WRITING STYLE GUIDE First Edition From the Office of Marketing and Communications CONTENTS

WRITING STYLE GUIDE
First Edition
From the Office of Marketing and Communications
Style
♦
Letter Writing
♦
Memos
CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 2
♦ STYLE ♦ .................................................................................................................................. 3
Abbreviations and Acronyms .................................................................................................... 3
Capitalization ............................................................................................................................. 6
Numbers .................................................................................................................................. 11
Plurals—Special Cases ............................................................................................................ 13
Punctuation .............................................................................................................................. 15
Special Rules of Note .............................................................................................................. 23
♦ LETTER WRITING ♦ ......................................................................................................... 27
Addresses, Salutations and Form ........................................................................................... 27
Template for College Letters .................................................................................................. 30
Letter Content .......................................................................................................................... 31
Letter Notations ...................................................................................................................... 31
What to Avoid .......................................................................................................................... 32
♦ MEMOS ♦ .............................................................................................................................. 33
General Style ............................................................................................................................ 33
Content ..................................................................................................................................... 34
Special Situations..................................................................................................................... 34
Tips on Writing ........................................................................................................................ 34
Write Memos About ................................................................................................................ 35
INTRODUCTION
The Eckerd College Writing Style Guide was designed by the Office of Marketing and
Communications in conjunction with the Office of Advancement to help you produce printed
materials that reflect a professional, consistent image for Eckerd College. By following this Style
Guide, your printed communications will be easier to produce, require less editing and be more
favorably received. All letters, briefings, emails, invitations, programs, proposals, agreements,
newsletters, articles and numerous other documents, booklets, books and brochures created by
Eckerd College faculty, staff, students and volunteers impact the image of the College, and it is
crucial that we work together to ensure a positive impact.
The Writing Style Guide First Edition covers specific rules of grammar, standard
practice, College terminology and preferred usage based primarily on The Associated Press (AP)
Stylebook (Basic Books, 2009) along with The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition (The
University of Chicago Press, 2003); How to Say It® (Prentice Hall Press, 2001); A Writer‘s
Reference Fifth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin‘s, 2003); the Eckerd College Style Manual
(undated); and other reliable print and online sources such as dictionary.com and writers.com.
If a standard is not defined within the Eckerd College Writing Style Guide, please consult
The Associated Press Stylebook, or email your question or concern to [email protected] The
keyboard shortcut ―Ctrl+F‖ (Find), when partnered with the key word or phrase of a topic in
question, will be most helpful in locating the appropriate guideline. Just as fine rules of grammar,
spelling and punctuation are ever evolving, so too will be the Eckerd College Writing Style
Guide.
Eckerd College • St. Petersburg, Florida • November 2011
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♦ STYLE ♦
Abbreviations and Acronyms
In general, avoid abbreviations or acronyms unless you are certain the reader is familiar with
them, or use them only after stating the words in full.
An acronym is its own word said as a word and made with the initial letter or letters in a series of
words: SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). An abbreviation is a shortened
form of a word that you often still pronounce as the full word itself: Fla. (Florida)—or of which
you pronounce the initial letters it contains: CEC (Continuing Education Center). A plural
abbreviation of more than one letter contains no apostrophe—unless it is possessive: There were
three Ph.D.s at the event.
Class Identifiers
Always give the abbreviated year of graduation of Eckerd students and alumni after their printed
names in informational documents such as briefings and rosters (but not usually in
correspondence except as signers to letters): Karen Eisler ‘98. If an alumna/us has a postgraduate
degree, the Eckerd class identifier should precede it: Carlos F. Barbas III ‘85, Ph.D.
A current student‘s anticipated graduation year is not always listed after his or her name in
official publications for the larger public because the student may not graduate during the
anticipated year. However, students‘ class years generally follow their names when students are
being quoted or honored in printed material.
With married alumni, couples containing just one alumna/us, and parents of students and alumni,
the first name of each partner should be presented. The general rules are illustrated as follows:
Mr. William R. and Mrs. Leah Rubino ‘81, ‘81 (P ‘11, ‘13) {see ―parent‖ below}; Mr. Bill and
Mrs. Jean Ring ‘66; Mr. Louie and Mrs. Laurel Buntin (P ‘13). In alphabetized lists and rosters,
when applicable, the person in the couple with the strongest Eckerd connection should be listed
last because we alphabetize based on the final name: Mr. Jonathon Mothner and Ms. Eve
Konstan ‘89.
If the named person is a parent, the designation is ―P‖ followed by a space and the abbreviated
year of his or her child‘s graduation (past, present or projected)—and the entire identifier should
be enclosed in parentheses: Dr. Harry W. Ellis (P ‘11), Mr. Juan and Mrs. Cecilia Free (P ‘09).
If the named person is a grandparent, the designation is ―GP‖ and follows the same rules as those
for a parent: Randy Masterson (GP ‘13).
Please note that, for professional reasons, some faculty and staff prefer the parent identifier not
accompany his or her name, and others, such as the Meinkes, have parented and/or
grandparented so many Eckerd graduates that using parent identifiers would create alphabet
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soup. Common sense and the personal preference of the named individual(s) should dictate
treatment.
If the named person has received an honorary degree from Eckerd, the designation is ―H‖
followed by a space and the abbreviated year of his or her class year—whether it is four years
after initial enrollment or the present year—and the entire identifier should be enclosed in
parentheses: Mr. Howard E. Kennedy (H ‘64).
Collegia
Learning and teaching at Eckerd College are organized around several interdisciplinary collegia
instead of the traditional departments found at most colleges. The collegium concept groups
subjects according to the various intellectual disciplines required to master them. Names of
collegia may be abbreviated as long as the full name has been used previously. The same
abbreviation should be used consistently throughout the copy. Periods are not used between
letters or at the end of these abbreviations:
BES (Collegium of Behavioral Sciences)
CCU (Collegium of Comparative Cultures)
CRA (Collegium of Creative Arts)
FDN (Foundations Collegium)
LTR (Collegium of Letters)
NAS (Collegium of Natural Sciences)
The same applies for special divisions or departments of the College, e.g., LDI (Leadership
Development Institute).
Common Abbreviations and Acronyms
AAASSP (ASPEC African American Student Support Program)
ACR (Advancement Conference Room)
ASPEC (Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College)
BBQ (Barbecue {capitalized if event name})
BCBSF (BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Inc.)
BOT (Board of Trustees)
CALA (Center for the Applied Liberal Arts)
CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education)
CEC (Continuing Education Center)
CID (credit Card Identification {ID} number)
Cont. (Continued)
CSL (―Center for Spiritual Life‖—Chapel)
DRE (Donald R. Eastman III)
EC (Eckerd College)
ECAA (Eckerd College Alumni Association)
EC-SAR team (Eckerd College Search and Rescue team)
ECOS (Eckerd College Organization of Students)
ext. (extension)
fax (facsimile)
fndtn (foundation)
FPC/EC (Florida Presbyterian College/Eckerd College)
FY12 or FY 2012 (Fiscal Year 2012)
GMSL (Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory)
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GP (General Partnership)
(GP ‘09) (example: grandparent of a graduate of 2009)
(H ‘64) {example: an honorary alumna/us of Eckerd, such as Howard Kennedy (H ‘64)}
IA (interdisciplinary arts)
ID (identification)
ITS (Information Technology Services)
J.D. (Juris Doctor)
LDI (Leadership Development Institute)
LLC (Limited Liability Company) (for example: Smith Winston, LLC)
LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) (for example: Thompson Hine, LLP)
L.P. (Limited Partnership) (for example: Affirmative Equities Co., L.P.)
