Yearbook Style Guide

Yearbook Style Guide


These informational items are taken from the AP Style Book but may be altered to suit your individual yearbook staff needs.  The key is consistency throughout your book.


Names and Titles

1. Use Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., or the proper title with names of teachers and other adults.  Example:  Dr. Pearl Johnson, Coach Red Truman, Mr. Charles Anderson.

2. The first time a name appears in a story, use the full name plus a title for adults.  Never use a single initial.  Be sure names are spelled correctly.  Example:  (adults) Miss Jeanette Jones, Mr. J. Paul Smith, Dr. N. W. Green; (students) George Swanson, Mary Lou McPherson.

3. After the first time a name appears, use Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. with the last name for adults; use only the first name for students, except in sports stories, where only the last name is preferred.  Example:  Mr. Nolen, Jennifer, Williams.



do Capitalize:

1. All proper nouns, months, days of the week, holidays.  Example:  Denver, May, Monday, Fourth of July.

2. Names of sections of the country but not directions.  Example:  He visited the Southwest.  He ran west.

3. One-word titles when they precede names of adults.  Example:  Coach Jerry Jones, Principal Gus Allen; but Dr. T. H. Gordon, superintendent.

4. Full names of schools, clubs, organizations, streets, geographical areas, or companies.  Example:  Roosevelt Junior High School, Washington School, Stamp Club, Girls’ Athletic Association, Ninth Street, San Francisco Bay, Shell Oil Company.

5. Proper names for races and nationalities.  Example:  Caucasian, Asian, American; but black, white.

6. Names of athletic teams.  Example:  Giants, Cougars.

7. Principal words in titles of books, plays, movies, or songs, including a, an, or the when it appears first in the title.  Example:  The House of Seven Gables, A Christmas Carol.

Do Not Capitalize:

1. School subjects, except languages or specific course titles.  Example:  social studies, algebra, journalism; but French, English, Algebra I.

2. Personal titles used without names.  Example:  The principal came into the room.

3. Abbreviations for the time of day.  Example:  a.m., p.m.

4. Seasons of the year.  Example:  summer, spring.

5. Academic departments, except for words derived from proper nouns:  Example:  English department, math department.

6. Names of classes.  example:  ninth grade, junior.

7. Boards and committees, unless given a distinctive name.  Example:  student council, dance committee, student body, student court; but Bar Association, United States Senate.

8. School rooms and buildings, except for those with special names.  Example:  auditorium, girls’ gym; but Room 106, Harrison Gymnasium.


Dates and Times

1. Dates are written one way only.  Example:  May 8; never May 8th, 8 May, or the 8th of May.

2. Never use the year for a date within the current year, nor the preceding or coming year unless there would be confusion.  Example:  December 12, last April 5, next June.

3. Do not use the word on before days or dates.  Example:  They met Sunday.  They will meet May 25.

4. Do not use the word o’clock in showing time.  Omit the zeros for even hours.  Example:  3:10 p.m., 2 p.m., 11:45 a.m., 12 noon.





1. Always use figures for ages, dimensions, money, percents, days of the month, degrees, hours of the day, scores, room numbers, page or chapter numbers and street numbers.  Example:  16 years old, 6 feet, 10 cents, 200 percent, Chapter 2.

2. Except for those numbers in the rule above, spell out numbers to and including nine and use figures for numbers 10 and over.

3. Use the abbreviations st, nd, rd, and th after numbered streets above Ninth but never with dates.  Example:  First Street, South 21st Street, October 21.

4. For money under $1, use figures and the word cents; for $1 or over, use the dollar sign.  Do not use zeros when they are not needed:  25 cents, $1.50, $10.

5. Do not begin a sentence with a figure.  Spell it out or rewrite the sentence.

6. In a list containing numbers below and above 10, use figures for all.



1. Abbreviate Jr. or Sr. following a name.  Use no comma.  Example:  Alfred Brent Jr.  (This differs from general usage, which demands the comma.)

2. Abbreviate long names of organizations or other familiar names when there can be no confusion.  Use no spaces or periods between letters.  Example:  YMCA, PTA, UN, TV. 

