Editorial Style Guide

Seattle University Editorial Style Guide

Seattle University’s standard for style is the Associated Press Stylebook, which everyone who touches content should have. Answers to some of the most common style questions are included in this style guide, governing both print and, in most cases, web and social media content. Refer questions to Tina Potterf, managing editor, at tinap@seattleu.edu.

Download a Editorial-Style-Guide-Final-2014-15.

Academic degrees
Capitalize full degree names such as Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science. Use an apostrophe and lowercase for bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. Do not use periods in abbreviated degrees such as BA, MA, MIT, PhD. 

Academic/job titles
When referring to an official academic or job title, for staff, faculty and administrators alike, if before a name, capitalize the role: Example: Dean of Admissions Jane Smith; Professor Steve Simmons. Lowercase if after the name: Example: Jane Smith, dean of admissions; Steve Simmons, professor of English.

Acronyms
Avoid alphabet soup. Spell out on first reference, followed by acronym in parentheses only when there will be subsequent references. For acronyms, use capital letters with no periods. Examples: SU, US, SUYI.

Adviser
not advisor

Alumni
For alumni graduation years, use an apostrophe and the year: ’89 or ’04. For official publications, use alumnus for one male and alumni when even just one male in a group; use alumna (singular) or alumnae (plural) when referring to females exclusively. Reserve alum and alums (not alumn and alumns) for informal purposes. If there are (two or more) alumni with the same last name, such as a couple, typically use this style: Joe, ’69 and Terri Gaffney, ’67. Then, can refer in subsequent copy by first name to avoid confusion or by last name when referring as a couple, pair, duo, etc.

Addresses
Follow US postal regulations for all address databases and correspondence, omitting all periods. In publications with numbered addresses, use abbreviations for Ave., St., Blvd., Ct., La., Pl., Rd., Dr. and Pkwy. Spell out less common street designations such as Terrace or Circle or when not accompanied by an address number. Examples: He lives on State Street, that great street. Her office address is 2 S. Status St.

Athletics
SeattleU (no spaces) is used by Athletics and is approved usage for referring to a sports team or program within athletics. Also note the Athletics website, which is .com not .edu: www.goseattleu.com.

Books/chapters/artistic works
Italicize the title of a book or musical composition. Example: TV executives are launching a series based on the widely successful Hunger Games books. When referencing the title of a chapter or a song on a CD, use quotation marks. This is also the standard style for titles of an article, lecture or speech.

Buildings
Capitalize the name of the Building—Admissions and Alumni Relations, Pigott, Garrand, etc. Download a campus list of buildings that adhere to Seattle University editorial style guide. Note: When referencing Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, it should be written as such: Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. There is no capital The before the name.

Campus Store
When referring to the bookstore, it is no longer the “Seattle University Bookstore” or “SU Bookstore”; but rather the Campus Store.

Catalog
not catalogue

Commas
Use commas to separate elements in a series, but SU style is not to use the serial comma before a conjunction.

Coursework
(one word) not course work.

Dashes
Use two types of dashes: Em and En. An Em dash (—) is used to create a strong break in the structure of a sentence. The En dash (–) is used to denote “through” and is used mostly with dates and pages. There should be no spaces with use of either dash.

Dates/Times
Follow this order  date>time>place  when listing events. Do not use the word “on” before dates. Example: The July 21 lecture will be at 7 p.m. in room 100. Classes start Tuesday.

  • Time: Use figures (except for noon and midnight), a colon between hours and minutes, but no colon if the time is on the hour. Use “to” rather than dashes and lowercase on a.m./p.m. Example: 8 to 9 p.m., 11 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
  • Day: Spell out days of the week when used without a date. Otherwise, use Mon., Tues, Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat. and Sun. When a phrase lists day followed by date, separate with a comma. Example: The quarter began Thurs., Jan 15.
  • Month: When a month is given with a specific date, use as follows: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out months when using along or with a year alone. When a phrase lists only month and year, do not separate the year with commas.

Decades or more
When referring to a decade or century, do not use an apostrophe before the “s.” Examples: Mongol horsemen devoured the first hamburgers in the 1200s. The Hula Hoop fad began in the late ’50s.

Dialogue
not dialog

email
not e-mail; note: AP Style dictates to add a hyphen with other e-terms: e-commerce, e-book, e-business, etc.

ensure/insure
Ensure is to guarantee; insure is to protect or cover

Faculty/faculty members
The word faculty refers to a group of educators. Use with member (i.e., faculty member) when referring to an individual teacher or professor. “Faculty is” refers to all faculty (collectively); “faculty are” refers to one or more faculty members.

