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.
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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
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N names. In general, follow Chicago Manual of Style guidelines unless otherwise indicated.
ALUMNI NAMES. It is preferable to always list the year of graduation with alumni names. See also MAIDEN NAMES in this entry.
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY NAMES. Capitalize “college” and “university’” and other similar terms only when part of a formal name; lowercase otherwise [Colgate University, Hamilton College, California Academy of Sciences, the university, the college, the academy, the institute; Colgate, Princeton, and Yale universities]. On first reference in all stories, always spell out the proper name of an institution in full; second and subsequent references may be referenced in abbreviated forms. [Stanford University, not Stanford; California State University, not Cal State; Virginia Military Institute rather than VMI]. For correct names of colleges and universities, consult the institution’s website.
COURTESY/SOCIAL TITLES: Should be abbreviated at all times, following Chicago Manual of Style guidelines; however, in text, use courtesy titles Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Ms. only in the following circumstances: (1) for clarification in distinguishing among two or more individuals with the same last name, (2) for a married woman whose first name is unknown or who requests that her husband’s first name be used [Mrs. James Smith], or (3) In
letters to the editor (Colgate Scene) when the writer is referring to the author of another letter [In his letter published in the January Scene, Mr. Jones states that he disagreed with that assessment].
Use Professor, not Doctor, when preceding a faculty member’s name, although for publications, identifying individuals instead by discipline or academic title is most preferred [biologist Jim Smith; Jody Brown, assistant professor of geography). Dr. is meant only for individuals who hold a medical degree; drop Dr. after the first reference. Also, drop Dr. if the degree is used [Dr. John Smith; John Smith, MD].
DIVISIONS, DEPARTMENTS, OFFICES, AND PROGRAMS. Uppercase when using the formal name [the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Office of Admission, Department of English]. Lowercase informal names [natural sciences division, admission office, women’s studies, English department].
GENERIC REFERENCES. For second and subsequent references, use generic names or terms in lowercase [Office of Admission, admission office, the office; Colgate University, the university].
GENUS AND SPECIES. Capitalize Latin generic plant and animal names and lowercase species names; italicize both. On second reference the genus may be abbreviated [Esox lucius, E. lucius].
INDIVIDUALS. Use the last name only without a modifier on second reference [Provost and Dean of the Faculty Douglas Hicks announced a new plan on Tuesday. The plan, Hicks said, would...]. The official reference source for names (and professional titles) of faculty and staff members is the Colgate University Catalogue; however, academic or professional titles should be verified with the person or department because promotions or
employment changes can make catalogue entries outdated. The directory on www.colgate.edu can also serve as a reference.
INITIALS. No space between two initials [H.L. Mencken].
NICKNAMES. Should be contained within quotation marks [Joe “Bubba” Smith]. A nickname should only be used in place of a person’s name when it is the way the individual prefers to be known [Jimmy Carter].
MAIDEN NAMES. Use of maiden names to identify married women can take several different forms, depending upon individual preferences. For a Colgate alumna who has taken her husband’s name, insert the name under which she was known as a student in parentheses [known as Colleen Jones as a student, and now married, refer to her as Colleen (Jones) Batcher ’92].
A married woman who retains her maiden name should always be identified as such [Geraldine Ferraro (whose husband is John Zaccaro) is not called Mrs. John Zaccaro or Mrs. Geraldine Zaccaro].
JR., II, ETC. Not preceded or followed by a comma [John Jones Jr.; Eric Brown II (not 2nd)].
STATE NAMES. The names of states, territories, and possessions of the United States should always be given in full when standing alone or on first reference. With with city, state, constructions, use standard abbreviations as in states.
Native American. No hyphen. American Indian is also acceptable; however, some use the terms interchangeably, while others prefer one over the other. In many cases, the tribal affiliation is the most appropriate term.
neither. Takes a singular verb [Neither Jack nor Erin was asked to participate. Neither of them wants to go anyway.]. Must be accompanied by nor, except when beginning a sentence that follows either an express negative or an idea that is negative in sense [I have neither the time nor (not or) the money to go on vacation. The dancers did not want to change the committee. Neither was the group interested in creating new fundraising ideas.]. When used with nor, both neither and nor must be placed immediately before and after the noun or verb to which they refer [RIGHT: She told me that they gave neither money nor flowers. WRONG: She told me that they neither gave money nor flowers.].
newspaper names. See books and periodicals under titles (of original works or similar).
nice. Overused, as in “I had a nice time.” The word more accurately means “precise” or “particular.”
non. In general, no hyphen when used as a prefix [nonfiction, nonprofit (but not-for-profit), nonentity].
none. When used to convey no one, or no amount, none takes a singular verb, as does everyone (every one of us) [None of us is perfect. Everyone does his own thing.].
When indicating no individuals, it takes the plural verb [None of the eligible voters are present].
When the meaning is not one, it is better to use not one than none with a singular verb [Not one of the students has passed.].
noon. Preferable to 12 p.m. Also, never use the two in combination [RIGHT: The event begins at noon. WRONG: The event begins at 12 noon.].
nor. See neither.
not only. Should be followed by but also [He is not only bright but also funny.].
noun-verb agreement. With of phrases, verb agrees with the noun following it [Four-fifths of the door was cut off. Fifty percent of the staff members were here today.].
numbers. WHOLE NUMBERS from one through nine should be spelled out; higher numbers are expressed in figures except in a direct quotation [There were 13 students in class today. “We saw an eleven percent increase over last year’s attendance figures,” he said.]. Exception: treat numbers consistently in text: if the largest number in a sentence contains three or more digits, use figures for all [There are 8 graduate students in philosophy, 23 in math, and 118 in English.].
If spelled out, the compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine are hyphenated.
Spell out a numeral if it begins a sentence [Seven hundred nine students entered the first-year class last fall]. Use a comma with numerals of 1,000 and higher.
AGES. Always use numerals [He has a 4-year-old. Pete turned 8 on Wednesday.].
CENTURIES AND DECADES. Use numerals. Hyphenate century only when used as a modifier. Take note direction and placement of apostrophe[We’ve landed in the 21st century. He’s still using 20th-century technology. Dad came of age in the ’60s].
FRACTIONS in body copy should be spelled out and hyphenated: one-half inch, two one-hundredths. When a fraction appears with a full number, it should be expressed in figures [5 1/2 or 3.5].
MONEY. Use figures in references to money, unless in a direct quotation [The budget increased by $8 million. He spent $1 on bread. “We have to come up with sixteen dollars,” he said.]. 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.].
ORDINALS. The general rule of using words versus figures applies to ordinals [He found himself in second place at midseason. Colgate ranks 15th on the U.S. News and World Report list of liberal arts colleges.]. Do not use ordinals for a date when the month is included, whether in text or as a fragment on an ad, poster, or invitation [RIGHT: I’ll see you on the 9th. The meeting is on September 9. Lecture December 12. WRONG: The concert will be on January 10th. Concert January 10th, 2013]. Avoid using superscript, especially in prose, which often interferes with line spacing in paragraphs [20th century (not 20th century), 1st (not 1st].
PERCENT, PERCENTAGES. Percentages are always given in numerals, except when beginning a sentence. In body copy, spell out the word percent; use the sign (%) in lists, or in scientific or statistical copy. Note also that no space appears between the numeral and the symbol %. See also percent, percentage.
PHONE NUMBERS. Use hyphens, not periods or parentheses [315-228-1000]. For any text that will be read off campus, it is wise to always insert 315 area code for campus numbers.