Writing Style Guide

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Academic courses

Formal names of academic courses should be capitalized and put into quotation marks.
       e.g. "Introduction to Creative Writing"

Academic grades

Capitalize and use Roman typeface. Do not place quotation marks around grades.
       e.g. A, B, C, D, F, pass, incomplete, grade of B, grades of B or Bs

Academic majors

Lowercase general references; capitalize if proper noun.
       e.g. She is a biology major; She is a Spanish major.
See Academic majors under Section I: Writing About Illinois Wesleyan for listing of majors.

Accent marks

Foreign words that have been incorporated into the English language often retain their original accents. When in doubt, consult a dictionary.
       e.g. fiancé
       Exception: resume


Spell out for first citation and follow with the acronym in parentheses. The acronym may be used in subsequent references.
       e.g. The Council on Educational Policy (CEP) will deliver a speech. The CEP is an essential organization. 


Use instead of C.E. Use periods between initials.
See also B.C.


Preferred instead of "more."
       e.g. For additional information


Spell out Avenue, Boulevard and Street, unless used with a building number.
       e.g. She lives on Main Street; 21 Main St.
All similar words (alley, drive, road, terrace, etc.) are always spelled out.
Capitalize when used as part of a formal name without a number; lowercase when used alone or with two or more names.
Spell out "First" through "Ninth" when used as street names; use figures with two letters for "10th" and above.
       e.g. 7 Fifth Ave., 100 21st St.
Abbreviate compass points used to indicate directional ends of a street or quadrants of a city in a numbered address. Do not abbreviate if the number is omitted.
       e.g. 222 E. 42nd St., 562 W. 43rd St., East 42nd Street, West 43rd Street
Use commas to set off individual elements in addresses and names of geographical places or political divisions.
       e.g. Bloomington, Ill.,
Give the building name before the room number.
       e.g. Shaw 203
E-mail addresses should appear in all lowercase letters. See also E-mail.
e.g. univcomm@iwu.edu
See also State names.

Adopt, approve, enact, pass

Amendments, ordinances, resolutions and rules are adopted or approved. Bills are passed. Laws are enacted.


Not adviser.

Affect, effect

Affect is a verb meaning to influence.
       e.g. The game will affect the standings.
Effect is a verb meaning to cause and a noun meaning result.
       e.g. He will effect many changes. The effect was overwhelming.


Always use Arabic numerals. Hyphenate if used as an adjective before a noun or a noun substitute. See also Hyphens, Numbers.
       e.g. A 5-year-old boy. The boy is 5 years old.

All right

Two words, never "alright."

Allude, refer

To allude to something is to speak without specifically mentioning it.
To refer to something is to directly mention it.

Allusion, illusion

An allusion is an indirect reference.
       e.g. The allusion was to his opponent’s war record.
An illusion is an unreal or false impression.
       e.g. The scenic director created the illusion of choppy seas.

Alma mater

Do not italicize.

Alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus

Use alumna for the feminine singular.
Use alumnae for the feminine plural.
Use alumni for the masculine plural or for general plural.
Use alumnus for the masculine singular.

Ampersand (&)

Use symbol only when part of an official name. Avoid using in either text or headline.
       e.g. Tiffany & Co.


Hyphenate all except the following:
       antibiotic, antibody, anticlimax, antidote, antifreeze, antigen, antihistamine, antiknock, antimatter, antimony, antiparticle (and similar terms in physics), antipasto, antiperspirant, antiphon, antiphony, antiseptic, antiserum, antithesis, antitoxin, antitrust, antitussive
See also Prefixes.

Anyone, any one

One word if an indefinite reference. Same for "anybody."
       e.g. Anyone can do that. Anybody could win the raffle.
Two words when the emphasis is on singling out one element of a group.
       e.g. Any one of them may speak up.

Application forms

Use lowercase for names when referring to forms, but capitalize names on the headings of the forms themselves.


See Adopt for proper usage.

Armed Forces

See Army for proper usage. See also U.S. Military.


U.S. Army on first reference, Army on all others. Do not capitalize "army" for references to other countries.


Assure is to give confidence or inform positively.
       e.g. She assured him he made a wise choice.
Ensure is to guarantee or make certain.
       e.g. He took steps to ensure the document’s accuracy.
Insure is characteristic of insurance.
       e.g. The policy will insure your home.


