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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

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             Punctuation - Helpful references - Proofreading tips


off campus, off-campus. Hyphenate when used as a modifier; otherwise, no hyphen. [She did her grocery shopping off campus. She visited the off-campus grocery store.].

one. In American English, using one to refer to any person in an indefinite sense is extremely formal. Unless the context is very formal, you is a preferable choice [AWKWARD: Attendance is mandatory; unless one wants to receive an F, one must be present at every session. PREFERRED: Attendance is mandatory; unless you want to receive an F, you must be present at every session.].


or. See either.

oral, verbal. Oral means “spoken”; verbal can mean “spoken” or “written.”

orchestra. Refer to the campus ensemble as the Colgate University Orchestra on first reference, and the university orchestra or the orchestra on second reference.

orthopedic. Not orthopaedic.

Outdoor Education Program. Uppercase when using the official name; lowercase in general references [He participates in outdoor education activities. She is former director of the Outdoor Education Program.].

over. See more than, over.