Editorial Style Guide


Generally, UNCG follows the Associated Press Stylebook, which is used by journalists. Academic papers might follow MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style, but UNCG has chosen AP for our publications because the style is familiar to a broad audience. While the guide includes AP style, we also have entries that are unique to UNCG, below.

Alphabetical Order
Use alphabetical order when listing a series of equally important items. Also use alphabetical order when listing people unless there is a hierarchy.

• Express room numbers in the following way: Ferguson Building, Room 250.
• Use a comma between an unnumbered room and its building. (e.g. Alderman Lounge, Elliott University Center)
• “B” in building is capitalized when used with the structure’s name.
• Use “the” to precede the Alumni House and the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
• Do not use “the” in front of Elliott University Center or EUC, Jackson Library and residence halls.
• Be consistent in the use of auditoriums that have room numbers. (Note: Use Weatherspoon Auditorium instead of Cone Building, Room 103.)
• Abbreviate West and Street when referring to 1100 W. Market St.
• Spell out West Market Street when referring to the street and not a specific address or building.
• The preferred shortened version of the Beverly C. and Irene M. Moore Humanities and Research Administration Building is MHRA.

Capitalize the following:
• Groups of people based on racial, tribal or religious backgrounds (e.g. Hispanic, Muslim)
• Personal titles if they precede a person’s name. Official titles of university faculty and staff should only be capitalized when used before a name (e.g. Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Charles Maimone). Titles that stand alone and titles that follow the person’s name are to be lowercase (e.g. Charles Maimone, vice chancellor for Business Affairs).
• The word “class” when referring to a specific graduating class. (e.g. the Class of ’48)
Course titles; do not place them inside quotation marks. (e.g. She registered for Chemistry 101.)
• University units — boards, centers, committees, departments, institutes, programs and schools when referring to a specific unit.

Do not capitalize:
• Seasons (but capitalize if followed by a year – e.g. Spring 2008)
• Academic disciplines, unless they are derived from a proper noun (e.g. French or English)
• Professional titles after a name or alone (e.g. Dana Dunn, provost, or The provost talked
about the future of the university in her convocation speech.)
• School, program or center when it stands alone (e.g. The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center was established in 2008. The center provides expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation.)
• “email”
• “home page”
• “web” when it refers to the World Wide Web
• “web site”
• “internet”

• Lowercase centuries and spell out numbers less than 10. (e.g. The time capsule will be opened in the 23rd century. It’s hard to know what life was like in the first century.)
• When an academic year crosses over two centuries, do not abbreviate the years (e.g. use 1999-2000, not 1999-00)
• In all other circumstances, abbreviate the academic year. (e.g. 2003-04)

Alumni Class Dates
• Put the graduate’s class date directly after the name with no comma between. (e.g. John James ’94)
• For advanced degrees, put class date and degree abbreviation — without periods— after the graduate’s name. (e.g. Jane Johnson ’80 MBA)
• If the graduate holds more than one degree from UNCG, list all years of graduation and give the abbreviation of any advanced degrees. All graduation years should be listed after the graduate’s name and the years should be separated by commas. (e.g. James James ’77, ’79 MBA)
• A “C” after a class year denotes a commercial class graduate. (e.g. Brooke Smith Brooks ’57C)
• An “x” after a class year denotes a non-graduate (a former student who attended UNCG but did not receive a degree). When referring to a non-graduate, list the year the person would have graduated, had the person completed his/her degree on a four-year schedule. (e.g. Jane Smith ’54x)
• Use full names of alumni, including maiden names of married alumnae.
• Do not use possessive of names with the class year of an alumnus. (e.g. Allison Smith Brown ’75’s baby)
• Use “alumna” to refer to one female graduate.
• Use “alumnae” to refer to a group of female graduates.
• Use “alumnus” to refer to one male graduate.
• Use “alumni” to refer to a group of graduates when the gender is not known; when the group consists of males and females; and when the group consists of only male graduates.

Commas and Periods
• Do not use a comma before the conjunction in a series. (e.g. red, white and blue)
• Put periods and commas inside an end quote. (e.g. “Here we are,” he said. She replied, “Yes, that’s true.”)
• Use only one space after a period.

Days of the Week
Do not abbreviate days of the week, except in tabular format.

