Brandman Style Guide for Writing
In most instances, Brandman University references the AP Stylebook for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc. There are, however, circumstances where the University follows its own protocol. If you can’t find a particular reference to your question in the Brandman Writing Style Guide, please check the AP Stylebook or contact the Marketing/Communications.
academic advisor, academic advising. Do not capitalize and avoid using as a title. Carmen Gonzalez is an academic advisor. Brandman’s academic advising programs are second to none. Sue Smith, an academic advisor, said students should call her when they have problems. Academic advising is important to student success.
academic degrees. See also Titles. Spell out the name of the degree. When using the specific degree, use uppercase: Master of Science, Master of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Doctorate of Education. For other use lower case bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, doctoral degree. Ex: She has her Master of Science degree in organizational leadership. He continued by earning his doctorate. He has his master’s in psychology.
- After a name, abbreviate degrees using uppercase letters with periods: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ph.D., Ed.D., or D.N.P. Note there are no periods in MBA, MFA or in JD. When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas. Ex: John Snow, Ph.D., spoke at the conference.
- Do not precede a name with a title for an academic degree followed by the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference. Wrong: Dr. John Snow, Ph.D., spoke at the conference.
- Honorary degrees: All references to honorary degrees should specify that the degree was honorary.
- No apostrophe, no “s” and no capital letters in associate degree. She earned an associate degree in biology followed by a Bachelor of Science.
- Per AP, the title Dr. should be reserved for medical doctors. Our preference is to use their academic title followed by name followed by degree. Dean Christine Zeppos, Ed.D., leads the School of Education
academic departments. Capitalize the names of academic departments, offices, programs, and schools when the formal name is used. Ex: The club is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences. Lowercase when referencing a more generic description. Ex: Delegates from psychology departments from across the country will attend the conference. See academic degrees. See Titles.
acronyms/initials. On the first reference, the name or title should be written out and followed by the acronym in parenthesis; do not use periods for most acronyms. Ex: Defense Language Institute (DLI); competency-based education (CBE), but only when referring to Brandman’s specific program; marriage and family therapy (MFT). Schools.
accreditation. Brandman is regionally accredited by WASC - WASC Senior College and University Commission. There is no such thing as "fully accredited" - do not use. Additional accreditations exist for the School of Education (NCATE and CTC), School of Nusing (CCNE) and social work (CSWE).
adjunct. A person who teaches at least one class at Brandman but is not a full-time member of the faculty. Melissa Jones, an adjunct faculty member, teaches “Intercultural Communications.” Avoid pairing with professor, use adjunct faculty member.
adult learners, adult learning, adult students. Students with busy schedules is the preferred marketing term, although adult learning is used in the university's vision statement.
African-American. See Race and ethnicities.
age. See Numbers.
alma mater. Do not italicize. See also Latin terms.
alumni. Individuals are considered alumna/alumnus if they graduated from Brandman University or Chapman University College. Chapman University in Orange does not refer to Brandman University graduates as Chapman alumni. Note the different forms, depending on gender and quantity:
- alumna/alumnae: An individual female who has graduated from or attended the university as a student is an alumna. A group of two or more women is referenced as alumnae.
- alumnus: An individual male who has graduated from or attended the university as a student is an alumnus. Also, use alumnus when making a general reference to someone who may be either male or female. Ex: An alumnus of Brandman University is automatically eligible to belong to the Alumni Association upon graduation.
- alumni: This is a plural term that refers to a group of two or more who have graduated from or attended the university. The group may consist of all males or males and females. Do not use alumnus/a or alumni/ae. An indeterminate group of alumni are always alumni not alumni/ae.
- Alum or alums are slang terms acceptable ONLY in a quotation. In regular text, always use the correct and complete term.
- When in doubt, say graduated or attended Brandman, earning a degree in … .
a.m./pm.. Use lowercase a.m. and p.m. Avoid am/pm, AM/PM or A.M./P.M. Do not use twice in the same grouping. Wrong: 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Correct: 7-8 p.m. See also Numbers/Time
among/between. Use among when discussing a relation of more than two items, individuals, or groupings. Use between when discussing a relation of two items, individuals, or groupings. Ex: We could not choose between chocolate or vanilla gelato, so we agreed to split a large dulce de leche among the five of us.
ampersand (&). See Punctuation/Symbols.
