Editorial Style Guide

Editorial Style Guide

The Office of University Publications uses Associated Press style and strongly recommends that all colleges and schools, and particularly our clients, rely on it as an essential tool. Our office works with dozens of units at the university on many types of publications. Using a consistent style, along with clear and concise writing, is more efficient, produces more readable copy and strengthens the university's messages.

Most entries in this university stylebook are specific to the University of Maryland; others are reminders of AP style regarding common errors. This document, however, generally seeks to avoid repeating information available in The Associated Press Stylebook. Specific entries in The Associated Press Stylebook or this guide supersede those in other reference books, such as The Chicago Manual of Style.

For answers to concerns not addressed here, please contact University Editor Lauren Brown at lbrown12@umd.edu or 301.405.4612.

Another resource is the Grammar Hotline, offered by the Department of English Writing Center. It can be reached during normal business hours at 301.405.3785.

academic degrees: Use B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S. and Ph.D., but MBA, MLS and MPP, and M.Arch. and M.Jour. Alumni of UMD are presumed to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, so there is no need to include B.S. or B.A. before their graduation year: Katie Fox ’13 or Ryan Blaustein ’11, M.S. ’14.

academic departments: Capitalize the formal name of a college, department, division or unit: School of Public Policy, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Department of Entomology, etc. Lowercase in an informal usage, such as the entomology department.

academic disciplines: Lowercase, such as ethnic studies, astronomy and history, except when the study discipline includes words that are normally capitalized: Jewish studies.

acronyms: Avoid whenever possible. When referring multiple times to an agency or group in an article, set off with parentheses following the first reference: the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Some acronyms, such as FBI or NASA, are acceptable in all instances. Consult The AP Stylebook entry on this topic for details.

alma mater: Lowercase. It also requires a pronoun or article: Support your alma mater by joining the University of Maryland Alumni Association.

alumni association: The University of Maryland Alumni Association is called the Alumni Association on second reference. This is an exception to university and AP guidelines.

alumnus: The singular form for a man who has attended a school. The plural is alumni. Alumna is the singular for a woman who has attended a school. The plural is alumnae. Use alumni as the plural when referring to both men and women.

business names: Inc., LLC and Ltd. are usually unnecessary. When they are used, do not include a comma before them. Abbreviate corporation and com­pany as Corp. and Co., respectively, when used as part of a firm's name.

capitalization: Capitalize only proper nouns and formal titles including the University of Maryland, the Department of Kinesiology or Associate Professor Joseph Richardson Jr. But: Don’t capitalize people’s titles after their names or secondary references to university, state, school, etc. Consult the AP Stylebook entry on this topic for details.

civil rights: Lowercase, along with civil rights era and civil rights movement.

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center: On second reference, it may be shortened to The Clarice, not CSPAC or the Clarice Smith Center. This is an exception to university and AP guidelines.

class years: Include after the alumnus' name: Photographer John T. Consoli ’86 is creative director for the alumni magazine. (Note direction in which apostrophe is facing.)

Cole Field House: In anticipation of the building’s reconstruction as a home for athletics, academics and research, use the original name rather than Cole Student Activities Building.

commas: Do not use a serial comma, which is placed before the and, or or nor in a list of three or more items. Note the preceding sentence for an example of university comma usage in a series. If, however, a serial comma would improve clarity in a lengthy or difficult sentence, it can be added.

courses and lectures: Use quotations around course titles, such as "History of the Americas." Capitalize course names and codes, such as History 101. Otherwise, do not capitalize common, nonspecific course subjects: I missed my psychology class and was late for history.

courtesy titles: Avoid Mr., Mrs., Miss and Ms. Use Dr. in first reference only to someone who holds a medical degree, i.e., a dentist, podiatrist or surgeon.

cyber: When the combining form is used, follow the general rule for prefixes and do not use a hyphen: cybersecurity, cybercafé, cybernetwork.

dashes: Do not use spaces on either side of an em dash: This sentence—the one containing the dashes—is used as an example. The en dash is half the length of an em dash and longer than a hyphen. Common uses include: 1990–95, October–November 1994 and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. But: from 1990 to 1995 (not from 1990–1995), from October to November 1994 and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Do not use spaces around an en dash.

dates: Abbreviate the month when the date is included, except for March, April, May, June and July. In a sentence, put a comma after the year, if it is included. If the event is taking place this year, or did within one year of the publication date, the year is implied and unnecessary to include.

