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AP Style Update: Style and Grammar Basics

By Nicole Schuman for PRNEWS

Here, we explore grammar basics of AP style that writers use on a daily basis.

occupational titles: 

Only capitalize formal titles used before an individual’s name. Titles that serve as occupations should be lowercase. Also lowercase titles when they are not used with an individual’s name.


Pope Francis, the current pope, left the Vatican for a world tour.

The baseball team went to visit President Joe Biden at the White House.

The dentist, Joe Smith, spoke to the council of doctors.

composition titles: 

These guidelines apply to titles of books, movies, plays, poems, albums, songs, operas, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches, and works of art:

  • Capitalize all words in a title except articles (a, an, the); prepositions of three or fewer letters (for, of, on, up, etc.); and conjunctions of three or fewer letters (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet, etc.)
  • Put quotation marks around titles (“The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Star Wars,” “Game of Thrones,” “To Kill a Mockingbird”) except the Bible, the Quran and other holy books, and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material (almanacs, encyclopedias, etc.)
  • Do not use quotation marks around software titles (WordPerfect, Windows), apps, video games or board games (Super Mario Brothers, Uber, Monopoly)


I’ve never seen “Star Wars,” but I’m excited to watch it.

My friends host a Guitar Hero competition every year.

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Photo by Sumit Mathur:

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