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Style Guide


The following style guide highlights editorial style rules for Nazareth College communications. These standards are to be followed when writing and editing copy for any and all communications from the College. Such communications include, but are not limited to, print publications (letters, press releases, newsletters, etc.) and web content.

In general, Nazareth College publications follow the guidelines in The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook. For entries not listed here or in AP, please refer to a good reference dictionary (e.g., Webster’s New World College Dictionary).

The Nazareth College Style Guide will be updated periodically.

List of Key Entries

Please note the College’s deviations from AP style (denoted by an asterisk).

N.B. Insert only ONE space after the punctuation at the end of a sentence.
Correct: This is a style guide. Please refer to it often.
Incorrect: This is a style guide.  Please refer to it often.

Key Entries

abbreviations, acronyms, initials

  • An abbreviation is an abbreviated form that may be used for a word in some contexts (Dr., Gov., Inc.)
  • An abbreviation is not an acronym. An acronym is a word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words: WAC for Women's Army Corps, or laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).
  • Initials: IOU, IOUs; ABC, ABCs; CEO, AARP, P.R.
    • Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize. If the abbreviation/acronym is not widely recognized, spell out the entire term in the first usage, followed by the abbreviation/acronym in parentheses. Example: He is considered a member of the Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) alumni group. GOLD alumni enjoy many perks.
    • Caps, Periods: Use capital letters and periods according to the listings in AP. For words not in AP, use the first-listed abbreviation in Webster's New World College Dictionary. Generally, omit periods in acronyms unless the result would spell an unrelated word. But use periods in two-letter abbreviations: U.S., U.N., U.K., B.A., B.C. (AP, a trademark, is an exception. Also, no periods in GI and EU.) Most two-letter abbreviations take periods (P.T. for physical therapy, O.T. for occupational therapy). Longer capitalized abbreviations generally don't take periods.
    • Use all caps, but no periods in longer abbreviations and acronyms when the individual letters are pronounced: ABC, CIA, FBI.

Academic Degrees

In running text, spell out and don't capitalize: bachelor's degree, master's degree, or doctorate. But capitalize Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science; however, lowercase the area of study. Example: Bachelor of Arts in history; Master of Science in chemistry.

Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

Also: an associate degree (no possessive).

In very formal references, use baccalaureate degrees.

When abbreviating, use periods: B.A., M.S., Ph.D., B.F.A.

Academic departments

Lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives: the department of history, the history department, the department of English, the English department, or when department is part of the official and formal name: University of Connecticut Department of Medicine.

Academic Professional Titles

See AP entry for details. In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual's name.

  • Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an individual's name: The president issued a statement. The pope gave his blessing. Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas: The vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, declined to run again.
  • Formal titles: Capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names: Pope Paul, President Washington, Vice Presidents John Jones and William Smith.

Do not capitalize an occupational designation, only a true title: We met President Obama. The speaker will be artist Heather Butterfield.

Exception to the rule: Titles after names can be capitalized at the designer's discretion (for visual appearance), when listed in a conference program or invitation.

  • Academic titles: Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chairman, etc., when they precede a name; lowercase elsewhere.
    • Correct: Associate Professor of Chemistry John Smith has recently published a textbook.
    • Correct: John Smith, associate professor of chemistry, has recently published a textbook.
    • Lowercase modifiers such as department in department Chairman Jerome Wiesner.
    • Sister of St. Joseph should be listed S.S.J. (with periods, as a degree would be). Also, titles appear after alumni graduation year: Dr. Monica Weis '65, S.S.J.
  • board of trustees
    Always lowercase: the board of trustees of Nazareth College.

academic years

Terms designating academic years are lowercased: first-year, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior.

  • first-year (noun), first-year student (adjective) The phrase first year (no hyphen) is used when talking about a year, not a student: First-years are encouraged to take first-year seminars during their first year at Nazareth.
  • freshman (singular noun or adj.), freshmen (pl. n.): Freshmen at Nazareth are required to take a freshman seminar.


Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues.

  • All similar words (alley, drive, road, terrace, etc.) are always spelled out.
  • Always use figures for an address number: 9 Morningside Circle.
  • Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures with two letters for 10th and above: 7 Fifth Ave., 101 21st St.
  • Abbreviate compass points used to indicate directional ends of a street or quadrants of a city in a numbered address: 222 E. 42nd St., 600 K St. N.W. Do not abbreviate if the number is omitted: East 42nd Street, K Street Northwest.
  • Use periods in the abbreviation P.O. for P.O. Box numbers.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae

Do not italicize. Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.

ampersand (&)

Use the ampersand when it is part of a company or group's formal name: Procter & Gamble, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway.

  • The ampersand should not otherwise be used in place of and in print publications. In writing for the Web, write out if it is the title of a page, a first-level heading (heading one), and in the copy of the body. In navigations and sub-headings, an ampersand is permissible.

Arts Center

Note the plural Arts, and that both words are capitalized.

Bulleted Lists

In general, introduce a bulleted list with a colon. Capitalize the first letter of the first word of each bulleted list item. Bulleted items should be in parallel construction. End bulleted sentences with periods (not semicolons or commas), and do not punctuate the end of fragments.