AMVETS. National organization associated with the Institute for Military Personnel, Veterans, Human Rights and International Law.
annual. An event cannot be described as annual until it has taken place for two consecutive years. Never use the term first annual.
assistant, associate in academic titles. Be certain of the exact designation and use email signatures as a reference when using to describe an academic position. When in doubt, use faculty member. Ex.: Assistant Professor Catherine Pearlman has written numerous pieces for Brandman Voices. Dr. John Freed, a faculty member in the School of Arts and Sciences, has had his fourth play published. Associate Dean Lynn Larsen … See Titles.
associate degree. No apostrophe, no “s.” She earned an associate degree from Irvine Valley College.
attorney, lawyer. In common usage, the terms are interchangeable. Technically, however, an attorney is someone who is empowered to act for another and may or may not be a lawyer. A lawyer is a person admitted to practice in the court system and occasionally is called an attorney at law. Do not abbreviate. Do not capitalize unless it is an officeholder’s title. Ex: He spoke to defense attorney Mary Payson. She contacted District Attorney Hamilton Burger. (AP Stylebook)
Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science. See Academic degrees.
between/among. See Among/between.
biannual/biennial. Biannual = Occurs twice a year. Biennial = Occurs once every two years (or every other year).
black. See Race and ethnicities.
blended classes. Because all Brandman classes have an online component, classes held at a campus are referred to as blended classes. It’s the preferred term, but other acceptable uses are on-campus classes; in-seat or online classes.
book titles. See Titles.
board. Capitalize when part of a proper name. Ex: Board of Regents, Board of Governors, Board of Counselors. Lowercase when used alone: Marilyn Alexander joined the board this year.
Brandman Foundation, Saul Brandman, Joyce Brandman: The Brandman Foundation was created for philanthropic purposes by Saul Brandman who died in 2008. His wife, Joyce, became president of the foundation and oversees its charitable endeavors. A $10 million donation from the foundation to benefit Chapman University College resulted in it being renamed Brandman University. https://www.brandman.edu/press-release/university-college-becoming-brandman-university
Brandman MyPath. The official name of Brandman University’s competency-based education program, that should be used in all references. Do not refer to it as Brandman’s MyPath or as CBE. See competency-based education.
Brandman University. Brandman University is a separate entity from Chapman University, with its own Board of Regents and administration, and should be referred to as such. It is, however, part of the Chapman University System. On first reference include and capitalize university. Brandman is OK on subsequent references. Before becoming a separate entity it was known as Chapman University College. Graduates of Chapman University College are considered alumni of Brandman. If someone insists they graduated from Chapman while attending classes anywhere but at the Chapman campus in Orange, they graduated from Chapman University College. In that case it should be John Doe, who graduated in 1994 from Chapman University College (now known as Brandman University), donated …. .
bullets. Capitalize the first word of each point. Only bulleted items that are phrased as complete sentences should include final punctuation. Take care to make sure each bullet section matches to the grammatical format of the others. Examples:
His favorite colors are:
When painting, he likes to
- Use camel-hair brushes
- Choose his colors carefully
- Sketch first and paint later
What not to do.
When painting he likes:
- The color red
- Using camel-hair brushes
- To sketch first
campus. Always lowercase unless it begins a sentence. Ex: The Santa Maria campus earned top honors in the Student Satisfaction Survey. For Brandman New stories, link to the location page on brandman.edu and include ?source=XMSMLP01 at the end.
CBE. See competency-based education.
center. In all cases, lowercase center when the word stands alone. Veterans Resource Center. Numerous people attended the center’s open house.
Central campus. Located in Irvine but refers to Brandman’s overall administration. Not the same as the Irvine campus. In general, avoid using and use Brandman University instead.
chair/chairman/chairwoman. Chair is generally preferred as a title. Capitalize chair when it precedes a name, but lowercase when it follows. Ex: Board of Regents Chair David Janes met with the chancellor.
chancellor. Capitalize before a name when used as a title, but lowercase after a name. Ex: The event featured a speech by Chancellor Gary Brahm. Or The event featured a speech by Gary Brahm, chancellor of Brandman University. The chancellor spoke about student safety.
Chapman University. On first reference, always include University. Chapman is acceptable on second reference.
