Editorial Style Guide
The University of Idaho generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook (i.e., the AP Style Guide). This supplemental guide is for common uses within university writing and includes university-specific instances, which may overrule AP. Included in this guide are also sections on abbreviations and acronyms, capitalization and punctuation. In instances that this guide or AP fails to address, refer to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. If you have questions about the U of I Style Guide, please contact Jodi Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-885-4295.
In editorial copy, spell out the full degree name on first reference. On second reference, use “bachelor’s,” “master’s,” “doctorate,” etc. Avoid the use of abbreviations in copy and instead use a phrase: “John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology.” It is not necessary to use the word “degree” after the degree type. See Majors entry.
In display type or lists, only use degree abbreviations following a name to identify terminal degrees, upon request. Degree titles and types should only be included if it is relevant to the content, such as feature articles or job announcements. Degree types should not be listed out to try to make the subject seem impressive, which can come across as inauthentic.
- Bachelor of Science in architecture
- Bachelor’s in communications
- Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s, master’s
- Also: an associate degree (no possessive)
- Degrees offered at U of I include: B.A./B.S./B.F.A. (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Fine Arts); M.A./M.S. (Master of Arts/Master of Science); Ph.D. (doctorate); M.Ed. (Master of Education); Ed.D. (Doctor of Education); Ed.S. (Educational Specialist); D.A.T. (Doctor of Athletic Training); J.D. (Juris Doctor); LL.M. (Master of Laws); MFA (Master of Fine Arts); M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration); EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration)
- When used after a name, an academic degree abbreviation is set off by commas: John Snow, Ph.D., spoke.
- Academic degrees should only be cited after a name if it is a terminal degree (Ph.D., J.D., etc.) or specialist certification, such as medical or nutritional certifications.
- Academic degrees should only be listed after a name if it is relevant to the content, or upon request from the subject.
- The use of “Dr.” as a courtesy title is reserved for medical and veterinarian degrees only.
- Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference (Dr. Joe Smith, Ph.D.).
Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as provost, executive vice president, chair, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase when the title is after a name or stands alone. For instructors, use the correct earned title or rank; do not use “Professor” as a courtesy title. Lowercase modifiers, such as department in department Chair Jerome Wiesner. See Doctor/Ph.D. and Professor entries.
- President Scott Green
- Scott Green, president
- Provost and Executive Vice President Torrey Lawrence
- The provost said ...
- Assistant Professor George Smith
- George Smith, assistant professor
U of I has many colleges, programs and offices that are known by acronyms. In general, always state the full name of the program on first reference, and use a parenthetical to indicate the acronym. If the acronym does not appear later in the content, there is no need to add it as a parenthetical. Do not use periods in an acronym.
- She is a member of Better Education About Money for Students (BEAMS).
Be wary about using multiple acronyms in a single piece. Acronyms can make content hard to read and understand. Only use acronyms when the meaning is clear and it does not hinder understanding or readability. When in doubt, use the full name or a generic name rather than the acronym. Do not create new acronyms.
Departments/Programs with commonly used acronyms (This list is not exhaustive):
- Better Education About Money for Students (BEAMS)
- Center for Food, Agriculture and the Environment (CAFE)
- Center for Disability Access and Resources (CDAR)
- Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation (IMCI)
- Global Student Success Program (GSSP)
- Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center (ILJLC)
- Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI)
- Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST)
- Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC)
- International Programs Office (IPO)
- Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA)
- Office of Public Safety and Security (OPSS)
- Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED)
- University Communications and Marketing (UCM)
ACT is no longer an acronym, but is the full and proper name of what used to be called American College Testing. Use ACT when referring to the test.
Spell out on first reference. On second reference, Admin Building or the Admin is acceptable. Do not use a period when abbreviating Admin.
Spell out on first reference. On second reference, Admin Lawn is acceptable. Do not use a period when abbreviating Admin.
The preferred spelling for someone who advises. Exception to AP style.
Affect as a verb means to influence. Avoid affect as a noun unless it is being used within a psychological context.
- The next game will affect the standings.
Effect as a noun means result. Avoid its use as a verb.
- The effect was overwhelming.
Acceptable for an American Black person of African descent. Also acceptable is Black. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable, as not all black-skinned people are from Africa. If race must be identified, ask the subject which term they prefer. See Black entry.
- Racial categories are not hyphenated: African American, Asian American, Indian American, etc. See Racial Categories entry.
- Native American and American Indian refer to Indigenous populations. See Indigenous and Native American entries.
These words do not end in s.
Always use a figure. Hyphenate as a modifier.
- The student turned 21.
- The 6-year-old boy played with blocks.
- The pupil was 7 years old.
