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Keene State College Style Guide

Updated 5/2013.

  1. Preamble
  2. Abbreviations/acronyms
  3. Academic courses
  4. Academic degrees
  5. Academic departments, offices, programs, schools
  6. Academic distinctions
  7. Academic majors, minors
  8. Academic titles
  9. Addresses
  10. Adverbs ending in “ly”
  11. Ages
  12. Alma mater
  13. Alumni
  14. Ampersand
  15. Apostrophes, possessives
  16. Aspire
  17. Awards
  18. Blogs and blog entries
  19. Buildings, facilities
  20. Capitalization
  21. Centuries/decades
  22. Class year
  23. Clubs, committees, councils
  24. Commas
  25. Dash
  26. Dates
  27. Double spaces
  28. Ellipses
  29. Email
  30. Emerita, emeritus, emeriti, emeritae
  31. Events, initiatives
  32. Exhibitions
  33. Fewer, less
  34. Foreign Words
  35. Holidays
  36. Hyphens and readability
  37. Hyphen with word space
  38. Lectures
  39. Lists
  40. Money
  41. Mottos
  42. Musical Works
  43. Nondiscrimination
  44. Numbers (also see Money)
  45. Offices
  46. On campus, on-campus
  47. Over, more than
  48. Paintings, statues, and such
  49. Percentages
  50. Prefixes
  51. Publications
  52. Poems
  53. Quotation marks
  54. Semicolon
  55. Signs
  56. Sports Terms
  57. States
  58. Telephone numbers
  59. Temperature
  60. That, which
  61. Time
  62. United States
  63. Websites and web pages
  64. Who, whom
  65. Word list


To achieve consistency in Keene State’s written communications and publications, the Marketing and Communications Office has developed an editorial style guide for the campus community. The style guide offers general editorial guidelines for writers and editors. Keene State College uses The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) as its primary style guide. However, some CMS rules are better designed for reference publications than for our purposes, and therefore CMS is not consistently reflected in this style guide. For style issues not addressed in this guide, we turn to The Associated Press Stylebook. Our primary reference book on spelling is Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Online. Additionally, we recommend a number of other helpful reference books, including Words Into Type, Garner’s Modern American Usage, The Copyeditor’s Handbook, and The Yahoo! Style Guide.

For style questions or further assistance, please contact Jane Eklund ( in the Marketing and Communications Office.


Abbreviations and acronyms/initialisms should be used only after spelling out the words on first usage.

Students who earned a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) or above and maintained at least 12 credit hours were named to the Dean’s List last spring. They need to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 each semester to remain on the Dean’s List.

Exceptions can be made for widely understood initialisms such as FBI, CIA, and GOP.

Academic courses

  • Capitalize the proper names of individual courses.
    Students can take Topics in Writing, an elective arts and humanities course for the women’s studies minor.
  • Lowercase fields of study in general, unless they include a proper noun or adjective.
    She studies biology, but her brother is interested in American history and English.

Academic degrees

  • Abbreviations of academic degrees require no period after each element in the abbreviation and no internal spaces (See CMS 15.21): PhD, MA, BA, BS
  • When academic degrees follow a person’s name in the middle of a sentence, the degree is set off by commas: Joseph Carroll, PhD, was the featured speaker.
  • Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically. a master’s degree (never bachelors and masters degrees), a doctorate, a fellowship, master of arts (MA), bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of fine arts (BFA), doctor of philosophy (PhD)
  • If a person has more than one degree from the college, place a comma and space between the class years: Anne Morrow Lindbergh ’73, ’75
  • Do not use a courtesy title such as “Dr.” and “Mrs.” when including an individual’s academic degree: Dr. Arnold Robinson or Arnold Robinson, PhD, not Dr. Arnold Robinson, PhD.

Academic departments, offices, programs, schools

According to the College’s preference, capitalize the name of a department and the words “department,” and “program” only when they appear as part of an official name: Arts and Humanities Department, Continuing Education Office, Early Sprouts Program. On subsequent references, do not capitalize “department,” or “program” when standing alone.

She is a faculty member of the Education Department.
Each month she attends the department’s faculty meeting.

For official names of departments and programs, consult the most recent edition of the Keene State College Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog.

Academic distinctions

Lowercase distinctions and set (no italics) as follows: cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude

Academic majors, minors

Capitalize the College’s majors and minors only when they form part of a department name or an official course name or are themselves proper nouns (e.g., English, Latin). Lowercase majors and minors when referring to a subject area or academic field of study in general.

He is an English major with a minor in film studies.
but Jonas is chair of the Committee on Film Studies.