• Indicate decades without an apostrophe (e.g. 1890s, 1970s). Use an apostrophe if numerals are left out (e.g. ’90s, ’70s).
• Show the plural by adding the letter s, not apostrophe s.

• Use bachelor’s degree and master’s degree (with apostrophes).
• Use doctoral degree or doctorate, not doctor’s degree.
• Abbreviations of degrees should not include periods (e.g. PhD, MBA, MALS, EdD, etc.).
• Lowercase bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, master of arts, etc. (unless abbreviated as above).

Em Dashes
Space one time before and after an em dash.

• Place grades inside quotation marks if used in text. (e.g. He earned an “A” in the biology course.)
• GPA can be used on first reference.

Hyphenation and Word Division
Hyphenate African American if used as an adjective. Do not hyphenate if used as a noun. However, the African American Studies Program does not have a hyphen.

See World Wide Web.

• Place the names of exhibitions in quotes.
• Italicize web addresses. (e.g. www.uncg.edu)

Line Breaks
Avoid breaking names, dates, times, and numerical units.

Dr. Jane Doe
not …… Dr.
Jane Doe

Jan. 17, 1987
not …… Jan. 17,

$50 million
not …… $50

• Avoid using a person’s race and/or age unless it is relevant to the story.
• Avoid sexist language. If you cannot write around it, “he or she” is preferred to “he/she.”
• Do not use ALL CAPs or extra exclamation points to provide emphasis. For the most part, emphasis is not needed in text. If it is, use bold or italic type, place the text in a box or provide some other typographic treatment to pull out the emphasized text from the regular text.
• The proper name for Team QUEST includes all capital letters for QUEST. It was formerly known as Team QUESt.

Month and Year
• Spell out a month when it is used without a date. When used with a date in text, the writer may use the following abbreviations: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
• Do not use a comma between the month and year. (e.g. June 1999 was a good month.)
• To refer to the events of September 11, 2001, use Sept. 11.
• Use a comma if the day of the month is included. (e.g. She was born Jan. 3, 1977.)
• Place a comma after the year if the sentence continues. (e.g. The events of April 19, 1775, will be remembered.)
• Use cardinal numbers to reference days of the month. (e.g. Aug. 12, not Aug. 12th)

• List names of alumni by first, maiden and last names without commas.
• If a person has an earned doctorate, “Dr.” can be used on first reference. Courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs. and Ms.) should not be used with a person’s name. The second reference for Chancellor Linda P. Brady should be Brady.
• For some publications, the second reference to a person can be the person’s first name. This is especially true of alumni publications in which the writer is trying to set a friendly tone.
• Do not use a comma between the person’s last name and Jr., Sr., II, III, IV, etc.

Phone Numbers
• When including phone numbers, be sure the writer includes the area code, unless the audience is local only to Greensboro. The area code should be separated from the other seven digits of a phone number by parentheses.
• In internal publications, campus phone numbers should be written with five digits. (e.g. 4-5998)

Use parentheses when inserting words or phrases for clarification in quoted material.


Spell out states that stand alone in text.
United States is used as a noun; U.S. is used as an adjective.
Capitalize the word “state” only in formal reference to the state as a legal institution. (e.g. the State of North Carolina; the state legislature; the N.C. General Assembly; We work for the state.).
If the state is preceded by the name of a city, use the AP style abbreviation for the state (see list, below). Eight states are not abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Use the Postal Service abbreviation when typing out an actual address. Separate city and state by a comma.
The abbreviations for state names are:

Alabama Ala. Montana Mont.
Alaska Alaska Nebraska Nebr.
Arizona Ariz. Nevada Nev.
Arkansas Ark. New Hampshire N.H.
California Calif. New Jersey N.J.
Colorado Colo. New Mexico N.M.
Connecticut Conn. New York N.Y.
Delaware Del. North Carolina N.C.
Florida Fla. North Dakota N.D.
Georgia Ga. Ohio Ohio
Hawaii Hawaii Oklahoma Okla.
Idaho Idaho Oregon Ore.
Illinois Ill. Pennsylvania Pa.
Indiana Ind. Rhode Island R.I.
Iowa Iowa South Carolina S.C.
Kansas Kans. South Dakota S.D.
Kentucky Ky. Tennessee Tenn.
Louisiana La. Texas Texas
Maine Maine Utah Utah
Maryland Md. Vermont Vt.
Massachusetts Mass. Virginia Va.
Michigan Mich. Washington Wash.
Minnesota Minn. West Virginia W.Va.
Mississippi Miss. Wisconsin Wis.
Missouri Mo. Wyoming Wyo.