Alumna, Alumnus, Alumnae, Alumni
The forms shown are the feminine, masculine, feminine plural and masculine plural. When referring to more than one gender, use alumni. Do not shorten to alum.
- He is an alumnus of the University of Idaho.
- She is an alumna of the University of Idaho.
- The sisters are alumnae of the University of Idaho.
- The University of Idaho is appreciative of its alumni.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Use a.m. and p.m. lowercase with periods. When showing a span of time, use a hyphen if it is within a.m. or p.m. If it crosses from morning to afternoon, or vice versa, indicate with “from” and “to.” (*See example.) In broad communications, use time zones — written out completely — when needed. This can be condensed to PST or MST in shortened communications such as flyers or postcards. See Time and Time Zones entries.
- Noon is preferred to 12 p.m.
- Midnight is preferred to 12 a.m.
- Hours are from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. *
- The event is 6-8 a.m.
- Avoid redundancies such as 6 a.m. this morning or 5 p.m. tonight. Simply write “today.”
- The meeting is at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time.
Avoid using ampersands in editorial copy unless it is part of a trademarked name. For U of I colleges and programs, spell out “and.” It is OK to use the & in display type, such as headlines and invitations.
Assure, Ensure, Insure
Assure is to give confidence. Ensure is to make certain. Insure is to provide insurance.
- The professor will ensure enough books are available.
- The student assured her mother that she is studying hard.
- Insuring your car can help cover the cost of an accident.
ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center
Use the full name on first reference. On second reference, Kibbie Dome is acceptable. See Kibbie Dome entry.
Author or Research
Resist the temptation to use these words as verbs. Instead: write/wrote.
- He was the author of the paper. He wrote the paper.
Capitalize Black, and not white, when referring to groups in racial, ethnic or cultural terms. See African American entry.
Bruce M. Pitman Center
Formerly known as the Student Union Building (SUB). Spell out on first reference. “Pitman Center” on second reference. Avoid “the Pitman,” “Bruce Pitman Center” or other nicknames.
When referring to the official name of the building, capitalize all principal words. When using a generic name, don’t capitalize. Avoid using abbreviations except in reference to room numbers.
- I will meet you at the Pitman Center.
- The Doceo Center is located in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Building.
- The class is being held in the chemistry building.
- The class is in ALB 132.
The Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Shorten to CAFE on second reference.
The University of Idaho’s campus is in Moscow. Other statewide locations are centers, not campuses. See University of Idaho Centers entry.
Capitol is the building in which a state legislative body meets. A capital is the city where the seat of a government is located. When used in a financial sense, capital describes money, equipment or property used in a business or corporation.
Centuries and Decades
Spell out numbers less than 10 and use numerals for 10 and higher. Do not capitalize unless part of a proper name.
- The first century
- The 21st century
In using spans of decades, use an s, not an ’s, unless the decade is possessive.
- 1930s or ’90s
- He was raised in the ’80s.
Use the gender-neutral “chair,” not chairman or chairwoman. Exception to AP. Also, vice chair, not vice-chair. Capitalize if it precedes the name as a formal title:
- Committee Chair Bob Jones
- Bob Jones, committee chair
Use primarily as a title. Avoid phrases like “He holds the chair ...” say “leads” instead.
The University of Idaho has 10 colleges. Students in the College of Graduate Studies are also students in the college that holds their program. Each college and its acronym is listed below. In editorial copy, always use the full name of the college on first reference, and list the acronym in parenthesis following it if you will be using the acronym for the rest of the piece. Avoid using acronyms if it will cause confusion or be unclear what you are referring to. Never use the acronym for College of Science, Engineering or Law in editorial copy. For those colleges, you may use “the college...” or just “Engineering,” “Law” or “Science,” capitalized. Note: Do not refer to the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences as simply “Education.”
- College of Agricultural and Life Sciences: CALS
- College of Natural Resources: CNR
- College of Business and Economics: CBE
- College of Education, Health and Human Sciences: EHHS
- College of Engineering: ENGR — Engineering on second reference
- College of Science: SCI — Science on second reference
- College of Graduate Studies: COGS
- College of Art and Architecture: CAA
- College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences: CLASS
- College of Law: LAW — Law on second reference
College – Capitalization
College is lowercase when it stands alone. Do not capitalize college unless with the full name of the college.
- The college will expand the program.
- The College of Art and Architecture will expand the program.
Capitalize “Commencement Ceremony” as a formal name of the event. Commencement alone is lowercased. Commencement is preferred over graduation when referring to the event.
- The 2018 Winter Commencement Ceremony is Dec. 8.
- The speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony is Barbara Walters.
- U of I has Spring Commencement and Winter Commencement Ceremonies
Compose means to create or put together. Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace. Do not use “of” with comprise.