LYBUNT (gave ―Last Year But Unfortunately Not This‖)
MBA (Master of Business Administration {master‘s degree in business administration})
OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)
(P ‘11) (example: Parent of a graduate of 2011); (P ‘11, ‘11) (example: parent of twins)
P.A. (Professional Association, such as: Deeb & Brainard, P.A.—attorneys at law)
PAEC (President‘s Associates at Eckerd College)
P.C. (Professional Corporation—usually legal or medical)
PCAR (President‘s Commission on Alumni Relations)
P-Card (Procurement Card)
PEL (Program for Experienced Learners)
RA (Resident Advisor) (Residential Advisor)
RSVP (respondez s‘il vous plait {please reply})
U.S. (United States)
USA (United States of America)
ZIP code (Zoning Improvement Plan code)
Letter Salutations and Inside Addresses
Do not use abbreviations in letter salutations and inside addresses other than: Mr., Mrs., Ms.,
Messrs., Dr., Drs., Rev., Amb. (for ―Ambassador‖ in salutations only), Hon. (for ―The
Honorable‖ in salutations only) and certain military titles such as: Brig. Gen., Capt., Col., Cmdr.,
Gen., Lt. Col., Lt. Cmdr. and Maj.
Names
Some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized by their initials: CIA, FBI,
GOP. However, you should let context determine if you should spell out the entire name instead
of using the standard abbreviation for such organizations.
The names of Eckerd majors often are abbreviated without periods: CW (creative writing), MS
(marine science)—as is ―EC‖ for ―Eckerd College.‖ But generally, you should use periods in
two-letter abbreviations: U.S., U.N., U.K., B.A., B.C. (an exception: ―ID‖ for ―identification‖).
Use all caps, but no periods, in longer abbreviations and acronyms when the individual letters are
pronounced: NBC, CEC, DUI.
Generally, omit periods in acronyms unless the result would spell an unrelated word: scuba.
Refer to a dictionary if you are uncertain of a spelling.
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Capitalization
(Generally, per The AP Stylebook)
Academic and Professional Titles
Official formal titles—such as ―dean,‖ ―president,‖ ―vice president,‖ ―chairperson,‖ ―trustee‖ and
―professor‖—should be capitalized when they appear in a listing, such as in a directory or
program, and when the title directly precedes the person‘s name: Trustee Grover Wrenn attended
the meeting. When a formal title appositionally follows a name (essentially renaming that
person) or appears independently within text, the initial letters should be lowercase: Donald R.
Eastman III, president of Eckerd College, began his leadership here in 2001. According to the
dean of faculty‘s September letter, Convocation was well attended. If a person‘s title consists of
or contains a proper name or names—such as ―Peter Meylan, the Richard R. Hallin Professor in
Natural Sciences‖; ―Sterling Watson, the Peter Meinke Professor of Literature and Creative
Writing‖; or ―Tom DiSalvo, professor of Spanish‖—the appropriate proper names should be
capitalized.
Official formal titles should be capitalized, whether preceding or following a person‘s name, in
the inside address, heading and signature sections of correspondence and memorandums (see
sample in ―Memos‖ section on page 33). For additional information about capitalization of
professional titles, see ―Administrative Divisions and Subdivisions‖ under ―College
Terminology‖ on page 7.
Captions
Whether or not a complete sentence, present a caption for a picture or illustration as a sentence
ending in a period, unless the caption simply names the subject(s) in the photo or illustration.
College Terminology
On first reference, use ―Eckerd College.‖ Subsequent references, use ―Eckerd‖ or ―the College.‖
Always capitalize ―College‖ when you are referring to Eckerd.
―College community‖ or ―Eckerd community‖ refers specifically to the campus, its programs
and those directly affiliated with it in some way. It does not refer to the community at large or
those who have tenuous or one-time connections.
When referring to Eckerd College, capitalize ―College,‖ even when it stands alone: the College.
Capitalize ―House‖ and ―Complex‖ when used with the name: Iota Complex, Wrenn House. Do
not refer to campus housing as ―dorm(s)‖ or ―dormitory(ies).‖ It is a ―residence house(s)‖ or
―residence hall(s).‖
Do not capitalize class years when referring to a person: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior. It
is preferable to refer to freshmen as ―first-year students‖ and upperclassmen as ―returning
students‖ or ―juniors and seniors‖ (when appropriate).
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A faculty holder of an Eckerd endowed professorship should be referred to as a ―holder of the
[endowed name] Professorship‖; such as: Naveen Malhotra is the first holder of the Tom and
Mary James Professorship in Finance.
Administrative Divisions and Subdivisions—Capitalize names of administrative divisions and
subdivisions along with the word ―Office‖ or ―Department‖ preceding or following division
names: the President‘s Office, the Office of Advancement. However, besides ―Executive Staff,‖
generally do not capitalize the word ―team‖ or ―staff‖ in cases such as the following: Sailing
team, Men‘s Basketball team, Admission staff, Major Gifts team.
Generally, when the name of an administrative division or subdivision appears within an
individual‘s professional title, it is lowercased because it is interpreted as describing the person‘s
role rather than naming his or her administrative division or subdivision: She is the director of
constituent and foundation relations in the Advancement Office. He serves as the vice president
for student life and dean of students.
Buildings—When writing about a named building, refer to it by its formal name on first
mention, such as ―the Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.‖ In subsequent references, use a
nickname, such as ―the science center‖ or ―the science facility.‖
Committees and Boards—Capitalize specific committees and boards: Board of Trustees,
Eckerd College Alumni Association Board of Directors, Satterfield Mentor Award Committee.
However, lowercase ―trustee,‖ ―board‖ and ―committee‖ when standing alone to represent such
specific organizations. Do not capitalize the plural forms either: committees, boards, Eckerd
trustees.
Courses and Programs—In narrative copy, capitalize names of Eckerd College courses and
programs of all types, but lowercase majors (see below). Enclose a course name with quotation
marks only if needed for clarity: I saw her in my European Experience class; My Winter Term
class on ―The Imaginary Journey in Literature‖ was great fun! Be consistent within one
document.
Capitalize ―Study Abroad‖ and ―Service-Learning‖ when referring to the program, e.g., ―Study
Abroad program.‖ Do not capitalize the word ―program‖ or ―series‖ unless it is part of the
published name (such as the ―Presidential Events Series‖).
Disciplines—Lowercase references to general disciplines at Eckerd College, such as
―philosophy,‖ ―biology,‖ ―the arts,‖ ―the sciences,‖ etc.
Grades—Capitalize letters when representing grades: A, B, C, D and F. To avoid confusion with
other words (―As‖), plural forms of those grades should include an apostrophe: all A‘s.
Majors—In narrative copy, lowercase names of Eckerd College majors and areas of
concentration—such as ―chemistry,‖ ―psychology‖ and ―theatre‖—except those words that are
proper nouns and proper adjectives—such as ―French,‖ ―Spanish,‖ ―American studies‖ and ―East
Asian studies.‖ Lowercase the words ―major‖ and ―concentration‖ in narrative copy as well.
Of special note—Avoid the use of the word ―major‖ to refer to a person: He is a major in art
history. It is preferable to write: He is majoring in art history. Or: Art history is his major.
