An editorial style guide for e-mail announcements, the Colgate Magazine, pages and stories, brochures, newsletters, letters, and more.

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

The Associated Press Stylebook 2019

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition

Garner’s Modern American Usage

Roget’s International Thesaurus

Colgate University Catalogue

Consult the Associated Press Stylebook for punctuation rules not outlined below.

ampersand. Do not substitute for and in body copy [WRONG: He is professor of philosophy & religion. RIGHT: He is professor of philosophy and religion.]. If an ampersand is used instead of the word, such as in the name of a firm, omit the serial comma [She worked for Hardy, Smyth & Jones LLC].

apostrophe. No apostrophe in uppercase abbreviations [POWs, GEs, MAs, As and Bs. Use ’70s, not 70’s]. To avoid confusion, use an apostrophe with abbreviations that combine uppercase and lowercase letters [We offer MAs and PhD’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/apostrophe, and on a PC, type control/shift/apostrophe.

PLURALS AND POSSESSIVES. If a noun is plural and ends in s, add only the apostrophe [Both writers’ novels were accepted for publication.]. The plural of a word referred to as a word without regard to its meaning is indicated with an apostrophe and an s [You have given me too many but’s already.].

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 s, x, or z) in both singular or plural form, as well as letters and numbers [Marx’s comedy, Dickens’s novels, Gutierrez’s house, 2004’s rainfall record].

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 [Euripides’ tragedies, 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 Chicago Manual of Style for other exceptions and guidelines.

Avoid common misuses of apostrophes such as using an apostrophe with a noun that is not possessive [WRONG: Do not drive through the barrier’s. RIGHT: Do not drive through the barriers.].

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 intensive courses (both in the humanities [four] and social sciences [three]) will be held 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, the colon introduces two or more sentences, or when it introduces a quotation [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 follows exclamatory words or phases [Ah, what a nice day! Hi, there! Hey, everyone! Welcome, Colgate families! Happy birthday, Kate!].

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.]. Surround em dashes with single spaces [He said — or so I thought — that he was hungry]. Type option-shift-hyphen or use the Symbol table under Insert in Microsoft Word.
  • 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 Chicago Manual of Style 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 used sparingly in order to be effective. Resist the temptation to use double or triple exclamation points for emphasis; rewrite sentence to reflect emphasis. Using an exclamation point added in parentheses or brackets to indicate editorial protest is discouraged, because it appears contemptuous; the Latin expression sic (thus) is preferred. Exclamation points are placed inside quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted matter [“Put that down!”].

hyphenhyphenated 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. He served as a translator for non-English–speaking residents.]. See Chicago for more examples.

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, health care, problem solving, vice president].

Some noun compounds are written as one word [antitrust, campuswide, coeducation, coursework, database, fundraising, horseback, kickoff, lifelong, nationwide, nonprofit, online, reelect, semifinals, semiformal, subcommittee].

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, five-eighths seam allowance, well-known property].

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.]; however, note that the need for parentheses often indicates that a sentence is becoming awkward. If possible, rewrite the sentence, or use commas or em dashes to set off incidental material.

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 very hungry.)].

period. Single space, not double space, after periods (likewise with colons and semicolons).

When a URL or an e-mail address ends the sentence, use a period [For more information, visit].

question marks. Avoid using double question marks to express surprise or humor. [RIGHT: Are you as excited as I am? WRONG: Are you kidding me??].

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.”]

Quotation marks are used to show that the speaker or writer is using a word in an ironic or unconventional sense [This “diamond” ring is worth about 50 bucks.].

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 wish to tie together two main clauses rather than keeping them as two sentences [It was really hot today; we ate ice cream.].

Use when elements in a series involve internal punctuation or when each element is long or complex [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.].

To differentiate text, never use underlining; always use italics, boldface, different type size, or if appropriate, quotation marks. See Chicago Chapter 6 for other typographic and aesthetic considerations.

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.
  • Grab a partner. Read the original version and intended changes aloud to the other person, who should be looking at the updated version. Spell out proper names and say punctuation aloud.
  • 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 backwards; you’d be surprised at the mistakes you can catch!

Following are the items that the communications staff asks 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)
  • Dates
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers

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. Avoid redundancies such as Dr. John Smith, MD.

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 university acronyms that may be unfamiliar to the audience [Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education,
rather than the COVE].

Do not start a sentence with an acronym [RIGHT: Joe Smith, a COVE member, attended. WRONG: COVE member Joe Smith attended.].

With acronyms, the choice of a or an is determined by the way the abbreviation would be read aloud [an awful sound, an hour’s time, an NCAA ruling, a NATO response, a UFO, an HIV test].

addresses. In body copy, use commas to set off individual elements in addresses or place names. No comma between street name and an abbreviation such as NW [Colgate University, 13 Oak Dr., Hamilton, N.Y., 13346].

