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The Syracuse University Editorial Style Guide was compiled for those who write and edit Syracuse University communications, marketing collateral, content and publications, both online and print, centrally and in the schools, colleges, and academic and administrative units.

A companion to the Associated Press Stylebook, the guide includes Syracuse University-specific references and usage, exceptions to AP style and some often-used AP style entries (for more details on these entries, consult the AP Stylebook). The goal is to provide the basis for greater consistency of style across all traditional and digital marketing and communications channels and serve as a reference for some widely used and troublesome terms and usages. It also features a section containing guidelines on punctuation.

Marketing and Communications subscribes to an online edition of the AP Stylebook through a limited site license that can be accessed by anyone while on the campus network. Up to 10 users can utilize this resource at a time. Please do not keep a tab open when you are not actively referring to the stylebook as to not take up a seat for other users.

Style, as it is used here, refers to the guidelines that editors and writers follow whenever they refer to persons, places and things; whenever they capitalize, abbreviate, punctuate or spell. Usage, on the other hand, is a set of guidelines intended to encourage the correct use of words and consistent usage.

For any questions about Syracuse University editorial style not addressed in this guide, contact Jay Cox or Kevin Morrow.

A | B | C | D | E | F| G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ | Punctuation Guide


abbreviations Use abbreviations depending on the context. While some are universally recognized, others are also acceptable in the proper context. Avoid using ones that would not be familiar to a general readership. In general, before a name, abbreviate such titles as Doctor (Dr.), Governor (Gov.), the Reverend (the Rev.) and Senator (Sen.). For more guidelines, see AP Stylebook entries on courtesy, legislative, military and religious titles. Some months, addresses and state names are often abbreviated.

See acronyms. 

academic degrees Capitalize the names and abbreviations of academic degrees whether they follow personal names or stand by themselves: Clyde M. Haverstick, Doctor of Law; Mary M. Wilson, D.Eng.; she recently received a Ph.D.

Do not use degree designations with names unless the degrees are relevant to the story. 

Refer to it as “a” bachelor’s, doctoral or master’s degree; or “an” associate degree; not “his” or “her” associate, bachelor’s, doctoral or master’s degree: He received an associate degree in art. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

When including a person’s degree and the institution that granted it, follow this guideline: He earned a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University. She received a doctoral degree from Syracuse University.

Do not capitalize doctorate, doctoral, bachelor’s, master’s, master of science degree and other degrees.

The plural form of a degree is the same as the singular: They received master’s degrees. She received a bachelor’s degree.

Cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude are not in italics or set off with commas: Joann received a B.S. degree summa cum laude in speech communication. They are also lowercased.


Refer to a person as Dr. if the individual is a doctor of dental surgery, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine or veterinary medicine. Refer to a person with a Ph.D. as professor if she or he holds that title, or add Ph.D. after the name.


 Doctoral is an adjective, doctorate a noun: A person with a doctorate has earned a doctoral degree.

A doctoral degree isn’t necessarily a Ph.D. Among other examples are Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) and J.D. (Juris Doctor).


She is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. She earned an MBA degree.


Use bachelor’s degree, not baccalaureate.


Use associate in arts (A.A.) and associate in applied science (A.A.S.). NOTE: Associate does not use a possessive form.



Use periods with most all degree abbreviations (a notable exception is MBA):

A.A.                 associate in arts

A.A.S.             associate in applied science

B.A.                 bachelor of arts

B.F.A.              bachelor of fine arts

B.I.D.               bachelor of industrial design

B.Mus.            bachelor of music

B.P.S.               bachelor of professional studies 

B.S.                  bachelor of science

Ed.D.              doctor of education

J.D.                    juris doctor

M.A.                 master of arts

M.Arch. I        master of architecture I

M.Arch. II       master of architecture II

MBA                master of business administration

M.F.A.             master of fine arts

M.I.D.              master of industrial design

MPH                master of public health

M.S.L.I.S.       master of science in library and information science

M.Mus.          master of music

M.P.A.             master of public administration

M.S.                 master of science

M.S.Sc.           master of social science

M.S.W.            master of social work

Ph.D.               doctor of philosophy 

academic departments For a list of all Syracuse University academic departments, see the Academics link on the Syracuse University home page.

NOTE: Capitalize academic department names when the official title is used: The Department of Biology, the biology department.

See capitalization.

academic majors, minors Do not capitalize academic majors or minors unless they include a proper noun. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in psychology. She is an English literature major.

academic titles Capitalize a formal or official title when it precedes a name; lowercase it when it follows a name; lowercase titles when used without a name. If the title is long, consider placing it after the name.

EXCEPTIONS: Capitalize Chancellor when it is a reference to the Chancellor of Syracuse University. Also capitalize named professorships, Distinguished Professor and University Professor in all references.

NOTE: Place the word emeritus (masculine) or emerita (feminine) after professor: professor emeritus of chemistry. For a list of faculty who retired with emeritus status, visit the provost’s website.

academic year Use a hyphen when writing out an academic year; preference is to use the abbreviated form: 2018-19 (as opposed to 2018-2019).

ACC Atlantic Coast Conference

accessibility When making a link, avoid using such terms as “click here.” Instead, use words describing the page to which you’re linking: For more information, visit the library catalog.

Linking to a webpage is preferable to using a PDF. If linking to a pdf file, indicate that the link leads to a PDF by placing “(PDF)” after the link. For more information on checking the accessibility of a PDF using Adobe Acrobat, visit Adobe's documentation.


acronyms Acronyms are abbreviations that spell out pronounceable words: Alcoa, ARCO, NATO, radar, scuba.

For proper-name acronyms of more than four letters, capitalize the first letter only: Nafta, Unicef, Centro.

When naming programs, offices and initiatives at Syracuse University, the use of acronyms is discouraged. Acronyms should not be used in URLs (also known as web addresses), because they can be detrimental to search results.

If the acronym could be unfamiliar to a reader or if it spells out an existing word, first spell out the full name and put the acronym in parentheses on first reference: Residents of the South East (ROSE).

Some acronyms don’t have a spelled-out version; they are referred to only by the acronym: Amtrak.

It is unnecessary to use an acronym in parentheses if there is not a second reference.

addresses Spell out and capitalize avenue, boulevard, building, court, drive, lane, parkway, place, road, square, street and terrace when they are part of an address or name. He lives on Cedar Drive. Lowercase them when they stand alone or are used collectively following two or more proper names: James and State streets.

With a numbered address only, use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St.: 820 Comstock Ave. Also abbreviate compass points in a numbered address: 11 E. 61st St., 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

Capitalize and spell out a building when it is part of a proper name, but not when it stands alone or is used collectively: the State Tower Building, the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.

Building numbers are always given as figures: 9 Highland Terrace; 237 14th St.; 2700 E. Genesee St.

 addresses in class notes For state names in alumni class notes sections of college newsletters and magazines, use standard abbreviations and not postal abbreviations. In other uses, state names should be spelled out.

See state names.

addresses in running text Use commas to separate units: Syracuse, New York; Syracuse, New York, USA; a Syracuse, New York, native. List items in the same order as indicated in the previous entry, but separate them with commas. Spell out the names of states: She comes from Elmira, New York. The spring alumni event took place at 11 E. 61st St., at Lubin House, on the edge of Central Park.