Academic titles

  • Capitalize a person’s title when put before the name.
    Arts and Humanities Dean Nona Fienberg
    but Karrie Kalich, health science professor
  • Do not capitalize titles when listed after a name or titles that do not include a name.
    Let’s invite the vice president to the event.
    Patty Farmer is the director of Keene State’s Alumni and Parent Relations Office.
    but Patty Farmer, director of alumni and parent relations, led the discussion.
  • Exceptions: In formal contexts as opposed to running text, such as a displayed list of donors in the front matter of a book, titles are usually capitalized even when following a personal name. Exceptions may also be called for in promotional or other contexts for reasons of courtesy or politics.
    Chad Cassin, Online Communications Manager


The address for KSC is as follows:

Keene State College
229 Main Street
Keene, NH 03435

  • In narrative text (as in KST), spell out state names and words such as road, street, avenue:
    She was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, but moved to Boston at the age of 10.
    They found the buried treasure at the intersection of State and Main streets.
  • In brochures, captions, bylines, or other service information, abbreviate as follows (preferred by the US Postal Service):
    • States: AZ, CA, CT, MA, ME, NH, PA, VT, etc.
    • Streets, roads, etc.: Ave., Bldg., Hwy., Ln., Rd., Rte., Sq., St., Tnpk., jct., exit 2 off I-91

Adverbs ending in “ly”

Compounds formed by an adverb ending in ly plus an adjective or participle (such as largely irrelevant or smartly dressed) are not hyphenated either before or after a noun, since ambiguity is virtually impossible.


Use numerals, except for decades.

age 7, 5-year-old, 16-year-old, 6-month-old, 3- and 4-year-olds, 85 years old
40-something, but in her forties (to differentiate from the 1940s or the ’40s)

Alma mater

As a familiar and commonly used foreign word, “alma mater” should not be capitalized or italicized.


Identify alumni in the following manner:

  • alumna: feminine singular
  • alumnae: feminine plural
  • alumnus: masculine singular
  • alumni: masculine plural or masculine and feminine plural


Spell out in most instances. Use an ampersand only when it is part of an official title: Church & Main. Don’t use an ampersand in courtesy titles: (incorrect) Mr. & Mrs. Taylor. Never use an ampersand in place of the word “and” in text. Don’t use a serial comma before an ampersand: The store is called Flowers, Nuts & Berries.

Apostrophes, possessives

  • The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s (the horse’s mouth), and the possessive of plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals that do not end in s: children’s literature) by adding an apostrophe only (puppies’ paws). The general rule covers most proper nouns, including names ending in s (Dickens’s novels), x (Malraux’s masterpiece), or z (Inez’s diary), in both their singular (Williams’s reputation) and their plural forms (the Williamses’ new house), as well as letters (DR’s legacy) and numbers (1999’s heaviest snowstorm —but— 1990s).
  • When the singular form of a noun ending in s looks like a plural and the plural form is the same as the singular, the possessive of both singular and plural is formed by the addition of an apostrophe only. If ambiguity threatens, use of to avoid the possessive.
    this species’ first record (or, better, the first record of this species) The same rule applies when the name of a place or an organization is a plural form ending in s, such as the United States, even though the entity is singular: the United States’ role in international law
  • For … sake expressions traditionally omit the s when the noun ends in an s or an s sound.
    for goodness’ sake
  • Closely linked nouns are considered a single unit in forming the possessive when the entity “possessed” is the same for both; only the second element takes the possessive form. When the entities are different, both nouns take the possessive form.
    my aunt and uncle’s house
    but my aunt’s and uncle’s specific talents
    our friends’ and neighbors’ children
  • Certain expressions are based on the old genitive case. The genitive here implies of.
    an hour’s delay
    in three days’ time
    six months’ leave of absence (or a six-month leave of absence)
  • Decades: No apostrophe appears between the year and the s.
    the 1980s and 1990s (or, less formally, the 1980s and ’90s)
  • Letters and abbreviations: Capital letters used as words and abbreviations that contain no interior periods by adding s (no apostrophe appears).
    the three Rs vol., vols., CDs, URLs
  • To avoid confusion, lowercase letters and abbreviations with two or more interior periods or with both capital and lowercase letters form the plural with an apostrophe and an s.
    x’s and y’s
    MA’s and PhD’s


Aspire is not an acronym; therefore it is spelled with a capital “A” only: Aspire


Capitalize the word award only when it is part of the official name.

Blogs and blog entries

Titles of named blogs should be italicized. An initial “the” should be treated as part of the title. Titles of blog entries should be placed in quotation marks.

