An editorial style guide for email announcements, the Colgate Magazine, colgate.edu pages and stories, brochures, newsletters, letters, and more.
NOTE: All entries, in bold type, indicate lower case or capitalization as appropriate
The Associated Press Stylebook
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (or m-w.com)
Garner’s Modern American Usage
Roget’s International Thesaurus
Colgate University Catalog
Read through several times. With each pass, look for a specific set of criteria: grammar and spelling; dates, page numbers, and factual accuracy; and fonts, tabs, spacing, and other layout concerns.
- Read aloud to yourself.
- Don’t just read the text; compare it to your original version or source materials, if available.
- Find fresh eyes. If you have originated a document, ask someone else who is not familiar with the material to proofread it for you.
- Read the entire document backward; you’d be surprised at the mistakes you can catch.
The following are the items that the communications staff members ask clients to have verified and checked before turning copy over for editorial review:
- People and proper names: spelling, job titles
- Class years
- Proprietary facts or data (information known primarily or exclusively by your office)
- Phone numbers
Consult the Associated Press Stylebook for punctuation rules not outlined below.
apostrophe. No apostrophe in uppercase abbreviations (POWs, GEs, MAs, As and Bs. Use ’70s, not 70’s). Note direction of apostrophe when it precedes numerals such as a year or decade; to achieve ’ before
numerals, on a Mac, type shift/option/closed bracket (]), and on a PC, type Alt + 0146 (use the numeric keypad and not the top number row, which will not work for this command).
PLURALS AND POSSESSIVES. In general, the possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s, and the possessive of most plural nouns by adding an apostrophe only.
The general rule applies to proper nouns (including names ending in x, z, or ce) as well as letters and numbers (Marx’s comedy, Gutierrez’s house, 2004’s rainfall record).
For singular proper names ending in s, add only an apostrophe (e.g., Achilles’ heel).
Exceptions to the general rule include nouns that are plural in form but singular in meaning, including place or organization names that are in plural form ending in s whose entity is singular (politics’ ultimate impact, the United States’ economy after World War II); words ending in an eez sound, and words and names ending in an unpronounced s (Descartes’ philosophy); and for . . . sake expressions when the noun ends in an s or an s sound (for goodness’ sake, for righteousness’ sake).
To indicate joint possession or closely linked proper names treated as a unit, use an apostrophe with the last noun only (Joe and Mary’s house). To show individual possession, make each noun possessive (Joe’s and Mary’s clothes were hung on the clothesline.). Apostrophes also imply of in the genitive case (an hour’s delay, in three days’ time). Consult the Associated Press Stylebook for other exceptions and guidelines.
brackets. Corrections, explanations, or comments within quoted material, or editor’s notes, should be bracketed (“People [here in Iraq] have the right to express themselves. That’s why I’m here.”). Brackets are also used as parentheses within parentheses: Writing courses (both in the humanities [four] and social sciences [three]) will be offered next year.
bullets. Bulleted items that conclude an introductory sentence should be lowercased and punctuated with a comma or semicolon at the end of each item except for the last. Use the word and before the last bulleted item, and end the sentence with a period.
On “extended studies” of three to four weeks, students and faculty members have:
• studied the interaction of family, work, and public policy in Denmark;
• examined the material culture of Rome and Pompeii; and
• immersed themselves in New York City theater.
Bulleted items that are not part of an introductory sentence may be upper- or lowercase and may end with either periods or no punctuation. Format should be consistent within given context and within the publication.
Colgate offers six cultural studies minors:
• African studies
• African American studies
• Caribbean studies
• Jewish studies
• Middle Eastern and Islamic studies
• Southeast Asian studies
Usually there is a space between the bullet and the first word of each item.
colon. Introduces elements or a series of elements illustrating or amplifying what precedes the colon (Colgate has four divisions: humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, and university studies.). The first word after a colon is lowercased, unless it is a proper name, it introduces a quotation, or the colon introduces two or more sentences (The program offers three things: training, counseling, and financial support. We hope to accomplish two goals: We need to get the word out about our program. We also have to raise enough money to cover two years’ worth of events. Joe had this to say: “He has had enough.”).
comma. Always use the serial comma; it prevents ambiguity. (We ate peas, ham, and macaroni and cheese.).
Use a comma to separate independent clauses that are joined by and, but, for, or, nor, because, or so (The taxi never showed up, so we took a bus.).
A dependent clause that precedes a main clause should be separated by a comma (If you don’t let go, I’m going to scream.).
Nonrestrictive words, abbreviations, phrases, or clauses in apposition to nouns (i.e., omittable, supplementary rather than essential) are set off by commas; if restrictive (i.e., essential to the noun), no commas should appear (He met his second wife, Mary, and her son John in Albuquerque [she has two sons]. They performed Neil Simon’s play Brighton Beach Memoirs last semester [Simon wrote several plays].).
Used in introductory words and phrases such as adverbial or participial phrases, especially if a slight pause is intended; a single word or very short phrase may not require a comma unless to avoid misreading (In June they established the new center. Before eating, the cat circled the dish. On the other hand, I didn’t care for that film. After the semester was over, they went home for a break. To Professor Hughes, teaching was the most enjoyable pastime.).
A comma introduces brief quoted material (colons introduce long quotations). (He said, “Oh, my gosh, it’s great to see you!”)
dash. There are two types of dashes. Neither is to be substituted with hyphens.
em dash. Used either singly or in pairs, to set off an amplifying or explanatory element (Colgate’s four divisions — humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, and university studies — work together to offer many interdisciplinary courses.). Type option-shift-hyphen or use the Symbol table under Insert in Microsoft Word. Surround em dashes with single spaces.
en dash. Used in place of to, indicating continuing or inclusive numbers, such as dates, times, or reference numbers (1944–52, June–January, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Jane Doe [1980–]). Type option-hyphen or use the Symbol table under Insert in Microsoft Word.
If the word from precedes the first element, use the word to instead of the en dash; similarly, if between precedes the first element, use and instead of the en dash. No spaces around en dashes.
Also used to link a city to a university with more than one campus or if one-half of a hyphenated term is a compound (University of California–Los Angeles; the small-animal–hospital emergency room; New York–area restaurants).
ellipses. Use three periods, surrounded by spaces (His voice trailed off. . . until he regained his composure.). If a sentence is broken across two pages, the ellipses accompanies the first portion; do not add a second ellipsis. See the Associated Press Stylebook for other guidelines.
If an ellipsis precedes a period or other punctuation, attach the mark without leaving a space (He yelled, and then his voice trailed off . . ..).
exclamation point. Should be avoided; rewrite a sentence to reflect emphasis. If used, exclamation points are placed inside quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted matter (“Put that down!”).
hyphen, hyphenated words. The trend is away from hyphenation in current usage. Although hyphens can often be omitted in commonly used words, they should be used to prevent ambiguity (He recovered from illness. She re-covered the upholstered chair.).
Compound nouns. Many compound nouns are hyphenated (sister-in-law, follow-up, one-half, well-being, 3-year-old, student-athlete).
Some noun compounds are NOT hyphenated (day care, vice president).
Some noun compounds are written as one word (campuswide, coursework, database, fundraising, horseback, kickoff, lifelong, nationwide, online).
Compound numbers: hyphenate the written form from twenty-one to ninety-nine, as well as fractions (One-half of my contribution went to the Annual Fund. Six hundred and thirty-three people attended the event.).
