Editorial Style Guide
Please follow these guidelines in writing for the web and for the Washington College Magazine.
Lowercase academic majors except proper nouns.
Example: history, political science, French studies, chemistry, English
Do not capitalize or use italics.
Note the capitalization. Incorrect: “Reunion Weekend” or “May Weekend.”
alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus
alumna- singular, female only
alumnae- plural, women only
alumnus- singular, male only
alumni- plural, a group of men and women
alum- okay in informal usage
Use lowercase with periods rather than “o’clock.”
Example: 8 a.m., 10 p.m.
capitalization and titles
Capitalize proper nouns:
Washington College Board of Directors
Rose O’Neill Literary House
The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience
Lowercase common nouns:
the board of directors
It is not necessary to capitalize titles such as president, vice president, chair, director, etc.
Example: Alexander Tuttle, president of Morgan Bank, spoke at the conference.
titles of people:
Capitalize formal titles before a name or names.
Example: President Mitchell Reiss, Dean Emily Chamlee-Wright, Associate Professor Lauren Littlefield
Lowercase formal titles after a name or names.
Example: Eleanor Taylor, president; Jack Kelly, professor of art history; Melissa Anderson, dean of student affairs
use italics or underlining with:
- books (title alone is normally sufficient; no need to reference publisher, year, etc.)
- gallery exhibitions
- movies and plays
- major musical compositions
- paintings, drawings, statues and other works of art
- periodicals (journals and magazines)
- use quotation marks with:
- dissertation titles
- papers (papers presented at conferences)
- radio programs (If part of a continuing series, italicize; National Public Radio’s All Things Considered).
TV programs (If part of a continuing series, italicize; PBS’s Sesame Street)
do not use italics, underlining or quotation marks (but use appropriate capitalization) with:
Commas are not necessary to separate a name from a class-year designation.
Example: Jeff Anderson ’56 gave a riveting presentation.
Also, note the direction of the apostrophe with class years is identical to that of the possessive apostrophe. On a Mac machine, use shift-option-close bracket. On a Windows machine, use ALT 0146.
When referring to Washington College with the article “the,” capitalize “College.”
Example: I work for the College.
in a series
Use commas to separate elements, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series.
Example: She loves apples, oranges and bananas.
Do use a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction.
Example: For dinner, we had fried chicken, lemonade, watermelon, and biscuits and gravy.
Do use a comma before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases. Example: Before hiring him, you need to find out whether he has enough appropriate experience, whether he has an adequate educational background, and whether you think he will work well with the rest of the staff.
Do use a comma before the concluding conjunction if not using the comma would confuse the meaning of the sentence.
Use commas to separate cities from states.
Example: Erica Lombardo ate in a quaint restaurant in Chestertown, Md.
Use a comma after the combination of city and state in a sentence.
Example: Melissa and Michelle met in Hoboken, NJ, for a night out on the town.
Use a comma for most four-digit figures that reflect an actual count of things such as money and people.
Example: 2,678 applicants
Exceptions in this rule include ages, street addresses, broadcast frequencies, room numbers, serial numbers and calendar years.
A comma is not necessary after a year.
Example: Christina and Matthew married October 15, 2005 at Zion Church.
Use commas to separate ages.
Example: Markley has two brothers, Tripp, 5, and Kent, 3.
in quotation marks
Commas (as well as periods) always go inside quotation marks.
The “e” is not capitalized unless it is the first word of a sentence.
Example: My email ended up in your junk folder. Email is a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends.
Use the above spelling when mentioning the Internet.
We follow standard journalistic practice of using people’s last names on subsequent mention of them in a story.
Do not use parentheses for a maiden name.
Example: Ellen Franklin Rogers
Misspelled names (frequently)
Charley Clark (the late Charles B. Clark ’34)
Douglass Cater (note the extra “s” in Douglass)
Joseph H. McLain ’37
Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium (no article used)
Hodson Hall Commons
Elisabeth Reiss (with an “s”)
In general, spell out zero through nine (and first through ninth) and give numerals for 10 and above. Fractions, such as two-thirds, should be spelled out. If paired with a whole number, use the decimal system.
Do not use the superscript of “th” or “st” with numbers.
Correct: first, eighteenth century
Use apostrophe “s” after singular and some plural nouns to indicate possession.
Example: Sarah’s desk, men’s room
When either a singular or plural noun ends in “s,” use only the apostrophe unless the below circumstance occurs:
This, from Bartleby, adheres to the editor’s thinking that if you pronounce the extra s, it should be written ‘s.
The possessive case of a singular noun is formed by adding -’s: one’s home, by day’s end, our family’s pet, the witness’s testimony, a fox’s habitat, the knife’s edge. Note that although some people use just the apostrophe after singular nouns ending in s (the witness’ testimony, Burns’ poetry), the -’s is generally preferred because it more accurately reflects the modern pronunciation of these forms. However, in a few cases where the -’s is not pronounced, it is usual to add just the apostrophe: for righteousness’ (appearance’) sake.
For Washington College Magazine articles, the president’s full name should be spelled out in the first reference.
Example: President Mitchell Reiss. Do not uppercase president on second reference if the title stands alone. “The faculty invited the president to dinner.”
Do not abbreviate “prof.” When introducing a member of the faculty, use the full academic title (including assistant, associate, adjunct, visiting, etc.) along with the person’s name. Long titles are more easily read after the name and surrounded by commas.
Example: Associate Professor of Psychology Brian Longfellow; OR Brian Longfellow, associate professor of psychology; OR psychology professor Brian Longfellow. Subsequent references may refer to “Professor Longfellow.”
Use double quotation marks outside single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.
Example: “‘I’m from Washington College.’”
We have recently adopted the AP style for state abbreviations, i.e., Md. and Va.
Except in the proper names of Norman James Theatre and Tawes Theatre.
No http:// required
Two words (as is home page).