Writing Style

AP Style Book For writing style, Marketing and Public Relations follows the Associated Press Stylebook guidelines when producing content for media outlets (ads, sponsored content, etc.). In addition, the College has established its own standards for internal/College-specific communications. AP style is a very comprehensive list of writing rules and can be tricky at times. Below we have compiled a list of some common AP style rules that may be helpful when preparing written communication for COCC.

Detailed rules and information can be found on the AP Style website: apstylebook.com.

Dates and Times:

  • Abbreviate the months when used with dates (Except March, April, May, June and July).
  • Spell out months when used without dates ("There will be six films shown in September").
  • Use day with date (Monday, Nov. 5).
  • In dates, use numerals without "st" or "th" (March 1, not March 1st).
  • Always use 'a.m.' and 'p.m.' instead of 'o'clock,' 'morning' and 'evening;' use 'noon' and 'midnight' instead of 12.
  • Use 'to' or '-' when separating times (either 7 to 9 p.m. or 7-9 p.m.); don't use a.m. and p.m. twice, unless it changes (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is okay; however, 3-5 p.m.).
  • Do not use unnecessary zeroes (8 p.m., not 8:00 p.m.).


  • Except for dates, times, prices, budget figures, etc., spell out number one through nine and use numerals for 10 and above. Spell out any numbers at the beginning of sentences (or avoid using them at the beginning).
  • On prices, do not use unnecessary zeroes ($4, not $4.00); spell out cents (75 cents, not $.75).


  • Title normally goes after name and in lowercase.
  • If using a title before the name, use commas only if the sentence could run without the person's name ("The president, Laurie Chesley, spoke").
  • Titles that are occupational descriptions should not be capitalized and do not need commas before the name ("Noted author Stephen King will be on campus next Wednesday").
  • No comma before Jr. or Sr. (Martin Luther King Jr.).


  • Do not break words at the end of a line.
  • Do not break paragraphs at the end of a page.

Various COCC College-Style Standards:

  • Internet-related words: website, webcam, webcast, webmaster, the web, webpage, webfeed, internet (all lowercase).
  • Do not use http:// or www. when typing web addresses (cocc.edu, not https://www.cocc.edu/).
  • Do not use a slash / at the end of a web address.
  • Use hyphens in phone numbers (541-383-7598 not 541.383.7598).
  • Use a comma before the final "and" in a series (I like dogs, cats and birds, not I like dogs, cats, and birds), though omit this when writing for media. 
  • Use only a single space after a period, not two.
  • When referring to a department on campus, the name should be capitalized but the word "department" should be lowercase (the Marketing and Public Relations department, not the Marketing and Public Relations Department).
  • Do not leave one word on a line or at the top of a page.
  • Associate degree, not associate's. It's not capitalized unless it starts a sentence.
  • Capitalize the name of the term, but not the word "term" (Fall term, Winter term).
  • Campus should be uppercase (Redmond Campus, Madras Campus).
  • Prerequisite and corequisite are one word with no hyphen.
  • When referring to COCC as the College, the C should be capitalized.
  • Wille Hall should be capitalized with no ie in the name (Wille Hall, not Willie Hall).
  • Coats Campus Center should be capitalized with no es in the name (Coats Campus Center, not Coates Campus Center).