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Terms and Semesters—Capitalize seasonal identifiers in academic terms: Autumn Term, Fall
Semester, Winter Term, Spring Semester, Summer Term (PEL: Fall I Term, Fall II Term, Spring
I Term, Spring II Term, Summer Term). Capitalize seasons when part of a formal title such as
―Spring Break‖ or when standing in place of a month in documentation.
Do not capitalize the seasons standing for themselves: autumn, fall, spring, summer and winter.
The following should be capitalized as shown:
Academic Quad
African-American studies
Alumni Link: An Alumni-Student Mentor Program
Alumni Travel Program
Alumni Web site
Annual Fund
Annual Giving team
the ASPEC Annual Scholarship
ASPEC annual scholarships
Athletics Department (Office of Intercollegiate Athletics)
Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (B.A. or B.S. degree)
Bible, Biblical
Board of Trustees (but simply: board, trustee or trustees)
Campaign (when referring to a long-running, specifically named campaign such as a
capital campaign: Many Experiences, One Spirit: The Campaign for Eckerd College
Class of 1968 gift
Co-Chair, Co-Founder or Co-Director (when directly preceding the person‘s name or in a
list, program or roster)
Commencement (when referring to Eckerd College‘s Commencement)
Connect (the Eckerd College alumni newsletter)
Directed Study courses
Eckerd Athletics
Eckerd College Writers‘ Conference: Writers in Paradise
the Eckerd Edge
The Eckerd Experience: Liberal Arts Education for the 21st Century, our strategic plan
Emerita Trustee (female) or Emeritus Trustee (male) (when used as a conferred title
preceding the person‘s name or in a list, program or roster)
Executive Staff
50th Anniversary
Florida Presbyterian/Eckerd College
Ford Scholar
4200 54th Avenue South (in a letter address or in narrative copy)
Friends of the Library
the GO Pavilion
Honors Program
Hors d‘Oeuvres (use capitalization in a title or on an invitation)
Independent Study courses
interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program
Internet
Leadership Development Program
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New York Alumni Chapter (or any chapter preceded by its proper city or area name)
Parent Council
Post Office Box (in a letter address)
Presidential Events Series
Rainbow Affinity Group (or any affinity group preceded by its proper city or area name)
St. Petersburg, Florida 33711 (in a letter address)
Service-Learning program
Study Abroad program
Sunshine State
THINKOUTSIDE (or) ThinkOutside (concept/wordmark)
Triton Golf Scramble
Triton shell
Triton Travels: An Educational Alumni Travel Program
Upham Board Room
Web site, World Wide Web, the Web
The following terms generally should not be capitalized:
academic programs
academic year (such as ―the 2012–13 academic year‖)
administration
alumni online community
alumnus (singular male), alumna (singular female), alumnae (plural female), alumni
(mixed group), alumna/us (singular female or male), alum (singular female or male—
informal and not preferred)
athletic programs
bachelor‘s degree
campus events
case statement
class gift
colloquia, colloquium
email
emerita faculty (female), emeritus faculty (male)
emerita trustee (female), emeritus trustee (male), emeritus trustees (mixed group)
faculty
general education curriculum
gift acknowledgment (note: preferred spelling is no ―e‖ after ―g‖ in ―acknowledgment‖)
gift agreement
honorary degree
independent study
liberal arts
master‘s degree
mentor
program
registration
residential program
21st century (unless in a proper name or title)
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Composition, Event and Other Titles
Capitalize the first, last and principal words in the title of a document, report, story, book,
computer game, movie, opera, play, poem, song, television program, lecture, speech, event and
work of art. Capitalize all nouns; pronouns; adjectives; verbs (even if they are short such as
―am,‖ ―is‖ and ―are‖); adverbs; and subordinating conjunctions (―if,‖ ―because,‖ ―as,‖ ―that,‖
etc.). Articles (―a,‖ ―an,‖ ―the‖); coordinating conjunctions (―and,‖ ―but,‖ ―or,‖ ―for,‖ ―nor‖); and
prepositions of four letters or fewer are lowercased unless they are the first or last words of the
title or follow a colon in the title: Beakers Are a Lesson with Substance. Triton Travels: An
Educational Alumni Travel Program.
Capitalize the first element in hyphenated and open compound titles. Capitalize the subsequent
element unless it is an article; preposition of four letters or fewer; coordinating conjunction; or a
modifier such as ―flat,‖ ―sharp‖ and ―natural‖ following a musical key symbol (―E-flat
Concerto‖). Capitalize second elements attached by hyphens to prefixes (such as ―anti-‖ or
―co-‖) only if they are proper nouns or proper adjectives. Capitalize the final element of a
compound that comes at the end of a title (other than one with a hyphenated prefix) no matter
what part of speech it may be (―Freshman Send-0ff,‖ ―Strategies for Re-establishment‖).
First Word
Capitalize the first word of a sentence or title. Capitalize the first word of a direct quote within
quotation marks. Capitalize the first word following a colon if it is a proper name, part of the
name of a title, or if the words following the colon form a complete sentence or more than one
sentence. Do not capitalize the word following a semicolon unless it is a proper name.
Geographical Areas
Coast—Lowercase ―coast‖ when referring to the physical shoreline: Atlantic coast, Gulf coast,
east coast. Capitalize when referring to regions of the United States lying along such shorelines:
The Atlantic Coast states, a Gulf Coast city, the West Coast, the East Coast. Capitalize the
―Coast‖ when standing alone only if the reference is to the West Coast.
Directionals—Do not capitalize points of the compass (as directions): He drove west. Eckerd
College is in south St. Petersburg.
Regions—Capitalize ―North,‖ ―Northeast,‖ ―Northwest,‖ ―South,‖ ―Southeast,‖ ―Southwest,‖
―East,‖ ―West‖ and ―Midwest‖ when referring to a region of the United States: She lives in the
Southeast. He has a Northern accent. I prefer Southern hospitality. Capitalize ―East‖ when used
to refer to the Orient; capitalize ―West‖ when used to mean the United States and countries of
Western Europe. Do not capitalize such phrases as ―northern England,‖ ―southeastern France.‖
States—Lowercase all ―state of‖ constructions: the state of Indiana. Do not capitalize ―state‖
when used as an adjective to specify a level of jurisdiction: state Rep. Dean Cannon, the state
Transportation Department. This same standard applies to the words ―city‖ and ―town‖: the city
of Tampa, the town of Parrish.
In narrative text and correspondence, U.S. state names should be spelled out. Printed and
electronic publications, such as newsletters, along with informative materials, such as briefings
and profiles, should display state names in their abbreviated form as provided by The AP
Stylebook and listed as follows:
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Ala.
Ariz.
Ark.
Calif.
Colo.
Conn.
Del.
Fla.
Ga.
Ill.
Ind.
Kan.
Ky.
La.
Md.
Mass.
Mich.
Minn.
Miss.
Mo.
Mont.
Neb.
Nev.
N.H.
N.J.
N.M.
N.Y.
N.C.
N.D
Okla.
Ore.
Pa.
R.I.
S.C.
S.D.
Tenn.
Vt.
Va.
Wash.
W. Va.
Wis.
Wyo.
Eight of the 50 state names should not be abbreviated—the two that are not part of the
contiguous United States: Alaska and Hawaii; and the five that are spelled with five letters or
fewer: Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
Whether spelled out or abbreviated, enclose a state name with commas in running text that
includes the city: Eckerd College is in St. Petersburg, Florida, on the Gulf Coast.
