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.

Communications and Marketing oversees the style guide and design standards at Harvey Mudd. Please direct questions or comments to communications@hmc.edu or to 909.607.6722.

A

AABOG

Harvey Mudd’s Alumni Association Board of Governors.

accept

“Accept” means to receive; “except” means to exclude.

academic degrees

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.S.

No periods for abbreviations with three or more letters: BSEE, MBA, PhD.

Exception: LL.M.

Preferred sentence format: Lexi Jones, who earned a bachelor of science degree from Harvey Mudd College, has been appointed CEO of ABC Company.

Acceptable format: Lexi Jones, who earned a B.S. from Santa Clara University…

If more than one graduate from the same family is mentioned, the preferred format is: Stan ’65 and Mary Smith ’82 attended the reunion.

academic departments

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

academic grades

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.

academic majors

Lowercase general references: She is a physics major; he is studying computational biology.

academic titles

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, uppercase job title, but not the modifier: Conference organizers have nominated department Chair Kelly Wilder.

Lowercase if the title is just a job description (not an actual title): Give the information to development staff member Leslie Bruer.

After name, lowercase job title: Zach Dodds is a professor of computer science.

Plural title is lowercase: 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.

accessibility

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.

accessible

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.

addresses

Use abbreviations “Ave.,” “Blvd.” and “St.” only with a numbered address: 301 Platt Blvd.

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.

advisor

“Advisor” instead of “adviser.” (This is HMC’s preference and differs from AP Stylebook.)

African American (Black)

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.

afterparty

No hyphen.

afterward

Not “afterwards.”

ages

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.

aka

Lowercase, no periods.

all right (adverb)

Not “alright.”

alumnus

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).

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. Used in the Harvey Mudd College Catalogue and when listing a spouse who graduated from those colleges.)

Alumni Weekend

AM, FM

Radio transmission systems; capitalized, no periods.

a.m.

a.m., p.m. (include periods). Noon and midnight are neither a.m. nor p.m. Designate as noon or midnight.

among

Not “amongst.”

ampersand (&)

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).

apostrophe

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.

apps

Titles of apps are set roman (no italics or quotation marks).

ASHMC

Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College.

Asian American

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)

awards

Capitalize them: Medal of Honor, Outstanding Alumni Award, etc.

B

baby boomer

Lowercase, no hyphen.

barbecue

Not “barbeque.” “BBQ” may be acceptable on space-sensitive materials.

BASIC

Acronym for Beginners’ All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Use of acronym on first reference is acceptable if identified as a programming language.

best-seller

Hyphenate in all uses.

biannual, biennial

“Biannual” means twice a year and is a synonym of the word “semiannual.” “Biennial” means every two years.

biweekly

Means every other week. “Semiweekly” means twice a week.

black

Lowercase in reference to race and color. See African American.

board

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.

Brand names

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
  • Galileo Hall; Galileo
  • Parsons Engineering Building; Parsons
  • Jacobs Science Center; Jacobs
  • Hixon Court
  • Thomas-Garrett Plaza
  • Booth Plaza
  • Kingston Hall; Kingston
  • Braun Liquidambar Mall; Liquidambar Mall
  • Joseph B. Platt Campus Center; Platt Campus Center or Platt
  • Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons; Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall
  • 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*
  • 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

* To avoid confusion, use “Shanahan Auditorium” rather than “Shanahan 1430″ when referring to the big auditorium/lecture hall.

C

campaign

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.

catalogue

Harvey Mudd College Catalogue

cellphone

chair

Instead of “chairman,” “chairwoman” or “chairperson.”

child care

Two words, no hyphen, in all cases.

Chicano/Chicana

“Chicano/Chicana” is a term reflecting pride in the indigenous roots of the Mexican-American people.

See also Latino/Latina and Hispanic.

cities

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.

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.

Five-College, 5-College, 5-Cs, 7-College, 7-Cs.

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.

Claremont University Consortium

The central coordinating and support organization for the seven institutions, created in 2000. Previously known as “Claremont University Center.” Also known as “the Consortium.”

class

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.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS)

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.

Clinic

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
  • Clinics

See also Projects Day.

College, the

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.

college names

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.

colon

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.

comma

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.

Examples with commas: I think Prince is awesome, but my wife, Mary, disagrees.

Her first book, Money Rules, is a best seller.