Use instead of B.C.E. Use periods between initials.
See also A.D.


"Semiannually" preferred term to mean twice a year.
       e.g. Tributaries is a semiannual publication.


Every two years.

Biweekly, bimonthly

Every other week/month; semiweekly/semimonthly means twice a week/month

Board of Trustees

Capitalize only when referring to a specific group.
       e.g. Illinois Wesleyan University Board of Trustees


Use them to add clarifying information to quotations.
       e.g. "Jackson left his teaching post [at Illinois Wesleyan] last year."


See University buildings under Section I.

Call letters

Use all caps and hyphens to separate the type of radio or TV station from the basic call letters.
       e.g. WESN-FM


One word.

Capital, capitol

Capital is the city where a seat of government is located; do not capitalize.
       e.g. The capital of Illinois is Springfield.
Capital can also refer to money or a fundraising campaign.
       e.g. capital markets, capital campaign
Capitol is a building; capitalize in all cases.
       e.g. The meeting was held on Capitol Hill.


Capitalize any reference to the University, names of professorships, titles, buildings, particular offices, rooms with names, certain special-interest programs, college-specific events and programming, and formal names of committees and clubs.
       e.g. English Department
Capitalize proper nouns, but do not capitalize common nouns, unless referencing a group officially affiliated with Illinois Wesleyan.
       e.g. Bloomington City Council, city council
       e.g. Illinois Wesleyan University Board of Trustees; the board
Capitalize formal office names, but do not capitalize informal office names.
       e.g. University Communications; the communications office
Do not capitalize a generic term after more than one proper name.
       e.g. Columbia and Willamette rivers, Columbia River
Capitalize generic terms used in the plural before more than one proper name.
       e.g. Mounts Rainier and Hood


See Capital for proper usage.


Identify people as (front row, from left), etc.


Use Arabic numerals.
       e.g. 18th century
Hyphenate century when used as an adjective.
       e.g. 20th-century poetry


Not chairman or chairperson.

Christmas Break

Use "Winter Break" instead.
See also Winter Break.


Do not include state name for the following cities:
       Anchorage, Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle
Do not include country name for the following cities:
       Beijing, Berlin, Geneva, Gibraltar, Guatemala City, Havana, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Kuwait, London, Luxembourg, Macao, Mexico City, Monaco, Montreal, Moscow, Ottawa, Paris, Quebec, Rome, San Marino, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto, Vatican City

Class year

Use the following for undergraduate years: first-year, sophomore, junior, senior.
When identifying current students or alumni by their class years, the year is expressed in two digits and preceded by an apostrophe.
       e.g. Jon Doe ‘60
Use full year when referring to a year whose last two digits have repeated in University history, unless context makes this distinction obvious.
       e.g. 1906, 2006
Can use full four-digit year if referring to a class as a proper name.
       e.g. She is a member of the class of 2007.


Do not hyphenate prefix except when forming nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status.
       e.g. co-author, codependent
See also Prefixes.


Capitalize the first letter after a colon if the clause that follows forms a complete sentence. In the case of titles of papers, articles, chapters and books, the first word after colons will always be capitalized.
       Colons can also be used for lists and dialogue.
       Use a colon to introduce quotations of more than one sentence within a paragraph.
              e.g. President Wilson said: "This plan is important to Illinois Wesleyan. It received approval from the faculty."


Do not use a comma before conjunctions in a series of three or more unless it is necessary to make the meaning clear.
       e.g. She bought milk, eggs and butter. The meeting focused on scholarships, research and development, and capital projects.
Use a comma to set off independent clauses; do not use to set off dependent clauses.
       e.g. She took the test, and she passed. She took the test and passed.
Use for clauses beginning with the word "which," but not for those beginning with "that."
       e.g. She took the course, which met each Tuesday. She took the course that fit into her schedule.
Use to separate a series of adjectives equal in rank (where you can replace the comma with the word "and" without changing the meaning).
       e.g. She was a helpful, thoughtful student.
Use to introduce a complete-sentence quotation within a paragraph.
       e.g. President Wilson said, "This plan is important for Illinois Wesleyan."
Place inside a closed quotation.
       e.g. "This plan is important for Illinois Wesleyan," President Wilson said.
Use before and after an age or a year when giving a full date.
       e.g. Eileen, 17, and Ellen, 15, both play soccer. On April 11, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Liverpool.
Use to set off nonessential clauses (those with extra information).
       e.g. His older sister, Elizabeth, is a lawyer.
       Exception: Do not use commas when referring to spouses.
       e.g. Her husband John is a doctor.
Use following all introductory phrases.
       e.g. Next, we will add two sticks of butter to the recipe.
Don't use before or after Jr. or Sr.
       e.g. Frank Scudella Sr.