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. Both African American and blackare acceptable, although they are not always interchangeable.

ages. Always use numerals [She has a 3-year-old daughter. They have two children: Damian, 9, and Savannah, 4 1/2.].

agree to/agree with. One agrees to a plan, but a thing agrees with another thing [One agrees in principle, agrees on
a plan of attack, agrees to fly, agrees with his mate].

ALANA. Acronym for African American, Latin American, Asian American, or Native American, as in Colgate’s ALANA Cultural Center.

all right. Preferable to alright [All right, let’s get down to business. Before we leave, I’ll make sure everything is all right in the barn.].

alma mater. Lowercase, no italics, both when referring to Colgate as the school from which one has graduated or the song.

although. Preferred to though in writing.

alumni. Use alumnus for an individual male, alumna for an individual female, alumni for a group of males, alumnae for a group of females, and alumni when referring to a group composed of men and women (never “alumni/ae”).

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. In certain instances (i.e., where the degree status is pertinent), an alumnus or alumna who did not graduate from Colgate is referred to with an NG before the class year: Fred Schunck NG’36, but in publications, use the simpler and more inclusive Fred Schunck ’36.

Alumni Council. Formerly called the Alumni Corporation Board of Directors.

alumni names and class years. See class years.

a.m. TIME: Lowercase, with periods (not AM or am). For more on time style, see time. RADIO: Use FM and AM [Doc Miller’s show is on WRCU 90.1FM.].

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.

among, between. Among implies more than two objects; between is used when referring only to two objects.

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 can not 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.

archaeology/archaeologist. Not archeology/archeologist.

art exhibitions. See exhibitions under titles (of original works or similar).

artist-in-residence. Hyphenate before a name, and when part of a formal title. Follow capitalization rules according to titles (of persons). [Kenny Barron served as the 2002-2003 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.].

Asian American. No hyphen for either the noun or the adjective. 

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.].

as per. Do not use; it is redundant for the Latinism per (see also per.). Instead, use one of the terms it is often used to mean: “in accordance with” or “at” [In accordance with (not as per) the guidelines, we registered for the conference before September 15. At (not as per) his suggestion, I called the mayor.].

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.” These words are not interchangeable.

athletics facilities. See buildings and sites.

athletics. Colgate athletics teams are known as Raiders; women athletes are not Lady Raiders. It is the Department of Athletics or athletics department, not athletic department.

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.

AV. Abbreviation for audio-visual

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.


between. See among, between.

between you and me. Never between you and I.

black. Both black and African American are acceptable although they are not always interchangeable; we use both terms and usually lowercase the b of black.

Blackmore Media Center. Named for Robert L. Blackmore ’41.

Board of Trustees. The board or a university trustee (lowercase) on second reference.

bookstore. Official name is the Colgate Bookstore [I got 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. Use the Latin word sic in brackets to indicate that an error in quoted material is being reproduced exactly [“I admired President Regan [sic] for his charisma.”].

Broad Street community.

buildings and grounds. The informal name for the department known as the Physical Plant.

buildings and sites. Capitalize the names of buildings, including the word “building” if it is an integral part of the formal name. In general, capitalize Quad, the Hill, Fraternity Row. Use residence hall instead of dormitory or dorm.

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 in the village owned by Colgate.