“A Beaujolais Maker’s Pain,” in The Pour, a blog by Eric Asimov in the New York Times

Buildings, facilities

Administrative Buildings

  • Alumni Center
  • Barry Alumni House
  • Centennial Hall
  • Center for Writing
  • Cheshire House
  • Elliot Center
  • Fiske Annex
  • Grafton House
  • Hale
  • President’s House
  • Residential Life Office
  • 115 Winchester Street
  • L. P. Young Student Center

Academic Buildings

  • Adams Technology Building
  • Blake House
  • Butterfield Hall
  • David F. Putnam Science Center
  • Joslin House
  • Mason Library
  • Media Arts Center
  • Morrison Hall
  • Parker Hall
  • Redfern Arts Center
  • Rhodes Hall
  • Sculpture Studio
  • Rec Center/Spaulding Gym
  • Technology, Design, and
  • Safety Center (TDS Center)
  • Whitcomb Building

Residential Buildings

  • 84-85 Blake Street
  • Bushnell Apartments
  • Butler Court
  • Carle Hall
  • Carroll House
  • Fiske Hall
  • Holloway Hall
  • Huntress Hall
  • Keddy House
  • 8-10 Madison Street
  • Merrimack House
  • Monadnock Hall 18
  • Owl’s Nest
  • Pondside Apartments
  • Pondside Hall
  • Pondside III
  • Proctor House
  • Randall Hall
  • Tisdale Apartments

Additional Facilities

  • Laundry
  • Recycling and Kiln
  • Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery
  • Visitor Information Booth
  • Zorn Dining Commons


  • Professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name (usually replacing the title holder’s first name). Titles are lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name (but see exceptions below).
    the professor; Sara Hottinger, professor of women’s studies; Professor Hottinger
    the director; William R. Menezes, director of the Redfern Arts Center; Director Menezes
    the president; Helen F. Giles-Gee, president of Keene State College; President Giles-Gee
    the dean; Nona Fienberg, dean of arts and humanities; Dean Fienberg
  • Exceptions to the general rule: In formal contexts as opposed to running text, such as a displayed list of donors in the front matter of a book, titles are usually capitalized even when following a personal name. Exceptions may also be called for in promotional or other contexts for reasons of courtesy or politics: Nona Fienberg, Dean of Arts and Humanities
  • When a title is used in apposition before a personal name, not as part of the name but as a descriptive tag, and often with the, it is lowercased.
    the empress Elizabeth of Austria
    the former presidents Reagan and Clinton
    the then secretary of state Madeleine Albright, but Secretary of State Albright
  • Terms denoting student status are lowercased. —freshman or first-year student, sophomore, junior, senior
  • Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referred to generically.
    a master’s degree, a doctorate, a fellowship, master of business administration


Lowercase, spelling out numbers one through nine.

  • Centuries: mid-1700s, mid-17th century (n.), mid-17th-century (adj.), but ninth century
  • Decades: 1950s, mid-1950s, the ’50s, mid-’50s

Class year

Class years should appear after a graduate’s name in college publications. Identify KSC alumni by their class year(s) with an apostrophe before the year. The apostrophe should slant to the right.
Holly Golightly ’61 plans to attend Homecoming Weekend next fall.
class of ’79

Clubs, committees, councils

The full and official names of clubs, committees, and other college organizations and groups should be capitalized. In subsequent references, when referring to the “club” or “team,” lowercase the word.


Following are The Chicago Manual of Style’s preferences for comma placement.

