A

a, per

  • Do not use a in place of per.
    • Americans generate millions of tons of waste per year.

abbreviations (See also acronyms)

  • Academic degrees use periods without spaces. (See also academic degrees)
    • B.A.
    • M.S.
    • Ph.D.
  • Some academic abbreviations and acronyms do not use periods. Spell out on first reference if readers may not be familiar with the term.
    • GPA (grade point average)
    • SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test)
    • ACT (American College Testing)
    • GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
    • MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
    • LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
  • When used as adjectives, abbreviate United States and United Nations using periods with no spaces. Spell out when used as nouns. Do not use America in place of United States or American in place of U.S.
    • U.S. policy
    • U.N. treaty
  • Spell out units of measurement (see numbers, numerals, figures). For technical or scientific text, or where space is limited, use straight (not curly) apostrophe or quote mark to indicate feet or inches, respectively. (See also measurements)
    • 4 inches or 4 in
    • 12 feet or 12 ft
    • 2.3 miles or 2.3 mi
  • Commonly known rates of measurement may be abbreviated without periods or in technical or scientific text, or where space is limited.
    • mph (acceptable in all uses)
    • ppm
    • psi
  • In U.S. place names, do not abbreviate Fort, Point, Mount, or Port.
    • Fort Collins
    • Fort Carson
    • Mount Rainier
  • In U.S. place names, abbreviate Saint.
    • St. Louis
    • St. Lawrence River
  • Plurals of abbreviations are formed by adding an s (with no apostrophe unless possessive).
    • GPAs
    • Ph.D.s
    • SATs
  • Use a or an before an abbreviation depending on how the abbreviation is pronounced. If the first letter is pronounced with a vowel sound, use an; if the first letter is pronounced with a consonant sound, use a.
    • an M.A.
    • an LSAT test
    • a U.S. official

abbreviations of foreign phrases

  • When using foreign expression, use periods only with the words that are abbreviated. Do not italicize common foreign phrases and abbreviations, and do not hyphenate when used as adjectives, as in ad hoc committee.
  • Some common foreign abbreviations, their full spellings, and translations follow.
    • ad hoc – meaning for a particular purpose
    • ad lib. – ad libitum, meaning at will
    • ad loc. – ad locum, meaning at the place
    • c or ca. – circa, meaning approximately
    • e.g. – exempli grata, meaning for example
    • et al. – et alii, meaning and other people
    • etc. – et cetera, meaning and so forth
    • et seq. – et sequentes, meaning and the following
    • i.e. – id est, meaning that is
    • ibid. – ibidem, meaning in the same place
    • loc. cit. – loco citato, meaning in the place cited
    • op. cit. – opere citato, meaning in the work cited
    • pro tem – pro tempore, meaning for the time being
    • vs. or v. – versus, meaning against
  • The abbreviations i.e. and e.g. may be used in technical or informal writing but it is better to use the more common English phrases in general and formal writing. When using these phrases, precede with semicolon and follow with a comma. A dash may be used instead of the semicolon for added emphasis.
    • I need some additional information; i.e., your estimated cost and delivery.
    • Include extracurricular activities; for example, volunteer work, sports, or clubs.

academic degrees

  • Capitalize full names of academic degrees. Do not capitalize the field of study in which the degree was awarded.
    • Pat Parker has a Master of Science in communications.
    • Alex Khan received a doctorate in psychology.
  • Do not capitalize generic forms such as baccalaureate or doctorate. Lowercase and use an apostrophe s for adjective forms such as master’s degree. When referring to more than one degree, add s only to degree (bachelor’s and master’s remain singular).
    • bachelor’s degree or baccalaureate degree
    • master’s degrees
    • bachelor’s and master’s degrees
    • postdoctorate, postdoctoral degree
  • Doctoral or postdoctoral are the adjective forms; doctorate or postdoctorate are the nouns.
    •  She did her postdoctoral work at CSU,
    • Not: She did her postdoctorate work at CSU.
    • He received his doctorate at CSU.
    • Not: He received his doctoral at CSU.
  • The word degree should not follow a specific degree, whether spelled out or abbreviated.
    • She received her Master of Fine Arts from Colorado State University.
    • He has a B.A. in history.
    • Not: He has a B.A. degree in history.
  • Capitalize degree abbreviations and use periods without spaces. The following degrees currently are offered at Colorado State University.
    • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
    • Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
    • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)
    • Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.)
    • Master of Addiction Counseling (M.A.C.)
    • Master of Agriculture (M.Agr.)
    • Master of Arts (M.A.)
    • Master of Arts Leaderhsip and Cultural Management (M.A.L.C.M.)
    • Master of Applied Statistics (M.A.S.)
    • Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
    • Master of Communications and Media Management (M.C.M.M.)
    • Master of Computer Information Systems (M.C.I.S.)
    • Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.)
    • Master of Education (M.Ed.)
    • Master of Engineering (M.E.)
    • Master of Finance (M.Fin.)
    • Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
    • Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (M.F.W.C.B.)
    • Master of Fishery and Wildlife Biology (M.F.W.B.)
    • Master of Forestry (M.F.)
    • Mater of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting (M.G.M.A.)
    • Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
    • Master of Music (M.M.)
    • Master of Natural Resources Stewardship (M.N.R.S.)
    • Master of Natural Sciences Education (M.N.S.E.)
    • Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.)
    • Master of Science (M.S.)
    • Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
  • Form the plurals of degree abbreviations by adding an s.
    • More than 2,000 B.A.s were awarded at the commencement ceremony.
  • Set off degree abbreviations with commas when used after names. Do not use courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr., Ms., and Rev. before a name when a degree designation is used after the name.
    • Terry Martinez, Ph.D., will give the keynote address.
  • For listing alumni information, state the individual’s name, the degree abbreviation and/or the major, and the year of graduation. Enclose the year within commas or parentheses following the name.
    • Alex Lee, computer science, ’71, resides in Denver.
    • Blake Abe (B.S., ’65; M.S., ’68) has been voted this year’s honor alum.
  • Do not capitalize or italicize honors designations. (See also honors)
    • cum laude (meaning with distinction)
    • magna cum laude (meaning with great distinction)
    • summa cum laude (meaning with highest distinction)

academic departments, colleges, offices (See departments)

academic titles (See also titles)

  • Capitalize academic titles such as professor, dean, president, and professor emeritus/emerita when they precede a name. Also, when used before names, capitalize words that are part of the title such as Department Chair or Assistant Professor.
    • On Monday, President Kelly Silva will deliver the opening address.
    • In the lecture, Associate Professor Pat Parker will discuss economics.
  • Do not capitalize words that come before the formal title if those words normally would not be capitalized. (See also departments) Also do not capitalize titles that are occupational or descriptive, even if they appear before names.
    • Next week, social sciences Professor Alex Gray will chair the meeting.
    • The Department of Sociology Chair Taylor Lee presented the award.
    • Also participating in the project is research assistant Leslie Martinez.
    • Local high school teacher Blake Abe will serve on the committee.
  • Lowercase formal titles, descriptors, and modifiers used after a name and set them off with commas.
    • Kelly Silva, president, will deliver the opening address.
    • Taylor Lee, dean of the College of Engineering, addressed the graduates.
    • Blake Abe, associate professor of management, will discuss world policy.
    • Taylor Lee, Colorado State University Extension equine specialist, will teach the short course.
  • A formal title or an academic degree may be used on first reference, but not both in the same reference. Subsequent references generally use last names only. (See also academic degrees)
    • President Kelly Silva or Kelly Silva, Ph.D.
    • Not: President Kelly Silva, Ph.D.
  • Capitalize full names of endowed professorships and fellowships. Lowercase when used generically. Capitalize Fellow in reference to a fellowship, regardless of gender.
    • Taylor M. Lee was the first recipient of the John Q. Smith Professorship.
    • They received the fellowship.
    • They were named a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.
  • Do not hyphenate vice president.
  • In general writing, do not use courtesy titles such as Ms. and Dr. The designation Dr. may be used in first reference (and, if appropriate to the context, in subsequent references) before the name of an individual who holds a doctoral degree in the health or medical fields.
  • In a formal context, courtesy titles may be used in all references. In this case, Dr. may be used before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, be sure that the individual’s specialty is stated in the first or second reference to avoid confusion with medical and health doctors.

acronyms (See also abbreviations)

  • In general, avoid the use of acronyms. Spell out the organization’s full name on first reference. Do not follow the first reference with an acronym whether set off within parentheses or by dashes or commas. The acronym may be used on subsequent references only if the acronym is easily identifiable. If an acronym is confusing or is not easily identified with the full name of the organization, the acronym should not be used.
    • The Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory began in 1968 as a world leader in grassland research. Over five decades, the scope of research at NREL has expanded to include projects on every continent.
  • Use a or an before an acronym depending on how the acronym is pronounced. If the first letter is pronounced with a vowel sound, use an; if the first letter is pronounced with a consonant sound, use a.
    • an FBI agent
    • a USGS official
    • a scuba instructor
    • a SWAT team
    • an HIV infection
    • an NREL scientist
  • Form the plural of an acronym by adding a lowercase s. Do not use an apostrophe unless possessive.
    • There are 2,700 YMCAs serving communities throughout the United States.
    • The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list can be viewed on the web.
  • Commonly known acronyms can stand alone and do not need to be spelled out on first reference. Capitalize but do not include periods or spaces.
    • FBI
    • CIA
    • YMCA
    • ZIP code (for Zone Improvement Program)
  • Medical and veterinary acronyms do not include periods.
    • AIDS
    • HIV
    • FeLV
    • FUS
    • BSE
  • Capitalize, space, spell, and punctuate computer software and programs according to manufacturer preference.
    • Fortarn
    • COBOL
    • Microsoft Word
    • Photoshop
    • InDesign
  • Some acronyms have become so common that they are no longer capitalized.
    • laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation)
    • scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus)
  • Spell out the names of countries and federal agencies. Use acronyms only as adjectives. Do not use American in place of U.S.
    • United Kingdom
    • U.S. Air Force
    • U.S. Department of Agriculture but USDA
  • Do not spell out or use a comma to set off Inc., Co., or Corp. unless the organization prefers to do so.
    • Hewlett-Packard Company; HP (on second reference)
    • Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
    • IBM Corporation; IBM (on second reference)
    • Time Inc.
    • Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
  • The preferred way to refer to Colorado State University is by the full name, Colorado State University. Colorado State University should always be used on first reference. However, the University, Colorado State, or CSU may be substituted for the full name within publications for variety or when space does not permit the use of the full name. These substitutes may not appear as main heads. (Note: Capitalizing University differs from the AP Stylebook.) Also see Communicator’s Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu.

addresses

  • Use the two-letter Postal Service state abbreviations only with full addresses that include ZIP codes. Do not use periods or commas between the state abbreviation and ZIP code. (See state names.) Put the ZIP code on the same line directly following the state abbreviation, which is followed with one space but not with a comma. For international mail, follow the ZIP code with a space and U.S.A. (with periods).
  • Capitalize all letters in ZIP (the acronym for Zone Improvement Program) without spaces or periods. Since this is a common acronym, do not spell out. Do not capitalize code. ZIP alone may be used where space is limited, as on forms.
    • The University’s ZIP code is 80523.
    • City ______________, State _____ ZIP__________
  • Abbreviate north, south, east, and west with numbered addresses. If compass points such as northwest or southeast are part of the street address, capitalize and abbreviate with periods and no spaces.
    • 500 S. College Ave.
    • 12534 N. County Road N.W.
  • Always spell out alley, drive, road, terrace, place, lane, and circle. Capitalize when part of a formal name or an address. Do not capitalize in general use or when used with two or more names.
    • University Terrace
    • 123 Park Lane
    • Old Main and East drives
  • Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St. only with numbered addresses. Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number, but lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name.
    • 208 Mountain Ave.
    • College Avenue
    • the avenue
    • College and Mountain avenues
  • The correct style for University addresses is name and title (optional), department or office name, street address or room number and building name (optional), Colorado State University, XXXX Campus Delivery (must be next-to-last line), Fort Collins, CO 80523-XXXX (where XXXX is the department’s assigned four-digit Campus Delivery number). If the piece will be mailed internationally, add U.S.A. after the ZIP code (see the Communicator’s Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu). For example:
    • Dale Gray, Director
      Creative Services
      Second Floor, Hartshorn
      Colorado State University
      6025 Campus Delivery [must be next-to-last line]
      Fort Collins, CO 80523-6025 U.S.A.
  • Business Reply Mail to be returned to Colorado State University must follow a strict address order and use different ZIP codes as determined by the U.S. Postal Service.
    • Creative Services
      6025 Campus Delivery
      Colorado State University (must be next-to-last line)
      Fort Collins, CO 80521-9984 (for Business Reply Cards or 80521-9900 for Business Reply Envelopes)
  • Other requirements and restrictions apply. Contact Mail Services at (970) 491-6529 or Creative Services at (970) 491-6432 for additional information.
  • In the return address on standard format Colorado State University envelopes and mailing panels, do not use Colorado State University (redundant with the logo), and spell out Colorado instead of using CO. (See Communicator’s Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu.)

adviser

  • Use the spelling adviser in generic use. The spelling advisor may be used as preferred by an individual person or office.
    • Professor Garcia is my adviser.
    • Ryan Gray is senior advisor to the president.

affect, effect

  • Affect is a verb meaning to act on or move or to pretend or assume.
    • The music affected the crowd.
    • The actor affected a limp.
  • Effect as a noun means result or condition of being in force.
    • Increased exercise has had a beneficial effect on their health.
    • Plan B now is in effect.
  • Effect as a verb means to bring about, accomplish, or become operative.
    • Increased exercise has effected an improvement in their health.
    • The new policy will take effect next week.

African American (See inclusive language)

ages (See also inclusive language)

  • Always use figures for animals and people but not for inanimate objects less than 10 years old.
    • The woman is 30 years old.
    • The child is 5 years old.
    • The law is eight years old.
    • Our 25-year class reunion is next month.
  • Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun.
    • She is a 30-year-old woman.
  • Do not use apostrophes when referring to a general age. If a person’s age is used after a name, enclose in commas.
    • The president is in his 60s.
    • Taylor Abe, 47, was hired.

alumni

  • Use alumna for a woman, alumnae for a group of women, alumnus for a man, and alumni for a group of men or a mixed-gender group.
  • The terms alum and alums can be used for nongendered language.
  • Alumni status also is granted to people who attended Colorado State University but did not complete degrees.
  • For listing alumni information, state the individual’s name, the degree abbreviation and/or the major, and the year of graduation. Enclose within commas or parentheses following the name.
  • Chris Kumar, computer science, ’71, resides in Denver.
    Pat Morales (B.S., ’65; M.S., ’68) has been voted this year’s honor alum.

a.m., p.m.

  • Always lowercase and use periods without a space before the m. Avoid redundancy.
    • 3:30 p.m. or 3:30 this afternoon
    • Not: this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

among, between

  • In general, use between when referring to two people, things, or groups and among when referring to more than two persons, things, or groups.
    • The manager divided the tasks between Chris and Kelly.
    • The difference between their team and ours is motivation.
    • Picket fences run between the lots in the neighborhood.
    • Place a napkin between each plate.
    • The rumor spread among the students.
    • Excitement was high among students, players, and coaches.
  • Also use between when referring to three or more elements that are considered two at a time or as a group.
    • There was disagreement between the employees, the management, and the board.

ampersand (&)

  • Do not use in the names of offices and departments or in general writing in place of and.
  • Use only when part of an official name, such as AT&T.

