Editorial Style Guide
A consistent graphic identity and writing style are essential for strengthening communication with the audiences of Harvey Mudd College.
This editorial style guide covers writing style—usage and style issues particular to Harvey Mudd College—as well as some commonly misused words. These standards apply to all College materials published for an external audience. The style guide follows The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, primarily.
The Chicago Manual of Style is used as a secondary source for information not supplied in the primary references.
The following style guide refers to these sources, lists some exceptions to them and lists words and phrases specific to Harvey Mudd College.
Harvey Mudd’s Alumni Association Board of Governors.
Common nouns expressed as acronyms and abbreviations are not capitalized when they are written out as words; only the acronyms are capitalized, e.g., OCR for optical character reader; VLSI for very large-scale integration. Generally, acronyms derived from a single word or only two words, are not capitalized: alternating current (ac), infrared (ir), radio frequency (rf). Consult the most influential journal in a specific subdiscipline, a recent scientific dictionary or a field’s style manual.
Proper nouns are capitalized, e.g., National Science Foundation (NSF), and should be defined at first usage (abbreviation acceptable thereafter).
To make an acronym or abbreviation plural, just add the “s”: AFMs (atomic force microscopes).
“Accept” means to receive; “except” means to exclude.
Degrees should be lowercase: bachelor of arts, a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree (no possessive), a master of arts in engineering, a master’s, a doctorate in mathematics, an honorary doctorate.
Abbreviations of two letters should include periods: B.S., M.A., J.D., M.D., M.S.
No periods for abbreviations with three or more letters: BSEE, MBA, PhD
Preferred sentence format:
- Lexi Jones, who earned a bachelor of science degree (chemistry) from Harvey Mudd College, has been appointed CEO of ABC Company.
- Brad, a biology major, earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvey Mudd College in 1977.
- Lexi Jones earned a B.S. from Santa Clara University.
Incorrect: Cybil earned a mathematics degree from Harvey Mudd College or Brandon has a bachelor of physics from Harvey Mudd College.
All graduates of HMC earn the same degree (a bachelor of science/bachelor’s degree, not a bachelor of physics or bachelor of engineering nor a bachelor’s in computer science, etc.). The major is one component—along with the Core and HSA—of the degree.
If more than one graduate from the same family is mentioned, the preferred format is: Stan ’65 and Mary Smith ’82 attended the reunion.
Official department names, followed by second reference format:
- Department of Biology; biology department or biology
- Department of Chemistry; chemistry department or chemistry
- Computer Science Department; computer science department or computer science (per CS department)
- Department of Engineering; engineering department or engineering
- Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts (an exception to AP rule on series comma); HSA (preferred, on second reference)
- Department of Mathematics; mathematics department or mathematics
- Department of Physics; physics department or physics
Capitalize (e.g., A, C+, D-) and use an apostrophe for plural instances: He has three A’s and one D.
Note: Academic grades do not take quotes and are different than letters used as letters. See words used as words.
Lowercase general references: She is a physics major; he is studying computational biology.
Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as professor, director, chair, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Lowercase modifiers such as “department” (AP Stylebook). Avoid using use long titles (three or more words as a rule of thumb) in front of a name.
Before name, lowercase the modifiers: Conference organizers have nominated department chair Kelly Wilder. Give the information to development staff member Leslie Bruer.
After name, lowercase job title: Zach Dodds is a professor of computer science.
Singular and plural titles are lowercase: The lab was taught by chemistry professor Ted Barnes. The talk was given by physics professors Rex Matlof and Cindy Smith.
Whenever possible, include named professorships when faculty members are named to these positions. But, since they are often long, place after the name: John S. Townsend, Susan and Bruce Worster Professor of Physics, instead of simply Professor of Physics John S. Townsend.
- … said Erik Spjut, professor of engineering and Union Oil Company Engineering Design Fellow.
Group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment.
The extent to which a facility is readily approachable and usable by individuals with disabilities, particularly such areas as the personnel office, worksite and public areas.
When talking about places with accommodations for people with disabilities, use the term “accessible” rather than “disabled” or “handicapped”: An accessible parking space.
See also disabled.
For more information, refer to the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange.
Use abbreviations only for “Ave.,” “Blvd.” and “St.” and only with a numbered address: 301 Platt Blvd. All other road names—way, alley, court, place, drive, lane, road, terrace and so on—should be spelled out.
Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Platt Boulevard.
Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Platt and Dartmouth boulevards.
All similar words (alley, drive, place, terrace, etc.) are always spelled out. Capitalize when part of a formal name without a number; lowercase when used alone or with two or more names.
Spell out and capitalize “First” through “Ninth” when used as street names; use figures for “10th” and above.
Abbreviate compass points: 301 E. Second St. However, do not abbreviate if number is omitted: West Foothill Boulevard.
Exception: compass points may be spelled out in formal publications, if desired.
No periods in quadrant abbreviations: NW, SE.
Admitted Student Program
A program of the Office of Admission. Wrong: Admitted Students Program or Admitted Students’ Program
“Advisor” instead of “adviser.” (This is HMC’s preference and differs from AP Stylebook.)
Words ending in “ly” and the words they modify are never hyphenated when they are used as compound nouns, e.g., highly charged particles, very large fluctuations.
African American (Black)
No hyphen. People of African descent living in the United States. “Black” is an inclusive term for people of African descent, including, but not limited to, people from North and South America, the Caribbean and Africa. African Americans are black, but not all black people are African American.
Use figures to express a person’s age but not the age of an inanimate object.
Use whole numbers only, no fractions or decimals. List ages with a comma on both sides: Sally, 12, and Randy, 10, both collect toys.
See also numbers.
Lowercase, no periods.
all right (adverb)
Alumnus (singular male), alumna (singular female), alumnae (plural female), alumni (plural male, or plural to include both male and female). Avoid using the informal “alum.”