  • ALANA Cultural Center
  • Alumni Hall
  • Alton Lounge (in James C. Colgate Hall)
  • Athletics/recreational facilities
  • Andy Kerr Stadium
    • Angert Family Climbing Wall
    • Base Camp (outdoor education’s home)
    • Charles H. Sanford Field House (Sanford Field House is usually sufficient)
    • Class of 1965 Arena
    • Cotterell Court
    • Frederick H. Dunlap Stands (in Andy Kerr Stadium)
    • Eaton Street Softball Complex
    • Glendening Boathouse (on Lake Moraine)
    • Huntington Gymnasium
    • Harry H. Lang Cross Country and Fitness Trail
    • Hooks Wiltse Field (varsity softball diamond)
    • 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
    • Seven Oaks (golf course)
      • Perkins-Sumption Practice Area
    • Starr Rink
    • Trudy Fitness Center
    • Tyler’s Field (outdoor artificial surface)
    • Van Doren Field (soccer field)
    • Wooster Room (in Huntington Gymnasium)
  • Benton Hall
  • Bewkes Center
  • 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)
    • Digital Learning and Media Center (named for Anita Grover MD ’74 and Tom Hargrove P’14)
    • Hieber Café
  • Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research (formerly French and Italian House)
  • Center for Women’s Studies (in East Hall)
  • Chapel House
  • Clifford Gallery (in Little Hall)
  • Colgate Bookstore (3 Utica St.)
  • Colgate Camp (on Upper Saranac Lake)
  • Colgate Inn (5 Payne St.)
  • Colgate Memorial Chapel (use the chapel or Memorial Chapel on second reference)
  • 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, in Lathrop Hall)
  • Dana Arts Center
  • Digital Learning and Media Center (named for Anita Grover MD ’74 and Tom Hargrove P’14; in Case Library)
  • Donovan’s Pub
  • East Hall
  • Edge Café
  • Frank Dining Hall, Curtiss E. (Frank Dining Hall is usually sufficient)
  • Eric J. Ryan Studio
  • George R. Cooley Science Library (in McGregory Hall; Cooley Science Library or the science library are usually sufficient)
  • Golden Auditorium (in Little Hall)
  • Greek Houses
    • Beta Theta Pi
    • Delta Delta Delta
    • Delta Upsilon
    • Gamma Phi Beta
    • Kappa Kappa Gamma
    • Phi Delta Theta
    • Phi Kappa Tau (104 Broad Street; Former Phi Gamma Delta Chapter House*)
    • Theta Chi
  • Hall of Presidents (in James C. Colgate Hall)
  • Hamilton Movie Theater (7 Lebanon St.)
  • Hascall Hall
  • Heating Plant
  • Hieber Café (at Case-Geyer)
  • Ho Lecture Room (105 Lawrence Hall)
  • 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)
  • Human Resources
  • James B. Colgate Hall (colloquially referred to as the Ad Building)
  • James C. Colgate Hall (formerly/colloquially referred to as the Student Union)
    • Hall of Presidents
    • Clark Room
  • Judd Chapel (in Colgate Memorial Chapel)
  • Lathrop Hall
  • Lawrence Hall
  • Linsley Geology Museum (in the Ho Science Center)
  • Little Hall
  • Longyear Museum of Anthropology (in Alumni Hall)
  • Love Auditorium (in Olin Hall)
  • Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (the COVE on second reference)
  • McGregory Hall
  • Merrill House
  • Observatory
  • O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop)
  • Olin Hall
  • Olmstead House
  • Palace Theater (19 Utica St.)
  • Parker Commons (the apartments, not one of the Residential Commons)
  • Paul J. Schupf Studio Arts Center (3 Montgomery St.)
  • Persson Hall
    • Persson Auditorium (27 Persson Hall)
  • Physical Plant (buildings and grounds)
  • Picker Art Gallery
  • Preston Hill Apartments
  • Residences (for students)
    • 94 Broad Street
    • 100 Broad Street
    • 104 Broad Street
    • 110 Broad Street
    • 113 Broad St. Complex
      • Brigham House
      • Read House
      • Shepardson House
    • Andrews Hall
    • Asia Interest House
    • Beta Theta Pi
    • Bryan Complex
      • Cobb House
      • Crawshaw House (home of the Harlem Renaissance Center)
      • Parke House
      • Russell House
    • Burke Hall
    • Class of 1934 House
    • Curtis Hall
    • Cushman House
      • Whitnall House
    • Delta Delta Delta
    • Delta Upsilon
    • Drake Hall
    • East Hall
    • Gamma Phi Beta
    • Gate House
    • Kappa Kappa Gamma
    • La Casa Pan-Latina Americana
    • The Loj
    • Newell Apartments
    • Parker Apartments
    • Phi Delta Theta
    • Phi Kappa Tau (104 Broad Street; Former Phi Gamma Delta Chapter House*)
    • Pinchin Hall
    • Ralph J. Bunche House (Bunche House)
    • Stillman Hall
    • Theta Chi
    • Townhouse Apartments
    • University Court Apartments
    • West Hall
    • Whitnall House
  • Residential Commons
    • Brown Commons
    • Ciccone Commons
    • Dart Colegrove Commons
    • Hancock Commons
  • Ryan Studio, Eric J. (Ryan Studio is usually sufficient)
  • Saperstein Jewish Center
  • Spear House
  • Student Health Center
  • Trudy Fitness Center
  • Raab House (president’s residence, formerly called Watson House)
  • West Hall
  • Whitnall Field
  • W.M. Keck Center for Language Study
  • Wynn Hall

*Must be included in publications and written references to the premises



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 Chicago Manual of Style or the 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.].

See also headlines, subheads.

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 nameline.


catalogue. Not catalog [Consult the university catalogue for more information.].

cellphone. Indicate cellphone listings on business cards, stationery, etc. with a C [C: 315-777-7777]

Center for Career Services.

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. [We’re looking for ways to embrace the cold and snowy central New York winters.].

centurycenturies. See numbers.

chairchairmanchairperson. 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

circumlocution. A roundabout way of saying something. To aid the reader, be succinct:

Use Instead of
today in this day and age
to in order to
now at this point in time
while during the time that
if in the event that
after at the conclusion of
during in the course of
join join together
before prior to

the fact that OR due to


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.].

classicsclassical. See also historical periods.

Class of. When referring to a specific class, capitalize [He is a member of the Class of 1999.].

class notes. This section in the Colgate Magazine is most frequently called Alumni News.

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.

For Colgate couples, place the class years adjacent to the names [Joe ’01 and Amy (Hargrave) ’03 Leo 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 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].

clichés. Avoid using trite expressions or clichés such as acid test, crack of dawn, generous to a fault, cutting-edge, leading-edge technology, the picture of health, and state-of-the-art.

coed (coeducational). Don’t use coed as a noun (use woman or female student); coed may be used as an adjective [He chose to live in coed housing.].