- The salad is composed of lettuce, radishes and carrots.
- The zoo comprises many animals.
- The zoo is composed of many animals.
Put titles of creative works such as books, plays, poems, TV shows, songs and movies in quotation marks. Do not use italics. Do not use italics or quotes for magazines or other reference works such as newspapers, dictionaries, handbooks or software.
- Barry Manilow sings the song “Mandy.” He wrote songs and starred in the movie “Copacabana.” He also wrote his autobiographical book, “Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise.” The New York Times and The New Yorker gave the book positive reviews.
Do not use italics or quotes for the Bible.
- Capitalize, without quotation marks, when referring to the Scriptures in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
- Lowercase biblical in all uses.
Capitalize the official name of the course title. Lowercase when referring to subject matter. Use the course number when it is relevant to the topic. Do not put course titles in quotation marks. When combining the course number and title, put the subject matter abbreviation in all caps, with a space between the subject and the number, followed by a colon and the course title:
- She is teaching HIST 305: The History of Modern Civilization.
- Smith is teaching English 101.
- Her course, Modern Usage of Language, has 30 students enrolled. / Thirty students are enrolled in her language course.
The plural form of criterion.
- The criterion is acceptable.
- The criteria are acceptable.
Spell out on first reference. CV is acceptable on second reference. “Curricula vitae” or “CVs” for plural.
Cutting edge/Leading edge
Avoid these buzzwords to refer to our research and faculty. Be specific and use examples instead of generalizations.
The name of a performance put on each year by U of I Dance. It is all one word, with capitalized D’s. DDD is acceptable on second reference.
In editorial copy, U of I prefers to use a long dash — or em-dash — to set off clauses. Use a space on either side of the dash. Hyphens should be used to show spans of time or dates.
- George — a junior from Texas — is going to the conference.
- The conference runs from Jan. 3-6, 2018.
- The hours are 9-11 a.m.
The plural form of datum. Do not use the plural form when the singular is required. When the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.
- The data are (not the data is) incomplete.
Spell out all months when they stand alone or with a year, such as January 2018. Do not use ordinal numbers on dates. Abbreviate months as follows:
- January to Jan. 12 (not 12th)
- February to Feb. 1 (not 1st)
- August to Aug. 12
- September to Sept. 12
- October to Oct. 12
- November to Nov. 12
- December to Dec. 12
- Do not abbreviate March, April, May, June or July
- Do not abbreviate the month when it precedes only a year (not Dec. 2020)
When using month, date and year, a comma always follows the year.
- On Dec. 31, 2012, the university will be closed.
Days of the Week
Do not abbreviate days of the week. In the interest of clarity, U of I prefers to always pair days of the week with dates. Do not use “MWF” or “T/TH” designations in editorial copy. They may be acceptable in tables or lists showing class times.
- The event is Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.
- Her class is held Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Only capitalize before a name when used as a title. Do not capitalize when used as a description or after a name.
- Dean John Doe
- Jane Doe, dean
- The new dean, Mickey Mouse, has a degree in tomfoolery.
See Academic Degrees entry.
The full formal name of the department should be capitalized. You may leave the department name uppercase if referring to the official department. If referring generally to subject matter, do not capitalize the name.
- The Department of History / the History department
- The Department of Theatre Arts / U of I’s Theatre Arts department
- She is a professor in Theatre Arts / She is a professor of theater.
Lowercase “department” when used generically: He is the department chair. She is a history professor. The college has a history department.
An architectural concept in which one team provides both design and construction services. Hyphenated in all uses.
Dig’nIT is a statewide computer science experience for K-12 students. The name is an acronym for Digital Innovation Generating New Information Technology.
Refer to someone as doctor only when he or she holds a medical or veterinary degree. If the subject wishes to designate their doctorate, set it off with commas after the name. Only indicate a doctorate if it is relevant to the content or by the request of the subject. When referring to doctorate degrees, only use “Ph.D.” after a name. Do not use it to refer to the degree:
- John Snow, Ph.D.
- John Snow has a doctorate in biology. (Not: John Snow has a Ph.D. in biology.)
Doctorate is a noun, referring to the degree, title or rank of Ph.D. Doctoral is an adjective, “relating to or designed to achieve a doctorate.”
- He has a doctorate in physics.
- Her doctoral dissertation is in physics.
Dormitory or Dorm
Students at the University of Idaho live in residence halls. Do not use “dorm” or “dormitory” to refer to these spaces. Do not capitalize “residence hall.” Capitalize the name of the hall in all uses. U of I’s residence halls are:
- Theophilus Tower
- Wallace Residence Center
- Gooding Wing
- Willey Wing
- Ballard Wing
- Stevenson Wing
- Living Learning Communities (LLCs on second reference)
- McConnell Hall
Eatery at Vandal Village
U of I’s dining hall. Formerly The Hub.
