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As PR professionals, we have been taught and follow the rules of the Associated Press Stylebook. The AP Stylebook is the PR professional’s bible. And occasionally there are individuals who break the rules. Sometimes by mistake and others simply may not know what the Associated Press has to say about it.

I’m on a mission to call out some common AP Stylebook mistakes because I see them too often.

My AP Style pet peeve is when people refer to a one-page informational document as a flyer. According to the AP, flier is the preferred term for an aviator or handbill; It irritates me because flyer is the proper name of some trains and buses.

I’ve asked my fellow Franconians to describe their biggest AP Stylebook pet peeve and here’s what they had to say:

“Major cities1 stand alone in datelines: Detroit is one of them that doesn’t need the state included.”

Joe F AP Stylebook

Joe Ferlito, account manager

“My biggest AP Stylebook pet peeve is capitalizing job titles. Unless you’re the President of the United States or the Pope, your job title should not be capitalized2.”

AMF AP Stylebook

Ann Marie Fortunate, account supervisor

“Irregardless: it’s not a word! According to AP Stylebook, “irregardless is a double negative. Regardless is correct.”

MP AP Stylebook

Mary Parkinson, assistant account executive

“When people refer to a page(s) on the web as a ‘web site’ (two words), I mentally glare at them. We’re in 2016, but some people still don’t know the difference between the place a spider weaves its web and an internet3 page. AP Style says, when referring to the internet ‘website’ is one word. Sorry Charlotte.”

RC AP Stylebook online

Rene Cizio, account manager

Last, but not least, we had a few people in the office who had plenty to say about the Oxford comma. Here are their thoughts:

“My biggest pet peeve is the Oxford comma… I used to love it and was taught to use it through high school, so I was very surprised to learn that it’s not proper AP Style. Now I always notice when someone uses it.”


Jennifer Spears, assistant account executive

“I hate the Oxford comma! It is just unnecessary punctuation.”


Erica Swoish, senior account executive

Do you have anything to add to the list of AP Stylebook pet peeves? Leave yours in the comments below.

1Note: AP Stylebook lists the following domestic cities that stand alone in datelines: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington.

2Note: AP Stylebook recommends capitalizing formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names.

3Note: Prior to June 1, 2016, internet was capitalized. The entry has since been changed to lowercase the word.

Andrea Kenski is an account supervisor at Franco. You can reach her at (313) 567-5092 or [email protected]. You can also follow her on Twitter @detroitcitygrrl and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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