Anglo (See inclusive language)

Asian American (See inclusive language)

assure, ensure, insure

  • Assure, ensure, and insure all mean to make secure or certain. However, only assure is used in reference to setting a person’s mind at rest. While ensure and insure generally are interchangeable, insure is now more widely used to mean to guarantee financially against risk, particularly in the insurance industry, and ensure is recommended for use in a nonfinancial context.

athletics

  • The correct title of the Colorado State University department is Department of Athletics (plural). See departments for capitalization guidelines.
    • athletics staff
    • the Department of Athletics
    • the athletics department
  • The title Athletics Director should be capitalized when used before a name. (See titles)
    • According to Athletics Director Alex Martinez, this will be an exciting season.
    • Alex Martinez, athletics director, said this year’s team looks promising.
    • The name of the new athletics director will be announced tomorrow.
  • Capitalize Rams when referring to athletic teams or players.
    • The Rams’ mascot is CAM, a Rambouillet ram, named for the Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1947.
  • Do not capitalize names of individual sports.
    • football
    • men’s golf
    • women’s basketball

awards, fellowships, medals, prizes, scholarships

  • Capitalize formal names of awards, scholarships, and honorary designations such as fellowships, honorary chairs, and professorships without quotation marks or italics. Do not capitalize generic designations or references.
    • Nobel Peace Prize but the peace prize
    • National Book Award
    • Bronze Star
    • Medal of Honor
    • Margaret B. Hazaleus Award
    • Monfort Professor but the professorship
    • University Distinguished Professor
    • University Distinguished Teaching Scholar
    • Ed Warner Endowed Chair in Geophysics but the endowed chair
    • Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy but the fellowship
    • National Merit Scholarship but the scholarship
  • The titles of lecture series stand alone without quotation marks or italics. Enclose in quotation marks the title of an individual lecture.
    • In the Monfort Lecture Series, primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall delivered the 2007 Monfort Lecture, “A Reason to Hope,” to an audience of more than 6,000.
  • When used in an adjective phrase, hyphenate only after the last word in the award name. Do not hyphenate a noun phrase.
    • Nobel Peace Prize-winning chemist
    • Pulitzer Prize winner
    • National Merit Scholarship-winner
  • Do not capitalize the discipline or category in which the award was received.
    • Nobel Prize in physics
    • Pulitzer Prize for fiction
  • In “Best of” lists, capitalize (title case) and enclose in quotation marks.
    • In 2006, Fort Collins was named “Best Place to Live” by Money magazine.
  • Do not capitalize rankings in competitions such as first place. (See also ordinals under numbers, numerals, figures.)
    • Our civil engineering team won first place in the concrete canoe competition.
    • The first-place award went to CSU’s team in the horse-judging competition.
    • The relay team placed 11th in the finals.

B

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science (See academic degrees)

benefited, benefiting

  • One “t” in each word; no alternate spelling.

beside, besides

  • Beside means next to. Besides means in addition to.

blog

  • Short for web log.
  • Enclose blog titles in quotation marks.

board (See also Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System)

  • Do not capitalize board or phrases such as board of directors or board of trustees in general use. Capitalize only when used in conjunction with the official name of an organization.
    • First National Bank’s Board of Directors will meet today.
    • The bank’s board of directors met today.
    • Today’s board meeting includes only half of the Board of Governors members.

Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System (See also Colorado State University System)

  • On first reference, use the complete name of the board. Thereafter, the following shortened forms are acceptable:
    • Board of Governors of the CSU System
    • CSU System Board of Governors
    • Board of Governors
    • the Board
    • the System
  • The former name, State Board of Agriculture, is obsolete and should not be used except in historical references.

book titles (See also composition titles)

  • Italicize titles and subtitles of published books, including catalogs of reference materials. (Note that this differs from the AP Stylebook.)
  • Enclose in quotation marks chapter titles, partial titles, and titles of short stories and essays. Italicize titles of such works published separately.
  • Capitalize titles of commonly recognized parts of books, but do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks. Do not capitalize these general terms.
    • Chapter 2
    • Appendix A
    • Table of Contents
    • Index
    • The book contains six chapters, an index, and a table of contents.
  • Italicize titles of poetry collections and long poems published separately. Enclose titles of short poems in quotation marks.
  • Capitalize (but do not italicize or put in quotation marks) titles of religious works, versions, and editions.
    • the King James Version of the Bible
    • the Old Testament
    • the Book of Job
    • the Lord’s Prayer
    • the Torah
    • the Koran

buildings, places

  • On first reference, use the official name of campus buildings, rooms, and facilities, including named spaces. After the first reference, do not capitalize such general terms as hall, center, laboratory, and building if the full name is not used.
    • North Ballroom
    • Cherokee Park Room
    • Johnson Hall
    • James L. Voss Veterinary Medical Center or Voss Veterinary Medical Center
    • North Conference Room of the Administration Building
  • Capitalize commonly recognized parts of campus.
    • Main Campus
    • the Oval
    • the Plaza
    • Foothills Campus
  • Spell out Lory Student Center. On subsequent reference, student center may be used. When space is limited, LSC may be used on second reference for internal communications only. Use Lory Student Center Theatre, not Theater; however, use theater in generic uses.
    • The Lory Student Center has a theater with a balcony.
  • Use Morgan Library when referring to the main library only. When referring to Colorado State’s library system or its buildings collectively, use University Libraries (or the Libraries after first reference).
  • In addresses and when referring to locations, cite the room number first (the word Room is optional) followed, without a comma, by the building name. When the location requires a compass-point distinction, abbreviate it in capitals and with periods following the building name. If a room has a specific name, use the name and separate it from the building name with a comma.
    • 21 Spruce Hall
    • 271 Aylesworth Hall S.W.
    • A102 Engineering Building (no hyphen between section and room number)
    • 221-223 Lory Student Center
    • Longs Peak Room, Lory Student Center

Business Reply Mail (See addresses)

C

Cabinet

  • Capitalize Cabinet in references to a specific body of advisers heading executive departments.
    • President Martinez announced two new Cabinet members.
    • The president will be forming a Cabinet soon.

CAM the Ram

  • CSU’s official mascot is a Rambouillet sheep. CAM is an acronym for Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, CSU’s former name, so it always should be capitalized. CAM has been CSU’s official mascot since 1954.

capitalization

Note: The following guidelines are intended to address the most common usage questions and to avoid excessive capitalization, since capitalization confers added significance to common nouns. (Readers may not consider such capitalized words to be as momentous as the writer does.) Use good judgment in selecting a particular style – with this guide as a reference – and apply that style consistently throughout the document.

  • Capitalize professional and formal titles when they precede a name (see also academic titles). Do not capitalize titles used after a name or words that are occupational titles.
    • On Tuesday, President Terry Martinez will deliver the opening address. Afterward, President Martinez will introduce keynote speaker Pat Parker, poet and professor of English, and soloist Leslie Morales will conclude the ceremony with the alma mater.
  • Capitalize University and System when they specifically refer to Colorado State University. (See Colorado State University and Colorado State University System. This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
  • Capitalize complete and official names of Colorado State University colleges, schools, divisions, departments, centers, offices, and programs (see also colleges and departments). In all other instances, do not capitalize.
    • Department of Physics; the physics department
    • University Center for the Arts; the center
    • College of Business; the business college
    • Brain-Computer Interfaces Laboratory; the laboratory
    • School of Education; the school
    • Office of Admissions; the admissions office
    • Fermentation Science and Technology Program; the program
  • Capitalize full names of specific committees, councils, and divisions. Do not capitalize in general use.
    • The Classified Personnel Council met today.
    • The council discussed employee benefits.
  • Capitalize full names of degrees such as Bachelor of Arts but not generic versions such as bachelor’s degree. (See academic degrees)
  • Capitalize class rankings of first-year student, sophomore, junior, and senior only when indicating a specific class or program title.
    • The Senior Class sponsored the lecture.
    • All first-year students are expected to attend Ram Welcome activities.
  • Capitalize commonly recognized features and landmarks.
    • the Main Campus
    • the Oval
    • the Lagoon
    • the Plaza
    • the Oval Office
  • Capitalize references to specific rooms and buildings.
    • North Ballroom
    • Cherokee Park Room
    • Johnson Hall
  • Capitalize commonly recognized regions in Colorado that are widely known by a distinctive name. In other references, do not capitalize the modifier.
    • Western Slope
    • Front Range
    • Northern Colorado
    • Metro Denver
    • northwestern Colorado
    • central Longmont
  • Capitalize the full name of a specific class or a class title that uses a proper noun or numeral.
    • He took Introduction to Philosophy, Experimental Psychology, and Algebra II.
    • My English class meets every day at 9 a.m. followed by advanced algebra at 10.
  • Capitalize seasons only when part of a specific name or time. Do not capitalize derivatives such as springlike.
    • Fall 2008
    • Summer Session 2009
    • Summer Olympics
    • They will teach two courses during the summer session.
  • Capitalize names of historical and geological periods and events.
    • Paleozoic Era
    • Age of Reason
    • Dark Ages
    • Boston Tea Party
  • Capitalize the name of a school district when preceded by a township, county, or proper name.
    • Poudre School District
  • Capitalize government entities when part of a proper noun or an agency’s formal name.
    • Federal Reserve Board
    • Department of State
    • the State Department (also acceptable)
  • Do not capitalize government entities such as city, county, state, and federal when used as a common noun or adjective or when used in place of the actual name.
    • the city of Fort Collins
    • the state of Colorado
    • an employee of the state
    • federal loans
  • Capitalize the first word of a complete quotation.
    • The professor said, “We are pleased by the progress they are making.”
  • Capitalize the first word following a colon when it introduces an independent, complete sentence.
    • His meaning was clear: There would be no further discussion.
  • Do not capitalize the first word following a colon when it does not introduce an independent, complete sentence.
    • There are three parts to the sentence: the subject, the verb, and the object.
  • Capitalize the full, official titles of CSU organizations and programs.
    • Associated Students of Colorado State University (or ASCSU after first reference)
    • Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System
    • Colorado State University System (or CSU System after first reference)
    • Faculty Council
    • Honors Program
    • Fall 2019 Commencement (when referring to a specific commencement)
    • University (when referring to Colorado State University)
  • Do not capitalize the first word of an indirect or partial quote. Indirect or partial quotations, which do not require commas before or after quotation marks, should be used only sparingly.
    • He said he was “­pleased by the progress” they were making.
  • Do not capitalize the following words and phrases in general use:
    • ad hoc committee
    • admissions form
    • alma mater
    • amendment
    • baccalaureate
    • bachelor’s
    • black, brown or white (when referring to race; see inclusive language)
    • board
    • bureau
    • central administration
    • city of Fort Collins
    • college
    • colonial (when referring to the style of architecture)
    • commencement
    • committee
    • cum laude (do not italicize)
    • department
    • doctoral, doctorate
    • fall
    • first-year student (preferred over freshman)
    • junior
    • master’s
    • orientation
    • president of the United States
    • president of the University
    • program
    • school
    • senior
    • sophomore
    • spring break
    • spring
    • state of Colorado
    • summer
    • white paper
    • winter

Caucasian, white (See inclusive language)

century

  • Do not capitalize. When used with ordinal numbers less than 10, as in sixth century, spell out the ordinal and do not capitalize. When used with ordinals 10 and larger, as in 21st century, use figures and do not superscript the suffix – instead, place the suffix (-st, -th, -nd, -rd) in the same size and on the same baseline as the running text. (This may require overriding the autocorrect feature in a word processing program.) Hyphenate the ordinal and century when used as a compound adjective.
    • Colorado State University is a 21st-century land-grant institution.
    • the first century
    • the 20th century
    • Not: the 20th century

chair

  • Use chair when referring to a person who holds that leadership position in an organization.

chapters

  • Capitalize chapter when used with a numeral in reference to a section of a book or legal code. Always use Arabic figures. Lowercase when standing alone.
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 20
    • the third chapter

cities

  • Follow a city name with the name of the state unless the city is well known by the audience.
    • Chicago
    • Paris, Texas
    • Laramie, Wyoming
  • Enclose state, county, or country names in commas when they follow city names.
    • The prospective student traveled from Glenville, Illinois, to Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • In an international context, spell out state names.
    • Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A., is the home of Colorado State University.

class

  • Capitalize when referring to a specific class with a year; lowercase in all other uses.
    • The Class of 2008 is hosting a reunion next month.
    • They are part of this year’s graduating class.

colleges

  • The eight colleges at Colorado State University are:
    • College of Agricultural Sciences
    • College of Business
    • College of Health and Human Sciences
    • College of Liberal Arts
    • College of Natural Sciences
    • College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
    • Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering (College is the only acceptable usage after first reference. Do not use Scott College.)
    • Warner College of Natural Resources (Warner College is acceptable after first reference.)
  • Capitalize full, official college names. Avoid using acronyms for University names. Shortened names may be used on subsequent references but do not capitalize them.
  • Within a specific college or department context, College or Department may be capitalized in place of the full college name after first reference. Be sure to be consistent with usage within a document or publication.
    • Dartmouth College
    • college graduate
    • the College of Natural Sciences
    • The College received a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Colorado State University (See also athletics; capitalization; names)

  • The preferred way to refer to Colorado State University is by the full name, Colorado State University. The full name, Colorado State University, should always be used on first reference; however, the University, Colorado State, or CSU may be substituted for the full name in publications for variety or when space does not permit the use of the full name. These substitutes may not appear as main heads. (Note: Capitalizing University differs from the AP Stylebook.) Also see the Communicator’s Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu.
  • In formal or official context, when referring to the University president, use Joyce McConnell on first reference. Thereafter, use either McConnell, President McConnell, or the president.
    • Joyce McConnell gave her annual fall address today. Following the address, President McConnell invited the audience to the picnic and activities on the Oval.
  • When referencing Colorado State University prior to May 1, 1957, when it was renamed and granted university status, use the college’s official name at the time, indicating as appropriate that this was the University’s name at the time.
    • In 1949, William E. Morgan became president of Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, later known as Colorado State University.
    • Colorado State University was established in 1870 as the Agricultural College of Colorado.
    • For a brief timeline of the prior names and presidents of Colorado State University, see “Colorado State University: A Chronology of Colorado’s Land Grant University.”

Colorado State University Extension

  • Formerly known as Colorado State University Cooperative Extension or Cooperative Extension. Do not use Cooperative Extension Service. Neither Cooperative nor Service is part of the organization’s official name as of June 2007.
  • Use Colorado State University Extension on first reference. Thereafter, use Colorado State Extension. If printed material includes multiple references, Extension may be used to minimize lengthy repetition.
    • For more information, contact the Extension office in your county.
  • Generally, most Extension employees who are called specialists also are professors at the University, and most employees who are called agents are located in field offices throughout the state.
    • Colorado State University Extension nutrition specialist Pat Parker will discuss healthy food choices in next week’s column.

