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AP Style and Textbroker

While AP Style is largely sound, there are a few rules that are quite subjective. Here are a few clarifications from Textbroker for where we stand on these issues.

While AP Style is largely sound, there are a few rules that are quite subjective. Here are a few clarifications from Textbroker for where we stand on these issues.

Introductory Clauses

AP Style states:

A comma is used to separate an introductory clause or phrase from the main clause:When he had tired of the mad pace of New York, he moved to Dubuque.

The comma may be omitted after short introductory phrases if no ambiguity would result: During the night he heard many noises.

Textbroker’s ruling:

Always use a comma with an introductory clause. It’s never wrong to do so, and half of the AP ruling is subjective. What determines short? Is it three words or four? What determines ambiguous? What is clear to you may not be clear to another. If we see introductory clauses without commas, there is a good chance that you will be rated down.

Coordinating Conjunctions

AP Style states:

When a conjunction such as andbut or for links two clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a comma before the conjunction in most cases: She was glad she had looked, for a man was approaching the house.

As a rule of thumb, use a comma if the subject of each clause is expressly stated:We are visiting Washington, and we also plan a side trip to Williamsburg. We visited Washington, and our senator greeted us personally. But no comma when the subject of the two clauses is the same and is not repeated in the second: We are visiting Washington and plan to see the White House.

The comma may be dropped if two clauses with expressly stated subjects are short.

Textbroker’s ruling:

To begin with, it is important to know why you use a comma when the subject is expressly stated and why you don’t when it’s not. If the subject is expressly stated each time, you have two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction.

I prefer a shotgun when it comes to killing zombies, but I see the utility of a frying pan.

In this instance, these are each complete sentences with a subject and a predicate.

If your subject is only stated once, then what you have is a compound predicate. It is incorrect to split a compound predicate.

I grabbed a molotov cocktail and loaded my magnum for another incoming attack.

Here, we have one subject being modified by two verbs: grabbed and loaded. Even though the word and is used, there is no reason to separate the two parts with a comma.

If you have two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction, always use a comma. Again, AP Style’s ruling is subjective; there is no universal rule that determines how long a clause must be before it requires a comma. There is, however, a rule that independent clauses joined with a coordinating conjunction must use a comma.

Your rating may drop if you do not use commas with coordinating conjunctions.


AP Style says to use quotes. Textbroker would prefer that you use quotes, but you will not be marked down for other stylistic methods. Just make sure that your titles are all consistently labeled.

Serial Comma

AP Style states:

Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue. He would nominate Tom, Dick or Harry.

Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series, however, if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

Use a comma also before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases:The main points to consider are whether the athletes are skillful enough to compete, whether they have the stamina to endure the training, and whether they have the proper mental attitude.

Textbroker’s ruling:

We do not mark down for using the serial comma; we may, however, point out that AP Style does not always advocate its usage.

Pound (£)

AP Style states:

The English pound sign is not used. Convert the figures to dollars in most cases. Use a figure and spell out pounds if the actual figure is relevant.

Textbroker’s ruling:

Use the pound sign. There’s nothing wrong with writing for a UK client and using the appropriate currency.

Social Media:

Although it’s indicated in AP Style that Internet slang may be acceptable, we do not find its usage acceptable at Textbroker unless it is requested by the client. Also, please capitalize names like Facebook, iPhone and eBay accordingly. Textbroker’s keyword checker does not differentiate between capital and lower-case letters, so unless the client states otherwise, you can capitalize brand names appropriately. In cases where you aren’t sure, always follow the client’s instructions.

Quotation Marks:

Do not use quotation marks for anything other than titles, quoted material or definitions.

If you have any questions about odd rulings in AP Style, please contact us via the contact link at the top of our site.


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