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Style Guide

Word List

A
a cappella

Not italics.

academy

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

actor, actress

Use actor for both male and female performers.

ad hoc (adjective and adverb)

No italics.

This is an ad hoc committee.
We will handle this ad hoc.
administration

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

the University administration, Division of Administration and Finance
admissions

Admissions is always plural when referring to the Admissions Office or the Office of Admissions. Capitalize as part of the full, official name; lowercase otherwise.

Note that each academic unit of the University (the College, the Eastman School of Music, the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Simon School and the Warner School) has its own admissions office. Be clear as to which office you are are referring. There is no "University" admissions office.

advisor

Not adviser.

affect, effect

Affect is a verb meaning to influence.

How will these changes affect the situation?

Effect is almost always used as a noun meaning result.

What will be the effect of these changes?
African-American (adjective), African American (noun)

See black.

alumni, alumnus

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.

Do not shorten to "alum."

Capitalize alumni as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

Alumni Association, the College alumni
association

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

University Athletic Association
We are forming a new association for alumni.
B
bestseller (noun and adjective)

bestselling (adjective)

biannual

Twice a year. May also use semiannual. For every two years, use biennial.

bimonthly

Once every two months. For twice a month, use semimonthly.

biweekly

Once every two weeks. For twice a week, use semiweekly.

black

Acceptable as reference to an African American. Take the personal preference of the individual being described into account. Only use ethnic or racial distinctions when they are germane to the publication.

bookstore

One word, lowercase. There are University bookstores located on the River Campus, at the Medical Center, and at the Eastman School of Music.

C
cannot (one word)
chair

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.
coauthor
cochair
coed

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.

colloquium

Colloquium is singular; colloquia are plural. Capitalize when part of a full, formal name; lowercase otherwise.

Commencement

Capitalize when referring to a University graduation exercise. Each unit of the University has its own commencement exercises. There is no "University Commencement."

Parents and friends are invited to attend Commencement this weekend.
committee

Capitalize when part of a full, formal name; lowercase otherwise.

The committee meeting is cancelled until next week.
The Outside Speakers Committee will meet on Monday.
conference

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

consortium

Consortium is singular; consortia are plural. Capitalize when part of a full, formal name; lowercase otherwise.

continually, continuously

Continually means repeatedly.

He continually checked his voice mail during the meeting.

Continuously means without interruption.

He spoke continuously for more than two hours.
coordinator
co-owner
council, counsel

Council is an assembly or other governing body. Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

the Psychology Undergraduate Council; the council meeting

Counsel means advice or a lawyer.

We valued his wise counsel.
He served as the court-appointed counsel on the case.
coursework (one word)
cox-2

Lowercase. Use on first reference and provide context later in publication. The full name of the enzyme is cyclooxygenase-2.

cox-2 inhibitors; cox-2 enzyme
cross-country

Hyphenate when referring to the sport.

He joined the cross-country team.
curriculum vitae

A summary of professional and educational experiences, usually used by academics. More complete than a resumé. No italics. Can be abbreviated as C.V. when the context is clear.

cut back (verb), cutback (noun and adjective)
D
data

Treat "data" as a plural noun and combine it with a plural verb when writing about the research meaning of the word.

The data from the pilot study are inconclusive.

Treat "data" as a collective noun and combine it with a singular verb when writing about data in the electronic, computer networking sense of the word.

When working with large files, the data is often compressed.

Data travels over wires, lines, networks, etc., not through them.

dean

Use lowercase unless the title precedes the name.

Ron Dow, dean of River Campus libraries
Dean Ron Dow
decision making (noun), decision-making (adj.)
disc, disk

Disc — an optical-storage medium designed to be written to and read by a laser

compact disc; laserdisc; digital versatile disc

Disk — a portable piece of plastic embedded with magnetic material, or a less portable metal-encased storage disk.

a floppy disk; a hard disk
division

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

The Division of Genetics provides counseling services.
download (verb and noun)
DVD

Has stood for both digital video disk and digital versatile disc. Acronym is acceptable in first reference to movie format. Do not use DVDs to refer to DVD-ROMs. DVD-ROMs store music, movies, or software and are played in the DVD-ROM drive of a computer.

