print header
Integrated Marketing and Communications banner

Editorial Style Guidelines: General style rules

academic degrees - Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, master's degree. He received his bachelor's degree from UW-Eau Claire and his master's and doctorate degrees from UW-Madison. No apostrophe in this case: She earned her bachelor of business administration or master of fine arts. Avoid an abbreviation (e.g., Ph.D.) and use instead a phrase such as: John Smith, who has a doctorate in philosophy.

academic department names - Academic department names should be lowercase, unless the name includes a proper noun, like English department.

acronyms - Do not write an acronym in parentheses after spelling out the name. If it is not obvious the acronym stands for the previously stated item, then the acronym should not be used. (See listing of university-related acronyms and abbreviations.)

administrative office names - Capitalize the names of administrative offices: News Bureau. Capitalize the word "office" if included after the name.

advisor - Use the "or" spelling of "advisor."

alumna/alumnus/alumnae/alumni - alumna (one female), alumnus (one male),  alumnae (more than one female), alumni (a pair or group that contains at least one male). Alum/alums may be used in informal instances, such as alumni event promotions, social media messaging, etc. When stating an alumni graduation year, use the 4-digit year conversationally in a sentence ("Szews, a 1978 UW-Eau Claire accounting alumnus, described himself to graduates...") but abbreviate to a 2-digit year after the person's name in a list or shortened format (Charles Szews '89).

ampersand (&) - Spell out the word "and" unless the ampersand is part of a proper name: art & design, Borders Books & Music.

art exhibits - Surround name of exhibit in quotation marks. Exception: Do not place the following exhibits in quotations marks: Annual Juried Student Art Show and B.F.A. Degree Candidates Senior Show.

Artists Series - not Artist Series.

brand - see university brand entry.

award names - Capitalize the formal title of an award: Althea Brach Counselor of the Year Post-Secondary Award.

campuswide, nationwide - One word.

Centennial Plan - capitalized .

chair(person) - Use the word "chair" or "chairperson" depending upon person's preference.

class names - Capitalize actual class names and surround by quotation marks: "Evolution of Economic Systems" or "Beginning French."

comma usage - Do not set off Jr., Sr., Inc. and Ltd. with commas: Ivar Lunde Jr. will perform… or The UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc. will award the $500 scholarship… Commas should be placed inside quotation marks at all times: "UW-Eau Claire is the best school in the country," Davis said.

  • Do not use a comma after a question mark or exclamation point as in the following example: "How many students attend the university?" the student asked.
  • Do not put the comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue.
  • Do not use the serial comma EXCEPT if a part of the series includes a comma or if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction.

compact disc - Use CD.

composition titles - Use quotation marks around the titles of books, anthologies, songs, movies, plays, operas, television programs, lectures, speeches and works of art. Do not use quotation marks with reference works (e.g., Encyclopedia Britannica), or around names of magazines, newspapers or professional journals. Professional journals are italicized in Faculty/Staff News posts.

course work - two words.

curricula, curriculum - curriculum (singular), curricula (plural)

disabled, handicapped, impaired - In general do not describe an individual as disabled or handicapped unless it is clearly pertinent to a story. If necessary, use person with a disability, not disabled person. For more information, refer to the AP Stylebook.

dorm - Always use residence hall rather than "dorm" or "dormitory."

ellipsis - In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces, as shown here: ( … )

emerita/emeritus, emeritae/emeriti - emerita (one female), emeritus (one male), emeritae (more than one female), emeriti (a pair or group that contains at least one male).

email addresses - Do not underline or boldface. Also, it's email, not e-mail.

event happenings - State in order of time, day, date: The group will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, in the Ojibwa Room, Davies Center. Remember that "Oct. 7" is another way of saying "Thursday" and should be surrounded by commas. Also, do not include the word "on" before the day.

fieldwork, homework - one word.

freshman, freshmen - freshman (one male or one female), freshmen (more than one, male or female)

The Forum - not the Forum.

grade-point average - GPA (for grade-point average) can be used in all references.

headlines - Titles that appear in double quotation marks within the body of a story should be surrounded by single quotation marks in the headline.

home page - Two words.

hometown - Include student's hometown in a story if appropriate. Underline the hometown (but not any punctuation before or after the hometown): Jane Adams, Brookfield, received a $10,000 scholarship. Also note states entry for more information. (Hometown information is taken from the CampS system under the category "Hometown News Release" and not from the student's permanent address. Also, always check CampS to verify that information about the student may be released.)

hyphens - Determining whether to hyphenate a word can be tricky. For the rules, refer to the following entries in the AP Stylebook: prefixes, suffixes, hyphen, co-, extra-, pre-, post-, self-, and semi-. The next place to look is Webster's New World Dictionary. Some commonly used words in UW-Eau Claire communications include the following: co-author, co-star, co-chair, cocurricular, coed, co-worker, extracurricular, nonprofit, pre-professional, preregister and semifinal.