  • Appositives: A word, abbreviation, phrase, or clause that is in apposition to a noun is set off by commas if it is nonrestrictive – that is, omittable, containing supplementary rather than essential information: My older sister, Betty, taught me the alphabet. If it is restrictive – essential to the noun it belongs to –no commas should appear: My sister Enid lets me hold her doll. (I have two sisters.)
  • Conjunctions between clauses: When independent clauses are joined by and, but, or, so, yet, or any other conjunction, a comma usually precedes the conjunction: The bus never came, so we took a taxi. If the clauses are very short and closely connected, the comma may be omitted: Timothy played the guitar and Betty sang.
  • Compound predicate: A comma is not normally used between the parts of a compound predicate – that is, two or more verbs having the same subject, as distinct from two independent clauses – though it may occasionally be needed to avoid misreading or to indicate a pause.
    He had accompanied Sanford and had volunteered to write the report.
    but She recognized the man who entered the room, and gasped.
  • Comma preceding main clause: A dependent clause that precedes a main clause should be followed by a comma: If you accept our conditions, we shall agree to the proposal.
  • Comma following main clause: A dependent clause that follows a main clause should not be preceded by a comma if it is restrictive, that is, essential to the meaning of the main clause. If it is merely supplementary or parenthetical, it should be preceded by a comma.
    He didn’t run because he was afraid; he ran because it had started to rain.
    but He didn’t run, because he was afraid to move.
  • Comma or no comma between adjectives: When a noun is preceded by two or more adjectives that could, without affecting the meaning, be joined by and, the adjectives are normally separated by commas: Melanie had proved a faithful, sincere friend or It’s going to be a long, hot, exhausting summer. But if the noun and the adjective immediately preceding it are conceived as a unit, such as “political science” or “glass ceiling,” no comma should be used: She has many young friends.
  • Repeated adjective: When an adjective is repeated before a noun, a comma normally appears between the pair: You’re a bad, bad dog!
  • Dates: Do not use a comma between month and year or season and year: April 1993; fall 1994. Use a comma between specific date and year: Apr. 3, 1994. A comma should follow the year when a specific date is mentioned in mid-sentence: Feb. 8, 2006, was the date of the party.
  • “Etc.” and “and so forth”: The abbreviation etc. is both preceded and followed by a comma when it is the final item in a series: Cats, dogs, parrots, etc., in transit must be confined to cages. Such English equivalents as and so forth, and the like, are usually treated the same way.
  • Introductory phrase with comma
    • An adverbial or participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence is usually followed by a comma, especially if a slight pause is intended. —Exhausted by the morning’s work, she lay down for a nap.
    • A single word or a very short introductory phrase does not require a comma except to avoid misreading: On Tuesday he tried to see the mayor, but Before eating, the members of the committee met in the assembly room.
    • A comma is not used after an introductory adverbial or participial phrase that immediately precedes the verb it modifies: Out of the Mercedes stepped the woman we were looking for.
  • “Jr.,” “Sr.,” and the like: Commas are no longer required around Jr. and Sr.: George W. Wilson Jr. has eclipsed his father’s fame. Commas never set off II, III, and such when used as part of a name: John A. Doe III is the son of John A. Doe Jr.
  • “Not,” “not only,” and the like: Whether to place commas around an interjected phrase beginning with not depends largely on whether pauses are intended. Normally, either two commas or none should be used.
    We hoped the mayor herself, not her assistant, would attend the meeting.
    but They were armed not only with petitions but also with evidence.
  • Parenthetical elements: Commas set off parenthetical elements if a slight break is intended. If a stronger break is needed or if there are commas within the parenthetical element, en dashes or parentheses should be used.
    We shall, however, take up the matter at a later date.This road leads away from, rather than toward, your destination.
  • Quoted material: Quoted material, if brief, is usually introduced by a comma; if longer or more formal, by a colon. If a quotation is introduced by that, whether, or a similar conjunction, no comma is needed.
    It was Emerson who wrote, “Blessed are those who have no talent!”Was it Stevenson who said that “the cruelest lies are often told in silence”?
  • Restrictive and nonrestrictive phrases: A phrase that is restrictive, that is, essential to the meaning of the noun it belongs to, should not be set off by commas: The woman wearing a red coat is my sister. A nonrestrictive phrase, however, should be enclosed in commas or, if at the end of a sentence, preceded by a comma: My sister, wearing a red coat, set off for the city.
  • Series:
    • Items in a series are separated by commas and a comma should appear before the conjunction. If the last element consists of a pair joined by and, the pair should still be preceded by a serial comma and the first “and”: The meal consisted of soup, salad, and macaroni and cheese.
    • A comma is not needed in a series whose elements are all joined by conjunctions, unless the elements are long and pauses helpful.
      Is it by Snodgrass or Shapiro or Brooks?
      You can turn left at the second fountain and right when you reach the temple, or turn left at the third fountain and left again at the statue of Venus, or just ask a local person how to get there.
    • When elements in a series involve internal punctuation, they should be separated by semicolons.
      You are advised to pack (1) warm, sturdy outer clothing and enough underwear to last 10 days; (2) two pairs of boots, two pairs of sneakers, and plenty of socks; and (3) binoculars and a camera.
  • “The more,” “the less,” and so on: A comma should be used between clauses of the more … the more type but not between short phrases of that type.
    The more I read about Winterbottom, the more I like her.
    The less you eat, the better
    —but The more the merrier.


There are several types of dashes. The following are the most common uses:

  • Hyphen (-): Use in compound words and names and in word division. A hyphen is also used to separate numbers, such as telephone numbers and social security numbers, as well as months, time, and days (8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., Sept. 9-Oct. 10). In this use it signifies up to and including (or through).
  • En dash (–): Use to set off an amplifying or explanatory element. (Commas, parentheses, or a colon may perform a similar function.) Insert spaces before and after the dash: The people – the ones who were the most interested – made a special effort to attend the meeting.
    NOTE: An MCO designer may choose to change/use a longer dash (—) for aesthetic purposes, but editors should still use the hyphen (in dates, etc., as explained above) and en dash in the copyediting stage to maintain a consistent style.