Colgate Magazine, the. The official alumni magazine of Colgate University. 

Colgate Maroon-News, the. Colgate’s student newspaper. Use the Maroon-News on second reference. From 1968 to 1991, there were two student papers, the Colgate Maroon (founded 1916) and the Colgate News; the two merged in 1992.

Colgate Thirteen. Men’s a cappella group on campus.

Colgate University. Use Colgate, the university, or the institution on second reference (no initial caps on generic nouns). It is preferable on second reference to refer to Colgate as “the university” rather than “the college.”

Colgate University Catalogue.

commas. Use the serial (Oxford) comma before and 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 semicolons. 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.].

computer terms.

  • blog
  • database
  • dot-com
  • email
  • home page.
  • http. Do not include when listing website addresses [For more, visit].
  • inbox
  • Internet. Capitalize noun, lowercase adjective [I found it on the Internet. The university  has added to its internet resource allocations.].
  • Listserve. Capitalize this trademarked name.
  • login, logon. As a verb, use two-word form [log in to a network, log on to a computer].
  • offline
  • online
  • podcast
  • portal
  • web, website, webcam, webcast, webpage

concentration. The official term is major at Colgate [Colgate offers a range of majors. He is an English major.]. For a complete list, see majors.

Lowercase (except for proper nouns), except 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]. Enclose titles given to conferences in quotation marks [“Upstate and the Liberal Arts: New Partnerships for the 21st Century”]. Don’t treat appendages such as “annual meeting” as part of titles; lowercase them [27th annual Alumni Council meeting].

convince, persuade. With convince, use that or of; with persuade, use to [She is convinced that he left on Monday, not Tuesday. Joanne’s work convinced Joe of her brilliance. Joe persuaded Joanne to read the document.].

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 [She graduated cum laude in 1998].

currently, presently. Currently means “now”; presently means “soon.”

dance. For rules governing capitalization and type style of titles of dance works, see dance heading under titles (of original works or similar).


dash. See the punctuation section.

data. Uses a plural verb [The data are complete.].

database. See computer terms.

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.].

decision making. As nouns, decision making and decision maker are not normally hyphenated; however, to add one in fast decision-making shows that decisions (not snap judgments) must be made soon.

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 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
  • Department of Writing and Rhetoric
  • Jewish Studies Program
  • LGBTQ Studies Program
  • Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
  • Linguistics Program
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program
  • Native American Studies Program
  • Peace and Conflict Studies Program
  • Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
  • Russian and Eurasian Studies Program
  • Women’s Studies Program
  • Office of Undergraduate Studies


Division of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics

  • Department of Athletics
  • Department of Physical Education and Recreation
  • Outdoor Education Program


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
  • Colgate Annual Giving (annual giving on second reference)
  • Colgate Bookstore
  • Budget and Decision Support, Office of
  • Campus Safety Department
  • Center for 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 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
  • Human Resources Department
  • Japanese Studies Center
  • Information Technology Services
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Institutional Planning and Research, Office of
  • International Student Services
  • 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
  • Physical Plant
  • 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 (currently inactive)
  • Robert Ho Center for Chinese Studies
  • Shaw Wellness Institute
  • Special Collections and University Archives
  • Student Health Services
  • Treasurer, Office of the
  • Upstate Institute at Colgate University (Upstate Institute is usually sufficient)
  • Undergraduate Studies, Office of
  • University Relations
  • Writing and Speaking Center

different. Followed by from, not than [Breyer’s chocolate ice cream tastes different from Ben & Jerry’s.].

dimensions. When dimensions (including fractions) appear in body copy, follow the examples given [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.

disinterest(ed), uninterest(ed). Disinterest means “impartiality or freedom from bias or from chance of financial benefit”; uninterest refers to a lack of interest or implies that the feelings are not engaged. The words should not be used interchangeably. [Judges are the disinterested parties in legal cases. The group is suffering from the uninterest of its members.]

Distinction, High Distinction. Special academic designations earned through elective courses in Colgate’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum.

distribution requirement. Lowercase.

Division I (note letter I not 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 Randall Fuller; Ellen Kraly, 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.

dot-com. See computer terms.

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.

due to. Don’t use due to when you mean because of.

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.”

either. By itself, takes a singular verb [She would not tell me if either of the men is a participant.]. Nouns framed by either. . .or take a singular verb when the noun closest to the verb is singular, but a plural verb when that noun is plural [I think you can go to the play unless either the twins or Mom says you shouldn’t. She will keep playing, until either the conductor or the singers stop what they are doing.]. When used with or, both either and or must be placed immediately before and after the noun or verb to which they refer [RIGHT: He says they should either walk or drive to the picnic. WRONG: He says either they should walk or drive to the picnic.].

ellipses. See the punctuation section.

e-mail. No need to capitalize.

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.]. See also titled.