Do not place class year in parentheses or use a comma between name and class year. Keep last name and grad year together on the same line in publications (adjust tracking if necessary). If an alumnus/a is also a parent, a comma goes in between the two designations, with parent designation following graduation year.
Greg Zindfel ’88. (Use a single apostrophe, slanting to the left.)
Josh Minkel ’77/78. (Received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Harvey Mudd. The College’s master’s program was discontinued in 2003.)
Bill Burns ’87 and wife, Sally PZ ’75, are joining us. (Abbreviations for The Claremont Colleges—SCR, POM, PZ, CMC, CGU, KGI.)
Karl Chan ’89, P19
Capitalize when referring to Harvey Mudd’s event.
Radio transmission systems; capitalized, no periods.
a.m., p.m. (include periods). Noon and midnight are neither a.m. nor p.m. Designate as noon or midnight.
AP Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style say “amid,” never “amidst.”
Avoid, except if it is part of a company’s official title, or in a few accepted abbreviations: B&B.
Incorrect: Humanities & Social Sciences.
Annual Mudd Fundd
Annual Mudd Fundd (yes, two d’s).
Indicates possessive, contraction or missing letters/numbers. Use for plural of single letters only, not to pluralize acronyms or numbers.
In printed documents, use closing/slanting left ( ’ ) single apostrophe in front of the class year.
Don’t use apostrophes to pluralize numerical figures or acronyms; just add s: He lived during the 1930s. Who are the VIPs? The airplanes are 747s. Temperatures will be in the high 90s. He took the SATs yesterday.
For plurals of grades and some instances of single letters, use an apostrophe: Her report card contained three A’s and five D’s. Be on your p’s and q’s.
See also words used as words.
Titles of apps (software designed to run on smartphones or other mobile devices) are set roman (no italics or quotation marks).
Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College.
No hyphen. People of Asian descent living in the United States, including, but not limited to, people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent. Additionally, regional descriptions can be useful: “South Asian” for people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal; “East Asian” for people from China, Japan and Korea; and “Southeast Asian” for people from the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
author (noun or verb), authored (verb)
Capitalize them: Medal of Honor, Outstanding Alumni Award, etc.
Lowercase, no hyphen.
Not “barbeque.” “BBQ” may be acceptable on space-sensitive materials.
Acronym for Beginners’ All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Use of acronym on first reference is acceptable if identified as a programming language.
Hyphenate in all uses.
“Biannual” means twice a year and is a synonym of the word “semiannual.” “Biennial” means every two years.
Do not capitalize.
Means every other week. “Semiweekly” means twice a week.
Use uppercase in reference to persons (race and color). See African American.
Capitalize when an integral part of a proper name:
- Harvey Mudd Board of Trustees
- The board of trustees met on Sunday.
- He is a member of the board.
- He serves on the Executive Committee of the board of trustees.
See also committees.
When they are used, capitalize them: AstroTurf, Fritos.
It is not necessary to include the copyright or trademark symbols— © ™ —in conjunction with the name.
buildings, campus areas
It is recommended that the full name of campus buildings be used on first reference in most publications. If the audience is internal (alumni, students, employees), use of the formal name may not be necessary.
When including a room number, use the second-reference name with the number: Parsons 1287.
Some of the most popular spaces on campus and the formal/complete name; then second reference:
- F.W. Olin Science Center; Olin
- W.M. Keck Laboratories; Keck
- Beckman Hall; Beckman
- Norman F. Sprague Center; Sprague Center or Sprague
- Jon C. and Jean A.S. Strauss Plaza (formerly Sprague Plaza)
- Galileo Hall; Galileo
- Parsons Engineering Building; Parsons
- Jacobs Science Center; Jacobs
- Hixon Court
- Libra Complex (but, Libra deck)
- Thomas-Garrett Plaza (located within Shanahan Center)
- Booth Plaza
- Diana Li Jue Memorial Terrace; Jue Terrace (located in Shanahan Center, third floor, northeast)
- Kingston Hall; Kingston
- Braun Liquidambar Mall; Liquidambar Mall (current name, although trees have been replaced)
- Joseph B. Platt Campus Center; Platt Campus Center or Platt
- Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons; Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall (informally known as “the Hoch”)
- Marks Residence Hall (South Hall); South Dorm or South
- West Hall; West Dorm or West
- North Hall; North Dorm or North
- Mildred E. Mudd Hall (East Hall); East Dorm or East
- Ronald and Maxine Linde Activities Center; the LAC
- Garrett House
- J.L. Atwood Residence Hall; Atwood Hall or Atwood
- Frederick and Susan Sontag Residence Hall; Sontag Hall or Sontag
- Case Residence Hall; Case Dorm or Case
- Ronald and Maxine Linde Residence Hall; Linde Dorm or Linde
- R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning; Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, or Shanahan Center; Use “Shanahan Auditorium” rather than “Shanahan 1430” when referring to the big auditorium/lecture hall (informally known as “Big Shan”)
- Caryll Mudd and Norman F. Sprague Jr. Courtyard and Gallery; Sprague Courtyard and Gallery; Also, Sprague Courtyard OR Sprague Gallery (for use when referring to only one of these areas)
- Wayne ’73 and Julie Drinkward Recital Hall; Drinkward Recital Hall
- Wayne ’73 and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall; Drinkward Residence Hall or Drinkward Dorm
The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College (full, formal name). Second reference: the Harvey Mudd College campaign; the campaign.
The campaign theme is “Harvey Mudd is on a mission” (no period).
Lowercase “campaign” on second reference.
Harvey Mudd College Catalogue
Instead of “chairman,” “chairwoman” or “chairperson.”
“Chicano/Chicana” is a term reflecting pride in the indigenous roots of the Mexican American people.
See also Latino/Latina and Hispanic.
Two words, no hyphen, in all cases.
