“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn
“Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.” – Bill Cosby
“I believe in rules. Sure I do. If there weren’t any rules, how could you break them?” – Leo Durocher
At NST we encourage creativity, and breaking the rules is sometimes a necessity to do great work. As much as I agree with the need to think outside the box to create something amazing, there is also a time and place for rules.
Ask any of my NST teammates and they’ll say I love researching the AP style grammar and punctuation rules. Yes, I am an AP style nerd and I’m proud of it. Without the rules set forth by the AP Stylebook, there would be endless arguments about comma placement, when to use “over” and “more than,” and the correct spelling of website (yes, it is no longer “Web site”).
Luckily, one of NST’s internal writing guidelines states that team members are to follow the AP Stylebook’s grammar, spelling and punctuation rules for all written materials, including press releases, web copy, social media and blog posts, and collateral materials.
By following the AP Stylebook guidelines our materials are developed with a uniform style that is also used by most media outlets and content creators, thus making our clients look good. And since the AP Stylebook is updated annually to remain current with the latest word trends, our copy terminology is fresh and timely. Was I the only one who had a party the day they removed the hyphen from “email?” I doubt it.
So when your NST team member tells you that you shouldn’t capitalize someone’s title if it comes after a proper name, corrects your abbreviation of a state name, or tells you the color gray is spelled with an “a” instead of an “e” – believe us – because we have an AP Stylebook in one hand and the @APStylebook Twitter feed loaded on our screen at all times. Or is that just me?
Break the rules when necessary – but when it comes to writing, I agree with Albert Einstein who said, “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
Tell us in the comments or on NST’s Facebook page what AP Stylebook rule do you see broken most often. Which rule do you disagree with?