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. See Chicago Manual of Style for more.

et al. The abbreviation of et alia. Note punctuation in example [He joined the firm of Deveboise 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; likewise for “and so forth” or “and so on” [Towels, bedding, etc., are not provided. Towels, bedding, and so forth, 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. See also stereotypes.

everybody, everyone. Take singular verbs; however, they or their are acceptable second references [Everybody had to turn in their books.].

exhibit, exhibition. Exhibit should be used as a verb or as a noun denoting a document or material object on display or presented as evidence [The prosecuting attorney presented the gun as exhibit number one in the case.]; an exhibition is a public showing (as of art, objects of manufacture, or athletic skill).

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.].

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). Also, use instructor in but professor of.

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.].

fax. Lowercase. Can be used as a noun or a verb.

federal. Lowercase when used as an adjective to distinguish something from state, county, city, town, or private entities [federal assistance, federal court, federal government, a federal judge]. Capitalize for the architectural style and for corporate or governmental agencies that use the word as part of their formal names [a Federal-style building, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Express].

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].

fewer, less. Use fewer when referring to objects identifiable by number [We have fewer students this year.]; use less for bulk or quantity [I have less than $10.].



finalize. To be avoided, as with other -ize endings. See -ize.

first annual. See annual.

first-come, first-served.


first year, first-year student, freshman. The preferred term, first-year student is hyphenated when used as a compound adjective. [We met the first-year students yesterday.]. The term first-year is not a noun; it modifies student [RIGHT: He joined the juggling club as a first-year student. WRONG: She started learning German as a first-year.]. No hyphen when referring to time frame [I took Measuring the Internet in my first year.]. See also freshman, freshmen.

first-year seminar. Lowercase. Sometimes referred to as an FSEM. In direct quotes, substitute first-year if the statement incorrectly uses the word freshman in identifying an FSEM [“I took a first-year seminar that changed my mind about history,” not “I took a freshman seminar about . . .”].

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.].

following. A noun meaning “a group of followers” or an adjective meaning “listed” or “shown next.” Don’t use the adjective as a noun [RIGHT: He has a large following. Please refer to the following terms. The meeting dates are as follows: June 1, July 2, September 10. WRONG: The meeting dates are the following: June 1, July 2, September

foreign student. Use international student.

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)].

Founders’ Day

fractions. For fractions and percentages, the verb agrees with the noun following the “of” [Three-quarters of the
apple was eaten. Three-quarters of the employees are at a seminar today.].


freshman, freshmen. Use first-year student or first-year students instead.

fundraising, fundraiser.

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, but avoid this colloquialism unless your communiqué is particularly informal.

’Gate Card. Colgate’s official ID.

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

general education. Lowercase.

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

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

Go, ’gate! Note comma and proper apostrophe.

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

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

grant writing.


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

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

Hall of Honor. Official name is Colgate Athletics Hall of Honor.

Hamilton Initiative, LLC.

handicapped. See disabilities.

headlines, subheads. Capitalize only first word and proper names. No periods necessary [A crash course in professional science]. In specific instances, the communications office publication designers might employ initial caps on headlines or subheads for typographical reasons at their discretion.

health care.

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. When referring to the hill upon which Colgate stands, it is permissible to capitalize.

Hispanic. Latina (feminine) and Latino (masculine or representing both masculine and feminine ) are also acceptable.

historical periods. Per Chicago Manual of Style, 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 2012. During the fall, homecoming events are common at universities and colleges.].



honors. Lowercase [She graduated summa cum laude with honors in English.].

however. When meaning on the other hand, beginning a sentence with However, while not incorrect, is ponderous; But, or Yet, would be preferable. In the middle of a sentence, however has the effect of emphasizing the word preceding it [We went to brunch. Kelly, however, wasn’t able to make it. Joe went to brunch but he wasn’t able, however, to make it to dinner.]. And, as with other adverbs such as then, thus, hence, indeed, accordingly, besides, and therefore, a semicolon (not a comma) is needed when however is used transitionally between independent clauses [I’d rather stay home; however, if you insist, I will come.]. When meaning in whatever way at the beginning of a sentence, no comma is used [However we get there, I’m taking a nap after we arrive.].

hyphens. See the punctuation section

I, me. I is used as the subject of a sentence; me is used as the object [It is I. Joe and I raced last week. Between you and me, Joe is the better swimmer. It is he who won. It bothered Joe more than it bothered Kelly or me. You can call either Joe or me if you have questions.].

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; in text, substituting that is or namely is preferable.

Indian. See ethnic and racial designations.

Institute for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. (PPE on second reference)

imply, infer. To infer means “to deduce”; to imply means “to suggest” [One may infer from the report that all is well. Silence implies consent.].

information superhighway, Internet. See computer terms.

initials. See abbreviations and acronyms, or individuals under names.

in regard to. Not “in regards to.”

insure. See assure, ensure, insure. These words are not interchangeable.

international student. Preferable to foreign student.

irregardless. Not a word (both the prefix ir- and the suffix -less are negative). The correct word is regardless.

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.

its, it’s. Like other possessive pronouns (his, our, their), its has no apostrophe. It’s is the contraction of it is.