Capitalize when referring to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Electronic, aka e-
Hyphenate, as in e-book, e-business. However, email is not hyphenated.
No hyphen and lowercase.
Emerita, Emeritus, Emeritae, Emeriti
The forms shown are feminine, masculine, feminine plural and masculine plural. When referring to both genders use emeriti. U of I uses these as honorary designations, so they are capitalized when used as a title before a name or as an official part of a named professorship. They are not used to indicate retired status.
Avoid exclamation points in writing.
A singular collective noun. Add the word “members” to make it plural.
- John joined the faculty.
- All the faculty members agreed.
- Jane was the only faculty member who disagreed.
Never spell out this abbreviation for frequently asked questions.
U of I prefers to use “woman/women” in place of “female” whenever possible. Exception to AP. “Women/woman” refers to gender and is inclusive of trans individuals. “Female” refers to sex.
Not first-come, first-serve. Always hyphenated.
One word as adjective and adverb.
FY20 or fiscal year 2020 are both acceptable when talking about budgets.
Do not use this term in reference to the University of Idaho.
Flyer is the preferred term for a person flying in an aircraft and for handbills.
- He used his frequent flyer miles.
- They put up flyers announcing the show.
Spell out amounts less than one using hyphens between the words: two-thirds, four-fifths, etc. Use figures for precise amounts larger than one, converting to decimals whenever practical. When using mixed numbers, use 1 1/2, 2 5/8, with a full space between the whole number and the fraction.
- One-fifth of all freshmen take introductory writing.
- His books for the semester weighed 1.5 times as much as him.
- The recipe calls for 6 1/2 cups of sugar.
One word in all cases.
Two words, uppercase (athletics has specific exceptions).
Some people don’t feel that traditional gender pronouns such as she/her and he/him reflect their gender identities. Transgender, genderqueer and other people who step outside the male-female gender paradigm often adopt new pronouns for themselves. If a person doesn’t identify as male or female, ask which pronouns they prefer. See Transgender and Their/They/Them entries.
Acceptable in all references for grade-point average.
No hyphen in most cases: a fourth grade student, first grader, she is in the fifth grade.
The University of Idaho has 34 Greek organizations: 14 sororities and 20 fraternities (including four sorority and three fraternity multicultural Greek organizations). U of I’s Greek organizations offer 25 housing options: 10 sororities and 16 fraternities. The multicultural Greek organizations do not offer housing options at this time. The chapters and their nicknames are listed below. On second reference, most Greek organizations use their acronym if they do not have a common nickname. For acronyms, do not use periods (DZ, not D.Z.). Do not use the Greek symbols except as graphic elements. Chapters marked with an * also provide housing. Multicultural Greek chapters must include their full title and incorporation label when referenced (i.e., sorority/fraternity, Inc.).
- Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR)*
- Alpha Kappa Lambda (AKL)*
- Beta Theta Phi (Beta)*
- Delta Sigma Phi (D Sig or Delta Sig)*
- Delta Tau Delta (Delts)*
- Kappa Sigma (K Sig or Kappa Sig)*
- Lambda Chi Alpha (Lambda Chi)*
- Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delt)*
- Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI)*
- Phi Kappa Tau (Phi Tau)*
- Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE)*
- Pi Kappa Phi*
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE)
- Sigma Chi*
- Sigma Nu*
- Theta Chi*
- Tau Kappa Epsilon (Teke)
- Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. (The Lambdas)
- Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc. (ODPhi)
- Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc. (The Betas)
- Alpha Gamma Delta (Alpha Gam)*
- Alpha Phi (A Phi)*
- Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta)*
- Delta Gamma (DG)*
- Delta Zeta (DZ)*
- Gamma Phi Beta (Gamma Phi or G-Phi)*
- Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) *
- Kappa Delta (KD)*
- Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa)*
- Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi)*
- Gamma Alpha Omega Sorority, Inc. (GAO)
- Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. (Lambda Ladies)
- Sigma Lambda Gamma International Sorority, Inc. (The Gammas)
- Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc. (KDChi)
Always one word.
The University of Idaho incorporates title case in headlines and subheads, capitalizing all essential words. On the web, subheads should be italicized.
- Scientists Want More Pictures of Earth
- Capitalize the word after a hyphen in headlines: Off-Campus Employment
- Is, Are, Was and Be are all short, but should be capitalized because they are verbs.
- An easy tool if you are unsure of what to capitalize is the Title Case Converter, available online at titlecaseconverter.com. Select AP Style as the case to use.
Higher Education in Idaho
Use the following terms on first and second reference for Idaho’s other public four-year schools:
- Boise State University on first reference and Boise State on second reference. BSU is not used.