Chile (chiles, plural) is the spicy pepper or the sauce derived from it. Chili is the meat and/or bean-based dish.
Place commas between the city and state and after the state name: He was traveling from Rancho Cucamonga, California, to St. Louis, Missouri, to get to his new job.
Lowercase all “city of” phrases: the city of Claremont.
Per AP Styleguide, the following major cities (due to their popularity and singularity) do not require state or country identification: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.
See also states.
The Claremont Colleges
“The” is capitalized.
Effective January 1, 2018, the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) legally changed its name to The Claremont Colleges, Inc. (TCC, Inc.).
Five-College, 5-College, 5Cs, 7-College, 7Cs.
Acceptable abbreviations for each of The Claremont Colleges: HMC, SCR, POM, PZ, CMC, CGU, KGI: Bob Jones POM ’92 represented Pomona College alumni at the event.
Example: Also, there are many clubs at the other Claremont colleges. (Lowercase “colleges” when an adjective precedes Claremont.)
Capitalize alumni classes: Class of 1963; Class of 1990.
Do not capitalize class years: sophomore; junior; senior.
Preferred term for entering students is “first years” instead of “freshman/men.” She is a first-year student. They are first years. He is a first year.
Place an apostrophe before the class year after the name of an alumnus. Brock Spinwheel ’65.
Put the college abbreviation after the name of the student or alumna/us from one of the other Claremont colleges: Sharon Real POM ’18. (Abbreviations for The Claremont Colleges—SCR, POM, PZ, CMC, CGU, KGI.)
The intercollegiate athletic program of Harvey Mudd College, Scripps and Claremont McKenna. Women’s teams are known as the Athenas, men’s as the Stags.
A nationally recognized program begun at Harvey Mudd College in 1963.
- Harvey Mudd Clinic Program
- Clinic Program
- Clinic fee
- Clinic project
- Engineering Clinic
- Global Clinic
- Physics Clinic team
- He is a Clinic director
- Clinic Director John Smith
See also Projects Day.
Hyphenate when a prefix ends in a vowel and the word it’s modifying starts in a vowel.
See also hyphenation.
On second reference, “the College” is acceptable terminology for Harvey Mudd College: Harvey Mudd College is located in Claremont, Calif. The College is known for its honor code.
Spell out college names in most instances, especially on first reference. The following well-known abbreviations are acceptable, even on first reference: Caltech (not CalTech), UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC.
See also Harvey Mudd College.
Any structure can follow a colon: a complete sentence, a single word or word groups. If a complete sentence follows a colon, it is initial capped. Otherwise, for lists and single words, the first word should be lowercase (unless it is a proper noun).
- She needed three things from Home Depot: a hammer, nails and plywood.
- The answer to the Jeopardy question was obvious: World War II.
- He wasn’t sure: Should he go to France or to Spain?
Use one space only after a colon.
Place colons outside of quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation itself.
Commas are always placed inside quotation marks: “It is time to go,” said Sam.
Per AP Stylebook, do not use a so-called serial comma at the end of a series before the word “and”: She enjoys swimming, singing, eating and driving.
Exception: Include the comma if clarification calls for it: My three favorite kinds of sandwiches are turkey, peanut butter and jelly, and pastrami.
Use commas with identifiers if the identifier is “the only one.”
Example without commas: I went to see the movie Shrek 2 with my friend Hannah.
There is no comma before Shrek 2 because it is not the only movie in existence. There is no comma before “Hannah” because she is not the speaker’s only friend.
Example with commas: I think Prince is awesome, but my wife, Mary, disagrees.
The speaker has only one wife.
Her first book, Money Rules, is a best seller.
Where exclusiveness or uniqueness is implied, use commas.
Uppercase when referring to full name of Harvey Mudd College graduation ceremony; lowercase when used in the general sense. Harvey Mudd College’s 56th Annual Commencement; The commencement ceremony was spectacular.
Capitalize official names of committees:
- Admission Committee
- Dormitory Affairs Committee
- Executive Committee
compose, comprise, constitute
“Compose” means to create or put together.
“Comprise” means to contain, to include all or embrace.
“Constitute,” in the sense of form or make up, may be the best word if neither “compose” nor “comprise” seems to fit.
Core, Common Core, Core Curriculum
Lowercase the word “curriculum” when used in a general sense and when it does not refer to Harvey Mudd’s official Core Curriculum.
cross country, cross country team
Adopt style that Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics uses (no hyphenation)
Do not include a space when referencing Claremont Colleges courses: E79, E80, HSA10
Course titles should be capitalized, with no quotes or italics: Introduction to Biology.
Spell out full course title on first reference, even for courses that are well known internally: Introduction to Writing (Writ 1, second reference).
cue, que, queue
Cue: a signal to do something.
Que: French word meaning than, to, what or which OR a Spanish word meaning than, that, which, who or whom
Queue: A line of people or traffic waiting for something.
Use an en dash (option-hyphen on Macintosh; Alt + 0150 on PC) to indicate a range between numbers or dates. No spaces appear before or after an en dash.
- The test will be held Feb. 4–8.
- Fiscal year 2006–2007
- Her schedule consists of 15–16 credit hours.
A regular keyboard dash is used for email addresses (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
Use an em dash (shift-option-hyphen on Macintosh, Alt + 0151 on PC) without spaces on either side for:
- Interruptions in thought: Victor knew the answer—which was rare for him—and raised his hand.
- A series within a phrase: He gave his reasons—safety, security, fear—for locking his door.
The em dash (—) is the most common dash and is used to set off information in sentences, instead of a comma, a colon or parentheses.
From 2019 AP Stylebook: “The word typically takes singular verbs and pronouns when writing for general audiences and in data journalism contexts: The data is sound. In scientific and academic writing, plural verbs and pronouns are preferred.”
