JMU’s official editorial reference guides

Together, the following three reference guides constitute MadisonStyle, the official editorial style for all non-academic JMU print and Web communications:

  • The current Associated Press Stylebook - Available at the JMU Bookstore or another bookstore of your choice.
  • Webster’s New World Dictionary (Third College Edition) - JMU’s official first dictionary reference for usage and meaning.
  • A to Z Reference
    • A guide to the distinct usages that have been developed through years of customary use at James Madison University and that constitute official exceptions to AP Style.
    • A guide to commonly confused and commonly queried usages. In the A-Z list at left, you can link directly to the entries that are exceptions, browse the remainder of the directory or go straight to the alphabetical entry you seek.


Grammar, punctuation and writing guides

The following grammar, punctuation and writing guides offer helpful tips and commonsensical advice for good writing:

  • Line by Line by Claire Kehrwald Cook
  • Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Dictionary of Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson
  • Lapsing into a Comma by Bill Walsh


Formal language

MadisonStyle does not address language used in invitations and other formal usages. There are several guides available that offer instruction on the use of etiquette and formal language. Please consult one of them and then use that guide consistently for usages that require formal language. The following guides may be helpful:

  • Etiquette and Protocol: A Guide for Campus Events by April L. Harris (available through CASE bookstore)
  • Emily Post’s Etiquette by Peggy Post


At a glance

These references constitute MadisonStyle and should be used for all official JMU communications:

The Associated Press Stylebook 2015

Webster’s New World College Dictionary (Fifth Edition) JMU’s official first dictionary reference for usage and meaning.

Madison A-Z Guide

  • Shows when MadisonStyle differs from Association Press Style
  • Offer solutions to commonly queried and misused style points
  • Offers editorial solutions to style issues unique to James Madison University communications



Contact the editorial staff if you have questions or need more information at

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