Compound adjectives. Some compound adjectives are hyphenated (10-foot pole, 5-foot-3 inch–tall person, 18th-century poets, 250-pound foot locker, all-inclusive measures, blue-green water, cost-effective spending, low-level toxic waste, long-lived ancestors, matter-of-fact comment, problem-solving skills).
Some compound adjectives are not hyphenated (eastern European countries, food service industry, health care plan).
Some compound adjectives are written as one word (fivefold decrease, nonprofit agency, statewide budget cuts).
Adverb-verb compounds. Hyphenated, but not when the adverb ends in ly (an ill-fated attempt, a thinly veiled disguise, a well-marked road).
Prefixes. Words with prefixes carry a hyphen when the prefix stands alone (over- and understated, macro- and microeconomics). Words formed with co- are also usually spelled without a hyphen, but note the exceptions (co- chairman, co-editor, co-host, cooperate, co-op, co-opt, co-president, coworker, co-wrote).
Use a hyphen between a prefix and a proper name (mid-Atlantic, pre-Colgate, pro-Kmart).
Capitalization. When hyphenated words appear in titles, capitalize both words (Fifteenth-Century Dynasty, High-Level Meetings)
parentheses. Use parentheses to include useful information for the reader: James began his run up High Street (he liked to warm up with a steep incline) and headed out toward the boardwalk.
Use parentheses to enclose numbers or letters that denote items in a list: The agenda will include (1) brainstorming, (2) ice-breaker exercises, and (3) lunch.
Punctuation: Place the period outside the closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a complete sentence [Instead of taking lunch at a normal time (such as noon), he waited until 2 p.m.].
In parenthetical material that is a complete sentence but is dependent on the surrounding material, lowercase the first word, and do not end with a period: We ate lunch in the sunroom (it was too cold to be outside) and then watched a movie.
A complete sentence within parentheses that does not stand within another sentence has the end punctuation before the closing parenthesis: And then he ate. (He was famished.)
period. Single space, not double space, after periods (likewise with colons and semicolons).
When a URL or an email address ends the sentence, use a period.
quotation marks. Quotation marks are used to enclose a direct quotation and titles of short works such as articles, songs, poems, and lectures (see titles [of original works or similar] for more).
Whether single or double, closing quotation marks follow a period or comma, and precede a colon or semicolon (“Let’s go,” he said. She sang “America”; he applauded.).
A dash, question mark, or exclamation point falls within the quotation marks when they refer only to the quoted matter; they fall outside when they refer to the whole sentence (“You’ve got to be kidding!” he exclaimed. How many times are you going to say “I don’t know”?).
Use single quotes within double quotes (The man said, “I heard her say, ‘Don’t do it!’ and then I left.”)
When a quotation is longer than one paragraph, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph but only at the end of the last paragraph.
When preparing a manuscript in Microsoft Word, take care to note that the “smart quotes” function is turned on in order to enable “curly quotes.”
semicolon. Use a semicolon when you want to tie together two main clauses rather than keeping them as two sentences (It was really hot today; we ate ice cream.).
Use when element(s) in a series involves internal commas (Always consult a doctor when you have a fever, blisters, or severe headache; have a history of high blood pressure in your family; or if the pain persists for more than two days.).
Use a semicolon to link independent clauses connected by consequently, however, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, and therefore (I would like to leave at 3 p.m. today; therefore, I plan to work through my lunch hour to make up the time. He planned to go to the concert; however, he had a flat tire and missed it entirely.).
special formatting/typographic matters. Use one space, not two, following any mark of punctuation that ends a sentence, whether a period, question mark, exclamation point, or closing quotation marks.
All punctuation marks should appear in the same font (roman or italic) as the main or surrounding text, except for punctuation that belongs to a title or an exclamation in a different font (The book is titled The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but everyone knows it as just Huckleberry Finn. Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! was a favorite in my class.).
academic degrees. Use apostrophes in bachelor’s degree, master’s, etc., but no apostrophe with bachelor of arts or master of arts in teaching. Lowercase degrees, including disciplines, except for proper nouns [master’s degree in English literature, master of arts in teaching degree].
No periods in abbreviations MAT, MA, MS, AB, PhD, etc. Avoid redundancies such as Dr. John Smith, MD.
The undergraduate degree awarded by Colgate is officially an artium baccalaureus. For editorial purposes, the communications office uses the vernacular: bachelor’s degree, bachelor of arts, or BA.
academic leave of absence (lowercase)
academic titles. See titles (of persons).
acronyms. For well-known acronyms [NFL, NSF, NEA], periods are not necessary. On first reference, spell out institutional acronyms that may be unfamiliar to the audience (the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education, rather than the COVE), put the acronym in parentheses, and then use the acronym throughout.
administrative titles. See titles (of persons).
admission(s). At Colgate, the department is referred to in the singular case (admission office), but use “college admissions” when talking about the concept in general.
adviser. Not advisor, unless it is spelled that way as part of a person’s official title.
affect, effect. Affect is a verb meaning “to influence” or “to make an impact upon” (Exposure to sun affects your skin.). Effect is a noun; otherwise, as a verb, it means “to bring about or to execute” (We measured the effects of sun on skin. He was hired to effect change in the department.).
African American. No hyphen for either the noun or the adjective.
ages. Always use numerals.
alma mater. Lowercase, no italics, both when referring to Colgate as the school from which one has graduated or the song.
alumni. Use alumnus for an individual who identifies as male, alumna for an individual who identifies as female, alumni for a group of male-identifying people, alumnae for a group of female-identifying people. Use alumni when referring to a group composed of men and women (never “alumni/ae”). The gender-neutral term is graduate, or grad for informal writing.
You should not use alum or alums in writing because they are colloquial terms; use only in informal direct quotations and when the meaning is clear (because alum is also a type of chemical compound).
When appropriate, consider using the alternative graduate to reduce repetition.
Note: It is preferable to always identify alumni with the class year in publications. Anyone who has attended Colgate for at least one semester is considered an alumna or alumnus, regardless of whether or not the individual actually graduated from Colgate.
Alumni Council. Formerly called the Alumni Corporation Board of Directors.
Alumni Memorial Scholars program
alumni names and class years. See class years.
Alumni of Color organization (can be abbreviated to AOC on second reference)
a.m. TIME: Lowercase, with periods (not AM or am). For more on time style, see time. RADIO: Use FM and AM (WRCU 90.1 FM).
American Indian. No hyphen. Native American is also acceptable; however, while some use the terms interchangeably, others prefer one over the other. In many cases, the tribal affiliation is the most appropriate term.
ampersand. Use only when it is an official part of a name or title (formal name) (AT&T, Simon & Schuster). Never use in body copy in place of and.
and/or. Avoid this construction; rephrase instead.
annual. An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held for at least two successive years (RIGHT: We held the first Colgate Arts! Festival in 2005 and hope it becomes an annual event. WRONG: He attended the first annual Madison County Hopfest.).
annual fund. Lowercase in general references; the University’s official program name is the Colgate Annual Fund. (The campaign will boost contributions to the annual fund. He gave a gift to the Colgate Annual Fund.)
apostrophe. See punctuation section.
archaeology/archaeologist. Not archeology/archeologist.
artist-in-residence. Hyphenate before a name and when part of a formal title. (Kenny Barron served as the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation artist-in-residence. We talked to artist-in-residence Jean Smith.) After a name or in generic references, no hyphen. (Colgate sponsors several artists in residence each year.)
as/like. As is a conjunction linking two clauses (Do as I do.); like is a preposition introducing a comparison (My house is like a barn.). As is not a substitute for because or for example (RIGHT: I missed the dinner dance because I was sick. WRONG: I missed the dinner dance, as I was sick.).
