Editorial Style

Abbreviations
Avoiding Sexism
Capitalization
Numbers
Punctuation and Spelling
Titles and Names

Abbreviations

Degrees: Use periods for all degrees: B.A., Ph.D., M.B.A.

Abbreviations using lowercase letters require periods: p.m., m.p.h., c.o.d.

States: Spell out when standing alone and when used with city, except in tables or other close-set material. If at any time you do abbreviate the state in text, use standard abbreviations, not postal abbreviations

ZIP Code: ZIP (for postal codes) is always capitalized, no periods.

Dates: Spell out names of months and days in text; abbreviate in tables.

Titles: Spell out individuals’ titles in publications text: President Shi, Colonel Sanders. They may be abbreviated in tables.

Special Note: Do not abbreviate United States (U.S.) or television (TV) except when used as adjectives.

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Avoiding Sexism

Whenever possible, use terms that include both sexes or terms that are parallel in reference — for example, not college boys and coeds, but students; not John Smith and Mary, but John Smith and Mary Jones. Do not use diminutive word forms such as authoress, poetess, usherette, aviatrix. Refer to the head of a department as the chair.

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Capitalization

Names and titles: Capitalize the formal names of bonafide organizations, institutions, departments, offices. Lowercase fragmentary titles (the university, the department, the center) and generic titles (board of trustees, board of directors).

Punctuation with quotation marks: Periods and commas always go inside of quotation marks. Other punctuation marks go within quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

Majors, minors, subject areas are lowercase. Exceptions: English, French, German, Latin, etc.

Seasons (fall, spring, etc.): Lowercase unless personified.

Positions: If a title precedes the person’s name, it is capitalized. For example, President Rod Smolla. However, if the title follows the name, it is lowercase: Rod Smolla, president of the university.

Academic terms: Lowercase fall 2010 or fall semester.

Academic years:
Lowercase freshman, sophomore, junior, senior.

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Numbers

Use numerals for numbers greater than nine. Spell out nine and below. (She has two dogs, three cats and 10 children.) Exceptions: semester hours, ages and percentages.

Grade-point averages are expressed to two decimal places: 2.25, 3.50. It is fine to use only one place if there is a zero in the second place, i.e., 2.0, 3.5. Sums of money: in text, delete “.00”; in tables, use .00. Time of day: 8 a.m.; not 8:00 a.m.

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Punctuation and Spelling

Punctuation:

Apostrophes: We follow the Associated Press Stylebook on use of apostrophes after the letter s: Mr. Hays’ (not Hays’s) book, President Johns’ tenure.

Commas:
In names: Use a comma before Jr. Example: John W. Smith, Jr. A comma is also used after Jr. if the sentence continues. A comma is not used before or after III. Example: John W. Smith III.

With dates in text: The date for the concert has been set for June 6, 2011, but will be canceled if it rains. (Exception: As of now the concert has been scheduled for June 2011 but a date has not been set.)

With cities and states in text: He traveled from Greenville, S.C., to Washington, D.C.

In a series: In a simple series, separate elements with commas (but not before the conjunction). Example: He bought an apple, a candy bar and some fruit.

Note: Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series if the element immediately preceding or immediately following the concluding conjunction also has a conjunction. If there are internal commas in the elements of a series, separate the elements with semicolons, including one before the final “and” in such a series.

Hyphens: Use between duplicated vowels and tripled consonants: pre-empt, shell-like.

To avoid ambiguity: re-created, small-business men (not small business men). Also: He recovered his health; he had his sofa re-covered. Compound modifiers: He works full time, but he has a full-time job. Exceptions: The adverb “very” (He had a very good time); adverbs ending in ly (an easily remembered and carefully chosen rule).

Other examples: It is an 8,000-square-foot building. But: It will free up 8,000 square feet of space. He received an 18- to 20-year sentence. But: It will be around for 18 to 20 years.

Spelling:

We use Webster’s New World College Dictionary as a reference for spelling.

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Titles and Names

We do not use the title “Dr.” before the name in first reference except for an individual with an M.D. degree. First references should be by first name and last name; subsequent references usually are by last name only. In reference to the clergy, “the” must precede Reverend because Reverend does not stand for a noun (example: the Rev. Billy Graham). Second reference uses last name only. For an address: The Rev. Billy Graham, but start the letter, Dear Mr. Graham. Abbreviate titles before a full name — Gov. Jim Hodges; but Governor Hodges.

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