How to Abbreviate States in AP Style

How to Abbreviate States in AP Style

When it comes to writing in journalism, following the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook is crucial. This style guide provides a standard set of rules and guidelines for writing, editing, and formatting news articles. One important aspect of AP style is the correct abbreviation of states. In this article, we will explore the guidelines for abbreviating states in AP style and answer some frequently asked questions.

Abbreviating States:

1. Use the official two-letter postal abbreviations: The AP Stylebook recommends using the two-letter postal abbreviations for all 50 states when abbreviating them in news articles. For instance, Alabama becomes AL, California becomes CA, and so on.

2. Avoid using periods in abbreviations: Unlike the traditional postal abbreviations, AP style does not include periods after the two-letter abbreviations for states. Therefore, instead of using “N.Y.” for New York, use “NY” in AP style.

3. Capitalize abbreviations: Always capitalize the two-letter abbreviations of states. For example, write “FL” for Florida, not “Fl.”

4. Do not abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah: These eight states are not abbreviated in AP style. Therefore, they should always be written in full.

5. Use abbreviations only with cities in datelines: According to AP style, the abbreviations for states should be used only in datelines – the introductory line that indicates the location of the news event. In the body of the article, it is best to write the state’s full name to avoid confusion.

6. Avoid using unfamiliar or lesser-known abbreviations: While the two-letter postal abbreviations are widely recognized, AP style advises against using lesser-known abbreviations or those that may cause confusion. Stick to the official postal abbreviations to ensure clarity and consistency in your writing.

See also  What Change of State Occurs During the Process of Condensation

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I use the full name of the state instead of the abbreviation?
A: Yes, you can use the full name of the state instead of the abbreviation. However, if space or word count is a concern, using the official two-letter postal abbreviation is recommended.

Q: What about territories and commonwealths?
A: AP style suggests using the same two-letter postal abbreviations for U.S. territories and commonwealths as you would for states. For example, abbreviate Puerto Rico as PR and Guam as GU.

Q: Should I use the abbreviation or the full name when mentioning states in headlines?
A: In headlines, it is best to use the abbreviation to save space and create a concise headline. However, if the state’s name is crucial to the headline’s meaning, consider using the full name.

Q: Can I use lowercase abbreviations for states?
A: No, AP style requires capitalizing the two-letter abbreviations of states to maintain consistency and readability in news articles.

Q: What if I am unsure of the correct abbreviation for a state?
A: The AP Stylebook provides an extensive list of two-letter postal abbreviations for all 50 states. If you are unsure, consult the stylebook or refer to reputable sources to ensure accuracy.

In conclusion, understanding how to abbreviate states correctly in AP style is essential for maintaining consistency and professionalism in news writing. Remember to use the official two-letter postal abbreviations, capitalize them, and avoid using periods. If in doubt, consult the AP Stylebook or reliable sources for guidance. By adhering to these guidelines, you will ensure your news articles are accurate and conform to the industry-standard writing style.

See also  States Where Surrogacy Is Illegal