University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance

Links

Editorial

Download Editorial Style Guide
100.84 KB
ZIP

A consistent editorial style is essential to effective communication. This Editorial Style Guide is intended to help writers and editors communicate a uniform voice across the UMass Amherst brand. It provides suggestions for word choice and usage and recommends ways to present information about the university and its faculty, departments, research centers, and events. It also addresses the most common questions that arise at UMass about titles and tricky wording.

The university follows The Chicago Manual of Style (chicagomanualofstyle.org) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (merriam-webster.com). Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage provides authoritative answers on grammar and word usage. Campus communicators who write or edit periodical copy or press releases may also rely heavily on The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (apstylebook.com). For easy access to extensive dictionary definitions, dated examples of usage, and regular updates, consult the Oxford English Dictionary (www.oed.com).


Voice and Tone

University of Massachusetts Amherst communications should be active, clear, bold, confident, vibrant, and authentic, reflective of the university’s position as the flagship campus of America’s education state.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In the appropriate context, acceptable names for the institution are:

University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts
UMass (not UMASS)
UMass Amherst

In referring to the Amherst campus, the largest and oldest of the UMass system's five campuses, take into account the purpose and audience of the publication in question.

In addressing alumni and certain national audiences who have been found to strongly associate the word UMass with the flagship campus, UMass or the University of Massachusetts may stand alone. (The formality of the text should guide your choice of terms.)

Where confusion with the other campuses in the system could result, and in communications with legislators, UMass Amherst or the University of Massachusetts Amherst should be used.

The University of Massachusetts system campuses are:

University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Boston
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of Massachusetts Worcester (individual reference is to the University of Massachusetts Medical School)


Every effort should be made to keep references to the University of Massachusetts on one line in display copy.


University-related Terminology

academic degrees

Omit periods in degree abbreviations whenever possible (allowable in formal contexts or when tradition dictates).

The department does not offer a terminal MA degree; candidates are accepted directly into the PhD program.
 
Master's is always a singular possessive.

To date, the university has awarded 43,351 master's degrees.

Associate degree (not associate's)

academic departments

Capitalize formal department names. Lowercase otherwise unless the name of the department is a proper name.

the Department of History, the history department, the English department

academic rank and specialties

In formal lists of faculty members, always include academic rank and verify that the rank is current.

Curry S. Hicks, Professor of Physical Education

In running text, refer to faculty by their full names on first reference, last name on second and subsequent references.

Curry S. Hicks was a professor of physical education during the Massachusetts State College era.
It is Hicks, of course, after whom the Curry Hicks Cage is named.

It is usually best to avoid the unmodified title "professor" in reference to faculty who have not attained full professorial rank. If specification of rank is not desired, expressions such as these may be used.

George A. Smith, a faculty member in engineering; Mary Clark of the English faculty

alumnus; alumni; alumna; alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. Avoid using the shortened alum.

doctoral; doctorate

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

class years

When referring to an alumnus/alumna in text, include the last two digits of his or her class year after the name with an apostrophe before. Do not use commas to separate names and class years. 

Norm Abram '72 may well be America's most famous carpenter.

When referring to an alumnus/alumna with multiple degrees, list the degrees in the order in which they were received.

In the years since she graduated, Raveena Walsh '79, '85MS, '90PhD has traveled throughout the world.

emeritus, emeriti, emerita, emeritae

Emeritus and emerita are honorary designations and do not simply mean retired.

Use emeritus (or emeriti in the plural) when referring to a man who has received this honor. Use emerita (or emeritae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use emeriti when referring to a group of men and women.


Capitalization

In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. The University of Massachusetts Amherst uses a "down style" of capitalization, in which proper names and adjectives are capitalized, but generic terms, such as university, street, and state are lowercased except when used as part of a formal proper name.

university, colleges, schools, departments and programs

University of Massachusetts; the University of Massachusetts Amherst; UMass, the university
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering; the polymer science and engineering department; polymer science and engineering, the department;
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; the college
School of Public Health and Health Sciences; the school
Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, initial reference: Isenberg on subsequent reference. Not: SOM, ISOM, UMass Isenberg, or Isenberg SOM.

titles of persons

In the down style, the title of a person is capitalized only when that title precedes a name; a title is lowercased when it follows a name or stands alone. (This style does not make exceptions for "very important persons." Such titles as president of the United States, the pope and the dean of students are not exceptions, regardless of the respect otherwise accorded them.)

Chancellor Subbaswamy, Chancellor and Mrs. Subbaswamy, Kumble R. Subbaswamy, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the chancellor

In the most formal, honorific contexts (invitations, event programs) a full "up" style may be used:

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the Chancellor

Never use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. Use Dr. only when the person is a medical doctor, and then only on first reference.

majors, fields, courses of study

Lowercase the names of majors and fields of study unless the name is a proper noun.