Capitalize when referring to specific event.

Compose, comprise, constitute

Compose is to create or put together
Comprise is to be made up of; to say "comprised of" is redundant.
Constitute is to be the elements of a thing.

Compound phrases

Use a hyphen if using as an adjective, do not if using as a noun.
       e.g. It was a class-action lawsuit (adj).
               The class looked at the cross section of a leg (n).
Exception: The guidance counselor was a big help in the decision-making process (adj); She’s not very good at decision-making (n).
See also Hyphens.


See Compose for proper usage.


See Compose for proper usage.


Capitalize when referring to specific event.

Court cases

Italicize legal cases, and use the legal v. instead of vs.
       e.g. Roe v. Wade

Dash ( – )

Use a dash to indicate an abrupt change in thought, to set off a series of words separated by commas, or where a period is too strong and a comma is too weak.
Typically, use spaces on either side to offset dash.


A plural noun when referring to individual items, data is also a collective noun when used as a unit.
       e.g. The data have been carefully collected.
       e.g. The data is correct.


Use commas to set off the year when using full dates.
       e.g. He was born on Sept. 7, 1989, in Des Plaines, Ill.
Do not use commas when using only month and year.
       e.g. September 1985
Do not use 1st, 2nd and so on.
       e.g. April 11
Use year if referring to a date not in the current calendar year.
       e.g. They were married in June 2005. Their first child was born in February.
Periods of years:
       She worked from 1949 to 1961. He worked in the 1950s.
Use time/day/date sequence for events.
       e.g. The event is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24.
Spell out days of the week.
See also Days of the week.
See also Months.

Days of the week

Never abbreviate days of the week in prose. Always capitalize.


Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries.
       e.g. the 1890s, the 1800s, the ’80s

Degrees (academic)

Do not capitalize degrees when spelled out.
       e.g. bachelor of arts
Use an apostrophe when referring to a bachelor’s, a master’s, etc.
       e.g. bachelor’s degree
Do not use the possessive pronoun.
       e.g. She earned a doctorate. (Not she earned her doctorate).
Preferably, do not abbreviate, but if form necessitates abbreviation, use periods.
       e.g. B.A., M.A., B.S.

Degrees with distinction

Set in Roman face, not italics and do not capitalize.
       e.g. cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude
See also Honorary degree.


Capitalize names of departments if the full/official name is used, lowercase if something other than the full, formal name.
       e.g. "the Department of Music," "the music department"
See also Capitalization and University departments, programs and schools (official titles) under Section I.


See Ranges.

Directions (Cardinal)

Capitalize directions when they designate regions.
       e.g. The "Harvard of the Midwest."
Do not capitalize if used as an adjective.
       e.g. She’s from the northwest suburbs.

Doctor (Dr.)

Reserve title and abbreviation for those holding doctorates in medical fields only.
For faculty holding doctoral degrees use specific name.
       e.g. Ph.D.

Dollar amounts

Use a dollar sign followed by a numeral. Do not use .00 with dollar values.
$500 (not $500.00)
$5.5 million

Dorm, dormitory

Use "residence hall" instead.

Each other, one another

Two people look at each other, more than two look at one another.
Either is acceptable when the number is indefinite.
       e.g. We help each other. We help one another.


See Affect for proper usage.

e.g., i.e.

e.g. stands for exempli gratias, which means "for example."
i.e. stands for id est, which means "that is" or "in other words."


Use to mean one or the other, not both.
       e.g. Use either door.


Only use to indicate where words have been omitted from direct quotations; do not use at the beginning or end of a quotation.
Place spaces on either side of ellipses.
       e.g. "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth … a new nation … dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."


Do not capitalize, except at the beginning of a sentence or title.
See also Addresses.