Write out March, April, May, June and July. Abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. But do not abbreviate months when they stand alone or appear with only a year:
- The anniversary was Sept. 3, 2030.
- She will perform in August 2020.
For a range of dates with months, use “through” in body copy; use an en-dash in calendar listings.
For a range of years, write out both years and use an en-dash: 2005–2006.
In some instances, usually programs and invitations, writing out the month is acceptable and often preferred.
Use the day of the week with the date for clarification when possible: The lecture will be Friday, June 23, at 8 p.m. in Galileo Hall.
Do not add an ordinal (“st,” “nd,” “rd,” or “th”) after the number in a date. Incorrect: June 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 15th. Correct: June 1, 2, 3 or 15.
Use numerals for centuries (e.g., 18th century). Add a dash when it’s used as an adjective (e.g., 21st-century style).
It is not necessary to refer to the year in body copy unless the date is in a different calendar year than the present one, or unless the year is needed for clarification.
Two words, no hyphen, in all uses.
dean of the faculty
Include the word “the” for Harvey Mudd title.
See academic degrees.
Capitalize academic departments when using the full formal title. Lowercase informal title, the preferable usage in body copy.
Use “department” for academic departments; use “office” to refer to administrative departments. See also, academic departments.
Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc., to indicate depth, height, length and width.
- He is 4 feet 6 inches tall.
- The 5-foot-2-inch woman.
- The polo team signed a 6-footer.
- The carpet is 6 feet by 10 feet.
- The building has 70,000 square feet of floor space.
In general, do not describe an individual as disabled unless it is clearly pertinent to a story. If a description must be used, try to be specific. Use people-first language, such as “students with disabilities” instead of “disabled students.”
Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as “afflicted with” or “suffers from a disease.” Rather, “has a disease.” Don’t use the terms “handicapped,” “differently abled,” “cripple/crippled,” “retarded,” “poor,” “unfortunate” or “special needs.” Don’t say “victim of,” “suffering from” or “stricken with” a disability; instead, say the person “has a disability.”
“Blind” describes a person with complete loss of sight. For others, use terms like “visually impaired” or “person with low vision.”
“Deaf” describes a person with total hearing loss. For others, use “partial hearing loss” or “partially deaf.” Do not use “deaf and dumb.”
Capitalize both Deaf and Blind when referring to people. Reserve the use of “deaf” for when it is not referring specifically to people. For example: “She was deaf to his pleas”. “Deaf parallels capitalizing African American, Jewish, Hispanic, and so on, with each of these capitalized designations referring to a group of people with their own culture and physical characteristics (i.e., skin color, bloodline, hearing status).” –Deaf Counseling Center
“Mute” describes a person who physically cannot speak. Others with speaking difficulties are “speech impaired.”
Wheelchair users: People use wheelchairs for independent mobility. Do not use “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair-bound.”
See also accessible.
For more information, refer to Ability Magazine’s terminology guidelines.
Use a dollar sign followed by a numeral. Do not use “.00” with dollar values:
- $500 (not $500.00)
- $8.9 million
- Incorrect: $1 million dollars (the word “dollars” is redundant)
For large numbers, spell out: $1 million instead of $1,000,000.
Can be used in place of “residence hall” when referring to Harvey Mudd student housing (e.g., “Sontag Dorm” instead of “Sontag Residence Hall,”). The proper name is preferred in formal usage.
dot com (n), dot-com (adj)
- She was hired by the dot com last year.
- The effects of the dot-com bust have been devastating.
Incorrect: donut (unless part of a business name)
Lowercase when they indicate compass direction: Drive north on Indian Hill to Foothill Blvd.
Capitalize when they designate regions:
- They live in Southern California.
- He was born in the Lower East Side of New York.
- It is the biggest city on the West Coast. (denoting entire region)
- It is snowing in the eastern United States.
Do not use courtesy title “Dr.” before a name—even on first reference—to refer to PhD recipients, or append the PhD to the end of the name. The exception is when a person has a medical or veterinary degree. On second reference, use last name only.
Capitalize when used as the proper name of the planet:
- The astronaut returned to Earth.
- She planned to move heaven and earth to complete her degree.
e-blast, e-newsletter, email
editor in chief
Abbreviation meaning “for example.” Followed by a comma. Do not confuse with “i.e.”, which means “that is.”
Elements are not capitalized when they are written out as words (oxygen, lead) even when named after a person or place that would normally be capitalized (californium, curium). However, abbreviations for chemical elements are always capitalized (V, Am, Cf). The same rules apply for units of measure, e.g., curie (Ci), watt (W), joule (J), tesla (T).
Treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and a space on either side. Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Avoid deletions that would distort the meaning.
Create the ellipsis on a Mac with option+semicolon. (Word will also automatically create an ellipses by hitting space, period x 3, then space.)
Leave one regular space on both sides of an ellipsis: She ate … until she was full.
If the words that precede an ellipsis constitute a grammatically complete sentence, place a period at the end of the last word before the ellipsis. Follow it with a regular space and an ellipsis: He was a man of many talents. … One of them was ice sculpting.
When the grammatical sense calls for a question mark, exclamation point, comma or colon, the sequence is WORD, PUNCTUATION MARK, REGULAR SPACE, ELLIPSIS. When material is deleted at the end of one paragraph and at the beginning of the one that follows, place an ellipsis in both locations.
Quotations: In a story, do not use ellipses at the beginning and end of direct quotes.
Do not hyphenate. Do not underline email addresses in body text in printed publications.
Exception: The underline format is considered a visual aid in email and e-newsletter communications.
Emeritus (male singular), emerita (female singular), emeriti (plural, includes both male and female).
“Ensure” means to guarantee. Use “insure” for references to insurance.
Entitled means a right to do or have something. Do not use when referring to titles of works.
- Correct: He was entitled to the award.
