The Scariest Thing You’ll See This Halloween… AP Style Mistakes!

Sure. Zombies and ghosts can give you chills, but nothing makes you squirm like a misplaced comma or the double space between sentences. We know deadlines and full schedules dictate most of our days, but making time to review the latest AP Stylebook might be just what you need to polish up your nearly-flawless writing skills!

The team at Ketner Group decided to highlight which mistakes we make the most and which common errors make our hair stand on end.

KG’s Most Common Mistakes

  • Using “their” Instead of “its.” – Jeff’s our biggest offender on this one!
  • The Double Space Two-Step – As Catherine would say! It’s a tough change, but we’re all in this together.
  • Too Many Commas – Caitlin has become a little comma happy recently – this article in PR Daily is a great read for tips on comma usage!
  • Misspelled Words – Brittany’s a Grammar Hammer, but “occasion” and “fulfillment” give her some spelling trouble every now and then.

That AP Rule We Just Can’t Ever Remember…

  • Texas vs. TX – This one still gives Catherine and Jeff a rough time! “Always Texas, not TX!” Catherine suggests double checking your AP style book to confirm the states for new clients.
  • Now Where to Put This Footnote… – Inside or outside the period? Inside or outside the quotation? Brittany struggles with these questions daily. The rule: if footnoting an entire sentence, place the footnote after the period. If footnoting a single word or phrase, place the footnote directly after it and before a period.
  • When Do I Hyphenate? – Compound modifiers can be confusing and once you’ve fallen into the sticky trap it can be impossible to get out. Caitlin often uses two or more words to express a single concept, but not without deliberation!

The AP Rule That Haunts Us

  • Its vs. It’s – This is one of Jeff’s ultimate pet peeves. His helpful tip is to say “it is” out loud every time you write “it’s.”
  • Capitalizing Everything! – Catherine cringes when she sees titles capitalized in press release quotes. “Not Everything Is That Important, People!”
  • The Double Space Two-Step, Again – We all grew up doing it, but times have changed and it is no longer correct according to AP style. Caitlin’s been cracking down on this one!
  • Homonym Mix Ups – Typing all day for a living can warrant the occasional mistake, but the misuse of “to” and “too” drives Brittany batty! She’s watching you, People of Facebook. “Conversely, catching a ‘who versus whom’ or ‘less versus fewer’ mistake makes me feel like an editing rockstar,” she says. You most certainly hold Rockstar Editor status at KG, Brittany!

Moral of the horror story: refresh your AP style memory! Set aside a time for the whole office to go over common mistakes and have team members mention other errors to be aware of that you might miss in your review. Taking an hour today can save you more than a few hours of edits in the future!