Colorado State University System

  • The Colorado State University System is a higher education system that incorporates Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado State University-Pueblo (formerly called the University of Southern Colorado), and Colorado State University-Global Campus, the nation’s first 100 percent online university, to assist the institutions in accomplishing their objectives and to provide staff support to the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System.
  • On first reference, spell out in full and capitalize. Thereafter, CSU System may be used.
    • Tony Frank is chancellor of the Colorado State University System, which comprises Colorado State University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, and CSU-Global Campus.
  • On first reference, spell out the Pueblo campus as Colorado State University-Pueblo. Subsequent references may be abbreviated CSU-Pueblo. On first reference, spell out Colorado State University-Global Campus. Subsequent references may be abbreviated CSU-Global.

commas

  • In U.S. English, commas and periods always go inside single or double quotation marks. (In the United Kingdom, they always go outside the marks.)
  • Use a comma to separate independent clauses (complete sentences) joined by a conjunction. If clauses share a common subject, do not use a comma. Do not separate two dependent clauses with a comma, but separate more than two dependent clauses with commas, as with any series.
    • Fort Collins enjoys a moderate climate, and it is located near the foothills.
    • Fort Collins enjoys a moderate climate and is located near the foothills.
    • Fort Collins enjoys a moderate climate, is located near the foothills, and has enough snowfall to keep winter enthusiasts happy.
  • Use commas to separate elements in a series, including a final comma in a series of three or more elements. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • She took microbiology, psychology, and art history.
    • Course work is required in natural sciences, arts and humanities, and business.
  • Do not use commas if all the elements in a series are joined by conjunctions.
    • “I have school and my roommates and sports to keep me busy,” she said.
    • The rooms share a living room, kitchen, and laundry room.
  • Use a comma after introductory phrases, including short, and one-word, introductory phrases. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • That year, only two schools participated.
    • That year only, two schools participated.
    • In Fall 2006, more than 20,000 undergraduates were enrolled.
    • Note: Although it is not necessary to use commas after certain introductory phrases, it is never incorrect to use the comma, and simply using a comma after all introductory phrases makes punctuating less confusing and expedites the writing and editing processes.
  • In listing dates, no comma is needed between a month and a year or between the time and date.
    • The lecture was scheduled for October 2018.
    • The club will meet 1-3 p.m. March 25 in the Cherokee Park Room of the Lory Student Center.
  • Use commas with a month, day, and year. Set off the year with commas.
    • The lecture scheduled for Oct. 17, 2018, was canceled.
  • Enclose in commas state and country names when they follow a city name.
    • They traveled from St. Louis, Missouri, to Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Use a comma to separate multiple adjectives and adverbs that each modify the same word. As a memory aid, do not use a comma if and cannot be inserted between the modifiers.
    • It was a long, hot summer. (It was a long and hot summer.)
    • Colorado State University is a 21st-century land-grant institution.
    • Not: Colorado State University is a 21st-century and land-grant institution.

committee

  • Do not abbreviate. Capitalize when part of a formal name.
    • the Joint Budget Committee
  • Do not capitalize committee in shortened versions of formal committee names.
    • ethics committee

complement, compliment

  • Complement means something that completes. Compliment means an act or expression of courtesy or praise.
    • The complimentary dinner is tonight.
    • The dinner complements the evening activities.

compose, comprise, constitute

  • Compose means create, put together, or make up – the parts compose [make up] the whole.
    • Fifty states compose the United States.
    • The United States is composed of 50 states.
    • Twenty-six letters compose the English alphabet.
    • The English alphabet is composed of 26 letters.
  • Comprise means to contain or consist of – the whole comprises [contains] the parts. Do not use comprise in the passive sense. (Comprise of is redundant.)
    • The United States comprises 50 states.
    • The English alphabet comprises 26 letters.
    • Not: The English alphabet is comprised of 26 letters.
  • Constitute, when used to mean form or make up, may work best when neither compose nor comprise seem to fit.
    • Fifty states constitute the United States.
    • Twelve people constitute a jury.
  • Do not use comprise instead of includecomprise implies that all parts follow; include implies that only some parts follow.
    • The English alphabet includes the letters A, B, and C.

composition titles (See also book titles; conference titles; journal titles; musical titles; newspaper and newsletter titles)

  • The following differs from the AP Stylebook
  • Capitalize all principal words in titles (see title case) and italicize or enclose in quotation marks as follows.
    • The general rule is to italicize the titles of larger works (such as books and magazines) that contain smaller parts (such as chapters and articles), which would be enclosed in quotation marks.
    • Italicize titles and subtitles of published books, journals, pamphlets, proceedings, reports, collections, periodicals, newspapers, and all works published separately (such as a long poem published separately and not as part of a larger collection).
    • Italicize titles of collections of poetry and long poems published separately. Enclose in quotation marks the titles of short poems.
    • Italicize titles of long musical compositions. Enclose in quotation marks the titles of songs and short compositions.
    • Italicize album titles. Enclose in quotation marks the titles of individual songs.
    • Italicize the titles of drawings, statues, and other works of art.
    • Italicize the titles of motion pictures, plays, and television and radio programs.
    • Enclose in quotation marks the titles of lectures, speeches, theses, white papers, essays, poems, short stories, magazine or newspaper articles, book chapters or sections, and shorter works not published separately.
    • Enclose in quotation marks the titles of television episodes and radio stories.

compound words (See hyphens)

comprise (See compose, comprise, constitute)

computer terminology (See email; Internet; URL)

conference titles

  • Capitalize all principal words in titles of conferences and symposia, but do not italicize or enclose these titles in quotation marks. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.) Italicize conference themes, and enclose in quotation marks the titles of individual talks, discussions, or speeches.
    • A Study of Modern Life is the theme of the Sixth Annual Healthy Living Conference, which includes a keynote address, “Moving Ahead,” by Terry Abe. The conference will be held in September.

contractions

  • Be careful not to confuse contractions with possessive pronouns – contractions have apostrophes; possessive pronouns do not. (Tip: To test if a contraction is used correctly, think of the words that form the contraction.)
    • Who’s [Who is] going to the game?
      Whose book is this?
      Not: Who’s [Who is] book is this?
    • It’s [It is] the dawn of a beautiful day.
      The dog lost its bone.
      Not: The dog lost it’s [it is] bone.
    • They’re [They are] going to the game.
      Their mission is threefold.
      Not: They’re [They are] mission is threefold.
    • You’re [You are] in trouble!
      Your comments are important to us.
      Not: You’re [You are] comments are important to us.
    • The decision was theirs to make.
      There’s [There is] still time to decide.
    • Be sure that contractions agree with the number of the sentence.
    • There are too many cooks in the kitchen.
      Not: There’s [There is] too many cooks in the kitchen.

Cooperative Extension (See Colorado State University Extension)

countries

  • Spell out the names of countries and world entities when used as nouns.
    • United States
    • United Kingdom
    • United Nations
  • When used as adjectives, names of countries and world entities may be abbreviated with periods.
    • U.S. policy
    • U.K. economy
    • U.N. treaty
  • Check Merriam-Webster Dictionary for adjective forms of country names.

course titles and numbers

  • Capitalize official course names and formal names of programs. Do not put in quotation marks or italics.
    • He took Introduction to Philosophy, Experimental Psychology, and Painting II.
  • Do not capitalize general references to courses except for proper nouns.
    • She took classes in psychology and German.
  • Usually, when referring to Colorado State University courses, official course names are sufficient. When including course numbers with course names, use official University course numbers, which consist of an alphabetical prefix (indicates the college, department, or unit that offers the course) followed by a space and the number of the course.
    • AT 300
  • For CSU courses approved for inclusion in the All-University Core Curriculum, CC is added after the prefix. If the prefix consists of only one letter, put a space before the CC. If the prefix consists of two letters, do not add a space before CC.
    • M CC 125
    • JTCC 100
  • For official course names and numbers, see the General Catalog on the web at catalog.colostate.edu and the Graduate and Professional Bulletin on the web at graduateschool.colostate.edu.

course work

  • Course work is two words.

D

dash

  • A dash is used to signal an abrupt change in thought or a pause within a sentence. It may be used in pairs to set off or enclose a word, a phrase, a list, or a clause – as with commas or parentheses – but with more emphasis than commas or parentheses. When using a dash in this way, it is used on both sides of the word, phrase, or list. Do not mix use of dash and comma in this case.
  • A dash also may be used alone, like a colon – to detach the end of a sentence from the main body or to offer additional information.
  • A dash may be used before an attribution to set it off from a quotation.
    • I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.
      – Albert Einstein
  • There are several characters used to create a dash. An en dash [ – ] is longer than a hyphen [ – ] but shorter than an em dash [ — ]. The double hyphen [ — ] today is considered obsolete.
  • The en dash should be used with spaces on either side.
  • Note: Though some prefer to use the unspaced em dash, others argue that its length is visually disrupting to the reader and can create problems with line spacing and line breaks. Therefore, in the interest of consistency and efficiency, the Colorado State University Writers Style Guide recommends using the en dash with spaces.
  • To make an en dash in most word processing programs, type a space followed by a hyphen followed by another space. To make an em dash, type two hyphens without a space before or after.

dates (See also decades and years)

  • Be sure to include a time reference on all communications, both printed and electronic. This may be as obvious as including the year of an annual report in its title, the dates of a conference on a cover, or the volume number, issue number, and date on a periodical. It may be less obvious but still accessible to the reader, such as putting a date at the bottom of a web page, a copyright date on an inside front cover, or a revision date at the bottom of a form or back of a brochure.
  • Use figures with dates. Do not use ordinals in dates (21st, 32nd, etc.).
    • Jan. 23, 2018
      Not: Jan. 23rd, 2018
  • When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
    • Feb. 17, 1957
    • April 23, 2019
  • Use commas with a month, day, and year. Enclose the year in commas when it follows a date.
    • The lecture scheduled for Oct. 17, 2019, was canceled.
  • Spell out the month when used alone or when used with a year alone. No comma is used between a month and a year.
    • January
    • February 2008
    • September 2019
  • It is not necessary to use the year with a month and/or date that fall within the current year unless the context refers to multiple years. However, do include a year on content posted online.
    • The award was presented in April.
    • The ceremony will be Sept. 16.
    • Engineering Visit Day will be Oct. 20, 2018, and Music Visit Day will be Feb. 18, 2019.
  • Do not use in or on with dates unless its absence would lead to confusion.
    • The seminar begins June 30.
  • Use a hyphen for continuing or inclusive numbers.
    • Classes are scheduled for the 2018-2019 academic year.
    • She taught in the math department from 1985-2003.
  • When indicating a span of three or more consecutive dates, use a hyphen and avoid using from. When indicating a span of two consecutive dates, use and instead of a hyphen.
    • Submit applications May 7-9.
    • Submit applications May 7 and 8.
  • In listing events, list the time first followed by the date and the place. No comma is used between time and date or between month and year.
    • The club will meet 1-3 p.m. March 25 in the Cherokee Park Room of the Lory Student Center. The final meeting will be in June 2019.
    • The lecture was scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 6 in the cafeteria.
  • Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries unless possessive. Use ‘s for singular possessive or s’ for plural possessive.
    • the music of the 1960s
    • the 1960s’ music (plural possessive)
    • 1960’s biggest hit (singular possessive)
  • Years are the only exception to the general rule that a figure is not used to start a sentence.
    • 1998 was a very good year.

days of the week

  • Spell out days of the week.
  • Abbreviate only when space is limited, as in tabular matter.
    • Sun., Mon., Tues., Wed., Thur., Fri., Sat.
  • Abbreviate (with no periods) when space is very limited, as in course listings.
    • Su, M, T, W, Th (R in course listings), F, Sa

dean

  • Capitalize Dean when used as a title before a full name on first reference. In general context, do not capitalize. In more formal writing, Dean may be used and capitalized before a last name as a professional title.
    • During Dean Elizabeth Gifford’s tenure, she served as associate dean of the School of Home Economics, and in 1950, Dean Gifford became the first dean of the College of Home Economics.
  • Lowercase dean’s list in all uses.
    • She is on the dean’s list.

decades

  • Use Arabic figures to indicate decades of history, except in special expressions.
    • the 1920s
    • the Roaring Twenties
    • the mid-1930s
  • Use an apostrophe or a right (closing) single quotation mark to indicate centuries that are left out. Add the letter s without an apostrophe for plurals. Use ‘s for singular possessive or s’ for plural possessive.
    • the 1920s
    • the ’20s
    • the mid-1920s
    • the ’20s’ headlines

degrees, academic (See academic degrees)

degrees, temperature (See measurements)

departments, offices, centers

Note on capitalization: The following guidelines are intended to address the most common usage questions and to avoid excessive capitalization, since capitalization confers added significance to common nouns. Readers may not consider such capitalized words to be as momentous as does the writer. Use good judgment in selecting a particular style – with this guide as a reference – and apply that style consistently throughout the document.

  • Capitalize full, official department, college, and office names. In all other instances, do not capitalize. The official format for names of Colorado State University colleges and departments is College of and Department of. Do not use ampersands, and follow this style guide’s punctuation style.
    • College of Liberal Arts
    • the liberal arts college
    • Department of Physics
    • physics department
    • the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance
    • the music program
  • Shortened or informal names may be used on subsequent references but do not capitalize.
    • The Department of Economics and the Department of History, in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, are hosting the event. Jim Smith, professor in the economics department, is the featured lecturer. He will speak on the history of global economics.
  • Avoid using acronyms for University names. (see acronyms)

dimensions (See measurements)

directions, regions

  • Lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc., when they indicate compass direction. Do not abbreviate except in addresses. Capitalize when such terms designate regions.
    • The snowstorm is moving east.
    • The storm system that developed in the Midwest is spreading eastward.
    • He has a Southern accent.
    • The economy of Northern Colorado is growing rapidly.
    • A blizzard hit the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies.
  • Lowercase compass points only when they describe a section of a state or city, but capitalize when part of a proper name.
    • western Texas
    • southern Atlanta
    • North Dakota
    • West Virginia

disabilities (See inclusive language)

diversity (See inclusive language and nondiscrimination statements)

E

effect (See affect, effect)

ellipsis (See also quotations)

  • An ellipsis is a series of three periods with no spaces between and with one space on each side. It is used to indicate that text has been removed from within quoted material, that the speaker has hesitated or faltered, or that there is more material than is cited.
    • “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, … dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
      “I just had a thought … “
  • Be careful to avoid deletions that would distort the meaning of the original quotation.
  • Use an ellipsis where the actual deletion of text occurs – for example, within a sentence, between sentences, or before or after a punctuation mark.
  • Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of direct or partial quotations. The quotation marks indicate that the material has been excerpted.

email

  • Short form of electronic mail. Do not capitalize unless it is used at the beginning of a sentence or as a stand-alone line. Also: e-book, e-commerce, e-business.
    • Email your email problems to help@colostate.edu.
    • Email help@colostate.edu for help with your email problems.
    • Email: pat.parker@colostate.edu (a stand-alone line, not a complete sentence)

emeritus, emerita, emeriti, emeritae

  • Emeritus or emerita is added after titles of people who have retired but retained their rank. The Latin words are gender-specific, with emeritus referring to a man; emerita referring to a woman; emeriti referring to a group of men or a mixed-gender group; and emeritae referring to a group of women. Capitalize only if it precedes a name.
    • Professor Emeritus Robert Martinez is visiting the University.
    • Nancy Abe, professor emerita of music, is performing Thursday.

entitled, titled

  • Use entitled to mean a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled, which refers to the name of something. Do not use a comma before the title.
    • She was entitled to the promotion.
    • His lecture is titled “The Economic Power.”
    • Not: His lecture is entitled “The Economic Power.”

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  • Spell out on first reference. EEOC is acceptable on subsequent reference.

essential, nonessential clauses (See also that, which, who)

  • Essential clauses, which are phrases that are necessary to the meaning of a sentence, should not be enclosed in commas.
    • The storm hit where damage from the previous storm was greatest.
    • He will graduate this spring if he passes chemistry.
  • Use commas to set off nonessential clauses, which add information but which can be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence.
    • The storm hit the Midwest, where damage from previous storm was greatest.
    • He will graduate this spring, if I remember correctly.

ethnicity, national origin (See inclusive language)

events

  • In listing events, the preferred style is to list the time first followed by the date and place. No comma is used between time and date or between month and year. Use a comma after the year when listing a full date.
    • The meeting runs 3-4 p.m. April 27 in the Cherokee Park Room of the Lory Student Center.
    • The lecture, scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 6 in the cafeteria, was postponed.
    • The discussion will be Sept. 12, 2018, in the ASCSU Senate Chambers.
  • However, the timeframe and context within which events are listed should determine the most logical order of the information.

