A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

 

A

a.m., p.m.

  • Lowercase and always use periods.
    • 6:30 a.m., 10 p.m., noon, midnight

abbreviations

  • In general, abbreviations should be used only after using the full name, phrase or word as the first reference. Do not include the abbreviation in parentheses following the initial full reference. Spell it out, then use abbreviations in subsequent references if desired.
  • Never use an abbreviation that will not be easily understood by the reader.
  • Do not spell out "junior" or "senior" when they follow a name; always abbreviate and do not set them off with commas.
    • Jacob T. Bishop Jr.
  • Always abbreviate "company," "corporation," "incorporated" and "limited" when they are used after the name of a corporate entity; do not set them off with commas.
    • Upjohn Co.
    • Bishop, McCandish and Holton PC
    • McCandish and Holton LLC
  • Depending on the length of a communication, it is a good idea to occasionally repeat the full name, phrase or word as a first reference at the beginning of new sections, chapters, stories, etc.
    • Exception: James Madison University is the full proper name of the university. Abbreviated versions such as "Madison," "the university" or "JMU" may be used on second and subsequent references. These abbreviations are interchangeable and may all be used in the same communication.
  • A JMU graduate's class year may be abbreviated by using an apostrophe in place of the first two numbers. Class year designations are set inside parentheses. (MadisonStyle)
    • Samantha Hostetter ('99)
  • For print applications, turn on the smart quote setting. Do not use foot marks. For Web applications, turn off the smart quotes setting, and use foot marks for apostrophes to ensure that characters will not be changed or lost when transferred to the Web.

academic degrees

  • Use an apostrophe in "bachelor's degree" and "master's degree." Capitalize the names of specific degrees (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.)
    • Brian Balmages, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music from James Madison University in 1998, received a 2016 distinguished alumni award.
    • The College of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing.
    • Anna Bishop ('05) graduated with honors and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
    • Sarah Hostetter ('05) graduated with honors and received a Bachelor of Science degree in technical and scientific communication.
    • Jamie Moo ('99, '01M) earned a bachelor's and a master's.
  • For an annually updated list of JMU undergraduate and graduate degrees, see www.jmu.edu/catalog.

academic calendar

academic divisions

  • For an annually updated list of James Madison University's academic divisions, see www.jmu.edu/academics.

academic policies and procedures

  • Refer to the JMU online catalog at www.jmu.edu/catalog/XX/academic-policies/index.shtml for information on academic policies and procedures. Replace "XX" with the last two digits of the current academic year. Keep in mind that the rules of this style guide apply when writing text about information on the site.

academic programs

  • Academic programs reside within JMU schools or departments and encompass majors, minors and core classes. They may also include concentrations, cognates or tracks. For an annually updated listing of academic programs, see www.jmu.edu/academics.

academic units

  • synonymous with academic programs

access cards

  • Always lowercase; use "JMU access card" on first reference, "JACard" or "access card" thereafter. (MadisonStyle)
    • Students should bring their JMU access cards to the door.
    • Present your JACard at the door.

accreditation

  • JMU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees.
  • For a complete list of JMU's accrediting bodies, including institutional, educational and corporate memberships, see www.jmu.edu/jmureports/accreditation.shtml.

addresses

  • Use the abbreviations "Ave.," "Blvd." and "St." only with a numbered address. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name, without a number.
    • The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    • The White House is on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • Electronic addresses, URLs. While electronic addresses have traditionally been rendered in lower case, some systems are case-sensitive. In general, use the exact electronic address, including capital and lowercase letters. For space considerations, the use of "www." and "http://" may be omitted when directing the reader to specific JMU websites.
  • Always use numerals with an address.
    • 9 Morningside Circle
  • Spell out and capitalize "First" through "Ninth" when used as street names; use numerals for 10th and above.
    • 7 Fifth Ave., 100 21st St.

adviser

  • Not "advisor"

African-American

  • Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
    • African-American students at JMU

ages

  • Always use numerals. Ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun get hyphens.
    • A 5-year-old boy
    • Get that 5-year-old out of the street.
    • The girl is 5 years old.