- Correct: The paper is titled “My Best Research.” (no comma before titled)
The word “faculty” takes a singular verb. Use “faculty members” and “staff members” to avoid awkward singular constructions.
Capitalize when referring to Harvey Mudd event.
Frequently asked questions. Don’t use periods or apostrophe.
“Farther” refers to physical distance: He walked farther into the campus.
“Further” refers to an extension of time or degree: She will look further into the problem.
Capitalize. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.
first come, first served
Hyphenate when modifier comes before a noun: first-come, first-served basis. Otherwise omit punctuation.
Not “first serve.”
Adjective and adverb.
first-year, first year(s)
Use to refer to students beginning their first year of college. Preferred over use of term “freshman/men”:
- She is a first-year student.
- The event is open to first years.
See also class.
Usually described as a span of years: The new director will begin sometime during fiscal year 2020–2021.
Preferred term for handbill/poster or an aviator.
As in Harvey Mudd College Founders Day.
Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though “lesbian” is the more common term for women. Preferred over “homosexual” except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity.
Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to “sexual preference” or to a gay or alternative “lifestyle.”
See also sex and transgender.
No periods. Spell out on first reference: grade point average.
See academic grades.
“Disabled” is the preferred term. See disabled.
Harvey Mudd College, HMC, the College
Use “Harvey Mudd College” on first reference. In subsequent references, use “Harvey Mudd” or “the College.” “HMC” is appropriate for internal audiences.
Capitalize words in headlines that are longer than three letters (including prepositions), or that begin or end a headline, regardless of length. Don’t use punctuation unless it’s a question mark or (sparingly) an exclamation point.
Two words, noun and adjective, no hyphen.
A term grouping all people of Spanish-speaking descent. This is the preferred inclusive term in some regions, especially in the Southwest.
When known, a more specific identification should be used: Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican American (people of Mexican descent living in the United States).
See also Chicano/Chicana and Latino/Latina.
home in, hone in
Home in means “to move or be aimed toward a destination or target with great accuracy.” Missiles home in on targets. If you need the phrase “in on” after the verb, it’s most likely “home.” Or, use “zero in.”
Hone means “to sharpen or make more acute,” as in honing a talent.
Honor Code, Harvey Mudd College’s
Capitalize unless referring to an honor code in general.
- The Harvey Mudd College Honor Code is well known.
- She reported the infraction because she is bound by our Honor Code.
- A college honor code is an important feature.
hyphenation, word division
Hyphens (-) are used only to break a word at the end of a line of text or to join compound modifiers. Dashes (–) are used as punctuation. Hyphens should not be used in place of dashes, nor should they be used as minus signs. The purpose of the hyphen is clarity. Use if there is a danger of mistaking which two words go together.
Close up prefixes and words when possible: nonconsecutive.
Hyphenate when a prefix ends in a vowel and the word it’s modifying starts in a vowel: co-editor.
If a word could be mis-read, hyphenate for clarity; e.g., co-create.
Compound adjectives formed with “well” (well known, well fed, well dressed) are hyphen
At the end of a line, do not break a word following a short vowel: trans-ition, not transi-tion.
Hyphenations should follow a vowel only if it has a long sound: communica-tion.
Avoid three or more consecutive end-of-line hyphens.
When jumping to another page, do not hyphenate a word.
Avoid breaking first or last names, names and class years, dates and numerical units (e.g. $500 million; keep the figure together).
Hyphenate re- words when they contain an “e”: re-examine.
(Also, see em dash [—] )
Latin term “id est” meaning “that is.” Followed by a comma. Do not confuse with “e.g.,” meaning “example given” or “for example.”
Abbreviate and do not precede with a comma: Time Inc.
From 2019 AP Stylebook: “In many cases, splitting the infinitive or compound forms of a verb is necessary to convey meaning and make a sentence easy to read. Such constructions are acceptable.” But: “If splitting a verb results in an awkward sentence, don’t do it.”
Do not separate with a space, regardless of length: R.C. Cola; J.R.R. Tolkien.
It is acceptable to begin Web addresses without “http://” or “www.” Example: hmc.edu.
Consider the audience when deciding whether or not to add “www.” It is best practice to test any web address before publishing.
Capitalize “World Wide Web.”
Lowercase web, website, web page, webcast, webmaster. As of 2016, these are now generic terms (AP Style alert: Don’t capitalize internet and web anymore).
internet of things (IoT)
Refers to internet-connected devices that are able to connect with other devices and can be controlled remotely through a device or app.
See also quotation marks and titles.
Use italics—not boldface, underlining or caps—for general emphasis: She was absolutely not going to attend.
Punctuation following an italicized word is also italicized, including a possessive: Fortune’s list of 500 influential leaders.
But open and closed quotes and parentheses always match, even if the last word is in italics: “Did you read Glamour?” she asked.
Works that exist as a smaller part of a larger work are placed in quotation marks.
Italics are used for certain scientific names (e.g. species names), court case names and named vessels, vehicles and aircraft.
“Its” is possessive. “It’s” means “it is.”
Abbreviate as “Jr.” and “Sr.” and do not precede with a comma: Manny Smith Sr.
Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)
Refer to this school as Keck Graduate Institute on first reference, not as Keck Graduate Institute for Applied Life Science (former name). KGI has two schools: School of Applied Life Sciences (established in 1997) and School of Pharmacy (established in 2015).
Refers to people of Latin American origin. It is the preferred inclusive term for people from North America, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.
“Latinx is a gender neutral term that is being used as a means of being more inclusive and moving away from the gendered term. It is pronounced “Lah-teen-ex,” and allows for the Spanish language to move beyond gender binaries … Latinx is a term that allows for our non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid and trans hermanos and hermanas to feel included.” –Courtesy of NASPA
See also Chicano/Chicana and Hispanic.
Lie indicates a state of reclining along a horizontal plane (does not take a direct object). Its past tense is lay. Its past participle is lain. Its present participle is lying.