Emerita, emeritae, emeriti, emeritus

Do not italicize.
Use emerita for the feminine singular.
Use emeritae for the feminine plural.
Use emeriti for the masculine/general plural.
Use emeritus for the masculine singular.
Place after formal title in keeping with general practice of academic institutions.
       e.g. Professor Emerita Mona Gardner. Mona Gardner, professor emerita.


See Adopt for proper usage.


See Assure for proper usage.


Entitled means furnished with proper grounds for seeking or claiming something.
       e.g. He felt entitled to something more substantial.
See also, Titled.

E tc. (et cetera)

Avoid using, except in lists, tables and parenthetical series; use "and so on" or "and so forth" instead.


Capitalize specific events and events of the college year.
       e.g. Turning Titan, Commencement


Considered plural.
       e.g. The faculty attend the event each year.

Faith organizations

See University student organizations under Section I.

Farther, further

Farther is a measure of physical distance
       e.g. She ran farther than he did.
Further is a measure of time or degree
       e.g. He’ll look further into the matter.

First-come, first-served

e.g. Empty seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


Preferred instead of "freshman."

Fiscal, monetary

Fiscal applies to budgetary matters, while monetary applies to money supply.

Fonts for press releases

Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font.


Spell out amounts less than one, using hyphens.
       e.g. Two-thirds
See also Hyphens.


See University living units under Section I.


See First-year for proper usage.


Hyphenate when used to form compound modifiers. See also Hyphen.
       e.g. full-dress, full-fledged, full-length, full-page, full-scale

Full time, part time

Hyphenate as a compound adjective.
       e.g. He’s a full-time professor.
See also Hyphen.


Fundraising is never two words.


See Farther for proper usage.

Gender-neutral Terminology

See Gender-neutral under Section III: Culturally Sensitive Terminology.

Good, well

Good (adj.) is used if something is as it should be or is better than average.
Well (adj.) is used if something is suitable, proper, or healthy; (adv.) is used if something is done satisfactory or skillfully.


Not "grey."


Capitalize when referring to fraternity and sorority life, in addition to nationality.


Use a hyphen to form compounds.
       No hyphen: halfback, halfhearted, halftone, halftrack, halftime
       Space, no hyphen: half brother, half dollar, half note, half size, half sole, half tide
See also Hyphen.


Capitalize the first and last word, all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as). Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or for, nor), prepositions and the "to" in infinitives.
Capitalize prepositions or conjunctions of four or more letters in headlines.

Health care

Two words, unless used as an adjective, then hyphenated.
       e.g. health-care costs


See Culturally Sensitive Terminology under Section III.

Home, house

Home refers to a personal setting.
House refers to a building.


Capitalize when referring to specific event.

Home page

Two words, not homepage.

Honorary degree

Always lowercase.
       e.g. "Dawn Upshaw received an honorary degree from Illinois Wesleyan."


Capitalize formal titles.
       e.g. Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw.
       e.g. She is a Nobel Prize-winner.


Do not use a hyphen for combinations with this word.
       e.g. hypertension


Use to separate numerals in odds, ratios, scores, vote tabulations, fractions that are spelled out (three-fourths).
See also Fractions.
Use to avoid ambiguity.
       e.g. She re-covered the hole. He recovered from the fall.
Use to avoid duplicated vowels or triple consonants.
       e.g. Anti-inflammatory
Use to create two-thought compounds.
       e.g. Socio-economic
Use if forming compound modifiers.
       e.g. full-length
See also Compound phrases.
Use to link all words (except "very" and -ly adverbs) that together modify a noun.
       e.g. Full-time job, very good grade, easily remembered concept
Use if combination follows a form of the verb "to be."
       e.g. The play is first-rate.
See also Heritage under Section III.
If the hyphenated word comes at the end of the title, both its first and final elements are always capitalized.
The second element linked to a prefix is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun or adjective.
       e.g. Post-Renaissance artists are featured.
Do not hyphenate prefix "pre" unless followed by a word beginning with "e."
       e.g. Preset, pre-eminent
       Exceptions: pre-dental, pre-law, pre-med
See also Prefixes, Suffixes.


See e.g. for proper usage.


See Allusion for proper usage.

