Chicago Manual of Style vs. Associated Press (AP) Style

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When writing, did you ever take the time to recognize the difference between the Chicago Manual of Style and Associated Press (AP) style? Before differentiating between these two styles, let’s examine their meanings.

The AP style is more concerned with a smaller group of writers, which includes those producing newspaper copy as well as writers who focus on press releases and public relations news. The process of citing sources is treated in a different way, particularly for news media, especially the final product. The AP style pays little regard to the citing of sources.
On the other hand, with the Chicago Manual of Style, more emphasis is paid to detail and tends to be used for larger work due to the breadth of the intended audience. This style is designed for writers of all kinds, from the latest mystery author to a doctor writing articles for medical journals. The Chicago Manual of Style covers the entire spectrum of editing concerns for those works as well as those for publishers. Larger space is required to cite the sources, bibliographies, and reference lists.

Content
AP Style: When organizing new articles correctly, rules need to be followed when it comes to content and instructions. The majority of this type of work focuses on a combination of a thesaurus, dictionary, and encyclopaedia which cover the most commonly confused or misused words and places, as well as concepts presented in news articles. There are also guidelines regarding the formatting and construction of various types of articles. However in percentage terms, this represents a very small portion of the contents.

Chicago Style: This is more oriented on the technical aspect of writing as well as ensuring publication in the correct fashion. It also includes extensive punctuation as well as the checking of sources, references, and quotes. Sections for charts and tables are separate. There are also a proportion of terms and names similar to the AP style; however, the range is much smaller and meant to guide writers when it comes to proper inclusion for usage and sentence structure than factual accuracy.

Purpose and economics
AP Style: In magazines or newspapers, removing extra characters seems to be a good strategy in order to lessen printing costs, typesetting time, and ink use. Though this is no longer a problem in today’s electronic world, the style is rooted in the information media format.

Chicago Style: This style focuses more on the rules creating consistency in multifaceted publications such as books which contain numbered and bulleted lists.

The Chicago Manual of Style and AP Style have many familiar differences. The Chicago Manual of Style makes use of the serial comma while the AP style does not. When using numbers in the content, the guidelines for Chicago style writers allow the spelling of numbers up to 99, while in the AP style numerals from 10 and above are spelt out.

At Proofreading Asia, we generally follow the Chicago Manual of Style and have our own in-house style guide to ensure consistency.

In addition, we use different styles to suit the specific publishing requirements of scientific journals such as Springer.

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3 comments: On Chicago Manual of Style vs. Associated Press (AP) Style

  • I’ve worked for years as a freelance writer and generally go with the AP style, but it’s good to have access to both. For me the style manuals are best used in the prep of a story or article. If I get it right in the first place that leaves less proofreading and editing to be done. As for proofreading, I wish there was some kind of super computer editing program that I could rely on, but as far as I know, it still takes a human eye to pick up on certain errors. Unfortunately (fortunately!) a computer can’t read a writer’s mind – yet.

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