In the month-day-year style of dates, commas are used both before and after the year. Where month and year only are given, or a specific day (such as a holiday) with a year, neither system uses a comma.
The ship sailed on October 6, 1999, for Southampton.
In March 2003 she turned 70.
On Thanksgiving Day 1998 they celebrated their 75th anniversary.

In event listings, brochures, or other service information, abbreviate as follows:

  • Days: Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.
  • Months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
  • Months and days should be abbreviated consistently throughout: The exhibit runs Mon.-Fri., Aug. 23-Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Double spaces

Despite what your high school typing teacher told you, printed and online publications should not have double spaces between sentences or following colons. A single space is sufficient.


Ellipses indicate the omission of words from quoted text. Separate the points from surrounding copy with spaces. Four points indicate the omission of the end of a sentence, the first part of the next sentence, or a whole sentence or more. Treat the first point as the period.


No hyphen in email. Use a lowercase “e” unless the word begins a sentence. Email addresses for publications should be written as follows:

Emerita, emeritus, emeriti, emeritae

These honorary titles are designated to specific individuals who have retired from their positions and should be used in conjunction with these individual’s former titles.

  • emerita: single feminine
  • emeritus: single masculine
  • emeriti: plural masculine
  • emeritae: plural feminine

Events, initiatives

Capitalize the full names of formal events and special services held at the college: Commencement, Honors Convocation, Parent/Family Weekend, Homecoming Weekend. Lowercase abbreviated versions of the formal event:
The new students must attend Student Orientation.
They receive orientation materials at the registration desk.


Titles of large-scale exhibitions are capitalized but not italicized: New York World’s Fair. Smaller exhibitions (e.g., at museums) and the titles of exhibition catalogs (often one and the same) are italicized.
A remarkable exhibition, On Gilded Pond: The Life and Times of the Dublin Art Colony, was mounted at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery.

Fewer, less

Use fewer for countable things – fewer people, calories, grocery items, suggestions. Reserve less for mass amounts – for example, less salt, dirt, water. One easy guideline is to use “less” with singular nouns and “fewer” with plural nouns.

Foreign Words

  • Italics are used for isolated words and phrases in a foreign language if they are likely to be unfamiliar to readers. Foreign words and phrases familiar to most readers and listed in Webster are not italicized if used in an English context; they should be spelled as in Webster.
    The grève du zèle is not a true strike but a nitpicking obeying of work rules.
  • A translation following a foreign word, phrase, or title is enclosed in parentheses or quotation marks.
    The word she wanted was pécher (to sin), not pêcher (to fish).


The names of secular and religious holidays or specially designated days or seasons are capitalized.

  • All Fools’ Day
  • Christmas, Christmas Day
  • Easter
  • Father’s Day
  • the Fourth of July, the Fourth
  • Halloween
  • Hanukkah
  • Independence Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • Labor Day
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • National Poetry Month
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Passover
  • Patriots’ Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Rosh Hashanah
  • Saint Patrick’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Veterans Day (no apostrophe)
  • Yom Kippur


  • D-day
  • election day
  • inauguration day

Hyphens and readability

A hyphen can make for easier reading by showing structure and, often, pronunciation. Words that might otherwise be misread, such as “re-creation”, should be hyphenated. Hyphens can also eliminate ambiguity. The hyphen in “much-needed clothing” shows that the clothing is badly needed rather than abundant and needed. Where no ambiguity could result, as in public welfare administration or “graduate student housing”, hyphenation is not mandatory. See CMS 7.90 for general compound patterns.

Hyphen with word space

When the second part of a hyphenated expression is omitted, the hyphen is retained, followed by a word space.
Chicago- or Milwaukee-bound passengers
five- to 10-minute intervals
but a five-by-eight-foot rug (a single entity)


Names of lecture series are capitalized. Individual lectures are capitalized and usually enclosed in quotation marks.
The Grayson Lecture Series is devoted to literary studies. The first lecture, “Does Art Imitate Life?,” was a success.


In a bulleted list, the bullet takes the place of commas or semicolons between items. When your bulleted items are sentences, capitalize the first letter of each and use appropriate end punctuation. When they consist of single words or phrases, lowercase is best.


Use the dollar sign and numbers when representing money in text. Do not use a decimal and two zeros unless the number of cents must be specified.
She spent $25 on her psychology textbook and $8.50 on new stationery.