Per The AP Stylebook guidelines and others, never abbreviate ―Washington‖ when referring to
our country‘s capital. The abbreviation for District of Columbia (D.C.) should be enclosed in
commas in running text such as the following: An alumni couple will host this year‘s Freshmen
Send-Off in the Washington, D.C., area.
Government
Capitalize ―state‖ when part of a specific name: the Florida State Legislature. Use lowercase
when the word is used as a general term: state officials.
Numbers
(Generally, per The AP Stylebook)
Spell out numbers ―one‖ through ―nine‖ when used in narrative copy, except in the following
instances:
Financial and tabular copy, figures containing decimals, statistics, sports
scores and records, percentages (but ―percent‖ should be spelled out
unless the word appears repeatedly), sums of money ($80 million), time of
day, date of the month and year, latitude and longitude, degrees of
temperature, dimensions, and ages of living creatures.
Round number amounts—such as 1,500, 30,000 and 200,000—may be represented by numerals
or by spelling out when more appropriate.
Do not begin a sentence with a numeral (unless it is a year: 2008 marked the 50th Anniversary of
the College‘s founding). The first word should be spelled out, even if it is a number, or you
should recast the sentence so the number appears later.
Fractions usually should be spelled out: three-quarters of an inch, half a day.
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Unless a certain stylistic effect is desired, numerals in phone and fax numbers should be joined
by hyphens: 727-867-1166, 800-456-9009. This is especially true in text prepared for brochures,
invites, programs and other communications bearing the ―THINKOUTSIDE‖ wordmark, whose
phone numbers are joined with hyphens.
Ages
Use figures for people, animals and inanimate objects older than nine years: His son was nine
years old. The student was around 25. The College is more than 50 years old. HOWEVER, if the
document is formal, and figures look too casual, you may spell ages out, but be consistent within
the document, whichever form you use.
Except in addresses, spell out the number in ordinals under 10, such as his ―fourth‖ year at
Eckerd College. Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for
a noun: A five-year-old textbook (but: the textbook is five years old). The graduate, 22, has a 16year-old sister who wants to attend Eckerd. She is a 10th-grader. The egg hunt was as fun for my
three-year-old as it was for my 40-year-old husband.
There is no apostrophe in a figure for age: The woman is in her 30s. But an apostrophe represents
the missing numbers in an abbreviated year: Robert Frost died in the ‘60s. She was the first baby
born in St. Petersburg in the ‘00s (note that no apostrophe precedes the ―s‖).
Chapters
Capitalize ―Chapter‖ when used with a numeral in reference to a section of a book or legal code.
Always use Arabic figures: Chapter 1, Chapter 20. Lowercase ―chapter‖ when the word stands
alone.
Course Numbers
Use Arabic numerals and capitalize the subject when used with a numeral: Writing Processes CO
121, Florida History HI 207H.
Dates
Except on very formal invitations, do not use the ordinal form following the month: January 23
(not January 23rd), but spell out the ordinal form used before the month: the twenty-third of
January. When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas: He
began working at EC in February 2007. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year in
running text, set off the year with commas: On October 28, 2007, she attended her first PEL
class. In formal text and correspondence, do not present a date in numerical form, such as
12/12/12 or 12/12/2012.
Millions, Billions
Use figures with ―million‖ or ―billion‖ in all except casual uses: The nation has a resident
population of more than 311 million. The government lost $7 billion. I would like to make a
million dollars someday.
Do not go beyond two decimal places: 311.91 million people, $256 billion, 311,911,264 people.
Decimals are preferred where practical: 1.5 million. Not: 1½ million.
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Do not mix millions and billions in the same figure: 2.6 billion. Not: 2 billion 600 million. Do
not drop the word ―million‖ or ―billion‖ in the first figure of a range: He is worth from $2 million
to $4 million. Not: He is worth from $2 to $4 million—unless you really mean $2.
Note that a hyphen is not used to join figures to the word ―million‖ or ―billion,‖ even if they
form a compound modifier preceding a noun: We are more than halfway toward our $80 million
Campaign goal.
The abbreviation for ―million‖ in financial reports and tabular copy is ―M‖: $12M.
Page Numbers
Use figures and lowercase ―page‖ when used with a figure. When a letter is appended to the
figure, do not use a hyphen: page 1, page 10, page 20A. One exception: It‘s a Page One story.
Rankings
Abbreviate the word number as ―No.‖ and use a figure for the ranking: No. 1, No. 3, No. 10.
Room Numbers
Use figures and capitalize ―Room‖ when used with a figure: Room 2, Room 213.
Times
Use figures for time of day except for ―noon‖ and ―midnight.‖ Do not capitalize ―a.m.‖ or
―p.m.,‖ but do use periods. Generally, if there are no minutes in any of the listed times, provide
only the hour: The celebration is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. The breakfast will be from 8 to 10
a.m. But: They worked from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In select public and private programs and invitations, and various formal announcements,
showing zero minutes for all times, when applicable, is acceptable—as is presenting ―am‖ and
―pm‖ without any periods. Avoid redundancies such as: 10 a.m. this morning, 10 p.m. tonight.
Use: 10 a.m. today. The construction ―4 o‘clock‖ is acceptable, but time listings with ―a.m.‖ or
―p.m.‖ are preferred.
Plurals—Special Cases
(Per The AP Stylebook)
Dollars
Unless beginning a sentence, the word ―dollars‖ should always be in lowercase. Use a figure and
―$‖ in all except casual references, amounts without a figure or very formal copy: The book cost
$14. Dollars are flowing into the Advancement Office.
For specified amounts, the word (amount) takes a singular verb: In 2007, $890,000 was realized
from matured bequests. He said $1 million would go a long way toward helping the underserved.
For amounts greater than $1 million, use the ―$‖ sign and numerals up to two decimal places: His
pledge is $4.35 million. His first payment will be exactly $4,351,242. Do not link the numerals
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and the word with a hyphen, even if they form a compound modifier preceding the noun: He
announced they were increasing the $75 million preliminary Campaign goal to $80 million.
The abbreviation for ―million‖ in financial reports and tabular copy is ―M‖: $12M. The
abbreviation for ―thousand‖ is ―K‖: $12K.
Figures
Add ―s‖ to make a figure plural: The custom began in the 1920s. The airline has two 727s.
Temperatures will be in the low 60s. There were all 7s on the slot machine.
Multiple Letters
Add ―s‖ to make plural those words composed of two or more capitalized letters, such as
abbreviations: The child knows his ABCs. He joined four VIPs at the Triton Pub. What are their
IQs?
Possessives
With plural nouns not ending in ―s‖—add ‘s: the alumni‘s contributions, women‘s rights.
With plural nouns ending in ―s‖—add only an apostrophe: the churches‘ needs, states‘ rights.
With singular common nouns ending in ―s‖—add ‘s if you hear it when pronounced: the
hostess‘s foot, the witness‘s story. But not if it‘s unpronounced, such as: the marquis‘ mother.
With singular proper names ending in ―s‖—use only an apostrophe: Achilles‘ heel, Descartes‘
theories, Miles‘ gift match.
With nouns plural in form that are singular in meaning—add only an apostrophe: mathematics‘
rules, measles‘ effects.