- Idaho State University on first reference and ISU on second reference.
- Lewis-Clark State College and LCSC on second reference.
A person from (or whose ancestors were from) a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino and Latina are sometimes preferred. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific identification when possible. A gender-neutral plural option for Latino/Latina is Latinx, if that is the person’s preference.
Housing and Residence Life
Formerly known as “University Housing.”
Idaho Central Credit Union Arena
The basketball arena north of the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. Naming rights are owned by Idaho Central Credit Union.
- ICCU Arena is acceptable on second reference.
- When saying “the arena,” arena is lowercase.
Idaho Fan Zone
A pregame experience open on Vandal home football games. On second reference, “fan zone” is lowercase.
Idaho Master Gardener Program
Use full name on first reference.
Idaho Student Union Building
On first reference, “Idaho Student Union Building.” On second reference, “ISUB” is acceptable. Formerly the Idaho Commons.
- The food court is located in the Idaho Student Union Building.
- We always have lunch in the ISUB food court.
Indigenous and Aboriginal are identities, not adjectives, and should be capitalized to avoid confusion between indigenous plants and animals and Indigenous human beings. Avoid referring to Indigenous people as possessions of states or countries. Instead of “Idaho’s Indigenous people,” write “Indigenous people of Idaho,” for example. See Native American entry.
The word injury is commonly used to describe any harm, damage or impairment to an individual as the result of an accident or other event. Refer to injuries as being sustained or received, not suffered, unless the person prefers “suffered.”
Use “it” as the pronoun for non-living objects, such as departments, offices or programs. Do not refer to organizations as “they” or “their.”
- The Office of Multicultural Affairs will sponsor its third annual forum this week.
James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research
On first reference: James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research. McClure Center on second reference.
The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is run by the Lionel Hampton School of Music in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. “Jazz Festival” or “Jazz Fest” is acceptable on second reference. On first reference, use the full name.
The bus used to transport people around campus.
Joe Vandal is the official mascot of the University of Idaho. On second reference, he can be referred to simply as “Joe” as long as the reference is clear. Joe Vandal the mascot is a person with his own personality traits, characteristics and style as defined by the brand. Do not allude to the idea of a person in the suit unless it is relevant to the piece.
Use the full name, ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, on first reference. On second reference, Kibbie Dome is acceptable. See ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center entry.
Kick off, Kickoff
Kick off is the verb, kickoff is the noun and adjective.
- Avoid “kicking off” anything that is not related to athletics.
Hyphenate the term when it is used as a modifier.
- The University of Idaho is a land-grant institution.
Often the preferred term for a person from (or whose ancestors were from) a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific country of origin when possible. A gender-neutral plural option for Latino/Latina is Latinx, if that is the person’s preference. See Hispanic entry.
The preferred term, on first reference, for the community 30 miles south of Moscow. A lowercased “valley” is OK on second reference.
LGBTQ is acceptable in all references for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual, ally and intersex community. It does not need to be defined. If your source prefers another acronym, such as LGBTQIA+, offer a definition.
- The word “queer” is controversial. It has often been used in a derogatory way, but is reclaimed by many members of the LGBTQ community, including the university’s LGBTQ Office. Be aware that some still find it offensive, and always ask how a person prefers to identify.
University of Idaho Library on first reference. U of I Library or simply “the library” on second reference. Do not capitalize “library” when it stands alone.
Use as one word for nouns. For verbs, use two words. Do not hyphenate.
- The login changes every 30 days.
- I log in to my email every day.
Hyphenate when used as a modifier.
- He will win in the long term.
- He has a long-term assignment.
One word when used as a modifier.
- They have known each other a long time.
- They are longtime friends.
Lowercase in all instances, unless it is a proper noun. If referring to the formal name of a program, capitalize.
- She is a business major.
- He earned a journalism degree.
- She is an English major.
- She is in the Native American Law Program.
An indefinitely large number or great number of persons or things. Do not use with “of.”
- The library has myriad books.
- There are myriad options for eating in Seattle.
Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc. However, use only when relevant to the story. When identifying someone by race or nationality, be sensitive to the person’s preference and standard accepted phrases. For example, do not use Oriental for people who are Asian. See Hispanic and Native American entries.
Acceptable for Indigenous people in the U.S. Follow the person’s preference. Where possible, be precise and use the name of the tribe: He is a Navajo commissioner. Such words or terms as wampum, warpath, powwow, teepee, brave, squaw, etc., can be disparaging and offensive (when not referring to something by its formal name). Do not appropriate these phrases for non-cultural uses, such as using the term “powwow” to refer to holding a meeting. See Indigenous entry.
- First Nation is the preferred term for native tribes in Canada.
- Tribes from Alaska prefer Alaska Native.