All Together One

  • While no longer active as a university theme, "All Together One" remains relevant at JMU because it captures a unique Madison spirit that allows people to be themselves while being part of something bigger. President Linwood H. Rose first used the theme in his September 1999 inaugural address. "All Together One" is now used by the JMU chapter of the student leadership organization Omicron Delta Kappa. Use of "All Together One" must follow graphic standards regarding university logos and marks.

alphabetical order

  • Alphabetize lists if there is no hierarchical or other significance to the order.

alumnus, alumni; alumna, alumnae 

  • Use "alumnus" when referring to a man who attended a school; use "alumni" when referring to a group of men who attended a school; use "alumna" for similar references to a woman; use "alumnae" when referring to a similar group of women; use "alumni" when referring to a group of men and women.

Americans With Disabilities Act

  • JMU policy dictates that the university's current official statement on nondiscrimination appear in certain communications. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity directly for questions about appropriate usage and the most up-to-date language. www.jmu.edu/oeo

ampersand (&)

  • Use only when it is part of a company's or institution's formal name.

and

  • Do not use a comma before the final "and" in a series, except when the word "and" occurs in one of the items in the series.
    • The departments of Accounting, Economics, Finance and Marketing are part of the College of Business.
    • The departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Geology and Environmental Science, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics and Astronomy make up the College of Science and Mathematics.

annual

  • An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years. Events can be described as annual beginning in their third year.
    • The third-annual Madison FunFest will start tomorrow.

apostrophe

  • For print applications, turn on the smart quote setting. Do not use a foot mark. For Web applications, turn off the smart quote setting, and use foot marks for apostrophes to ensure that characters will not be changed or lost when transferred to the Web.

archaeology

  • Not archeology

athletics affiliations

  • JMU is affiliated with the Colonial Athletic Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Division I). For more information, see www.jmusports.com.

B

back up (v.), backup (n. and adj.)

  • Students are encouraged to back up their data regularly.
  • The crash caused a backup on Interstate 81.
  • When registering for courses, it is good to have a backup plan.

backward

  • Not backwards

beside

  • Means "at the side of"

besides

  • Means "in addition to"

Be the Change

  • Refers to JMU's tag line that expresses the university's unique character. It also refers to the profiles collected and published by JMU that feature students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors who are actively changing the world. Capitalize "Be the Change" when it refers to the JMU program and any of the world-changers featured on the site. For more information, see Be the Change.

biannual

  • Means "twice a year" and is synonymous with "semiannual"

biennial

  • Means "every two years"

bimonthly

  • Means "every other month." "Semimonthly" means twice a month.

biweekly

  • Means "every other week." "Semiweekly" means twice a week.

board of visitors

  • Capitalize only when the full formal name of the board is used; always use the formal name in first reference.
    • The JMU Board of Visitors will meet this week.
    • The board of visitors called a special meeting.

box office (n.), box-office (adj.)

    • Pick up your tickets at the box office.
    • Box-office results showed an improvement over last year.

building

  • Never abbreviate; capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the word "Building" if it is an integral part of the proper name. The Office of Institutional Research maintains a complete listing of JMU buildings in current use.
  • The Music Building is on the Quad.

build up (v.), buildup (n. and adj)

    • Organizers were hopeful the excitement would build up festival attendance.
    • The buildup of excitement for the festival was great.

C

calendar

call up (v.), call-up (n. and adj.)

    • The dean will call up the scholarship winner to the stage.
    • The newest member of the team was a late-season call-up.

campuswide/universitywide

  • One word, no hyphen in all uses

canvas

  • Heavy cloth

canvass

  • A survey

capitalization

  • In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Capitalize nouns that constitute the unique identification for a specific person, place or thing.
    • John, Mary, America, Harrisonburg, Warren Hall
  • Lowercase the common noun elements of names in all plural uses.
    • Duke, Warren, Zane Showker and Wilson halls
  • Capitalize common nouns such as college, department and university when they are an integral part of the full name for a person place or thing.
    • College of Business, Department of Biology, James Madison University, School of Music
  • Lowercase these common nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references.
    • the college, the department, the school, the university, the valley
  • On first reference, use the proper name for colleges, departments, schools, offices, etc.
    • The Office of Academic Affairs is located in Alumnae Hall.
    • The Department of History offers the Master of Arts degree.
  • On second reference, lowercase and use generic names.
    • The academic affairs office is located in Alumnae Hall.
    • The history department offers a master's degree.
  • In headlines, only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns. (AP Style)