With ―for sake‖ expressions—traditionally omit the ―s‖ when the noun ends in an ―s‖ or an ―s‖
sound: for goodness‘ sake, for science‘ sake, for Jesus‘ sake; but it‘s: Jesus‘s contemporaries.
Personal interrogative and relative pronouns have separate forms for the possessive that do not
involve an apostrophe: mine, ours, your, yours, his, hers, its, theirs, whose. (Caution: If you are
using an apostrophe with a pronoun, always double-check to be sure the meaning calls for a
contraction such as ―you‘re,‖ ―it‘s,‖ ―there‘s,‖ ―who‘s.‖)
Descriptive Phrases—Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in ―s‖ when it is used
primarily in a descriptive sense: Student Affairs meeting, Natural Sciences project.
Double Possessive—Two conditions must apply for a double possessive—a phrase such as a
friend of Paul‘s—to occur: 1) The word after ―of‖ must refer to an animate object, and 2) The
word before ―of‖ must involve only a portion of the object‘s possessions. Otherwise, do not use
the possessive form of the word after of: The friends of Barack Obama, wherever they were,
celebrated his election. (All the friends were involved.) He is a friend of the College. (Not
College‘s, because College is inanimate.)
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Joint Possession/Individual Possession—Use a possessive form after only the last owner if
ownership is joint: Bill and Lynn‘s boat. Use a possessive form after all owners if the objects are
individually owned: John‘s and Adam‘s cars. (Note that the thing possessed is plural in this last
case.)
Quasi Possessives—Follow standard rules of possession in composing the possessive form of
words that occur in such phrases as: a day‘s pay, two weeks‘ vacation, three days‘ work, your
money‘s worth.
Proper Names
With most proper names ending in ―es,‖ ―s‖ or ―z,‖ add ―es‖: Joneses, Connorses, Fernandezes.
With most proper names ending in ―y,‖ add ―s‖ even if preceded by a consonant: the Kennedys,
the two Kansas Citys (exceptions include ―Alleghenies‖ and ―Rockies‖). For proper names
ending with other letters, add ―s‖: Eastmans, Stewarts.
Single Letters
Add ‘s to make plural those words composed of only one capitalized letter: Mind your p‘s and
q‘s. He caught some z‘s in his room.
Words as Words
Add ―s‖ (with no apostrophe) to make plural those words used as words: He knew the ins and
outs of Eckerd College. You can‘t live with what-ifs. These are your dos and don‘ts.
Punctuation
In general, standard punctuation rules are to be followed. Most desk dictionaries and Internet
reference Web sites contain rules for punctuation that can be adhered to for nearly all copy.
Because of the limitless possibilities of grammatical construction used by our Eckerd
community, it is almost impossible to devise rules of punctuation that will be appropriate for
every situation. Common sense, ease of readability, and clarity should be your guidelines.
Simplicity is a good policy to follow when in doubt.
The following rules, many of them pulled directly from The AP Stylebook, are included in this
Guide because there have been frequent questions about them or a universal College style has
been developed.
Ampersand (&)
Do not use the ampersand except online where space is limited (e.g., in menus and page titles) or
in any text where the ampersand is part of a company name: Deeb & Brainard, P.A. The symbol
also may be used with the initials of a name when the title is well known or follows previous use
of the full name: AT&T.
Brackets ([ ], {})
Use square brackets ([]) to enclose any words or phrases you have inserted into an otherwise
word-for-word quotation: Eckerd junior Matt Sexton said, ―We want to create as safe and
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comfortable an atmosphere around the sport [of kiteboarding] … to get more people aware and
involved in it.‖
The Latin word ―sic‖ (―thus‖) set in italics within square brackets indicates that an error in
quoted text appears in the original source: According to the review, his performance ―exceded
[sic] expectations.‖
Curly Brackets ({}) should be used as parentheses within parentheses (per The Chicago Manual
of Style {14th Edition}).
Comma (,)
City/State in Narrative Copy—When a city and state are written in the middle of a sentence,
the state name should be set off by commas: She lives in Safety Harbor, Florida, but her
boyfriend lives in Naples. The same is true for a city/nation: His journey will take him from
Dublin, Ireland, to Fargo, North Dakota, and back. The abbreviation for ―District of Columbia‖
also should be set off by commas when written in narrative copy: The Washington, D.C., Alumni
Picnic was a great success.
Dates—A complete date also should have commas surrounding the year when not at the end of a
sentence: He was born March 22, 1956, in St. Petersburg. However, if just the month and year
are given, there is no comma: I plan to travel in June 2012.
Direct Address—A comma follows the name of a person you are addressing directly (and also
precedes the name when in the middle of a sentence): JoAnn, I will be a little late this morning
due to a traffic tie-up. If I can arrive by 9:30, Jolene, I will.
Introductory Word Groups—The most common introductory word groups are clauses and
phrases functioning as adverbs. Such word groups usually tell when, where, how, why or under
what conditions the main action of the sentence occurred. A comma tells a reader that the
introductory clause or phrase has come to a close and that the main part of the sentence is about
to begin: When Tanner arrived at the meeting, an alumnus shook her hand. Near the table by the
door, Dr. Stickley snapped another photo of Eckerd scholars.
Exception: The comma may be omitted after a short adverb clause or phrase if there is no danger
of misreading: In no time we met our monthly goal.
Sentences also frequently begin with participial phrases describing the noun or pronoun
immediately following them. The comma tells a reader that he or she is about to learn the
identity of the person or thing described; therefore, the comma is usually required even when the
phrase is short: Thinking the President‘s Associates meeting would be routine, John arrived
shortly before the scheduled time. Buried under a stack of papers, the letter from the applicant
went unnoticed.
Names—There is no comma in a name containing a suffix such as ―Jr.,‖ ―Sr.,‖ ―II,‖ ―III‖ or
―IV‖: Donald R. Eastman III, Martin Luther King Jr. (Note: When alphabetizing names for
listing, filing or sorting purposes, the suffix should immediately follow the last name and then be
separated with a comma from the first name and middle name/initial: Eastman III, Donald R.;
King Jr., Martin Luther.)
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In company names that contain ―Inc.,‖ ―Ltd.‖ and such, commas are no longer required around
the ―Inc.‖ or ―Ltd.‖ unless you have evidence that particular company prefers it this way. As
with ―Jr.‖ and ―Sr.,‖ however, if commas are used due to the subject‘s preference, they must
appear before and after the element in running text: Scholarly Forum, Inc., closed in 2006.
Nonessential (Nonrestrictive) Clauses vs. Essential (Restrictive) Clauses—Both types of
clauses provide additional information about a word or phrase in a sentence. The difference
between them is that the essential clause cannot be eliminated without changing the meaning of
the sentence—it so restricts the meaning that its absence would lead to a substantially different
interpretation of what the writer meant. Example: Eckerd staff who do not follow Style Guide
suggestions most likely will be asked to revise their work. (If you remove the ―who‖ clause
placed in bold, the meaning of this sentence changes.)
The nonessential clause, however, can be removed without altering the basic meaning of the
sentence—it does not restrict the meaning so significantly that its absence would radically alter
the writer‘s thought: The CEC, which opened at noon yesterday, serves delicious meals for only
seven dollars. If you remove the ―which‖ clause placed in bold, the basic meaning of the
sentence is still expressed.