Chapman University College. Before 2009, Brandman University was a college under Chapman University. Students who graduated prior to 2009 should be referred to as graduates of Chapman University College (not Chapman University) but reference Brandman. John Smith graduated from Chapman University College (now Brandman University) in 1998 while stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
comma. See Punctuation.
commencement. Capitalize when referring to the Brandman event, Northern Commemencent or Southern Commencement. Lowercase in general references. They will hold commencements at multiple campuses. Commencement is the ceremony and is not interchangeable with graduation, adding ceremony is redundant, per Webster’s New World Dictionary: n. 1.the act or time of commencing; beginning; 2. the ceremonies at which degrees or diplomas are conferred at a school or college the day when this takes place.
competency-based education. Competency-based education approach allows students to advance based on their ability to master a skill or competency at their own pace regardless of environment. It is flexible and self-paced. Brandman Mypath (often referred to internally as CBE or competency-based education) maintains the standards needed for any Brandman -awarded degree. Students earn digital badges that align to competencies and can be used to inform employers about the mastery of specific skills. See Brandman MyPath. See digital badges.
Corporate and Community Relations. The official name of the group known colloquially as outreach. Capitalize.
course titles. Place the formal names of academic courses in quotes and uppercase important words. Use lowercase to describe types of courses within a major, school, or department. Ex: She teaches “Principles of Accounting.” Professor Brown teaches accounting courses.
CSU/UC. See UC/CSU.
curriculum. Curriculum is a singular noun. The plural is curricula (not curriculums).
credits. Not units, in all instances.
dash. See Punctuation.
dates. Always use Arabic numerals. Abbreviate months according to AP style Never use ordinal abbreviations, such as January 15th or July 3rd. In an exception to AP, we use capitals to designate sessions: Spring 1; Fall 2, etc. See Numbers.
dean. See Titles.
degrees. See Academic degrees.
departments. See Academic departments.
disabled. See Handicapped.
digital badges. Badges go beyond grades, reflecting accolades, skills and experiences. They are used to enhance transcripts and highlight efforts on a project, research paper, certification or competency. See Brandman MyPath. See competency-based education.
dissertation. A formal and lengthy discourse or treatise on some subject, usually based on original research and written in partial fulfillment of requirements for a doctorate. It is not the same as a thesis, defined as a formal and lengthy research paper, esp. a work of original research written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree. Some academic institutions use the term interchangeably but Brandman does not.
Doctor/Ph.D. See Titles.
doctorate/doctoral. Doctorate is a noun, and doctoral is an adjective. Ex: She earned her doctorate in comparative literature. He is a doctoral student in history. But uppercase and use Doctor when referring to the formal degree awarded by Brandman: Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Ed.D. and DNP can stand alone in subsequent references. While earning a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Joe Smith commuted from Spain. His Ed.D. program introduced him to new ways of thinking.
dollar. Always lowercase. Use figures and $ in all cases except casual references. Ex: Dollars are flowing into the project. For specified amounts, the word takes a singular verb. Ex: He said $500,000 is what they want. If the amount exceeds one million, use a dollar sign and the word million. Ex: They made a generous gift of $2.5 million. See also Numbers.
Dr. See Titles.
ECC. Brandman acronym for the enrollment coaching center located in Portland, Oregon. Avoid using in outward facing information. Use enrollment coaching or enrollment coaches.
ellipsis. See Punctuation.
email. One word, no hyphen, lowercase. (AP Stylebook)
emcee. Verb. Do not abbreviate as MC, which refers to master of ceremonies. Ex: MC Jack Daniels did a great job of emceeing the show.
emeritus. See Titles.
enrollment coach. Often the first person to be in contact with a student, an enrollment coach (lowercase when used alone, avoid using before a name as a title) partners with prospective students during the enrollment process. They assist students complete the forms necessary for the application process. See Titles.
entry-level. When used as a modifier. A bachelor's degree prepares you to attain an entry-level job.
ethnicity. See Race and ethnicities.
exclamation point. See Punctuation.
faculty. It is a singular noun and should always be lowercase. Ex: The faculty is especially busy in September. However, faculty members are less busy in July.
FAFSA. Acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The form can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.
fewer/less. In general, use fewer for individual items, less for bulk or quantity. Right: Fewer than 10 applicants called. (Individuals.) Right: I had less than $50 in my pocket. (An amount.) But: I had fewer than five $1 bills in my pocket. (Individual items.)
foreign students. Preferred description is international students.
former. Always lowercase. Ex: Speakers at the event included former President George N. Reeves, Bob Marley, and Jim Anderson, former dean of the college.
for-profit. Hyphenated, per AP. But nonprofit is one word, no hyphen.