3. Do not abbreviate names of states, months, days of the week, or the words street, avenue, Christmas, railroad, company, fort, or point in place names.  Example:  Iowa, March,  Friday, Main Street, Union Pacific Railroad, Fort Collins.

4. Abbreviate the word saint in place names.  Example:  St. Louis.

5. Do not use symbols or abbreviations for distances, weights, or the words percent and degrees.  Example:  5 feet 8 inches, 2 pounds, 1 kilo, 25 percent, 27 degrees.



1. Enclose in quotation marks the titles of plays, poems, chapters, movies, songs, or radio and TV programs.

2. Underline or italicize book titles


Internet and Technology Related

1. Internet and World Wide Web are capitalized.  When shortened to the Web, Web page or Web site it is also capitalized; but webcam, webcast, webmaster are not.

2. The following words are spelled this way:  CD-ROM, HTTP, login, logon, logoff, screen saver, home page, offline, online, cyberspace, cell phone, chat room, database, dot-com, double-click, download, DVD.




1. To introduce a series after the following or a similar term but not after verbs such as are or include:  The following officers were elected:  Joe Smith, Jane Lutton, and Chris Fields.  New officers are Joe Smith, Jane Lutton, and Chris Fields.

2. Use in giving the time of day, but not in even hours.  Example:  3:15 p.m., 10 a.m.

3. Use along with a period to separate minutes and seconds in sports times.  Example:  His time was 6:17.5



1. Use to separate all words in a series, but not before the conjunction.  Example:  The national flag is red, white and blue.

2. Use to set off parenthetical expressions or nonessential clauses.  Example:  John Jones, whom I met yesterday, will be there tonight. 

3.Use to set off appositves, nouns of address, or identifications.  Example:  Mary White, sophomore, was chosen.  Linda, will you be there?

4. Use to separate a quotation from the rest of the sentence.  Example:  “I”ll invite you,” said John, “to my party tonight.”

5. Use in numbers over 999, except for street numbers, telephone numbers or time numbers.

6. Use after an introductory clause.  Example:  When the boy reached school, he went to his locker.  If you go, I will not.





1. Use between main divisions of a listing.  Example:  Officers are Linda Clark, North, president; Tom Murray, Central, vice-president; and James Crain, West, secretary.

2. Use to divide enumerations when commas would not be clear.  Example:  the threee committees will handle theme and decoration planning; refreshment purchase, serving and cleanup; and finances and sale of items.



1. Use to form a possessive.  Example:  Tim’s shoes, Miss Burn’s room, children’s toys, women’s hats.

2. Use in contractions or to show omitted letters or figures.  Example:  it’s (meaning it is), don’t, ‘74.

3. Use in plurals of letters and figures.  Example:  S’s, 7’s.

4. Do not use in possessive pronouns.  Example:  theirs, its, hers, yours, whose.


Quotation Marks

1. Use to show the exact words of a speaker.

2.  Periods and commas are always placed within quotation marks, question marks and exclamation points only if they are a part of the quotation.  Example:  “Did you study your homework?” she asked.  Have you seen “Lord of the Rings”?



1. There general rule for the use of hyphens in compound words.  You must learn how to spell them or look them up. 

2. Use in certain common compound titles.  Example:  vice-president, all-state team, sergeant-at-arms

3. Do not use in such words as weekend, copyreader, makeup, textbook, cheerleader, homecoming, lineup or basketball.

4. Use with compound adjectives but not with the same words used as nouns.  Example:  50-yard line, six-day trip, cherry-red dress; but He ran 50 yards.  The trip lasted six days.

5. Use in sports scores.  Example:  North won 6-3.

6. Use between syllables only, to divide words at the end of a line.

7. When two or more adjectives express a single concept, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound.  Example:  Four-year study, 12-member council, 28-year-old woman.

8. Do not link words with hyphens when the adverb very is part of the group.  Example:  A very-good time.

9. Do not link the words with hyphens when you have adverbs ending in -ly as part of the phrase.  Example:  Not an especially-good time.