NOTE: When addressing an envelope to someone for a bulk mailing, use U.S. Postal Service style—all capital letters and no punctuation.


African American Do not hyphenate as a noun or an adjective: African American students volunteered to work with children in local schools.

See ethnic and racial designations.

ages Always use numerals: He has a 3-year-old son. He is 3 years old. Their 105-year-old house needs a new roof.

All-America/All-American  An individual team member may be called an All-American. However, the correct adjectival form is All-America: Distance runner Justyn Knight earned All-America honors.

alum, alums Use in direct quotations or in an informal context.

alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni Use the correct word for gender and number. Alumna is the feminine singular form.

Alumnae is feminine plural.

Alumnus is the masculine (or nongender) singular. Alumni is masculine or mixed-gender plural.

Joan is an alumna of Syracuse. Joan and Linda are alumnae of Syracuse University. Henry is an alumnus of the University. Henry and George are alumni. Joan, Linda, Henry and George are alumni. We hope every alumnus will attend Orange Central.

Identify all alumni who appear in University alumni publications with the class year: Mary Brown Jones ’93, G’95.

In other University publications, designate alumni whenever relevant—in reporting donations to development campaigns, for example.

alumni class year, class-year abbreviations In running text, use the following forms for class year: John Skeeter, a 1927 graduate; 1927 graduate John Skeeter.

When alumnus status is obvious from the context, use class-year contractions: John Skeeter ’27; John Skeeter ’27, G’29.

The letter G is used to denote a graduate degree; H is used to denote an honorary degree; L is used to denote a law (J.D.) degree. John Skeeter ’27, G’29, L’35, H’75. When someone has two or more graduate degrees (excluding a law degree), G is used in both instances: John Skeeter ’27, G’29, G’31.

References to alumni in various Syracuse University publications may vary from school to school.

Syracuse University Magazine, for instance, does not distinguish among different graduate degrees, except for those from the College of Law. When a publication does make distinctions among graduate degrees, the class year precedes the degree: John Skeeter ’27, ’29 M.S., ’31 Ph.D.

Use full years for alumni who graduated in early 1900s and late 1800s: Mary E. Smith 1893, Joanne Jones 1901.

When crediting an accomplishment to two or more alumni, list the name of the earlier graduate first: Jack Spellbinder ’71 and Steven Aron ’75 recently received a patent for a new kind of heat pump.

When two people are listed as a couple and only one is a graduate, the class year is listed after the graduate’s last name: Mary and Joseph Jones ’53. When two alumni are married, the class year is listed after the first name of the first individual listed and the last name of the second individual: Mary ’52 and Joseph Jones ’53.

In instances of two or more alumni from the same family, refer to alumni with full names and dates of graduation following each name: Siblings Kevin Jones ’89, Joe Jones ’91, and Mary Jones Smith ’93 were involved in the community food drive.

NOTE: The apostrophe before the class year should appear as a curved right single quote: ’90, ’00, ’59. 

Alumni Engagement, Office of

a.m. See time.

ampersand (&) Use the ampersand only when it is an official part of the name or title: AT&T Corp., Simon & Schuster, Procter & Gamble Co.

NOTE that the College of Arts and Sciences, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the College of Visual and Performing Arts do not contain ampersands. Spell out and with these names.

Ampersands are never used in running text in place of the word and.

and/or Don’t use this construction.

anybody, anyone Anybody and anyone take singular verbs. However, they and their are both acceptable second references to avoid using “his or her”: On Wednesday, anyone in the restaurant may get their meal for a reduced rate.

See everybody, everyone.

Archbold Theatre The John D. Archbold Theatre is Syracuse Stage’s main theater.

area code Use a period rather than a hyphen or parentheses: 315.443.1870.

art, works of For print publications, use italics to name works of art: The painting titled Velvet Elvis was a hit at the art exhibition. For the web, use quotation marks for the work of art.

Asian See ethnic and racial designations.

athletic/athletics  Use athletics as a noun; athletic as an adjective.

See games, athletics.

athletic director

Athletics, Department of When referring to the Syracuse University Department of Athletics, Syracuse Athletics is also acceptable as a first reference. It is OK on subsequent references to use athletic department.

attribution The preferred attribution for a quotation is says; use said when quotes are tied to the timeframe of a specific event. 



Barnes Center at The Arch The University's integrated health, wellness and recreation complex.

best-seller  Best-selling book.

black See ethnic and racial designations.

board of trustees Capitalize Board of Trustees in reference to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees; thereafter, use the board or the trustees when referring to this specific group: The Syracuse University Board of Trustees meets twice each year. The Board of Trustees approves the University budget. She is a trustee of the University. He was named an honorary trustee. The board voted Tuesday.

For other references, capitalize only when using with the formal or full title of the organization: The Middleville School District Board of Trustees decides on policy issues. The board decided to reduce salaries. The hospital has a board of trustees. He is a trustee on the hospital board.

book references For book citations in Syracuse University alumni publications follow this model: George Saunders G’88 wrote Tenth of December (Random House, 2013).

NOTE: For print publications, book titles are italicized. For the web, use quotation marks.

buildings of Syracuse University For proper names and information on the University’s buildings, visit the University Archives website, which includes alphabetical and chronological listings of the buildings.

bullets See Punctuation Guide. 



campus The Syracuse University campus includes North Campus, South Campus, the Lampe Athletics Complex and several satellite locations.


capitalization Avoid the unnecessary use of capital letters. If there is no listing in this style guide for a particular word or phrase, consult Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (12th ed.).

Do not capitalize Syracuse University majors, minors, programs of study, departments or offices unless referring to an official title: Cara is a drama major. Aaron would like more information about the social work program. The Department of Drama is part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The Office of Admissions is located in Crouse-Hinds Hall. Maybe you should talk to someone in the admissions office.

capitalization of titles Capitalize the first letter of each word in titles except articles (the, a, an), conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet), and prepositions (at, in, to, with, etc.).

The following guidelines apply to titles of books, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, TV programs, lectures and speeches, and works of art:

Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.

Capitalize articles the, a, an, and prepositions and conjunctions of fewer than four letters if they come at the beginning or end of the title.

captions A caption may be a complete sentence or a tagline (name only, or name and title). Do not use a period with a tagline.

Write captions in the present tense, whenever possible.

captions, spot directions If there are only two individuals in a photo, it’s not necessary to use both left and right. Mary Jones, left, and Larry Bolton review plans for this year’s Strawberry Festival.

So-called spot directions (locating and identifying people in the photo) in captions are placed in parentheses or offset with commas, but be consistent within a publication: Company founders (from left, Miller, Davis, and Smith) meet once each year.

A caption should never begin with spot directions.

Carrier Dome On first reference, use the Dome.

C.A.S. Certificate of Advanced Study

century Lowercase and spell out numbers less than 10: the first century, the 21st century, 19th-century art.

Centro (Central New York Regional Transportation Authority) Acceptable to use Centro on first reference.

Central New York CNY is acceptable as a second reference.

See places.

chair, chairman, chairperson Chair is used both as a verb and a noun: She chaired the meeting. The chair recognizes the senator. Janet Smith, chair, finance committee.

Use chair, chairman, chairwoman, or chairperson, depending on the preference of the person who holds the position.