When lie means to make an untrue statement, the verb forms are lie, lied, lying.
lecture or speech title
Set off with quotes. Do so with academic article titles, also.
Per AP Stylebook.
Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Pronounced “lie-go”
living-learning community (LLC)
When referring to Harvey Mudd’s student group.
As in Harvey Mudd logo lockup.
login/logon/logoff (n, adj)
As related to computing.
log in/log on/log off (v)
As related to computing.
long term, long-term
We are planning for the long term.
This is a long-term plan.
long time, longtime
They have known each other a long time. They are longtime partners. (AP Stylebook)
Capitalize: Mach 1, Mach 2.
Loren (Shay) Ross; Loren Shay Ross if used as full name.
Harvey Mudd offers six traditional majors and four joint/specialized programs.
- Computer Science
Interdisciplinary majors: Chemistry and Biology; Computer Science and Mathematics; Mathematical and Computational Biology; and Mathematics and Physics.
Names of majors are not usually capitalized, except when presented in a list (as above) or for some Admission publications where emphasis is desired.
Lowercase, one word. Collaborative spaces where people gather to get creative with DIY projects, invent new ones and share ideas.
master of ceremonies, mistress of ceremonies
Not “master of ceremony.” More than one host, regardless of gender: masters of ceremonies.
Capitalize as formal title when preceding a name; lowercase otherwise.
math, maths, mathematics
“Maths” is typically used in the U.K. Use when it is part of the formal name of something. Otherwise, follow the standard U.S. usage of “math” as either singular or plural when used in place of the word “mathematics.”
Also referred to as MEMS. Do not hyphenate; one word.
Do not hyphenate unless preceding a capitalized word or a figure: midday; mid-September; mid-1940s.
An inclusive term referring to people from a region in western Asia and northeast Africa that includes but is not limited to the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. The term “Arab” traditionally refers to a person from the Arabian Peninsula. Persians (Farsi speakers) from Iran are not Arab.
Use instead of “12 a.m.” or “12 midnight.” Capitalization is not necessary, unless at the beginning of a line or sentence.
A single “l” for both words.
For amounts of $1 up to $999,999.99, use the dollar sign with a decimal point to separate dollars from cents.
Leave the decimal point and zeroes off of even dollar amounts.
For even amounts of $1 million or more, omit zeroes and use “million,” “billion,” etc.
- $7 million
- $2.2 billion
For amounts less than a dollar, spell out the word “cents,” lowercase and use numerals.
- 78 cents
- 10 cents’ worth
Spell out March, April, May, June and July.
Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.
Do not abbreviate months when they stand alone or appear with only a year:
- The anniversary was Sept. 3, 2002.
- She will perform in August 2005.
See also dates.
Capitalize. Refers, in particular, to alumni and students—but can also refer to faculty and staff—of Harvey Mudd College.
The dictionary defines “mudder” as “a race horse that performs especially well on a wet, muddy track.”
In general, use last names on second reference.
When two or more people use the same last name, use the first name.
Indigenous people who inhabited the Americas and Caribbean prior to the European conquest. Many Native Americans use “tribe” or “nation” in referring to their people. Recommended usage is to refer, whenever possible, to a particular people or nation by name: Iroquois, Navajo, Cherokee, Sioux, etc.
Italicize the names of newspapers. Capitalize “the” in a newspaper’s name if this is the publication’s official name (per AP Stylebook): the Los Angeles Times; The New York Times.
See also titles.
Use quotations when inserted into the identification of an individual. Eric is known as “Scoop.” Mrs. Mary “Trigger” Smith.
Commonly used nicknames may be substituted for a first name without the use of quotation marks: Pinky Nelson is an astronaut.
Capitalize without quotation marks such terms as Sunshine State, Old Glory.
Refers to terrorist events on Sept. 11, 2001.
Use instead of “12 p.m.” Capitalization is not necessary, unless at the beginning of a line or sentence.
Spell out numbers from one to nine, use numerals for numbers 10 and above. This rule also applies when numbers above and below ten are used in the same context: The event was for students in grades four through 12.
Spell out any number at the beginning of a sentence or expressed in quotations.
Use figures to express a person’s age, but not the age of an inanimate object.
Use decimals, not fractions, in body text.
Use commas with numbers in the thousands: 5,234.
Ordinals follow the number rule: Spell out “first” through “ninth,” use figures for “10th” and higher. Do not superscript the ordinal.
When writing dates, do not include the ordinal: His birthday is October 4, 1944 (not October 4th, 1944). The day is written as a cardinal number.
Use numerals for percentages regardless of whether the number is above or below 10 (except to start a sentence).
Capitalization: Room 24, Group 2.
Spell out the word “percent,” but not the numeral preceding “percent.” (e.g. 99 percent, 4 percent). Use the symbol “%” in charts and tables. Precede decimal with a zero for amounts less than 1 percent (0.3 percent). The verb used with percent depends on whether its entity is singular or plural: Nearly 20 percent of the class is sleeping; Only 15 percent of the teachers are camping.
Scholastic credit hours use numerals: To be considered a full-time student, you must take 12 semester hours of credit.
“No. 1” is preferred in body text over “number one,” unless quoted.
Use “No.” as the abbreviation for “number” in conjunction with a figure to indicate position or rank: No. 1 woman, No. 3 ranking.
Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc., to indicate depth, height, length and width. Hyphenate adjectival forms before nouns.
- He is 4 feet 3 inches tall; the 6-foot-1-inch woman; the 7-foot man; the basketball team signed a 6-footer.
- The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high.
- The rug is 6 feet by 12 feet; the 6-by-12-foot rug.
- The storm left 5 inches of snow.
- The building has 70,000 square feet of floor space.
Non-academic areas are offices.