FTE. Acronym for “full-time equivalent,” which represents the workload of an employed person (or student) in a way that makes workloads comparable across various contexts. Avoid using.
full time/full-time. Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. Ex: He works full time. She has a full-time job.
fundraiser/fundraising. No space and no hyphen.
gay. See LGBT.
gender sensitivities. Avoid gender-specific terms (he/she or his/her) by using plural pronouns (they or their) and plural verbs where possible. Ex: The children brought their snacks from home. Rather than: Each child brought his or her snack from home.
GI Bill. No periods, note capitalization.
handicapped. In general, do not describe an individual as physically disabled or handicapped unless it is clearly pertinent to the story. (AP Stylebook)
headlines. Use sentence style. Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. (AP Stylebook) Put headlines to an article inside an article in quotation marks without italics.
health care. Two words, all uses, per AP. Ex: He works in health care. He is a health care worker.
Hispanic. See Race and ethnicities.
home page. Two words. Lowercase.
Honorable. Formal title for all current or former government officials, diplomats, representatives, senators, mayors, city council members, etc. Ex: The Honorable George L. Argyros ’59 or the Honorable Mayor Lisa Simpson. Generally, this honorific is only used in lists of board members or in letter writing, not in magazine or marketing texts. Can be abbreviated as Hon.
hyphen. See Punctuation.
initials. When using two or more initials in a name, use periods without spaces. Ex: C.C. Chapman.
institute. Lowercase center or institute when the word stands alone.
internet. Lower case. The web, like email, is a subset of the internet. They are not synonymous and should not be used interchangeably in stories. Internet addresses are lower case: brandman.edu
irregardless. Do not use. The correct choice is regardless.
italics. Do not use except for emphasis or foreign terms. (Resist requests from academics wanting to use APA rather than AP style.) See also Titles.
it’s/its. It’s is a contraction for it is or it has: Ex: It’s up to you. It’s been a long time. Its is the possessive form of the neutral pronoun: The company lost its assets.
JD. Stands for Juris Doctor. Preferred use is JD (without periods). See also Academic degrees.
Jesus or Jesus Christ. Uppercase in all uses.
Jr./Sr.; Junior/Senior. Abbreviate only with full names of persons. Do not precede with a comma. Ex: Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. For alphabetical listings by name, follow this format: Doe, John, Jr. (Note: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day does officially include a comma before Jr.) Lowercase junior and senior when referring to class year designations. See also Names and Titles.
Jew. See Race and ethnicities.
journal titles. See Titles.
judge. Capitalize before a name only when used as a formal title. Otherwise, lowercase. Do not use the title in second reference. Ex: Judge Brown was asked to judge the contest. Brown selected the second entry to win the blue ribbon.
K. Do not use K to denote thousand in text. However, it is acceptable to use the capitalized letter to denote kilometers. Ex: Their goal is to raise $200,000 from the 5K fundraising race. Incorrect: Our goal is to raise $200K from Chapman’s 5k Race.
Koran. See Quran.
laboratory. Spell out and capitalize as part of an official name. On second reference, lab is acceptable.
Latin terms. Non-English words are typically italicized in text, including Latin terms, with the following exceptions: emeritus, alumni (and its variations), alma mater, curriculum vitae (CV), pro bono, or ad hoc.
Latino/a. See Race and ethnicities.
Leatherby Libraries. Libraries is plural. Ex: Chapman’s Leatherby Libraries are available to all Brandman students.
legislative titles. See Titles.
lesbian. See LGBT.
LGBT. Acronym representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. May also appear as LGBTQIA (adding queer/questioning, intersex, and ally). Do not specify sexual orientation unless it is germane and necessary to the article.
less/fewer/under. In general, use fewer for individual items and less for bulk or quantity. Right: Fewer than 10 applicants called. I had less than $50 in my pocket. Under refers to spatial relationships; less than is preferred with amounts or quantities, and fewer than is preferred with individual items.
magazine names. Capitalize, but do not italicize the name and the word magazine if it is part of the formal title: Newsweek magazine. Harper’s Magazine. (Italicized to set off examples). See Titles.
majors. Capitalize a subject of study when used as the name of a specific course. Otherwise, do not capitalize names of fields of study or majors, except those words that are proper nouns (names of languages, geographic locations, etc.). Ex: I have to take Organizational Leadership 614 to graduate, but I won’t need any more organizational leadership courses after that. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business. He majored in English literature. She has a minor in chemistry.