For amounts of $1 million or more, use the $ sign and numerals up to two decimal points. In general, avoid long numbers with lots of zeroes, as in 7,000,000,000. Do not link the numerals and the word by a hyphen: The benefactor established a new $1.5 million endowment.


Mottoes may be treated the same way as signs. If the wording is in another language, it is usually italicized and only the first word capitalized.
The flag bore the motto Don’t Tread on Me.
Souvent me souviens is the motto of my alma mater.
The motto “Enter to learn; go forth to serve” is engraved on the Appian Gateway.

Musical Works

Titles of operas, oratorios, tone poems, and other long musical compositions are italicized. Titles of songs are set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks, capitalized in the same way as poems.
Handel’s Messiah
“The Star-Spangled Banner”


KSC’s communications should reflect our commitment to equal opportunity and nondiscriminatory practices in all aspects of employment and education. Respect and a balanced representation should be given regarding gender, race, ethnic group, age, and ability. Nondiscriminatory principles apply to all written materials.

Numbers (also see Money)

Spell out numbers one through nine, use numerals for 10 and above, except for dates, times, and prices. Spell out any number at the beginning of a sentence or rewrite the sentence to avoid starting with a figure. Telephone numbers with area codes – 800-358-2102, 603-358-2102 – have no parentheses. In amounts less than a dollar, write as figures and spell out the word “cents”: 85 cents. With percentages, use figures and write out “percent”: 25 percent.
There are seven women and 11 men in the group.
The residence hall is 50 percent male.
A small cup of coffee costs 85 cents at the bookstore.


  • Capitalize the word “office” only when it is part of an official name: Business Office. In subsequent references, lowercase “office” when it stands alone.
  • Capitalize Admissions, Aspire, Marketing and Communications, Human Resources, and other offices whose names are recognizable even without the word “office.”
  • The word “office” should come at the end of an official name (Continuing Education Office) rather than before it (Office of Continuing Education).

On campus, on-campus

“On-campus” is used as an adjective to modify a noun: Students live in on-campus housing. “On campus” is used to modify a verb: She works on campus.

Over, more than

“Over” refers to spatial relationships: The shelf is over my head. “More than” refers to numbers or amounts.
The group raised more than $60.
More than 50 people attended.

Paintings, statues, and such

Titles of paintings, drawings, photographs, statues, and other works of art are italicized, whether the titles are original, added by someone other than the artist, or translated. The names of works of antiquity (whose creators are often unknown) are usually set in roman.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and The Last Supper
North Dome, one of Ansel Adams’s photographs of Kings River Canyon
the Venus de Milo


Spell out the word percent except in scientific, technical, and statistical copy, and express the amounts as numerals, except when it begins the sentence.
Eighty percent of the faculty attended the meeting.
More than 90 percent of the class passed the test.


  • Compounds formed with prefixes are normally closed, whether they are nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

  • A hyphen should appear, however, (1) before a capitalized word or a numeral, such as sub-Saharan, pre-1950; (2) before a compound term, such as non-self-sustaining, pre–Vietnam War; (3) to separate combinations of letters or syllables that might cause misreading, such as anti-intellectual, pro-life; (4) when a prefix or combining form stands alone, such as over- and underused, macro- and microeconomics.

  • The spellings shown below conform largely to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Compounds formed with combining forms not listed here, such as auto, tri, and para, follow the same pattern.

  • ante: antebellum, antenatal, antediluvian

  • anti: antihypertensive, antihero, but anti-inflammatory, anti-Hitlerian

  • bi: binomial, bivalent, bisexual

  • bio: bioecology, biophysical, biosociology

  • co: coequal, coauthor, coeditor, coordinate, cooperation, but co-opt, co-worker

  • counter: counterclockwise, counterrevolution

  • cyber: cyberspace, cyberstore 11

  • extra: extramural, but extra-administrative

  • hyper: hypertension, hyperactive, hypertext

  • infra: infrasonic, infrastructure

  • inter: interorganizational, interfaith

  • intra: intrazonal, intramural, but intra-arterial

  • macro: macroeconomics, macromolecular

  • mega: megavitamin, megamall, mega-annoyance (hyphenate before words beginning with a)

  • meta: metalanguage, metaethical, but meta-analysis (not the same as metanalysis)

  • micro: microeconomics, micromethodical

  • mid: midthirties, a midcareer event, midcentury, but mid-July, the mid-1990s, the mid-twentieth century, mid-twentieth-century history