That/Which: Use ―that‖ and ―which‖ when referring to inanimate objects and to animals
without names. Use ―that‖ for essential (restrictive) clauses, important to the meaning of a
sentence, and without commas: The report that the Registrar‘s Office submitted was well
documented. Use ―which‖ for nonessential (nonrestrictive) clauses, where the pronoun is less
necessary, and use commas: The report, which was well documented, was submitted by the
Registrar‘s Office.
Although ―which‖ can be used restrictively, many careful writers preserve the distinction
between restrictive ―that‖ (no commas) and nonrestrictive ―which‖ (commas). Note: The word
―that‖ should be omitted in contexts that are clear without it. The example of an essential
(restrictive) clause mentioned above would read just as clearly as: The report the Registrar‘s
Office submitted was well documented. ―That‖ is not necessary after ―The report.‖
Nonessential (Nonrestrictive) Phrases vs. Essential (Restrictive) Phrases—These phrases
follow the same guidelines as their ―cousin‖ clauses detailed above. An essential phrase is a
word or group of words critical to the reader‘s understanding of what the author had in mind. Do
not set an essential phrase off from the rest of a sentence by commas: We saw the new film Gone
Baby Gone at its New York premiere. (No comma because many films are new, and without the
movie‘s name the reader wouldn‘t know which one was meant.) Another example: President
Eastman ate dinner with his son Andy. (Because the president has three sons, the appropriate
son‘s name is critical to the reader‘s understanding.)
Set off nonessential phrases by commas: Dennis Lehane‘s first feature film, Mystic River, won
several awards. (Mr. Lehane had only one first feature film, so while its name is informative,
even without the name no other movie could be meant.) Another example: Professor Emeritus
Chapin took his lovely wife, Louise, to lunch. (Because Dean Chapin has only one wife, her name
is not necessary for the reader to understand the sentence.)
Descriptive Words: Do not confuse punctuation rules for nonessential phrases with the
correct punctuation when a nonessential word is used as a descriptive adjective. The
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distinguishing clue often is the lack of an article or pronoun: Tom and wife Wanda drove to Ohio.
Heather and her husband, Jason, enjoyed a Broadway show. Alumni Relations Assistant Carol
Fernandez entered the Triton Run. Jesse Turtle, associate director of major gifts, rang the
Advancement Office gift bell.
Separating Similar Words—Use a comma to separate consecutive duplicate words that would
be confusing without the comma: What the topic is, is hard to discern.
Series (or Serial) Comma—Commas should be used to separate words, phrases and clauses of
similar construction used in a series. The comma before ―and‖ or ―or‖ (the series or serial
comma) should be omitted as long as no other component of the series contains the word ―and‖
or ―or‖ (as applicable) and the meaning is clear without the series comma. NOTE: In contrast
with business, literary and journalistic writing, academic writing done by professors and scholars
usually contains the series comma.
With Conjunctions—When a conjunction such as ―and,‖ ―but,‖ ―so‖ or ―for‖ links two clauses
that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a comma before the conjunction in most cases:
She was late to work, but she planned to work past 5 p.m. to make up the time.
As a rule of thumb, use a comma if the subject of each clause is expressly stated: We are visiting
the College, and we also plan a side trip to the Dali Museum. But use no comma when the
subject of the two clauses is the same and is not repeated in the second: We are visiting the
College and plan to explore the Waterfront.
The comma may be dropped if two clauses with expressly stated subjects are short: I wanted in
but I forgot my key. In general, however, favor use of a comma unless a particular literary effect
is desired or if it will distort the sense of the sentence.
With Equal Adjectives—Use commas to separate a series of adjectives equal in rank. If the
commas can be replaced by the word ―and‖ without changing the sense or if the words can be
reversed in order without changing the sense, the adjectives are equal: a thoughtful, precise
manner; a dark, dangerous place.
Use no comma when the last adjective before a noun outranks its predecessors because it is an
integral element of a noun phrase, which is the equivalent of a single noun: a cheap fur coat (the
noun phrase is ―fur coat‖), a new College logo, the only private national liberal arts college in
Florida.
With “Yes” and “No”—Place a comma after these words in running text: Yes, I will be there.
The student thought, No, I cannot make it to class in time.
Ellipsis ( … )
In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods with a space
before and after, as shown above.
Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and
documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that would distort meaning.
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Hesitation—An ellipsis also may be used to indicate a pause or hesitation in speech, or a
thought that the speaker or writer does not complete: ―Hmmm,‖ she said, ―I wonder …‖
Punctuation Guidelines—If the words that precede an ellipsis constitute a grammatically
complete sentence, either in the original or in the condensation, place a period at the end of the
last word before the ellipsis. Follow it with a regular space and an ellipsis: He no longer has a
strong enough political base. …
When the grammatical sense calls for a question mark, exclamation point, comma or colon, the
sequence is word, punctuation mark, regular space, ellipsis: Will you come? … But if such
sentence-closing punctuation does not apply to the text preceding the ellipsis, it should be placed
after the ellipsis, such as: Should the invitation read, ―The President and Mrs. Eastman invite
you to …‖?
Em Dash (—)
An em dash is about the width of the capital letter ―M‖ and can be found in the Microsoft tool
bar under ―Insert,‖ ―Symbols.‖ Most Word software also can be set up to create an em dash by
typing a word followed directly by two hyphens, another word and a space: here—see?
Abrupt Change—Use an em dash to denote an abrupt change of focus in a sentence or an
emphatic pause: We will fly to London in December—if I get a raise. Chris offered a plan—it
was unprecedented—to meet our Annual Fund goal by midnight on June 15.
An em dash also indicates that a speaker was interrupted: ―Do you want to eat lunch at the—‖
Diane‘s phone rang so loudly she forgot what she was going to say.
Attribution—Use a dash before an author‘s or composer‘s name at the end of a quotation: ―We
were going to save the world. I mean, we were going to save it by noon tomorrow, and there was
no turning back.‖ —Billy O. Wireman
HTML Usage—Web Director Casey Paquet advises that when text is converted from a
Microsoft Word document to html—h(yper) t(ext) m(arkup) l(anguage)—for email transmission
or Web display, symbols and spacing such as en dashes, em dashes, smart quotes, double-spaces
and other stylistic effects do not always display as they do in Word. Therefore, it is usually best
to leave text basic for html transmissions and to edit accordingly.
Series Within a Phrase—When a phrase that otherwise would be set off by commas, such as
parenthetical elements, contains a series of words that must be separated by commas, use dashes
to set off the full phrase: He listed the qualities—distinctive programs, tropical setting,
innovative faculty—that make Eckerd a college that changes lives.
Spacing (or not)—While this is a style choice, in narrative copy, Eckerd College puts no space
before or after an em dash or en dash (see below). Exception: Formal invitations, programs,
brochures and briefings sometimes contain en dashes with a space before and after them because
this presents a more attractive appearance on a page with a great deal of white space. If this is the
preference for a particular document, remain consistent throughout that document.
19
En Dash (–)
An en dash is about the width of the capital letter ―N‖ and can be found in the Microsoft tool bar
under ―Insert,‖ ―Symbols.‖ It most frequently represents the word ―to‖ to mark the space
between dates in a chronological range: William H. Kadel‘s founding presidency at Florida
Presbyterian College (1958–1968) began with a $25 petty cash fund. Or in time: 6:30–8:45 p.m.
The en dash also is used to join compound modifiers composed of elements that are themselves
either open compounds (frequently two-word proper nouns) or already-hyphenated compounds:
the New England–area Send-Off Picnic, the New York–New Jersey border, post-Darwinian–preFreudian theorems.