The speaker has only one wife. Where exclusiveness or uniqueness is implied, use commas.

commencement

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.

committees

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

course titles

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).

course work

D

dashes

Use an en-dash (option-hyphen on Macintosh; Alt + 0150 on PC) between numbers or dates.

Examples:

  • 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., students-l@hmc.edu).

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.

dates

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.

day care

Two words, no hyphen, in all uses.

dean of the faculty

degrees

See academic degrees.

departments

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.

dimensions

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.

disabled, disability

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.”

“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.

dollar amounts

Use a dollar sign followed by a numeral. Do not use “.00″ with dollar values:

  • $500 (not $500.00)
  • $17,200
  • $8.9 million
  • Incorrect: $1 million dollars (the word “dollars” is redundant)

For large numbers, spell out: $1 million instead of $1,000,000.

dorm

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.

directions

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.

Dr.

Do not use courtesy title “Dr.” before a name, even on first reference, unless person has a medical or veterinary degree. On second reference, use last name only.

E

email

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.

e-blast, e-newsletter

e.g.

Abbreviation meaning “for example.” Followed by a comma. Do not confuse with “i.e.”, which means “that is.”

Earth

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.

ellipses

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.

Emeritus

Emeritus (male singular), emerita (female singular), emeriti (plural, includes both male and female).

ensure

“Ensure” means to guarantee. Use “insure” for references to insurance.

entitled/titled

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)

F

faculty

The word “faculty” takes a singular verb. Use “faculty members” and “staff members” to avoid awkward singular constructions.

Family Weekend

FAQs

Frequently asked questions. Don’t use periods or apostrophe.

farther, further

“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.

first come, first served

Not “first serve.”

first-year, first year(s)

Preferred over use of term “freshman/men”:

  • She is a first-year student.
  • The event is open to first years.

See also class.

fiscal year

Usually described as a span of years: The new director will begin sometime during fiscal year 2020–2021.

firsthand

Adjective and adverb.

first years, first year, first-year student

Use to refer to students beginning their first year of college. Preferred instead of “freshmen” or “freshman.”

flier

Preferred term for handbill/poster or an aviator.

forward

Not “forwards”

fundraising, fundraiser

G

gay

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.

GPA

No periods. Spell out on first reference: grade point average.

grades

See academic grades.

H

handicapped

“Disabled” is the preferred term.

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.

headlines

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.

Health care

Two words, noun and adjective, no hyphen.

Hispanic

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 page

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

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.

I

i.e.

Latin term “id est” meaning “that is.” Followed by a comma. Do not confuse with “e.g.,” meaning “example given” or “for example.”

Inc.

Abbreviate and do not precede with a comma: Time Inc.

initials

Do not separate with a space, regardless of length: R.C. Cola; J.R.R. Tolkien.

Internet

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 “Internet,” “Web” and “World Wide Web.”

Lowercase website, web page, webcast, webmaster

italics

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, it’s

“Its” is possessive. “It’s” means “it is.”

J

junior, senior

Abbreviate as “Jr.” and “Sr.” and do not precede with a comma: Manny Smith Sr.

L

Latino/Latina

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.

See also Chicano/Chicana and Hispanic.

lecture or speech title

Set off with quotes. Do so with academic article titles also.

life-size

login/logon/logoff (n, adj)

log in/log on/log off (v)

longstanding

M

Mach number

Captialize: Mach 1, Mach 2.

maiden/birth names

Loren (Shay) Ross; Loren Shay Ross if used as full name.

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.

mid

Do not hyphenate unless preceding a capitalized word or a figure: midday; mid-September; mid-1940s.

Middle Easterners

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.

midnight

Use instead of “12 a.m.” or “12 midnight.” Capitalization is not necessary, unless at the beginning of a line or sentence.

money

For amounts of $1 up to $999,999.99, use the dollar sign with a decimal point to separate dollars from cents.

  • $20.15

Leave the decimal point and zeroes off of even dollar amounts.

  • $30

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

months

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.

Mudder

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.”

N

Native American

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.

newspapers

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.

nicknames

Use quotations when inserted into the identification of an individual. Eric is known as “Scoop.” Mrs. Mary “Trigger” Smith.

Commonly used nicknames may be subsituted 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.

9/11

Refers to terrorist events on Sept. 11, 2001.

nonprofit

noon

Use instead of “12 p.m.” Capitalization is not necessary, unless at the beginning of a line or sentence.

numbers

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.