Master of Arts, Master of Science. See Academic degrees.
MBA. See Academic degrees.
mid- . Do not hyphenate unless a capitalized word follows. Ex: midair, mid-America, mid-Atlantic, midsemester, or midterm. Use a hyphen when mid- precedes a figure. Ex: mid-30s
military. Lowercase unless part of an organization's name. Brandman serves the needs of U.S. military students.
money. For amounts less than $1, use cents. Ex: The bill was for 67 cents. For amounts of $1 or more that include cents, use the dollar sign with a decimal point. Ex: They sent a check for $1.01 to the office. Dollar amounts with no cents should not include a decimal point. Ex: I wrote a check for $50 to cover the invoice. For amounts of $1 million or more, omit zeroes and use million, billion, etc. See also Dollar.
More than/over. More than is used with numerals. Ex: Parking has gone up more than $50 per semester. Over refers to spatial relationships. Ex: The helicopter flew over the campus.
MyPath. See Brandman MyPath
names. On first reference, use full names and, where appropriate, titles. On second reference, use only last names. If needing to distinguish between two people with the same last name, use both first and last names for each. Do not use courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) unless in a direct quote, formal letter greeting. See also Jr./Sr. Using initials for a first name is acceptable if the identification is clear. Ex: J.K. Rowling, J.J. Abrams, C.C. Chapman.
newspaper/periodicals titles. Capitalize newspaper and periodical titles. Capitalize the only if it is the beginning of the actual title. See also Titles.
Native American. See Race and ethnicities.
nonprofit. One word, no hyphen, per AP style. For-profit is hyphenated.
nontraditional. No hyphen.
noon/midnight. Lowercase. Do not put 12 in front of noon. Use noon instead of 12 p.m. Use midnight for 12 a.m.
numbers. For print, spell out zero through nine. Use numerals for 10 and up. When writing for the web, use numerals for all numbers. If a sentence begins with a number, spell it out or revise the sentence. For numbers over 1,000, use a comma as a separator.
- age: Always use figures. Use hyphens only to separate if used as an adjective before a noun or as a substitute for a noun. Ex: The 7-year-old boy vs. The boy was 7 years old. Do not use an apostrophe if describing a decade. Ex: She was in her 80s not She was in her 80’s.
- dimensions/physical qualities (length, width, volume): Always express in figures, including fractions and decimals, and spell out unit descriptor. Ex: 4 yards or 11 3/8 inches long or 5.5 pounds
- fractions/decimals: Spell out amounts less than one using hyphens between the words. For amounts larger than one, use figures. Use decimals for higher numbers. Ex: two-thirds, 1 1/3, 100.5
- millions/billions: For million/billions, write out the word rather than using zeros. Ex: Our goal is to raise $750 million.
- ordinal numbers: Spell out if number is less than 10, and don’t capitalize unless distinctly part of a proper name. Do not subscript the suffix. Brandman is ranked 10th among online colleges.
- page numbers: Use figures and capitalize page number unless used in a recognized term like This is going to be a Page One story. When a letter is appended to the figure capitalize it, but do not use a hyphen to separate. Ex: Page 7 or Page 221B
- percent/percentage: One word. Spell it out when used in text or text blocks. Use % when used in lists or headlines.
- ratios: Use figures, a colon, and a descriptor phrase like ratio to avoid confusion with actual figures. Ex: a ratio of 3:1 or a 2:1 ratio.
- temperature: Use figures except for zero. Spell out the word degree instead of using symbols unless used in scientific writings. Use a word like minus and not a symbol for describing temperatures below zero. Ex: Today’s temperature was minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit or Today’s low was 10 below zero or It is 80 degrees out today.
- time: When referencing numbers on the hour, do not include zeros or a colon. Ex: The event will start at 7 p.m. or The event will run from 7 to 7:45 p.m. Do not use o’clock unless it is part of a direct quotation and never as part of an ordinal representation. Ex: “We left at seven o’clock,” he said. Never: The event will begin promptly at 7:00 o’clock.
