AP Style for state abbreviationsAug 27th, 2009 | By joegrimm | Category: News
By JOE GRIMM
Associated Press style on state abbreviations can be simple.
Questions come up often, some states seem to want to be abbreviated similarly (how do you abbreviate Alaska and Alabama, for example) and AP abbreviations are not the same as those used by the U.S. Postal Service.
Once I got these simple AP abbreviation rules through my head, I was OK:
* Do not abbreviate state names with five letters or fewer, Hawaii or Alaska. (See, we don’t even abbreviate Alaska). The six mainland states that are not abbreviated: Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
* Abbreviate states only when the state;s name appears after a city. Then, put the state abbreviation in commas:
Framingham, Mass., but Massachusetts when it’s all by itself.
Michigan governor, but Michigan Gov. Janet Granholm. We would write that Gov. Jennifer Granholm works in Lansing, Mich., the state capital.
* The AP Stylebook abbreviation for 17 states is two letters, just as the Postal Service does, but the the punctuation is different. Ky. in AP, but KY with the Postal Service.; Pa., in AP, PA with the Postal Service.
The last question when it comes to state abbreviations, is which cities don’t need to be followed by states? AP lists 30 U.S. cities that go sans states, based on population size, prominence and a few other factors.