Asian American. No hyphen for either the noun or the adjective.
assure, ensure, insure. Assure means “to inform with the intent of removing doubt.” Ensure means “to guarantee.” Insure means “to establish a contract for insurance.”
athletics. Colgate athletics teams are known as Raiders; athletes who identify as female are not called Lady Raiders. It is the Department of Athletics or athletics department, not the athletic department.
athletics facilities. See buildings and sites.
Athletics Hall of Honor. Recognizes extraordinary alumni athletes.
attribution. Attribute statements that are not widely known or that are a matter of opinion and subject to disagreement (Twenty-five percent of Colgate’s annual expenditure on financial aid is drawn from the endowment, according to a recent report.). Also see “said, says.”
baccalaureate. Noun meaning bachelor’s degree, a sermon to a graduating class, or the service during which the sermon is delivered. Not baccalaureate degree, which would be repetitive.
bachelor of arts degree, bachelor’s degree. See also academic degrees.
Benton Scholars Program
Bicentennial. Capitalize when specifically referring to Colgate’s celebration of 200 years.
black. Lowercase, even when referring to a person’s race.
Blackmore Media Center. Named for Robert L. Blackmore ’41.
Board of Trustees. The board or a University trustee (lowercase) on second reference.
bookstore. The official name is the Colgate Bookstore. (I bought my sweatshirt at the bookstore. Visit the Colgate Bookstore for textbooks and Colgate gear.)
brackets. Use to add explanations or corrections to quoted material (“I told him [Joe] I’d meet him there.”) or as parentheses within parentheses.
Broad Street community
buildings and sites. Capitalize the names of buildings, including the word “building” if it is a part of the formal name. In general, capitalize Quad, the Hill.
FORMAL NAMES OF COLGATE BUILDINGS AND LANDMARKS. Colloquial and explanatory names or descriptors, as well as locations and alternative names/common second references, appear in parentheses. When referring to a specific room or location for an event, include the building name [Golden Auditorium, Little Hall]. This listing includes several properties that are owned by Colgate in the village.
ALANA Cultural Center
Andy Kerr Stadium
Frederick H. Dunlap Stands
Lahar-Abeltin Press Box
Angert Family Climbing Wall
Base Camp (Outdoor Education’s home)
Beyer-Small ’76 Field (soccer)
Charles H. Sanford Field House (Sanford Field House is usually sufficient)
Class of 1932 Track
Maroon Council Room
Class of 1965 Arena
Steven J. Riggs ’65 Rink
Tighe P. Sullivan ’83, P’16,’17,’19 Reception Suite (Sullivan Suite is usually sufficient)
Glendening Boathouse (on Lake Moraine)
Harry H. Lang Cross Country and Fitness Trail
Hooks Wiltse Field at the Eaton Street Softball Complex
J.W. Abrahamson Memorial Courts (tennis)
Lahar-Abeltin Press Box
Lineberry Natatorium (pool)
Mark P. Buttitta ’74 Varsity Weight Room
Reid Athletic Center
R.L. Browning ’37 Track
Sanford Field House (see Charles H. Sanford Field House)
Seven Oaks Golf Club
Perkin-Sumption Practice Area
Trudy Fitness Center
Tyler’s Field (outdoor artificial surface)
Van Doren Field (soccer field)
Patricia Doyle Caprio Presidents’ Club Leadership Reception Center
Rosensweig Seminar Room
Schlein Family Lobby
Brehmer Theater (in Dana Arts Center)
Campus Safety Department
Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology (Case Library or Case-Geyer is usually sufficient)
Anita Grover MD ’74 and Tom Hargrove P’14 Digital Learning and Media Center (Digital Learning and Media Center is sufficient)
Chobani at the Hieber Cafe
Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research
Center for Women’s Studies
Colgate Memorial Chapel (use the chapel or Memorial Chapel on second reference)
Judd Chapel (on the Garden Level)
Conant House (home of the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services)
Cooley Science Library (official name is George R. Cooley Science Library)
Coop, the (O’Connor Campus Center)
COVE, the (Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education)
Dana Arts Center
Foggy Bottom Observatory
Frank Dining Hall, Curtiss E. (Frank Dining Hall is usually sufficient)
George R. Cooley Science Library (Cooley Science Library or the science library is usually sufficient)
Hamilton Movie Theater
James B. Colgate Hall
James C. Colgate Hall
Hall of Presidents
Ho Lecture Room
W.M. Keck Center for Language Study
Eric J. Ryan Studio (Ryan Studio)
Longyear Museum of Anthropology
Love Auditorium (in Olin Hall)
Mat at Parker Commons, the
Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (the COVE on second reference)
O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop)
Paul J. Schupf Studio Arts Center
Picker Art Gallery
Preston Hill Apartments
Residences (for students)
Fraternity and sorority houses
Beta Theta Pi (88 Broad Street)
Delta Delta Delta (84 Broad Street)
Delta Upsilon (66 Broad Street)
Gamma Phi Beta (72 Broad Street)
Kappa Kappa Gamma (40 Broad Street)
Phi Delta Theta (114 Broad Street)
Phi Kappa Tau (92 Broad Street)
Theta Chi (52 Broad Street)
94 Broad Street (Hancock Commons Social House)
100 Broad Street
104 Broad Street
110 Broad Street (Brown Commons Social House)
113 Broad St. Complex (Brigham, Read, Whitnall, Shepardson houses)
Core (common space, home to the Shaw Wellness Institute)
Asia Interest House (118 Broad Street)
Bryan Complex (Parke, Cobb, Russell, and Crawshaw houses, home of the Harlem Renaissance Center)
Class of 1934 House (49 Broad Street)
Curtis Hall (home to the satellite student health clinic and Haven: Sexual Violence Resource Center)
Cushman House (102 Broad Street, Ciccone Commons Social House)
Jane Pinchin Hall
La Casa Pan-Latina Americana (49 Broad Street)
Loj, the (70 Broad Street)
Ralph J. Bunche House (Bunche House, 80 Broad Street)
University Court Apartments
Brown Commons (East, Andrews, Gate House, Burke, 100 Hamilton Street, 110 Broad Street)
Ciccone Commons (Curtis, Drake, 102 Broad Street)
Dart Colegrove Commons (Stillman, West, Pinchin)
Hancock Commons (Bryan Complex, 94 Broad Street)
Raab House (president’s residence)
Robert H.N. Ho Science Center (Ho Science Center is usually sufficient)
Cunniff Commons (atrium)
Ho Tung Visualization Lab (informally called the Vis Lab)
Meyerhoff Auditorium (101 Ho Science Center)
Robert M. Linsley Geology Museum
Saperstein Jewish Center
Golden Family Chapel
Student Health Center
Trudy Fitness Center
capitalization. When in doubt, use lowercase. In addition to grammatical correctness and style, the idea is to make text easy on the eyes for your reader. Capitalize proper nouns, not generic words that refer to proper nouns. In specific instances, the communications office publication designers might employ all capital letters or initial caps for typographical reasons at their discretion.
