Which is it: Bachelors degree or bachelor’s degree? Alumnus, alumni, alumna, or alumnae? And what about those commas in a series – should you put one before the “and”? And does it matter?
Stylistic consistency lets the reader concentrate on the content without being distracted by variations in spelling and punctuation from one page to the next. It’s an invaluable tool for editors, who often edit material intended for a single publication but written by several people. Having a style guide to consult keeps editors from having to reinvent a rule every time a new publication comes along. Adhering to an agreed-upon style gives each publication a “voice” that harmonizes with those from other departments, programs and schools.
The following glossary serves as a quick reference for you when producing copy for a publication. Most entries refer to educational institutions or are common mistakes that are made when writing for publications.
Mount Ida College has adopted The Chicago Manual of Style. For a more comprehensive guide, please refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, available in the marketing and communications office.
We hope that this glossary will help you in your writing. If you have any questions regarding something not listed in the abbreviated guide, or are confused by an entry, please call the marketing and communications office at x4681.
Academic degrees –
If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: Susan Sample, who has a bachelors degree in psychology.
Academic degrees are capitalized only in specific references (Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science). They are not capitalized in general references (bachelor degree, masters degree). The word degree is not capitalized.
Do not use an apostrophe in bachelors degree, masters, etc.
Use such abbreviations as B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name – never after just a last name.
When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas: Susan Sample, Ph.D., spoke.
Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.
- Wrong: Dr. Susan Sample, Ph.D.
Correct: Susan Sample, Ph.D.
Academic department –
Mount Ida does not capitalize departments and offices: athletic department, financial aid office.
Academic majors –
Lowercase all majors except those incorporating proper nouns: fashion design, English, American studies.
Academic titles –
Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as professor, dean, chairman, etc. when they precede a name. Lowercase when the title follows name and set off by commas.
Lowercase modifiers such as history in history Professor Susan Sample.
Alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae –
Alumnus – Singular male
Alumni – Plural male (or both men and women)
Alumna – Singular female
Alumnae – Plural female
a.m., p.m. –
Always lowercase, with periods.
Do not describe an event as “annual” until it has been held at least two successive years. You may note that it is planned to hold an event annually.
Bachelor of arts, bachelor of science –
Use bachelor degree or bachelors. See academic degree for guidelines on when the abbreviation B.A or B.S. are acceptable.
Board of trustees –
Capitalize when referring to Mount Ida’s Board. Lowercase in all other usages. Susan Sample is the chair of the Board of Trustees. Susan Sample is a trustee of the College.
Lowercase: The Mount Ida campus
One word, not hyphenated
Capitalize when part of a proper name: Mount Ida College, or when referring to Mount Ida as “the College.” Lowercase when used alone and not in reference to Mount Ida.
Commas –Some common uses: (excerpted from The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition)
Use commas to separate items in a series. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma should appear before the conjunction. If the last element consists of a pair joined by and, the pair should still be preceded by a comma and the first and.
Comma not needed. In a series whose elements are all joined by conjunctions, no commas are needed unless the elements are long and pauses helpful.
Introducing Direct Quotes:
Use a comma to introduce a complete one-sentence quotation within a paragraph: Susan said, “This style guide will help you to help us produce your publication quicker and smarter.” Use a colon if the quotation is longer than one sentence or more formal.
Use a comma instead of a period at the end of a quote that is followed by attribution: “This is a wonderful style guide,” said Susan Sample.
Placement with quotes:
Commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single.
With Hometowns and Ages:
Use a comma to set off a word, abbreviation, phrase, or clause that is in apposition to a noun: Susan Sample, Newton, was there.
Mount Ida does not capitalize community: Mount Ida College community.
Course titles –
Official names of courses of study are capitalized.
Courtesy titles –
Courtesy titles such as Miss., Mr., Mrs., or Ms. should not be used with the first and last names of the person. Use last name only upon second reference.