-ize. Avoid neologisms such as finalize, prioritize, utilize, or ghettoize, which are generally ungainly and often superfluous. Rephrase instead [RIGHT: We will develop a final list. WRONG: We will finalize the list. RIGHT: I’ll work on the most important things first. WRONG: The team will prioritize their tasks. RIGHT: Look for efficient ways to use (not utilize) electric lighting fixtures throughout the room.].

Jr. No comma before Jr. [George Smith Jr.].

judgment. Not judgement.

junior. Lowercase [We met our junior year. The junior class organized a dinner.].

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.

kudos. Takes a singular verb [His receiving that critic’s kudos is a rare occurrence.].

lady. Woman is preferable to refer to a female 18 years old or older.

Latina, Latino. Hispanic is also acceptable.

Latin plurals, terms

Singular Plural
addendum addenda
analysis analyses
colloquium colloquiums
consortium consortia
criterion criteria
curriculum curricula
datum (rare) data
emeritus, emerita emeriti
medium media
millenium millennia
phenomenon phenomena
syllabus syllabi
symposium symposia



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.]

lectures, lectureships. A lecture can be held, presented, or given. Lectureships, often endowed or underwritten, and when they have a formal name, 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).

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.

less. See fewer, less.

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
  • In today’s meeting, we will discuss how we will carry out the following tasks, which we outlined last week:
    • Write up a plan for the next six months.
    • Send a letter to the committee explaining the plan.
    • Collect and analyze feedback.
    • Report back to the executive committee.

Listserve. See computer terms.

longtime. One word when used as an adjective [She was his longtime girlfriend. We waited for a long time.].


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
  • Film and media studies
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • German
  • Greek
  • History
  • Humanities
  • International relations
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Mathematical economics
  • Mathematics
  • Molecular biology
  • Middle Eastern and Islamic studies
  • 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
  • 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.


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 and Islamic studies
  • 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).



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.

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 says, 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 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.].

Newman Community.

newspaper names. See books and periodicals under titles (of original works or similar).

New York Six.

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].


  • 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.].


  • 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 says.]. 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 says.]. 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.

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.

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).

parentheses. See punctuation section.

Parents’ and Grandparents’ Fund.

Passion for the Climb. Launched in March 2007 and concluded in 2012, this $480 million comprehensive fundraising campaign’s full title is Passion for the Climb: The Campaign for Colgate. No quotation marks.

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.].

per. Means “by the means or agency of” or “with respect to every member of” a specified group. This Latinism can often be substituted with more everyday equivalents such as according to, in accordance with, or at [Per the SGA’s request, the dance troupe submitted a more detailed budget. He registered his car in accordance with campus safety guidelines.].

percentpercentage. Note that the two terms are not interchangeable and that percentages are presented in numerals. Not per cent. [One percent is a very small percentage. Twelve percent of the members were present. A small percentage of the membership was present. Only 5 percent of the members were present. We believe that 99 percent of our students will graduate. We hope to reach a participation percentage of 55 (not 55 percent participation
total).]. See also numbers.

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.  

persuade. See convince, persuade.

phone numbers. Use hyphens, not periods or parentheses [315-228-7000]. In text, do not include the numeral 1 before area codes. Indicate cellphone listings on business cards, stationery etc. with a C [C: 315-777-7777]

photo credits. See credits (photo).

physical handicaps. See disabilities.

Physical Plant. This department is referred to colloquially at Colgate as buildings and grounds, or B&G.

Picker Art Gallery.

Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute. Named for Harvey Picker ’36.

plants and animals. See Chicago Manual of Style 8.136–8.138 or the dictionary.

plays and poems. See titles (of original works or similar).

please. Avoid using in formal publications [For more information, contact, not For more information, please contact].

p.m. Not PM or pm. For more about time style, see time.

politics. Usually treated as singular [Politics is a controversial subject.]. When used to mean “principles” or “activities,” it may be treated as plural [Her politics were offensive to them.].

possessives. See plurals and possessives under apostrophe in the punctuation section.

presently. See currently, presently.

president. Capitalize only as a formal title before one or more names [President Barack Obama, 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.].

Presidents’ Club.

preventive. Preferable to preventative.

prime and double prime. These are the symbols that stand for “feet” and “inches.” Unlike apostrophes and quotation marks, they are not curved. In Microsoft Word, they are formed by turning off “smart quotes,” or by selecting the character in the Symbol table under Insert . . . In text the word feet or inches should be used, but these abbreviations are acceptable in captions or in list or table form [Girl in Garden, Alan B Smyth, 3'x4'; Jim Jaeckel, 5'6"]. Periods go outside the marks.

principleprincipal. Principle means “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption,” and is almost always used as a noun; principal has two meanings: “the most important, consequential, or influential” (usually used as an adjective), and “a person who has controlling authority or is in a leading position” (noun), [She cited two central principles in the author’s argument. The principal ingredient in bread is flour. Mrs. Smith is the
school principal.].

prior to. Use before in most instances.

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.

punctuation. See Punctuation section.