For a particular word or phrase, if there is no listing in this style guide, consult the Associated Press Stylebook or the Meriam-Webster dictionary.
Do not capitalize Colgate majors, minors, programs of study, divisions, departments, or offices unless as a typographic style in list copy or when referring to an official title (He is a biology major. Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Office of Admission, Department of English, but natural sciences division, admission office, environmental studies program, English department).
Names of formal committees are capitalized, but general references to committees are not (He is a member of the Alumni Council Nominations Committee. I am on the marketing committee to advertise that program.).
Lowercase common words such as college, university, or state when listing several institutions with the same designation (We visited Colgate, Bucknell, and Lehigh universities. Both New York and Washington states passed an increased budget this year.).
captions (photo). Requires a period if caption is a full sentence, no period if a sentence fragment (Katy Graf ’06 wanders through the rooms in a residential dwelling in Pompeii. Selling organic produce at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market).
A good caption will enhance and clarify that which is not immediately apparent in the photo. In some cases, simply the name of the individual shown will suffice; use no period after a name line.
catalog. This is the preferred spelling in American English. Do not use “catalogue.”
Center for Freedom and Western Civilization
Center for Language and Brain
Center for Leadership and Student Involvement
Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research
Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE). Formally called the Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education.
Center for Women’s Studies
central New York (note lowercase c)
century, centuries. See numbers.
chair, chairman, chairperson. Chair is used both as a verb and a noun and is widely regarded as the best gender-neutral choice (He chaired the meeting. The chair recognizes the congressman. Susan Jones, chair of the admission committee.).
You may, however, use chairman or chairwoman with specific references when the gender of the person is clear, or according to the preference of the person to whom you are referring. For an explanation of proper usage of chair in vs. professor of, see ACADEMIC TITLES under titles (of persons).
chapel. Lowercase unless using the official name of the building, Colgate Memorial Chapel.
city, state. Place one comma between the city and state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence or indicating a dateline (He traveled to Nashville, Tenn., from Syracuse, N.Y.).
Class of. When referring to a specific class, capitalize (He is a member of the Class of 1999.).
class years. To denote class year on a graduate’s name, use John Jones ’89 (no comma between name and year).
Keyboard command: To achieve an outward-facing apostrophe before class year numerals, on a Mac, use shift/option/apostrophe; on a PC, use control/shift/apostrophe.
If someone graduated from a class year for which the first two numbers need to be specified in order to eliminate confusion about the century (1919 vs. 2019), use the full year and add “Class of” beforehand. (RIGHT: John Smith, Class of 1919; Sam Jones ’19 [for the Class of 2019]).
For Colgate couples, place the class years adjacent to the names (Sam ’01 and Amy [Smith] ’03 Jones came to the reunion.).
For Colgate couples who are parents: Put their class years after their first names and their parental designations after their last name: Bob ’80 and Sylvia ’81 Smith P’11,’20.
For grandparents: Add GP and the student(s) class year(s) (Bob Smith GP’17, Bob Smith GP’17,’19).
For honorary degree recipients, use James Jones H’95 (no space between H and the apostrophe).
For master’s degree recipients, use Eric Brown MA’88, Jenny Jones MAT’99 (no space between degree and the apostrophe).
For parental designation, add a P with the student(s) class year(s). Separate multiple student class years with commas (Bruce F. Wesson ’64, P’90,’93; Michael J. Herling ’79, P’08,’09,’12). If a person has a Colgate degree, an honorary degree, and is a parent, keep the person’s degrees together and then list parental designation (Daniel C. Benton ’80, H’10, P’10).
Possessives: Find a way to rephrase to avoid making the class year possessive (RIGHT: We found the dog belonging to John Jones ’89 running around. WRONG: We found John Smith ’89’s dog running around.).
classics, classical. See also historical periods.
co-author, co-chair, co-wrote. See more in punctuation section.
coed (coeducational). Don’t use coed as a noun (use female student); coed may be used as an adjective (He chose to live in coed housing.).
Colgate Magazine, the. The official magazine of Colgate University.
Colgate Maroon-News, the. Colgate’s student newspaper. Use the Maroon-News on second reference. For those composing obituaries, note the following in order to accurately specify a person’s involvement: From 1968 to 1991, there were two student papers, the Colgate Maroon (founded 1916) and the Colgate News; the two merged in 1992.
Colgate University. Use Colgate or the University on second reference. It is preferable on second reference to refer to Colgate as “the University” rather than “the college.”
Colgate University Catalog
commas. Use the serial (Oxford) comma before “and” as well as “or” in a series to ensure clarity (Joe ate peas, ham, and bread. Jen went swimming with the divers, Sam, and Ed [to make clear that Sam and Ed are not the divers, but rather, joined Jen and a group of divers]). Likewise, for the final in a series separated by semicolons, the last two elements should be separated by a semicolon (Carmella, Meadow, and AJ Soprano; Oscar, Lucille, and Buster Bluth; and Michael, Kay, and Don Corleone met at the restaurant.). See also the punctuation section.
commencement. Lowercase, except when referring to a specific event (He celebrated his commencement in 1988. We attended Commencement 2003.).
committees. Names of formal committees are capitalized, but general references to committees are not (He is a member of the Alumni Council Nominations Committee. I am on the marketing committee to advertise that program.).
commons, the. See Residential Commons.
community leader. On second reference, abbreviate to CL. This is a student residential life position; serves as a mentor and resource in student residences (akin to an RA).
compose, comprise, constitute. These terms are not interchangeable. Compose means to create or put together. It can be used in both the active and passive voice. (Johnny Marks ’31 composed “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” That yarn is composed of merino wool, silk, and linen.) Comprise means “to contain, include all, or embrace” and is best used only in the active voice; the whole comprises its parts. Not to be used with of (This nation comprises 50 states.). Constitute is often the best choice when neither compose nor comprise seems to fit (A hundred milligrams constitutes a gram. Six girls and five boys constitute the soccer team.).
- Listserv. Capitalize this trademarked name.
- login, logon, logoff. As a verb, use two-word form (log in to a network, log on to a computer).
- offline, online
- web, website, webcam, webcast, webpage
When listing web addresses in print materials, it is not necessary to include http and/or www. (e.g., Colgate.edu).
concentration. The official term is major at Colgate (Colgate offers a range of majors. He is an English major.). For a complete list, see Colgate.edu/majors.