Extension (See Colorado State University Extension)

F

farther, further

  • Farther refers to physical distance, and further refers to an extension of time or degree.
    • We’ll paddle farther up the creek with our oars.
    • If you’re willing, look further into the matter of the missing oars.

fax

  • Fax is the commonly accepted abbreviation for facsimile or facsimile machine. Use fax (all lowercase) unless it is used at the beginning of a sentence. It is acceptable to use as a noun or a verb (faxed as past tense).
    • Fax or mail your completed application to this office by Jan. 31.
    • A fax of your application should be received by Jan. 31.

fellow, fellowships

  • Capitalize full names of fellowships without italics or quotation marks. Lowercase when used generically.
    • She received the American Society of Agronomy Fellowship.
    • She received the fellowship.
  • Capitalize Fellow in reference to a fellowship, regardless of gender.
    • She was named a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.

fewer (See also under, less than, fewer than)

  • In general, use fewer than for individual items that can be counted and less than for bulk or quantity.
    • Fewer doctors result in less medical care.
    • At ABC Corp., fewer than 10 employees make less than $70,000 per year.

fiscal year

  • A fiscal year is an accounting year that, at Colorado State University, runs from July 1-June 30. The U.S. government fiscal year runs from Oct. 1-Sept. 30. Business fiscal years typically coincide with the calendar year.
      • Note: It is important to specify fiscal year in University communications, since the years alone could be confused with the academic calendar, which runs from fall semester through spring semester (typically August-May at CSU).
  • Use the full spelling and both years on first reference for audiences who may not be familiar with shortened forms; thereafter, shortened forms may be used.
    • first reference: Fiscal Year 2018-2019 or Fiscal Year 2018-19
    • thereafter: FY18-19
  • When referring to a span of more than one fiscal year, use the full spelling and terms on first reference for audiences who may not be familiar with shortened forms; thereafter, shortened forms may be used.
    • Fiscal Years 2015-16 and 2016-17
    • FY15-16 and FY16-17
    • FY15-16 through FY17-18
  • A fiscal year may be identified by using only the year the fiscal year closes – FY17, for example – if the time span is clear to the intended audience.
      • Note: FY18-19 could be interpreted as Fiscal Year 2018 through Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019) or Fiscal Year 2018-2019 (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019), so be sure the meaning is clear to the reader.

foreign/non-English names, words (See also abbreviations of foreign phrases)

  • The AP Stylebook provides guidance on appropriate use of Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and names from other cultures in written English. Use an individual’s preference, if it can be determined. Otherwise, follow guidelines as provided by AP Stylebook.
  • Whenever possible, use special characters as appropriate for diacritical marks (also called diacritics or accent marks), in foreign names and words. Check the software users manual or help menu for how to insert special characters or symbols. However, do not use these marks in e-communications, as some email clients don’t recognize them and will turn them into odd characters.
    • façade
    • résumé
    • piñada
    • José

Fort

  • Do not abbreviate Fort for cities or military installations.
    • Fort Collins
    • Fort Lauderdale
    • Fort Benning

14er

  • To describe mountains of 14,000 feet or higher in Colorado, use the figure and the suffix er. In the plural form, add only s, no apostrophe.
    • They planned to climb all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers.
    • I hiked a 14er this weekend.

fractions

  • Spell out fractions less than one and hyphenate between words. In technical or tabular matter or text such as recipes, fractions may be expressed in figures.
    • two-thirds
    • seven-sixteenths
    • four-fifths
  • Use figures for amounts larger than one, and convert to decimals whenever appropriate. For mixed numbers, use hyphens between whole numbers and fractions or use special characters for fractions (3¼, 9¾) when possible, without hyphens. A thin or ¼ em space may be inserted between whole number and fraction if needed. (See software users guide or help menu for creating or using fractions and thin or ¼ em spaces.) Do not mix different fraction styles. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • 1-1/2    2-5/8    1-3/16
    • 1½     2¾     3¼
    • 1.5    2.625    1.1875
  • Use figures and decimals exclusively in tabular material.

fundraising, fundraiser

  • One word in all uses.
    • A committee of experienced fundraisers from throughout the region determined that the fundraising program would include community fundraisers in each state.

G

gender-neutral language (See inclusive language)

generations

  • According to the Pew Research Center, the five generations now alive are:
    • Silent Generation, born 1928-1945
    • Baby Boomers, 1946-1964
    • Generation X, 1965-1980
    • Millennials, 1981-1996
    • Generation Z, 1997-present; endpoint not yet set

governor

  • Capitalize and abbreviate as Gov. when used as a formal title before a name. Lowercase and spell out in all other uses.
    • Gov. Jamie Khan is meeting with other governors in the region.

grade point average, GPA

  • GPA may be used in all references to grade point average; however, for audiences who may be unfamiliar with the term, spell out on first reference and do not capitalize. Also, do not hyphenate.

grades, -grader

  • Use figures in reference to grade levels.
    • Students in Grades 2-4 will take the assessment test.
  • Use K as an abbreviation for kindergarten only in reference to primary education levels.
    • The project will study how teachers in Grades K-12 teach math.
  • For class rankings, hyphenate both the noun forms and the adjective forms, and spell out ordinals first through ninth.
    • Second- and third-graders may go on the field trip.
    • All 11th-grade students should meet with their advisers by Oct. 1.
  • Do not hyphenate high school student. (see hyphen)
  • Capitalize grade letters, and round to one numeral after the decimal point in GPAs unless more accuracy is needed in the context.
    • She got an F in Forensic Accounting, which brought her GPA down to 3.3.

graphic standards

See the Communicator’s Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu.

greater (See over, greater than, more than)

H

hall

handicap (See inclusive language)

Hispanic (See inclusive language)

historic, historical

  • Historic refers to something important that stands out in history. Historical refers to something that happened in the past.
  • The use of a is preferred to an before both terms, though either is correct.
    • a/an historic event

homecoming

  • Capitalize when referring to a specific event. Use lowercase for generic references.
    • We volunteered to organize CSU’s Homecoming and Family Weekend.
    • We had a nice homecoming party for Jamie.

honors (See also academic degrees)

Graduation with distinction

  • Colorado State recognizes outstanding scholarship by granting baccalaureate degrees cum laude (with praise), magna cum laude (with great praise), and summa cum laude (with greatest praise) to students who have achieved unusually high academic excellence in undergraduate programs.
  • To avoid confusion with Honors Program awards, the phrase graduate(d) with honors should not be used.

Graduation as a University Honors Scholar

  • Students who complete the University Honors Program Core Curriculum, a thesis/project, and achieve at least a 3.5 grade point average earn the designation of University Honors Scholar. Scholars are recognized at graduation by the Honors Program and during the colleges’ commencement ceremonies.
  • The University Honors Program may be shortened to the Honors Program after first reference.

hyphens (See also dash and prefixes, suffixes)

  • Use hyphens without spaces to:
    • combine words in compounds such as well-being, advanced-level, clerk-typist, student-athlete, student-veteran, fine-tune, A-frame, and artist-in-residence (see note below).
    • divide words at the ends of lines.
    • separate numbers such as phone numbers: (970) 491-6432.
    • show inclusive dates and numbers: Jan. 5-Oct. 7, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Vice president has no hyphen.

Hyphenating compound words

      • A compound word can be hyphenated, spaced, or solid, depending on whether it is being used as an adjective, noun, or verb. Check Merriam-Webster Dictionary to see if a word – and the way it is being used – should be hyphenated. The Gregg Reference Manual also has a helpful section on compound words.
        • the cleanup of a mess [noun]
        • a clean-up chore [adjective]
        • to clean up a mess [verb]
      • In general, hyphenate words in a compound adjective when used before a noun but not when they follow a noun.
        • up-to-date information (information that is up to date)
        • a well-known judge (a judge who is well known)
        • a three-tiered structure (a structure that has three tiers)
        • advanced-level class (working at an advanced level)
      • In general, when a compound noun is a well-known organization or concept, such as income tax or high school, a hyphen is not necessary. Do use a hyphen if the audience is not familiar with the compound or could be confused.
        • high school student
        • income tax return
        • small animal practice (an animal practice that is small)
        • small-animal practice (a practice that specializes in small animals)
      • Do not hyphenate a compound modifier when it is a proper name or a commonly known foreign phrase.
        • Colorado State employee
        • bona fide offer
      • When a proper name is combined with another word to create a modifier, use a hyphen before the last term in the modifier.
        • Pulitzer Prize-winning author
        • National Institutes of Health-funded project
      • Do not use a hyphen in a compound adjective when the first word is an adverb that ends in -ly and the second word is a participle. Use a hyphen when the first word is a noun or adjective that ends in -ly and the second word is a participle.
        • He is a highly motivated employee.
        • A friendly-looking person stopped to help me.
      • When more than one hyphenated adjective shares a common word, the hyphens can be suspended.
        • The listing offers both on- and off-campus housing.
        • The agent showed us two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes.
        • This suggestion addresses both our long- and short-term needs.

I

inclusive language (See also pronouns)

This section addresses written language around nine categories of identity:

        • age
        • socioeconomic status
        • disability
        • gender and gender identity
        • sexuality
        • national origin
        • race/ethnicity
        • religion
        • veteran/military status

    These categories are commonly identified as historically underrepresented or most subject to bias and discrimination in the United States.

    Colorado State University’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity provides a broad list of the identities they aim to serve: “Our definition includes age, culture, different ideas and perspectives, disability, ethnicity, first-generation status, familial status, gender identity and expression, geographic background, marital status, national origin, race, religious and spiritual beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. We also recognize that the historical exclusion and marginalization of specific social groups must be addressed to promote equity.”

    A word about the word “diversity.” The word is often misused: Populations can be diverse, but not individuals. Do not refer to someone as a “diverse candidate” or a “diverse expert;” refer to a “person of color,” or a group “from diverse backgrounds.” Preferred terms include “multicultural,” “equity,” and “inclusion.” The word “inclusion” incorporates the idea of actively bringing a range of perspectives into your writing and thinking.

    This section includes the most recent relevant guidelines for writing from the Associated Press Stylebook, with exceptions noted. It does not address interpersonal or spoken communications, nor does it offer guidance on issues related to reporting or gathering information.

    Please note that there are many exceptions and different views on what is or isn’t inclusive, and language and perceptions are continually evolving.

Age

  • Age should be mentioned in writing only when deemed relevant to the situation. If being a specific age is part of the situation at hand, including for profiles, obituaries, career milestones, and unusual achievements, noting age is appropriate.
  • The AP Stylebook suggests using “child” for those 12 and under; “youth” for boys and girls from age 13 to 17, and “man” or “woman” for those 18 and older.

AVOID:
Old people
Elderly
Senior citizens
Senile (unless for medical condition)

USE:
Older adults
Older people
Youth
Senior

Socioeconomic status

When writing about efforts to address issues of income inequality, it is important not to reinforce negative stereotypes, no matter how well-intentioned the effort. Consider how socioeconomic status merges differently with other characteristics such as ethnicity, race, age, gender, disabilities, and more.

AVOID:
Disadvantaged
Ghetto, barrio
Less fortunate
Low/high class
Poor/rich

USE:
Below poverty level
Low/high income
Low/high socioeconomic status
Section, district, area, quarter

Disabilities

  • Use “people-first” language (“person with disabilities”) that emphasizes the person, not the disability. Avoid language that implies pity, such as “afflicted with” or “suffers from.”
  • Avoid using the term “normal” to refer to someone who does not have a disability – “typical” is a better choice. This can be used with abilities, as “typically abled,” or with ways the brain works, as “neurotypical” (which is part of neurodiversity, which includes people with autism, bipolar disorder, intellectual or cognitive disabilities, and dyslexia).
  • Avoid confusing diseases or injuries (something you contract from the environment) with genetic conditions (something you are born with).

AVOID:
Able-bodied
Abnormal/Normal
Addict, Alcoholic
Autistic
Differently abled
Handicapped
Retarded
Confined to wheelchair

USE:
Disabled
Has a disability
Experiencing a drug/alcohol problem
Person with autism
Typically abled
Uses a wheelchair

Gender/gender identity (See also pronouns)

  • The simplest way to use gender-neutral language in English is with plural nouns and pronouns: Rather than “a reporter tries to protect their sources,” use “reporters try to protect their sources.”
  • Avoid nonparallel terminology such as “man and wife” or “men and girls”; “husband and wife” or “men and women” is preferred in instances where a more inclusive alternative, such as “everyone,” is not appropriate.
  • Don’t use “woman” as an adjective, as in a “woman soldier.” “Female soldier” would be better, but just plain “soldier” is usually preferred, because female is often used to highlight difference. It’s just “nurse,” not “male nurse;” it’s “doctor,” not “female doctor,” etc.
  • Gender identity refers to the gender people consider themselves to be. Transgender people generally identify with a different gender than they were assigned at birth; cisgender people have a gender identity corresponding with the gender they were assigned at birth.
  • “Transgender” is an adjective, not a noun nor a verb. A person is not “a transgender,” and they have not been “transgendered.” Some transgender people also use the shortened version, trans.
  • Colorado State University no longer uses gender-specific courtesy titles, such as Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.

AVOID:
Hermaphrodite
Housewife/homemaker
Mankind (as all people)
Sex change
Transgendered
Transsexual
Transvestite

USE:
Non-binary
Humanity, humankind
Intersex
Transgender, trans
Transition

National origin

  • The AP Stylebook rule is to use “illegal” only to refer to an action, not a person: “illegal immigration,” but not “illegal immigrant.” Replace “illegal” in such cases with “undocumented” or “unauthorized.”
  • People born in the United States are not “foreigners” or “immigrants,” regardless of ancestry.
  • Muslims are followers of the Islamic faith; can be any race or ethnicity, not just of Arab descent; and live all over the world, not just in the Middle East.

AVOID:
Alien
An illegal
Illegal immigrant
Korea Town, Little Italy, etc. (unless official designation)
Legal/illegal alien
Resident alien

USE:
Born in [country]
Foreign national
Immigrant
Refugee
Resident of [country]
Undocumented immigrant

Race and ethnicity

  • Many of the terms identifying race and ethnicity append “American” to a regional or ethnic term, such as Asian American, Arab American, Russian American, without a hyphen. This assumes the person is living in the U.S. – a visitor from Asia is not Asian American.
  • Avoid labeling identities X and non-X, such as “minority” and “non-minority.”
  • “People of color” is preferred when referring to a broad range of racial identities. “Mixed race” or “multiracial” is preferred when referring to individuals of more than one identity. Do not use Caucasian; white is preferred.
  • AP style capitalizes the names of races/ethnicities – Asian, African American, Arab American – except for “black” and “white,” under the argument that black and white are not races but instead descriptions of color, and are thus properly lowercase. When referring to other ethnicities, “brown” is acceptable.
  • Use the gender-neutral “Latinx” in place of “o” (male) or “a” (female) in the term “Latino/a,” unless referring to a gendered individual. “Hispanic” is acceptable.
  • Use “Native American” (or “American Indian,” as recommended by AP style). If possible, use the name of the individual’s tribe. “Native” is also acceptable, as in Native culture.
  • The U.S. Census does not officially list “Middle Eastern” as a racial/ethnic category.

AVOID:
Anglo
Barrio, ghetto
Caucasian
Colored
Diverse person
Mestizo
Minority (to mean all people of color)
Mulatto
Negro
Oriental

USE:
African American
Asian American
Biracial
Black
Brown
First Nations
Hispanic
Latino/Latina (Latinx)
Marginalized groups
Mixed race
Multiracial
Native American
Native peoples
People/person of color
Underrepresented groups
White

Religion

  • The AP Stylebook provides guidance on religious titles (such as rabbi, reverend, father, or sheikh), places of worship (such as synagogues, temples, churches), and religious holidays.
  • Those who follow the Islamic faith are Muslims, not “Islamic.”
  • “Jew” should not be used as an adjective, as in “Jew teacher” – use “Jewish” instead. “Jewish people” or “person of Jewish background” is preferred over using “Jew” as a noun.

AVOID:
Religious zealot
Fanatic
Cult
Islamic (to refer to a person)
Jew (as an adjective)

USE:
Follower or member of a religion
Religious group
Faith

Sexual orientation

  • Use “sexual orientation,” not “sexual preference.” The most common terms for sexual orientation are “lesbian” (women attracted to women), “gay” (men attracted to men), and “bisexual” (people of any gender attracted to both women and men).
  • Regardless of sexual orientation, “husband” or “wife” is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. “Spouse” or “partner” also may be used.  The state of Colorado recognizes common-law marriages, and Colorado State University recognizes domestic partnerships.

AVOID:
Lifestyle
Sexual preference
Homosexual
Queer (unless preferred by subject)

USE:
Sexuality
Sexual orientation
Gay
Lesbian
Bisexual

Military/veterans

  • Use capitals when referring to U.S. forces – U.S. Army, the Army – but not for other nations: the French army.
  • Anyone who has served in the military and has been released from active duty is considered a veteran; anyone still attached is a service member. Members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps on campus are cadets; ROTC is an acceptable acronym.

AVOID:
Accident (for war-related violence)
Army (as generic for military)
Serviceman

USE:
Armed forces
Military, or specify the branch
Service member

On-campus resources for inclusivity at Colorado State University are:

  • Adult Learner and Veteran Services, (970) 491-3977
  • Asian/Pacific American Cultural Center, (970) 491-6154
  • Black/African American Cultural Center, (970) 491-5781
  • El Centro, (970) 491-5722
  • Native American Cultural Center, (970) 491-1332
  • Pride Resource Center, (970) 491-4342
  • Student Disabilities Center, (970) 491-6385
  • Women and Gender Advocacy Center, (970) 491-6384
  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity, (970) 491-6849

information technology

  • Spell out and do not capitalize in general use.

in order to

  • Avoid using in order to; the word to is sufficient.
    • We ride the bus to help reduce air pollution.
    • Not: We rode the bus in order to help reduce air pollution.