Quad, Quadrangle. Both are acceptable references. Always capitalize when referring to the landmark on campus, which is often referred to as the Academic Quad.

quantities. In nontechnical text, physical quantities are expressed according to the rules in numbers [five square meters, 50 feet, 500 volts, eight-square-foot].

  • Quantities consisting of whole numbers and fractions should be expressed in figures [8 1/2 x 11–inch paper].
  • If an abbreviation is used for the unit of measure, use figures [2 hrs., 65 mph, 5 rpm, 10 mi.].

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. See also stereotypes.

RaiderRaiders. Colgate’s mascot is the Raider (not Red Raider). Women athletes are not Lady Raiders.

RECresidential education coordinator. A staff position in the Office of Residential Life.

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.

Residential Education Program.

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 2013. They had a reunion at camp over the summer.].

Romance. Capitalize when referring to the group of languages developed from Latin (as French, Italian, or Spanish).

rooms (on campus). If possible, always completely identify campus locations by including the room’s name or number and the building name [209 Lathrop Hall; the Ho Lecture Room, Lawrence Hall; the Clifford Gallery, Little Hall]. For names, see  buildings and sites.

roommate. Not roomate.

residential adviser. At Colgate, this position is called a community leader (CL).

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.].

saint. Abbreviate as St. in the names of saints, cities, and other places. For a personal name, follow the bearer’s usage.

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].

second reference. For departments, programs, or references to other inanimate entities, see generic references under names. For second reference to people, use last name only [Joe Smith was introduced to the community Wednesday. Smith (not Mr. Smith) will begin his duties June 1.].

semesters. Lowercase [the fall 2005 semester].

semicolon. See punctuation section.

senior. Lowercase [I waited until senior year to take that course. The senior class met to discuss their gift.].

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.].

shallwill. Use shall for future action, will to express determination [I shall take a lunch break at noon. I will get to the bottom of this mystery.].

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.].

signs and notices. Capitalize specific wording of short signs, notices, mottoes, or inscriptions [He put up a No Smoking sign.]. Longer notices are better placed as quotations [The car had a bumper sticker that read “If you can read this, you’re tailgating me.”].

simplesimplistic. Use simple when you mean to impart a sense of straightforward simplicity; simplistic is used in a pejorative/negative sense, implying “too simple” [That’s a simple math problem. Your essay is simplistic; it does not delve deeply enough into the topic.].

Society of Families.

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

some. An imprecise term in many cases; avoid.

sophomore. Lowercase [I took that class my sophomore year. The sophomore class held a rally on the Quad.].

Sophomore-Year Experience. Note hyphenation. Part of Colgate’s Residential Education Program.


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].

state-of-the-art. Cliché; avoid.

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).

State Postal Code Abbreviation
Alabama AL Ala.
Alaska AK none
Arizona AZ Ariz.
Arkansas AK Ark.
California CA Calif.
Colorado CO Colo.
Connecticut CT Conn.
Delaware DE Del.
Florida FL Fla.
Georgia GA Ga.
Hawaii HI none
Idaho ID none
Illinois IL Ill.
Indiana IN Ind.
Iowa IA none
Kansas KS Kan.
Kentucky KY Ky.
Louisiana LA La.
Maine ME none
Maryland MD Md.
Massachusetts MA Mass.
Michigan MI Mich.
Minnesota MN Minn.
Mississippi MS Miss.
Missouri MO Mo.
Montana MT Mont.
Nebraska NE Neb.
Nevada NV Nev.
New Hampshire NH N.H.
New Jersey NJ N.J.
New Mexico NM N.M.
New York NY N.Y.
North Carolina NC N.C.
North Dakota ND N.D.
Ohio OH none
Oklahoma OK Okla.
Oregon OR Ore.
Pennsylvania PA Pa.
Rhode Island RI R.I.
South Carolina SC S.C.
South Dakota SD S.D.
Tennessee  TN Tenn.
Texas TX none
Utah UT none
Vermont VT Vt.
Virginia VA Va.
Washington WA Wash.
West Virginia WV W. Va.
Wisconsin WI Wis.
Wyoming WY Wyo.

stereotypes. In general, avoid racial and gender references or mention of debilitating physical conditions if they are not essential to the story or text.

streets and roads, campus.

  • Alumni Road
  • Broad Street
  • College Street
  • E. Kendrick Avenue
  • Hamilton Street
  • Lally Lane
  • Oak Drive
  • University Avenue


student body. The simple students says it all, in most cases.

student-faculty ratio, student-to-faculty ratio. Use a colon [The addition of these 10 professors would move the student-faculty ratio from 11:1 to 10:1.].

Student Government Association. Use SGA on second reference.

student organizations. Refer to 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.].

substance free. When referring to student housing at Colgate, the preferred term is healthy living.

subheads. See headlines, subheads.

summa cum laude. Italicized but lowercased [She graduated summa cum laude in 1987.].

syllabus. See Latin plurals.

symposia. See conference titles for title style conventions, Latin plurals for pluralization.


telephone numbers. Use hyphens, not periods or parentheses [315-228-7000]. In text, do not use the numeral 1 before area codes.

television programs. See titles (of original works or similar).