Lowercase the names of majors except for proper nouns and where initial caps are used for design/typographical convention in list form (environmental biology, English, Romance languages and literatures).
conference titles. Full official names of conferences and symposia should be capitalized (1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development). Don’t treat appendages such as “annual meeting” as part of titles; lowercase them (27th annual Alumni Council meeting).
core. Lowercase unless using the formal title, Liberal Arts Core Curriculum (Brian took three core courses during his first year. The core program is a hallmark of a Colgate education.).
course titles. Use roman type with initial caps; no quotation marks or italics necessary (As a junior, he took Religion 332: Contemporary Religious Thought.).
credits (academic). The term credit hours is redundant; use credits.
credits (photo). If supplying photographs to the Office of Communications for a publication or webpage, please be sure to supply the name of the photographer.
cum laude. Italicized but lowercased.
dash. See punctuation section.
data. Uses a plural verb (The data are complete.).
dates, days. Use month-day-year sequence with comma before and after year (On June 29, 1995, they left for Portugal.). No comma when only the month and year are used (June 1995). Also, June 29, not June 29th — the “th” is used in place of the month (I’ll see you on the 29th. Our meeting is scheduled for June 29.) Abbreviate months only when specific dates follow (On Jan. 4, 2019, Max and Molly left for Colgate.).
dean’s list. Appears on award presented to students as Dean’s Award. Capitalize and punctuate as shown.
decades. Use either words or numbers, but remain consistent (She grew up in the ’80s, whereas he grew up in the ’90s. The sixties and seventies were a time of political and social turbulence.). If using numbers, do not add an apostrophe before an “s” (RIGHT: The 1960s, the ’60s. WRONG: The 1960’s, the ’60’s).
degrees. See academic degrees or temperature.
departments, divisions, and programs (academic). Capitalize formal names of divisions, programs, and departments (most of which begin “Department of . . .”). In body copy, informal names are lowercased, except for proper nouns (He visited the Department of Art and Art History, but took courses in the English department and the philosophy department. She called the humanities division but also contacted the Division of Social Sciences. He participates in outdoor education activities, but he works for the Outdoor Education Program.).
FORMAL NAMES AT COLGATE
- Division of Arts and Humanities
- Department of Art and Art History
- Department of the Classics
- Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
- Department of English
- Department of German
- Department of Music
- Department of Philosophy
- Department of Religion
- Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
- Department of Theater
- Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Department of Biology
- Department of Chemistry
- Department of Computer Science
- Department of Geology
- Department of Mathematics
- Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Department of Psychology
- Division of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics
- Department of Athletics
- Department of Physical Education and Recreation
- Outdoor Education Program
- Division of Social Sciences
- Department of Economics
- Department of Educational Studies
- Department of Geography
- Department of History
- Department of Political Science (includes International Relations Program)
- Department of Sociology and Anthropology
- Division of University Studies
- Africana and Latin American Studies Program
- Asian Studies Program
- Environmental Studies Program
- Film and Media Studies Program
- Jewish Studies Program
- LGBTQ Studies Program
- Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
- Linguistics Program
- Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program
- Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Program in
- Native American Studies Program
- Peace and Conflict Studies Program
- Russian and Eurasian Studies Program
- Women’s Studies Program
- Writing and Rhetoric, Department of
- Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS)
departments, administrative. Capitalize formal names of programs and departments (many of which begin “Office of”); lowercase informal references. (For more information, contact the Office of Admission. He stopped by the admission office. He participated in several human resources training programs.).
FORMAL NAMES OF COLGATE ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENTS
- Academic Support and Disability Services
- Accounting and Control, Office of
- Admission, Office of
- ALANA Cultural Center
- Alumni Relations, Office of
- Athletic Communications, Office of
- Budget and Decision Support, Office of
- Campus Safety Department
- Career Services
- Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI)
- Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research
- Center for Women’s Studies
- Chaplains, Office of the
- Colgate Annual Giving (annual giving on second reference)
- Colgate Bookstore
- Colgate University Press
- Communications, Office of
- Conference Services and Summer Programs, Office of
- Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations, Office of (grants office)
- Counseling and Psychological Services, Office of
- Dean of the College, Office of the
- Dining Services, Colgate
- Document Services
- Emergency Management, Office of
- Environmental Health and Safety, Office of
- Equity and Diversity, Office of
- Facilities Department
- Finance and Administration, Division of
- Financial Aid, Office of
- Fraternity and Sorority Advising, Office of
- Haven: Sexual Violence Resource Center
- Human Resources Department
- Japanese Studies Center
- Information Technology Services
- Institutional Advancement
- Institutional Planning and Research, Office of
- International Student Services, Office of (OISS)
- Investment, Office of
- LGBTQ+ Initiatives, Office of
- Libraries, Colgate University
- Mail Services
- Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE)
- Off-Campus Study, Office of
- Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics, Division of
- Picker Art Gallery
- President, Office of the
- Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Office of the
- Purchasing Office
- Registrar, Office of the
- Residential Life, Office of
- Robert A. Fox ’59 Leadership Institute
- Robert Ho Center for Chinese Studies
- Shaw Wellness Institute
- Special Collections and University Archives
- Student Health Services
- Sustainability, Office of
- Treasurer, Office of the
- Undergraduate Studies, Office of (OUS)
- University Relations
- Upstate Institute at Colgate University (Upstate Institute is usually sufficient)
- Writing and Speaking Center
dimensions. When dimensions (including fractions) appear in body copy, use numerals (He used an 8 1/2 by 11–inch piece of paper. The room was 9.5 by 12 feet. It was a 9- by 12-foot room.).
disabilities. According to TASH (formerly The Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps), phrases such as the handicapped and the retarded should never be used; the phrase people with disabilities is preferable. In general, phrases such as persons with severe disabilities and children with autism are appropriate, emphasizing the person, rather than the disability. As well, disabled is preferable to handicapped, and rather than using wheelchair bound or afflicted with ALS, say uses a wheelchair or has ALS.
Distinction, High Distinction. Special academic designations earned through elective courses in Colgate’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum.
distribution requirement. Lowercase.
Division I (note Roman numeral I, not Arabic number 1)
doctor, Dr. For professors, do not use Dr. as a prefix; professor is the proper term. Identify individuals instead by title or professional area (biologist Sam Smith; Rob Jones, geography professor).
Use Dr. only in the first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of medicine or veterinary medicine degree (Dr. Jonas Salk is credited with creating the polio vaccine. Salk died in 1995.).
dollars. 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.).
dormitory, dorm. Residence hall is the preferred term.
dos and don’ts. Not do’s and don’t’s.
drink, drank, drunk. Drink is the present tense of the verb, drank is the past tense, and drunk is the past participle (or, the state of intoxication). Drank and drunk are not interchangeable. (I like to drink milk. He drank the juice. The water was drunk by the runners. She had drunk the coffee. The man was clearly drunk.)
drop/add period. Lowercase.
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.”
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.).
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.
et al. The abbreviation of et alia. Note punctuation in example (He joined the firm of Debevoise 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. (Towels, bedding, etc., 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.
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.).
Facilities Department (formerly known as buildings and grounds)
faculty, staff. Both words are collective nouns. They refer to groups of people, yet they take singular verbs. In addition, as collective nouns, in most cases both terms require “member” to accompany them (RIGHT: We have called upon faculty members to assist. WRONG: We have called upon faculty to assist. RIGHT: Members of the staff will meet on Tuesday. WRONG: Staff will meet on Wednesday.).
When referring to individuals, use professor or teacher in place of faculty whenever possible. For capitalization instructions, see ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE TITLES under titles (of persons).
Family weekend. Capitalize when referring to the annual Colgate event and the year is included. Lowercase in generic references (Please join us at Family Weekend 2019. This year’s family weekend will include many events.).
farther, further. Farther is a distance word; further is a time or quantity word (One travels farther but pursues a task further.).
fellow, fellowship. Lowercase when used alone but capitalize when in combination with a name of a granting organization (an NEH Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellowship; but he was a fellow at Yaddo in 1989).
first year, first-year student, freshman. The preferred term, first-year student (or “first-year,” colloquially) is hyphenated. No hyphen when referring to time frame (I took calculus in my first year.).
first-year seminar. Lowercase. Often referred to as an FSEM.
fiscal year. Capitalize before a specific year, and lowercase when alone or after a specific year. (Alumni giving doubled in Fiscal Year 2012; our 2013 fiscal year goals will be significantly higher. Colgate’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.).
foreign words and phrases. In publications, use italics on first reference for all but the most familiar, and follow, if necessary, with an English definition of the word in parentheses or the translation of the phrase within quotation marks: Tonband (tape recorder).
freshman, freshmen. Use first-year student or first-year students instead.
