Updated September 8, 2016
Websites vary from format, appearance, content and even writing styles. At 45s and 40s, we try to use the most accurate and up-to-date version of the AP Style of writing, but, of course there are hiccups and style differences along the way that may slip by, or simply be implemented by our editors. In order to ensure our writers–and even readers–understand where some of our edits come from, we thought it was best to maintain an ever-updating list of common style rules we follow.
This list isn’t exhaustive as there is always more to add; these are the ones we find to be most commonly used.
You can try to Ctrl+F (CMD+F on an Apple computer) a query and, hopefully, you find what you’re looking for in the list below. If there are any questions about the below edits or if you have any other questions about our style, feel free to contact us!
- When used as a numeral:
- Numbers one through nine (1-9) are always spelled out, 10 and above are the actual numbers.
- Ages always use the numeral (e.g. The boy is 9 years old).
- Commas- Should not be used before the final item in a sentence containing a conjunction (e.g. The United States’ flag is red, white and blue).
- If the sentence ends with the ending of a quotation, the punctuation should remain within the quotes (e.g. “I can help,” he said. “It’s pretty simple to do.“)
- Words that are enclosed in quotes ” “:
- Books, songs, television shows, video games,
- When used in the headline of an article, the aforementioned should be in single quotes (e.g. ‘Purple Rain‘ Remains as Prince’s Best-Selling Album)
- Albums should also follow the single quote rule when in a headline.
- Words that should be italicized (though AP style does not italicize, for juxtaposition purposes, this site will use some italicized words):
- AP headlines cap only first words, proper names and proper abbreviations. We capitalize the first letter of each word aside from conjunctions (e.g. Kanye West Leads Sales in Albums for 2059)
- Words such as “and” can be replaced with a comma (e.g. Grouplove, The Mowglis Begin Nationwide Tour)
- State names should be abbreviated when written out with a city within the state, where applicable (some states do not need abbreviations).
- e.g. Providence, R.I. vs Rhode Island (when written with a city vs. when written alone)
Ala. Neb. Ariz. Nev. Ark. N.H. Calif. N.J. Colo. N.M. Conn. N.Y. Del. N.C. Fla. N.D. Ga. Okla. Ill. Ore. Ind. Pa. Kan. R.I. Ky. S.C. La. S.D. Md. Tenn. Mass. Vt. Mich. Va. Minn. Wash. Miss. W.Va. Mo. Wis. Mont. Wyo.
- When using images, attribute accordingly.
- If the image was found online, attribute it as a “Via [add source name]” or if the photographer is known, attribute it to the photographer and their organization, if available “Photo by: [Photographer Name] | [Organization]” (e.g. “Photo by: John Doe | 45s and 40s”).
- When the image is provided by a person in the article, use “Courtesy of [Person].”
- Captions are added whenever possible.
- Over- should only be used when something is literally over another thing (e.g. I held my hand over the flame to feel how warm it was).
- When needed for a length of time, use “throughout” or another iterations of the word to provide the same meaning.
- Toward- should be written without the ‘s’ at the end