catalog

  • Not catalogue

cents

century

  • Lowercase; spell out numbers less than 10; use a hyphen when the word is used as an adjective.
    • the first century, the 20th century, 17th-century literature

chairperson or chair

  • Lowercase, even when the title appears before a name, unless it appears with the full name of a company or JMU organization. (MadisonStyle)
    • JMU Faculty Senate Chairperson Steve Garren said, "…
    • The committee chairperson Steve Garren reported …

class year

  • JMU graduates' class years are set in parentheses, with an apostrophe in place of the first two numbers of the year ('XX): (MadisonStyle)
    • Jane Seegar ('88) indicates an alumna earned an undergraduate degree.
    • Philip Bigler ('74, '76M) indicates an alumnus earned an undergraduate degree in 1974 and a master's in 1976.
    • Mark Warner ('77,'81M, '86Ed.S.) indicates an alumnus earned an undergraduate, master's and Ed.S. degree.
    • Fred Hilton ('96M) indicates an alumnus earned a master's degree.
  • JMU offers numerous doctoral programs. Designate these alumni in the following styles:
    • Jennifer Austen ('99Au.D.) for the Doctorate of Audiology
    • Jennifer Austen ('05Psy.D.) for the Doctorate in Clinical, School and Counseling Psychology
    • Jennifer Austen ('05Ph.D.) for the Doctorate in Communication Sciences and Disorders and/or the Doctorate in Assessment and Measurement
    • Desmond Tutu ('08H) indicates Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu received an Honorary Doctorate from JMU in 2008
    • Kirk Hammett ('88D.M.A.) indicates Kirk Hammett received his Doctor of Music degree.
  • JMU also recognizes the parents of one or more JMU graduates in the following styles:
    • Jeffrey Dickerson ('11P) indicates he is the parent of a 2011 JMU graduate.
    • James Whitehall ('76, '09P) indicates JMU alumnus is a member of the Class of 1976 and has a son or daughter who is a member of the Class of 2009.
    • Sandy Myerson ('80, '07P, '09P) indicates JMU alumna is a member of the Class of 1980 and has two children who graduated from JMU.
  • Always capitalize the names of JMU classes:
    • Pat Wilson is the president of the Class of 1950.
    • The Class of 1960 Endowed Academic Scholarship is awarded annually.
  • DO NOT USE in reference to current students' anticipated graduation year, as this is subject to change.

colleges

commonwealth

  • Capitalize only when used as part of formal name. (MadisonStyle)
    • Commonwealth of Virginia, citizens of the commonwealth

communication/communications

  • Communication is the exchange of information between individuals by speaking, writing or using a common system of signs or behavior. Communications comprise the technology and systems used for sending and receiving messages, for example, postal, telephone, radio,TV and the Internet. Communications also describes the tactics used to execute a marketing or communications strategy, for example, advertising, public relations, sales, promotion and events.
    • The director was in regular communication with the president's office.
    • The department was reviewing its overall communications effort.

communitywide

composition titles

  • See titles of compositions and other works.

course subject

  • Use the full name of a course subject, not its abbreviation. For a complete listing of course subjects, see http://www.jmu.edu/catalog/.

course work

  • Not coursework

courtesy titles

  • Do not use courtesy titles such as Miss, Mr., Mrs. or Ms. There are certain situations (formal invitations, lists of donors or patrons, or when referring to a husband and wife in text) when it may be unavoidable, such as:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan R. Alger cordially invite you...
  • Do not use "Dr." in reference to a faculty member who holds a Ph.D., unless he/she is also a doctor of medicine.
  • Do not follow a faculty member's name with the abbreviation for his/her degree in the same reference:
    • Pam Jones, Ph.D.

cross-disciplinary

  • Refers to a project or initiative involving JMU faculty, staff or students in mutliple departments or colleges across campus.