Fulbright. Uppercase as shown: Fulbright Scholar Award(s), Fulbright Scholar Program, Fulbright Scholar(s), Fulbright Distinguished Fellow(s). Lowercase the following as shown: Fulbright grant, Fulbright fellowship(s), Fulbright award(s).
’gate. As an abbreviation for Colgate, lowercase in body copy; ensure that the apostrophe is facing away from the word. 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).
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).
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.
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).
graduated. Use with from (RIGHT: He graduated from Colgate. WRONG: She graduated college.).
Hall of Honor. Official name is Colgate Athletics Hall of Honor.
Hamilton Initiative, LLC
handicapped. See disabilities.
health care (two words)
healthy-living housing. Students who live in healthy-living housing choose not to allow the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs to affect the community in which they live. The term healthy living is preferred over substance free.
hearing impaired. Use deaf or hard of hearing.
High Distinction. A special academic designation earned through elective courses in Colgate’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum.
Hill, the. When referring to the hill upon which Colgate stands, it is permissible to capitalize.
historical periods. Most period designations are lowercased except for proper nouns and adjectives (classical period, baroque period, medieval literature, Victorian era, Romanesque period).
Capitalize names of widely recognized epochs in anthropology, archaeology, geology, and history (the Bronze Age, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment).
Homecoming. Capitalize to denote the annual Colgate event when the year is included, but lowercase when used generically (He attended the football game during Homecoming 2019. During the fall, homecoming events are common at universities and colleges.).
honors. Lowercase (She graduated summa cum laude with honors in English.).
hyphens. See punctuation section.
ID (No periods necessary.)
i.e. Means “that is” or “namely”; not to be confused with e.g. (which means “for example”). Usually followed by a comma and best confined to lists, parenthetical matter, and bullets.
italics. Italicize non-English words as well as the names of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, plays, movies, and works of art (see titles [of original works or similar] for more). Italicize the names of ships but not the abbreviations preceding such names: USS Midway. For proper use of punctuation in italics, see special formatting in punctuation section.
Jr. No comma before Jr. (George Smith Jr.).
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.
Konosioni. Colgate’s senior honor society.
Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs. Encouraging interdisciplinary study and debate on civic affairs and public leadership.
lay, lie. Lie means “to recline or rest”; lay means “to put down or arrange.” Use lie if the subject of a sentence is doing the action; use lay when referring to the object of a sentence. These verbs are not interchangeable. (When I got tired, I decided to lie down on the couch. She asked me to lay the papers on the desk. He laid the baby in the cradle.)
lecturer. The title lecturer should be treated as an occupational title rather than a formal title and thus should always be lowercased, even before a name.
lectures, lectureships. A lecture can be held, presented, or given. Lectureships are often endowed or underwritten, and when they have a formal name, they are capitalized (Reverend Eugene F. Rivers III was the speaker for the third annual W.E.B. and Shirley Graham DuBois Lecture Series in 2000.). For proper capitalization, see titles (of original works or similar).
LGBTQ. Refers to persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning.
Liberal Arts Core Curriculum. The formal title of Colgate’s general education program. Also referred to as the core.
lists. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of each new line, all other words (except for proper nouns) should be lowercased. In specific instances, the communications office publication designers might employ all capital letters or initial caps for typographical reasons at their discretion. Lists that are composed of sentences or sentence fragments should be punctuated consistently.
Colgate offers five interdisciplinary environmental studies majors:
- Environmental biology
- Environmental economics
- Environmental geography
- Environmental geology
- Environmental studies
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 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.
For a complete list of majors, see Colgate.edu/majors.
master of arts degree, master’s degree. See academic degrees.
matriculate. Use with at [RIGHT: He matriculated at Colgate. WRONG: He matriculated Davidson.].
medieval. See historical periods.
midnight. Preferable to 12 a.m. Also, never use the two in combination (The candlelight vigil will begin at midnight [not at 12 midnight].).
midterm recess, midterm exams
minor. Lowercase minors (except for proper nouns), unless 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.). For more information, see Colgate.edu/majors.
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 (e.g., more than 10 students); over is an adverb expressing direction (He threw the ball over the wall.).
musical ensembles at Colgate
- Directed by faculty, optional course credit
- Colgate Chamber Players
- Colgate Chamber Singers
- Colgate Concert Choir
- Colgate University Concert Jazz Ensemble
- Colgate University Orchestra
Directed by students, extracurricular
- Colgate Resolutions
- Colgate Thirteen
- The Dischords
- Raider Pep Band
- Sojourners Gospel Choir
- Swinging ’Gates
names. In general, follow the Associated Press Stylebook guidelines unless otherwise indicated.
ALUMNI NAMES. Always list the year of graduation with alumni names (John Jones ’89). See also MAIDEN NAMES in this entry.
DIVISIONS, DEPARTMENTS, OFFICES, AND PROGRAMS. Uppercase when using the formal name (the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics). Lowercase informal names (natural sciences division).
FACULTY NAMES: Use Professor, not Doctor, when preceding a faculty member’s name. 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).
INDIVIDUALS. Use the last name only without a modifier on second reference (Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jane Smith announced a new plan on Tuesday. The plan, Smith says, would be implemented in June.). Look up names (and professional titles) of faculty and staff members at colgate.edu/directory; however, academic or professional titles should always be verified with the person or department.
INITIALS. No space between two initials (H.L. Mencken).
JR., II, ETC. Not preceded or followed by a comma (John Jones Jr.; Eric Brown II).
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) ’92 Batcher.
A married woman who retains her maiden name should always be identified as such: Kyra Sedgwick (whose husband is Kevin Bacon) is not referred to as Mrs. Kyra Bacon or Mrs. Kevin Bacon.
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).
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 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 (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.).
New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium, the (on second reference, can be shortened to New York Six). This is a collaboration among six institutions (Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, and Union College) to share expertise and resources.
newspaper names. See books and periodicals under titles (of original works or similar).
non. In general, no hyphen when used as a prefix (nonfiction, nonprofit).
none. When used to convey no one, or no amount, none takes a singular verb (None of us is perfect.).
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.).
not only. Should be followed by but also (He is not only bright but also funny.).
numerals. WHOLE NUMBERS one through nine should be spelled out; higher numbers are expressed in figures.
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. (We’ve landed in the 21st century. He’s still using 20th-century technology.)
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).
MEASUREMENTS AND QUANTITIES. Always use numerals.
MONEY. Use figures in references to money. See also 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 & 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 Sept. 9. Lecture Dec. 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.
PERCENT, PERCENTAGE. Percentages are always given in numerals, except when beginning a sentence. Use the sign (%) when paired with a numeral; otherwise, spell out “percent” and “percentage(s)” in text. Note also that no space appears between the numeral and the symbol %.
PHONE NUMBERS. Use hyphens, not periods or parentheses: e.g., 315-228-1000.
off campus, off-campus. Hyphenate when used as a modifier (She did her grocery shopping off campus. She visited the off-campus grocery store.).
