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Style & Resource Guide Overview

  • Never use two spaces in a row in any instance when preparing electronic copy for publication. This practice may still be used in letter writing.
  • Abbreviate months according to AP style (never abbreviate days of the week in prose).
  • Do not use "st," "th," or "rd" on dates (Sept. 16).
  • Use noon and midnight to avoid confusion about 12 a.m./p.m. (11 a.m. to noon).
  • Items in a series should include final serial comma before the "and." This reflects academic writing standards but runs counter to journalism rules; when writing for the press, omit these commas.
  • Alumni years should be presented as follows: John Smith'45 (no space).
  • Attribution generally should occur in the present (says, explains, etc.).
  • Capitalize office names, buildings, and rooms (named, not numbered). Second reference to the generic term should be lower case: Jeffris-Wood Campus Center becomes the campus center. See appendix.
  • Courtesy titles (Ms., Professor) are not used in college publications. See titles.
  • Dashes do not have spaces on either side.
  • All Internet addresses (email, Web, news groups) should be italicized. Capitalize stand alone references to the Internet, World Wide Web, and Web, but use lower case for the word "website," which is expressed as one word.
  • Numbers 10 and higher use numerals. Ages, percentages, and measurements are always represented in numerals, even if they are smaller than 10.
  • Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks; placement of other punctuation depends upon the usage.
  • Professor emeritus is the proper construction (not vice versa). Bob Jones, professor emeritus of biology, was the keynote speaker. Professor Emeritus Bob Jones of the biology department was the keynote speaker.
  • Titles before a name (in the absence of a comma) are generally capitalized. After a name and a comma, titles are lower case. Avoid putting long titles before the names like this: Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Jeff Puckett. Instead, say: Jeff Puckett, vice president for development and alumni affairs.
  • University systems use a hyphen (not dash, slash or "at"): University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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  • companies and organizations are singular: Williams & Associates redesigned its logo.
  • compound adjectives—these usually require hyphens for clarity. A small-animal hospital is a hospital for small animals. Without the hypen, the reader would assume it is a small hospital for animals.
  • couple/group/faculty/staff/team—these are technically singular nouns and take singular verbs and pronouns: The group made its decision. To make it plural, say: "Members of the group made their decision."
  • I/me—I is the subject form (Shelly and I ate lunch), and me is the indirect object form, which usually follows a preposition (They made lunch for Shelly and me).
  • people—Use who, not that, to present further description. (I know people who teach those skills. I have software packages that teach those skills.)
  • possessives—His, hers, its, ours, and yours do not take apostrophes.
  • punctuation—Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks; placement of other punctuation depends on the usage.
  • who/whom—Who refers to the subject form (Who answered the door?), and whom is the indirect object form, which often follows a preposition (Whom do you wish to see? The woman to whom I gave directions was my aunt.). In more confusing cases such as (The woman, whom I met yesterday, didn't show up.), the use of who or whom depends on the closest idea the writer wishes to complete. In this case, I met her (whom) must be completed before the rest of the sentence makes sense. In another construction, "who" would be proper: (The woman, who didn't show up, arrived yesterday.)