Chancellor Capitalize when it refers to the Chancellor of Syracuse University: Chancellor Syverud; Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University; the Chancellor.

cities and towns Always spell out the names of cities; avoid such forms as Cinci and Philly unless they are used in an informal context.

NOTE: Capitalize City of Syracuse to avoid possible confusion with Syracuse as a reference to Syracuse University; otherwise, lowercase city of phrases.

In general, the name of a city should be followed by the name of its state. However, it is not customary to use state names with well-known cities. See the AP Stylebook for additional guidance.

civil rights, civil rights movement

class year For general University publications, combine the class years of students with their colleges: Linda Rubenstein, a junior in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Jack Moriarty, a first-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences. Using class year is also acceptable: Linda Rubenstein ’16, a drama major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

For college-specific publications, lowercase terms designating academic year: first-year student (avoid freshman), sophomore, junior, senior.

Erin Parker, a junior in marketing; Chris Farmington, a second-year MBA student.

See alumni class year.

Classes When referencing a graduating class, capitalize class (Class of ’99); if it’s more than one class, lowercase class: The classes of 1998, 2008 and 2018 were invited back to campus.

cliché Avoid using trite expressions, or clichés, such as acid test, crack of dawn, generous to a fault, leading-edge technology, on the cutting edge, the picture of health and state-of-the-art.

CMAC the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University. CMAC’s mission is to celebrate and explore the visual and electronic arts through exhibitions, publications, public presentations, education and scholarship. CMAC’s partners include the Community Folk Art Center, Light Work, the PAL Project, the Palitz Gallery (New York City), Point of Contact, the Special Collections Research Center, SUArt Galleries and the Urban Video Project.

college and university (plural) Lowercase when they are used in the plural: Syracuse and Princeton universities.

colleges and universities other than Syracuse University Use the full name of the college or university in a first reference: Purdue University, University of Notre Dame. In subsequent references, use the name of the college or university alone, or use an abbreviation if one exists: Wisconsin, RPI.

EXCEPTION: In a sports context, it is acceptable to drop the word college or university in a first reference: Duke, Purdue, Wake Forest.

comma See Punctuation Guide.

Commencement Capitalize when referring to Syracuse University.

compose, comprise You can write composed of but not comprised of: The United States is composed of 50 states.

Comprised means consists of or includes as in: The whole comprises its parts.

composition titles For print publications, italicize the names of books, long works and compositions, works of art and art exhibitions, legal cases, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, long poems, plays, movies, television series, television programs, symphonies and operas. Titles of songs are in quotation marks, album names in italics: Have you heard the hip hop version of “Sweet Sue” on the Takin’ It to the Streets album?

If running text appears in italics, place titles (as shown above) and other words usually in italics, in Roman type: Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility.

For web publication, use quotation marks instead of italics.

See italics.

conference, forum, lecture series, symposium names Capitalize, but do not italicize or use quotation marks for conference, forum, lecture series or symposium names: We attended the Cyberspace Law: Copyright and Access Conference.

Connective Corridor A partnership of Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County that links the University Hill with downtown via a public transportation route featuring arts and culture venues.

Convocation Capitalize when referring to Syracuse University.

copy edit

copyright For educational information about copyright and other laws, go to the University's webpage on copyright information

course names Capitalize course names, but do not italicize or place them in quotation marks. Do not use punctuation between the course number and the course name, if used together: He teaches the popular course Sociology of Families. All students must take WRT 105 Studio I: Practices of Academic Writing.


credit hours This term is redundant; use credits.

cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude Use lowercase.

See academic degrees. 

’Cuse An informal reference to Syracuse University that is frequently used in a sports context.

NOTE: The apostrophe before the “C” should appear as a curved right single quote, facing away from the “C”.





database One word. When referring to a specific database in running text, capitalize it; do not use italics or quotation marks around the name: He used information from BiblioLine, SearchBank and Lexis- Nexis for the report.

dates Always use Arabic figures, without -st, -nd, -rd, or -th: Nov. 3, 1996.

In running text, dates should be written in the sequence month-day-year: April 20, 2014, or in the sequence day-date-time: Tuesday, April 20, 9 a.m.

AVOID the following forms: 4/20/14, 4-20-14, 20 April 2014.

When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate the months Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec., but spell out the others: Jan. 1, 2019; July 4, 2020.

When a date consists only of a month and year, use no comma between them: March 2014. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas: Feb. 19, 1996, was their wedding date.

It is OK to use 2010-20, 1998-99 or 2010-2020, 1998-1999. Do not use 1999-00 if you mean 1999-2000.

See decades; time; numerals.

day care

days Do not abbreviate days of the week except when necessary in lists.

decades Use either words or numbers, but be consistent throughout: He graduated in the ’80s, but in the ’90s he had his true education. The seventies and the eighties were times of tremendous change.

NOTE: The apostrophe before the numbers should appear as a curved right single quote, and there is no apostrophe before the s.

degrees See academic degrees.


department names See capitalization.


dining centers NOTE: Dining room, dining hall, cafeteria, and room and board are not preferred Syracuse University usage. Use dining centers and housing and meals instead.

disabilities For information on language usage regarding disabilities, the University’s Disability Cultural Center offers a language guide on its website. Another good resource is the Disability Language Style Guide offered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University.

doctoral, doctorate See academic degrees.

dormitory, dorm Preferred Syracuse University usage is residence hall.


earned Earned is the preferred term when referencing an academic degree: He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. She earned a doctoral degree at the Maxwell School.

Earth Capitalize when referring to the proper name of the planet: Space shuttle commander Eileen Collins ’78 guided the craft back to Earth. Otherwise, use lowercase: She is down to earth.

email Addresses are placed in lowercase letters:

Mary emailed to request more information.

ESF See SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

et al. A Latin abbreviation meaning and others. It is most appropriate in formal and academic styles. There is a period after al. but not after et, which is a complete word: Professors Ruiz, Randall, Swenson, et al. were present at the meeting.

ethnic and racial designations National-origin identifiers such as Italian American, Polish American and Japanese American are appropriate. (Do not hyphenate these words even when they are used as adjectives: the Polish American Hour, a Japanese American newspaper.)

Use the preferred ethnic designations—African American, American Indian or Native American, Asian and Latino/Latina—instead of other identifiers.

Lowercase black and white when using them as ethnic and racial designations. If possible, ask the people or group being referenced what they prefer.

NOTE: As another source, see The Diversity Style Guide. While it differs from Syracuse University style guidelines in some areas, it is a useful reference.

everybody, everyone Everybody and everyone take singular verbs. However, they and their are both acceptable second references: Everyone remembered to return their books.

See anybody, anyone.

exhibit/exhibition Use exhibit as a verb, exhibition as a noun: She exhibited paintings in the Everson’s New Artists Exhibition.

For print publications, names of exhibitions and names of works of art should appear in italics: Spring at Giverny, an exhibition of Monet’s works, which includes the magnificent Waterlilies, leaves the art gallery in August. For online publications, names of exhibitions and works of art are put in quotation marks.



faculty, staff Each refers to groups of people and may take singular or plural verbs depending on context: The faculty is present. The faculty has appealed the resolution. The faculty disagree among themselves. The staff need a sounding board. The staff decides for everyone.

When writing about individuals, use a faculty member, a member of the staff.

fall See semesters.

fellow, fellowship Lowercase except when used with proper names: He received a MacArthur Fellowship. Betty applied for a fellowship at GE. Jeff received a Fulbright award.