If the avenue or street name in an address is a number below 10, an en dash preceded and
followed by one space can separate the numbers to keep each distinct: 5560 – 6th Street East.
Otherwise, the College‘s standard choice of style is to put no space before or after an en dash.
{See ―Spacing (or not)‖ at the end of the ―Em Dash‖ section on page 19 for further explanation,
and see ―HTML Usage‖ on page 19 for direction regarding online/electronic applications.}
Hyphen (-)
Use a hyphen to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words: The president
spoke to small-business men (―businessmen‖ normally is one word, but ―The president spoke to
small businessmen‖ is unclear). Others: He recovered his health. He re-covered the leaky roof.
She wrote a prompt thank-you letter. Did you send thank-yous to the trustees? Here is a list of
non-donors. Our number of in-state students increased this year. Thank you for supporting our
student-athletes. Do you plan to attend the program kickoff? (Note: ―follow-up‖ and ―kick-off‖
are hyphenated or one word as adjectives or nouns but are two words, ―follow up‖ and ―kick
off,‖ as verbs.) Please mail a follow-up note. How will we follow up?
In general, do no hyphenate words prefixed with ―multi,‖ unless a hyphen is needed for clarity:
multigenerational, multimedia, multilingual, multi-year.
Use a hyphen with the prefixes ―ex-‖ (former), ―self-‖, ―all-‖; with the suffix ―-elect‖; between a
prefix and a capitalized word; and with figures or letters: ex-wife, self-confident, mid-August, allknowing, governor-elect, anti-American, T-shirt, pre-Eckerd, mid-1990s.
Compound Modifier—When a compound modifier—two or more words that express a single
concept—precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb
―very‖ and all adverbs that end in ―ly‖: first-quarter basket, bluish-green dress, full-time job,
well-known man, better-qualified woman, know-it-all attitude, much-needed break, fiscal-yearend goal, 50-year-old man, gift-matching program, very good time, easily remembered rule.
Many combinations that are hyphenated before a noun are not hyphenated when they occur after
a noun: The team scored in the first quarter. The dress, a bluish green, was attractive on her. She
works full time. He works part time. Her attitude suggested she knew it all. The case is well
documented. He is well known in town.
Note: ―well-being,‖ ―well-to-do,‖ and ―well-wishers‖ should be hyphenated no matter their
sentence placement.
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Italics
In running text, the name of individual lectures within a series as well as names of symposiums,
conferences, and capital campaigns should be italicized (such as Many Experiences, One Spirit:
The Campaign for Eckerd College). However, there are certain exceptions, such as the ―Eckerd
College Writers‘ Conference: Writers in Paradise‖ and the ―Center for Spiritual Life Burchenal
Lecture Series.‖
Titles of the following also should be placed in italics: books, newspapers, newsletters,
magazines, journals, movies, plays, music albums, paintings, gallery and museum exhibitions,
sculptures, Web sites, DVDs, CDs, a television show or series (but not an episode), and anything
in book form (such as this Style Guide). In already-italicized text, a title should contrastingly be
set in regular type.
Another common use for italics is for setting off foreign words or phrases, unless they have
become common in usage, such as ―déjà vu.‖
Italics may be used to emphasize a word or phrase and is preferred over underlined, boldfaced
and all-capped type because of the more graceful, clean appearance: ―He wants the book now.‖
Italics (or quotation marks) can set a word apart to express that it represents that actual word,
such as: ―Déjà vu is no longer written in italics because it is so commonly used in the States.‖
Parentheses {( )}
Parentheses are distracting, so use them sparingly. Their necessity can indicate a sentence is
contorted. Try to write it another way. If a sentence must contain incidental material, then
commas or two em dashes are frequently more effective. If those are already in use or if more
disjunction is needed, parentheses are the only effective means of inserting necessary
background or reference information. When parentheses are necessary, follow these guidelines:
Insertions in a Proper Name—Use parentheses if a state name or similar information is inserted
within a proper name: ―The St. Petersburg (Florida) Times reported the governor was well.‖ But
use commas if no proper name is involved: ―The St. Petersburg, Florida, group met the mayor.‖
Punctuation Guidelines—Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is
not a complete sentence (such as this fragment). (An independent parenthetical sentence such as
this one takes a period before the closing parenthesis.) When a phrase placed in parentheses (this
one is an example) might normally qualify as a complete sentence but is dependent on the
surrounding material, do not capitalize the first word or end with a period.
Quotation Marks (“ or ”)
Punctuation Guidelines—Periods and commas always go inside closing quotation marks;
dashes, colons, semicolons, question marks and exclamation points go inside closing quotation
marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole
sentence.
Running Quotations—If a quotation runs into more than one paragraph, quotation marks should
be placed at the beginning of the first paragraph and at the beginning of each following
paragraph, omitting quotation marks at the end of every paragraph except the last.
21
Single Quotation Marks („ or ‟)—Use single quotation marks for a quote within a quote. If
subsequent internal quotes ensue, alternate between double quotation marks and single marks.
Punctuation rules for internal quotes are the same as those for regular quotes. If two quoted
elements end at the same time, use three marks together: She said, ―He told me, ‗I like you.‘‖
Smart Quotes—Eckerd College uses smart quotes for apostrophes (‘), single quotation marks (‗
or ‘) and quotation marks (― or ‖) instead of straight quotes ('), (' or ') (" or "). Also, always be
sure your apostrophe faces the correct direction when representing missing letters or numbers,
such as the ―20‖ in ―2012‖: ’12—not ‘12! A single opening quotation mark (‗) never represents
missing letters or numbers.
When to Use—Quotation marks should enclose titles of individual lectures (even within a
series), speeches, articles, short poems, short stories, chapters, songs, hymns, TV episodes and
artwork that isn‘t a painting or sculpture (which should be italicized). A nickname inserted into
the identification of an individual also should be enclosed by quotation marks: P.N. ―Bud‖
Risser III.
Put quotation marks around a word or words used in an ironical sense: The ―debate‖ turned into
a free-for-all. An unfamiliar term on first mention also may be enclosed by quotation marks:
Broadcast frequencies are measured in ―kilohertz.‖ But subsequent use(s) of that word would
appear in normal text.
Capitalize names of courses, but enclose course names in quotation marks only if necessary for
clarity: I saw her in my European Experience class. My Winter Term class, ―The Imaginary
Journey in Literature,‖ was great fun! Be consistent within one document.
Semicolon (;)
In general, use the semicolon to divide a sentence offering separate ideas. A semicolon provides
a stronger separation than a comma and a weaker separation than a period.
To Clarify a Series—Use semicolons to separate elements of a series when the items in the
series are long or when individual segments contain material that also must be set off by
commas: The team will consist of Annie, from Gulfport; Al, from Ellenton; and Janet, from
Seminole. Note that a semicolon is used before the final ―and‖ in such a series.
To Link Independent Clauses—Use a semicolon when a coordinating conjunction such as
―and,‖ ―but‖ or ―for‖ is not present: The Autumn Term students arrived today; the president will
address them at the Ceremony of Lights tonight.
If a coordinating conjunction is present, use a semicolon before it only if extensive punctuation
also is required in one or more of the individual clauses: They pulled their boats from the water,
sandbagged the retaining walls and boarded up the windows; but even with these precautions,
the island was hard-hit by the hurricane. Unless a particular literary effect is desired, however,
the better approach in these circumstances is to break the independent clauses into separate
sentences.