D

dates

  • Do not abbreviate days of the week in text. Spell out the name of the month unless it is used with a specific date; when using only a month and a year, do not abbreviate the month or use a comma to separate the month from the year; when using the month, day and year, set off the year with commas.
    • Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
    • We met in April 1995.
    • The committee will meet again on Oct. 25, 2017, for further debate.
  • See: abbreviations and tabular material or tables

dean

  • Capitalize only when used as a formal title before a name.
    • In the Office of Academic Affairs, JMU has deans, vice provosts and a provost/senior vice president.
    • College of Integrated Science and Engineering Bob Kolvoord...
  • Check the organizational chart maintained by the Division of Academic Affairs to see which reference is correct.

degrees

  • For a complete listing of academic degrees conferred by JMU, see http://www.jmu.edu/catalog/XX/degree-information/degree-types.shtml. Replace XX with the last two digits of the current academic year.

degree requirements

  • For a complete listing of academic degree requirements see http://www.jmu.edu/catalog/XX/degree-information/degree-requirements.shtml. Replace XX with the last two digits of the current academic year. Refer to this list for authoritative terms set by accrediting bodies.

department

  • Only capitalize when "Department" is part of the official name.
    • Department of Biology
    • The department received a grant.
    • The biology department received a grant.
    • Students are accepted by the department on the basis of their academic records.

dollars

dormitories

  • Use residence halls.

E

electronic addresses

  • Generally all lowercase; however, there are exceptions that require capitalization to work. Just like mailing addresses, you need to know and type in the exact address.
    • madisonmag@jmu.edu
    • www.jmu.edu/COB

em dash/en dash

  • An em dash (Option+Shift+hyphen on Apple devices) can be used in place of a colon or parentheses, or to indicate an abrupt change in thought.
    • We expect a big crowd—if the weather is nice.
    • We expect a big crowd—if the weather is nice—for Homecoming.
  • Use an en dash (Option+Hyphen on Apple devices) to denote a duration of time.
    • May 2–June 3
    • the 2015–16 academic year, fiscal year 2015–16
  • Exception: When a date or year is preceded by the word "from," do not use an en dash, use "to."
    • from May 2 to June 3
  • With certain fonts, the em dash and en dash may need to be set off with spaces to distinguish them from hyphens and to improve legibility.

email

  • No hyphen. "Email" is also acceptable as the plural usage.

emerita (female), emeritus (male), emeritae (female plural), emeriti (male plural, male and female plural)

  • Often added to formal titles to denote that individuals who have retired retain their rank or title by action of the JMU Board of Visitors. Capitalize when used before the person's name as an official title; lowercase when used after the person's name.
    • Professor Emeritus John Jones
    • Jane Jones, dean emerita

en dash/em dash

  • Use an en dash (Option+Hyphen on Apple devices) to denote a duration of time.
    • May 2–June 3
    • the 2015–16 academic year, fiscal year 2015–16
  • Exception: When a date or year is preceded by the word "from," do not use an en dash, use "to."
    • from May 2 to June 3
  • An em dash (Option+Shift+hyphen on Apple devices) can be used in place of a colon or parentheses, or to indicate an abrupt change in thought.
    • We expect a big crowd—if the weather is nice.
    • We expect a big crowd—if the weather is nice—for Homecoming.
  • With certain fonts, the em dash and en dash may need to be set off with spaces to distinguish them from hyphens and to improve legibility.

ensure/insure

  • Use ensure to mean "guarantee." Use insure for references to insurance.
    • Steps were taken to ensure accuracy.
    • The policy insures his life.

eponym

  • James Madison is the eponym of James Madison University, not the namesake.

Equal Opportunity Employer

  • The following is JMU's official statement.
    • James Madison University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, parental status or political affiliation (in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act) with respect to all aspects of employment or admissions, or in connection with its programs or activities. Inquiries or requests for reasonable accommodation may be directed to the activity coordinator, the appropriate university office, or the Office of Equal Opportunity, JMU, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, 540-568–6991.

F

faculty

  • Faculty is a collective noun referring to all professors of a university, college, department, school, program, etc.
  • Faculty does not refer to an individual professor; use "faculty member" or lowercase "professor." Nor can faculty be used
  • as a plural noun; use "faculty members."
    • The JMU faculty accepted the proposal.
    • All JMU faculty members voted on the proposal.

faculty awards (JMU)

  • See JMU faculty awards

faculty credentials

  • For a listing of faculty members, including their credentials, awards and academic units (teaching areas), see www.jmu.edu/catalog/XX/general/faculty. Replace XX with the last two digits of the current academic year.

Family Weekend (formerly Parents Weekend)

  • Always capitalize. For current information, see the Family Weekend website.