E
earth

Lowercase when referring to dirt or the ground; capitalize when personified or when referring to the planet.

He needs to come down to earth.
The rich, dark earth is ideal for farming
He majors in earth science.
The asteroid narrowly missed hitting the Earth.
effect, affect

See affect, effect

electric, electrical, electronic

Do not use these terms interchangeably. The IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms defines electric as "containing, producing, arising from, actuated by or carrying electricity."

electric blanket; electric light

By contrast, electrical means "relating to, pertaining to, or associated with electricity but not having its properties."

electrical engineer

Electronics as a plural noun suggests devices and equipment. As an adjective, electronic suggests that something is implemented on or by means of a computer.

electronic filing; electronic banking
e-mail

Hyphenate the word in all uses. Do not hyphenate compound nouns formed with this word.

e-mail account

E-mail can mean one single message.

He sent me an e-mail about that problem.

Or it can mean many messages. In this case, treat as a collective noun with a singular verb.

Unsolicited e-mail is a problem for most businesses.

Or it can refer to an entire e-mail system.

Our e-mail will be down for 20 minutes this afternoon.

E-mail can also be used as a verb or an adjective.

Please e-mail me with any questions.
Use the e-mail form on our Web site.
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.
F
fact book

Two words. Capitalize as part of a title; lowercase otherwise.

The department will produce its own fact book.
The online edition of Fact Book 2001–02 is now available.
farther, further

Farther refers to physical distance. Further refers to an extent of time or degree.

His new apartment is 10 miles farther from his workplace than his old apartment.
We won't take this discussion any further today.
faze, phase, Phase

Faze is a verb meaning to disturb or disconcert.

Nothing ever seemed to faze her.

Phase is a noun meaning a step or part of process, or as a verb meaning to carry out in stages.

We are ready to begin the next phase of the project.
We plan to phase in these changes over the next year.

"Phase" is a nickname given to the Hill Court residence halls. Avoid use in formal writing.

federal

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the federal government
fellow

Lowercase.

a university fellow
a research fellow
a Nieman fellow
BUT a Nieman Fellowship
fellowship

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

He received a Boren Fellowship.
He received a research fellowship.
fewer, less

Use fewer for things you can count

fewer calories

and less for things you measure.

less time

Less can also be used as a adverb.

less successful ideas — meaning "ideas that are less successful than others."

Fewer can only be used as an adjective.

fewer successful ideas — meaning "fewer ideas that are successful."
firewall

Wired Style defines as a "wall of software that keeps unauthorized meanderers or malicious intruders outside a network." Write as one word in all cases.

floppy disk

Generally refers to the 3.5 inch disks used to store computer data. Use floppy disk, not floppy disc. Floppy is also acceptable.

I saved it to my floppy.

Plural is floppies.

foundation

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

the Head Start Foundation
foundation grants
full time, full-time
They work for us full time. They have full-time jobs.
fundraise, fundraiser, fundraising

Always closed. Fundraise can be used as a verb.

They are holding a fundraiser tonight.
He is their best fundraiser.
He attended a fundraising dinner.
She came to campus to fundraise.
Fundraising is prohibited in the dorms.
G
gay

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.

government

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

We receive government funding.
We receive funding from the U.S. government.
We receive funding from the Digital Government Institute.
grade
first-grade student
10th-grade student
grade six
grades 10 to 12
low-grade radiation
grade A beef
grader
first grader
10th grader
graduate (noun and adjective)

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

He is a University graduate.
He is taking graduate courses.
He is a member of the Graduate Organizing Group.
graduate (verb)
She graduated from the University.
She graduated from college.
She graduated at the top of her class.
NOT: She graduated the University. She graduated college. She was graduated from the University.
H
handbook

One word. Capitalize as part of a title; lowercase otherwise.

The department will produce its own handbook.
The online edition of the Employee Handbook is now available.
Hanukkah
hard disk

Not "hard disc."

health care (noun and adjective)
Our goal is to provide better health care.
She is a health care professional.
high school (noun and adjective)
high tech (noun and adjective)
Hispanic

Hispanic is acceptable as a noun and as an adjective referring to people tracing their descent to Latin America, Spain, or Portugal. Only use when the distinction of ethnicity is germane to the publication.