- years: When written as a date, separate from day with a comma, and from the remainder of the sentence with a comma. Ex:March 10, 1932, is not a day that will attract notice. If you are referencing decades or centuries, do not use an apostrophe before the s. Ex: ’30s or 1880s. When listing only month and year, do not separate with a comma. Ex: May 2014.
office. Capitalize office on first reference when it is part of the formal name; lowercase or delete on second reference. Ex: Office of Admission or Admissions.
off campus/on campus/off site. Two words, but hyphenate if used as an adjective in front of a noun. Ex: Brandman students take on-campus classes. Students can take classes on campus or online.
ombudsman. The person employed by the university to investigate and attempt to mediate and resolve complaints against it by students. Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisors, campus directors o
online. Capitalize if used to refer specifically to the Brandman campus. He receives academic advising through the Online campus. Lowercase in general use: She takes classes online. Brandman is a leader in online innovation. Fully online is not hyphenated.
One Stop. The name of the program that gives Brandman students a single contact for working through financial and other administrative issues within the university. One Stop specialists (colloquially called One Stops, but do not use that in writing) work closely with academic advisors who handle academic issues for students. Every student should have a One Stop specialist and an academic advisor. Both are assigned by campuses, including the Online campus.
outreach. The colloquial name for a separate group composed of Corporate and Community Relations managers assigned to campuses and the assistant vice chancellors of Corporate and Community Relations under the direction of the vice chancellor for Strategic Initiatives. Now part of Marketing.
over/more than. See More than.
percent/percentage. One word. Spell it out when used in text or text blocks. Use % when used in lists or headlines.
period. See Punctuation.
Ph.D./Doctor. See Titles.
phone numbers. The format for telephone numbers is to separate area codes, etc. with periods to mirror website use (UPDATED 11/13/17): 714.555.1212
prefixes. Generally, do not use a hyphen when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant. Except for cooperate and coordinate, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel. Use a hyphen before capitalized words or numerals or in awkward constructions that might be misleading or difficult to read such as non-nuclear.
president. When used as a title before the president’s name, it’s capitalized. Chapman University President Daniele Struppa will speak at the Southern Commencement. Lowercase when used without the name or after the name. The president will be here at noon or Daniele Struppa is president of Chapman University.
professor. Try to avoid. Academic designations are hierarchical and can change. A professor is not the same as an associate professor and that’s not the same as an assistant professor. Unless you know for certain, use full-time faculty member or adjunct faculty member.
program. Capitalize formal names of academic programs when used in advertising collateral or as a heading, but do not capitalize the word program. When referring to the program in a story, do not capitalize (except for proper nouns). He majored in business administration or Both the major and minor in business administration are … . He’s studying integrated social science (business, organizational leadership, etc.)
provost. When used as a title before the provost’s name, it is capitalized. Ex: Provost Gaspar de Portola. Use lowercase without the name or after the name. Ex: The provost will be here at noon or Gaspar de Portola is provost of Cursivo University.
publications titles. See Titles.
punctuation. Reference the Associated Press Stylebook for basic punctuation rules. Below is a quick reference for some commonly used marks.
- apostrophe: Usually indicates possession, contraction, or the omission of a letter or number. Ex: It’s Milton’s red stapler that he bought in the ’90s.
- bullets: Capitalize the first word of each point. Only bulleted items that are phrased as complete sentences should include final punctuation. See Bullets, for examples and more explanation.
- colon: Commonly used at the end of a sentence to indicate a list, tabulation, or text. Capitalize first word after colon if the next phrase is a complete sentence. Ex: Ross has one rule: Do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you.
- commas: Use commas to separate elements in a series or for a conjunction. In general, Brandman does not use the serial (Oxford) comma before the last list item, but that format is allowed as long as its use is consistent throughout the article or publication. Preferred Ex: Watch out for Tom, Dick and Jane. Do not use a comma to separate Jr. or Sr. from a name. When a phrase refers to a full date, use a comma to set off the year. Ex: February 14, 2013, is the target date. Similarly, use a comma after the state or country in a sentence. Ex: Jack Jones Jr. was born in Barstow, Calif., in ’79. Reference theAP Stylebook for a more thorough explanation of comma utilization (or see this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education for a more humorous perspective).
- dashes: There are two types of dashes: em and en dashes. There should be spaces between separated words and dashes. Em dashes should be used to reflect a break in thought. Use this instead of a hyphen or double hyphen: I will be traveling back to the future — if I can figure out this darn flux capacitor. En dashes should be used to describe a range of values or a distance: Students aged 18–24 should take the OC–LA train.
