ampersand Use the ampersand only when it is part of a company’s formal name or part of a composition title: House & Garden, Procter & Gamble, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. Do not use the ampersand in place of and, except for in some accepted abbreviations: B&B, R&B.
apostrophe The most frequent use of an apostrophe is to indicate a contraction or to show possession. Specific to our college name, use either College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ or CFAES’ to show possession by the college.
See apostrophe, contractions, and possessives in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
colon The most frequent use of a colon is at the end of a sentence to introduce lists, tabulations, texts, etc. Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.
See colon in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
comma CFAES makes one major exception to AP style regarding the use of commas. Use commas to separate all elements in a series, including the use of a comma before the conjunction in the series: The flag is red, white, and blue. He would nominate Tom, Dick, or Harry. This is known as the serial comma and/or the Oxford comma. It is important in college communications considering its use in our college name: College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Other than this exception to AP style regarding the use of commas, see comma in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
Use an en dash (–) to represent to between figures: The test covers pages 11–15. Our vacation is scheduled for July 23–27. Do not use an en dash if the word from precedes the range: She worked from 1 to 2 p.m.
Use an em dash (—) to represent an unfinished sentence: “I was going to say—” Also use an em dash to represent an interrupted sentence or to set off an appositive (as an alternative to commas): We went to Columbus—just like we did last Saturday—looking for her.
ellipsis In general, use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words, or to indicate a thought that the speaker or writer does not complete. Treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces, as shown here: I … tried to do what was best.
See ellipsis in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
exclamation point Use an exclamation point to express a high degree of surprise or other strong emotion. Use only one space after an exclamation point at the end of a sentence. Place the mark inside quotation marks when it is part of the quoted material: “How wonderful!” he exclaimed. However, place the mark outside quotation marks when it is not part of the quoted material: I hated reading the article “Old News”!
See exclamation point in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
hyphen Hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid ambiguity. When a compound modifier—two or more words that express a single idea—precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound: a know-it-all attitude. However, do not hyphenate the adverb very or any adverbs that end in –ly: a very good time, an easily remembered rule.
See parentheses in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
See periods in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
See question mark in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
quotation marks Per AP style, the period and the comma always go within the quotation marks. The colon, dash, exclamation point, question mark, and semicolon go within the quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted material. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence: “Reading is important,” she said. But what about the article “Old News”?
CFAES makes two major exceptions to AP style regarding the use of quotation marks:
- Close quotation marks at the end of each paragraph, even if the quote continues into the next paragraph.
- Use quotation marks for titles of book chapters; conferences, exhibits, lectures, and speeches; dictionary and encyclopedia entries; and journal, magazine, and newspaper articles.
Other than these two exceptions to AP style regarding the use of quotation marks, see quotation marks in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
semicolon Use a semicolon to separate elements of a series when individual segments contain material that must be set off by commas. When used in a series, use the semicolon before the concluding conjunction: He is survived by a son, John Smith, of Chicago; three daughters, Jane Smith, of Wichita, Kan., Mary Smith of Denver, and Susan, wife of William Kingsbury of Boston; and a sister, Martha, wife of Robert Warren of Omaha, Neb.
See semicolon in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.