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.
paintings and sculpture. See ARTWORKS under titles (of original works or similar).
panel discussions. See LECTURE AND PANEL DISCUSSION TITLES under titles (of original works or similar).
Parents’ and Grandparents’ Fund
passive voice. Whenever possible, use the active voice rather than the passive (PREFERRED: The faculty rejected the committee’s proposals. LESS FAVORABLE: The proposals made by the committee were rejected by the faculty.).
periods of history. See historical periods.
personal pronouns. Always ask people what their pronouns are and use them accordingly. If the use of a plural pronoun (they, them) for a singular person causes confusion in the sentence, use the subject’s last name on second and subsequent references.
phone numbers. Use hyphens, not periods or parentheses: e.g., 315-228-1000. In text, do not include the numeral 1 before area codes. (An exception is international student–facing materials, which often include the country code and the numeral 1 [e.g., 011-1-315-228-1000].)
photo credits. See credits (photo).
Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute. Named for Harvey Picker ’36.
plays and poems. See titles (of original works or similar).
p.m. Not PM or pm. For more about time style, see time.
possessives. See plurals and possessives under apostrophe in the punctuation section.
president. Capitalize only as a formal title before one or more names (President Bill Clinton, Presidents Clinton and Bush). Lowercase in all other uses (Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy ’83 rode mountain bikes with the U.S. president at his Crawford, Texas, ranch in 2005.).
professor. Use the full formal title (Associate Professor of Psychology Jun Yoshino]) on first reference when the subject of the text focuses on the person’s position; however, most often, using an occupational reference is preferable (psychology professor Jun Yoshino). Capitalize when used as a courtesy title (We met Professor Lesleigh Cushing of the religion department today.). For more information, see ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE TITLES under titles (of persons).
publications. See titles (of original works or similar) for guidelines on text formatting for publication names.
Quad, Quadrangle. Both are acceptable references. Always capitalize when referring to the landmark on campus, which is often referred to as the Academic Quad.
quotations and quotation marks. See punctuation section.
RA, residential adviser. At Colgate, this position is called a community leader (CL).
racial and ethnic designations. Lowercase black and white in this context. Identifiers such as American Indian, African American, Italian American, Latin American, and Japanese American are not hyphenated. 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.
Raider, Raiders. Colgate’s mascot is the Raider (not Red Raider). Athletes who identify as female are not Lady Raiders.
Renaissance. See historical periods.
residence hall. Preferable to dormitory or dorm. For names, see buildings and sites.
Residential Commons. The formal name for Colgate’s living-learning program. Capitalize Residential Commons; do not capitalize the informal name, the commons.
résumé. Requires both accents or none at all.
Reunion. Capitalize when referring to the annual Colgate event and the year is included. Lowercase in generic references (Please join us at Reunion 2020. They gathered at reunion under the tents.).
Robert Hung Ngai Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative. The full name should be used on first reference. The acronym MBB can be put in parenthesis with the first mention and used subsequently.
Romance. Capitalize when referring to the group of languages developed from Latin (as French, Italian, or Spanish).
said, says. Past tense (said) is used in citing a quotation uttered by an individual at a specific time or in the past (“I always wanted to study ancient Egyptian art,” Jim Rogers said during his Oct. 13 speech.). Present tense (says) is used in all other instances in order to provide an in-the-moment feeling (“This is the best ice cream we’ve ever made,” says Ben Cohen.). Also use present tense in paraphrasing a line of thought that an individual continuously expresses (Smith says that Egyptian art is his favorite area of study.).
Salmagundi. Colgate’s yearbook.
scholarship. Lowercase except when used as part of a proper name (He won a scholarship last year. He received a Chenango Valley Scholarship.).
seasons. Lowercase, even when referring to the issue of a publication (the spring 2004 issue of the magazine).
semesters. Lowercase (e.g., the fall semester).
senior class gift (lowercase)
serial comma. See punctuation section.
series. Titles of concert, lecture, or literary series should be set in roman (plain) type without quotation marks (The Art and Art History Lecture Series was founded many years ago.).
sic. Italicize. Means “so,” “thus,” or “in this manner.” Use within brackets, in italics, after a word or passage is misspelled or wrongly used in the original, to indicate that it is intended exactly as printed. It is a complete word and needs no period (He told me, “I aint [sic] going to follow you.”).
side by side. Hyphenate only when used as a modifying phrase [Students work side by side with professors. They went on a side-by-side slalom track.].
Society of Families
split infinitives. Though not a true error, it was formerly regarded as one and is still considered offensive to some; however, it is now widely acknowledged that adverbs sometimes justifiably separate the “to” from the principal verb. (RIGHT: Officials hope to more than triple the attendance rate at next year’s banquet. WRONG: It’s a good idea to correctly spell his name in the listing. RIGHT: It’s a good idea to spell his name correctly in the listing.).
sports. Lowercase the names of sports as well as teams (Joe is captain of the Colgate hockey team and Samantha is a catcher on the softball team. Jane is a swimmer. Bill plays lacrosse).
Spring Party Weekend. Use SPW on second reference.
Sr. No comma before Sr. (Bill Jones Sr.).
staff. As a collective noun, this term refers to a group of people, yet it takes singular verbs. In addition, collective nouns such as staff (or faculty) in most cases require “member” to accompany them (RIGHT: We have called upon faculty members to assist. WRONG: We have called upon faculty to assist. RIGHT: Members of the staff will meet on Tuesday. WRONG: Staff will meet on Wednesday.). For more information, see faculty, staff.
state. Lowercase in all state of constructions, and when used as an adjective to indicate jurisdiction (state Sen. Nancy Lorraine Hoffman, state budget, the state Department of Transportation). Uppercase New York State (…funding from New York State; the New York State legislature).
states. Spell out when they stand alone in textual material. Abbreviate (see below) when used in conjunction with name of a city, town, village, or military base, except for the eight never abbreviated in textual material: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. (He grew up in New Mexico. She is from East Irondequoit, N.Y.) Also abbreviate in short-form listings of party affiliation (D-Ala., R-Mont.).
Do not use postal code except on mailing addresses. Use state of Washington or Washington State to distinguish from the District of Columbia (likewise, state of New York or New York State to distinguish from New York City).
|West Virginia||WV||W. Va.|
student-faculty ratio, student-to-faculty ratio. Use a colon (The addition of these professors would move the student-faculty ratio from 10:1 to 9:1.).
Student Government Association. Use SGA on second reference.
student organizations. Refer to getinvolved.colgate.edu for current listings, formal names, and proper spelling.
study groups. Capitalize specifically named groups as for course titles but lowercase generic references (He went on the London Art and Art History Study Group. I was a member of the Freiburg Study Group. He attended the first Washington, D.C., Study Group. I plan to find a study group in Europe.).
summa cum laude. Italicized but lowercased (She graduated summa cum laude in 1987.).
syllabus (syllabi is plural)
temperature. Do not use plus signs, minus signs, or the degree symbol when expressing temperatures in nontechnical copy. Use scale designations (Fahrenheit, Celsius) when necessary to avoid confusion. Fahrenheit, Celsius, and their abbreviations are capitalized; centigrade (used in place of Celsius) is not.
that, which. That is defining or restrictive; which is nondefining or nonrestrictive. Note that a comma precedes which, but not that. (The cup that is broken is in the sink [tells which one]. The cup, which is broken, is in the sink [states the condition of the only cup in question].).
the. Lowercase when used with organizations and with the name of newspapers and periodicals (Professor Jones was quoted in the New York Times.).
theater. Preferred usage. Use theatre only when it is part of a proper name.
therefore. As with other adverbs such as however, then, thus, hence, indeed, accordingly, and besides, a semicolon (not a comma) is needed when used transitionally between independent clauses (I’m feeling unwell; therefore, I will stay home today.).