- Office of Institutional Advancement, advancement office
- Office of Career Services, career services
- Office of Title IX, Title IX office (Title IX is a proper noun and remains capped in second reference)
- Office of Dean of Students (no apostrophe); dean of students office
- Note: Office of Admission (not Admissions), admission office
See also departments.
over, more than
Can be used interchangeably. (AP Stylebook)
People of the islands in the Pacific Ocean including three major ethnic groups: Polynesians (Tahitians, Samoans, Native Hawaiians and others); Micronesians (U.S. Trust Territories, Guam, Wake Island, Bikini and Kwajelin); and Melanesians (New Zealand, Australia and the Solomans).
Use figures and lowercase: The article is on page 5.
Do not hyphenate when letters are added: page 4B.
Harvey Mudd College parents are noted as such by a “P” and the year their student will graduate/graduated following a parent’s name. There are no spaces, nor is there an apostrophe before the year: Sam and Mary Smith P08 are happy to volunteer.
For parents with twins, there should be one “year” designation for each student separated with a comma: Carl Watson P20, P20 is chair of the committee.
peak, peek, pique
Peek: to take a brief look or catch a glimpse: I peeked at my ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page to see if she was married.
Peak: the most extreme possible amount or value: The storm surge will peak on Wednesday.
Here’s a mnemonic device to keep them straight courtesy of The Writer’s Dig: The peak of a mountain is shaped like an A. But to peek you need your eyes, which has two E’s.
Don’t confuse either word with “pique,” a French word meaning “to stimulate”: My interest was piqued—is he really not wearing pants at work?
Use use of “%” with figures is acceptable instead of writing “percent.”
The word takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an “of” construction: The professor said 60% was a failing grade. He said 10% of the membership was present.
It takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an “of” construction: She said 30% of the members were there.
Use figures for percent and percentages: 5%, 10.2% (no fractions), 6 percentage points.
A range: 10 to 14%; between 40 and 55%.
For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.3 percent.
Use one space after a period in running text.
Preferred format: 909.621.8011.
Write extensions as extension 234 or ext. 234 not x234.
Generally do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant. Some exceptions:
- Except for common usage like “cooperate” and “coordinate,” use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.
- Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized.
- Use a hyphen if the word my be visually difficult to read or may be mistaken for a word with different meaning: The co-donors were happy to help. The tennis player re-served the ball.
- Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph
A first performance.
Not “Presentations Day.”
Both noun and adjective.
Not “Project Days.” See also Clinic.
Acceptable abbreviation for a question and answer session.
Que: French word meaning than, to, what or which OR a Spanish word meaning than, that, which, who or whom
Queue: A line of people or traffic waiting for something.
Also, see cue.
An umbrella term that can refer to anyone who transgresses society’s view of gender or sexuality. The definitional indeterminacy of the word “queer,” its elasticity, is one of its constituent characteristics.
Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks. Place semicolons outside of quotation marks. Place colons outside of quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation itself.
When ending a sentence with quoted material inside of other quoted material such as dialogue, the single and double quote always stay together: “You know what they say: ‘When in Rome.'”
Quotation marks are used for the following:
- Individual episodes of a TV series
- Individual songs on an album
- Poems, stories, book chapters, essays
- Lectures, speeches, presentation titles
- Musical compositions
See also titles.
Stands for “research and development.” Omit spaces.
radio/TV call letters
Use all caps: WBZ-AM, ABC-TV.
Can be used when referring to Harvey Mudd College student housing. “Dorm” is also acceptable.
No accents (AP Stylebook).
Lowercase “reunion” unless part of an official name or headline: the reunion; the reunion dinner; 50th reunion; 40th Reunion Gift Fund.
Use without periods. An abbreviation of the French phrase “respondez s’il vous plait,” or, in English, “Respond if you please.” Never use the redundant phrase “Please RSVP”; you are then saying “Please respond if you please.” It’s better to just say “RSVP by …” or “RSVP to 607.8335.”
A competitor finishing behind the winner in the specified position.
Lowercase when used informally: fall semester; summer 2010; spring break.
Capitalize as part of a formal name: Winter Olympics, Summer Olympics.
Used to indicate a greater separation of thought than a comma can convey but less than the separation a period implies. Semicolons are also used to clarify complicated series: His favorite bands are Hall and Oates; Earth, Wind and Fire; and Hootie and the Blowfish.
Place semicolons outside of quotation marks.
Noun, two words.
Biological classification of male or female (based on genetic or physiological features); as opposed to gender.
See also gender.
singalong or Singalong (n)
Capitalize when part of an event title (Alumni Singalong), otherwise make lowercase. (Oxford Dictionary)
A computer/phone combination.
Stage 0, Stage 4
Capitalize when referring to cancer diagnoses (source: City of Hope).
The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base.
Use postal codes only with full mailing addresses that include zip code: 301 Platt Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711.
To stand still is to be stationary. Writing paper is stationery.
Noun and adjective.
strategic vision, Harvey Mudd College Strategic Vision
When referring to Harvey Mudd College’s official document and its six themes, write out completely on first reference: the Harvey Mudd College Strategic Vision. Lowercase the words “strategic vision” on second reference or when referring to a strategic vision in general.
student roster, Student Roster
Capitalize when used in relation to the Harvey Mudd Honor Code. Otherwise, lowercase.
Summer Undergraduate Research Program
It is acceptable to use “summer research program” on second reference.
“TV” is acceptable as an adjective or noun. For formatting television programs, see titles.
A tenet is a principle held as being true, especially by an organization or a group of people.
A tenant is (1) someone who pays rent to occupy property; (2) a dweller in a place; and, (3) in law, one who holds or possesses lands, tenements or property by any kind of title. – Grammarist
When the idea is essential to the sentence—helps identify the main idea—use “that” without a comma: This is a day that I will never forget.
When the idea is added information—good but not essential—use “which” and commas: Potato chips, which are high in salt, are not part of a heart-healthy diet.