- Lowercase tribe/tribal and reservation except as part of the formal name.
- Use Indian only for people from India.
- On second reference, Native/Natives is acceptable.
Use this for the five northern counties of the state and the general Coeur d’Alene area. The term “northern Idaho” is permissible for references to the panhandle region that includes North Idaho as well as Moscow, Lewiston and as far south as Riggins and McCall.
Capitalize with the office’s official name or a commonly used name. Does not require “University of Idaho” to precede the name. Lowercase when using a shortened form.
- The Office of Multicultural Affairs; U of I’s Multicultural Affairs Office
- Office of the Dean of Students; Dean of Students’ Office
- Office of the Registrar; the Registrar’s Office
- Office of Research and Economic Development; the research office
Do not use “on” before a date or day of the week when its absence would not lead to confusion, except at the beginning of a sentence: The meeting will be held Monday. He will be inaugurated Jan. 20.
One word when referring to the classes taken over the internet.
As a general rule, the University of Idaho does not use the Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma. The serial comma is the final comma in a simple list before the “and.” For consistency across the website and communications materials, U of I does not use this comma except when it is necessary to ensure clarity. For complex lists, use semicolons to separate the items. When deciding whether a comma is necessary, err on the side of clarity. If the list could be misread without it, use the comma.
In editorial writing, parentheses are often used to indicate an acronym or show how something will be referred to throughout an article. For example:
- The College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) ...
Only indicate an acronym with a parenthetical if the acronym is used again somewhere in the article. If the acronym is not repeated, it is not necessary to note it with a parenthetical. See Acronyms entry.
Use the % sign when paired with a numeral, with no space, in most cases: Example: 1%, 4 percentage points.
- At Moscow High School, 6% of the teachers are Idaho natives.
- More than 90% of students enjoy academic breaks.
- Capitalize when it is the start of a sentence: Ten percent of students do not enjoy academic breaks.
Format with hyphens: 208-885-2002; 800-XXX-XXXX. Do not include “1” before the area code. Do not use periods in place of hyphens (208.XXX.XXXX). Phone numbers should always include the area code. Do not use parenthesis around the area code.
With a singular noun just add ’s to indicate possession. If the noun is plural and does not end with an s (such as children) add ’s (children’s). If the plural form already ends in s (Williamses), just add an apostrophe (Williamses’). Singular nouns with two or more syllables and ending in s may be followed by the apostrophe alone (Professor George Nicholas’ office).
Plural Proper Nouns
Lowercase the common noun element in plural uses.
- The Snake and Salmon rivers.
- It will be in the Clearwater and Whitewater rooms.
Acceptable on first reference for a person engaged in postdoctoral research.
Capitalize a faculty member’s professorial title before a name on first reference. Lowercase when following the name. Do not use “professor” as a generic title; it is an earned academic rank. If you are unsure of a person’s official academic rank, use “instructor.” Do not use any “professor” rank as a courtesy title on second reference (Associate Professor Smith ...).
- Associate Professor Vanessa Smith / Clinical Assistant Professor Joe Collins
- Vanessa Smith, an associate professor of English / Joe Collins, clinical assistant professor
Do not abbreviate professor titles: Ast. Prof. Vanessa Smith.
The formal official name of a program is capitalized. When referring to generic subject matter in the program or not using the formal name, lowercase. Do not capitalize “program” when it stands alone.
- She is a student in the Native American Law Program.
- She is a student in the Native law program.
- The college’s Water Resources Program / She is studying water resources in the college.
When writing about individuals, best practice is to ask which pronouns they would prefer to use in the content. Members of the LGBTQA community, such as transgender or gender nonconforming people, may prefer to use the pronoun associated with their identified gender, or use a gender-neutral pronoun. “Their/they/them” is acceptable as a singular gender-neutral pronoun. Do not refer to a person as “it” unless that is their preference. See Their / They / Them entry.
One word, all uses (“A redshirt sophomore”).
Be consistent with using the American English resume without adding accents.
Room Names and Numbers
Both the room name and “Room” should be capitalized when using its official name. When designating a room number, use the building acronym, a space and then the number. If there is no building acronym, capitalize “Room,” then give the building name after the room.
- The session is in the Clearwater Room, Idaho Student Union Building.
- We will be meeting in TLC 305.
- The session is in Room 040, Pitman Center.
If an event takes place in more than one room, combine the rooms with a dash and lowercase “room.” Example: The talk is in the Horizon-Clearwater rooms of the Idaho Student Union Building.
Said is the preferred attribution verb in all U of I articles, both print and online. Generally, quote attribution should be subject verb: So-and-so said, not said so-and-so. However, if the attribution contains a long title or description, try to keep “said” close to the name:
- “I really like spaghetti sauce,” said George Jones, a senior.