Third-Century Plan (note hyphenation)
time. In body copy, use figures except for noon and midnight, but spell out whenever o’clock is used. (The meeting ended at 4:15 p.m. I woke up at three o’clock in the morning. We will resume at 10:30.).
Use noon and midnight rather than 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.
The abbreviations a.m. and p.m. are preferable, but if small capitals are used for typographic reasons, eliminate the periods (Her flight left at 9:32 a.m. and landed at 10 a.m. Join us at 8 PM).
titled. Not entitled when meaning “bearing the title of” (He recently published a book titled The Professor’s Son.). See also entitled.
titles (of original works and similar)
ARTWORKS. Italicize titles of paintings, drawings, statues, and other works of art (Titian, Judith with the Head of Holofernes).
BOOKS AND PERIODICALS. In publications, italicize titles and subtitles of books, pamphlets, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and sections of newspapers published separately (Mel Watkins’ Stepin Fetchit: The Life and Times of Lincoln Perry, the New York Times Book Review). If the word “magazine” is not part of the official title of the publication, it should remain lowercase and in roman type (Vogue magazine but Harper’s Magazine). In text, lowercase “the” in a newspaper’s name even if it is part of the official title (His article appeared in the New York Times.). Online publications are simply capitalized and in Roman type (e.g., Huffington Post).
COMPUTER SOFTWARE. Capitalize and set software titles in roman type (Microsoft Word, Adobe PageMaker, Banner). Italicize titles of computer games (He played Donkey Kong until Moon Patrol caught his eye.).
DANCE. Treat titles of ballets and other dance compositions according to the plays and poems guidelines (Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake was performed at SPAC in August. The Dance Theater program will offer six dances, including “Three Friends,” which was set to a pop tune and choreographed by Joan Greene.).
EXHIBITIONS. Capitalize and set in roman type, without quotation marks (The exhibition Burma: Faces in a Time of War will be on view in the gallery.).
LECTURE AND PANEL DISCUSSION TITLES. Set in roman type with initial caps on all major words, within quotation marks (He delivered a lecture titled “War, Ecology, and Environmental Pacifism” in April.).
MOVIES. Italicize (Ocean’s Twelve).
MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS. Titles of long musical compositions such as operas, oratorios, motets, and tone poems, as well as album titles, are italicized (Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Handel’s Messiah, James Taylor’s October Road]. Titles of shorter compositions and songs are set in quotation marks (“The Star-Spangled Banner”). Works that are identified by the name of the musical form (symphony, concerto, sonata, etc.) plus a number or key or both should be set in roman type without quotation marks (The Brahms Sonata for violin and piano in A major, Op. 100). Descriptive titles are italicized, but the identifying form is not (William Tell Overture).
PLAYS AND POEMS. Titles of plays, long poems, and poetry collections are italicized and titles of short poems are set in roman type within quotation marks (We read Beowulf in English 200. Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”).
PODCASTS. Italicize titles of shows (Serial) and put quotation marks around episodes (“The Alibi”).
SHORTER PUBLISHED WORKS. Set book chapters and titles of articles, short stories, or essays in roman type within quotation marks (One of my favorites from Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew short story collection is “The Mist.”).
TELEVISION PROGRAMS. Italicize program names and put episode titles in quotation marks (We watched Game of Thrones. “The Rains of Castamere” is a classic episode.).
UNIVERSITY PUBLICATIONS. As with books and periodicals, italicize the formal names of larger university publications like the Colgate University Student Handbook, but online publications like the Colgate University Catalog are not italicized. Also, informal references to publications (e.g. the student handbook) are not italicized.
UNPUBLISHED WORKS. Titles of dissertations, theses, manuscripts in collections, lectures, and papers read at seminars should be set in roman type within quotation marks.
WEBSITES. If titled, websites should be set in roman type without quotation marks (I went to google.com. I checked Yahoo!, but didn’t find what I was looking for.).
titles (of persons). In general, capitalize formal or courtesy titles (president, professor, senator) before names of individuals and lowercase them when they appear after names of individuals. Lowercase descriptive or occupational titles (teacher, attorney, coach) in all cases.
ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE TITLES. Look up names and professional titles of individual faculty and staff members at colgate.edu/directory; however, academic or professional titles should be verified with the department.
Use the full formal title. (Associate Professor of Psychology John Smith on first reference when the subject of the text focuses on the person’s position; however, most often, using an occupational reference is preferable [psychology professor John Smith].)
Capitalize titles when they precede names (President Lincoln, Professor Smith, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jones, Football Head Coach John Smith.
Lowercase titles when used as occupational identifiers or when titles follow names (Jane Jones, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies; physics professor John Smith; coach Susan Smith.
For named professorships, when listed after the name, capitalize proper nouns and professor but not the discipline or other identifier (Fred Chernoff, Harvey Picker Professor of international relations; Joe Smith, 2019-2020 Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation artist-in-residence].
Note the distinction between the formal name of an endowed chair and the appropriate title for the person holding it: chair in, but professor of (She was awarded the William Henry Crawshaw Chair in literature. Margaret Maurer, William Henry Crawshaw Professor of literature.).
OCCUPATIONAL TITLES. Titles such as lecturer or adjunct faculty member should be treated as an occupational title rather than a formal title and thus should always be lowercase, even before a name.
toward (not towards)
trademarks. Trademarks are proper nouns and should be capitalized. They should not be used in the possessive form and are never verbs. Examples of registered trademarks include Fiberglass, Frisbee, Jeep, Kleenex, Velcro, and Xerox.
trustee. Lowercase unless in front of the name of a standing trustee (He is a trustee. I met with Trustee Bill Smith.).
unique. Means “without equal.” Something cannot be “most unique” or “very unique.”
United States, U.S. Use United States as a noun and U.S. as an adjective (They visited the United States in 2004. All U.S. citizens have certain rights under the constitution.).
University. Capitalize “University” when referring to Colgate, except when used as an adjective (university-level). Examples: The University welcomed 2,400 students as part of the incoming class. The policy will be implemented universitywide.
upstate. Lowercase (He moved to upstate New York in the mid-1950s.).
Upstate Institute at Colgate University (Upstate Institute is usually sufficient.)
utilize. The word use is preferred.
very. An overused and ineffective word; to be avoided (RIGHT: He was famished. WRONG: He was very hungry.).
wait list (noun; two words), wait-listed (verb; hyphenated)
website. See computer terms.
weight. Use numerals and the abbreviations lbs. and oz. to designate a baby’s weight (Joan was 8 lbs., 5 oz. at birth.).
western. Lowercase when referring to a region. Capitalize in reference to culture and customs (He grew up in western New York. The class studied Western artists.).
which. See that, which.
who, whom. Who is used as a grammatical subject, where a nominative pronoun such as I or he would be appropriate. Whom is used where an objective (object of) pronoun such as him or her would be appropriate (To whom did you send the package? The woman whom Joe told us about passed away last week.).
work-study. Always hyphenated.
World War II (note Roman numerals, not Arabic numbers)
Writing and Speaking Center