The writer also can use the two-letter abbreviation when the state’s name is used as an adjective (e.g. the N.C. General Assembly).

US District, Territory, and Possession Abbreviations
American Samoa, n/a
District of Columbia, D.C.
Federated States of Micronesia, FSM
Guam, Guam
Marshall Islands, n/a
Northern Mariana Islands, n/a
Palau, Palau
Puerto Rico, P.R.
Virgin Islands, V.I.

Time of Day
• Use periods in “a.m.” and “p.m.” (e.g. The workshop will last from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.)
• Do not write out minutes at the top of the hour. (e.g. The meeting will last from 9-10:30 a.m., not 9:00-10:30 a.m.)
• Always use the words “noon” or “midnight” instead of expressing the time as numerals (12 a.m., 12 p.m.)
• The word “on” is seldom needed when referring to a time or date. “She arrived Thursday” tells the reader the same as “She arrived on Thursday.”

Titles of People
• “Dr. Jones and Dr. Smith” is preferred to “Drs. Jones and Smith.”
• Faculty teach; however, they are not to be referred to as teachers. Use correct titles.
• Do not use professor as a title unless the person is a full professor. (Prof. is the correct abbreviation.)
• Instructor is a title and should only be used for those who hold that rank.
• Faculty is a collective noun that uses a singular verb.
• Use “department head,” not “chairman,” “chairwoman,” “chairperson” or “chair.”
• For more information about titles, see Capitalization.
• The word “emeritus” (male) or “emerita” (female) follows “professor” for those retired faculty members who hold the rank. (e.g. He is a professor emeritus of history.)

Titles of Works
Place the titles of the following works in quotation marks:
• books, poems, stories, book chapters, essays, academic articles
• dissertations
• television programs
• lectures, speeches, presentation titles
• musical compositions
• movies
• plays
• works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures)

Do not place the titles of the following inside quotation marks:
• journals
• magazines
• newspapers

Word Preferences
Express the following using one word:
• database
• freelance, freelancer
• fundraiser
• fundraising
• lifelong
• teenage, teenager
• underway
• website
• webmaster

Use two words to express the following:
• course work
• health care
• home page
• Piedmont Triad
• work force

Use hyphens to express the following words:
• campus-wide
• university-wide
• pre-dentistry
• pre-medicine
• pre-veterinary medicine
• “Pre-service,” “in-service,” and “pre-college” are all hyphenated. They should only be used when writing for an audience that clearly understands what they mean (such as those currently enrolled in the School of Education).

Additional word preferences:
• Use “titled,” not “entitled.”
• “Ensure” means to guarantee. “Insure” is used in reference to insurance.
• Avoid using “academician,” “academe,” and “academia.”
• Use “advisor,” not “adviser.”
• Use “among,” not “amongst.”
• Use “backward,” not “backwards;” “toward,” not “towards;” “forward,” not “forwards.”
• Use “totaling,” not “totalling.”
• Use “traveling,” not “travelling;” “traveled,” not “travelled.”
• Do not use “Inc.” or “Ltd.” after a business name unless the business name can be confused with the name of a person.
• Company can be abbreviated “Co.” if needed after a business name to distinguish the business from a person with the same name.
• Use “an” not “a” when preceding a word that starts with a vowel sound. The word “historic” should be preceded by “a” not “an.” (e.g. It was a historic moment.)

World Wide Web
• Capitalize “World Wide Web.”
• Do not capitalize “web” when it refers to “World Wide Web.”
• Express “website” as one word.
• Lowercase “internet.”
• Place URLs in italics when used in text.
• Use “online,” not “on-line.”
• Use “email” not “e-mail,” “E-mail,” “E-Mail” or “Email.”
• Use “webmaster,” not “Web master,” “Webmaster” or “web master.”
• Express “home page” using two words.