Hint: Clauses using “which” are usually separated from the main idea by a comma or commas. If you can remove the clause and not alter the meaning of the sentence, “which” should be used.
Always lowercase “the,” except in newspaper or book titles where the first word has been designated by the publication as part of the title: the Los Angeles Times; the New York Post; The Washington Post; The New York Times.
Another exception: The Claremont Colleges, Inc.
Unless referring to a proper name spelled “theatre.”
It is appropriate to use “
Both noun and adjective, no hyphen.
Referring to three-dimensional items.
Always use “a.m.” and “p.m.” with periods. Use an en-dash, no spaces, to separate ranges of time.
Except for noon and midnight, all time should be expressed numerically, omitting zeros for tops of hours: 8 a.m.; 6:22 p.m.; 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m.; 9–10:15 a.m.
Do not repeat “a.m.” or “p.m.” if within the same time period: 8–10 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.–10 a.m.
For formal invitations, programs and similar documents, authors may opt to use zeros: 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
If using the word “from,” use the corresponding “to” instead of an en-dash: The event lasts from 9 a.m. to 3:12 p.m.
The word “on” is seldom needed when referring to a time or date: She arrived Monday.
Capitalization varies based on usage. If a title is not just a job description, but rather an actual job title, and it comes before a person’s name, make it upper case. Titles after names are lowercase since these are appositive phrases serving as identifiers. For general job descriptions, use lowercase, regardless of their placement before or after a name. If someone has a lengthy title, it is best to follow his/her name with the title, lowercase (unless the title is a named chair or other official endowed position).
Honorifics, such as “professor” and “dean” that directly precede a name, should be capitalized.
- The team was headed by administrator Mary Crawford. (used as a description, not as her title, so it’s lowercase)
- President Maria Klawe spoke at the event.
- Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, signed the agreement. (title follows the name)
- Mary Beakin, chair of the department and professor of economics, is on vacation. (title follows the name)
- Professor of Chemistry Lester Jones developed a new class. (full title in front of name)
- She has an appointment with chemistry professor Lester Jones. (one of many chemistry professors)
- He has an appointment with Shelly Smith, Peter Pan Professor of Physics. (named chair, so title after name is capitalized)
- They hired physics professors Joe Toblin and Linda Montoz.
- English department chair Raul Smith was absent from the meeting. (one of many department chairs)
- The dean agreed with the committee.
See also academic titles.
TV programs, movies, music albums, books, plays, video game titles, magazines, and newspapers should be italicized: Who’s the Boss?; Braveheart; Michael Jackson’s Thriller; the Los Angeles Times; The Sun Also Rises; Harvey Mudd College Magazine; Hamlet.
Online magazines, journals and scholarly publications also should be italicized: Salon; Bloomberg.
Works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures) are italicized (Chicago Manual of Style): Rodin’s The Thinker; Mona Lisa.
Titles of apps are set roman (no italics or quotation marks).
Do not italicize the name of a newspaper or periodical when it is part of the name of a building, organization, prize or the like: Los Angeles Times Book Award, Tribune Tower.
Use quotation marks for:
- Individual episodes of a TV series
- Individual songs on an album
- Poems, stories, book chapters, essays
- Lectures, speeches, presentation titles
- Musical compositions
Appearing as, wishing to be considered as or having undergone surgery to become a member of the opposite sex.
Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.
A person who changes gender by undergoing surgical procedures.
Not “towards,” which is more common in British English.
Standard U.S. usage is with a single “l.”
Capitalize only if used before the name of a member of Harvey Mudd’s board of trustees: Harvey Mudd Trustee Norman Sprague; Sprague was a trustee of Harvey Mudd College.
Capitalize “Twitter” in reference to the website only. “Tweet” can be a noun or verb; lowercase: The instructor tweeted a link to the article; the athlete sent a late-night tweet using Twitter.
Ultimate, Ultimate Frisbee
A flying disc team sport.
One word in all uses. (AP Stylebook)
Spell out when used as a noun. “U.S.” should be used only as a preceding adjective. “American” typically refers to citizens of the United States and should rarely be used as an adjective in place of “U.S.”
University of California, CSU system institutions
Spell out on first reference in most instances. Exceptions are well-known universities that cannot be confused with any other college: UCLA, Caltech.
The use of “http://” “https://” and “www.” is not usually necessary in running text. Web addresses should be set roman, no italics or underlines: Visit hmc.edu for more information.
Avoid breaking URLs across multiple lines of text, if possible.
Well-known websites do not require URL identification and are also set roman: Facebook; Google; Buzzfeed.
Check the address, especially when omitting “www” or “http://.”
See also internet, web.
Spell out in ordinary speech and writing. Abbreviate in short expressions (with period).
video game titles
Italicize video game titles.
web, website, webmaster, web page, World Wide Web
Lowercase “website,” “webcam,” “webcast” and “webmaster.” Only capitalize in reference to “World Wide Web.”
Website names are set roman without quotes or italics. Example: She suggested we view ted.com and Facebook.
See also internet, URL.
West Coast, the West
Lowercase if used as a directional indicator. See also directions.
While the term “Caucasian” is commonly used in place of White, neither a common ancestry related to the Caucasus Mountains region, nor an assumption that all Whites are culturally or ethnically homogeneous, should be assumed.
Two words, lowercase, when used to refer to a special report.
A technology for wireless local area networking with devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Wi-Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.
words used as words
Use quotation marks for words used as words and letters used as letters: Please use the term “disabled” in place of “handicapped”; I’d like to buy an “F,” Pat Sajak.
works of art
Hyphenate when using as an adjective.
Short for x-radiation.
year-round (adj., adv.)
Use an en-dash when expressing a range of years.
Preferred format is to express a range of years fully: 1996–1998, 1985–2001, not 1996–98.
See also dates.
Do not separate the state from its ZIP code. Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91701.