- “I really like spaghetti sauce,” senior mathematics major George Jones said.
Use only the initials in referring to what used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the Scholastic Assessment Test. The official name is SAT.
In the text of a story or press release, italicize scientific names when their inclusion is necessary. Use the common name when possible following the scientific name. (Be sure to identify the common name alongside the scientific one.) If using the scientific name in a headline or subhead, do not italicize it. See Headlines/Subheads entry.
Only capitalize fall, summer or winter when it immediately precedes the semester year. For example, Fall 2020. Not: Fall semester 2019 or Fall and Spring semester 2019 or 2018 Spring semester.
State names are spelled out in all circumstances, even when paired with a city name, except in datelines. On most copy, there is no need to include “Idaho” with city names unless it is needed for clarity, except in datelines. If the copy is primarily targeted at an out-of-state audience, include “Idaho” on cities. See AP Stylebook for dateline state abbreviations. When pairing a city/state name, follow the name of the state with a comma: The play is set in Spokane, Washington, in the 1920s.
Acceptable on first reference for science, technology, engineering and math, but spell out the full phrase at some point in the piece.
Hyphenated in all uses.
Use figures for all except zero. Except in technical and scientific contexts, use a word, not a minus sign, to indicate temperatures below zero and spell out the word degree rather than use the degree symbol. See other examples below. Temperatures get higher and lower and go up and down. They do not get warmer or cooler.
- The day’s low was minus 10.
- Temperatures were in the 30s (no apostrophe).
- Wrought iron melts between 2700 and 2900 degrees Fahrenheit (no commas).
Do not capitalize when preceding the name of something, unless it is part of its formal name. “The” is not a part of the formal name for the University of Idaho.
- We work at the University of Idaho. One of the colleges is the College of Law.
- There was a story in The Washington Post.
- Try to avoid writing “the U of I” unless necessary in the context of the sentence.
Use theatre when referring to the field, academic program or Department of Theatre Arts. Use theater when referring to the actual building (i.e. Hartung Theater, the play is at the theater). Exception to AP Style.
Their/them is acceptable as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun when writing he/she or s/he or making the subject plural is cumbersome or hurts the meaning. Sources may also choose to identify as “their.” Use subject preference. See Pronouns entry.
- When your student comes home for the holidays, ask them about their classes.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Use a.m. and p.m. lowercase with periods. When identifying an end and start time, use a short dash when both times are within a.m./p.m. When a time spans a.m./p.m., use “from” and “to.” In general, avoid using o’clock. See a.m./p.m. and Time Zones entries.
- Noon is preferred to 12 p.m.
- Midnight is preferred to 12 a.m.
- Avoid redundancies such as 6 a.m. this morning or 5 p.m. tonight. Simply write today.
- The meeting is at 3:30 p.m.
- The class is 9-11 a.m. The class runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Lowercase noon and midnight.
Time, Date, Place
Events should always be listed in time-date-place format:
- It will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, March 3, in the Kibbie Dome.
- The performances are held at 7 p.m. Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 5.
Capitalize the full name of each time zone: Pacific Standard Time, Pacific Daylight Time. Lowercase all but the region in short forms: The event is at 7 p.m. Pacific time. Use PDT for Pacific Daylight Time and PST for Pacific Standard Time. Use the same format for other time zones. Remember that the University of Idaho is a statewide institution that crosses two time zones. See a.m./p.m. entry.
- Note: While most communication defaults to Pacific time, it is beneficial to indicate the time zone for items that impact our statewide students and employees.
Lowercase when following a name. Uppercase if preceding a name. Never capitalize a title when it stands alone. Always spell out associate, professor, assistant and like titles. However, most titles for elected representatives are abbreviated and capitalized before a name. See military entry in AP Stylebook.
- Jack Black, dean
- Dean Jack Black
- Doctor to Dr. (Only when person is a medical doctor or veterinarian)
- Governor Brad Little to Gov. Brad Little
- Lieutenant Governor Bob Ross to Lt. Gov. Bob Ross
- Representative Daffy Duck to Rep. Daffy Duck
- Senator Donald Duck to Sen. Donald Duck
- Reverend to the Rev. Joe Smith (Note: “the” is necessary)
Substitute with generic name unless unavoidable. Capitalize when it is a registered trademark. Consult trademark guide if in question.
- Tissue instead of Kleenex
- Crayon instead of Crayola
- Copy not Xerox
- Do not use the ©, ®, TM or other symbols in copy. The capitalization is enough to signal a trademark. If the trademark is relevant to the story, spell out the ownership.
Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with the sex assigned to them at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individual lives publicly. Always allow sources to tell you their preferred pronoun. See Pronouns and Their/They/Them entry.
