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AP Style for States Abbreviations

March 14, 2015

We live in a rapid news “now” world., What I am seeing, as we move away from traditional media outreach through the use of press releases is that people are forgetting AP style formatting. There is indeed a science and art behind writing a press release. Below is a list of AP Style State abbreviations. So, I am providing a reference for those who may be interested.

Note: AP Style state abbreviations differ from their corresponding US Postal Service abbreviations, are in parentheses.

  • Ala. (AL) — for Alabama
  • Alaska (AK) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Ariz. (AZ) — for Arizona
  • Ark. (AR) — for Arkansas
  • Calif. (CA) — for California
  • Colo. (CO) — for Colorado
  • Conn. (CT) — for Connecticut
  • Del. (DE) — for Delaware
  • Fla. (FL) — for Florida
  • Ga. (GA) — for Georgia
  • Hawaii (HI) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Idaho (ID) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Ill. (IL) — for Illinois
  • Ind. (IN) — for Indiana
  • Iowa (IA) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Kan. (KS) — for Kansas
  • Ky. (KY) — for Kentucky
  • La. (LA) — for Louisiana
  • Maine (ME) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Md. (MD) — for Maryland
  • Mass. (MA) — for Massachusetts
  • Mich (MI) — for Michigan
  • Minn. (MN) — for Minnesota
  • Miss. (MS) — for Mississippi
  • Mo. (MO) — for Missouri
  • Mont. (MT) — for Montana
  • Neb. (NE) — for Nebraska
  • Nev. (NV) — for Nevada
  • N.H. (NH) — for New Hampshire
  • N.J. (NJ) — for New Jersey
  • N.M. (NM) — for New Mexico
  • N.Y. (NY) — for New York
  • N.C. (NC) — for North Carolina
  • N.D. (ND) — for North Dakota
  • Ohio (OH) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Okla. (OK) — for Oklahoma
  • Ore. (OR) — for Oregon
  • Pa. (PA) — for Pennsylvania
  • R.I. (RI) — for Rhode Island
  • S.C. (SC) — for South Carolina
  • S.D. (SD) — for South Dakota
  • Tenn. (TN) — for Tennessee
  • Texas (TX) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Utah (UT) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Vt. (VT) — for Vermont
  • Va. (VA) — for Virginia
  • Wash. (WA) — for Washington
  • W. Va. (WV) — for West Virginia
  • Wis. (WI) — for Wisconsin
  • Wyo. (WY) — for Wyoming
  • Also: District of Columbia (DC)

Here’s an example of how to abbreviate a state in a sentence using AP style:

In Detroit, Mich., the weather today is sunny and warm. 

And, here is how to use a city (and state) in the dateline.

DETROIT, March 14, 2015 –

Remember that, in datelines, the city name is in all capital letters. If necessary, follow it with the state abbreviation –– not the U.S. postal code.(For example: KANSAS CITY, Kan. or KANSAS CITY, Mo.)

However, these states are always spelled out: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

The following list are US domestic cities that stand alone, with no state abbreviation.

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,

WASHINGTON

*On a regional level, additional cities may stand alone should the newspaper staff decide so.

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