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Editorial Style and Usage Guide

This guide is the established editorial style for e-mail announcements, the Colgate Magazine, colgate.edu pages and stories, brochures, newsletters, letters, and more.

Have a suggestion for the style guide? Contact Rebecca Downing at rdowning@colgate.edu

For answers to common questions, see our Quick Tips

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

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             Punctuation - Helpful references - Proofreading tips


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.

he, him, his. Although these masculine personal pronouns have traditionally been used as pronouns of indeterminate gender, they have long been considered sexist when used generically. In some cases it is possible to rephrase the sentence or replace the pronoun with an article to avoid sexist construction [Someone has left a (not his) key on the bench.]. Judicious use of him or her or he or she can also provide a solution [If you find out who lost the key, you can let him or her know by e-mail.]. Do not use the awkward constructions s/he or he/she.

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.].

hopefully. An adverb meaning in a hopeful manner; it must modify a verb [RIGHT: “Can we have ice cream now?” she asked hopefully. WRONG: “Hopefully we can have ice cream,” he said.].

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 punctuation