Father of the Constitution

  • Uppercase. (MadisonStyle) Refers to the eponym of James Madison University, James Madison, who was the fourth president of the United States and generally is regarded as the Father of the U.S. Constitution.

fax (n.)

  • Acceptable as a shortened version of facsimile or facsimile machine. Do not use as a verb; do not use all caps.
    • Your information may be sent by fax.

follow up (v.), follow-up (n. and adj.)

    • The reporter followed up her email with a phone call.
    • The reporter asked a follow-up question.

footnote

  • Do not use footnotes when you create a document for public audiences. Incorporate the attribution into the text in a conversational style.

formal invitations

  • MadisonStyle does not encompass formal language for uses such as invitations. When preparing formal invitations, select a formal language style guide and consistently follow it whenever the need for formal language arises.
  • 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

fractions

  • Spell out amounts less than one in text, using hyphens between the words.
    • two-thirds, four-fifths, seven-sixteenths
  • Use numerals for "precise" amounts larger than one, converting to decimals whenever practical.
    • 1-½, 2-¼

freshman, freshmen (pl.)

full time, full-time

  • Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
    • She goes to school full time.
    • He is a full-time student.

fundraising, fundraiser

  • One word construction in all uses

G

General Education Program

  • Denotes JMU's core liberal arts curriculum, "The Human Community," which is required of all students regardless of their major or professional program.

GPA

  • Acceptable on first reference for grade point average
    • Honors scholars are expected to maintain a 3.25 GPA.

graduate degree programs

gray

  • Not grey

H

home page

  • Two words in reference to the front page of a website

Homecoming

  • Always capitalize

I

incorporated

  • Abbreviate and capitalize as "Inc." when used as part of a corporate name; do not set off with commas.
    • James Madison University Foundation Inc.

J

JAC

  • Use "JMU access card" on first reference; "JACard" or "access card" thereafter. (MadisonStyle)
    • Students should bring their JMU access cards to the door.
    • Present your JACard at the door.

James Madison

  • The eponym of James Madison University, James Madison was the fourth president of the United States and generally is regarded as the Father of the U.S. Constitution.

James Madison University

  • In news releases and other formal communication, use the full name on first reference; on second reference, "JMU," "Madison" or "university" are all acceptable.
    • James Madison University is in Harrisonburg.
    • JMU is in Harrisonburg.
    • The university is in Harrisonburg.

James Madison University Board of Visitors

  • Capitalize only when the official name is used; always use the official name in first reference.
    • The James Madison University Board of Visitors will meet this week.
    • The JMU Board of Visitors will meet this week.
    • The board of visitors called a special meeting.

K

kick off (v.), kickoff (n.), kick-off (adj.)

    • The new academic year will kick off Aug. 28.
    • The kickoff for the new academic year will be Aug. 28.
    • A kick-off event is scheduled for Aug. 28.

L

landmine

  • one word (MadisonStyle)

lifestyle

  • No hyphen

M

Madison Experience

  • Capitalize in all uses. Refers to the essential aspects of a JMU education from the perspective of those who have lived it as a student, alumnus(a), parent, professor or staff member, as well as those who have felt it as a visitor or donor to the university. Common elements of the Madison Experience include:
    • welcoming professors who value teaching and have a commitment to student success
    • a student-centered atmosphere
    • a learning community that values hands-on learning and cross-disciplinary collaboration
    • superior academics
    • a beautiful campus
    • an abundance of friendly people
    • service to others in a true spirit of community
    • intelligent, social and active people who care about the world

majors/minors

  • For a complete listing of JMU undergraduate and graduate degree programs, see www.jmu.edu/catalog.

money

  • Spell out and lowercase the word cents, using figures for amounts less than a dollar; use figures for amounts more than a dollar; drop the decimal and zeros if there are no cents.
    • 5 cents, 15 cents, 99 cents $1, $5.01, $10.50, $10
  • Always lowercase dollars. Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references or amounts without a figure.
    • The book cost $4.
    • Dad, please give me a dollar.
    • Dollars are flowing overseas.
  • Use the $ sign and numerals up to two decimal places for amounts of $1 million or more.
    • It is worth $4.35 million.
    • It is worth exactly $4,351,242.75.
    • He proposed a $300 billion budget.
  • Amounts less than $1 million
    • $4; $50; $500; $5,500, $550,000

months

  • Always capitalize names of the months of the year. Abbreviate if used with a specific date; spell out if used alone or with a year alone. When a phrase lists only a month and year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.
    • His birthday is Nov. 16.
    • Nov. 16, 1988, is his birth date.
    • His birthday is in November.