Fisher Center Syracuse University’s academic campus in New York City, which opened its doors in January 2014.

foreign student Use international student.

Forum names Capitalize, but do not italicize or use quotation marks for forum names. Newhouse students enjoyed the Eric Mower Advertising Forum.

fraternities/sororities  For listings of recognized Syracuse University fraternities, sororities and professional fraternities, visit the University’s Greek Life website.

freshman Preferred Syracuse University usage is first-year student. Freshman is acceptable in headlines and phrases such as “freshman class.”

See class year.

Fulbright Scholar

fundraiser, fundraising


games, athletics When pairing the names of two competing schools, use a hyphen: this Saturday’s Syracuse-Nebraska game. See school names. [hyperlink]

Gebbie Speech-Language-Hearing Clinics Also, Gebbie Clinics.

gender-neutral pronouns When referring to a person, use the third person plural if preferred by the person (they, them, their, themselves) instead of the third-person singular (he/she, his/hers, him/her, himself/herself).

Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center Houses the Office of Alumni Engagement as well as an on-campus restaurant.

Goldstein Auditorium Located in the Schine Student Center.

Goldstein Student Center Located on South Campus. Do not confuse with Goldstein Auditorium, which is located in the Schine Student Center.

Google Analytics A data analysis system created by Google. Capitalize in all references.

Google Tag Manager A tag management system created by Google. Capitalize in all references.

GPA Use this abbreviation for grade point average. Use figures to at least one decimal point: 3.0, 2.8, 2.75.

grades See letter grades.

graduated Graduated from is preferable to graduated: He graduated from Syracuse in 1987.

DO NOT WRITE: She graduated college. The college graduated 50 students.

Greenberg House The Paul Greenberg House is Syracuse University’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Haudenosaunee Meaning “People of the Longhouse,” this is the proper name of the league of six nations of indigenous peoples of North America, whose colonized name is the Iroquois.

Using the word Iroquois is outdated and should be avoided, as should other outdated ethnic descriptors. However, we realize Iroquois is used in academic contexts and other instances, such as the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team.

Since his inauguration in April 2014, Chancellor Syverud has initiated several measures that honor the Haudenosaunee. They include the University’s policy of opening public events with an acknowledgment of the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, and flying the Haudenosaunee flag in prominent campus locations. He also has continued support for the Haudenosaunee Promise, a scholarship for Haudenosaunee students established in 2006 in appreciation for the historic, political and cultural legacies of the Haudenosaunee.

Pronunciation: Haudenosaunee [ho-dee-noo-shoo-nee], Onondaga [a-nun-daw-guh]. See ethnic and racial designations.

See Onondaga Nation acknowledgment.

he, she Do not use constructions like s/he.

When necessary, use she or he as the nongendered pronoun form, but avoid awkwardness by rephrasing.

EXAMPLE: When naming a person, use whatever style she or he prefers, can be rephrased as: When naming individuals, use whatever style they prefer.

See gender-neutral pronouns.

health care Never hyphenate, even as a compound adjective: health care system.

Hendricks Chapel 

the Hill Informal reference to Syracuse University.

Hillel at Syracuse University Located at the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, Hillel at Syracuse University was dedicated in 2003.

historic, historical An event that makes history is historic. Something that is based on history is historical.

home page

honorary degrees Use a capital H followed by an apostrophe and the year the honor was awarded: Kathrine Switzer ’68, G’72, H’18.

Honors Capitalize when referring to a student in the Renée Crown University Honors Program; Crown Honors student and Honors student are acceptable references. Lowercase when used to designate academic achievement: She earned honors in biology.

hours See time.

housing See residence halls.

Office of Housing, Meal Plan, and I.D. Card Services



initials There is no space between them: W.S. Merwin, S.P. Raj.

international student Use instead of foreign student.


Iroquois See Haudenosaunee.

italics Use italics for emphasis and for more obscure foreign words and phrases. Italicize words used as words: The word sensitivity connotes responsiveness.

For print publications, italicize the names of books, long works and compositions, works of art and art exhibitions, legal cases, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, long poems, plays, movies, television series, television programs, symphonies and operas: Dateline ran the segment “Telephone Fraud” last week.

If running text appears in italics, place titles (as shown above), as well as other words that would otherwise be italicized, in Roman type: Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility.

For the web, quotation marks should be used instead of italics. NOTE: For the web, follow AP style and do not italicize or use quotation marks for the names of newspapers, magazines and other publications.

ITS This is the acronym for Syracuse University’s Information Technology Services.


Jr., III, IV Use no comma between the name and the abbreviation: Harry Jones Jr., William Jones III.

junior See class year.


Kilian Room Name for 500 Hall of Languages. 

Kittredge Auditorium In the lower level of H.B. Crouse Hall.


Lampe Athletics Complex The Joseph and Shawn Lampe Athletics Complex comprises Manley Field House, the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, the Roy Simmons Sr. Coaches Center, the Iocolano- Petty Football Wing, the Ensley Athletic Center and several outdoor athletic fields.

Latino/Latina  See ethnic and racial designations.

NOTE: Use Latinx, a gender-neutral term for people of Latin American heritage, if preferred by the subject.

Lecture series names Capitalize, but do not italicize or use quotation marks for lecture series names. She looks forward to hearing the next guest speaker at the University Lectures series.

Le Moyne College

letter grades Don’t italicize letter grades. Do not use apostrophes for plurals, except with the letter A (to avoid being read confused with the word as): Frank received five A’s and two Bs.

LGBT Resource Center The Syracuse University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center strives to serve people of all genders and sexualities by offering support, building community, and educating members of the Syracuse University community. The center encourages thoughtful exploration of gender and sexuality, as well as the complex intersections of our multiple identities. For more information, visit the center’s website.

Library See Syracuse University Libraries.

Light Work A Syracuse University-based, artist-run, nonprofit organization devoted to contemporary photography. One of Light Work’s features is the Light Work Lab (formerly known as the Community Darkrooms), a nonprofit, membership organization with photography and imaging facilities used by the University community and the public. Light Work is located in the Menschel Media Center and a partner in the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC) at Syracuse University.


Links, linking To improve accessibility when making a link, avoid using such terms as “click here.” Instead, use words describing the page to which you’re linking: For more information, visit the library catalog (and make “library catalog” a hyperlink, instead of visit

Current editorial usage excludes the http:// tag on URLs in publications. Many web browsers add it automatically.

Loft Theatre This is the drama department’s intimate performance space, located in the Regent Theatre Complex.

Lowe Art Gallery The Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery is located in the Shaffer Art Building.

Lubin House The Joseph I. Lubin House serves as a home base for the University’s New York City operations. 


Magazine names If magazine is part of the title, capitalize it. If “the” does not appear in the official title, don’t capitalize it: the Syracuse University Magazine. [italics in print]

NOTE: When naming academic journal, magazine, newspaper and other periodical titles on the web, follow AP style and capitalize (no quotes or italics). This is an exception to using quotation marks for other titles. For print, all publication titles are italicized.

maiden names Include maiden names in alumni class notes if preferred by the alumna, and in memoriam listings if the maiden name is known.

Manley Field House

Marshall Street

Marshall Square Mall

master’s degrees See academic degrees.


