It’s back-to-school time again.
Whether you’re writing about classes that are already in session or finishing a guest post about academic preparation, AP Stylebook’s recent guidance and updated entries can help your copy make the dean’s list (note the lowercase).
Sharpen your No. 2 pencils for a survey course in AP style rules:
1. To hyphenate—or not to hyphenate?
It can be confusing to know whether you should hyphenate a term, write it as one word or break it up into two.
A student “dropout” (n.) is one word, but if you’re planning to “drop out” (v.) of your university, it’s two.
AP Stylebook has guidance for several other back-to-school terms.
2. Hone your apostrophe and comma use.
AP Stylebook changed its “possessives” entry and, on Wednesday, announced that it had updated its “apostrophe” entry, as well. Here’s the revised entry:
SINGULAR COMMON NOUNS ENDING IN S: Add 's:the hostess's invitation, the hostess's seat; the witness's answer, the witness's story. (A change from previous guidance calling for just an apostrophe if the next word begins with s.)
Along with adding “’s” to singular nouns that end in “s,” writers should note that singular letter grades receive the same treatment. Here’s the example, from AP Stylebook:
an A , two B's and three C's
Note that “ABCs” does not use an apostrophe.
Though some writers are fans of the Oxford comma, AP style does not generally include its use. The exception is with sentences that require it for clarity.