Use numerals for percentages regardless of whether the number is above or below 10 (except to start a sentence).

Capitalization: Page 3, 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. 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.

O

OK

Not “okay.”

office

Non-academic areas are offices.

  • Office of Institutional Advancement, advancement office
  • Office of Career Services, career services
  • Office of Dean of Students (no apostrophe); dean of students office
  • Note: Office of Admission (not Admissions), admission office

See also departments.

online, offline

over, more than

Can be used interchangeably. (AP Stylebook)

P

Pacific Islander

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).

page number

Use figures and lowercase: The article is on page 5.

Do not hyphenate when letters are added: page 4B.

parents

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.

In magazine and external publications (including news releases), parents with twins who graduated or will graduate in the same year receive one year designation: Kevin Schofield P13 (father of twins Elly and Xanda Schofield).

percent

The word takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an “of” construction: The professor said 60 percent was a failing grade. He said 10 percent of the membership was present.

It takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an “of” construction: She said 30 percent of the members were there.

Use figures for percent and percentages: 5 percent, 10.2 percent (no fractions), 6 percentage points.

A range: 10 to 14 percent; between 40 and 55 percent.

For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.3 percent.

period

Use one space after a period in running text.

phone numbers

Preferred format: 909.621.8011.

Write extensions as extension 234 or ext. 234 not x234.

P.O. Box

Use periods.

prefixes

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

premiere

A first performance.

Presentation Days

Not “Presentations Day.”

Projects Day

Not “Project Days.” See also Clinic.

Q

Q-and-A

Acceptable abbreviation for a question and answer session.

queer

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.

quotation marks

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
  • Dissertations
  • Lectures, speeches, presentation titles
  • Musical compositions

See also titles.

R

radio/TV call letters

Use all caps: WBZ-AM, ABC-TV.

residence hall

Can be used when referring to Harvey Mudd College student housing. “Dorm” is also acceptable.

resume

No accents (AP Stylebook).

reunion

Lowercase “reunion” unless part of an official name or headline: the reunion; the reunion dinner; 50th reunion; 40th Reunion Gift Fund.

RSVP

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.”

S

seasons

Lowercase when used informally: fall semester; summer 2010; spring break.

Capitalize as part of a formal name: Winter Olympics, Summer Olympics.

semicolons

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.

sex

Biological classification of male or female (based on genetic or physiological features); as opposed to gender.

See also gender.

smartphone

states

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.

EIGHT NOT ABBREVIATED: The names of eight states are never abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. (AP Stylebook)

Use postal codes only with full mailing addresses that include zip code: 301 Platt Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711.

stationary, stationery

To stand still is to be stationary. Writing paper is stationery.

startup

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.

student-to-faculty ratio

Summer Undergraduate Research Program

It is acceptable to use “summer research program” on second reference.

T

television

“TV” is acceptable as an adjective or noun. For formatting television programs, see titles.

that, which

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.

the

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.

theater

Unless referring to a proper name spelled “theatre”

3-D

Referring to three-dimensional items

times

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.

titles, professions

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.
  • Professor of Chemistry Lester Jones developed a new class.
  • She has an appointment with chemistry Professor Lester Jones.
  • 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. (“Chair” is Raul’s actual title, so it is capitalized)
  • Mary Beakin, chair of the department and professor of economics, is on vacation.
  • The dean agreed with the committee.

See also academic titles.

titles, works

TV programs, movies, music albums, books, plays, 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.

Video game titles and 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
  • Dissertations
  • Lectures, speeches, presentation titles
  • Musical compositions

transgender

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.

transsexual

A person who changes gender by undergoing surgical procedures.

toward

Not “towards,” which is more common in British English.

trustee

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.

Twitter

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.

U

underway

One word in all uses. (AP Stylebook)

United States

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.

URL

The use of “http://” 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.

See also Internet, website.

V

voice mail

Two words.

vice versa

video game titles

Video game titles are set roman (no italics or quotation marks).

W

website, webmaster, Web address, World Wide Web, Web page

Lowercase “website,” “webcam,” “webcast” and “webmaster.” Only capitalize in reference to “World Wide Web” or “the 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.

white

Members of the current majority culture in the United States. 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.

white paper

Two words, lowercase, when used to refer to a special report.

Wi-Fi

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

See titles.

work-study (adj)

Y

years

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.

YouTube

Z

ZIP code

Do not separate the state from its zip code. Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91701.

zip line