For all those budding public relations professionals, there comes a time when the question arises from the professor, or interviewer: Tell me about your comfort level with AP style?
Oops… missed that class! (There was a soft pillow with my name on it… never did catch up with that punctuation thing.)
Ok, so let’s see… a few hundred pages that tell me about when to use fewer or less. I don’t need that information; I learned that from a beer commercial. So, does knowing AP style really matter?It’s hard to say.
Let’s go back to the basics. Consistency in style, proper grammar and usage does make a difference when writing. Certainly, journalists will know the difference, and yes, there’s the PR agency boss that seems to know when to use farther and further.
But, how should you approach the AP style challenge? Most likely it’s best to say, “Hey, this is fun and I can use this stuff at a party to impress my friends and enemies.”
Or, even better, “Gosh, I can actually explain to someone why I used this particular word.” Here is my advice (and please weigh in with your thoughts). Common sense and consistency are the most important things. Sure, it’s nice to know that the new brochure for the client is a “flier” and not an airplane stunt pilot (flyer), but that’s cocktail party stuff. If you are inconsistent in the use of punctuation around quotes, then someone is going to notice.
Tell us here at the PR Chronicle what you’ve found to be the case with the AP style and your classes or company.