Menschel Media Center The Robert B. Menschel Media Center is home to Light Work, WJPZ radio and CitrusTV and includes an auditorium and other features.

minority and minorities Do not use when referring to demographics, instead use traditionally underrepresented groups.

months See dates.



National Veterans Resource Center at the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building (NVRC) Use this title on first reference as the official name of the center; on second reference: NVRC. Depending on the context, the building may be referenced first. In that case, use the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building, home of the National Veterans Resource Center.

Newhouse Communications Complex When referring to the individual buildings use Newhouse 1, Newhouse 2, Newhouse 3.

newspaper names For a worldwide directory of newspapers, visit the website. For print publications, newspaper names are italicized. For the web, follow AP style: They are not italicized or put in quotation marks.

NOTE: When naming academic journal, magazine, newspaper and other periodical titles on the web, follow AP style and capitalize (no quotes or italics). This is an exception to using quotation marks for other titles. For print, all publication titles are italicized.

See magazine names.

noncredit She is interested in taking the noncredit course.

nonprofit, not-for-profit Interchangeable terms with the same meaning.

NOTE: New York State law uses not-for-profit; usage varies from state to state: She works at the Regional Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization. His professional life has been spent at not-for-profit organizations in the South.

numerals Follow AP style. Numbers one through nine are typically spelled out, while numerals are used for 10 and above. Also use figures for such entries as academic course numbers, addresses, ages, dimensions, distances, fractions, percentages, rankings, and monetary units.


office, department, division, program, institute, center Capitalize formal titles such as the Office of Residence Life, the Department of Chemistry, the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, the Slutzker Center for International Services, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Lowercase informal forms: the dean’s office, the alumni office, the chemistry department, the program, the center, the school.

on campus Hyphenate when used as a compound adjective: Distance-learning students look forward to a week of on-campus classes. Next time you’re on campus, you should visit Carnegie Library.


Onondaga Nation acknowledgment The University honors its relationship with the Onondaga Nation at public events with this statement: “I acknowledge with respect the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, the indigenous people on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands.”

Pronunciation: Onondaga [a-nun-daw-guh], Haudenosaunee [ho-dee-noo-shoo-nee].

Orange Use a plural verb when referring to the nickname of Syracuse sports teams. The Orange are home tonight in the Dome.

           Orange is also used  in reference to the entire institution (“Be Orange,” Orange community, Orange network) and members of our large extended family of alumni, students, faculty and staff.

Orange Alert This is the name of the University’s campus crisis-alert notification system.

Orange Central An annual event held each fall when alumni are welcomed back to campus for class reunion and homecoming activities.

orphan and widow Try to avoid having the first line of a paragraph alone at the bottom of a page or a column (orphan), as well as a word or short line that ends a paragraph at the top of a page (widow). In general, a single word alone on the last line of a paragraph should have five or more letters. To fix, change the wording or spacing to either remove or lengthen the line. 


Parent and Family Services Previously referred to as the Parents Office 

percent, percentage Use percent in running text and the percent sign (%) in scientific and statistical copy.

The noun in the of phrase determines whether the verb is singular or plural: Twelve percent of the members were present. A small percent of the membership was present. We believe 99 percent of our students will graduate.

periodicals Identify issues of periodicals in the following manner: the April 2019 issue of National Geographic; the Oct. 11 issue of The Daily Orange.

If the word the does not appear in the official title, don’t italicize or capitalize it: the Syracuse University Magazine.

In the first reference, include the name of the city of publication as part of a newspaper title, even if it is not part of the official name: New York Daily News.

When the city name is not widely known, the abbreviation of the state should be given in parentheses: The Oneida (N.Y.) Daily Dispatch

If running text appears in italics, place titles and other words usually in italics, in Roman type: Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility; the Spring 2014 issue of Syracuse University Magazine; the October 11 issue of The Daily Orange; she reads The New York Times.

NOTE: When naming academic journal, magazine, newspaper and other periodical titles on the web, follow AP style and capitalize (no quotes or italics). This is an exception to using quotation marks for other titles. For print, all publication titles are italicized.


photo credits The name of the photographer should appear either close to the photo itself or on a title page. Whenever possible, photos should be credited. Photo courtesy of Smith Jones, Photo by Smith Jones and © Smith Jones are all acceptable forms of credit.

Place of Remembrance A memorial in front of the Hall of Languages honoring the 35 Syracuse Abroad students who lost their lives in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988.

places Capitalize popular and legendary names; do not place them within quotation marks: the Bay Area, the Big Apple, Central New York, the Delta, the Lone Star State, Twin Cities, the West Side, the Windy City, the States, the Salt City, Silicon Valley, Southern Tier.

Some nouns and adjectives referring to regions within states are capitalized; others are not: Upper Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, northern Michigan, Central New York, Upstate New York, Western New York, the South, the Southern Tier, the Southwest, the Northeast, southern, southwestern. When in doubt, use lowercase.

See state names.


pre-college The pre-college program teaches students about time management.

provost and vice chancellor Capitalize when the title precedes the name; lowercase when the title follows the name or stands alone.

See academic titles.



the Quad renamed the Kenneth A. Shaw Quadrangle in 2010 in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Kenneth A. “Buzz” Shaw (1991-2004). In an informal context, it can be referred to as the Shaw Quad or the Quad.

quotation marks Use single quotation marks in headlines and for quotes within quotes. Note that “smart quotes” should be used, not "straight quotes." Place colons and semicolons outside quotation marks; commas and periods go inside closing quote mark.

See Punctuation Guide.



regions See places.

Remembrance Scholarship To honor the memory of the 35 students lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, these scholarships are granted to undergraduate seniors, based on their academic standing, citizenship and service to community. A Remembrance Scholarship is the highest honor a Syracuse University undergraduate student can receive. For more information, go to the remembrance website

residence halls Use residence hall instead of dorm and dormitory.

room and board Use housing and meals.

room numbers College, hall and building may be deleted when the name of the building is known. The word room may be deleted. Use the following examples for number designations:

121 Crouse College

100 H.B. Crouse

005 Slocum Hall

4-206 Center for Science and Technology

Orientation will be held in the Hall of Languages; first-year students will meet in Room 500.



Schine Center the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center, the Schine Student Center; and on second reference, the Schine Center or the student center.

scholar Capitalize scholar in named scholarships: Remembrance Scholar, Phanstiel Scholar, GE Foundation Scholar, Fulbright Scholar, Muriel Ginsberg Scholar, Our Time Has Come Scholar, Leon O. Woods Scholar.

scholarship Lowercase except when used with proper names: Amy applied for the Burton Blatt Scholarship. Owen received a scholarship.

school names In a sports context, university or college can be dropped in first reference: Duke, Purdue, Wake Forest. Team nicknames can be used as a second reference.

See games, athletics.

seasons Lowercase the names of the seasons unless they are part of a formal name, designate an issue of a periodical, or a specific semester: Winter Olympic Games, the Fall 2012 issue of Poetry. He graduated in the spring semester. She arrived in time for the Fall 2018 semester.

semesters Capitalize references to specific semesters: the Spring 2015 semester. He looks forward to the fall semester. She is registered for the Fall 2018 semester.

senior See class year.

serial comma Avoid using a serial comma unless it is part of an official name (Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics) or needed to avoid confusion.