He is a Hispanic.
He is Hispanic.
He is the first Hispanic judicial nominee from the state.

Hispanics may be of any race, so do not write "Hispanics and whites." Use "Hispanics and non-Hispanics."

historic, historical

Historic means history making.

Columbus's voyage was a historic moment. (NOTE: not "an historic")

Historical means pertaining to the study of history.

The report is a historical analysis of the Cold War. (NOTE: not "an historical")

Names of individual, easily recognized historic events should be capitalized. If in doubt, lowercase.

World War II; Boston Tea Party
HIV

Stands for human immunodeficiency virus. "HIV virus" is redundant.

homepage

Always lowercase and write solid.

Visit the Office of Technology Transfer homepage.

Avoid referring to your homepage on your homepage. It can confuse your visitors, who may think there is some "bigger" page that they are missing.

Always include a link back to your homepage from the internal pages of your Web site. Make sure the link is labeled consistently and in the same location on each of your internal pages.

home schooling

home schooling (noun)

He is opposed to home schooling.

home-schooling (adjective)

We have devised a new home-schooling curriculum.

home-school (verb)

They home-school their three children.

home-schooled (verb or adjective)

She was home-schooled until high school.
He is a home-schooled student.
homosexual

See gay.

i
institute

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

Internet

Always capitalize.

intranet

A private network within an organization; lowercase unless part of a larger proper name.

We plan to establish an intranet for sharing internal documents.
We've signed a contract with Dashboard Intranets for the design.
its, it's

"Its" is the possessive form of the pronoun it. "It's" is the contraction for it is.

To fix the computer malfunction, we had to replace its motherboard.
"It's just not possible at this time," she explained.
j
Jr.

Do not set off with commas.

Sammy Davis Jr.
k
Koran

Preferred spelling for the Muslim holy book.

L
Latin American

Acceptable as a noun or adjective for people of Spanish-speaking (excluding people from Spain). 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.

Latino, Latina

Latino is the preferred singular term or adjective for someone of any gender. The feminine terms 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.

less, fewer

See fewer, less

log on, log in, logon, login

Log on and log in are verbs. You log on to access a computer or network. When you are finished, you log off. Logon and login are nouns. You use your login to log on to your computer.

long-standing

Always hyphenate.

Our organizations have had a long-standing partnership.
long-term

Always hyphenate, as both a noun and adjective.

We plan to change our policy in the long-term.
Our long-term policy will change.
longtime

Not hyphenated.

His longtime friend nominated him for the award.
M
media, medium

The media are plural. Medium is the singular form of the noun, used to indicate one type of media.

The media are partly responsible for increases in teen violence.
Radio is a useful medium for advertisers.
Meliora

University motto; commonly translated from the Latin as "always better." Always capitalized; do not set in italics.

N
nation, national

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

National Society of Black Engineers
the national government
New York

In running text, spell out the name of the state when it appears alone; abbreviate as N.Y. when it appears in conjunction with a city.

He just moved to New York.
He just moved to Geneseo, N.Y.

In complete postal addresses, abbreviate as NY.

When there is a confusion as to whether the state or the city is meant, write New York State or New York City. Do not overuse this construction; the context of the sentence should make it clear which is meant.

Nobel Prize
Noble Prize
Nobel Prize–winning author
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Prize in literature
Nobel Prizes
none

When referring to a abstract quantity that is taken as a whole, use a singular verb.

None of the music selected was appropriate for the occasion.

When referring to items that can be counted, use a plural verb.

None of the cars were damaged in the accident.
O
office

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

Office of Technology Transfer
A new office for incoming students will be established in the fall.
OK, okay

Either spelling can be used in informal copy; do not use in news releases or hard news stories.

online

Write solid when referring to computer connections.

She went online to check her e-mail.
He created an online version of his chemistry project.
only

Generally, "only" should be placed as close as possible to the word it modifies. Changing its placement in a sentence can change the meaning of the sentence:

Only I pushed the new car yesterday.
I only pushed the new car yesterday.
I pushed only the new car yesterday.
I pushed the only new car yesterday.
I pushed the new car only yesterday.
I pushed the new car yesterday only.
P
PC

Acceptable for both personal computer and political correctness when the context is clear.

percent

Percent should be spelled out in text. The number preceding the word "percent" should always be a figure.