Example of bulleted list of sentences:
Additional information for applicants:

  • Students must contact the department directly.
  • Professors will inform students of their progress.
  • The president makes all final decisions.

Example of bulleted list of fragments:
There are a number of things to keep in mind when writing a style guide:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Exceptions to rules


Spell out the word cents and lowercase, using numerals for amounts less than a dollar: 5 cents, 12 cents. Use the $ sign and decimal system for larger amounts: $1.01, $2.50.


Capitalize the word college when it refers specifically to Nazareth College. Currently, the College is undergoing renovations. A college education is considered necessary nowadays.


There are many rules regarding commas; see AP for a comprehensive discussion. Here are some common instances when commas are, or are not, used.

A comma should always be used between each element in a series: He nominated Tom, Dick, and Harry. (Exception to AP, which does not insert a comma before the conjunction in a simple series.)

Do not use a comma before Jr. or Sr. after a person's name: John Smith Jr.

Couple Of

The of is necessary. Never use a couple tomatoes or a similar phrase. The phrase takes a plural verb in constructions such as: A couple of tomatoes were stolen.

Dashes and Hyphens

em dash, en dash, hyphen. See AP entry for details. However, when using dashes to off-set a section of a sentence, do not use two hyphens. Instead, use an em dash symbol. (From the "Word" menu at the top of the screen: Insert > Symbol > pull down screen: "normal text.")

Correct: The workshop included a variety of tips—from job hunting to networking—for recent graduates.

Incorrect: The workshop included a variety of tips - from job hunting to networking - for recent graduates.


Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd, or th.

doctor / Dr.

Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of pediatric medicine degree.

If appropriate in context, Dr. also may be used on first reference before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, because the public frequently identifies Dr. only with physicians, care should be taken to assure the individual's specialty is stated in first or second reference. The only exception would be a story in which the context left no doubt that the person was a dentist, psychologist, chemist, historian, etc.


Always lowercase. Use whole figures without the cents whenever possible: $5, not $5.00. Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references or amounts without a figure: The book cost $4. Dad, please give me a dollar. Dollars are flowing overseas.

  • For specific amounts, the word takes a singular verb: He said $500,000 is what they want.
  • For amounts of more than $1 million, use the $ and numerals up to two decimal places. Do not link the numerals and the word by a hyphen: It is worth $4.35 million. It is worth exactly $4,351,242. He proposed a $300 billion budget.
  • The form for amounts less than $1 million: $4, $25, $500, $1,000, $650,000.

education, educational

The first is a noun, the second an adjective. She received a good education at a reputable educational institute.


Means for example. Use sparingly. Follow with a comma: She bought many things today (e.g., clothes, shoes, food).


( ... ) See AP entry for comprehensive explanation. In general, treat an ellipses as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces, as shown here.


Short form of electronic mail. Per AP, all "e-" terms are lowercase and hyphenated, except for email.


Avoid using. If necessary, list at least three examples/items/listings before following with "etc."

Incorrect: He teaches philosophy, etc.
Correct: She studied math, chemistry, physics, etc.

exclamation points (!)

See AP entry. Avoid overuse.

fewer, less

In general, use fewer for individual items, less for bulk or quantity.

Wrong: The trend is toward more machines and less people. (People in this sense refers to individuals.)
Wrong: She was fewer than 60 years old. (Years in this sense refers to a period of time, not individual years.)

Right: Fewer than 10 applicants called. (Individuals.)
Right: I had less than $50 in my pocket. (An amount.) But: I had fewer than 50 $1 bills in my pocket. (Individual items.)


Means that is (from the Latin "id est"). Equivalent to that is to say or in other words, and should be offset with a comma. Example: He didn't do very well on his exam (i.e., he failed).

imply, infer

Writers or speakers imply in the words they use. A listener or reader infers something from the words.


Make with tab button, not by hitting the space bar.


Lowercase. Also, intranet. As a colleague once said, "You wouldn't capitalize telephone, so why internet?"

majors / courses

Do not capitalize academic majors, minors, programs, specializations, or concentrations (biology, women's studies) except for languages and titles containing geographic locations (English, Spanish, African studies, Asian studies).

Course titles are capitalized: Modern Europe II: 1890-Present, Management 410: Management Ethics


  • Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone. Exception: Spell out months when used in invitations.
  • When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day, and year, set off the year with commas.
  • When a phrase lists a day of the week with a month and a day, spell out the day of the week, but abbreviate the month.

Examples: January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8. Feb. 14, 1987, was the target date.

more than

Use instead of over when discussing amounts.

It generally refers to spatial relationships: The plane flew over the city.

more than
is preferred with numerals: Their salaries went up more than $20 a week.


