Every organization has its own guidelines and style for producing written content for the general reader, and Colorado State University is no exception. The Writers Style Guide is the place for communicators across campus to find answers to questions about punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, and inclusive language so they can write clearly and consistently about Colorado State, on the web or in print.

The Writers Style Guide is based on the Associated Press Stylebook, with some notable exceptions and University-specific usages. If you find a rule here, use it when creating content for CSU. If your question isn’t answered in the Writers Style Guide, refer to the AP Stylebook. If you still have questions, and to find correct spellings, refer to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, online at merriam-webster.com.

If you have questions about writing style that are not addressed in any of the above resources, please email styleguide@colostate.edu or call Betty Grace Mickey at (970) 491-4883.

Note: The Writers Style Guide is not intended for academic papers or for scientific or technical writing. Students and faculty should refer to the appropriate resource for their field, such as APA or MLA.

Revised June 2019


a, per
abbreviations (See also acronyms)
abbreviations of foreign phrases
academic degrees
academic departments, colleges, offices (See departments)
academic titles (See also titles)
acronyms (See also abbreviations)
addresses
adviser
affect, effect
African American, black (See inclusive language)
ages (See also inclusive language)
alumni
a.m., p.m.
among, between
ampersand (&)
Anglo (See inclusive language)
Asian American (See inclusive language)
assure, ensure, insure
athletics
awards, fellowships, medals, prizes, scholarships
Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science (See academic degrees)
beside, besides
blog
board (See also Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System)
Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System (See also Colorado State University System)
book titles  (See also composition titles)
buildings, places
Business Reply Mail (See addresses)
Cabinet
CAM the Ram
capitalization
Caucasian, white (See inclusive language)
century
chairman, chairwoman
chapters
cities
colleges
Colorado State University (See also athleticscapitalizationnames)
Colorado State University Extension
commas
committee
complement, compliment
compose, comprise, constitute
composition titles (See also book titlesconference titles,  journal titlesmusical titlesnewspaper and newsletter titles)
compound words (See hyphens)
comprise (See compose, comprise, constitute)
computer terminology (See emailInternetURL)
conference titles
contractions
Cooperative Extension (See Colorado State University Extension)
countries 
course titles and numbers
course work
dash
dates (See also decades and years)
days of the week
dean
decades
degrees, academic (See academic degrees)
degrees, temperature (See measurements)
departments, offices, centers
dimensions (See measurements)
directions, regions
disabilities (See inclusive language)
diversity (See inclusive language and nondiscrimination statements)
effect (See affect, effect)
ellipsis (See also quotations)
email
emeritus
entitled, titled
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
essential, nonessential clauses (See also that, which, who)
ethnicity, national origin (See inclusive language)
events
Extension (See Colorado State University Extension)
farther, further
fax
fellow, fellowships
fewer (See also under, less than, fewer than)
fiscal year
foreign/non English names, words (See also abbreviations of foreign phrases)
Fort
fractions
fundraising, fundraiser
gender, gender identity (See inclusive language)
generations)
governor
grade point average, GPA
grades, grader
graphic standards (See Communicator's Toolbox at brand.colostate.edu)
greater (See over, greater than, more than)
hall
handicap (See inclusive language)
Hispanic (See inclusive language)
historic, historical
homecoming
honors (See also academic degrees)
hyphens (See also dash and prefixes, suffixes)
inclusive language 
information technology
in order to
Internet (See also URL)
italics
its, it's
job titles (See also namesacademic degrees; titles of people)
journal titles (See also composition titles)
K (measurements)
languages
Latino, Latina, Latinx (See inclusive language)
lectures, lecture series
legislative titles
legislature
less than (See also fewer and under)
lists (See also commasparallel structure and parallel constructionsemicolonsseries)
login, log on, logoff
long form vs. abbreviations (See also: abbreviations)
long term, long-term
long time, longtime
magazine titles and articles (See also italics and composition titles)
majors and programs of study
man, mankind (See inclusive language)
measurements (See also time)
millions, billions
minorities (See inclusive language and nondiscrimination statements)
money
months (See also also datestimeevents)
more than, over, greater than
movie titles
mph
musical titles
names (See also titles and Colorado State University)
national origin (See inclusive language)
Native American (See inclusive language)
newspaper and newsletter titles (See also composition titles)
nonbiased language
nondiscrimination statements
nonrestrictive clauses (See essential, nonessential clauses)
numbers, numerals, figures (See also also millions, billions)
offices (See also departments)
ordinal numbers
over, greater than, more than
page numbers
paired conjunctions (See also parallel structure, parallel construction and plurals –agreement)
parallel structure, parallel construction (See also also lists)
parentheses
per, a
percent
periods (See also ellipsis)
Ph.D. (See academic degrees)
phrases (See also essential, nonessential clauses)
places (See also buildings, places and state names)
plurals
plurals agreement
p.m., a.m.
political parties, movements
possessives
precede, proceed, proceeds
prefixes, suffixes
prepositions
president
principal, principle
program
pronouns (See also that, which, whowho, whom; and inclusive language)
proper nouns
punctuation (See also commasdashellipseshyphensperiodssemicolons)
question mark
quotations, quotation marks
race, ethnicity (See inclusive language)
radio programs, radio station
rooms (See buildings, places)
scholarships (See awards, fellowships, medals, prizes, scholarships)
school districts
scientific terminology
seasons
second or subsequent references (See also acronyms and names)
semesters
semicolons
Sept. 11, 2001
series (See also lists)
[sic]
spaces following periods (See also typography)
speech titles (See also composition titles)
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
streets (See addresses)
student designations
subject-verb agreement (See plurals –agreement)
suffixes (See prefixes, suffixes)
superscript
telephone numbers (See also numbers, numerals)
television
temperature (See measurements)
than, then
that
that, which, who (See also essential, nonessential phrases)
theater, theatre
time
title capitalization (title case)
titled (See entitled, titled)
titles of people (See also names)
toward, towards
trademarks
truly
TV (See also television)
typography
under, less than, fewer than
University (See Colorado State University)
United States
upon
URL (See also World Wide Web)
utilize, utilization
verbs
videotape
Web (See Internet)
Web page
website, webcam, webcast, webmaster
weekdays (See days of the week)
which (See that, which, who)
white, Caucasian (See inclusive language)
who, whom
-wide (See prefixes, suffixes)
World Wide Web (See Internet)
years (See also also numbers, numerals, figures; century; dates)
ZIP codes (See also addresses)