N

namesake/eponym

  • Namesake refers to that which is named out of a regard for another person. An eponym is the person for whom something is named.
    • James Madison University is the namesake of the fourth U.S. president, James Madison.
    • President James Madison is the eponym of the university.

nondiscrimination statement

  • JMU policy dictates that JMU's current official statement on nondiscrimination appear in certain communications.
  • Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity directly for questions about appropriate usage and the most up-to-date language. www.jmu.edu/oeo

numbers

  • Spell out numbers less than 10; use numerals for 10 and up, ages and percentages.
    • zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 100, etc.
    • 1-year-old, 20-year-old
    • 1 percent, 75 percent

O

on campus, on-campus

  • Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
    • We went to a theater workshop on campus.
    • We went to an on-campus theater workshop.

online

  • One word in all cases when referring to a computer internet connection

organizational charts

  • To see the administrative units in JMU's organizational structure refer to the chart maintained by the Office of the President.
  • To see JMU's academic structure, refer to the chart maintained by the Division of Academic Affairs.

P

p.m., a.m.

  • Lowercase and use periods.

Parents Council

Parents Weekend

part time, part-time

  • Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
    • She goes to school part time.
    • He is a part-time student.

percentages

  • Use figures; use decimals, not fractions; for amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero; repeat percent with each individual figure; do not use the percent symbol (%) in text.
    • 1 percent; 2.5 percent; 0.6 percent; 10 percent to 30 percent

pre- (prefix)

  • In general, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel (pre-election, pre-eminent, pre-empt). Other examples: (MadisonStyle)
    • pre-dentistry
    • pre-game
    • prehistoric
    • pre-law
    • premedical
    • pre-medicine
    • pre-pharmacy
    • pre-physical therapy
    • pre-professional
    • pre-theology
    • pre-veterinary

premier (adj.)/premiere (n.)

    • JMU is one of the premier comprehensive public universities in the South.
    • The show's premiere is scheduled for Friday.

professor

  • Use as a courtesy title with all instructional faculty members at JMU, regardless of rank; never abbreviate; do not capitalize before a name; do not use in second reference unless part of a quotation.

professor emeritus(a)

  • Do not capitalize before a name unless the entire official title is used. (MadisonStyle)
    • Professor Emeritus of Mathematics John Smith
    • Joanne Smith, professor emerita of mathematics

provost/vice provost

  • Capitalize only when used as a formal title before a name. In academic affairs, JMU has deans, vice provosts and a provost/senior vice president. Check the organizational chart maintained by the Division of Academic Affairs to see which reference is correct.
    • They spoke with Provost Heather Coltman.
    • Heather Coltman is provost and senior vice president.

Q

Quadrangle or Quad

  • Always capitalize.

quotations

  • For print applications, turn on the smart quote setting. Do not use inch marks.
  • For Web applications, turn off the smart quotes setting, and use inch marks for quotation marks to ensure that characters will not be changed or lost when transferred to the Web.
  • With quoted material, commas and periods go inside the quotation marks:
    • "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance," James Madison said, "and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
  • "quotation" is a noun; "quote" is a verb.

R

residence halls

  • Not dormitories

resident adviser

  • Use RA on second reference.

room numbers

  • Use numerals and capitalize room when used with a numeral.
    • Room 312, Room 251

S

school

  • Capitalize only when using the school's formal name.
    • The JMU School of Music presented the program.
    • The music school presented the program.
  • Because JMU has departments as well as schools and programs, when you use school in a generic sense, check to see if you also need to say department and program to be inclusive.
    • Students are accepted by the department, school or program on the basis of their academic records.

self

  • Always hyphenate when used in conjunction with another word.
    • self-esteem, self-examination, self-inflicted

semester

  • lowercase, except when referring to the fall or spring semesters of a specific academic year:
    • The new course will be offered to students in the spring semester.
    • She completed her research in Spring 2017.