Days of the week –
Names of days are capitalized. Do not abbreviate, except if space restrictions require that days of the week be abbreviated: Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.
Days of the month –
Days of the month are capitalized. Do not use “rd,” “th,” “st,” “nd,” following the numerals: April 4, June 23, not April 4th or June 23rd. (see months for more information)
Use a lowercase e, with a hyphen: e-mail.
Use when referring to two or more retired professors given emeritus rank. Use emeritus, when referring to a male and emerita when referring to a female.
Foreign words –
Always italicize foreign words.
Honorary degrees –
All references to honorary degrees should specify that the degree was honorary. Do not use Dr. before the name of an individual whose only doctorate is honorary.
- Do not hyphenate “vice president”
- Mount Ida does hyphenate words beginning with the prefix “pre:” pre-dental, pre-professional.
- Hyphenate words with a prefix when the last letter of • the prefix and the first letter of the word are the same: co-operate.
- Numbers below 100 should be hyphenated when they consist of two words: fifty-three.
- Hyphenate “part-time” when used as an adjectival • compound to describe a job, assignment, etc. She has a part-time job. She works part time. (Same for full-time, full time)
- Hyphenate “fund-raising” when used as an adjective: Susan Sample is a fund-raising genius. Do not hyphenate when used as a noun: Susan Sample is an excellent fundraiser.
Hyphens (continued) –
Do not hyphenate the word multicultural.
When two descriptive words precede a noun, hyphenate them: He is a small-business owner. It is a seven-story building.
Junior, senior –
Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of persons. Commas are not required around Jr. and Sr: James F. Sample Jr. If commas are used, however, they must appear both before and after the element. Commas never set off II, III, IV, and such when used as part of a name.
Use children unless you are talking about goats, or the use of kids as an informal synonym for children is approporiate in the context.
See academic majors.
Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When space restrictions require that the names of months be abbreviated, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
In the month-day-year style of dates, commas are used both before and after the year: The ship sailed on October 6, 1999, for Southampton. Where month and year only are given, no commas are needed: In March 2003 she turned seventy.
Mount Ida College –
Always spell out. Never use “Mt. Ida College.” Upon second reference you may shorten “Mount Ida College” to “Mount Ida."
Mr., Mrs –
Always abbreviated. The plural of Mr. is Messrs.; the plural of Mrs. is Mmes.
Use full name on first mention and then refer by last name only. Do not use courtesy titles with last name on further references.
Spell out one through nine. Use numerals beginning with 10. Spell out if at the beginning of a sentence. Decades are either spelled out and lowercased or expressed in numerals. No apostrophe appears between the year and the s: the nineties and 1990s.
Online is one word.
Always spell out: The teacher said 60 percent was a failing grade. Use % only when numbers appear in a table.
Use figures: 1 percent, 2.4 percent (use decimals, not fractions), 10 percent. For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6 percent. Repeat percent with each individual figure: He said 10 percent to 30 percent of the electorate may not vote.
Capitalize president only as a formal title before one or more names: President Sample, Presidents Sample and Smith.
Lowercase in all other uses: Dr. Susan Sample is our president.
Academic programs are not capitalized: child development program.
Never abbreviate. Capitalize when used as a formal title before a full name. Do not continue in second reference unless part of a quotation. (see academic titles)
Pupil, student –
Use pupil for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Student or pupil is acceptable for grades nine through 12. Use student for college and beyond.
Residence Hall –
This is proper terminology. Do not use dorm.
The College’s five schools are capitalized: School of Business, School of Design, New England Institute.
The four seasons and derivatives such as springtime are lowercased unless part of a formal name.
Teen, teen-ager (n.) teen-age (adj.) –
Do not use teen-aged.
Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Use words noon and midnight rather than 12 p.m., 12. a.m.
Title of works –
When referencing the title of a book, magazine, play, newspapers, lectures, etc., use italics. The Boston Globe featured Mount Ida College
World Wide Web –
Capitalize. Web should also be capitalized, and Website is one word