Internet (See also URL)

  • Capitalize and spell out Internet.
  • The World Wide Web, also WWW or the web, is a subset of the Internet. The web is acceptable in all uses.
  • Internet addresses include website designations and email addresses. Follow the spelling and upper/lower case designations of the website owner. Certain addresses may be case-sensitive, so be sure to follow the owner’s address specifications.
  • Use the / (forward slash) at the end of a web address only if the mark is required to connect to the site. In most cases, it is not needed.
  • Do not italicize or emphasize web addresses in running text.
  • Do not underline web addresses, which sometimes include an underscore ( _ ) character that would be obscured if the entire address is underscored. (Check the help menu for how to turn off autoformatting of hyperlinks.)
  • Avoid using lengthy and complicated addresses – instead, use a shorter URL and “click on” instructions if possible – and try to keep addresses on one line. If an address must break between lines, split the address immediately before a slash or a dot. Use a period when an address falls at the end of a sentence; if the address occurs in mid-sentence, punctuate with a comma or similar mark as appropriate. Never hyphenate any word within a URL.
  • Always test web addresses. To ensure accuracy, include http:// or other prefixes such as ftp://.
    • Students may find out more about the University on the web at www.colostate.edu.
    • Click on “The Basics” at http://welcome.colostate.edu for more details.
    • The address www.colostate.edu belongs to Colorado State University.
  • The terms website, webcam, webcast, webpage, and webmaster are now commonly accepted as one word and are not capitalized.
  • When transmitting information via email or over the Internet, such as public relations releases, use quotation marks for titles instead of italics, which may not transmit correctly to the recipient’s screen.

italics

  • Use italics when available instead of underlining.
  • Use italics for the titles of longer works or compilations, shorter works published separately, and works of art such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures. (See also composition titles. This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • Death of a Salesman is showing on Broadway.
    • What time is All Things Considered on the radio?
    • My favorite novel is Rabbit is Rich.
  • Translate foreign titles into English unless a specific work’s original name is well known.
  • Puccini’s La Bohème is on stage at the Met.
  • Do not italicize commonly used foreign terms or abbreviations. (see abbreviations)

its, it’s

  • It’s is a contraction for it is or it has. Its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun.
    • It’s going to be fine.
    • It’s beyond me.
    • The troll lost its prey.
  • Memory aid: To be sure of the proper form, spell out or include the contraction as appropriate.
    • It’s going to be fine. (Translates to the correct form: It is going to be fine.)
    • Not: The troll lost it’s prey. (Translates to the incorrect form: The troll lost it is prey.)

J

job titles (See also names; academic degrees; titles of people)

  • Capitalize job titles only when they immediately precede the individual’s name or when they are named positions or honorary titles. Do not capitalize or abbreviate titles that come after a name, but set them off with commas.
    • President Blake Gray will deliver the opening address.
    • Social sciences Associate Professor Leslie Martinez leads the meeting.
    • Leslie Martinez, social sciences associate professor, is leading the meeting.
    • The president will arrive soon to meet with the pope.
  • Vice president has no hyphen.
  • Do not capitalize an occupational title used either before or after a name.
    • Local artist Chris Morales hosts a show.
      Surgery was done by world-famous veterinarian, Terry Abe.
  • Courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr., Mrs., and Ms. generally are not used in either first or subsequent references. However, Dr. may be used on first reference as part of a title if the person is a medical doctor or veterinarian. (See “doctor” when using the AP Stylebook.)
    • The world-famous veterinarian, Dr. Terry Abe, performed the surgery.
  • Place long titles after names and enclose in commas
    • Terry Abe, assistant dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will hand out the diplomas.
  • Abbreviate titles before names such as Sen., Maj., Gov., Hon., and Rev. (These may be spelled out in formal applications.) However, always spell out Reverend and Honorable when used with the.
    • Gen. Taylor Silva
    • Lt. Col. Pat Parker
    • the Reverend Blake Abe
    • the Honorable Kelly Martinez

journal titles (See also composition titles)

  • Use italics for the titles of journals.
    •  The quote came from the New England Journal of Medicine.
    • African Affairs is published on behalf of the Royal African Society.

K

K (measurement)

  • Use the capital K with no space after the numeral for measurements of computer transmission speed.
    • 56K modem
  • Use the capital K with no space after the numeral for measurements of distance, such as in a race.
    • 5K race
    • FORTitude 10K
  • Do not use K in place of 1,000 or $1,000.
    • $34,000 (Not: $34K)
  • Use K as an abbreviation for kindergarten only in reference to primary education levels such as K-12.

L

languages

  • Capitalize proper names of languages and dialects.
    • Spanish
    • Yiddish
    • Persian
    • Ilocano
  • Italicize foreign phrases but not commonly used foreign expressions or abbreviations. (see abbreviations)

Latino, Latina, Latinx (See inclusive language)

lectures, lecture series

  • Capitalize principal words and use quotation marks for the titles of lectures.
    • The adventurer’s lecture explores “How the West Was Lost.”
  • The titles of lecture series stand alone without quotation marks or italics.
    • Read more about the Monfort Lecture Series on CSU’s website.

legislative titles

Senators, representatives, other formal titles

  • Abbreviate and capitalize representative, representatives, senator, and senators as formal titles before one or more names in regular text. Spell out and capitalize these titles before one or more names in a direct quotation.
    • Rep. Pat Morales spoke to the audience.
    • Reps. Chris Gray and Pat Morales attended the event.
    • Sen. Blake Abe cut the ceremonial ribbon.
    • Sens. Blake Abe and Leslie Khan voted with the majority.
    • “Senators Blake Abe and Leslie Khan voted with the majority,” she said.
  • Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses.
  • Spell out other legislative titles in all uses.
  • Avoid use of gender-specific titles, such as assemblyman, assemblywoman. Use instead assembly member.
  • Capitalize formal titles such as city councilor, delegate, etc., when they are used before a name. Lowercase in other uses.
  • Add U.S. or state before a title only if necessary to avoid confusion.
    • U.S. Sen. Blake Abe spoke with state Sen. Leslie Khan.
  • Generally use a title such as Rep. or Sen. in first reference. It is not necessary, however, if an individual’s title is given later in the story. Omitting the title on first reference is appropriate when an individual is well known.
    • Barry Goldwater endorsed President Gerald Ford. The senator said the president deserved another term.

Congress member

  • Rep. and U.S. Rep. are the preferred first-reference forms when a formal title is used before the name of a U.S. House member.
  • Use congress member, in lowercase, in subsequent references that do not use an individual’s name. Avoid use of gender-specific congressman and congresswoman, unless in a direct quotation. In the case of a direct quotation, capitalize when used as a formal title before a name.

Organizational titles

  • Capitalize titles for formal, organizational offices within a legislative body when they are used before a name.
    • Speaker Pat Morales
    • Pat Morales, speaker of the House
    • Majority Leader Blake Abe
    • Chris Khan, minority leader
    • Democratic Whip Terry Garcia

legislature

  • Capitalize government entities when part of a proper noun, an agency’s formal name, or a formal title.
    • Federal Reserve Board
    • Secretary of State
  • Capitalize Legislature when preceded by the name of a state.
    • The Colorado Legislature is meeting.
  • Keep the capitalization when the state name is dropped but the legislative reference is specific to that state.
    • Both houses of the Legislature are meeting today.
  • Use lowercase in generic or plural references.
  • The Wyoming and Colorado legislatures are complex.
    The study of legislative bodies is complex.
  • Amendments, ordinances, resolutions, and rules are adopted or approved. Bills are passed. Laws are enacted.

less than (See also fewer and under)

Use less or less than with amounts or quantities and fewer or fewer than with individual items. Use under when referring to spatial relationships.

  • Less than 20 percent of students report immediate post-graduation employment.
  • Fewer than 20 students reported immediate post-graduation employment.
    • Not: Under 20 percent of students report immediate post-graduation employment.
  • Fewer lawsuits result in less litigation.
  • Less debris and fewer fish have been seen under the bridge.
  • The estate is valued at less than $1 million.
    • Not: The estate is valued at under $1 million.

lists (See also commas; parallel structure; semicolons; series)

  • Use commas to separate a series of items and before concluding conjunctions. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • The sale runs today, tomorrow, and next month.
  • Use semicolons to separate elements in a series in which commas are used within one or more of the elements in the series.
    • New members are Terry Vitas, president; Pat Ellis, vice president; and Sandy West, secretary.
  • If a series or list is all-inclusive, do not introduce the series with include, which means there is more than what is listed.
    • The committee includes deans, directors, and department heads.
      • [implies other groups are represented]
    • The committee consists of deans, directors, and department heads.
      • [only those groups listed are represented]
  • Strive to be consistent among lists within a document. Also, be consistent in the capitalization and construction of the elements within a list.

Numbered and bulleted lists

  • In lists, introduce items with numbers only when the order matters. Otherwise, use bullets or typographical symbols.
    • To operate the dispenser:
    1. Deposit one quarter in the slot.
    2. Turn the knob one complete turn clockwise.
    3. Lift the flap and remove the gumball.
  • When numbering a list within a sentence, enclose figures within parentheses.
    • The priorities for the coming year are (1) increasing revenue, (2) building morale, and (3) improving customer service.
  • If items in a bulleted list are complete sentences, or if each item in the list completes the sentence that preceded the list, end those items with appropriate punctuation.
    • The vice president said:
      • We will protect our domestic interests.
      • Some people will question our commitment.
      • Sometimes you have to punt.
  • The research came to the conclusion that:
    • All cows have horns.
    • All cows are ruminants.
    • All cows are horned ruminants.
  • A list also may be formatted as a paragraph without bullets.
    • The meeting will include discussion on entry-level computer workshops, building morale in cubicle environments, and improving customer service.
  • If items in a list must be connected with either and or or, follow each with a comma or semicolon depending on construction, place the final conjunction (e.g., and or or) at the end of the next-to-last item, and end the last item with a period (or other end punctuation).
    • The admission application must include:
      • your high school transcript,
      • your ACT or SAT test score, and
      • your essay.
  • To fulfill the requirements, you must take:
    • 12 credits of literature, English composition, or journalism;
    • 12 credits of a foreign language; or
    • 12 credits of history, economics, or political science. For short entries, omit the punctuation at the end of each item, including the last item.
  • Topics will include:
    • my agenda
    • your input
    • our consensus

login, log on, logoff

  • In computing, a login is a user’s identification and password required to gain access to a computer, program, or network. Use two words for verb forms.
    • Go to the login page to make sure you have access.
    • I’ll log on to my computer.
    • He didn’t do the logoff procedure correctly.

Long form vs. abbreviations (See also addresses and dates)

Long forms are acceptable for formal invitations; otherwise use abbreviations, per style.

  • Spell out days and months.
    • Tuesday, September 5, 2018
  • Spell out address (road, street, avenue).
    • 2212 East Main Street
  • Allow times to include :00 when visually beneficial (for alignment purposes)
    • 5:00 p.m. Networking
    • 5:45 p.m. Cocktails
    • 6:30 p.m. Dinner

Longs Peak

  • No apostrophe in Longs Peak, whether used as the name of the room in Lory Student Center or the name of the mountain peak in Colorado
    • We hiked up Longs Peak.
    • The reception is in the Longs Peak room at Lory Student Center.

long term, longterm

  • Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
    • Our long-term assignment is due.
    • Our assignment is long term.
    • We’ll be here for the long term.

long time, longtime

  • Use as one word without spaces when used as an adjective.
    • We’re longtime friends.
    • We’ve been friends for a long time.

M

magazine titles and articles (See also italics and composition titles)

  • Use italics for the titles of magazines, but use quotation marks for articles within magazines.
    • The article, “Play Defensive Ping-Pong!” is found in Rigorous Sport Quarterly.

majors and programs of study

  • Do not capitalize majors, minors, specializations, or concentrations of study.
    • He is majoring in business.
    • The Department of Journalism and Media Communication offered a technical and science communication minor.
  • Capitalize formal names of programs.
    • She has been admitted to the Program for Ecological Studies.
  • For details on programs of study at Colorado State University, see the Colorado State University General Catalog at catalog.colostate.edu and the Colorado State University Graduate and Professional Bulletin at graduateschool.colostate.edu.

man, mankind (See inclusive language)

measurements (See also time)

  • Use numerals for measurements, but spell out inches, feet, and other units of measure, except in technical matter or where space is limited. Hyphenate adjective forms before nouns.
    • He’s 5 feet 9 inches tall.
    • The 5-foot-6-inch man is walking ahead.
    • He’s a 6-footer and short for an NBA player.
    • The sloop is 36 feet long and 12 feet wide.
    • The 9-by-12-foot rug is colorful.
    • The 4-pound, 3-ounce toad is a record size.
  • When using feet or inch marks in technical contexts, place periods and commas outside the marks, and use the marks with both dimensions. (Note: This rule does not apply with single or double quotation marks, which always go outside periods and commas. (see quotation marks)
    • The ad dimensions are 2″ x 8″.
    • Not: The ad dimensions are 2 x 8″.
    • Note: Use straight single quotation marks ( ‘ not curved) to indicate feet and straight double quotation marks ( ” not curved) to indicate inches. Check the software’s help menu for how to do this.
  • Percentages are treated as singular nouns when standing alone or when a singular word follows of. A percentage is treated as plural when a plural word follows of. In running text, writers may use either the word percent or the percent sign (%). The sign is used with no space between it and a figure. Regardless of which style is used, it is important to be consistent in using one or the other throughout an entire document.
    • The professor said 60 percent was a failing grade.
    • He said 50% of the group was there.
    • He said 50 percent of the members were there.
  • Always use figures (Arabic numerals) for percentages. For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero. Repeat percent for each separate figure.
    • The range is between 0.4 percent and 60 percent.
    • He said 50 percent of the group was there.
    • It’s between 1% and 5%.
  • Do not use a in place of per.
    • Americans generate millions of tons of waste per year.

millions, billions

  • Use figures in all except casual uses.
    • She won’t do it in a million years.
  • The city has 8 million residents.
    • Rebuilding will cost $2 billion.
  • Use decimals instead of fractions, but don’t go beyond two decimal places.
    • 3.52 million people
    • 1.5 million (Not: 1 1/2 million)
  • Use million or billion with both figures in a range.
    • The city will request between $2 million and $3 million.
  • Do not use hyphens to join figures and million or billion.
    • The finance committee submitted a $21 million budget.

minorities (See inclusive language and nondiscrimination statements)

money

  • Use numerals with the dollar sign. For whole dollars, do not use .00.
    • $15, $15.25, $15.50, $20
    • Not: $15.00
  • For dollar amounts in the thousands, use commas.
    • $1,256
    • $323,256
  • Beyond thousands, use the dollar sign, figure, and appropriate word, and do not use a hyphen between the figure and the word.
    • The grant was $14 million, and the budget is $82.6 billion.
    • The $14 million grant was approved.
    • Not: The $14-million grant was approved.
      Not: The grant was $14,000,000, and the budget is $82,600,000.00. 

months (See also dates; time; events)

  • Capitalize months and abbreviate as appropriate when months are used with specific dates.
    • His birth date is March 10, 1952.
    • She will graduate Dec. 16.
  • Spell out months when used alone or with a year alone.
    • January can be cold.
    • February 1992 was a good month.
  • Do not abbreviate March, April, May, June, or July in any usage.

more than, over, greater than

  • Over refers to spatial relationships; greater than or more than is preferred with numbers.
    • The plane flew over the city, where more than 500,000 people live.

movie titles

  • Use italics for movie titles.
    • Gone With the Wind is available on DVD. 

mph

  • The abbreviation mph without periods is acceptable in all references for miles per hour.

musical titles

  • Enclose in quotation marks the titles of songs and italicize the titles of compilations, albums, or CDs.
  • Italicize titles of operas, long musical compositions, and their descriptive titles.
    • Listen to Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (the Pastoral Symphony).
  • Translate the foreign title of a song or composition unless it is well known.

