University of Rochester

Style Guide

Inclusive Writing

actor, actress

Use actor for both male and female performers.

alumni, alumnus, alumnae, alumna

Alumni and alumnus are the preferred plural and singular terms of alumni of any gender. The feminine terms alumnae and alumna may be used given the context of the publication or the preference of the subject.

When referring to a couple who are both University alumni, use the following construction:

Henry '70 and Marlene Herman Etlinger '70

For internal offices, use chair and not chairman.

Jack Frost, chair of the English department, will speak to the group.

EXCEPTION: Recent chairs of the Board of Trustees have usually preferred to be called chairmen (even the women). Check this for each use.

chairman, chairwoman, chairperson

For external offices, use chairman, chairwoman, or chairperson given the preference of the office holder.

The chairman of Xerox will speak.

Capitalize before a name as a title; lowercase otherwise.

We asked Chairman Robert Dempsey of CIP to address the class.

May be used as an adjective as an abbreviation of coeducational, meaning the education of both sexes at the same institution. Do NOT use as a noun to refer to a female student.

emeritus, emeriti, emerita

Emeritus is an honorary rank bestowed on some retired University faculty. NOT EVERY retired faculty member has emeritus status, so do not use the terms interchangeably.

Always use the contruction "professor emeritus" NOT "emeritus professor." The title should be in lowercase; avoid constructions with the title before the name.

John Williams was named professor emeritus of mathamatics in 1980.

Emeritus and emeriti are the preferred singular and plural terms of professors of any gender. The feminine term emerita may be used given the context of the publication or the preference of the subject.

The Department of History held a banquet to honor its professors emeriti.

Adjective. May be applied to both men and women as a description of sexual orientation. Only use when the distinction is germane to the publication.


Consider alternatives to language that emphasizes a person's sex, or that implies certain occupations are in the exclusive domain of men or women, or that identifies the male as the archetype for the human race.

businessman, businesswoman businessperson, business executive
chairman, chairwoman chair, presiding officer
councilman council member
fireman firefighter
policeman police officer

man, mankind humankind, humanity, the human race
manpower staff, personnel, workforce
the man for the job the person for the job

See he/she.


Reword sentences to avoid the awkward construction of he or she, his or her, or he/she.

A student may pick up his or her materials tomorrow.
can be rewritten as
Students can pick up their materials tomorrow.
honorific titles

Use the honorifics Miss, Mr., Mrs., and Ms. only in quotes. When it is necessary to distinguish family members from one another, use first names rather than honorifics.

The Smiths agreed that John would support the family while Jane went to graduate school.

Set off spouse names with commas. Do not use the construction, "Mr. and Mrs. Bob Smith." Include the names of both people.

Bob and his wife, Mary, will attend the reunion.
Bob and Mary Smith will attend the reunion.
Latino, Latina

Latino is the preferred singular term or adjective for someone of any gender. The feminine term Latina may be used given the context of the publication or the preference of the subject.

When deciding whether to apply Hispanic, Latin American, or Latino, take personal preference into account. Only use ethnic or racial distinctions when they are germane to the publication.

Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss

See honorific titles.

Last modified: Friday, 19-Dec-2014 13:41:58 EST