Monday, March 27, 2006

AP style clarification -- abbreviations in quotes

For years, AP mandated that titles like Governor and Senator be spelled out before names in quotations. A couple of years ago, that guidance was taken out of the "abbreviations" section of the stylebook but left in under "governor" and "legislative titles."

Stylebook editor Norm Goldstein says that was an oversight. The spell-out rule should be deleted. It was still in the 2005 book and might still be in 2006's version, due out shortly, given the lead time for changes to printed work. I suspect AP will move to get it out of the electronic edition, however.

As a note, this came about as part of an inquiry in preparing my monthly column in which I suggest spelling out most things in quotes. People don't say No. 1 or Gov., etc. And while I think those work in paraphrased text, quotations are different. I've talked to enough people for whom this is a bit jarring that I think its time to re-examine. (The column will be posted in early April, and I'll link to it then in a separate post that also explains some other "spring cleaning" I think is due for the AP stylebook.)


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