See comma in the Punctuation Guide.

sesquicentennial a 150th anniversary. Syracuse University will mark its sesquicentennial in 2020. Capitalize sesquicentennial when used in reference to the University's 150th anniversary: the Syracuse University Sesquicentennial, the University Sesquicentennial, the University's Sesquicentennial.

Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium On second reference, use Setnor Auditorium.

Rose, Jules R., and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music Named after three individuals in the Setnor family. On second reference, use Setnor School of Music.

Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center

Slutzker Center for International Services the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services, the Slutzker Center for International Services; and on second reference, the Slutzker Center.

somebody, someone Somebody, someone take singular verbs. However, they and their are both acceptable second references: Somebody needs to drive their car to the store. Someone should tell us their version of the story.

sophomore See class year.

sororities/fraternities  For a list of recognized Syracuse University sororities, fraternities and professional fraternities, visit the University’s Greek Life website.

South Campus See campus.

spring See semesters; seasons.

Sr. See Jr.

staff See faculty, staff.

state names Capitalize the names of states; lowercase the word state: the state of New York, New York state. EXCEPTION: Capitalize New York State when referring to the state government.

Names of states, territories, and possessions of the United States should be spelled in full in running text. Use standard abbreviations for state names for class notes in alumni publications. State postal code abbreviations should not be used except in mailing addresses.

Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah are never abbreviated. 

States, the He returned to the States after a trip abroad.

See United States, USA, U.S.

Storch Theatre Arthur Storch Theatre is the Department of Drama’s mainstage theater located in the Regent Theatre Complex.

See Syracuse Stage.


SUArt Galleries Repository of the Syracuse University Art Collection and formally known as Syracuse University Art Galleries, the galleries’ mission is to enhance the cultural environment of the campus community and surrounding area. Visit the gallery's website for more information.

SUNY State University of New York. For more information, visit the SUNY website.

SUNY Upstate Medical University SUNY Upstate is an acceptable second reference.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry SUNY-ESF is an acceptable second reference.

superscript Avoid using superscript with –st, –nd, -rd and -th in addresses, centuries and other references: 4th Street (not 4th Street), 20th century, 10th edition; 19th-century agriculture.

Sutton Pavilion a cabaret space in the Regent Theatre Complex.

symposium names Capitalize, but do not italicize or use quotation marks for symposium names. The Syracuse University Human Rights Festival hosted the Digital Witness Symposium.

Syracuse Capitalize City of Syracuse. Also capitalize these Syracuse areas in text in stories discussing issues or events linked to them: West Side, South Side, East Side and North Side. EXCEPTION: Near Westside.

Syracuse Abroad Syracuse Abroad offers educational programs in 60 countries around the globe. Syracuse University Abroad and Syracuse Abroad are preferred usage.

Syracuse Athletics Acceptable as a first reference for the Syracuse University Department of Athletics.

See Athletics, Department of.

Syracuse Stage A professional regional theater company, Syracuse Stage has a unique affiliation with the drama department fostered by their common home in the Regent Theatre Complex or Syracuse Stage/Drama Theatre Complex as it’s also known. The complex includes the John D. Archbold Theatre, the Arthur Storch Theatre, the Loft Theatre and the Sutton Pavilion.

See Archbold Theatre; Storch Theatre; Loft Theatre.

Syracuse University buildings see Buildings of Syracuse University.

Syracuse University colleges For external purposes, use the full name of the University’s colleges on first reference as shown here. For internal purposes, a shortened version is acceptable on first reference (e.g., Falk College, Maxwell School, Newhouse School). There are 13 graduate and undergraduate colleges; 11 of them offer undergraduate degrees.

School of Architecture

College of Arts and Sciences

School of Education

College of Engineering and Computer Science

David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Graduate School

School of Information Studies

College of Law

Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

University College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Martin J. Whitman School of Management

Syracuse University I.D. This is a specific reference to the Syracuse University identification card. When making a general reference to an identification card, ID card is acceptable.

Syracuse University in Los Angeles The University’s center on the West Coast, located in Sherman Oaks, California, serves as a creative and intellectual resource for students, alumni and friends of Syracuse University in the Southern California region. The University offers a one-semester academic and internship-based program that provides students with the opportunity to gain firsthand professional experience in the entertainment industry.

Syracuse University Libraries Syracuse University Libraries comprises Bird Library, including University Archives and the Special Collections Research Center; Carnegie Library (science and technology); the Geology Library in Heroy; the Architecture Reading Room in Slocum Hall; the Belfer Audio Archive, located adjacent to Bird Library; and the Libraries Facility, located on South Campus. Syracuse University Press and the Blackstone LaunchPad are also units of Syracuse University Libraries. Unless referring to an event occurring in, or something physical about, Bird Library or another library facility, use Syracuse University Libraries.

NOTE: The H. Douglas Barclay Law Library and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library are separately administered.


telephone numbers When printing telephone numbers that include area codes, use periods: 315.443.1870.

Do not place telephone numbers or area codes in parentheses. 

So-called campus extension numbers should be written with a lowercase x followed by the number in text: as x5421. Depending on the prospective audience of the piece, choose the most appropriate form (including area code, full number, or simply the four-digit Syracuse University extension) and remain consistent throughout the publication.

Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion Marilyn and Bill Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion; Tennity Pavilion is an acceptable second reference.

Tepper Semester A New York City-based program that offers undergraduate students in advanced levels of acting, musical theater, design and stage management the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous artistic training program in the city’s culturally rich setting.


that, which Use that to refer to an inanimate object and to introduce an essential clause: I like to do needlework that has intricate designs. Which is the only acceptable pronoun to introduce a nonessential clause that refers to an inanimate object: The introductory German course, which the school initiated only last fall, has been cancelled.

theater This is the preferred usage. Use theatre only when it is part of a proper name.

See Archbold Theatre; Storch Theatre; Loft Theatre.

time Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 3:30 p.m. On the hour use no colon and zeros: 3 p.m., 5 a.m.

In running text, times of day in even, half, and quarter hours are spelled out: seven o’clock, quarter of eight, half past eleven.

When the exact moment of time is important, use figures with a.m. or p.m. The abbreviations a.m. and p.m. (ante and post meridiem) are always lowercased with periods: The seminar meets Tuesday at 9 a.m. The course meets on Tuesday, April 21, at 9 a.m. The interview was broadcast at 8:45 p.m.

Never use a.m. with morning, or p.m. with evening; never use o’clock with a.m., p.m., or figures; and never use the forms 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. Follow these examples: noon, midnight, 3 a.m., three o’clock in the morning, 9:45 p.m. Never use 12 midnight or 12 noon. Use 12:01 p.m. to denote one minute past noon.

In running text use to between times: The meeting runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In lists, hyphens can be used between days and times:

Monday-Wednesday, 9-11 a.m.

Tues.-Thurs., 1-5 p.m.

Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

See dates.

titles Capitalize titles that are also used as forms of address when they appear directly before a name: President Hoover, Governor Dewey, Pope Francis, General Grant, Dean Day, Professor Knight, Coach Desko.

Do not capitalize them when they follow the name or are used without a name: Dwight Eisenhower, the president of the United States; the queen of England; a professor of biology.

EXCEPTIONS: the Chancellor, named professorships, Distinguished Professor, University Professor (all in reference to Syracuse University).