- Transgender is an adjective, not a noun. Do not use the term “transgendered.”
- The physical changes made to a transgender person’s body are referred to as “transition,” not “sex change.”
Capitalize the entire word when referring to U.S. Department of Education programs offered through the university. Do not use “TRiO.”
The use of www is not necessary before website names.
U.S. is acceptable as a noun or adjective for United States. In headlines, it’s US.
University of Idaho
Spell out on all first references. On second reference, “U of I.” Do not squish the letters together: UofI or UI.
- When “university” stands alone, always lowercase.
- UIdaho is acceptable in items where “U of I” could be confused with Iowa. It is often used in metadata online.
- Avoid saying “the U of I” unless necessary in the context of the sentence.
- Avoid “Idaho” when referring to the university.
- It is not necessary to show the abbreviation in a parenthetical after first reference: the University of Idaho (U of I).
- It is not necessary to use “U of I” before every college, program or unit. If it is clear in context that we are referring to our college or program, leave it off. This allows the copy to be easier to read.
- She is a senior in U of I’s College of Science. / She is a senior in the College of Science.
- Avoid using “the” before “University of Idaho” unless it doesn’t make sense without it.
University of Idaho Centers
U of I has three centers around the state: Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls. The official name and correct punctuation of each center is:
- University of Idaho Boise
- University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene
- University of Idaho, Idaho Falls (note comma)
- On second reference, can say U of I Boise, U of I Coeur d’Alene, U of I Idaho Falls. Do not use acronyms (UIB, UICdA, etc.)
- May also refer to centers as the University of Idaho in Boise, etc.
- Do not refer to centers as “campuses.”
- The U of I centers are multi-university partnerships.
- U of I Idaho Falls is housed at University Place, a facility shared with Idaho State University. The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), which is operated by a partnership including U of I, is located nearby.
- U of I Boise is housed primarily in the Idaho Water Center. U of I Boise is home to the Integrated Design Lab (IDL), Center for Ecohydraulics Research (CER), Urban Design Center and the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research (McClure Center on second reference), the College of Law (housed at the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center- ILJLC), and several other facilities.
- U of I Coeur d’Alene has an academic partnership and shares space with North Idaho College. It is housed in the Harbor Center, which also serves ISU, Lewis-Clark State College and Boise State University.
University of Idaho Extension
Never accompany the name with “the.” Never use outdated variants of the name such as “agricultural extension” or “extension service.” Capitalize Extension when used alone. Never “Extensions.”
- He turns to University of Idaho Extension for research-based information.
- Sign up at your local Extension office.
- U of I Extension cooperates with the Extension services of other states.
University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Development
Use the formal name on first reference. 4-H or 4-H Youth Development are acceptable on second reference. Do not use “4-H and Youth Development.”
University of Idaho Extension, My County
This is the preferred form for naming county offices. The following styles are also correct:
- The University of Idaho Extension office in Lemhi County
- University of Idaho Extension in Lemhi County
- University of Idaho Extension, Lemhi County
- Lemhi County’s U of I Extension office
University of Idaho Foundation
U of I Foundation on second reference.
The University of Idaho is the home of the Vandals. Our mascot is Joe Vandal. Always capitalize Vandal or Vandals. See Joe Vandal entry.
The university’s emergency alert system.
One word. Two capital letters.
Use for the report that can be used to file a concern, and for the interdisciplinary team that works to help distressed individuals.
Used to refer to members of the U of I community, including but not limited to alumni, students, donors and employees.
Two words with a lowercase g.
One word. Two capital letters.
One word. Two capital letters.
One word. Two capital letters.
One word. Two capital letters.
One word. Two capital letters.
Used to refer to Vandal fans. Also, the name of a sports website run by Student Media.
Verses are lines of poetry. Versus is against or in contrast to. Spell out in ordinary writing. In short expressions, the abbreviation is permissible. For court cases use “v.”
- The issue of Fords vs. Chevys has long been argued.
- I would rather be living in Idaho versus New York.
- Grazing rights were determined in the case of Butterberry v. Holsteinville.
Not visa versa.
Short form of World Wide Web, it is a service, or set of standards, that enables the publishing of multimedia documents on the internet. The web is not the same as the internet, but is a subset; other applications, such as email, exist on the internet. Lowercase “web” in all uses.
- Website, webcam, webcast, webfeed, webmaster, webpage. But web address, web browser.
- “www” is not needed in website names.
Generally, no hyphen when adding the suffix “wide” to a word. Some examples:
- Citywide, campuswide, statewide, worldwide
- Exception: university-wide
As a noun, two words. As an adjective, hyphenate.
Not ZOOM meeting or zoom meeting.
Hyphenate 3-D. Exception to AP style.