In-, -in

Do not use hyphen if used as a prefix.
Exceptions: in-depth, in-group, in-house, in-law
Precede word with a hyphen if used as a suffix.
       e.g. break-in, cave-in, walk-in, write-in
See also Prefixes, Suffixes.


No Inc. after company name unless part of proper noun; no comma before if used.


See Assure for proper usage.


Italicize foreign words if they do not appear in the regular part of the dictionary.
Italicize Latin words used in English except for alma mater, et cetera.
Italicize book and movie titles, plays, operas, recordings, musical compositions, newspapers, paintings, drawings, statues, other works of art and art exhibitions, periodicals (journals and magazines), radio and TV shows, albums, names of airplanes, boats, ships.
See also Titles of works.

It’s, its

"It’s" is a contraction for "it is."
       e.g. It’s raining.
"Its" denotes possession.
       e.g. The book had its binding done in China.

Lay, lie

Lay: to put or to place, requires an object.
       e.g. Please lay the boxes there.
Lie: to recline, rest or stay; to take a position of rest; performed by, rather than on, a person or thing.
       e.g. The mail is lying on your desk.


No hyphen before when used as a suffix.
       e.g. childless, tailless, waterless
See also Suffixes.


See Lay for proper usage.

Like-, -like

Follow with a hyphen when used as a prefix.
       e.g. like-minded, like-natured
Do not precede suffix with a hyphen unless the letter "l" would be tripled.
       e.g. bill-like, shell-like, businesslike, lifelike
See also Prefixes, Suffixes.

Media organizations

See Media under Section I.


See U.S. Military.


See Fiscal for proper usage.


Spell out when using alone or with a year alone.
       e.g. February 1986
When used with dates, months should be written as follows: 



       e.g. Feb. 23, 1986
Do not use the ordinal suffix with numerals or dates.
       e.g. Feb. 23 not Feb. 23rd

More than

Preferred instead of "over."
       e.g. More than 50 students attended.


No hyphen with this prefix.
       e.g. multicolored, multilateral, multimillion, multimillionaire
See also Prefixes.


Do not use quotation marks on titles of orchestral works unless the title includes non-musical terms.
       e.g. Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola; Beethoven’s "Eroica" Symphony; "Rhapsody in Blue"
Capitalize letters that represent musical keys.  Capitalize letters for major keys and lowercase letters for minor keys in repeated references, avoiding the terms major and minor.


Use full name on first use and last name for subsequent uses.
       e.g. Professor Dan Terkla (first use), Terkla (subsequent uses)
       Exception: First name on second use is acceptable in publications writing to student audiences where use of first name would make communication more personal.
When writing about people who share the same surname, use first and last names throughout for clarity.


Most words with this prefix do not use a hyphen.
       e.g. nonbinding
See also Prefixes.


Use for times, measurements, decimals, fractions percentages, sports scores and ages.
Spell out zero through nine, use Arabic numerals for 10 and greater.
       e.g. He had four books. She planted 12 bulbs.
Use a comma with numbers of 1,000 and above (except dates).
       e.g. 5,000 graduated.
Use when referring to academic credit.
       e.g. He earned 2.5 hours of credit.
Use when referring to a page number.
       e.g. The quote is on page 3.
It is acceptable to both spell out and use numerals when rounding.
       e.g. Nearly one thousand people attended. Nearly 1,000 attended.
Always use numerals when stating ages. Hyphenate age if used as a modifier.
See also Dates, Dimensions, Hyphens, Ranges.


See University offices and programming under Section I.

OK, OK’d, OK’ing, OKs

Do not use okay in any form.

One another

See Each other for proper usage.

Part time

See Full time for proper usage.


See Adopt for proper usage.


Spell out unless in table or graphics.
       e.g. About 75 percent of students agree.

Phone numbers

The area code should appear in parentheses, and a hyphen should be placed between the third and fourth following numbers.
       e.g. (309) 556-1000

Please reply

Preferred instead of "RSVP."


For singular nouns add apostrophe "s."
       e.g. child’s game
For plural nouns and singular nouns that end in "s" add apostrophe only.
       e.g. the candidates’ choice, Strauss’ Vienna
For compound possessives add apostrophe after second name.
       e.g. Doug and Linda’s house
For two separate entities add apostrophe to both.
       e.g. Students’ and faculty’s health plans


One word.