Do not capitalize occupational descriptions or identifiers, even if they appear directly before a name: The award was presented to finance administrator James Wilson. In many cases, constructions like this are less awkward if the formal title comes after the name: The award was presented to James Wilson, assistant vice president for finance. If a title applies only to one person in an organization, insert the word the in a construction that uses commas: Jane Flaherty, the deputy vice president, spoke.

Do not use the courtesy titles: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. or Dr. In the first reference to an individual, use the individual’s complete name—and title, if appropriate. On second reference, use only the last name: Jane Earley accepted the award on behalf of her class. Earley was one of three students who completed the course with distinction.

NOTE: For more comprehensive information on titles, see the AP Stylebook.

See academic titles.

trademarks Trademarks are proper nouns and should be capitalized; they should not be used in the possessive form; they are never verbs. Examples of registered trademarks include Fiberglass, Frisbee, Heimlich Maneuver, Jeep, Kleenex, Liquid Paper, Listserv, Photoshop, Ping-Pong, Velcro, Xerox and Zip drive. For information on trademarks, visit the International Trademark Association’s website.

Another internet resource for information is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Trustee Capitalize Board of Trustees in reference to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees; thereafter, use the board or the trustees when referring to this specific group: The Syracuse University Board of Trustees meets twice each year. The Board of Trustees approves the University budget. She is a trustee of the University. He was named an honorary trustee. The board voted Tuesday. Trustee David Edelstein ’78 is vice chair of the board.





United States, USA, U.S. Use United States and USA as nouns and U.S. as a noun or adjective: Many opponents of the United States applauded the U.S. vote in the United Nations.

See States, the.

University Capitalize University when it refers to Syracuse University. On second reference, refer to Syracuse University as Syracuse, the University, or informally as ’Cuse.


URLs, what to include In publications, current editorial usage excludes the http:// tag on URLs. Many web browsers add it automatically.

Use a period, even when a URL or an email address ends the sentence.

Break URLs right before a punctuation mark, carrying the punctuation symbol to the next line. Don’t break a URL at a hyphen. Don’t add a hyphen unless it appears in the address.

If this is impossible, break the URL with a soft return (shift and return keys), but no hyphen between syllables.

NOTE: When creating a link on a website,  avoid using a URL and such terms as “click here.” Instead, to enhance accessibility, embed the URL in a descriptive phrase for the page to which you’re linking.


versus Should be spelled out in general text, but may be abbreviated to vs. in narrow lists. Use v. in legal cases: Johnson v. Robinson.

video games Capitalize the formal name of the game, but do not italicize the name or use quote marks around it.



WWW World Wide Web

Washington, D.C. Use periods with D.C. and offset with commas. They attended the Washington, D.C., alumni event.

website  Also, webcam, webcast, webpage, webfeed, the web, but web browser.


when, punctuation with Essential clause: The new contract will become effective when the president signs it. Nonessential clause: The new contract will become effective at noon tomorrow, when the president signs it.

which See that, which.

white See ethnic and racial designations.

 work-study, Federal Work-Study Program, work-study students Use work-study as an adjective, not a noun.



years In cases where the century doesn’t change, inclusive years should be formatted as follows: 1989- 91, 2002-03. But: 1998-2002.

See decades.


zip code for Syracuse University The zip code for the University is 13244. In addition, each University building or location has been assigned a four-digit add-on number, or extension.

Punctuation Guide

apostrophe, plurals and possessives Use an apostrophe to indicate that a noun is possessive. If a noun does not end in an s, add ’s: Mary’s hat.

If the noun is singular and ends in an s, do not add an ’s: Phyllis’ mother lives in New York City. If a noun is plural and ends in s, add only the apostrophe: Both actresses’ parts were humorous.

The plural of a word referred to as a word, without regard to its meaning, is indicated by apostrophe and s: I used too many and’s.

Joint possession and closely linked proper names may be treated as a unit in forming the possessive; use an apostrophe with the last noun only: Have you seen Jo and Mary’s biochemistry lab? Rodgers and Hart’s musicals, Jack and Jill’s house.

To show individual possession, make all nouns possessive: Helen’s and George’s jobs go to different designers.

Avoid common misuses of apostrophes: Do not use an apostrophe with nouns that are not possessive. WRONG: Some outpatient’s are given special treatment. She grew up in the 1960’s. RIGHT: Some outpatients are given special treatment. She grew up in the 1960s.

The names of persons and other proper nouns form the plural in the usual way, by adding s.

When the noun ends with an s, x or z, add es: keeping up with the Joneses.

NOTE: When using the plural form of an abbreviation, such as TA (teaching assistant) or RA (resident advisor), add only an s, not an apostrophe and an s. The RAs are meeting in the lounge today.

This also applies to decades when they’re written numerically. He has been a Syracuse football fan since the ’60s.

brackets Use brackets to add explanations or corrections to quoted material: “Before I knew what happened,” said the coach, “he [Devlin] had scored.” Cramer writes, “Jones scored his first touchdown in the Notre Dame game of ’73 [the year was 1972].”

Use brackets as parentheses within parentheses: “The game has been immortalized in articles and a book (Harry Walters, The Game That Went Down in History [Good Sports Press, 1987]).

Use the Latin word sic (which means intentionally so written) in brackets to indicate that an error in the quoted material is being reproduced exactly: “On that day, Devlin was our own Baby [sic] Ruth!”

NOTE: Sic is italicized and not followed by a period.

See parentheses.

bullets Bulleted items that conclude an introductory sentence should be lowercase and punctuated with a comma or semicolon at the end of each item except for the last. Use the word and before the last bulleted item, and end the sentence with a period:

When each item of a list completes the introductory sentence,

    • list items should begin with lowercase letters;
    • all but the last item end with a comma or semicolon;
    • the second-to-last item ends with and;
    • the last item ends with a period.

Bulleted items that are not part of an introductory sentence may be upper- or lowercase and may end with either periods or no punctuation. However, format should be consistent within any given context:

Syracuse-area residents enjoy a variety of seasonal recreational activities:

    • hiking
    • boating 
    • skiing
    • picnicking

Usually, there is a space between the bullet and the first word of each item.

colon The colon is a mark of anticipation. It indicates that what follows the mark will complete or amplify what came before it.

Use a colon to introduce a list or series: The dean mentioned three likely candidates for the award: Shriver, Gomez and O’Bannon.

Do not use a colon between a verb and its complement or object: The three candidates are Shriver, Gomez and O’Bannon.

EXCEPTION: It is acceptable to use a colon between the verb and its complement or object when using a series of bulleted items in running text.

Use a colon to introduce word groups that begin with for example, for instance, that is, and namely: The campaign established some important principles: for example, the concept of “one person, one vote.”

Semicolons and commas are the usual link between independent clauses. But a colon may be used when the second clause explains or amplifies the first: Her achievement remains etched in memory: It has not been surpassed in 50 years.

If a complete sentence follows a colon, capitalize the first letter of the first word. If the phrase following a colon is not a complete sentence, don’t capitalize the first letter of the first word.

See comma, semicolon.

comma Follow AP style: In a series, use commas to separate elements, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: He took exams in algebra, trigonometry and calculus.

Also in a series, use a comma if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: His favorite sandwiches are turkey, corned beef, and peanut butter and jelly.

In a complex series of phrases, use a comma before the concluding conjunction. NOTE: If adding a comma enhances the sentence’s clarity, then use one.