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. Follow the example that is appropriate to your context [The temperature fell to minus 15. The temperature reached 10 below zero. The temperature was 11 degrees Celsius. The temperature was 11 degrees C. It was 87 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 87 degrees F.]

Fahrenheit, Celsius, and their abbreviations are capitalized; centigrade (used in place of Celsius) is not.

tense. In general, use tense consistently throughout a story. Tenses may be intermingled when appropriate to context — in effect, to distinguish terminated from continuing action.


that is (i.e.). See e.g., i.e.

thatwhich. 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.

the fact that. See circumlocution.

theirtherethey’re. Their indicates a plural possessive [We asked for their preferences.]. There indicates place [Leave it over there.]. They’re is a contraction for they are [I’ll ask them if they’re hungry.].

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.].

they. Not to be used with a singular antecedent [RIGHT: Each of us knows he is fallible. All of them know they are fallible. WRONG: Each of us knows they are fallible.].

though. Used in spoken language; in writing, although is preferred.

’til. The abbreviation of until (Not till).

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 TheProfessor’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’s 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 lowercased 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, per Chicago Manual of Style [His article appeared in the New York Times.].

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 MoonPatrol 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”].

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 The West Wing and Nova that day. Star Trek’s “The Trouble With Tribbles” is a classic.].

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 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. The official reference source for names and professional titles of individual faculty and staff members is the Colgate University Catalogue; however, academic or professional titles should be verified with the department because promotions or employment changes can make catalogue entries outdated.

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 titles when they precede names [President Herbst, Professor Smith, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Hicks, Football Head Coach Dick Biddle].

Lowercase titles when used as occupational identifiers or when titles follow names [Meika Loe, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies; physics professor Jeff Bary; coach Cathy Foto].

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; Kenny Barron, 2002- 2003 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 lowercased, even before a name.

Torchlight Ceremony.

toward. Preferred to 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.].

underlining. Underlined words in a manuscript will be printed in italics.

underway, under way. As one word, an adjective meaning “occurring, performed, or used while traveling or in motion” [underway distribution of services]. As two words, serves as an adverb meaning “in motion or in progress” [As soon as the board approves it, we’ll get the renovation under way.”].

uninterested. See disinterest(ed), uninterest(ed).

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). [The University welcomed 2,400 students as part of the incoming class. The policy will be implemented universitywide.]

University Church.


until. Abbreviate as ’til (not till).


upperclass, upperclassmen. Avoid. The term means juniors and seniors only; it does not include sophomores. Do not use the elitist-sounding phrases upperclass students, upper-class students, or upperclassmen. Use juniors and seniors instead.

upstate. Lowercase [He moved to upstate New York in the mid-1950s.].

Upstate Institute at Colgate University. (Upstate Institute is usually sufficient)

up to date, up-to-date. Use hyphens before a noun; otherwise, it should be left open [We supplied an up-to-date calendar of events. I kept him up to date on my progress.].

utilize. The word use is preferred.

verbal. See oral, verbal.

very. An overused and ineffective word; to be avoided [RIGHT: He was famished. WRONG: He was very hungry.].


wait list.

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.].

whereas. Means “although,” “while on the other hand,” “on the contrary,” or “but by contrast.” Not to be substituted with while (see while). [I always order tuna fish, whereas June prefers ham and cheese.].

which. See that, which.

while. Means “at the same time.” Not a substitute for but, and, although, or whereas [RIGHT: I ran errands while Peter cleaned the living room. WRONG: While your favorite color is blue, mine is green.].

whowhom. 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.].

whosewho’s. Whose is a possessive pronoun that can refer to persons or things; who’s is a contraction of who is [I sent a letter to everyone whose address was in Hamilton. The cat, whose claws have been removed, should not be let outside. Does anyone know who’s up on the third floor?].

will. See shall, will.

with regard to. Not with regards to.

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


work-study. Always hyphenated.

World War II.

World Wide Web. See computer terms.

Writing and Speaking Center.


year round, year-round. Use a hyphen before a noun; otherwise, leave it open [The Barge Canal Coffee Company offers flavored coffees year round. The band stayed at a year-round resort.].

years. In body copy, use “to” not an end dash (–) to denote date ranges. For 2000 to 2009, when referring to an academic year, use 2003–2004, not 2003–04 or ’03–’04; before 1900, use full year [He met Jim Jones, Class of 1889, in 1920.].

zip code. In body copy, put only once space between the state and the zip code in an address (as opposed to in a mailing address on an envelope or package, where two spaces are required by the postal service).

The proper four-digit extension on Hamilton’s 13346 zip code depends on the publication or office sending out the material. Refer to the chart below and be sure to include the proper extension in return addresses on any correspondence, postcard, or publication you might send out.

  • 1383 admission
  • 1384 controller
  • 1385 registrar
  • 1379 Colgate station
  • 1398 offices
  • 1399 students
  • 7994 BRM postcard size
  • 9989 BRM letter size