- ellipsis: Represents the exclusion of words in a quotation or a deliberate pause in a written statement. Should be preceded and followed by a space. Ex: This is a remarkable document … if it weren’t plagiarized word-for-word from the web.
- exclamation point: Rarely necessary. Avoid! Please!
- hyphens: Use to join words if necessary to avoid confusion or to form a compound modifier to express two words as a single concept. Ex: He will lecture to a group of small-business owners about first-quarter budgets. Do not hyphenate after words ending in –ly. Ex: This is a specially designated room for meditation. Use of the hyphen is far from standardized. It is optional in most cases, a matter of taste, judgment and style sense.
- parentheses: Use sparingly because they are jarring to the reader. Use commas or em dashes as an alternative. Place periods outside the final parenthesis if the parentheses enclose a sentence fragment or inside if the parentheses enclose a full sentence.
- periods: Use at the end of a sentence and for abbreviations. It is no longer necessary to end a sentence with two spaces after a period.
- question mark: Use a question mark at the end of a direct question. Ex: Who found the key? Use a question mark at the end of an interpolated question. Ex: You told me — Did I hear you right? — that you went to class.Placement inside or outside of quotation marks depends on the meaning. Ex: Who wrote “The Road Not Taken”? or She asked, “Who is writing the next report?” and, similarly, “Who is writing the report?” she asked.
- quotation marks: Use for direct quotes, dialogue, or to identify the title of a short story or article. In general, punctuation marks (especially the period) go inside the quotation marks. Reference the AP Stylebook for a more thorough explanation of quotation mark utilization.
- semicolon: In general, use the semicolon to replace conjunction words like and, but, yet, etc., when both sections can stand alone as complete sentences. It should also be used to separate items in a series in which the items contain commas. Ex: She is a successful author; her baking skills are also exceptional. Ex: Ramon is survived by his son, Brian; three daughters, Inez, Bertha, and Juanita; and dog, Huey.
- symbols: Do not use an ampersand (&) unless it is part of an official name. The @ symbol should only be used in email addresses. The % symbol can be used in spreadsheets and in writing for the web but should always be written as percent or percentage in text.
- Books, publications, newspapers, magazines, journals, music:
- Put in quotes the titles of books, presentations, films, paintings or other works of art, and TV series.
- publications titles. For magazines, books, and newspapers, titles are in quotes. For short stories or article titles, use quotes. Ex: The article “10 Ways to Learn” just appeared in The New Yorker.
- journal titles. Use italics for journal titles. Ex: The quote came from the New England Journal of Medicine.
- Place in quotation marks (no italics) the names of smaller works within a larger work, such as episode titles of a TV series, poems or stories in a book, or arias in an opera.
- musical compositions. Titles of operas, long works, and albums are italicized. Titles of songs and short compositions are placed in quotation marks.
- Job descriptions, titles:
- Formal job titles should be capitalized and spelled out when used in front of the person’s name. Ex: Professor Sheila Steinberg or Dean Glenn Worthington.Use lowercase when the title follows the name. Ex: Steinberg is a professor of sociology at Brandman. Glenn Worthington is the dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies.
queer. See LGBT.
Quran. Preferred spelling for the holy book of the Muslim faith. It should always be capitalized. Use the spelling Koran only if preferred by a specific organization or specific title or name.
Race and ethnicities. Racial identifiers rarely provide information that is relevant or revealing and should be avoided. However, when reporting on situations with racial undertones, such as demonstrations or protests, reference the AP Stylebook for currently accepted terminology.
Ramadan. Always capitalize. Ramadan is the Muslim holy month, which is a period of daily fasting from sunrise to sunset ending with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.ratios. See Numbers/Ratios.
real world, real-world. Hyphen needed when used as an adjective. The Ed.D. integrates change into real-world settings. Graduates learn practical theories that apply to business in the real world.
retarded. Do not use. Federal statutes use instead intellectual disability. Ex: The student has an intellectual disability. Not: The student is intellectually disabled.
Representative, Rep. Capitalize as a title before the name of a state or federal legislator. Ex: U.S. Representative Ed Royce, California Rep. Joe Baca. Use the lowercase for generic expressions: He is a representative on the Academic Senate.
