It should come as no surprise that our editorial team has a corner on the ins and outs of AP style. In our new monthly guide, we’re providing some of the most common questions we’ve been hearing lately from the writers on Brafton’s editorial floor. This edition is focused on the summer-related posts you may be drafting, and at the least could come in handy at family reunions and BBQs this summer when you’re searching for smalltalk.

Have an AP question? Reach out in the comments section!

Fourth of July or 4th of July?

Since this holiday is coming up and you may be using it in your stories, I thought we would address it.

It is “Fourth of July” or “July Fourth” not “4th of July“

You can also use “Independence Day”

Degrees (and other weather terms)

Fahrenheit is capitalized when used in a story. Example: “Skilling said temperatures should reach 52 degrees Fahrenheit today.”

** Also, when writing temperatures, always use figures except zero.


  • “The day’s high was 70.”
  • “The day’s low was minus 5.”
  • “Temperatures fell 8 degrees within an hour.”

With hurricane season approaching, here are the AP Style guidelines for categories of hurricanes:

  • Hurricane Palm TreesCategory 1 – Hurricane has winds of 74 to 95 mph. Some damage will occur.
  • Category 2 – Winds from 96 to 110 mph. Extensive damage will occur.
  • Category 3 – Winds from 111 to 129 mph. Devastating damage will occur.
  • Category 4 – Winds from 130 to 156 mph. Catastrophic damage will occur.
  • Category 5 – Winds of 157 mph or higher. Catastrophic damage will occur.

Regions & Directions

Vacations are coming up and travel is always a hot topic during the summer. Let’s talk about when to, and when to not, capitalize regions and directions.

Regions are capitalized. Examples:

  • The Midwest, the South, the Northeast, the East Coast, in the Western states….
  • “Gas prices in the Midwest have been rising recently.”
  • “The storm hit the East Coast..”

Specific regions of a city, like Chicago, or widely known regions are also capitalized. Examples:

  • The South Side of Chicago
  • Southern California
  • the Lower East Side of New York
  • the North Woods of Wisconsin

Road MapDirections are lowercase when used with a state. Examples:

  • “They moved to southern Illinois…”
  • “The northern part of Michigan is cold…”

Compass directions are also lowercase. Examples:

  • “The thunderstorm is heading east.”
  • “They drove west to reach the Grand Canyon.”

Other examples:

  • She has a Southern accent
  • The Western Hemisphere
  • The storm developed in the South Pacific