N

names (See also titles and Colorado State University)

  • For initials, use with periods and no spaces.
    • T.R. Smith is a former faculty member.
  • Do not abbreviate names such as George, William, and Benjamin.
  • Do not enclose Jr., Sr., or other personal suffixes with commas.
    • Robert Silva Jr.
    • Richard Williams III
    • The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering is an exception, based on donor preference.
  • When inserting a nickname into a given name, use quotation marks.
    • Thurman “Fum” McGraw
  • When stating names and relationships, be sure to use commas as needed to clarify the meaning of the sentence. (see essential, nonessential clauses)
    • The president and her spouse, Pat, attended the dedication.
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and first gentleman, Marlon Reis, attended.
      • (Pat and Marlon Reis are added information in the examples above, not needed to identify which spouse or which first gentleman.)
    • Groucho Marx’s brother Chico went on to become an orchestra leader.
      • (Using Chico without commas indicates which brother.)
  • On second reference, use only a person’s last name without a courtesy title. If more than one person shares the same surname, use the first and last name in subsequent references.
    • Pat and Terry Parker are pillars of their community. Pat Parker is a longtime employee of the city, and Terry Parker is a high school English teacher.

national origin (See inclusive language)

Native American (See inclusive language)

newspaper and newsletter titles (See also composition titles)

  • Italicize the formal and shortened names of newspapers and newsletters. Place headlines in quotation marks. Do not capitalize or italicize the unless it is part of the newspaper’s preferred name.
    • The Daily Bugle is popularly known as the Bugle.
    • A feature story, “Radiation Scientist Unearths Surprise in NASA Twins Study,” is in CSU Matters, the monthly newsletter from the Office of the President.

nondiscrimination statements

  • Three statements affirm Colorado State University’s nondiscrimination policies. One of these statements should be used in publications and advertisements that represent the University. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at (970) 491-5836 with questions regarding the use of the statements.
  • The long statement follows and should be used on University publications of widespread distribution such as the General Catalog and Graduate Bulletin.
    • Nondiscrimination Statement
    • Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The University complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veteran’s readjustment Act of 1974, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and all civil rights laws of the state of Colorado. Accordingly, equal opportunity of employment and admission shall be extended to all persons, and the University shall promote equal opportunity and treatment through a positive and continuing affirmative action program. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity is located in 101 Student Services. In order to assist Colorado State University in meeting its affirmative action responsibilities, ethnic minorities, women, and other protected class members are encouraged to apply and to so identify themselves.
  • The short statement may be used whenever the long statement would appear awkward, such as on calendars or fliers or when the nature of the publication does not warrant using the long statement, such as in conference programs.
    • Nondiscrimination Statement
    • Colorado State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and complies with all federal and Colorado state laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding affirmative action requirements in all programs. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity is located in 101 Student Services. In order to assist Colorado State University in meeting its affirmative action responsibilities, ethnic minorities, women, and other protected class members are encouraged to apply and to so identify themselves.
  • An abbreviated statement must be used for journal and newspaper advertising where space is extremely limited.
    • Nondiscrimination Statement
    • CSU is an EEO/AA employer. EO-AA Office: 101 Student Services Building.

nonrestrictive clauses (See essential, nonessential clauses)

numbers, numerals, figures (See also millions, billions)

Note: These guidelines apply to general interest writing and not to scientific, statistical, technical, and mathematical writing.

  • Spell out whole numbers one through nine and use figures for 10 and above. Always use figures for specific quantities such as dimensions, percentages, ages, weights, distances, addresses, computer-storage capacities, and room numbers. Spell out grade levels one through nine.
    • 4 inches
    • 2 megabytes
    • 4-year-old child
    • 3 credits
    • a score of 4-3
    • a 20:1 ratio
    • ninth through 12th grades (but Grades 9-12)
  • Always use figures for the ages of people and animals but not for inanimate objects less than 10 years old.
    • The child is 15 years old.
    • They have a 3-month-old puppy.
    • The law is eight years old.
    • Our 25-year class reunion is next month.
  • Spell out numbers when they begin sentences, except for years. Hyphenate only numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine, and do not use and between the parts of a number. Use Roman numerals as appropriate to the source or context. Never spell out dates or other serial numbers.
    • One hundred twenty-one students registered for the ninth grade.
      • (Not: One hundred and twenty-one)
    • 1976 was the year of the United States’ bicentennial.
  • When mixing numbers of more than 10 and less than 10, adhere to the guidelines above.
    • The count is eight meerkats, 56 puff adders, 75 ocelots, and six grouse.
  • Spell out ordinal numbers first through ninth and use figures with appropriate letter suffixes for 10th and above. Do not use superscripts such as 21st (see century).
    • first semester
    • second place
    • 11th grade
    • seventh grade
    • 10th sample
    • 53rd anniversary
    • 60 degrees
  • Use a comma for figures in the thousands and greater.
    • 1,025
    • 125,463
  • Use figures and words for quantities in the millions and greater. Avoid line breaks that separate the figure from the word.
    • 14.3 million
    • 1.3 billion
  • When approximating figures, use more than and less than (or fewer than or nearly) instead of over and under.
    • More than 50 students attended the event, but fewer than 10 stayed.
      • Not: Over 50 students attended the event, but under 10 stayed.
  • About may be used in place of approximately in all references.
    • The march attracted about 950 people.
  • Do not use about or approximately when the amount is exact.
    • The march attracted 956 people.
      • Not: The march attracted about 956 people.
  • Use figures for identifying numbers and capitalize the preceding word. Use Roman numerals as appropriate to the source or context.
    • Chapter 23
    • Highway 5
    • Pages iv-x
    • Route 66
    • Grades 9-12
    • Chapter XIV
  • To describe mountains of 14,000 feet or higher in Colorado, use the figure and the suffix er. In the plural form, add only s, no apostrophe.
    • They planned to climb all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers.
    • I hiked a 14er this weekend.

O

offices (See also departments)

  • Capitalize office only when part of the official name of an office.
    • The Office of Admissions
    • the dean’s office
    • the Oval Office

ordinal numbers

  • Ordinal numbers indicate order in a series.
    • first page
    • second in line
    • third chair
  • In general use, spell out ordinal numbers less than 10 and do not capitalize. For ordinals 10 and larger, use figures and do not superscript the suffix – instead, place the suffix (-th, -st, -nd, -rd) in the same size and on the same baseline as the running text. (To override the autoformat superscript function of the word processing program, check the program’s help menu.)
    • first place
    • First Amendment
    • 21st century (Not: 21st century)
  • Use figures in ordinals when the sequence has been used in forming names.
    • 1st Congressional District
    • 322nd Battalion
    • 23rd Psalm
  • Hyphenate an ordinal phrase when used as a compound adjective.
    • 19th-century literature
    • first-place trophy

over, greater than, more than

  • Over refers to spatial relationships; greater than or more than is preferred when using figures and quantities.
    • The plane flew over the city, where more than 500,000 people live.

P

page numbers

  • Use numerals and capitalize Page when used with figure(s).
    • Page 3
    • Pages 2-5
    • Pages iv-xii
  • Use an en dash enclosed in spaces to separate a range of page numbers that already includes hyphens.
    • Pages 9-3 – 9-11
    • Better: Page 9-3 through Page 9-11

paired conjunctions (See also parallel structure and plurals – agreement)

  • Paired conjunctions consist of two elements that should be used in pairs such as both … and; either … or; neither … nor; not only … but also; whether … or.
    • Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
    • International exchange programs provide students opportunities not only to gain direct experience in cross-cultural communication but also to learn to think critically and comparatively.
  • Omitting also in not only … but also constructions intensifies the meaning.
    • I received not only one but two job offers.

parallel structure, parallel construction (See also lists)

  • Be consistent in the parts of speech in series.
    • Preregistration is both necessary and worthwhile. [both adjectives]
      • Not: Preregistration is both a necessity and worthwhile. [noun, adjective]
  • Parallelism is important in lists, whether in paragraph or bulleted form.
    • Topics will include communication skills, customer service, and crisis management.
    • Topics will include:
      – communication skills
      – customer service
      – crisis management
    • Not: Topics will include:
      – how to improve communication skills
      – customer service
      – dealing with crises

parentheses

  • In general, avoid the use of parentheses. Use commas or dashes to set off incidental information, or rewrite the sentence or break it down into one or more additional sentences. Use parentheses to insert background or reference information.
  • Place the period inside the parentheses when the matter enclosed is an independent sentence and is not included in the preceding sentence; otherwise, place the period outside the end parenthesis.
    • Many students bike to class. (Many also walk.)
      Many students bike to class (even more when the weather is nice).
  • If the parenthetical phrase is a complete sentence but is dependent on the rest of the sentence, do not capitalize or use end punctuation within the parentheses.
    • Many students bike to class (many also walk), especially when the weather is nice.
  • Use parentheses if inserting a state name into a proper name.
    • The Loveland (Colorado) Reporter Daily Herald carried the story.
  • If all words within parentheses are italicized, italicize the parentheses also. Otherwise, do not italicize the parentheses.
    • My favorite book (A Tale of Two Cities) is my child’s favorite too.
    • My favorite book (Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities) is my child’s favorite too.

per, a

  • Do not use a in place of per.
    • Americans generate millions of tons of waste per year.

percent

  • In running text, writers may use either the word percent or the percent sign (%). The sign is used with no space between it and a figure. Regardless of which style is used, it is important to be consistent in using one or the other throughout an entire document
  • In citing percentages, always use figures expressed in whole numbers and/or decimals (not with fractions). If the figure is less than 1, precede the decimal with a zero.
    • 5 percent
    • 10.5%
    • 0.5 percent
  • For a range of percentages, use to instead of a hyphen and repeat percent for each figure.
    • They found that 10 percent to 15 percent of the students attended the event.
  • Use a singular verb with a percentage when the percentage is followed by a singular word or phrase. Use a plural verb with a percentage when the percentage is followed by a plural word or phrase.
    • Nearly 40% of the total was profit.
    • Nearly 40% was profit.
    • About 10 percent of the members were women.
    • About 10 percent were women.
  • Use percent with figures but percentage in all other uses.
    • What percentage of the students are seniors?

periods (See also ellipsis)

  • In U.S. English, commas and periods always go inside single or double quotation marks. (In the United Kingdom, they always go outside the marks.)
  • Use only one space after any punctuation anywhere, including periods at the end of sentences.
  • Use periods with initials with no space between two or more consecutive initials.
    • J.S. Smith
  • Use a.m. and p.m. with periods and without spaces.
  • In general, use periods with abbreviations (a shortened version of a word or phrase) but not with acronyms (a word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words).
    • CWRRI
    • NREL
    • Colo.
    • Sept.
    • USGS (for United States Geological Survey)
      • But: U.S. (for United States when used as an adjective; spell out as a noun)
    • et al.
  • Do not use periods when commonly known rates of measurement are abbreviated or when used in technical or scientific text or where space is limited.
    • mph
    • ppm
    • psi

Ph.D. (See academic degrees)

phrases (See also essential, nonessential clauses)

  • Avoid splitting verb phrases with adverbs unless the results sound awkward or unnatural.
    • They recently were awarded a grant.
      • Or: Recently, they were awarded a grant.
      • Rather than: They were recently awarded a grant.
  • Be sure that a phrase immediately precedes or follows the word it refers to.
    • The farmer watched the cattle grazing in a large field.
      • Not: Grazing in a large field, the farmer watched the cattle.
    • Inflicting death and destruction, the hurricane headed for me.
      • Not: Inflicting death and destruction, I ran from the hurricane.

places (See also buildings, places, and states)

  • Enclose a state, province, country, or larger entity or jurisdiction with commas if it follows a city, town, or smaller jurisdiction or entity.
    • Fort Collins, Colorado, is the county seat of Larimer County.
    • Melbourne, Australia, is the first stop of the trip.
  • In U.S. place names, do not abbreviate Fort, Point, Mount, or Port.
    • Fort Collins
    • Fort Carson
    • Mount Rainier
  • In U.S. place names, abbreviate Saint.
    • St. Louis

plurals (See also possessives)

  • Form plurals of proper nouns by adding s or es. Do not use ‘s (which denotes possession) to create the plural of a proper noun.
    • The Johnsons arrived late last night.
    • The Jameses, including both Terrys, will perform the next three Mondays.
  • With acronyms and decades, add only s without an apostrophe. (The apostrophe creates a possessive.)
    • The CEOs met to discuss the local economy.
    • The CEOs’ main concern was the local economy.
    • Student activism peaked during the late 1960s.
    • Ben-Hur was 1960’s top-grossing film.
    • Candidates for Ph.D.s entered the auditorium first.
  • When creating plurals, add ‘s if adding only s leads to confusion.
    • p’s and q’s
    • cross your t’s and dot your i’s
  • When a choice of plurals exists, consult Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the first, preferred form (though either is correct and may be used).
    • appendixes rather than appendices
    • symposiums rather than symposia
    • memorandums rather than memoranda
    • millenniums rather than millennia
    • data rather than datums
    • indices (mathematical term) rather than indexes
    • indexes (as in a book) rather than indices
  • Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to male graduates. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for female graduates. Use alumni when referring to a mixed-gender group of two or more. Alum and alums can be used as gender-inclusive terms.
  • Use freshman (singular) when referring to an individual or the class. Use freshmen (plural) when referring to more than one individual.
    • Incoming freshmen should register for freshman English during their first semester.

plurals – agreement

  • Subjects and their verbs, as well as pronouns and the words they refer to, should agree in number (singular or plural). Do not be misled by words or phrases that are placed between a subject and its verb.
    • The sound of drums stirs the crowd.
    • The sounds of the band stir the crowd.
    • The manager along with the employees was invited to the seminar.
    • Tip: To be sure agreement is correct, “remove” intervening words or phrases, then re-read the sentence.
      The manager [along with the employees] was invited to the seminar.
  • Treat multiple subjects joined by and as plural unless the subjects refer to a single person or thing.
    • Red and yellow are my favorite colors.
    • His best friend and companion is his dog.
  • Multiple subjects that are singular and are joined by or, neither nor, not only … but also, and either or usually are treated as singular; when one subject is singular and one is plural, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.
    • Either a parent or legal guardian is required to sign the document.
    • Neither the professor nor the students were surprised by the results.
    • Not only the students but also the professor was surprised by the results.
  • When a sentence contains both positive and negative subjects, the verb should agree with the positive subject. The negative subject should be enclosed in commas unless it is preceded by and or but.
    • Test scores, not attendance, determine the final grade.
    • Test scores but not attendance determine the final grade.
  • When used as a subject, words such as each, anyone, everybody, nobody, nothing, and anything take singular verbs.
    • Anything is better than nothing.
    • Everyone was assigned a number.
    • Each of the students has an adviser.
  • Words such as none, any, most, some, and more may be either singular or plural depending on the context.
    • Most of the class was prepared for the exam.
    • Most of the students were prepared for the exam.
  • Collective nouns such as staff and faculty take singular verbs and pronouns. However, faculty members is preferred.
    • The faculty has determined its agenda for the meeting.
    • Several staff members recently have retired.
  • Collective nouns such as couple and group can be singular or plural. A phrase that denotes a quantity or is regarded as a unit is treated as singular.
    • That couple likes to dance.
    • Be sure that couples are seated together.
    • The group meets every month.
    • The groups meet annually to discuss the issues.
    • One hundred participants was considered a good turnout.
    • One hundred participants have enrolled for the seminar.
  • Sometimes plurals can be treated as singular.
    • American politics is today’s topic.

p.m., a.m.

  • Always lowercase with periods and no spaces.

political parties, movements

  • Capitalize terms that refer to a specific party or its members. Capitalize the word party if it is customarily used as part of the organization’s name.
    • Democratic Party
    • Republican Party
    • Communist Party
    • Communist
    • Conservative
    • Democrat
    • Liberal
    • Republican
    • Socialist
  • Generally, lowercase the name of a philosophy in noun and adjective forms unless it is the derivative of a proper name: communism, communist, fascism, fascist. Do capitalize Marxism, Marxist, Nazism, Nazi.
    • The liberal Republican senator and their Conservative Party colleague said they believe that democracy and communism are incompatible.
    • The Communist said they are basically a socialist who has reservations about Marxism.
  • The word politics usually takes a plural verb. However, as a study or science it takes a singular verb.
    • Their politics are liberal.
    • Politics is a demanding profession.
  • Identify U.S. House members by party and state. In contexts where state affiliation is clear and home city is relevant, identify representatives by party and city.
    • U.S. Reps. Leslie Martinez, D-Cambridge, and Pat Parker, R-Wellesley, supported the bill.
  • Identify state legislators by their party affiliation of Republican or Democrat. Use a short-form listing only (such as D-Fort Collins) if the legislator’s home city is relevant.
    • Democrat Mary Smith sponsored the bill
    • Mary Smith, D-Fort Collins, sponsored the bill.

possessives

Note: These guidelines differ from the AP Stylebook.