Use a comma to separate independent clauses that are joined by and, but, for, or, nor, because, or so: You should congratulate her, for she has performed splendidly.

If the clauses themselves contain commas, use a semicolon instead of a comma: The dean, Nancy Olson, gave a persuasive presentation; but the faculty, weary of the issue, remained unpersuaded.

Use a comma after an introductory word group: After completing his most difficult examination, he went to a movie.

But use the comma if the sentence would be confusing without it: The day before, he spent six hours reviewing his notes.

Use a comma to set off a word group that isn’t essential to the sentence: Coyotes, which have always fascinated me, differ totally from dogs. In the early days, when things were different, the University didn’t guarantee housing for first-year and sophomore students.

Use a comma to set off transitional words like however and moreover: John was satisfied; however, Mary did not like the dinner.

Don’t use commas if the word group is essential to the meaning of the sentence: Cheetahs live in various regions in Africa and Asia where they are able to find deer and antelope.

Use a comma to introduce a complete, short quotation: Henry said, “I know the killer’s name!” But use a colon to introduce longer quotations.

Do not use a comma at the start of an indirect or partial quotation: He said his victory put him “firmly on the road to a first-ballot nomination.”

Use a comma in direct address: Nancy, please hand me the newspaper.

Use a comma between proper names and titles: Jane Barker, president of Zenith, chaired the meeting.

Use a comma to separate elements of an address: Barker comes from Jacksonville, Florida, and now lives in Hartford, Connecticut.

See addresses; addresses in running text.

Commas always go inside single and double quotation marks.

See semicolon.

dash The dash is typed as an em-dash (—), with no space between the dash and the words that precede or follow.

Use a dash to emphasize what follows, which may be dramatic, ironic or humorous: I’ll marry you—when hell freezes over!

Use dashes to enclose a word or word group that interrupts the main structure: It takes a cataclysm—an invasion, a plague, or some other disaster—to move them to action.

Senator Barry—whatever you may think of him—has been a man of action.

NOTE: Use a hyphen instead of an en dash in accordance with AP style.

ellipsis An ellipsis normally is three periods without spaces between them, and without spaces between ellipses and the text.

Use an ellipsis to indicate the omission of one or more words in a quotation: “Ask...what you can do for your country.”

If an ellipsis precedes a period or other punctuation, attach the mark without leaving a space: “He felt it was too late to go back...”

hyphens, hyphenated words In current usage, the trend is away from hyphenation.

Even when a prefix ends and a root word begins with the same vowel, words tend to be written



cooperative (but co-op) preeminent

reelect reevaluate

See Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (12th ed.) and The Chicago Manual of Style for more examples.


Many noun compounds are hyphenated, including the following:







Many noun compounds are not hyphenated, including the following:

day care

decision making

health care

lowest common denominator

problem solving

vice chancellor

Many noun compounds are written as one word, including the following:









EXCEPTION: World Wide Web

See ethnic and racial designations.


Hyphenate the written form of fractions and compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety- nine: One-fourth of my income goes toward housing. Five hundred and twenty-three people attended the gathering.


Following are examples of compound adjectives that are hyphenated, not hyphenated or written as one word.


10-foot pole

17th-century philosophy

225-pound tackle

all-inclusive standards

blue-green eyes

best-selling book

cost-effective procedures

decision-making process

high-level job

long-lived species

matter-of-fact statement

problem-solving techniques

two-thirds majority

well-known man

Not hyphenated:

central European countries

day care center

food service industry

health care plan

Written as one word:

catlike movements

tenfold increase

statewide referendum



an ill-favored hero

a plainly marked trail, a well-marked trail



When a prefix stands alone, it carries a hyphen:

over- and underused

macro- and microeconomics

Words formed with co- also are usually spelled without a hyphen, but note some exceptions:


co-chairman co-editor

co-host co-op co-opt

co-worker co-wrote








When hyphenated words appear in headlines and titles, capitalize both words:




Literature Tool-Maker

parentheses Use parentheses to add useful information for the reader: Gresham’s Law (that bad money drives out good) applies as usual in this case.

Use parentheses to enclose letters or figures that mark items in a list: The additions may include (1) illustrations, (2) definitions or (3) information thrown in for good measure.

Newly admitted students should return the following items in the enclosed envelope by May 1:

(1)   Intent to Register form

(2)   Housing and meal plan application

(3)   Sponsorship letters

 Parentheses give the listed items more emphasis.

 See brackets; dash.


(A sentence in parentheses, like this one, that does not stand within another sentence has the end punctuation before the closing parenthesis.)

When a complete sentence in parentheses comes within a sentence (notice the punctuation of this one), it needs neither a capital letter nor a period.

Periods and commas in the main sentence always follow the closing parenthesis (as they do here and in the preceding sentence).

Exclamation points and question marks belong inside the parentheses if they are part of the parenthetical material; otherwise, they go outside: Once again, Beckett’s play (a dialogue performed in trash cans!) proved to be the top box office draw. Who could have foreseen Ibsen’s appeal (especially after the failure of The Lady from the Sea two seasons ago)?

period Use a period, even when a URL or email address ends the sentence.

quotation marks Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation: He said, “I’m doing my best.” “I’m doing my best,” he said. He stated, “He meant it when he said, ‘I was doing my best.’”

Notice that the comma goes before the quotation marks in the first example, but inside them in the second.

Use quotation marks to enclose the titles of short works: articles, essays, poems, short stories, songs, chapters and parts of longer works, columns and departments in magazines and newspapers, episodes of radio and TV programs (but titles of radio and TV programs are in italics). NOTE: For print publications, italicize the titles of long works: works of art and art exhibitions, titles of books, magazines, pamphlets, long poems, plays, movies, television series, symphonies, and operas. For web publication, use quotation marks instead of italics, but follow AP style (no quotes or italics) when naming academic journal, magazine, newspaper and other periodical titles. This is an exception to using quotation marks for other titles.

Capitalize the names of courses, but do not italicize or place in quotation marks: Students interested in government should consider taking the course The Politics of Citizenship.

Enclose a word in quotation marks to show that the speaker or writer is using it in an ironic and not a conventional sense: Their “dialogue” resulted in a boisterous free-for-all.


Place semicolons outside quotation marks: Brian bored his friends with memories of long- forgotten “triumphs”; yet his friends were understanding.

Colons go outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation: The dean promised “never to relent until we have proved ourselves”: that is, not before our three goals have been achieved.

Place question marks inside quotation marks: The pupil said, “What did you ask me?” When a quotation is longer than one paragraph, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph but only at the end of the last paragraph.

semicolon Use a semicolon when you want to separate two main clauses but keep them more tightly linked than they would be as two sentences: She achieved every objective; we all were impressed.

Use semicolons to separate elements in a series when they are punctuated internally: I can’t remember whether the opinion was expressed by Sundstrum, the chairperson; Cline, the presiding officer; or Romero, the secretary.

Use a semicolon to link independent clauses connected by however, moreover, therefore, consequently, nevertheless, and otherwise: That legendary race seems as vivid as yesterday; however, it took place 50 years ago. She excelled in all that she did; therefore, she attained the highest honors.

See colon; comma.



The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2018.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, 2017.

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, 4th edition, 2000.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, New Edition, 2016.


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