Matador Network follows AP style with a few exceptions. The style guide below answers some of the most common questions we receive, as well as addresses the most common mistakes. Please use this style guide alongside the AP style guide. Use what’s listed below if there is a discrepancy between the two.
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
CAPITALIZATION AND TITLES
CITING OTHER WORKS
COMMONLY MISUSED WORDS AND PHRASES
DATES AND TIME
MEASUREMENTS AND MONEY
All capital letters unless it’s part of the common lexicon
Example: laser, radar
Use AP style abbreviations
Spell out state names
Example: San Francisco, California
Offset state names preceded by cities with commas on either side
Example: San Francisco, California, has the best burritos.
No periods with city abbreviations
Example: LA, DC
The ampersand is informal, so we don’t really use it, except maybe to keep a company name as stylized.
Capitalize when the name refers to a place
Example: Champagne, Cognac, Burgundy
Do not capitalize wine grapes
Capitalize cocktails only when referring to a proper noun
Example: Bloody Mary versus mojito
Do not capitalize beer styles
Capitalize when the name refers to a place
Example: Jersey cow, Pomeranian, Dalmatian
Capitalize trademarked plant names
Capitalize the first letter of the genus, lowercase for epithet, and italicize
On any subsequent use, the scientific name must be italicized but the genus can be shorted as follows:
Capitalize known nicknames
Example: Big Apple, City of Lights, Philly
Capitalize districts and neighborhoods
East Village, West End
Capitalize according to company style
Example: Airbnb, HUXTON
Capitalize the first letter of the first word, lowercase letters for the rest
Follow published capitalization when citing a headline from an outside source
Use punctuation after a subhead if it’s a full sentence, leave off if it’s not
For list headlines, use “The” before the number if it’s a superlative, and lead with the number if not.
Example: “The 7 best all-inclusive resorts” versus “7 all-inclusive resorts for sunshine”
Capitalize black when referring to race
Examples: The Black community, Black-owned businesses
Do not capitalize “national park” unless referring to a proper noun
Example: Yosemite National Park is my favorite national park.
Do not capitalize “northern lights” or “aurora borealis”
Italicize the name except for religious books
Example: Water for Elephants, Torah
Use quotation marks for chapter names
Italicize the name of the magazine
Example: New Yorker, Esquire, ELLE
Italicize movie and TV show titles
Example: Pineapple Express, Seinfeld
Italicize the name of the newspaper
Example: USA Today, The New York Times, Washington Post
Palate refers to taste. Palette refers to what an artist holds paint on.
Use cannabis rather than weed, marijuana, ganja, or any other nickname unless in a quote.
The pronoun for a business is always “it,” not “they.”
A wine grape variety is a type of wine grape whereas a varietal refers to a wine made with a single type of grape.
Farther is a measure of distance. Further is figurative.
Everyday is an adjective meaning daily or commonplace. Every day is an adverb synonymous with “each day.”
AC, BC, BCE, and CE
Use BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era)
Order is month, day, year
Example: Jan. 1, 2020
No comma and the month is spelled out if a specific day isn’t mentioned
Example: January 2020
Use cardinal numbers when writing a day preceded by a month, ordinal numbers only if the month is implied but not written
Example: The concert will be held on May 22.
Use numerical values for decades
Example: the 1980s
When writing a decade without the century, precede with an apostrophe
Example: the ‘80s
Never make decades possessive
Example: the 1980s, not the 1980’s
Always spell out when alone or alone with a year
Spell out when a date is mentioned except for:
Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
Example: Jan. 1, 2020
Use AM and PM, capitalized with no periods
Example: 4:22 PM
Use the full hour if on the hour
Example: 4:00 PM
Don’t use AM and PM if the time of day is mentioned, and spell out the number
Example: four in the afternoon
Spell out noon and midnight
Italicize on the first mention only
Do not italicize foreign words found in a standard English dictionary
Do not italicize foreign proper nouns
Use standard measurements
Example: 25 miles, 11 inches
In quotes or scientific references where the metric system is the best fit, use conversions in parentheses
Example: The caterpillar went 25 meters (around 82 feet).
Use Fahrenheit or convert to Fahrenheit when Celsius is in a quote
Use American dollars as the standard money measurement, and use an approximate conversion when the local price is listed.
Example: The trip costs 47 euros (around $51).
When foreign currency must be used, always spell out the name of the currency. Use the dollar sign ($) when referring to US dollars.
Example: Entry to the museum is 20 British pounds ($25).
Write out sums less than $1
Example: two cents, 23 cents
Spell out zero through nine, use numerals for all other numbers
Example: Two dogs and 13 cats
Spell out million and billion
Example: Two million dogs and 13 million cats
Spell out any number at the start of a sentence unless it is a year
Example: Twelve dogs and 13 cats
Example: 1969 was a great year for music.
Write out percent
Example: 23 percent
Colons should only be used when followed by an explanation or series when there’s no connective word or phrase
Example: The menu was short but sweet: burger, salad, fish, steak.
Example: The menu was short but sweet with options like a burger, salad, fish, or steak.
Capitalize the first word after a colon if it starts a full sentence or in subheds
Example: There are a few common questions at the restaurant: What type of food do you serve? How expensive is it?
Example: New Orleans: King cake
Use a comma between two modifiers that can be switched around
Example: The bright, aromatic salad
Use the serial, or Oxford, comma
Example: You can order the burger, salad, steak, or fish.
Use a semicolon to separate a series in a list
Example: There’s a burger with tomatoes, onions, and cheese; a salad with olives, vinegar, and peppers; and steak.
Avoid exclamation points and instead emphasize through word selection
Use hyphens for compound modifiers unless it ends in -ly
Example: A well-seasoned steak
Example: A newly cut steak
No punctuation or capitalization inside parentheses unless it’s a full sentence
Example: We ordered the steak (there weren’t any burgers left) for dinner.
Example: We ordered the steak for dinner. (There weren’t any burgers left.)
Set the questions as subheds. Put “Matador:” for the first question and then “TK SOURCE” for the first answer, but after that include only the question as a subhed (so no “Matador:” or “Q:”)
Punctuation always goes inside the quotation marks
Example: “There are many good options,” the waiter said. “What would you like to order?”
Example: The waiter said that there are “many good options.”
Use single quotation marks only when writing a quote within a quote or in a headline
Example: “My mother always told me, ‘Make your bed every morning,’” Sue said.
Avoid scare quotes unless you’re quoting a source
Example: There are plenty of cuts of meat to choose from at the restaurant, including some from the less “presentable” parts of the cow.
Use brackets within the quotation marks to add to or alter quotes
Example: “The number of protected species [in the United States] is always changing,” the park ranger said.