  • In general, add ‘s to make a word possessive.
    • child’s play; children’s books
    • woman’s voice; women’s rights
    • mouse’s ear; mice’s cage
    • the boss’s office
    • a business’s assets
  • If a noun is a plural ending in s, form the possessive by adding only an apostrophe.
    • bosses’ offices
    • my parents’ car
    • the Joneses’ yard
    • businesses’ assets (Better: the assets of the businesses)
  • Add just an apostrophe if adding ‘s makes a word difficult or clumsy to pronounce or if the final letter is silent.
    • the Grand Prix’s history
  • To show joint ownership, make only the last noun possessive. To show separate ownership, make both nouns possessive.
    • Dylan and Pat’s house
    • Dylan’s and Pat’s shoes
  • Do not use an apostrophe if a word ending in s is used in a descriptive rather than possessive sense. However, if the phrase involves a plural word that does not end in s, add ‘s.
    • users manual
    • writers guide
    • Rams cheerleaders
    • savings account
    • women’s center
    • men’s basketball
    • children’s hospital
  • Be careful not to confuse contractions with possessive pronouns – contractions have apostrophes; possessive pronouns do not. Tip: To test if a contraction is used correctly, spell out the contraction.
    • Who’s [Who is] going to the game?
    • Whose book is this?
      • Not: Who’s [Who is] book is this?
    • It’s [It is] the dawn of a beautiful day.
    • The dog lost its bone.
      • Not: The dog lost it’s [it is] bone.
    • They’re [They are] going to the game.
    • Their mission is threefold.
      • Not: They’re [They are] mission is threefold.
    • You’re [You are] in trouble!
    • Your comments are important to us.
      • Not: You’re [You are] comments are important to us.
    • The decision was theirs to make.
    • There’s [There is] still time to decide.
    • There are too many cooks in the kitchen.
      • Not: There’s [There is] too many cooks in the kitchen.

precede, proceed, proceeds

  • Precede means to go before; proceed means to begin; proceeds are net profits.

prefixes, suffixes

  • In general, do not use a hyphen either after a prefix or before a suffix.
    • nontraditional
    • nondiscrimination
    • nonprofit
    • nonexistent
    • campuswide
    • Universitywide
    • bilingual
    • biannual
  • Use a hyphen to prevent a word from being mistaken for another word, such as co-op. Hyphens also should be used if a prefix or suffix is being added to a compound word (such as pre-groundbreaking ceremony or common sense-wise) or is otherwise confusing or difficult to comprehend. Better yet, rework the sentence to make the meaning clear.
  • Hyphenate if the word following the prefix is capitalized or a number.
    • pre-Victorian
    • mid-December
    • post-1980s
    • non-University
  • Hyphenate co- words that indicate occupation or status.
    • co-worker
    • co-author
    • co-editor
    • co-chair
  • In general, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the following word begins with a vowel: co-exist, pre-eminent. Do hyphenate co-op, but never hyphenate coordinate or cooperate.

prepositions

  • It no longer is considered incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition; it is more a matter of emphasis, tone, and desired effect. Often, it may be better to rewrite the sentence.
    • Informal: Be careful that clauses immediately follow the words they refer to.
    • Formal: Be careful that clauses immediately follow the words to which they refer.
    • Rewritten: Be careful that clauses immediately precede the words they reference.
  • Sometimes, prepositions are understood or unnecessary.
    • Where are you going [to]?
    • What size [of] shoe do you wear?
  • However, do not omit essential prepositions.
    • A couple of students led the discussion.
      • Not: A couple students led the discussion.
    • What’s the use in trying?
      • Not: What’s the use trying?
  • In a series of prepositional phrases, be sure to use the correct prepositions.
    • The project will study animals on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
      • Not: The project will study animals on the air, land, and sea.
  • Use the correct preposition for the intended meaning. Examples of commonly confused combinations follow.
    • agree on (reach an understanding): They agreed on the price.
      agree to (accept): I agree to your plan.
      agree with (concur): I agree with your conclusions.
    • angry about (something): I am angry about the decision.
      angry with/at (someone): I am angry with you.
    • argue for/against/over/about (something): They argued against the proposal.
      argue with (someone): I don’t want to argue with you.
    • compare to (assert similarities): He compared the comfort of the sedan to that of a luxury vehicle.
      compare with (analyze similarities and/or differences): He compared the black car with the red one.
    • differ from (to be unlike): He differs from her in age and temperament.
      differ with (to disagree): I differ with you on that point.
    • different from, preferable to different than (not alike): My opinion is different from yours.
    • independent of, not from: The project is independent of special-interest funding.
    • retroactive to, not from: The salary increase is retroactive to last July.
    • speak to (tell someone): I will speak to her about her tardiness.
      speak with (discuss with): I will speak with her about our options.

president

  • Capitalize president only when used as a title before a name:
    • President William E. Morgan
    • William E. Morgan, president

principal, principle

  • Principal is the most important, the chief figure or leader, or sum to repay. Principle is a fundamental law, truth, or standard.
    • elementary school principal
    • principal goals
    • principal of a loan
    • values and principles
    • The Principles of Community are part of Colorado State University culture.

program

  • Capitalize program only when it is part of an official name; do not enclose program names in quotation marks.
    • International Programs offers various study abroad programs.
    • The Graduate Degree Program in Ecology is an interdisciplinary program.

pronouns (See also that, which, who; who, whom; inclusive language)

  • Use me, not I, following prepositions.
    • The president wants to speak with me.
    • The president wants to speak with Alex and me.
    • Alex and I spoke with the president.
  • Do not use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns its, hers, ours, yours, whose, and theirs. Its is the singular possessive form of it; theirs is the plural possessive.
    • The decision was theirs to make.
    • The dog lost its bone.
    • The dogs lost their bones.
  • In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent.
    • The children love the books their uncle gave them.
  • They/them/theirs is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person.
  • Avoid using masculine pronouns – he/him/his – when referring to a generic group.
  • Do not use “he/she,” “he or she,” or “his or her” when referring to a generic group. Instead, use plurals as appropriate.
  • Colorado State University does not use other gender-neutral pronouns, such as “xe” or “ze,” in written communications.

proper nouns

    • 50 Year Club (no hyphens)
    • 50 Year Club Luncheon (no hyphens)
    • All public, external references will be to the Office of CSU Events
    • All public, external references will be to the Alumni Association

punctuation (See also commas; dash; ellipsis; hyphens; periods; semicolons)

  • Use only one space after any punctuation mark, anywhere.
  • Punctuation marks following emphasized text such as book titles should appear with the same emphasis (bold, italics, underlined, etc.). (See also parentheses)
    • Have you read War and Peace?
    • Warning: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
  • A period is not required in an RSVP or more information statement, especially after a URL. “RSVP by March 21 at www.alumni.colostate.edu” Because invitations can be considered marketing/advertising pieces, use periods to close sentences only when in paragraph format. “Join us for this one‐of‐a‐kind event” is an acceptable lead on an invitation.

Q

question mark

  • Question marks go inside or outside quotation marks depending on the context.
    • Did you hear him say, “Class is dismissed”?
    • Did you hear him ask, “Is class dismissed?”
    • He asked, “Is class dismissed?”
  • Do not use a question mark after an indirect question.
    • He asked what was the question.
    • They demanded to know who was responsible.

quotations, quotation marks

  • When possible, use typographic (also called “curved” or “smart”) quotation marks ( “ ” ) instead of “straight” quotation marks ( “ ” ). Check your software help menu for how to do this.
  • Use double quotation marks to enclose full and partial quotations. Use single quotation marks to enclose quotations within quotations.
  • Always put commas and periods inside single or double quotation marks. (In the United Kingdom, they always go outside the marks.) Other punctuation marks go inside the quotation marks when they are a part of the quoted matter. Otherwise, they go outside.
    • Who said, “I have a dream”?
    • The sergeant ordered, “Attention!”
    • “Attention!” the sergeant ordered.
    • He said my attitude is a “reflection of my commitment.”
    • He said my attitude “reflects my commitment,” but I disagree.
  • ­Insert a space (a “thin” space, if available) between consecutive single and double quotation marks (for example, when there is a quotation within a quotation).
    • “I was told, ‘Children should be seen and not heard,’” she said.
  • When a sentence continues beyond a quotation that ends in a question mark or an exclamation mark, do not add a comma.
    • The sergeant ordered, “Attention!” and the soldiers quickly obeyed.
      • Not: The sergeant ordered, “Attention!,” and the soldiers quickly obeyed.
  • Capitalize the first word of a direct or complete quotation. Do not capitalize the first word of an indirect or partial quotation. Indirect or partial quotations also do not require commas before or after quotation marks. Do not use quotation marks to report ordinary words that a speaker has used.
    • He said, “I am pleased by the progress they are making.”
    • He said he was pleased by the progress they were making.
      • Not: He said he was “pleased” by the progress they were making.
  • Do not put a question mark at the end of an indirectly quoted question.
    • He asked who read the assignment.
  • Superscript numbers and symbols that refer to footnotes follow any punctuation marks (except a dash) and are placed outside a closing parenthesis­. If the entire reference goes within parentheses, the superscript goes inside as well.
    • In Elements of Style,3 William Strunk says, “Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs.”
    • In Elements of Style (Strunk and White, 19993), William Strunk says, “Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs.”
  • When a quotation from the same source runs more than one paragraph without interruption, insert opening quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph and closing quotation marks only at the end of the final paragraph in the quotation.
    • He said, “The vehicle should not be driven until the necessary repairs can be made.
    • “Once these repairs are completed,” he continued, “the vehicle should run like new.”
  • On interrupted quotations, insert a comma and an ending quotation mark where the interruption occurs, a comma at the end of the intervening phrase, and a beginning quotation mark where the quotation resumes. Do not capitalize the first word of the resumed quotation unless it is a new sentence. End the entire quotation as usual.
    • “Once these repairs are completed,” he continued, “the vehicle should run like new.”
    • “The repairs have been completed,” he said. “The vehicle should run like new.”
  • A colon may be used to introduce longer quotations. If the entire quotation is indented, do not use quotation marks.
  • Use an ellipsis to indicate that words are missing within a direct quote. Ellipses are not necessary at the beginning or end of a quotation – quotation marks indicate that material has been excerpted. (See ellipsis)
  • Words being introduced to readers may be placed in quotation marks on first reference, but do not put subsequent references in quotation marks.
    • The board unveiled a series of “stretch goals” to establish Colorado State University as a world-class comprehensive research university. Next month, the president will meet with the board to discuss those stretch goals at length.
  • Sometimes when a quotation must be used as is with a misspelling or error, the foreign word [sic] (meaning so) is inserted after the error, italicized and within nonitalic brackets, to indicate that the error occurred in the original text. Do not use when it is more appropriate to simply correct the error or to paraphrase without using quotation marks.
    • He then wrote, “You know what they say, ‘The pin [sic] is mightier than the sword.’ ”

R

race, ethnicity (See inclusive language)

radio programs, radio station

  • Enclose in quotation marks the titles of radio programs and stories.
  • The call letters alone are generally adequate and don’t require periods. Lowercase radio station if used. If AM or FM is used, place after the call letters with a hyphen between.
    • The students planned programming for the radio station KCSU-FM.
  • If used, enclose nicknames for radio stations in quotation marks.
    • The game will be broadcast on 107.9 FM, “The Bear.”

rooms (See buildings, places)

S

scholarships (See awards, fellowships, medals, prizes, scholarships)

school districts

  • Capitalize only when preceded by a township or county name.
    • Poudre School District has named a new superintendent.
    • Blake Abe has been named superintendent of the school district.

scientific terminology

  • For technical and scientific papers and journal and refereed articles, check with the publisher for the preferred style conventions and usage. When writing for the general public, the following guidelines are suggested.
  • On first reference, italicize the genus and species (Latin name) of a plant, animal, or microorganism name, and capitalize the genus name but not the species name. On subsequent reference, abbreviate the genus name. Do not capitalize or italicize English versions except for proper nouns.
    • Echinacea purpurea; E. purpurea; purple coneflower
    • Festuca arizonica; F. arizonica; Arizona fescue
    • Mycobacterium tuberculosis; M. tuberculosis; tuberculosis
    • Dendroctonus ponderosae; D. ponderosae; mountain pine beetle
  • Capitalize but do not italicize division names larger than genus (i.e., kingdom, phylum, class, order, and family). Do not capitalize English versions of scientific names.
    • Animalia; animal
    • Primata; primate
  • Capitalize animal breeds and types based on Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
    • American eagle
    • golden retriever
    • peregrine falcon
  • When referring to vitamins, do not capitalize vitamin but do capitalize the letter of the vitamin, and use a hyphen followed by a figure for the type.
    • vitamin A
    • vitamin B-12
  • Do not capitalize names of diseases or other medical terms except for proper nouns.
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • West Nile virus
    • Down syndrome
    • influenza
  • Do not capitalize names of laws or theories except for proper names.
    • Einstein’s theory of relativity
    • laws of motion
  • Capitalize the names of planets, stars, constellations, asteroids, galaxies, satellites, etc., but not the generic terms.
    • The Milky Way Galaxy is one of billions of galaxies in the universe.
    • The North Star, which is in the constellation commonly called the Little Dipper, is one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
  • Do not capitalize or italicize northern lights or aurora borealis.
  • Do not capitalize earth unless it is used as the proper name of the planet. Do not capitalize sun or moon.
    • The astronauts returned to Earth.
    • The Earth’s resources are finite.
    • He has a down-to-earth attitude.

seasons

  • Do not capitalize spring, summer, fall, or winter or derivatives such as springtime. Capitalize only when part of a specific time or name.
    • Fall 1993
    • spring semester
    • Winter Olympics

second or subsequent references (See also acronyms and names)

  • On second reference, an acronym may be used if its reference is obvious. If it is not obvious, the acronym should not be used.
  • On second reference, use only a person’s last name without a courtesy title. If more than one person shares the same surname, use the first and last name in subsequent references.

semesters

  • Do not capitalize unless citing a specific term and year:
    • next fall
    • fall semester
    • Fall Semester 2020
    • Fall 2020

semicolons

  • Use a semicolon to separate elements in a series in which commas are used within one or more of the elements in the series.
    • The rooms share a living room; kitchen, complete with refrigerator, stove, and oven; and bathroom.
    • The new officers are Terry Johnson, president; Pat Ellis, vice president; and Sandy West, secretary.
  • Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction.
    • Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; the program follows at 9 a.m.
  • Use a semicolon to separate clauses joined by transitional words such as however and therefore.
    • We agree with the general terms of the contract; however, we disagree on a few minor points.
  • Semicolons always go outside quotation marks.
    • My favorite song is “Feelings”; however, “Boogie Nights” runs a close second.

Sept. 11, 2001

  • Use on first reference to the terrorist attacks that occurred on that date. On subsequent reference, Sept. 11 or 9/11 may be used.

series (See also lists)

  • Use commas to separate a series of items within sentences and before concluding conjunctions. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • The collection will be on display today, tomorrow, and next month.
    • The lecture is sponsored by the departments of Accounting, Management, and Finance and Real Estate.
      • Note: Without the final comma in the above example, readers unfamiliar with the departments would not know whether the second and third departments are Management and Finance and Real Estate or Management and Finance and Real Estate. Use of the final comma expedites writing, ensures consistency, and clarifies meaning. The examples of departments above are formal names and therefore capitalized (the departments of is not capitalized because it goes with all the departments, like College and Mountain avenues).
  • Use a/an or the before each item in a series, unless the series is a single concept.
    • The lecture will describe the goals, the methodology, and the outcome of the research.
    • Each report should include an introduction, a final summary, and a bibliography.
    • A news article should include the who, what, where, why, when, and how of an event.
  • To ensure clarity, do not combine separate phrases into one series. (In the following example, president of begins the first phrase and member of the second.)
    • He was president of ASCSU and the debate team and a member of the chess club.
      • Not: He was president of ASCSU, the debate team, and a member of the chess club.
  • Use semicolons to separate elements in a series in which commas are used within one or more of the elements in the series.
    • New members are Terry Vitas, president; Pat Ellis, vice president; and Dylan West, secretary.

