Editorial Style Guide

The Southern Wesleyan Editorial Style Guide was created by the Office of Marketing and Communications as a quick reference tool to help university communicators follow a style that is consistent and appropriate for print and electronic materials written for and about Southern Wesleyan University.

It was created to give the writers and editors of promotional and marketing materials answers to questions about style and usage. It does not attempt to address the style for other kinds of writing (academic papers, memorandums, personal correspondence, etc.).

The style points raised in the Editorial Style Guide are guidelines, not rules chiseled in stone. Each guideline must be applied to each case and the judgment of the writers and editors is a part of that application. The guiding principle in applying any style is that it is most important to maintain a consistent editorial approach within a specific piece.

Last revised on January 9, 2013

academic degrees

Do not use periods in abbreviations of academic degrees. Add an "s" to express in plural.

AA, AS, BS, BFA, MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, LLD, MBAs, MDs

Set off with commas when used with names.

Conference presenters were John Doe, MD, and Jane Doe, PhD.

Names of degrees should be lowercase when used in a sentence.

John Doe holds a bachelor of arts in chemistry from Oxford University. He also earned his MA in biochemistry from Yale.

academic year / term

Lowercase season and use full year in formal contexts.

spring term 2012

spring '12

academic disciplines

Only capatilize a discipline when it is a proper noun. (See also departments, offices, and programs entry.)

She is a scholar of English literature.

She is an astronomy professor.

acronyms and initialism

On first use, spell out the full name of an organization or entity unless it is most widely known by its abbreviated name (SAT, NASA, IBM). If you reference the organization or entity more than once, follow the initial spelled-out form with the acronym in parentheses and use the acronym for subsequent references. Do not use periods between letters.

He was packing for the Southern Wesleyan Outdoor Orientation Program (SWOOP). The SWOOP backpacking trip began in two days.

alumni

Everyone who matriculates at Southern Wesleyan, whether a graduate or not, becomes an alumna or alumnus of the university. Correct usage is as follows:

alumna (feminine, singular), alumnae (feminine, plural), alumnus (masculine, singular), alumni (masculine, plural, or mixed gender group)

Do not use "alum."

campus and education centers

The Southern Wesleyan University campus in Central, South Carolina, can be referred to as the "main campus" or "Central campus." Other locations are referred to as "education centers."

The main campus is located in Central, South Carolina.

The event will be held at the Charleston education center.

centuries and decades

Use ordinal numbers to express all centuries except the first through ninth centuries.

21st century, 12th century, third century

Formal style for decades is to use all four digits of the year followed by an "s." Informal permits substitution of apostrophe for the first two digits unless confusion could result.

the 1970s, the '60s

comma

We recommend using the serial comma if needed for clarity.

She was carrying textbooks about botany, anatomy and physiology, and astronomy.

Use a comma before a conjunction that joins two independent clauses.

The exhibit will open on Friday, and curators will be available to answer questions.

composition titles

Names/titles that are capitalized and set in italics are:

books, journals, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, epic poems, plays, movies, television and radio programs, operas, oratorios, performances, long musical compositions, album names, paintings, drawings, statues, cartoons or comic strips

Names/titles that are capitalized and set within quotation marks

journal articles, book chapter titles, essays, poems, theses, PhD dissertations, unpublished book manuscript, television series episodes, songs, photographs, lectures, symposia, seminars, exhibitions, conferences, courses

days and dates

Capatilize and spell out days of the week.

Capatilize the names of months.

When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone or with a year alone.

Jan. 14, 2013

January 2013

Do not add th, nd, rd or st after a date.

The event is scheduled for Monday, June 10.

departments, offices, and programs

In most instances, capitalize only the full, proper names of departments, offices, programs, and institutions. In general, do not capitalize shortened names. Generic terms referring to a properly named entity are lowercased.

the Office of Admissions, admissions office

Southern Wesleyan University, the university

the Division of Social Science, social science

Internet terms

There’s no question that the Internet has had a profound impact on the English language, adding many, many words to our vocabulary in a short period of time. Although grammarians and style guides are slow to catch up to the general public's usage, here are our current guidelines to some common Internet terms.

email (NOT e-mail)

Internet (capitalized)

online (NOT on-line)

World Wide Web / Web (capitalized)

website / web page / webcast (not capitalized)

job titles

Captalize a person's title when it immediately precedes a person's name. A title is lowercased when it follows a name or is used in place of a name.

Director of Athletics John Doe was thrilled with the championship victory.

Jane Doe, executive director of alumni relations, scheduled the meeting.

numbers

In general, spell out (use words for) numbers one through nine and use numerals for 10 and above.

There are seven key points in the argument.

The class had 32 students in attendance.

Also, spell out nonspecific (or casual) references to numbers, numbers in quoted speech, and numbers beginning a sentence.

There are a million reasons to disagree with your argument.

Forty-six students attended her lecture.

"We are excited to offer twelve events this spring, " said John Doe.

Be consistent in styling when two or more numbers apply to the same category in a paragraph or series.

There are 20 sections to Dante's work: 15 are set in the first sequence and 5 in the latter.

Use a combination of numerals and words to express very large numbers.

We received a $24 million gift.

It has a population of 36 million.

percentages

Express as numerals with the word percent.

3 percent

100 percent

quotations / quotation marks

Set speech verbs in the present tense unless quotation is from an identified, fixed event in the past, such as a speech.

"Athletics are expanding and moving forward," Doe says.

"Athletics are expanding and moving forward," said John Doe in his 2012 banquet speech.

Commas and periods are always set inside the quotation marks. Colons and semicolons are always set outside of quotation marks. Exclamation or question marks fall inside of quotation marks only when they are part of quoted material. Commas should never be used in combination with exclamation or question marks.

Southern Wesleyan University

Use full name (Southern Wesleyan University) on first reference when writing for an external audience. After the first reference, the name can be shortened to "SWU" or "Southern Wesleyan."

state names

Spell out state names when they stand alone in running text. Use abbreviated forms (not postal code) for state names with a city. When using city and state, use a comma before and after state name. Use two-letter postal code state abrreviations in a context where a zip code follows state name. Do not abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, or Utah.

Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Mass., Md., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., N.C., N.D., N.H., N.J., N.M, N.Y., Neb., Nev., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Tex., Va., Vt., W.Va., Wash., Wis., Wyo.

time of day

Use "a.m." and "p.m." (lowercase with periods). The terms "noon" and "midnight" are acceptable.