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How to Write References in AP Style

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Associated Press (AP) style is a specific form of writing that is used in magazines, newspapers, certain websites and other journalistic publications. In AP style writing, many different words are abbreviated in an effort to conserve space. AP style requires consistency in spelling, capitalization, punctuation and terms ranging from sports, business and now food. Learning proper AP style is important for individuals pursuing a career in journalism. This information can also be useful for an individual who is taking a journalism class, or even working on a school newspaper. AP style can be used for business communications, press releases and even personal letters. You can buy the stylebook in paperback or digital form from book stores and the AP.

Type out the full name of a person only the first time they are mentioned in the article. All subsequent times, use only the individual’s last name and never use titles (for example, Mr., Dr., etc.).

Type abbreviations for most months. For example, January becomes Jan., February becomes Feb., August becomes Aug., September becomes Sept., October becomes Oct., November becomes Nov. and December becomes Dec. All other months do not require abbreviations.

Abbreviate political titles at all times; including the first time you use the title. For example, Governor becomes Gov., Lieutenant Governor becomes Lt. Gov., Representative becomes Rep. and Senator becomes Sen.

Use acronyms for listed organizations when writing. For example, CIA, FBI, etc. Use Federal Reserve Board on first reference. On second reference, use Federal Reserve, the Fed, the Reserve, the system or the board. If in doubt, check it out.

About the Author

Amy Ess has been writing both academically and professionally since 2002. She has served as the head grant writer for a nonprofit organization and received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from the University of Central Florida. Ess is currently studying for her master's degree in nonprofit management—also from The University of Central Florida.

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