[APG Public List] State name abbreviations

Jacqueline Wilson wilssearch at gmail.com
Sat Nov 27 18:01:53 MST 2010

I have actually made the personal decision to use the current postal abbreviations if I abbreviate at all in order to be consistent.  It will either be spelled out or the 2 letter abbreviation will be used - followed by USA to not be confused with Mongolia (MN) - although I don's see why they couldn't have used MG as we don't use that one.  LOL Talk about being an Ugly American!

On Nov 27, 2010, at 12:26 PM, <eshown at comcast.net> <eshown at comcast.net> wrote:

Debbie wrote:
>There is another possibility for the confusion on state name abbreviations. _The Associated Press Stylebook_, used by many newspapers, is the source of seeing everything from two, three, and four letter abbreviations to full state names spelled out.
>Check under abbreviations at the following link (second page) to see what AP suggests for state names. Note that AP uses Pa. for Pennsylvania.
Good point, Debbie. It might also help those on the list who aren't professional writers to know that AP Style defines the conventions generally used in the (U.S.) newspaper world as compared to the rest of the writing and publishing world.  Newspapers, back in the days of typesetting each character by hand, adapted some publishing conventions to enable them to set type faster. For example:
-       A book or magazine publisher could afford to take the time to switch to italic letters for book and magazine titles. But a daily newspaper, hand-setting each character of every line of every story and under pressure to get it all done in time for that day’s edition, created shortcuts. Instead of switching to italics for every letter of a book or magazine title, they would just stick a quotation mark before and after.  Meanwhile, for us as writers, there’s no time-saving imperative and—as both researchers and writers—there’s considerable advantage to observing the distinction between using italics for book and magazine titles vis a vis quotation marks for the titles of articles and chapters within those books and magazines.
-       Because newspaper columns were skinny, in comparison to book columns that stretched all the way across the page, they adopted shorter paragraphs. “Normal” expository writing, which we learned in school and are expected to follow in our historical and biographical writing, calls for (a) every paragraph having a topic sentence and then (b) typically, three or more sentences to ‘develop’ the topic sentence. That creates good, thoughtful writing. It also works well with wide columns of books and journals. But with newspapers, a paragraph of that length would create a block of text that ran way down the column; so newspapers (and magazines with skinny columns) don’t follow the same practice.
-       Similarly, to save both space and time, instead of writing out small numbers amid sentences, they adopted the use of Arabic numbers.
-       &c, &c, &c.
For all of us, as ‘everyday’ researchers and writers, it all boils down to (a) defining our readership or forum; and (b) using the conventions that exist for that forum.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
The Evidence Series

Jacqueline Wilson
Evanston, IL

"Wilssearch - your service of choice for the indexing challenged genealogist."

Indexer, historian, and genealogist
Deputy Sheriff for Publications of the Chicago Corral of the Westerners

Masters of Military History student at AMU

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