house. Whom do
      you desire to visit?
  •     Fewer/Less
       Fewer is used for single objects.
Example: Fewer than 5 people auditioned.
       Less is used for significant amounts.
       Example: Jen has less than $100 in the bank.
  •     Complement/Compliment
       Complement functions as a noun and a verb that indicates
       “completeness” or the practice of “supplementing” something.
       Example: The necklace complements her shirt.
       Compliment functions as a noun or a verb that indicates admiration or
       politeness.
       Example: Judy complimented Sarah on her style.
  •     Affect/Effect
      Affect (V) is to have some bearing on something.
      Example: The surgery will affect her playing.
      Effect (V) means making something happen.
      Example: The dog will effect several renovations in the house.
      Effect (N) denotes there being an outcome.
      Example: The effect was great.
Take Note of Some Common Reference Pages
  •     Titles for government positions  (Pages 106 – 107)
  •     State Abbreviations (Pages 236 – 237)
  •     Numbers (Pages 177 – 179)
  •     Punctuation (Pages 324 – 336)
  •     Titles (Pages 246 – 250)
  •     Directions and Regions (Pages 73-74)
Concluding Advice
Always keep your Stylebook near you and if you have doubt – look it up! Make sure you bookmark the sections you frequently use. Brevity is key. Work on taking a large idea and compounding it into a clear concise message. Remember, the Stylebook was born in 1975 so it has a lot of knowledge to share!

~ Ali McFadden

 “The shortest answer is doing.” – Lord Herbert
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