ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

AP Style Writing What Is It

Updated on November 9, 2017

Associated Press Stylebook

AP Stylebook
AP Stylebook

AP Style Writing

When it comes to writing for business, the gold standard for freelance writers and business owners or clients, is AP Style writing. Ironically, AP Style isn't a style of writing the way MLA Format or APA styles. Both of the latter, have clearly defined rules for how text and sources should be written and laid out. That isn't what AP Style is.

So, what is AP Style?

AP Style is actually not a style at all, but rather a set of guidelines regarding how to use certain terms, words, and phrases, as well as some general rules about how text should be written. For example, AP Style makes no comments about where to put certain information in a paragraph, nor where or how to use footnotes or end notes. What AP Style does rule on is whether or not one should write cell phone or cellphone.

AP Style is, as the name suggests, the professional style guide of AP, or the Associated Press. As such, it is aimed primarily at journalists or journalistic style writing like what appears in newspapers, magazines, or wire stories. However, its clean, business-like, approach to writing is what draws many businesses to require AP Style in writings produced for them, whether in-house, or by freelancing or contract.

The rules of AP Style are published in a book titled Associated Press Stylebook. The book is often referred to as the AP Stylebook, or the AP Style Guide, though neither is an official name. For the most part, AP Style conforms to general grammar rules. The Style Guide does have a small grammar section which includes things like the proper use of punctuation marks like the comma or semicolon, as well as a guide to sentence and paragraph construction.

The majority of the AP Stylebook is dedicated to a section that simply contains words and phrases which could cause confusion in their use. Particular emphasis is given to words and phrases commonly used in journalism, but which might not merit an entry in a regular dictionary; the names of organizations, countries, and both political and military jargon are the most common examples. Other words and phrases include colloquialisms and technological words which have become common, but not yet established enough to have an entry in Websters.

ArcticLLama, the blog of a freelance writing company has a regular feature called "Adventures in AP Style" that chronicles the ways in which AP Style guides professional freelance writers. The series can be a useful way to discover just what AP Style does and does not cover when it comes to writing.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Hub Llama profile imageAUTHOR

      Arctic Llama 

      10 years ago from Denver, CO


      MLA is a pretty strict writing style that is primarily for use in academic settings and the journals/magazines that publish articles written by the same.

      AP Style writing actually isn't a style at all. Rather it is a collection of rules and suggestions to help writing be technically correct and accurate in areas where plain grammar rules and dictionaries don't really help (technology, military, news, and the like).

      My suggestion would be to just stick with proper English grammar and a writing tone/style that matches your audience. Then, use the AP Stylebook when you run into those iffy situations like is there a space in cellphone?

      And, I know that I capitalize Congress for U.S. Congress, but what about states that have one?

      Hope that helps.

    • Challah1202 profile image


      10 years ago from Chandler, TX

      I'm never sure how to decide between MLA and CMS, and now I have to add AP to the pot. For general stuff not intended for use in a journal do you have any advice?

    • HubMania profile image


      10 years ago from India

      Nice and informatory article, particularly the AP style article writing tips. Thanks. It is a new stuff and therefore I have bookmarked it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)