Internet - Capitalize the words Internet and Web.

master plan - not capitalized.

months - Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. before a specific date but spell out when cited without a date or when only with a year. There is no comma between a month and a year: March 2000.

minority vs. multicultural - The word multicultural (e.g., multicultural student population) is preferred.

music group or ensemble names - Capitalize the proper names of the groups but do not place in quotes: The Singing Statesmen, Jazz Ensemble I.

music titles - Surround the names of songs and longer works, such as operas, with quotation marks: "Ebbene Signor Figaro" (song) from Gioacchino Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" (opera). Do not use quotation marks with titles that are merely descriptions but do capitalize: Concerto for Two Horns. If, however, the instrumentation is not part of the title but just description, then lowercase the instruments: Concerto for two horns. The words "flat," "major" and "minor" should not be capitalized in a title but the note (letter) preceding the word is: Concerto in A flat minor.

office - Capitalize the word "Office" when it's appropriate to add it to the name of an administrative office (e.g., Activities and Programs Office).

online - one word

phone numbers - Include area code and write in following manner: 715-836-2031.

plural words - When speaking of more than one, use the following words: alumni (a pair or group that contains at least one male), alumnae (more than one woman), emeriti (a pair or group that contains at least one male), emeritae (more than one female), freshmen (male or female), curricula. See singular words entry.

pop - Soft drink is more appropriate.

Power of AND - see university brand entry.

resident assistant - May use RA on second reference.

room - Capitalize the word room if followed by a number or preceded by an actual name: Room 143 or Ho-Chunk Room.

scholarship names - Capitalize the formal names of scholarships: Leonard Haas Alumni Scholarship.

senior citizen - Use "senior citizen" sparingly. It is best to indicate an age category: those age 62 and older. Preferred usage is not to use "seniors" as that often indicates a high school or college class level.

singular words - The following words always indicate one person or item: alumnus (male), alumna (female), emeritus (male), emerita (female), freshman (male or female), curriculum. See plural words entry.

states - Never include the state of Wisconsin with a city. With all other cities, except those mentioned under the datelines entry in the AP Stylebook, abbreviate the state name when preceded by a city. See state names entry in the AP Stylebook for abbreviations. Also note that a comma follows the state abbreviation when in the middle of a sentence: He lived in St. Paul, Minn., before moving to Stevens Point.

strategic plan - not capitalized.

theater vs. theatre - Use "theatre" when referring to University Theatre, when referring to the actual music and theatre arts department, or when the proper name is "theatre": Orpheum Theatre. Use "theater" in all other cases.

times - From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. OR 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Use "noon" and "midnight" instead of "12 p.m." and "12 a.m."

titles - Include "Dr." before name of a faculty or staff member who holds a doctoral degree, but still follow with appropriate title, such as Dr. Jane Do, associate professor of foreign languages. Instructor titles need to be accurate. Check whether the instructor is a professor, associate professor, assistant professor, senior lecturer, lecturer or another title. Note that not all professors hold doctoral degrees.

Exception to the rule: Art, theater and music professors may not want to be identified as "Dr." In this case, we respect the individual's wish. Also, if preferred by the individual, when referring to theater and music faculty in an event capacity, identify as professor of theatre arts or assistant professor of music, for example.

In general, do not capitalize titles — such as professor of psychology — before a person's name. However, the titles of chancellor, vice chancellor, dean and provost should be capitalized only before a name: Chancellor James Schmidt or James Schmidt, chancellor of UW-Eau Claire. Never capitalize titles such as special assistant to the chancellor. When in doubt, list title within commas and after person's name.

The following formal titles are capitalized and abbreviated as shown when used before a name: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep. and Sen.

toward - Not towards.

underway - One word.

university brand - The Power of AND (capitalize "The," use all caps on "AND").

University of Wisconsin - To differentiate from UW-Eau Claire, use UW-Madison (or University of Wisconsin-Madison if first UW reference in story). Do not use University of Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire - Spell out University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on first reference; use UW-Eau Claire after that. Be sure to use a hyphen (not a medium or long dash) after Wisconsin or UW. No spaces should be used before or after the hyphen. "UWEC" may be used in headings on the university website.

University of Wisconsin-Extension - Use as UW-Extension. Remember to include the hyphen.

University of Wisconsin System - The abbreviated version is UW System. Note there is no hyphen before "System." The president's name is Ray Cross.

Washington, D.C. - Include comma between Washington and D.C.

website - not web site or Web site. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster.

World Wide Web - Do not underline or boldface addresses. Use Web (capitalized) as a short form for World Wide Web and in terms with separate words, such as Web page and Web feed (but also see website entry). Visit the website at www.uwec.edu.

years - When citing an academic year always use the abbreviated form for the second year unless the second year is in a different century: the 2001-02 academic year or the 1999-2000 Artists Series.