This guide provides contributors to The Foundation Review with a source for uniform style, punctuation, and usage rules. Entries are alphabetical.
- The Associated Press Stylebook is the primary authority for style points not addressed here.
- The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, and APA style guide to electronic references are the primary sources for citation format and for any style issue not addressed by the AP or TFR stylebooks.
- Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, is TFR’s primary authority on spelling.
- Mathematics Into Type, by Ellen Swanson and Arlene O’Sean, should be consulted for questions about putting mathematical expressions into manuscript form.
Authors are encouraged to strive for a conversational tone that will engage readers from a wide spectrum of disciplines. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, is a brief and helpful guide to clear, concise writing.
abbreviations and acronyms The Associated Press Stylebook says it best: ”A few universally recognized abbreviations are required in some circumstances. Some others are acceptable depending on the context. But in general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize.”
academic degrees B.A., M.A., Ph.D., bachelors degree, masters degree, doctorate. Preferred: She has a bachelors degree. He has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. NOT: She has a B.A. in journalism.
academic majors Lowercase except for English and foreign languages.
advisor not adviser
adopt, approve, enact, pass Amendments, ordinances, resolutions, and rules are adopted or approved. Bills are passed. Laws areenacted.
addresses Spell out Street, Drive, Boulevard, etc. Spell out North, South, East, West. Do not use periods in SE, NW, etc.
ampersand Acceptable only if part of a proper name: Johnson & Johnson.
ANOVA, ANCOVA Spell out in prose on first reference: analysis of variance, analysis of covariance.
article Use ”article”, not “paper”: “In this article we discuss ….”
chairman, chairwoman, chair
colon Don’t use it to introduce a list unless what precedes the colon is a complete sentence.
comma Serial comma is used: ”The flags were blue, green, red, and white,” NOT: “…blue, green, red and white.”
community change (adj.)
community development (adj.)
- Italicize book titles, magazines, newspapers, Web sites, etc.; no quotation marks.
- Place quotation marks around the titles of articles, chapters, etc., that appear within those publications or sites.
- Capitalize principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
- Capitalize an article the, a, an or words of fewer than four letter if it is the first or last word in a title.
courseware, coursework (n., adj.)
em dash Use a dash with a space on both sides to indicate an abrupt change in thought or an emphatic pause in a sentence.
faculty Singular: The faculty here is great.
fieldwork (n., adj.)
footnotes Used for supplementary information. Use Microsoft Word footnote function. Called out using superscript numbers.
formal titles Lowercase (professor, chairwoman) unless they precede a name.
full time, full-time Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: She works full time. He has a full-time job.
fundraising (n., adj.)
general terms Lowercase: the university, the foundation, the street
headlines Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
health care Two words, no hyphen as an adjective: The health care initiative was unpopular.
- Use to link two words without spaces, join words for clarity, and avoid ambiguity.
- Use to link all the words in a compound modifier – two or more words that express a single concept – when they precede a noun, except very and adverbs that end in -ly: a full-time job, a very good time, an easily remembered rule.
- Avoid after a noun: She works full time.
- After a verb form of ”to be,” compound modifiers usually retain the hyphen to avoid confusion: The woman is quick-witted.
- “Community-based change” BUT “community change initiative.”
- Use in open or hyphenated compounds: health care-related dilemma.
- Italian American (noun), African-American (adjective).
- Use to avoid double vowels (even if acceptable in dictionary) and triple consonants: pre-election, bell-like, anti-intellectual.
- Retain if word that follows starts with a capital letter, a digit, or is an acronym/abbreviation.
living center not dorm, not residence hall
- Spell out units of measure: foot, yard, quart.
- Metric units acceptable; use American equivalent in parentheses if metric is given.
money Use figures and the $ sign in all cases: $4, $25, $500, $1,000, $650,000, BUT $2.35 billion (only two decimal places).
nonprofit not not-for-profit
- Spell out number to start a sentence, except calendar years.
- Spell out in figurative uses: He walked a quarter of a mile.
- Spell out whole numbers below 10, use figures for 10 and above. In a series, guidelines dont change: They had 10 dogs, six cats, and 97 hamsters. Four four-room houses, 10 three-room houses, and 12 10-room houses.
- Use figures for ages of animate objects: A 3-year-old girl; the cat was 3 years old; the 3-year-old and I. Spell out ages of inanimate objects: the eight-year-old law.
