Editorial Style Guide

Consistency and accuracy in written Beloit College communications intended for external audiences

The word “style” simply means usage preferences. Beloit’s Style and Resource Guide is based on Associated Press (AP) style for common usage, but supersedes it to address certain issues and references that relate solely to Beloit.

Dates and Numbers

  • Abbreviate months according to AP style: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug. Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. (Never abbreviate days of the week in prose.)
  • Do not use “st,” “th,” or “rd” in dates (Sept. 16, not Sept. 16th).
  • Use noon and midnight to avoid confusion about 12 a.m./p.m. (11 a.m. to noon).
  • Numbers 10 and higher use numerals. Ages, percentages, and measurements are always represented in numerals, even if they are smaller than 10.

Names and Titles

  • Alumni years should be presented as follows: John Smith’45 (no space).
  • Courtesy titles (Ms., Professor) are not used in college publications, with the exception of Dr., reserved for medical professionals.
  • Professor emeritus is the proper order (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.
  • Formal 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 individuals’ names.
  • Capitalize the names of college offices, buildings, and rooms (named, not numbered). Second reference to the generic term should be lower case: Jeffris-Wood Campus Center becomes the campus center.
  • University systems use a hyphen (not dash, slash or “at”): University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Grammar and Usage

  • Use one space between sentences when preparing copy for printed and online communications.
  • Items in a series should include a final serial comma before the “and.” This reflects academic writing standards but runs counter to journalism rules; when writing for the press, these commas may be omitted.
  • Attribution generally should occur in the present (says, explains, etc.).
  • Dashes do not have spaces on either side.
  • Internet addresses should be italicized. The word “website” is expressed as one word.
  • Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks; placement of other punctuation depends upon the usage.

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