I remember filing one of my first bylines for a newspaper, only to get my inbox slammed with emails from my editor. It wasn’t about my prose, reporting, or lede, but that I had neglected to abbreviate September. Why should a month be abbreviated as part of a date, I thought. Why should I write “Sept.” when it looked like a typo for “step”?
Regardless, I was abusing AP style, the journalists’ bible and the eventually-drilled-into-my-head writing fashion that—long after my bylines became a thing of the past—I’ve caught rolling off my pen in greeting cards and fluttering off my fingertips in text messages.
It’s no easy feat mastering the rules of news writing, especially the nearly 400-page AP Stylebook. Editors update the guide to reflect changes in style and to stay current with trends.
Following are some of the more commonly missed points (in no particular order) and some simple tricks to make sure your writing is AP stylish.
1. More than, over. More than is preferred with numbers, whereas over generally refers to spatial elements. The company has more than 25 employees. The cow jumped over the moon.