Do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant.
Use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.
       Exceptions: cooperate, coordinate
Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized.
Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes.
       e.g. sub-subparagraph
Words beginning with "non," "anti," "sub," "co," and "pre" usually can be combined without a hyphen.
See also Hyphens.


Use hyphen when using words that denote support for something.
       e.g. pro-labor, pro-peace, pro-business
See also Prefixes.


See Colon, Comma, Hyphen, Semicolon.

Quotation marks

With punctuation:
       Colons and semicolons are placed outside a quotation mark.
       Commas and periods are placed inside a quotation mark.
See also Titles of works.


Use a hyphen to give ranges describing a singular object.
       e.g. a 13- to 17-inch layer of snow fell in the mountains
Ranges describing non-singular objects are not typically hyphenated.
       e.g. 13 to 17 inches of snow fell in the mountains


Use Arabic numerals and a hyphen.
       e.g. a 2-1 ratio
See also Hyphens.


See Prefixes.


See Allude for proper usage.

Religious terminology

See Section III.

Residence hall

When referring to student living units, "residence hall" is preferred.
See also University living units under Section I.


Do not use accents.
See also Accents.


Avoid, use "please reply."

Scholars and Scholarships (named)

In reference to those holding named scholarships, "scholar" is not capitalized.
       e.g. Fulbright scholar; Fulbright Scholarship


Lowercase unless part of a proper name.
       e.g. spring, summer, fall, winter; Winter Break


Do not capitalize.
       e.g. fall semester, spring semester


See Biannually for proper usage.


Use to separate independent clauses, often signaled by the following adverbs: then, however, thus, hence, indeed, accordingly, besides and therefore.

Semiweekly, semimonthly

See Biweekly/bimonthly for proper usage.


See Section III for list of preferred terms.


See University living units under Section I.


Use one space after periods, commas and colons when typing text.


Considered plural.

State names

Use postal abbreviations only when giving a complete address including zip code.
Use state style when abbreviating, not postal code.
Exceptions: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah

State (capital)—State-styles/Postal codes:

  • Alabama (Montgomery)—Ala./AL
  • Alaska (Juneau)—Alaska/AK
  • Arizona (Phoenix)—Ariz./AZ
  • Arkansas (Little Rock)—Ark./AR
  • California (Sacramento)—Calif./CA
  • Colorado (Denver)—Colo./CO
  • Connecticut (Hartford)—Conn./CT
  • Delaware (Dover)—Del./DE
  • District of Columbia (Washington)— /D.C.
  • Florida (Tallahassee)—Fla./FL
  • Georgia (Atlanta)—Ga./GA
  • Hawaii (Honolulu)—Hawaii/HI
  • Idaho (Boise)—Idaho/ID
  • Illinois (Springfield)—Ill./IL
  • Indiana (Indianapolis)—Ind./IN
  • Iowa (Des Moines)—Iowa/IA
  • Kansas (Topeka)—Kan./KS
  • Kentucky (Frankfort)—Ky./KY
  • Louisiana (Baton Rouge)—La./LA
  • Maine (Augusta)—Maine/ME
  • Maryland (Annapolis)—Md./MD
  • Massachusetts (Boston)—Mass./MA
  • Michigan (Lansing)—Mich./MI
  • Minnesota (St. Paul)—Minn./MN
  • Mississippi (Jackson)—Miss./MS
  • Missouri (Jefferson City)—Mo./MO
  • Montana (Helena)—Mont./MT
  • Nebraska (Lincoln)—Neb./NE
  • Nevada (Carson City)—Nev./NV
  • New Hampshire (Concord)—N.H./NH
  • New Jersey (Trenton)—N.J./NJ
  • New Mexico (Santa Fe)—N.M./NM
  • New York (Albany)—N.Y./NY
  • North Carolina (Raleigh)—N.C./NC
  • North Dakota (Bismarck)—N.D./ND
  • Ohio (Columbus)—Ohio/OH
  • Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)—Okla./OK
  • Oregon (Salem)—Ore./OR
  • Pennsylvania (Harrisburg)—Pa./PA
  • Rhode Island (Providence)—R.I./RI
  • South Carolina (Columbia)—S.C./SC
  • South Dakota (Pierre)—S.D./SD
  • Tennessee (Nashville)—Tenn./TN
  • Texas (Austin)—Texas/TX
  • Utah (Salt Lake City)—Utah/UT
  • Vermont (Montpelier)—Vt./VT
  • Virginia (Richmond)—Va./VA
  • Washington (Olympia)—Wash./WA
  • W. Virginia (Charleston)—W.Va./WV
  • Wisconsin (Madison)—Wis./WI
  • Wyoming (Cheyenne)—Wyo./WY


