[Edprof] Style question....

Doug Fisher fisherdj at mailbox.sc.edu
Tue Oct 7 10:50:15 PDT 2008

Frank et al.

AP has gone to an all-abbreviation style in quotes. I've written about 
it several times in my column and on my blog. I've double-checked it, 
first with Norm and now with Darrell, who as editor-at-large is in 
charge of ye olde stylebook.

I don't like it. I think it is dumb. But that is the style - Sgt. and 
Sen. and Maj. Gen. in all uses. AP removed the "spell-out" mandate from 
stylebooks two years ago.

Just as debatable as, in some circles, is AP's mandate of s-apostrophe 
on possessives of formal names ending in "s" as opposed to s-apostrophe-s.


Frank E. Fee Jr. wrote:
> An off-the-top-of-the-head response is that in quotes the sound is 
> important. Nobody says "Maj. Gen."
> Thus, I teach Sgt. in the body text but "sergeant" in the quote. That's 
> consistent with AP style the last time I looked.
> In looking at several papers from Raleigh to Seattle last week, though, 
> I noted few newspapers that followed that rule. Thus, more often than 
> not it was still "Sen. Obama" and "Sen. McCain" in direct quotes. 
> Seemed awkward.
> Frank
> ****************************
> Dr. Frank E. Fee Jr.
> Associate Professor
> School of Journalism and Mass Communication
> CB# 3365 Carroll Hall
> University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
> Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3365
> 919.962.4071
> 919.962.0620 Fax
> ffee at email.unc.edu
> Quoting "Bleske, Glen" <GBleske at csuchico.edu>:
>> Hey all,
>> Somewhere, I picked up the following style application, but I am having
>> trouble tracking it down for clarification:
>> In direct quotes, do not apply AP style rules if doing so changes the way
>> the word is pronounced.
>> Thus: "I ate 5 meals" can be changed to "I ate five meals."
>> But "The odds of losing are 3 to 1" cannot be changed to "The odds of losing
>> are 3-1."
>> Agreed? Maybe not. Or am I crazy?
>> What about these other issues:
>> Abbreviations of months with dates in direct quotes? What about the "th"
>> added to a date if it is pronounced by the speaker of the quote? Thus, he
>> said "September 5th" not "Sept. 5."
>> Other types of abbreviations such as titles, street names, state names ("I
>> live in Chico, Calif." but I didn't say Calif)
>> I think you get the picture. What do you teach?
>> I guess I didn't have enough to do today....
>> Glen
>> --
>> Glen L. Bleske
>> Professor,
>> Department of Journalism
>> CSU, Chico
>> Chico, CA 95929-0600
>> (530) 898-4770
>> gbleske at csuchico.edu
>> http://www.csuchico.edu/jour
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Doug Fisher, Instructor
Executive Editor, The Convergence Newsletter
Journalism and Mass Communications
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
803-777-3315 Skype and IM: cscfisher

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