semiannual

  • Twice a year, a synonym for biannual. No hyphen

smart quotes

  • For print applications, turn on the smart quote setting. Do not use inch marks or foot marks.
  • For Web applications, turn off the smart quotes setting, and use inch marks for quotations and foot marks for apostrophes to ensure that characters will not be changed or lost when transferred to the Web.

state

  • Lowercase in all "state of" constructions.
    • state of Maine, state of Vermont
    • states of Maine and Vermont
    • New York state
    • state of Washington or Washington state
  • Four states — Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia — are legally commonwealths. The distinction is necessary in formal uses.
  • Capitalize when part of a "Commonwealth of" construction. (MadisonStyle)
    • The Commonwealth of Virginia filed a suit.
    • They filed a suit against the commonwealth.

state abbreviations

  • Spell out the names of all 50 states within text, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city or town. Example: JMU is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
  • Only use two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for states with mailing addresses that include a ZIP Code as follows:

Alabama - AL
Alaska - AK
Arizona - AR
Arkansas - AK.
California - CA.
Colorado - CO
Connecticut - CT
Delaware - DE
District of Columbia - DC
Florida - FL
Georgia - GA
Hawaii - HI
Idaho - ID
Iowa - IA
Illinois - IL
Indiana - ID
Kansas - KS
Kentucky - KY
Louisiana - LA
Maine - ME
Maryland - MD
Massachusetts - MS
Michigan - MI
Minnesota - MN
Mississippi - MS
Missouri - MO

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

statewide 

  • One word, no hyphen

street

  • Abbreviate only with a numbered address. Spell out for all other uses.

student classification

  • The established convention at Madison is to refer to an undergraduate as a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior based on the number of credits the student has earned. However, the term "first-year" may be used in conjunction with certain programs that reflect when a student entered the university. For example, a student who comes to JMU directly from high school with 29 credit hours would be classified as a sophomore, but would attend first-year orientation.

T

tabular material or tables

  • When working with tabular material, tables or charts, abbreviations are not only desirable, but often necessary. In such cases, days of the week may be abbreviated in a variety of ways with or without periods. Pick one style and be consistent within one document:
    • S M T W T F S
    • Sa, Su, M, Tu, W, Th, F
    • Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat
    • Sun., Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat.
  • Use figures exclusively to express fractions, converting to decimals if the amounts involve extensive use of fractions that cannot be expressed as a single character.

television (n.)

  • "TV" is acceptable as a noun or adjective.

theater

  • Use this spelling unless the official name is "Theatre."
    • JMU School of Theatre and Dance
    • Grafton-Stovall Theatre
    • We went to a theater workshop.

time

  • Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes.
    • The program will begin at 11 a.m.
    • The game will begin at 7:30 a.m.
    • The dance will end at midnight.

titles of publications and other works

  • Do not underline or use quotation marks. Italicize the titles of publications and other works, including books, poems, short-story titles, television programs and film titles; CD, DVD, and song and musical composition titles; exhibition titles; and titles of sculpture and other visual and performing art. (MadisonStyle)

toward

  • Not towards

U

undergraduate programs

  • For a complete listing of JMU undergraduate degree programs, see http://www.jmu.edu/catalog/XX/general/degreeinfo.html#ugdegrees. 
  • Replace XX with the last two digits of the current academic year.

United States (n.)

  • "U.S." is accepable on first reference as both a noun and an adjective.

university

  • Do not capitalize unless it is part of a complete official name.
    • James Madison University is located in Harrisonburg.
    • The university is located in Harrisonburg.

University Recreation Center

  • UREC is acceptable on second reference.

universitywide/campuswide

  • One word, no hyphen in all uses

V

videotape (n. and v.)

W

website/Web page

  • Capitalize "Web" when it is used alone. Exceptions: webcam, webcast, webmaster

weights

  • Use numerals.
    • The baby weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces.

workday

  • One word, no hyphen

World Wide Web

worldwide

  • One word, no hyphen

X

Xerox

  • A trademark for a brand of photocopy machine. Never use as a verb. Use a generic term such as photocopy.

Y

years

  • Use numerals without commas; use an "s" without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries.
    • 1975; the 1920s
  • Years are the lone exception to the general rule that numerals do not start a sentence.
    • 1976 was a very good year.

Z

ZIP codes

  • Use all-caps ZIP for Zoning Improvement Plan; code should not be all caps.
    • ZIP code

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