- Ordinals: first through ninth, 10th and above, when they indicate sequence in time or location: First Amendment, first base.
- 1st, 2nd, etc., when the sequence is used when forming names: 1st Ward, 7th Fleet, 1st Sgt.
- Use figures for dimensions: a 4-foot fence; the storm left 7 feet of snow; he is 6 feet 2 inches tall.
Peer review, (noun) the editorial is not subject to peer review. peer-reviewed (adjective) peer-reviewed journal.
People of Color is the preferred term to refer to a group of people who are other than Caucasian.
percentages Use digits and word ”percent” for percentages:; use leading 0 for percentages less than one: 4 percent, 0.6 percent.
period do not use between capital letters, except in academic degrees or in U.S.
phone numbers Use a dash after the area code: 616-331-2221; 800-748-0246.
predental, premedical, preprofessional, preveterinary
pre-law, pre-physical therapy
resume or résumé
school and department names are uppercase: the School of Psychology; modifiers are lowercase: department Chairman Paul Lane.
- Spell out states when used alone.
- Eight are not abbreviated: The names of eight states are never abbreviated in datelines or text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
- Following are the state abbreviations, which also appear in the entries for each state (postal code abbreviations in parentheses):
- Ala. (AL)
- Ariz. (AZ)
- Ark. (AR)
- Calif. (CA)
- Colo. (CO)
- Conn. (CT)
- Del. (DE)
- D.C. (DC)
- Fla. (FL)
- Ga. (GA)
- Ill. (IL)
- Ind. (IN)
- Kan. (KS)
- Ky. (KY)
- La. (LA)
- Mass. (MA)
- Md. (MD)
- Mich. (MI)
- Minn. (MN)
- Miss. (MS)
- Mo. (MO)
- Mont. (MT)
- N.D. (ND)
- Neb. (NE)
- Nev. (NV)
- N.H. (NH)
- N.J. (NJ)
- N.M. (NM)
- N.Y. (NY)
- N.C. (NC)
- Okla. (OK)
- Ore. (OR)
- Pa. (PA)
- R.I. (RI)
- S.C. (SC)
- S.D. (SD)
- Tenn. (TN)
- Vt. (VT)
- Va. (VA)
- Wash. (WA)
- W.Va. (WV)
- Wis. (WI)
- Wyo. (WY)
- Spell out statistical terms in prose on first reference.
- (p < 0.01).
- F(1, 123).
- (n = 45).
- r R2 df.
- (M = 46.24, SD = 11.09).
- SD, SE, SEM, SS; spell out in prose.
- ps; Fs [for plurals].
- one-tailed t test.
- Type I error; Type II error.
- Student’s t test; Mann-Whitney U test.
- t-test results, BUT results from t tests.
- chi-square test in prose; Ç2 test parenthetically or in statistical situation.
- Parenthetically and in statistical situations, do not define statistical abbreviations.
- Define statistical abbreviations in tables in acronym line; and define in figure caption if used in figure.
- Bulleted display lists are acceptable; format and punctuate as appears here:
- Incomplete sentences: Text here: (1) more text, (2) still more text, and (3) last of text. Use semicolons as necessary.
- Complete sentences: Text here: (1) More text. (2) Still more text. (3) Last of text.
- Outline lists are acceptable, punctuate as appears above, format as follows:
1. Type should be indented.
a. Type should be indented.
The California Endowment
The Colorado Trust On second reference, The Trust.
times and dates
- 1980s, the 80s.
- A.D., B.C., a.m., p.m.
- Use figures except for noon and midnight.
- Spell out units of time: second, minute, day, week, month, year.
- Do not abbreviate days of the week unless needed in tabular material to save space.
- January 1972, BUT Jan. 2 or Jan. 2, 1987.
- Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. with a specific date.
- Use three-letter abbreviations for months without a period if needed to save space in tabular material.
- seasons/semesters: Fall 2003. BUT lowercase as adjective or in non-semester construction: We voted in the fall of 2008.
- 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m., NOT 7:00, 7pm, 7 PM.
- Time ranges: 2-5 p.m, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
titles Abbreviate before full names on first reference: Dr. Jane Jones, Gov. Steve Smith, Sen. Mary Martin. On second reference, use last name only or use full spelling of title: the governor, the senator.
United States U.S. is acceptable as a noun or adjective.
URL use www if needed; do not use http://
web page, website, web-based
worksite (n., adj.)