  • mini: minivan, minimarket

  • multi: multiauthor, multiconductor, but multi-institutional

  • neo: neonate, neoorthodox, Neoplatonism

  • non: nonviolent, nonevent, nonnegotiable, but non-beer-drinking

  • over: overmagnified, overshoes, overconscientious

  • post: postdoctoral, postmodernism, postseason, posttraumatic, but post-Vietnam

  • pre: premodern, preregistration, preseason, prewar, preempt, but Pre-Raphaelite

  • pro: proindustrial, promarket, but pro-life, pro-Canadian

  • proto: protolanguage, protogalaxy, protomartyr

  • pseudo: pseudotechnocrat, pseudomodern, but pseudo-Tudor

  • re: reedit, reunify, reproposition, but re-cover, re-creation (as distinct from recover, recreation)

  • semi: semiopaque, semiconductor, but semi-invalid

  • socio: socioeconomic, sociocultural, sociolinguistics

  • sub: subbasement, subzero, subcutaneous

  • super: superannuated, supervirtuoso, superpowerful

  • supra: supranational, suprarenal, supraorbital, but supra-American

  • trans: transsocietal, transmembrane, transcontinental, transatlantic, but trans-American

  • ultra: ultrasophisticated, ultraorganized, ultraevangelical

  • un: unfunded, unneutered, but un-English, un-unionized

  • under: underemployed, underrate, undercount


  • Titles of books, journals, newspapers, and other freestanding publications as well as shorter works (stories), plays and films, radio and television programs (episodes of TV shows are set of in quotation marks), long musical compositions (titles of songs are set with quotation marks), art exhibits, and artworks including photographs are italicized.
    The Keene Sentinel
    Campus News
    Keene State Today
    KSC Newsline
  • Presentations, “The Simple Art,” titles of articles, and features in periodicals and newspapers, chapter and part titles, titles of songs, short stories, or essays, and individual selections in books are set in roman type and enclosed in quotation marks.


Quoted 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.
Robert Frost’s poem “The Housekeeper” in his collection A Boy’s Will
Dante’s Inferno

Quotation marks

  • The period and comma always go inside the quotation marks.
    He said, “I’m leaving,” or “I’m leaving,” he said.
  • The dash, semicolon, question mark, and exclamation point go inside the quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted matter: He yelled, “Stop!” Can you believe he actually yelled, “Stop”?
  • Direct quotation: When reporting the exact words of speakers or writers, surround their words with quotation marks: “I have no intention of staying,” he said.
  • For dialogue or conversation, place each person’s words in a separate paragraph, with quotation marks at the beginning and the end of each person’s speech. If a person speaks continuously for more than one paragraph, place quotation marks at the beginning of every paragraph in the speech, but do not place quotation marks at the end of paragraphs until the final paragraph in the speech.
  • Single quotation marks: Use only when quotes appear inside a quotation. There are no spaces between the single and double quotations.
    “He told her, ‘I don’t need this class.’”


Use a semicolon to separate multiple phrases when some of the phrases contain commas. Use a semicolon to join main clauses not joined by coordinating conjunctions (third example).
The library has an extensive microfilm collection; an audiovisual department; facilities for typing, photocopying, and studying; and archives, exhibits, and special collections.
The new house is almost complete; the interest rate is 9 percent.


Specific wording of common short signs or notices is capitalized headline style in running text. A longer notice is better treated as a quotation.
The door was marked Authorized Personnel Only.
She encountered the usual Thank You for Not Smoking signs.
We were puzzled by the notice “Anyone entering this store with no intention of making a purchase will leave disappointed.”

Sports Terms

Please refer to The Associated Press Stylebook and the word list in this guide.


When standing alone, write out state names. When states appear in text with a town or city, write out the state or abbreviate according to U.S. Postal (P.O.) abbreviations.

State Name (P.O.)

  • Alabama (AL)
  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • Arkansas (AR)
  • California (CA)
  • Colorado (CO)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • Delaware (DE)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Florida (FL)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Hawaii (HI)
  • Idaho (ID)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Indiana (ID)
  • Iowa (IA)
  • Kansas (KS)
  • Kentucky (KY)
  • Louisiana (LA)
  • Maine (ME)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Minnesota (MN)
  • Missouri (MO)
  • Mississippi (MS)
  • Montana (MT)
  • Nebraska (NE)
  • Nevada (NV)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New Mexico (NM)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Carolina (NC)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Ohio (OH)
  • Oklahoma (OK)
  • Oregon (OR)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • Rhode Island (RI)
  • South Carolina (SC)
  • South Dakota (SD)
  • Tennessee (TN)
  • Texas (TX)
  • Utah (UT)
  • Vermont (VT)
  • Virginia (VA)
  • Washington (WA)
  • West Virginia (WV)
  • Wisconsin (WI)
  • Wyoming (WY)

Telephone numbers

Telephone numbers should be written as follows:

  • On campus: 8-2147
  • Off campus: 603-358-2147


Use figures unless the temperature is zero: It’s minus 5 degrees.