See AP entry for details. In general:

  • Spell out whole numbers below 10, use figures for 10 and above: They had three sons and two daughters. They had a fleet of 10 station wagons and two buses.
  • In a series: Apply the appropriate guides: They had 10 dogs, six cats, and 97 hamsters. They had four four-room houses, 10 three-room houses, and 12 10-room houses.
  • Sentence start: Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence. If necessary, recast the sentence. There is one exception - a numeral that identifies a calendar year.
    • Wrong: 993 freshmen entered the college last year.
    • Right: Last year 993 freshmen entered the college.
    • Right: 1976 was a good year.
  • Fractions: Spell out amounts less than 1 in stories, using hyphens between the words: two-thirds. Use figures for precise amounts larger than 1, converting to decimals whenever practical.
    • When using fractional characters, there is no space between the figure and the fraction: 1/4, 1/2, 5/8.


One word and lowercase in all cases for the computer connection term. Also, offline.


Use figures and the word percent for numbers expressing percentages: 95 percent. In financially oriented copy, it is acceptable to use figures with the percent sign: 95%.

quotes and quotation marks

For a comprehensive explanation, see AP listing.


Capitalize only if the room has been named: 1924 Room, Golisano Academic Center, room 165.


The abbreviation for the French respondez s'il vous plait, it means please reply. Please RSVP is redundant. Instead: RSVP by calling ..., Please respond by calling ...


Lowercase spring, summer, fall, winter and derivatives such as springtime unless part of a formal name (Winter Olympics, Nazareth College Spring Fest), or as part of a heading or chart.


Nazareth has three schools: the School of Health and Human Services (SHHS), the School of Management (SOM), and the School of Education (SOE). Capitalize school when it refers to a specific school: The School was founded a few years ago.

When to use the with school initials:

  • The SOM is a noun (along with the SOE, the SHHS); SOM is an adjective. Use accordingly. The SOM is now a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. Each year, SOM students are recognized with a variety of awards, scholarships, and commendations.
  • The same rule also applies to the College of Arts and Sciences and the use of the CAS versus CAS.

state names*

  • Standing alone: Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when they stand alone in textual material.
  • Punctuation: Place one comma between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence or indicating a dateline: He was traveling from Nashville, Tenn., to Austin, Texas, en route to his home in Albuquerque, N.M. She said Cook County, Ill., was Mayor Daley's stronghold.
  • Use New York state when necessary to distinguish the state from New York City.
  • In mailing addresses: Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations (e.g., NY, PA, IL, etc. - without periods) only with full addresses, including ZIP code.
  • Use Washington, D.C. Do not abbreviate to D.C. or DC.

telephone numbers*

In general, refer to AP entry. Use figures without parentheses: 585-389-2499. The form for toll-free numbers: 800-111-1000. Do not use periods between parts of a phone number (incorrect: 585.389.2499).

If extension numbers are given: ext. 2, ext. 364, ext. 4071. Note the space between ext. and the number. Not necessary to use a comma to separate the main number from the extension (different from AP).

theater, theatre*

According to AP, use theater unless the proper name is Theatre: Shubert Theatre. In general, use theater to describe the building and/or physical space and theatre when referring to the theatre arts program at Nazareth.


Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Write a.m. and p.m. in lowercase, with periods between the letters. Note the space between the numerals and the letters: She ate at 6 p.m. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • N.B. noon
    Do not put a 12 in front of it. Choose either noon (preferred) or 12 p.m. to avoid redundancy. Similar rule applies to midnight.

titles, academic

See academic professional titles.

titles of works*

Italicize titles of books, periodicals, newspapers, plays, motion pictures, television and radio programs, and long poems and musical compositions. Put titles of songs, poems, TV episodes, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles in quotation marks.

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
  • Capitalize an article (the, a, an) or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
  • Prepositions that are part of a verb (grow up, speak out) are capitalized.
  • Do not capitalize magazine or the unless it is part of the publication's title or masthead, or the first word of a sentence: Time magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times.


Not towards. Upward, not upwards.


It means one of a kind. It does not take a qualifier: Do not describe something as very unique, rather unique, and/or most unique.

URLs (website addresses)

For most URLs, it is safe to drop the http:// when typing an address. Example: instead of

When the URL does not fit entirely on one line, break it into two or more lines without adding a hyphen or other punctuation mark.

There is no need to italicize or underline URLs when they appear in text. (The underline should only be used on the actual websites, to show the user that the text is an active hyperlink.)

U.S. News & World Report

Ranking per the magazine's policy, the first reference to this publication should be U.S. News & World Report. Note: U.S. News is two words, and is represented by an ampersand symbol, and report is singular.

For secondary use, U.S. News (italicized, with a space between words).

World Wide Web

Or the web.

  • website
  • homepage
  • webpage
  • webcam
  • webcast
  • webmaster
  • web links
    Use hyperlinks selectively, and keep them short.

Years / Decades

Use figures, without commas: 1975. Use commas only with a month and a day: Dec. 18, 1994, was a special day. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1800s. Years are the lone exception to the general rule in numerals that a figure is not used to start a sentence: 1976 was a good year.

When abbreviating years to two digits, add an apostrophe before the numerals: Blizzard of '78, the '60s.

When referencing a span of years, use an en-dash and use all four numbers of the second year: 1979-1991.

When listing Nazareth student and alumni graduation years, note the apostrophe: John Smith '85. To denote students/alumni obtaining/with graduate degrees, use a G after the year of graduation: Anne Klein '76G.

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