Among her friends, Stella counts communications, English, French, and biology majors.
The department is looking for candidates with strong backgrounds in chemistry, physics, or mathematics.

course titles

Use initial caps in course titles.
Analytic Geometry and Trigonometry

Certain academic requirements are capitalized by convention.
By the end of his junior year, he had fulfilled all the General Education requirements.
This course fulfills the Junior Year Writing Requirement for animal science majors.


Alphabetical Listing of Preferred Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, and Usage


A

abbreviations
In running text, use the traditional editorial abbreviations for states (not the postal abbreviations) when they appear in conjunction with a city, and spell out when they stand alone.

He lives in Massachusetts, but went to school in Tampa, Fla.
The company is based in Newark, N. J.

Academic degrees following a person's name are abbreviated and set off by commas.

Don Jones, PhD, has joined the faculty.

When a civil or military title is used before a last name, it should be spelled out. With full names, the title should be abbreviated.

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. (or describe party affiliation in context)

Abbreviate and capitalize Co., Corp., Inc., and Ltd., and do not precede with a comma, except for Five Colleges, Incorporated.
Do not abbreviate street addresses in running text. Exceptions are NW, NE, SE, and SW used in some street addresses.

The construction on Massachusetts Avenue will continue until March.

academic degrees
Omit periods in degree abbreviations whenever possible (allowable in formal contexts or when tradition dictates).

The department does not offer a terminal MA degree; candidates are accepted directly into the PhD program.

Master's is always a singular possessive.

To date, the university has awarded 43,351 master's degrees.

academic departments
Capitalize formal department names. Lowercase otherwise unless the department name is a proper noun.

the Department of History, history department, the English department

academic rank and specialties
In formal lists of faculty members, always include each member's academic rank and verify that the rank is current.

Curry S. Hicks, Professor of Physical Education

In running text, refer to faculty by their full names on first reference, last name on second and subsequent references.

Curry S. Hicks was a professor of physical education during the Massachusetts State College era.
It is Hicks, of course, after whom the Curry Hicks Cage is named.

It is usually best to avoid the unmodified title "professor" in reference to faculty who have not attained full professorial rank. If specification of rank is not desired, expressions such as these may be used.

George A. Smith, a faculty member in engineering; Mary Clark of the English faculty

acronyms
Spell out on first reference with acronym following in parentheses.

The Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) is a student-centered learning agency within the Center for Student Development.

African American
No hyphen is used for either the noun or the adjective. However, note these exceptions.

Afro-American Studies
The W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies

alumnus; alumni; alumna; alumnae
Use alumnus (or alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (or alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. Avoid using the shortened alum.

a.m.; p.m.
Lowercase, with periods and space after the number. Use figures to designate time using a.m. and p.m.

4 p.m.
For noon and midnight, use noon and midnight without the figure 12.

ampersand; and
Do not use the ampersand (&) in running text.

They hosted a reception for friends of music and dance.
The polymer science and engineering website is being redesigned.

The ampersand (&) may be used in running headers, footers, and tabular matter or as part of an official name or title.

Asian Languages & Literatures
German & Scandinavian Studies
Judaic & Near Eastern Studies

U.S. News & World Report lists UMass Amherst as one of the nation's "Great Schools at Great Prices."


B

back up (v.), backup (n. and adj.)
You'll need to back up to avoid the traffic backup caused by the overturned truck carrying backup equipment.

book titles
Italicize titles and subtitles of books, proceedings, collections, periodicals, and newspapers.


C

campus, campuses (plural), campus's (possessive)
campuswide
capitalization
In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. The University of Massachusetts Amherst uses a "down style" of capitalization, in which proper names and adjectives are capitalized, but generic terms such as university, street, and state are lowercased except when used as part of a formal proper name.

university, colleges, schools, departments and programs

University of Massachusetts; the University of Massachusetts Amherst; UMass, the university
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering; the polymer science and engineering department; polymer science and engineering, the department;
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; the college
School of Public Health and Health Sciences; the school
Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, initial reference; Isenberg on subsequent reference. Not: SOM, ISOM, UMass Isenberg, or Isenberg SOM.

Titles of persons

In the down style, the title of a person is capitalized only when that title precedes a name; a title is lowercased when it follows a name or stands alone. (This style does not make exceptions for "very important persons." Such titles as president of the United States, the pope, and the dean of students are not exceptions, regardless of the respect otherwise accorded the office.)