Father/Fr./Sister/Sr.
In first reference, spell out Father or Sister; in second reference use abbreviation, Fr. or Sr. in caps.

Fewer/less
Fewer is generally used in reference to individual items of minimum quantity; less typically refers to reduction. With fewer, think in terms of numbers; with less, in terms of subtraction.

Full-time/full time and part-time/part time
Use the hyphen only when these terms modify a noun: He’s a part-time student. She works full time as a barista.

Fundraiser/fund-raiser
Fundraiser, as a noun, is one word. Hyphenate the word—fund-raiser—when used as a verb

Graduation year
If not spelling out a graduation year—John Doe, a 2014 graduate of the School of Law—use apostrophe and the last two digits of the year—John Doe, ’14, is a graduate of the School of Law. In cases with multiple degrees, use commas in between degrees—John Doe, ’10, ’14 MNPL. And last, in cases with more than two degrees, rather than bogging down a person’s introduction, consider mentioning subsequent degrees in second reference or further down in an article. Example: After earning a law degree John Doe, ’14, returned to Seattle University. This time, he set his sights in the College of Arts and Sciences, receiving his Master of Nonprofit Leadership degree in 2014.

Jesuit Catholic
When using these two words together in reference to Seattle University, should be written as such: Jesuit Catholic, no commas or other punctuation necessary. When referencing a member of the Society of Jesus, accepted usage is S.J. with periods. Example: Tonight’s guest speaker is President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., from Seattle University. Note: While most academic titles and degrees are sans periods, when abbreviated, S.J. is with periods, which is consistent with other religious titles and reverential to the position.

Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons
Write out name of library and learning commons as such; there is no “The” before the name.

More than/over
More than refers to numerical relationships. Example: The cost of this bread is more than the cheese. Over refers to spatial relationships, as in physically above something. Example: The hot air balloon is over my house.

Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.
Do not use these in describing an individual. Instead, use full name (first+last) on first reference then last name, in most cases, in subsequent references.

Names
Use an individual’s first and last names on first reference. On subsequent references, use last names only. In cases where two people have the same last name, you can use their first names only. Do not use Mr., Miss, Mrs., Ms. in any case, including after first reference. When in doubt, after first reference use last name only. Note: In some conversational letters or correspondence, such as a personally written note or email from a dean or professor, using first name after the first reference is acceptable.

Native/native
In general, uppercase when referring to Native Americans, otherwise lowercase. Examples: She is Native American. They established a high school for Native youth. It is his native land. nonprofit—not non-profit

Numbers
In most instances, use figures for 10 and higher, write out through number nine and those numbers that begin a sentence. Always use figures for credit hours and money. Example: For $5, you receive one meatball and 2 credits.

online, ongoing, onsite
all without hyphens

Percentage
Spell out percent or percentage in most cases and when space allows. Example: There is a 25 percent rate increase this year. In limited space, OK to use percentage mark: %, ie 25% (no space between numeral and percentage mark).

Phone numbers
Write out phone numbers with hyphens: 206-296-6100; do not use periods in place of parenthesis and hyphens.

Prerequisite
not pre-requisite

Professional titles
Use initial capital letters for a title before a name, lowercase when a title is after a name: President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and Scott McClellan, vice president for communications.

Program and degree names
Capitalize official degrees; do not capitalize the word degree or program/s. Note: In some cases “Program” is part of an official degree or program of study and those cases cap Program.

Quotation marks
Use for complete quotes rather than short catch phrases or single words. Punctuation always goes inside quotation marks. See also Books/chapters/artistic works.

Seattle University
In newsletters, magazines and more traditional media, as well as speeches and formal documents, Seattle University should be spelled out in first reference, then Seattle U in subsequent references. Be consistent! In informal materials, some advertisements, social media and marketing copy, it is permissible to use Seattle U (note space between).

Spacing
Use a single space between words and sentences.

States
Spell out when used without a city or town name. In addresses, use the two-letter postal abbreviations: WA, OR, AK, CA, DC. For a full list, consult AP Style under state names.

Theater/theatre
Use theater in all instances except an official name, then be consistent within an article when an organization uses a theatre spelling.

tribe
Lowercase unless it refers to a specific tribe.

U/university
Capitalize only when using a university’s full name; lowercase university on subsequent references.

United States/U.S./USA
Can use this three ways: spell out entirely; use periods in U.S. (Example: U.S. News & World Report); or no periods when using USA.

Washington State/state
Use uppercase when in a title and lowercase state for other instances (Example: Washington state)

world view
not worldview or world-view

And remember: There is no substitute for a good dictionary.