They gave 3 percent of their earnings to charity.

The % sign can be used in charts and tables. Avoid using the % sign in running text.

phase, faze, Phase

See faze, phase, Phase.

premier, premiere

Premier, as a noun, means the chief official, as in government.

The French premier campaigned vigorously in favor of the referendum.

As an adjective, premier means first in distinction or foremost.

She was the premier soprano of her day.

Premiere is a noun meaning the first performance.

The movie premiere was attended by all the Hollywood elite.
president

Capitalize as part of a full official name, or when used as a title before a name; lowercase otherwise.

Office of the President; President Thomas H. Jackson
Thomas H. Jackson is the University's ninth president.
provost

Capitalize as part of a full official name, or when used as a title before a name; lowercase otherwise.

Office of the Provost
Thomas LeBlanc, vice provost
Charles Phelps is the University's ninth provost.
Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize–winning author
Pulitzer Prize in history
Pulitzer Prizes
R
resume, resumé

"Resume" is a verb meaning to return to or to begin again. "Resumé" is a noun meaning a summary of one's work and education experiences.

Rochester

May be used to refer to the University of Rochester, if the context is clear.

He graduated from Rochester in 1989.
The event is open to all Rochester students.
S
scholar

Lowercase.

Rhodes scholar
scholarship

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

Fulbright Scholarship
He received a full scholarship.
school

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

School of Nursing
medical school
screensaver
semiannual

Twice a year. May also use biannual.

semimonthly

Twice a month. For once every two months, use bimonthly.

semiweekly

Twice a week. For once every two weeks, use biweekly.

society

Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

spelling

Use this style guide as your first reference for treatment and spelling of individual words. As a second resource, Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is preferred. Whichever dictionary you use as a spelling resource, be sure to use it consistently throughout your publication.

start-up (noun and adjective)
His start-up went bust when the Internet economy collapsed.
symposium

Symposium is singular; symposia is plural. Capitalize when part of a full, formal name; lowercase otherwise.

T
teenager (noun); teenaged (adjective)
that, which

Descriptive (nonrestrictive) clauses are set off by commas and take a "which."

The musical, which was performed by the student drama club, was sold out on its opening night

Defining (restrictive) clauses are not set off by commas and usually take a "that."

The musical that debuted last night will run for at least two weeks.
theater

Use this spelling for general references to theaters or the theater.

He planned to rent a theater for the drama workshop.
She is hoping to make a career in the theater.

Use the "theatre" spelling if that is the name of a particular theater.

Eastman Theatre; International Theater of the Arts
their, there, they're

"Their" is a plural possessive pronoun.

I really admired their work on the project.

"There" is an adverb meaning at or in that place.

Put it over there on the table.

"They're" is the contraction of "they are."

We are going to the movies, but they're going bowling instead.
then

When used to mean "former," do not hyphenate.

The then CEO was charged in the scandal, along with the current board of directors.
toward

Not "towards."

She drove toward Buffalo.
U
upstate (noun and adj.)
The campus is located in upstate New York.
He had always lived upstate before moving to Brooklyn, N.Y.
W
Web

Always capitalized when referring to the World Wide Web.

We need to put this information up on the Web.
Web cam

Two words. Also, Web camera.

The University's new Web cam has been popular with students and alumni.
Web site

Two words. Also, Web page.

The new Web site is now live at www.rochester.edu/giving.
webcast

One word, lowercase. Can be used as both a noun and a verb.

The Commencement webcast will begin at 9 a.m.
We will be webcasting the College Commencement ceremony.
webmaster

One word, lowercase. Refers to someone who is responsible for creating and maintaining a Web site.

office webmaster Jane Smith
Send an e-mail to the webmaster about that broken link.
which, that

See that, which.

wireless
X
X-ray
Y
yearlong
The yearlong effort paid off in the end.

Last modified: Tuesday, 10-Jan-2006 16:05:50 EST