That, which

There is a difference between that and which. Use that for restrictive clauses – clauses that are essential to the meaning of the sentence. Use which for nonrestrictive clauses – clauses that, if removed, would not change the meaning of the sentence. Set off the nonrestrictive clause with commas.
The book that she wanted was not in the library.
The books, which are on the kitchen table, are overdue at the library.


Times should be written without a colon or double zeros, unless listing a specific time after the hour: The reception begins at 7 p.m., with dinner at 7:45 p.m. In prose, the “a” and “p” and “m” in “a.m.” and “p.m.” should always be lowercased and followed by periods. The words “noon” and “midnight” should be lowercased. (Styles may vary for invitations and event listings.)

United States

Spell out when used as a noun. Use US only as an adjective.
She lives in the United States and carries a US passport.

Websites and web pages

General titles of websites mentioned or cited in text or notes are normally set in roman, headline-style, without quotation marks. An initial the in such titles should be lowercased in midsentence. Titled sections, pages, or special features on a website should be placed in quotation marks.
Google; Google Maps; the “Google Maps Help Center”
Facebook, MySpace, and other social-networking sites
Twitter, but tweet (low case)

Some websites share the name of a printed counterpart: The Chicago Manual of Style Online; the online edition of The Chicago Manual of Style; “Chicago Style Q&A”; “New Questions and Answers”

Other web terms, and their correct spellings, include:

  • dot com (n.)
  • dot-com (adj.)
  • email
  • home page
  • HTML: Hypertext markup language
  • http: hypertext transfer protocol
  • Internet
  • log in
  • log on
  • offline
  • online
  • web
  • webcast
  • web page
  • website
  • World Wide Web

Who, whom

An easy way to determine which to use is to turn a clause into a sentence. Who is a nominative and therefore would match she or he, for example, in usage terms. Whom would match her.
Alice, who had been with the company for 30 years, was eligible for retirement. [She (not her) had been with the company for 30 years.]
Whom should I ask? [Should I ask her (not she)?]

Word list

  • a cappella
  • All-America (referring to the team)
  • All-American (referring to an individual)
  • ambience
  • Aspire
  • athletics director
  • avant-garde
  • ball field, ball game, but ballpark, ballplayer
  • best known, better known (adj.; no hyphen in comparative and superlative forms)
  • best-seller, best-selling novel
  • catalog vs. catalogue
  • CELT
  • chamber music concert series
  • cross country
  • Division of Continuing Education and
  • Extended Studies
  • drop-off (n., adj.)
  • Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC)
  • e-mail, e-newsletter
  • firsthand (adj.)
  • folk art, folk song
  • full-time (adj., pred. adj.)
  • fund-raiser, fund-raising
  • front line
  • FY ’08 (fiscal year 2008)
  • grade-schooler
  • grand-prize winner
  • high school (n., adj.), high school-aged (adj.)
  • high-speed Internet access
  • Lakes Region, Monadnock Region
  • lineup
  • Little East Conference (LEC), All-LEC
  • Lloyd P. Young Student Center, L. P. Young
  • Student Center, Student Center
  • longtime
  • most valuable player (MVP)
  • Mountain View Room
  • North Woods (usually sing.)
  • number one (n., adj.)
  • OK
  • online
  • points per game (PPG)
  • postseason, preseason
  • premier chef (best, ranked first of its type; adj.)
  • premiere of a movie (first performance; n.)
  • prizewinning, Pulitzer Prize winner (n.),
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning (adj.)
  • rebounds per game (RPG)
  • runner-up, runners-up
  • Saul O Sidore, Sidore Series
  • schoolmate
  • schoolteacher
  • School of Sciences and Social Sciences
  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Professional and Graduate Studies
  • service learning (n.), service-learning (adj.)
  • South, Southerner (U.S. region),
  • Southwestern, but southern France (l.c. as geographic location)
  • sportscaster
  • still life
  • thank-you (n., adj.)
  • The Keene Sentinel
  • The New York Times
  • theatre vs. theater (use “theater” if it’s part of an official name – American College Theater Festival)
  • third-seed
  • T-shirt
  • TV
  • United States (n.), US (adj.)
  • Vanguard sportsmanship award
  • Veterans Day
  • Washington, D.C.
  • website
  • weeklong (adj.)
  • well-known (adj.), well known (pred. adj.)
  • year-round (adj., pred. adj.)

Contact Marketing & Communications

Paul Miller
Director of Strategic Communications
☎ 358-2147