AP Style Guide for State abbreviations makes no sense

I’m a newspaper designer that has to adhere to the AP Style Guide. Anytime a caption mentions a USA state location I have to use the AP style to abbreviate the state name.

Ala.    Kan.    Nev.    S.C.

Ariz. Ky. N.H. S.D.

Ark. La. N.J. Tenn.

Calif. Md. N.M. Vt.

Colo. Mass. N.Y. Va.

Conn. Mich. N.C. Wash.

Del. Minn. N.D. W.Va.

Fla. Miss. Okla. Wis.

Ga. Mo. Ore. Wyo.

Ill. Mont. Pa. Maine

Ind. Neb. R.I.

Why do some states get a two letter abbreviation and some get as many as five letters? You’d think they would keep it consistent and just pick the first four letters of the name. There are eleven that already do that: Ariz. Tenn. Colo. Mass. Conn. Mich. Wash. Minn. Miss. Okla. Mont. But the rest are just completely random.

Here’s why the AP does this random abbreviation style. It’s so that you have to constantly pull out the AP Style Guide and check it. This way it ensures you always remember that the AP style guide is the ruler.

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unlikelymoose
16 years ago

Illinois is pretty cool, cuz our abbreviation actually spells a word. Not too many other states can claim that. Pa and Miss are the others I can see.

unlikelymoose
16 years ago

though montana’s is pretty nice: MO! Yo Mo!

anonymous
anonymous
16 years ago

MO is for Missouri, not Montana. Sorry.

Tom Saaristo
16 years ago

The abbreviation for Washington is a word as is the abbreviation for Massachusetts

Danyell
16 years ago

Two letter abbreviations make sense for states that are two words. Because using a 4 letter technique on New York would be Newy. Maybe it should be two letters for two words and four letters for one word. Or something.

unlikelymoose
16 years ago

whoa. i can’t believe i missed Wash and Mass. I apologize profusely to the citizens of Wash and Mass.

Lauren
Lauren
16 years ago

You also forgot to mention Ark for Arkansas…. Ark is totally a word 🙂

unlikelymoose
16 years ago

i do not apologize profusely to the citizens of Arkansas. Just kidding. I’m sorry, Arkansas. You are a nice, little Ark.

Rebecca
Rebecca
15 years ago

Ore is a word too! 🙂

Dry Fly
Dry Fly
15 years ago

So is Pa, man!

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