Chicago Style Workout 42: Chicago vs. AP

Are you stylistically ambidextrous?

Some editors spend most of their time following a single style. But many of us, especially if we freelance, are required to know more than one. This month’s workout is the first in a series designed to test your knowledge of Chicago style relative to another popular and widely used style—in this case, AP.

AP style, based on The Associated Press Stylebook, is followed by journalists and many other people who work with the news and other current events. The AP Stylebook is updated annually and, like Chicago, published both as a book and online. (If you’re new to either Chicago or AP, see this summary of Chicago relative to AP—and MLA and APA.)

Note: This quiz is based on the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style and the 2019 AP Stylebook, respectively.

But don’t worry! The quiz isn’t about getting the right answers; it’s about learning to appreciate the differences between Chicago and AP. Do your best, hit Submit, and then read the answers to see what they reveal.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual (cited in the answers). (We offer a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online.)

The AP Stylebook is arranged alphabetically both in print and online (via a subscription); answers cite specific entries or categories, but access is not required to take the quiz.

Chicago Style Workout 42: Chicago vs. AP

1. Use a comma before the conjunction in a series of three or more items: apples, oranges, and pears.
2. Leave terms like “African American” and “Asian American” unhyphenated in both noun and adjective forms.
3. Use a comma before “Inc.” or “Ltd.” if the company itself uses one: Barnes & Noble, Inc.
4. Capitalize a name like “eBay” or “iPhone” at the beginning of a sentence. IPhone sales dipped last quarter.
5. Form the possessive of proper names ending in s with an apostrophe alone: Dickens’ novels.
6. Use numerals for percentages (except at the beginning of a sentence), and spell out the word “percent”: 23 percent.
7. Wherever names of US states are abbreviated, prefer the two-letter postal codes: CA, not Calif.
8. Write “ZIP Code,” not “zip code.”
9. To abbreviate “United States” and “United Kingdom,” always prefer “U.S.” and “U.K.” (with periods). [Hint: See no. 7 for a partial clue to the answer.]
10. Compound modifiers formed with “well” take a hyphen before a noun but not after: a well-read person is well read.


Ready for another quiz? Click here for the full list.