G Skip Navigation

Editorial Style and Usage Guide

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

Have a suggestion for the style guide? Contact Rebecca Downing at rdowning@colgate.edu

For answers to common questions, see our Quick Tips

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

   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
             Punctuation - Helpful references - Proofreading tips


’gate. As an abbreviation for Colgate, lowercase in body copy, but avoid this colloquialism unless your communiqué is particularly informal.

’Gate Card. Colgate’s official ID.

gender neutrality. Avoid gender-specific terms and titles such as policeman, chairman, foreman, mankind; use instead police officer, chair, supervisor, humanity. Use the same standards for men and women when deciding whether to include specific mention of personal appearance or marital and family situation: e.g., if you refer to a female lawyer as a blonde, also identify the male lawyer’s hair color. Avoid superfluous gender references [He is a nurse, not he is a male nurse]. Treat sports teams equally [The women’s basketball team played on Saturday while the men’s basketball game was on Sunday.]. Avoid personifying inanimate objects such as referring to cars or boats as she. See also he, him, his.

general education. Lowercase.

girl. Use woman when referring to a female 18 years old or older.

global leaders lecture series. The official name is Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate. Launched by Colgate’s Society of Families, this series allows the university to invite high-profile guests to campus.

Go, ’gate! Note comma and proper apostrophe.

government agencies. Capitalize the full proper names of agencies, departments, and offices, but lowercase modifiers [the U.S. Department of State, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Madison County Veteran’s Service Agency, but the state motor vehicles department, the county veteran’s agency].

graduated. Use with from [RIGHT: He graduated from Colgate. WRONG: She graduated college.].

grant writing.


grades, grade point average. The abbreviation for grade point average (spell out on first reference) is GPA; use GPA figures to at least one decimal point: 3.0, 2.75. No punctuation with letter grades [He received an A and three Bs].

Guggenheim. Use uppercase as shown [John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship(s), Guggenheim Fellowship(s), Guggenheim Fellow(s), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow(s)]. An individual can be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, but not a Guggenheim Fellowship Award.