[sic]

  • A foreign word (meaning so) sometimes inserted in a quotation after a misspelling or error to indicate that the error occurred in the original text. Italicize sic but not the brackets. Do not use when it is more appropriate to simply correct rather than draw attention to the error.
    • “The beetle is crawling toward the door.”
      Rather than: “The beatle [sic] is crawling toward the door.”

spaces following periods (See also typography)

  • Use only one space following any punctuation, anywhere.

speech titles (See also composition titles)

  • Enclose titles of speeches in quotation marks.

spelling (See entries of specific words or word pairs)

split infinitives (See verbs)

state board (See Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System)

state names

  • The correct term for a person from Colorado is Coloradan (not Coloradoan).
  • Spell out the names of states in running text. (This is a change from previous style, which required use of the standard state abbreviation when the name of a state was written with a city, town, or county.) When used with the name of a city, town, or county, enclose the name of the state in commas.
    • Recreational opportunities abound in Colorado.
    • Fort Collins, Colorado, is home to Colorado State University.
  • In charts or other uses were space is an issue, the standard state abbreviation may be used, instead of spelling out the state name. (see list below)
  • Use Washington state or state of Washington when the context requires distinction. Do not abbreviate Washington in Washington, D.C.

State abbreviations

  • Use a two-letter postal abbreviation only in an address and only with a ZIP code. On all Colorado State University business forms, stationery, and publications, spell out Colorado in the return address. (See the Communicator’s Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu).
State Standard Abbreviation Postal Abbreviation Term for Resident
Alabama Ala. AL Alabamian
Alaska Do not abbreviate AK Alaskan
Arizona Ariz. AZ Arizonan
Arkansas Ark. AR Arkansan
California Calif. CA Californian
Colorado Colo. CO Coloradan
Connecticut Conn. CT Connecticuter
Delaware Del. DE Delawarean
Florida Fla. FL Floridian
Georgia Ga. GA Georgian
Guam Do not abbreviate GU
Hawaii Do not abbreviate HI Hawaiian
Idaho Do not abbreviate ID Idahoan
Illinois Ill. IL Illinoisan
Indiana Ind. IN Indianian
Iowa Do not abbreviate IA Iowan
Kansas Kan. KS Kansan
Kentucky Ky. KY Kentuckian
Louisiana La. LA Louisianian
Maine Do not abbreviate ME Mainer
Maryland Md. MD Marylander
Massachusetts Mass. MA Massachusettsan
Michigan Mich. MI Michiganian
Minnesota Minn. MN Minnesotan
Mississippi Miss. MS Mississippian
Missouri Mo. MO Missourian
Montana Mont. MT Montana
Nebraska Neb. NE Nebraskan
Nevada Nev. NV Nevadan
New Hampshire N.H. NH New Hampshirite
New Jersey N.J. NJ New Jerseyite
New Mexico N.M. NM New Mexican
New York N.Y. NY New Yorker
North Carolina N.C. NC North Carolinian
North Dakota N.D. ND North Dakotan
Ohio Do not abbreviate OH Ohioan
Oklahoma Okla. OK Oklahoman
Oregon Ore. OR Oregonian
Pennsylvania Pa. PA Pennsylvanian
Puerto Rico Do not abbreviate PR Puerto Rican
Rhode Island R.I. RI Rhode Islander
South Carolina S.C. SC South Carolinian
South Dakota S.D. SD South Dakotan
Tennessee Tenn. TN Tennessean
Texas Do not abbreviate TX Texan
Utah Do not abbreviate UT Utahn
Vermont Vt. VT Vermonter
Virginia Va. VA Virginian
Virgin Islands Do not abbreviate VI Virgin Islands
Washington Wash. WA Washingtonian
Washington, D.C. Do not abbreviate Washington, DC
West Virginia W.Va. WV West Virginian
Wisconsin Wis. WI Wisconsinite
Wyoming Wyo. WY Wyomingite

streets (See addresses)

student designations

  • CSU preference is to use first-year student, rather than freshman.
  • Do not capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate, transfer, or first-year student unless part of a formal designation or title.
    • The Senior Class sponsored the lecture.
    • Terry Martinez is a senior economics major.
    • All first-year students are expected to attend Ram Welcome activities.
  • Hyphenate compound student descriptions, such as student-athlete, student-mentor, and student-veteran.
  • One in four CSU students is a first-generation college student.

subject-verb agreement (See plurals – agreement)

suffixes (See prefixes, suffixes)

superscript

  • Do not include a space between the superscript and the preceding word. If a punctuation mark follows the word, place the superscript immediately after the punctuation mark.
    • Superscript marks should look like this.1
  • Here’s an example of too much space. 2
  • Do not use superscripted suffixes with ordinals.
    • 12th (Not: 12th)

T

telephone numbers (See also numbers, numerals, figures)

  • Use area codes with all phone numbers. Place the area code in parentheses and use hyphens, not periods, without spaces to separate numbers.
    • (970) 555-6565
    • (800) 555-6565
  • If extensions are needed, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension and abbreviate and lowercase extension.
    • Call (970) 555-6565, ext. 426, for more information.

television

  • Italicize the titles of television programs. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • Her favorite television show was Game of Thrones.
  • Use quotation marks for the title of an episode.
    • “The Dance of the Dragons” was her favorite episode.
  • Program and episode titles may be combined within quotation marks.
    • An all-time favorite TV show is “The Big Bang Theory: The Adhesive Duck Deficiency.”
  • Capitalize the call letters and abbreviations of television stations and networks, but do not use periods.
    • CBS
    • MSNBC
    • KWGN-TV or television station KWGN

temperature (See measurements)

than, then

  • Than means in comparison with; then means at that time or soon after.

that

  • Use that to introduce dependent clauses if the sentence sounds or looks awkward without it. It often can be omitted, but if in doubt, leave it in.
    • Be careful you don’t fall.
  • That usually can be omitted immediately following verbs such as say or said.
    • She said she really has to study.
  • Include that when a period of time falls between the verb and phrase that follows.
    • She said yesterday that she really has to study.
  • That usually is necessary after such verbs as assert, contend, state, propose, etc.
    • She asserted that she really has to study.
  • Use that before clauses beginning with conjunctions such as until, before, after, while, and although. (Note there is no comma after that.)
    • She said that although she would like to go, she really has to study.

that, which, who (See also essential, nonessential phrases)

  • Use that to introduce essential phrases and which to introduce nonessential phrases that refer to inanimate objects and animals without a name.
    • The dog that lives at the end of the block barks at squirrels.
    • Our car, which is parked in the driveway, won’t start.
  • Use who to introduce essential or nonessential phrases that refer to people or animals with names.
    • Fido, who lives at the end of the block, barks at squirrels.
    • The person who lives next door has a damaged car.
  • Use that or who to introduce a phrase essential to the meaning of the sentence. Do not enclose essential phrases in commas.
    • The dancers who were dressed in white entered the stage. [implies more than one color of costume and differentiates which dancers are referenced]
    • The laboratory contains refrigerators that maintain constant temperatures.
  • Use which or who to introduce a nonessential phrase, which adds information to the sentence but which can be deleted without changing the meaning of the sentence. Enclose nonessential clauses in commas.
    • The dancers, who were dressed in white, entered the stage. [implies all dancers were dressed in white, information which is not essential]
    • The Morrill Act of 1862, which created the nation’s first land-grant universities, was a significant piece of legislation for the Agricultural College of Colorado.

theater, theatre

  • Use theatre only as preferred in an official name or title. Otherwise, use theater in the general sense.
    • Lory Student Center Theatre
    • the theater in the Lory Student Center
    • Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance
    • the University’s theater program

time

  • Do not capitalize a.m. or p.m.; use with periods and without spaces.
  • For time references, use figures with a.m. and p.m. and do not capitalize. Eliminate the :00 in 5 p.m. (not 5:00 p.m.), although use of :00 is acceptable in formal use, such as invitations.
  • Avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. this morning and 10 p.m. tonight.
    • The concert begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m.
    • The concert begins at 8:30 Friday evening.
  • Use noon and midnight in place of 12 p.m. and 12 a.m. respectively.
  • When stating a range of times, be sure to include a.m. and p.m. as needed, but do not repeat if the times are in the same part of day – that is, morning or afternoon.
    • 9-11 a.m.
    • 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • 9 a.m.-noon
    • midnight-6:30 a.m.

title capitalization, title case

  • When capitalizing titles and subtitles:
    • capitalize the first and last words.
    • capitalize the principal words and proper names.
    • capitalize all words four or more letters long.
    • capitalize both words in a hyphenated word.
    • capitalize verb forms such as are and is but not to in verb phrases such as to Believe.
      • To Kill a Mockingbird
      • A Farewell to Arms
      • Gone With the Wind
      • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
      • “The Star-Spangled Banner”
      • “We Are the World”

titled (See entitled, titled)

titles of people (See also names)

  • Enclose professional designations and degrees such as C.P.A. and D.V.M. following a full name in commas.
    • Richard Anderson, C.P.A., will be the keynote speaker.
  • Courtesy titles such as Mr. and Ms. generally are not used in either first or subsequent references, except in formal contexts. Dr. may be used for medical doctors (M.D., D.D.S., etc.) and veterinarians (D.V.M.) in first and/or subsequent references (but generally not for Ph.D.s).
  • When a title is part of a name in an address or in display type, capitalize the title even if it appears after the name.

toward, towards

  • The preferred use is toward rather than towards.

trademarks

  • Use generic names instead of trademark names unless the trademark name is essential to the meaning.
    • adhesive bandage instead of Band-Aid
    • cellophane tape instead of Scotch Tape
    • cotton swab instead of Q-Tip
    • elastic bandage instead of Ace Bandage
    • fabric fastener or hook-and-loop fastener instead of Velcro
    • facial tissue instead of Kleenex
    • flying disc instead of Frisbee
    • gelatin dessert instead of Jello
    • lip balm instead of Chapstick
    • photocopy or photocopier instead of Xerox
    • plastic foam instead of Styrofoam
    • portable media player instead of iPod
  • When used, capitalize trademark names but do not use ™ or ® symbols. Check with the manufacturer for preferred company name usage.

truly

  • Truly is the correct spelling (not truely).

TV (See also television)

  • TV is capitalized; television is preferred.

typography

  • Use the following typesetting conventions and tips when possible in formatting text. Consult the software users guide or help menu for procedures.
    • Replace all double spaces with single spaces. If more space is needed, use em or en spaces or tab stops.
    • Use extra space before and after headings and subheadings and between paragraphs rather than double spacing.
    • It is not necessary to indent and put extra space between paragraphs. Only one or the other is needed.
    • In tabulated matter or tables, set specific tab stops instead of using multiple spaces or multiple tabs.
    • Set up hanging indents rather than inserting multiple spaces or tabs in text.
    • Use “straight” typographers quotation marks ( ” ) and apostrophes/single quotation marks ( ‘ ) only for inch and foot marks, respectively.
    • Use “curly ” (“smart ”) typographers quotation marks ( “ ” ) and apostrophes/single quotation marks ( ‘ ’ ) in all other instances.
    • When eliminating the century in a year, use a single closing quotation mark
      • Class of ’65
    • With ordinals 10 and larger, as in 21st century, use figures and do not superscript the suffix – instead, place the suffix (-th, -st, -nd, -rd) in the same size and on the same baseline as the running text. (To override the autoformat superscript function of the word processing program, check the program’s help menu.)
    • Convert underlined text to italics.
    • Use all caps sparingly – they are difficult and tiring to read if there are more than just a few words.
    • When fully justifying text (both left- and right-justified margins), especially on short line lengths, allow/turn on hyphenation. Without hyphenation, large gaps of white space may appear, which is more difficult to read and more distracting than hyphenation.
    • In languages in which text is read left to right, left-justified text is more readable than centered or right-justified text.
    • Whenever possible, use special characters as appropriate for diacritical marks (also called diacritics or accent marks), in foreign names and words. Check the software users manual or help menu for how to insert special characters or symbols. (See also foreign/non-English names, words.)
    • Do not hyphenate or justify headlines, callout quotations, and other display type.
    • Use an en dash [ – ] with a space before and after to replace all double hyphens [ — ] and single hyphens [ – ] intended as dashes. (See also dash)
    • Avoid line breaks that would separate the dollar sign and figure from million, billion, etc.
      • A grant was awarded to fund the
      • $14 million research project.
      • Not: A grant was awarded to fund the $14
        million research project.

U

under, less than, fewer than

  • Under refers to spatial relationships; less than is preferred with amounts or quantities, and fewer than is preferred with individual items.
    • The dog slept under the table.
    • Vehicles on the road travel at speeds of less than 20 mph, especially when they are traveling under the overpass.

University (See Colorado State University)

United States

  • Spell out United States when used as a noun. Abbreviate using periods with no spaces only as an adjective.
    • U.S. economy
    • the economy of the United States (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
  • According to the AP Stylebook, use United States or U.S. when referring to the United States of America. America can refer to either North or South America. America or American may be used when it is clear from the context that you are referring to residents of the United States.

upon

  • Considered archaic. Use on in most cases.

URL

  • URL is the abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.
  • Avoid underlining URLs since some URLs contain underscores, which the underlining obscures. Do not emphasize URLs in running text.

utilize, utilization

  • Avoid the bulky word utilize. Use says the same thing.
    • We use 100 percent canola oil in our car.
      Not: We utilize 100 percent canola oil in our car.

V

verbs

  • Avoid splitting verb phrases, compound verbs, and infinitives (to plus a verb). (Underlining denotes verb phrases.)
    • They usually do not attend the meeting.
      Not: They do not usually attend the meeting.
    • He also will play the violin.
      Not: He will also play the violin.
    • He felt the seminar would teach him to listen more effectively.
      Not: He felt the seminar would teach him to more effectively listen.
      Not: He felt the seminar would more effectively teach him to listen.
  • In some cases, it may be awkward not to split a phrase. Splitting a phrase may be necessary to convey the intended meaning.
    • He is passionately committed to scientific exploration and discovery.
    • She wanted to really help the hurricane victims.

videotape

  • One word.

W

Web (See Internet)

website, webcam, webcast, webpage, webmaster

  • These terms are now commonly accepted as one word and are not capitalized.

weekdays (See days of the week)

which (See that, which, who)

white, Caucasian (See inclusive language)

who, whom

  • Use who when referring to people or animals with names and who are subjects of a sentence, clause, or phrase.
    • Who is going to the game?
    • Students who are going to the game should purchase tickets early.
    • Dogs that bark can be a nuisance.
    • Fido, who barks at strangers, is a good watchdog.
  • Use whom when someone is the object of a verb or preposition.
    • With whom are you going to the game?
    • Informal: Who are you going to the game with?

-wide (See prefixes, suffixes)

World Wide Web (See Internet)

XYZ

years (See also numerals; century; dates)

  • Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate decades or centuries; use an apostrophe when omitting the century. To avoid confusion, leave in the century when context could include other than the current century.
    • the 1920s
    • the 1800s
    • the ’90s
    • Class of ’18
    • the 1990s and 2000s
  • When your context refers to dates in other than the current year, include the year with the dates to eliminate confusion. If it is obvious the reference is to the current year, omit it. However, do include a year in all e-communications and content that resides online, to eliminate questions about how recent or dated the information might be.
    • The seminar will be held Sept. 12, 2017, and again Feb. 17, 2018.
    • This year’s event begins Oct. 3.
  • Use a comma after the year when complete dates (month, date, and year) are used.
    • The seminar is scheduled Sept. 12, 2017, and I intend to go.
  • Use a single hyphen to link two years that represent a continuous sequence. Single hyphens, and, to, or through also may be used between years if the sequence is introduced by the words from or between. (This differs from the AP Stylebook.)
    • Elijah Edwards served as president from 1879 to 1881.
    • Charles Ingersoll served as president between 1882 and 1891.
    • Alston Ellis served as president from 1892-1899.
    • Barton Aylesworth served as president during the years 1899-1909.
  • In a span of years within the same century, the second year may be expressed without the century figures. Use this style only for sequences of years when they occur frequently and only after initial reference. In isolated cases, do not abbreviate.
    • This is the only reference to the period 1997-1998; thus, the reference is an isolated case.
    • Multiple references to the period 1997-1998 may be abbreviated as 1997-98 after the first reference.
    • Do not abbreviate the second year in reference to the period 1992-2002 since the centuries are not the same.
  • When citing a specific fiscal year, capitalize and include both years, Fiscal Year 2016-17, or, when space is limited, FY16-17. The form FY17 should be used only if the time span – FY16-17 – is clear in the context. (See also fiscal year).

ZIP codes (See addresses)