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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

   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

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magazine names. See titles (of original works or similar).

magna cum laude. Italicized but lowercased [He graduated magna cum laude in 1965].

MAIDEN NAMES. SEE INDIVIDUALS under names.

major. Lowercase, except for proper nouns [Colgate offers a diverse range of majors. He is an English major.]. In specific instances, the communications office publication designers might employ all capital letters or initial caps for typographical reasons at their discretion.

Colgate majors:
Africana and Latin American studies
Art and art history
Asian studies
Astrogeophysics
Biochemistry
Biology
Chemistry
Chinese
Classical studies
Classics
Computer science
Computer science/mathematics
Economics
Educational studies
English
Environmental biology
Environmental economics
Environmental geography
Environmental geology
Environmental studies
French
Geography
Geology
German
Greek
History
Humanities
International relations
Japanese
Latin
Mathematical economics
Mathematics
Molecular biology
Music
Native American studies
Natural sciences
Neuroscience
Peace and conflict studies
Philosophy
Philosophy and religion
Physical science
Physics and astronomy
Physics
Political science
Psychology
Religion
Russian and Eurasian studies
Social sciences
Sociology and anthropology
Spanish
Theater
Women’s studies

man, mankind. Avoid using when referring to men and women.

master class. Two words.

master of arts degree, master’s degree. See 

academic degrees.



matriculate. Use with at [RIGHT: He matriculated at Colgate. WRONG: He matriculated Davidson.].

me. See I, me.

media on campus.
CUTV
Forum
PRISM
Colgate Maroon-News (the Maroon-News)
Open Gate
Colgate Portfolio
Colgate Review
The Colgate Scene (the Scene)
Colgate University Television (CUTV)
Salmagundi
WRCU

medieval. See 

historical periods.



memoriam.

Mexican American. No hyphen. See also 

ethnic and racial designations.



midnight. Preferable to 12 a.m. Also, never use the two in combination [The candlelight vigil will begin at midnight (not at 12 midnight).].

mid-term recess, midterm exams.

military titles. See Chicago Manual of Style.

million (in money). The dollar sign is usually preferable to the word; do not use both at the same time [The university invested $12 million, not The university invested $12 million dollars.].

minor. Lowercase minors (except for proper nouns), except where initial caps are used for design/typographical convention in list form [Bill has a minor in creative writing, Jen’s is African American studies, and Joan’s is medieval and Renaissance studies.].
At Colgate, minors are offered in most available majors as well as:
Applied mathematics
Creative writing
Film and media studies
Jewish studies
LGBTQ studies
Linguistics
Medieval and Renaissance studies
Middle Eastern studies and Islamic civilization
Writing and rhetoric

minority, minorities. In demographic references, use traditionally underrepresented groups.

months. When used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. [His lecture took place on Feb. 15, 2013. Tony was born on April 15, 1943]. Spell out when using alone or with a year alone; no comma between month and year when no specific date appears [They decided that January was a bad time for a wedding in Alaska. He arrived in September 2004.].

more than, over. These are not interchangeable expressions. More than expresses quantity [We have more than 10 applicants]; over is an adverb expressing direction [He threw the ball over the wall].

Mother Nature. Avoid this term; simply use nature or restructure the sentence as necessary.

mottoes. See signs and notices.

movies. See titles (of original works or similar).

multicultural.

multimedia.

musical compositions. See titles (of original works or similar).

musical ensembles at Colgate.
Colgate Chamber Players
Colgate Concert Choir
Colgate Thirteen
Colgate University Concert Jazz Ensemble
Colgate University Orchestra
The Dischords
Raider Pep Band
Colgate Resolutions
Sojourners Gospel Choir
Swinging ’Gates
University Women’s Singers

Muslim. The preferred spelling over Moslem.