Chancellor Subbaswamy, Chancellor and Mrs. Subbaswamy, Kumble R. Subbaswamy, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the chancellor

In the most formal, honorific contexts (invitations, event programs) a full "up" style may be used.

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the Chancellor

Never use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. Use Dr. only when the person is a medical doctor and then only on first reference.

Majors, fields, courses of study
Lowercase the names of majors and fields of study unless the name is a proper noun.

Among her friends, Stella counts communications, English, French, and biology majors.
The department is looking for candidates with strong backgrounds in chemistry, physics, or mathematics.

Course titles
Use initial caps in course titles.

Analytic Geometry and Trigonometry

Certain academic requirements are capitalized by convention.

By the end of his junior year, he had fulfilled all the General Education requirements.
This course fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement for animal science majors.

catalog
child care
comma
Use commas to separate elements in a series, including the element preceded by "and."

By now she had taken exams in algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Commonly related elements are not separated by punctuation:

The committee considered initiatives in community service learning, recruitment and retention, and research and development.

Use a comma to separate the elements of a location.

Alumnus Jack Roulette, who grew up in Worcester, Mass., now lives in Reno, Nev.

Commas and periods go inside double quotation marks; colons and semicolons outside them.

"I've heard enough," said the director.
The marching band likes to play "Maria."
At reunion, Eliot gave a memorable rendition of "You Gotta Have Heart"; Greta was his inspired accompanist.

Use comma with numbers greater than one thousand.

1,200, 1,343,000, etc.

Commonwealth Honors College
Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the commonwealth
comprise; compose
Use these with care. To comprise is "to be made up of, to include" (the whole comprises the parts). To compose is "to make up, to form the substance of something" (the parts compose the whole). The phrase comprised of, though increasingly common, is poor usage. Instead, use composed of, consisting of, or made up of.

concentrations
Lowercase the names of concentrations unless the name is a proper noun.

Students should declare their intention to follow the biotechnology concentration at the end of their sophomore year.

course titles
Use initial caps
Introduction to Literature

coursework
courtesy titles
Never use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. Use Dr. only when the person is a medical doctor, and then only on first reference.


D

database
dates
Use cardinal, not ordinal, numbers.
April 1, not April 1st; July 4, not July 4th.

Spell out months and days of the week; use numerals for years. Use no punctuation with just month or season and year, but use commas if using the day and month.

May 2012; spring 2010; a June 5, 2012, deadline
Join us on Friday, April 28, for a reception.

day care (n); day-care (adj)
decades
Decades are either spelled out (lowercased) or expressed in numerals.

the nineties
the 1990s, the'90s, the mid-1930s.

decision maker (n); decision making; decision-making (adj)
doctoral; doctorate
Doctoral is an adjective; doctorate a noun.

A person with a doctorate has earned a doctoral degree.

dorms; dormitories
Use residence hall or residence halls instead.

Dr.
Use Dr. only when the person is a medical doctor, and then only on first reference.

DVD; DVDs


E

email

emeritus, emeriti, emerita, emeritae
Emeritus and emerita are honorary designations and do not simply mean retired.

Use emeritus (or emeriti in the plural) when referring to a man who has received this honor. Use emerita (or emeritae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use emeriti when referring to a group of men and women.

ensure; insure
Ensure means to make certain.
Insure means to guarantee against loss (as in to issue an insurance policy). 


F

first-rate (adj) 
This is a first-rate institution. Our faculty is first rate.

first-year student
Five Colleges, Incorporated
The full and formal name of the academic consortium including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Amherst, Hampshire, Mount (not "Mt.") Holyoke, and Smith colleges.

Five Colleges, Incorporated

Subsequent reference may be to the Five Colleges.
The singular form "Five College" is adjectival and not hyphenated:

The Five College consortium was established in 1965.

follow-up (adj preceding a noun); follow up (v)
Founders Day
full-time (adj. preceding a noun); full time (after a verb)
fundraising


G

grade point average (GPA)
Do not hyphenate grade point average or put periods in its abbreviation, GPA. GPAs refer to numbers, not grades.

a GPA of 3.0, not a GPA of B


H

health care (n); health-care (adj)


I

in-depth (adj)
insure; ensure
Insure means to guarantee against loss (as in to issue an insurance policy). 
Ensure means to make certain.

Integrated Sciences Building
Integrative Learning Center
Internet protocol (IP); the Internet; the net; an intranet
iPhone
Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst (first reference)
Isenberg School on subsequent reference. Not: SOM, ISOM, UMass Isenberg or Isenberg SOM.


J

Jr., Sr., II
No punctuation precedes these.