Generally, hyphenate any noun or adjective forms. Use two words for the verb form.
       e.g. I demand a do-over.
       e.g. The company will take over. The company will stage a takeover.
See also Hyphen.

That, which

That introduces an essential clause.
        e.g. The books that are rare are stored in a special room.
Which is used before a nonessential clause.
         e.g. The books, which are rare, have beautiful illustrations.


Use "theatre" in all cases, unless referring to a movie theater or as part of a proper name.
       e.g. McPherson Theatre, School of Theatre Arts

Their, there, they’re

Their denotes ownership.
       e.g. Their paper was excellent.
There denotes place.
       e.g. They were talking over there by the coffee shop.
They’re is contraction meaning "they are."
       e.g. They’re fun to be around.


Use "noon" and "midnight" instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Do not use :00 when distinguishing time.
       e.g. The event will take place at 11 a.m.
Use a.m. and p.m. (lowercase)
Inclusive times:
       8:30 a.m.-noon, 8-10 a.m., from 8 to 10 p.m.


Titled means provided with a title, designated or called by a title.
       e.g. He titled his first book Please Don't Come Back From the Moon.
See also Entitled.

Titles of people

Capitalize formal titles and when they appear before a person’s name.
       e.g. President Wilson, Chair and Professor of Biology Given Harper
Do not capitalize formal titles after a name in press releases.
       e.g. Wilson, the president; Given Harper, chair and professor of biology
Do not capitalize titles that are standing alone.
       e.g. the president
Courtesy titles are generally not used (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss).
See also Capitalization.

Titles of works

Use italics or underlining for the following:
       books, movies, plays, operas, recordings, musical compositions, newspapers, paintings, drawings, statues, other works of art and art exhibitions, periodicals (journals and magazines), radio and TV shows, albums, names of airplanes, boats, ships
Use quotation marks for the following:
       academic courses, poems, book chapter titles, dance titles, articles, dissertations, individual lectures, paper titles, songs, speeches, stories, TV and radio episodes
See also Quotation marks.


Not "towards."


Capitalize trademark names, but avoid copyright symbols.
       e.g. Coca-Cola, Xerox

United States

Write out if used as a noun, but U.S. can be used for adjective.
The same rule applies in similar cases.
       e.g. United Nations (noun) U.N. (adj.)


Whenever referencing Illinois Wesleyan University in internal documents or Web stories, capitalize.
See Use of the University Name under Section I for further explanation.
See also Capitalization.

University buildings

See Section I.

University departments, programs and schools

See Section I.

University living units (fraternities, residence halls, sororities)

See Section I.

University offices and programming

See Section I.

University restaurants

See Section I.

University services

See Section I.


See Web addresses.

U.S. Military

       Military Country/Abbreviation

  • Armed Forces Africa/AE
  • Armed Forces Americas (except Canada)/AA
  • Armed Forces Canada/AE
  • Armed Forces Europe/AE
  • Armed Forces Middle East/AE
  • Armed Forces Pacific/AP

Vice president, vice chair, etc.

Do not hyphenate.
Capitalize only before a name.
       e.g. Vice President Joe Biden


Do not capitalize "web" in instances such as "website," "webcast," "webmaster" and "webcam."

Web addresses

Avoid http://. When the Web address appears at the end of a sentence it is permissible to add a period. However, do not add other punctuation, such as hyphens, if the Web address runs over one line.


See Good for proper usage.


See That for proper usage.

Who, whom

Use who and whom for references to human beings; that and which for inanimate objects and animals without names.
Who is a subject and performs an action, whom is an object and receives an action.
       e.g. Who is reading their poetry today?
       e.g. Joe, to whom the award was given, is a 2003 graduate.


Use Arabic numerals. 

See also Decades.