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AP Stylebook Online: Learn. Lead. Look It Up. And win prizes.

By Maureen Schlangen

The AP Stylebook is the manual of choice for University of Dayton’s external communications — magazines, newsletters, news releases, marketing materials, websites, advertising and social media, among others.

With a campuswide subscription through the University Libraries, up to 50 people at a time can use the vaunted AP Stylebook Online, considered the “journalist’s bible.” It came to the Libraries’ attention recently that this indispensable utility flies somewhat under the radar.

So we undertook an effort to bring this priceless resource to people’s attention. The University Libraries hereby invite you to peruse it, use it, then put your skills to the test at an AP bee at 3 p.m. Friday, March 6, in the Collab, Room 240 of Roesch Library. Come solo or on a team of two or three for curmudgeonly competition, bad coffee and fabulous prizes. Mobile devices and dictionaries are welcome … but leave most of your Oxford commas at the door. Register in advance.

Pore over possessives, hyphens, plurals and more

The AP Stylebook Online has 997 words on possessives, 924 words on hyphens, 595 words on plurals and a veritable trove of alphabetized entries from ABCs and academic degrees to pingpong and peahens, plus a catalog of clarifications in the popular and occasionally witty “Ask the Editor” supplement. It’s also got 115 custom UD entries managed by the University’s AP arbiter-in-chief, Michelle Tedford.

Need answers? They’re there.

  • What do I italicize?
  • When do I use a state name after a city?
  • St. Joseph’s Hall or St. Joseph Hall? St. Mary’s Hall or St. Mary Hall? Founder’s, Founders’ or Founders Hall?
  • What does LTC stand for, and does it have any hyphens?
  • Is it a masters, a master’s or a master degree?
  • When should I put “Ph.D.” after a person’s name, and when do I use the courtesy title “Dr.” before a name?
  • How do I make a singular proper name ending in -es plural? How do I make it plural possessive?
  • How do I make a single letter plural? How do I make multiple-letter combinations plural?
  • Towards or toward? Afterwards or afterward? Backwards or backward?
  • Longtime? Long-time? Long time?

It’s everything you need … almost

No single resource can have every answer. If AP Stylebook Online doesn’t have it, Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition — the AP’s go-to dictionary — usually does.

How to access AP Stylebook Online

Just navigate to the Libraries website and click “Databases by title or subject.” Under “Browse by title name,” click “A.” Find and click on “AP Stylebook Online.” Authenticate as directed; use it indiscriminately.

Further reading

Does all this talk of AP Style whet your appetite for more news content and additional resources on grammar, style and precision language? Communications and marketing librarian Katy Kelly, an associate professor, created a handy guide with additional resources helpful to students learning media writing. Crack open an ice-cold Dr Pepper and use it with abandon. It’s all free with the Libraries’ subscriptions.

Frustrated? Confused?

You’re not alone. Search enough entries in “Ask the Editor,” and this fact is bound to come out. To wit, in an answer about sea horses/seahorses:

"Much of the language, and much of any style guide, is subjective. Some rules are absolute. Other guidance is just that: guidance. Sometimes, there’s only one acceptable spelling by anyone’s definition. Horse, for example, when meaning the animal. Sea, when meaning the body of water. Other examples: Spelling. Words. Writing. Editing. Frustration. Inconsistency. Welcome. To. My. Life."

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