John W. Jones Sr. and Anthony P. Swasey II, but: Jones, John W., Sr., and Swasey, Anthony P., II

judgment


L

land-grant
Hyphenated and lowercased as an adjective, the term refers to the colleges and universities, among them the institutional predecessor of UMass Amherst, founded as a result of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862.

The university must never forget its responsibilities as a land-grant institution.

Life Sciences Laboratories
lifestyle
log in (v); log-in (adj. and n)


M

Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management
McGuirk Alumni Stadium
Minuteman Marching Band
months
Spell out when used alone; abbreviate when used with a specific date.

Mullins Center


N

newspaper and periodical names
Names of newspapers and periodicals are italicized.

numbers
Spell out cardinal and ordinal numbers one through nine. Use numerals for numbers ten and above.

Three, third, 10, 15th, 93, 100

The same rules apply to round numbers in the millions and billions.

eight billion, 10 million people, 140 million people

Use numerals in scores, court decisions, and legislative votes.

a 7–5 victory, a 5–4 ruling, a Senate vote of 34–23

Spell out imprecise numbers.

More than a thousand UMass students are studying abroad.


O

on campus; off campus
on-campus (adj); on campus (adv); off-campus (adj), off campus (adv)

off-campus housing, housing off campus


P

password
percent
Percent is preferred in printed publications although % may be used on web pages or in lists. Unless beginning a sentence, always use numerals in front of the word percent.

a 7 percent solution, not 7 per-cent or 7 per cent or seven percent
but: Seven percent of zero is still zero.

period
Use a single space after the period at the end of a sentence.

plays
Titles of plays are italicized. Parts of plays are lowercased and set in roman type.

possessive
The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s. The possessive of plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals, such as children, that do not end in s) is formed by adding an apostrophe only.
The campus’s growth has accelerated in recent years.
The board members’ comments stunned the crowd.
UMass’s and Massachusetts’s are technically correct but best avoided. Use alternatives such as of the campus, or the commonwealth’s.


S

seasons
Do not capitalize fall, winter, spring, summer.

He took five classes in fall semester.

semicolon
Elements in a series that are punctuated internally should be separated by semicolons.

The meeting was called by the department head and included White, the executive officer; Smith, the chief undergraduate adviser; and Brown, the graduate program director.

sign up (v); sign-up (adj)
social media
startup (n and adj)
states
In running text, state names should generally be spelled out. In brief texts, such as class notes, bibliographies, tabular matter, and  lists, traditional editorial abbreviations may be used. (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah are never abbreviated in texts.)

Postal abbreviations are for mailing purposes only.

A complete list of postal code and traditional abbreviations is found in the Chicago Manual of Style under "Geographical Terms."

statewide


T

theater (but check official names)
titles of persons
Lowercase titles of persons except when used in front of the person's name.

Chancellor Subbaswamy, Chancellor and Mrs. Subbaswamy, Kumble R. Subbaswamy, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the chancellor

In the most formal, honorific contexts (invitations, event programs) a full "up" style may be used.

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the Chancellor

titles of works
Titles and subtitles of books, proceedings, collections, periodicals, and newspapers are italicized, or set in roman type in a sentence otherwise italic.

Look for the Oxford English Dictionary definition.
An article about her appears in the New York Times.

Titles of articles and features in periodicals and newspapers, chapter titles, and titles of short stories and essays are enclosed in quotation marks.

I occasionally look at "Elementary Rules of Usage" in Strunk and White's Elements of Style.

Titles of operas, oratorios, and other long musical compositions are italicized.

Titles of songs and other short compositions are enclosed in quotation marks. Longer works with generic titles are set in regular type, but are not enclosed in quotation marks.

Titles of movies and of television and radio programs and series are italicized. A single episode in a television or radio series is set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks.

Titles of most poems are set in roman type and enclosed in quotation marks. A very long poetic work, especially one constituting a book, is italicized and not enclosed in quotation marks.

Titles of plays are italicized. Parts of plays are lowercased and set in roman type.

Titles of paintings, drawings, photographs, statues, and other works of art are italicized.


U

under way (adv); underway (adj)
United States
(spell out as noun) U.S. (adj), possessive:

China's involvement with the United States.
U.S. involvement in China
U.S. dollars

University of Massachusetts Amherst
the University of Massachusetts Amherst, UMass Amherst, the university

URL (Uniform Resource Locator – individual web address)
Sentences that include a URL should be punctuated normally (avoid use of http:// in print publications).

The UMass home page is at www.umass.edu.

Break addresses, if necessary, before a dot or after a dash.

www.custommascots
.com
www.cakesforstudents-
24/7.com


W

website
W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
work study (n); work-study (adj)
World Wide Web; the web, a website, a web page