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Editorial Style and Usage Guide

This guide is the established editorial style for e-mail announcements, the Colgate Scene, colgate.edu pages and stories, brochures, newsletters, letters, and more.

Have a suggestion for the style guide? Contact Rebecca Costello at rcostello@colgate.edu

For answers to common questions, see our Quick Tips

NOTE: All entries, in bold type, indicate lower case or capitalization as appropriate

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             Punctuation - Helpful references - Proofreading tips



Early Decision. Capitalize when referring to the Early Decision program or an Early Decision candidate. References to regular decision are lowercased.

Earth. Capitalize when referring to the proper name of the planet; otherwise, lowercase.

Eastern. Lowercase when referring to regions. Capitalize in reference to culture and customs [He grew up in eastern Texas. The student studies Eastern religions.].

effect. See affect, effect.

e.g. Means “for example” and is followed by a comma; often confused with i.e., which means “that is.”

either. By itself, takes a singular verb [She would not tell me if either of the men is a participant.]. Nouns framed by either. . .or take a singular verb when the noun closest to the verb is singular, but a plural verb when that noun is plural [I think you can go to the play unless either the twins or Mom says you shouldn’t. She will keep playing, until either the conductor or the singers stop what they are doing.]. When used with or, both either and or must be placed immediately before and after the noun or verb to which they refer [RIGHT: He said they should either walk or drive to the picnic. WRONG: He said either they should walk or drive to the picnic.].

ellipses. See Punctuation section.

e-mail. No need to capitalize.

emerita. No italics. Feminine form of emeritus. [Mary Smith, professor of biology emerita].

emeritus. No italics. Used for masculine and gender-neutral references and is not preceded by a comma. The plural form is emeriti. [He met with Joe Smith, professor of music emeritus. We invited anyone who is an emeritus professor. A reception was held for trustees emeriti.]. For more information, see ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE TITLES under titles (of persons).

endowed chairs and professorships. See ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE TITLES under titles (of persons).

ensure. See assure, ensure, insure. These words are not interchangeable.

enthuse. Not a word. Use the phrase “to be enthusiastic about” (or over).

entitled. Primary definition is ‘deserving’; titled is preferred to mean bearing the title [The book was titled The Art of Racing in the Rain. Jim is entitled to a share of the profits because he helped to develop the product.]. See also titled.

epigraphs. Quotations used as ornaments preceding a text rather than as illustration or documentation are not set in quotation marks; rather, they receive distinctive typographic treatment. See Chicago Manual of Style for more.

et al. The abbreviation of et alia. Note punctuation in example [He joined the firm of Deveboise Plimpton et al. in June.].

etc. Should be avoided. The statement “The shopping list included fruit, cereal, and milk” leaves the impression that there were other items. If etc. is used, it should be preceded and followed by commas; likewise for “and so forth” or “and so on” [Towels, bedding, etc., are not provided. Towels, bedding, and so forth, are not provided.].

ethnic and racial designations. Identifiers such as American Indian, African American, Italian American, Latin American, and Japanese American are not hyphenated. Lowercase black and white in this context. It is important to note that different designations are acceptable to different groups when they are referring to themselves.
          References to race and ethnicity should be avoided if they are not germane to the story or text. See also stereotypes.

everybody, everyone. Take singular verbs; however, they or their are acceptable second references [Everybody had to turn in their books.].

events. Capitalize the names of recurring university events such as Homecoming and Family Weekend. Use Spring Party Weekend but finals week. To denote the year of an annual event: Reunion ’96.

exhibit, exhibition. Exhibit should be used as a verb or as a noun denoting a document or material object on display or presented as evidence [The prosecuting attorney presented the gun as exhibit number one in the case.]; an exhibition is a public showing (as of art, objects of manufacture, or athletic skill).

ex officio. Means “by virtue or because of an office.” Do not hyphenate or italicize. Used as an adjective or adverb [She serves ex officio as a member of the Alumni Council. He is an ex officio member of the committee.].

extended study. Lowercase. Off-campus trips taken as part of an academic course after the regular term is over [I went on the South Africa extended study trip.].