Discovery District: A hub of research and economic growth that includes the former University of Maryland Research Park and extends to Baltimore Avenue developments including the Hotel at the University at Maryland. We no longer use the titles University of Maryland Research Park or M Square.

ellipsis ( … ): In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces. The marching band practices … outside the window. At the end of a sentence, use a period (or ques­tion mark or exclamation point), then the ellipsis: The marching band is practicing. … It is outside the window. A comma goes before the ellipsis if the sentence needs one there. Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of a direct quote.

email: Not e-mail. But: e-newsletter and e-book.

emeritus/emerita: A special designation approved by the university. Use emeritus when referring to male professors. Use emerita when referring to female professors.

endowed chairs: In most cases, capitalize full name, including discipline, such as the Minta Martin Professor of Engineering. But: the Sergey Brin Chair of mathematics. Consult the professor or a development officer in the school or college to ensure accuracy.

ethnic backgrounds: African American is the pre­ferred term to describe someone of African-American descent. Note that it, along with such common descrip­tors such as Asian American, is hyphenated when used as an adjective: Asian-American studies.

ex officio: No caps, no hyphen.

faculty: A plural noun. Preferred: faculty members.

first-ever: First says it all; drop ever.

grade point average: Do not hyphenate. Preferred: GPA. honors classes: Do not capitalize. Use honors biology or honors English. Exceptions: the Honors College and the University Honors program.

initials: Do not put spaces between names of people using multiple initials: J.P. Morgan, J.B. Robb. The exception is for former university president C. D. Mote, Jr.

internet: Lowercase, following AP’s recent rule change.

job titles: Capitalize only when using a formal title before someone’s name. The exception is a line-by-line list.

junior, senior: Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of people. Do not precede with a comma. The same goes for II, III and IV, etc. The exception is for former university president C. D. Mote, Jr.

living-learning programs: We no longer use living and learning programs, at the request of the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

M Square: The former University of Maryland Research Park. It has since been absorbed into the Discovery District and no longer has this name.

military titles: Capitalize and correctly abbreviate a rank used before a person’s name. Use retired before the rank, not ret. afterward. Consult the detailed AP Stylebook entry on this topic for more information.

MilkBoy ArtHouse: This is the proper name of the performance venue co-operated by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on Baltimore Avenue in College Park.

national academies: Lowercase except when referring to a specific academy by name.

numbers: Spell out the numbers one through nine, and use numerals for 10 and up. But spell out any number starting a sentence, and use numerals in ages within sentences.

over: Use only to describe location. Use more than when talking about amounts: More than 50 people attended the event.

percent: Spell out the word rather than use %.

Ph.D.: Write out doctorate if the degree is used in a sentence: John Smith received his doctorate in psychology.

Philip Merrill College of Journalism: On second reference, do not use a “the” before Merrill College: Student-run sports reporting groups at Merrill College include the Left Bench and Stories Beneath the Shell.

professor: Use only when referring to full professors. Identify other faculty members with their proper title: Assistant Professor Courtney Paulson recently joined the Department of Decision, Operations and Information Technologies. As a title, it should be capitalized only before the person's name.

programs: Capitalize the names of formal programs: University Honors, College Park Scholars or the Banneker-Key Scholarship Program.

residence hall: The preferred term for a dormitory building.

serial commas: Use only when necessary to add clarity in a lengthy or complex list, or when the formal name of a unit includes one, such as College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

service learning: Do not hyphenate unless used as an adjective.

staff: Singular, not plural. Use an article to precede it: The staff is offering a seminar series.

state of Maryland: Do not capitalize state. Also: city of Baltimore.

states: When a city and state are given together, the states should be abbreviated and set apart with commas: College Park, Md., is the home of the Terrapins. Follow standard state abbreviations as suggested in the AP stylebook. Note that the same rule applies to cities in foreign countries: Kwasi Bosompem founded a school program in Soweto, South Africa, promoting gender equity.

terms of study: A specific semester is capitalized: Fall 2017 or Spring 2018, but remains lowercase if generic: the spring semester.

Terrapins: Capitalize on all references to the university's athletic teams.

time: Do not use capital letters or extraneous zeros: 2 p.m. In addition, 12 a.m. should be referred to as midnight and 12 p.m. as noon whenever possible to avoid confusion.

theater: Correct when used to refer to the field of study. But Maryland’s school title is School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

trademark symbols: Unnecessary. Capitalization implies a name brand.

University Libraries: Use the before identifying the University Libraries.

University of Maryland, College Park: The full, formal name of the university. Note the comma. Do not use an em dash or “at.” In most cases, use simply the University of Maryland. On subsequent references, use Maryland, UMD or the university, or Terrapins or Terps in athletic references. Prohibited: U-MD, UM and U of M. UMCP is allowed only when referring also to the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, particularly the MPowering the State initiative, for clarity.

URLs: Drop the http:// portion of the Web address when www. is already included. In many cases, the www. can be cut as well. If the URL is at the end of a sentence, add a period.

website: But online material is available on the Web.

Xfinity Center: Not XFINITY Center.