Roman numerals. Use Roman numerals to identify sequence for names of people, wars, and some sporting events. Ex: Pope Pius XII, World War I, Super Bowl XXIII. Also use Roman numerals for certain legislative acts. Ex: Title IX.
rooms. Capitalize the names of specially designated rooms on campus. Ex: William K. Hood Boardroom. When designating a room number, capitalize Room when used with a figure. Ex: Room 110 at the Irvine campus.
RSVP. The abbreviation for the French respondez s’il vous plait translates to respond if you please. No periods are necessary. Never say Please RSVP.
scholarships. Capitalize the official names of scholarships. Alumni Association Scholarship On subsequent references, scholar or scholarship should be lowercase unless they come directly before a name.
Schools. Use the complete name of the school in the first reference. On second reference, the school can be identified in shortened form.
- School of Arts and Sciences
- School of Business and Professional Studies (School of Business or business school on 2nd reference)
- School of Education
- Marybelle and Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions (nursing school on 2nd refence)
- School of Extended Education
seasons. Do not capitalize spring, summer, fall, or winter unless it is the first word of a sentence or part of a formal name or title. Ex: It was published in fall 2008. She competed in the Olympic Winter Games.
semicolon. See Punctuation.
senior. Do not capitalize unless it is part of a proper name.
sessions. The eight-week period Brandman in which classes are held. Two sessions make up a trimester: Fall 1 and Fall 2; Spring 1 and Spring 2; Summer 1 and Summer 2.
staff. Lowercase, singular noun. Ex: The staff is excited about the holiday party.
states. In news or article writing, use the AP abbreviation for the state (Mich., Calif., etc.). Names of states should be spelled out in the body of a letter but abbreviated in the address using the U.S. Postal Service abbreviation system.
student organizations. A student organization must be registered with the university to receive full benefits of campus facilities or to be eligible for student funding. Capitalize the proper names of student organizations.
syllabus. The correct plural form is syllabuses; however, syllabi has become widely adopted.
symbols. See Punctuation.
telephone numbers. See Phone numbers.
titles. Follow AP style. Apply the guidelines listed here to book titles, computer and video game titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, album and song titles, radio and television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art. The guidelines, followed by a block of examples:
- Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
- Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
- Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications. Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as WordPerfect or Windows.
- Translate a foreign title into English unless a work is generally known by its foreign name. An exception to this is reviews of musical performances. In those instances, generally refer to the work in the language it was sung in, so as to differentiate for the reader. However, musical compositions in Slavic languages are always referred to in their English translations.
Titles for individuals. Follow AP style. For quick reference: Lowercase and spell out titles not used with an individual's name. The president issued a statement. Lowercase and spell out titles after a name. Set off with a comma. Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas: The dean of the School of Education, Christine Zeppos, created the doctoral program. Capitalize formal titles when used immediately before a name. They wanted Chancellor Gary Brahm to give the invocation.
ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE: A formal title generally is one that denotes a scope of authority, professional activity or academic position (not degree). Other titles serve primarily as occupational descriptions: faculty member Joe Smith, academic advisor Pat Jones, campus director. When in doubt, use the title after the name and lowercase.
See academic degrees.
transgender. See LGBT.
Twitter/tweet. Always capitalize Twitter. However, tweet should be lowercase. It is used as a noun or verb depending on the context of the sentence. Ex: The tweet she sent me was hilarious (noun) and She was tweeting throughout the graduation ceremony (verb).
United States. When used as a proper noun, spell it out and capitalize. United States is sufficient (United States of America is usually not necessary). It is acceptable to abbreviate when used as an adjective (Ex: the U.S. economy). Always use periods to delineate U.S., but USA should be written without periods.
university. Capitalize when it follows Brandman: Brandman University. Lowercase when used alone. Ex: This university provides a uniquely personalized education. Other universities are not as focused.
UC/CSU.Spell out on first reference — University of California, Berkeley — but UC Berkeley on second reference. Similarly, California State University, Fresno but Fresno State on second reference.
under. See Less.
vice president, vice provost, vice chair, vice chancellor. See Titles.
web/website/web page. Website is one word. Web page is two words. Do not capitalize except at the start of sentences. Ex: You can find that web page on our new website.
webcam, webmaster, webcast. All are one word. (AP Stylebook)
years. See Numbers.
ZIP code. Always write as all-caps ZIP (stands for Zoning Improvement Plan), but always lowercase code. (AP Stylebook) Run the five digits together without a comma, and do not put a comma between the state name and the ZIP code. Ex: Irvine, CA 92618.
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