Using AP Style Makes a Difference in the Way You Write Content
In school, the most common question students would ask was if their papers had to be in MLA or APA style. Each style has its own set of rules for layout, grammar, and formatting, but what we remember the most about these formats is the difference in citing sources.
As we move away from academic writing, we are introduced to different styles. One of the styles we are introduced to is AP Style, and it is different from the writing styles we learned in English class. Rather than emphasizing document layout and citing formats, AP Style puts an emphasis on the substance of the content that might even go against what your previous teachers taught you.
For people who work in the field of mass communication such as public relations, marketing, or journalism, AP Style is essential to good writing. This writing style comes from The Associated Press Stylebook, which is an actual book full of rules and guidelines for media writers to follow.
People may wonder if AP Style is actually an important component to writing well. Having correct grammar and the right tone should be enough to get a writer’s point across to an audience. While that might seem reasonable, AP Style does guide a writer through phrasing and structuring sentences that may actually make a great difference in their writing and their audience’s understanding.
Clear and Concise Method of Professional Writing
AP Style first started in the age of print media. Writing space was limited and mistakes costed the printing companies money. While the monetary benefits of using AP Style are not as prevalent with modern technology, writers continue to use AP style for both print and web-based content. Why? The style adds a professional tone to the content in fairly subtle ways. Look at the difference between the two headlines. Can you tell which headline is written in AP Style?
Headline A: 6 researchers discovered on Tuesday that 35% of kids under the age of 11 watch T.V. after 12 p.m. midnight.
Headline B: Six Researchers Discovered Tuesday that 35 Percent of Children Under 11 Years Old Watch TV Past Midnight.
The smallest details matter in writing. In headline A, the use of “kids” could be taken out of context. Kid is a term for a baby goat. As cute as baby goats are, the headline is more than likely talking about human children.
In total, there are nine differences between the two headlines. The differences may be minor, but it is important to see that using AP Style did alter how the headline was constructed and understood without changing the actual content.
AP Style is formatted to give a person’s writing a professional and fluid structure and tone that prevents confusion among the audience.
Take the Guessing Game Out of Writing
From a professional standpoint, AP Style does make a difference in your writing. The stylebook clarifies every minor detail that you may be unsure about and in how your writing is presented.
Normal Writing: The grey chinchillas from the Mid-West decided to migrate South for the Summer.
Common errors such as spelling, capitalization, and hyphens are all clarified in the stylebook. The small but easily overlooked grammar rules are all defined. There’s no need to wonder if what you are writing is grammatically correct and neither will your audience.
Corrected with AP Style: The gray chinchillas from the Midwest decided to migrate south for the summer.
While the minor errors may go unnoticed to some readers, others might get distracted from the errors or even mistrust the source entirely.
Be Reliable as a Source
Whether you are writing a national news story or a simple opinion editorial for the local newspaper, writing in AP Style can make a difference in how you tell a story.
For example, the 4-year-old girl said, “sometimes I cross street to play with my friend.”
As tempting as it might be to change the quote to “sometimes I cross the street to play with my friend,” AP does not permit writers to alter quotes. No exceptions. Altering a quote in any way is altering the truth.
There is a writing standard that media writers must follow, and their content shows it. Industries are beginning to turn to AP Style for content writing because of the difference that AP Style can make. A person’s ability to write and format their ideas in a way that can be easily understood by their audience becomes easier when following AP Style.
Ashley Boudreaux is a senior at LSU. She is currently studying Mass Communication and French. In her free time, she enjoys visiting petting zoos and climbing trees.
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