With Conjunctive Adverbs—Use a semicolon to join two independent clauses connected with a
conjunctive adverb such as ―however,‖ ―moreover,‖ ―therefore,‖ ―consequently,‖ ―otherwise,‖
22
―nevertheless‖ and ―thus‖: The GO Pavilion opened for use in December of 2010; however, the
Center for Molecular and Life Sciences will not be open to students until Fall 2012.
Semicolons usually should be placed outside quotation marks in quoted matter.
Special Rules of Note
(Generally, per The AP Stylebook)
Academic Degrees
Use an apostrophe in ―bachelor‘s degree,‖ ―a master‘s,‖ etc., but there is no possessive in
―Bachelor of Arts‖ or ―Master of Science,‖ etc. Also: ―an associate degree‖ (no possessive).
Use such abbreviations as ―B.A.,‖ ―M.A.,‖ ―M.S.,‖ ―MBA,‖ ―LL.D.,‖ ―M.Div.‖ and ―Ph.D.‖
only after a full name—never after just a last name. When used after a name, an academic
abbreviation is set off by commas: Mark Davis, Ph.D., spoke eloquently.
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:
WRONG: Dr. James Annarelli, Ph.D.
RIGHT: Dr. James Annarelli, vice president for student life and dean of students
Doctor
Use ―Dr.‖ in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor
of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy or doctor of podiatric medicine
degree: Dr. Jonas Salk.
The form ―Dr.,‖ or ―Drs.‖ in a plural construction, applies to all first-reference uses before a
name, including direct quotations.
If appropriate in the context, ―Dr.‖ also may be used on first reference before the names of
individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, because the public frequently
identifies ―Dr.‖ only with physicians, care should be taken to assure that the individual‘s
specialty is stated in first or second reference. The only exception would be a story in which the
context left no doubt that the person was a dentist, psychologist, chemist, historian, etc.
In some instances it also is necessary to specify that an individual identified as ―Dr.‖ is a
physician. One frequent case is a document reporting on joint research by physicians, biologists,
etc.
Do not use ―Dr.‖ before the names of individuals who hold only honorary doctorates.
Do not continue the use of ―Dr.‖ in subsequent references. Use only the first or last name,
depending on the formality of the document.
M.D.—A word such as ―physician‖ or ―surgeon‖ is preferred.
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Either … or, Neither … nor
The nouns that follow these words do not constitute a compound subject; they are alternate
subjects and require a verb that agrees with the nearer subject: Neither they nor he is going.
Neither he nor they are going.
Entitled or Titled
The preferred definition of the past-tense verb ―entitled‖ is the right to do or have something:
You are not yet entitled to sick leave. Whereas, the verb ―titled‖ means the distinguishing name
of something: William Felice‘s new book is titled The Global New Deal.
Farther or Further
―Farther‖ refers to physical distance: They drove one block farther.
―Further‖ refers to an extension of time or degree: She wouldn‘t discuss it further.
Flyer
Contrary to The AP Stylebook, ―flyer‖ (not ―flier‖) is the preferred term for a handbill.
HTML Usage
Web Director Casey Paquet advises that when text is converted from a Microsoft Word
document to html—h(yper) t(ext) m(arkup) l(anguage)—for email transmission or Web display,
symbols and spacing such as en dashes, em dashes, smart quotes, double-spaces and other
stylistic effects do not always display as they do in Word. Therefore, it is usually best to leave
text basic for html transmissions and to edit accordingly.
Mid-
Don‘t use a hyphen unless a capitalized word follows: midterm, midtown, mid-Atlantic, midJune. But use a hyphen when ―mid-‖ precedes a figure: mid-1990s, mid-30s.
Might/May
President Eastman generally prefers the use of ―might‖ over ―may‖ in his correspondence and
text printed in his name.
Misplaced Modifier
Misplaced and dangling modifiers are phrases that are not located properly in relation to the
words they modify. Misplaced modifiers lead to illogical sentences that are difficult to
understand and sometimes downright humorous.
The professor posted the notes for the students covered in class. (Misplaced)
Why? The modifier, ―covered in class,‖ appears to modify ―the students‖ instead
of ―the notes.‖
The professor posted the notes covered in class for the students. (Properly Placed)
The word ―only‖ is a modifier that is easy to misplace. Look at the differences between these two
sentences: I ate only vegetables. (This means I ate nothing but vegetables—no fruit, meat—just
vegetables.) I only ate vegetables. (This means all I did with vegetables was eat them. I didn't
plant, harvest, wash or cook them. I only ate them.)
Dangling Modifier—A dangling modifier is a word or phrase apparently modifying an
unintended word because of its placement in a sentence. Modifiers dangle when they are not
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connected logically to the main part of the sentence. To remedy these grammar ailments, either:
State the subject right after the dangling modifier or add the subject to the dangling phrase.
As a close friend of the College, your opinion means a great deal to us. (Dangling)
Why? ―As a close friend of the College‖ modifies ―your opinion,‖ but an opinion
cannot be a close friend of the College.
As a close friend of the College, you possess an opinion we value. (Remedied)
Because you are a close friend of the College, your opinion means a great deal to
us. (Also Correct—and Preferred)
Another misplaced modifier often results from someone writing on another‘s behalf.
WRONG: On behalf of all the students who benefit from this gift, please accept my
thanks.
Because this sentence contains the implied [will you] please accept my thanks—―you‖ is
the person assumed in the second part of the sentence while ―I‖ is the person intended in
the introductory phrase On behalf of all the students … It is ―I‖ who is standing in ―on
behalf of the students‖ to thank YOU.
Thus, the following would be RIGHT: On behalf of all the students who benefit from this
gift, [implied ―I‖] thank you. Or: Thank you again, on behalf of all the students who
benefit from this gift (because with this repositioning of the ―thank you‖ phrase, ―I‖ is
implied instead of ―you‖).
None
Since ―none‖ has the meanings ―not one‖ and ―not any,‖ some insist that it always be treated as
singular and be followed by a singular verb; however, ―none‖ has been used with both singular
and plural verbs for many centuries. When the sense is ―not any persons or things,‖ the plural is
more common: Staff Council searched for volunteers, but none were found. Also, use a plural
verb if the sense is no two or no amount: None of the constituents agree on the same approach.
None of the taxes have been paid.
When ―none‖ is clearly intended to mean ―not one‖ or ―not any,‖ it is followed by a singular
verb: Of all my articles, none has received more acclaim than my latest one.
Not only … but also
As with other correlative conjunctions, you should follow each part of the ―not only … but also‖
construction with an element of the same grammatical type. Thus, instead of ―She not only
bought the new EC-SAR shirt but also matching shorts,‖ you should write: ―She bought not
only the new EC-SAR shirt but also matching shorts,‖ because in this version both ―not only‖
and ―but also‖ are immediately followed by noun phrases. Note, too, that no comma precedes the
―but‖ unless a comma is needed for clarity.
Leaving out the ―also‖ from this construction tends to intensify the first part rather than
supplement it: She bought not only the new EC-SAR shirt but matching shorts.
Over or More Than
―Over‖ generally refers to spatial relationships: The kiteboarder sailed over the water. ―More
than‖ is preferred with numerals: We raised $2.7 million more than our $80 million Campaign
goal.
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Spacing
A single character space—not two spaces—follows a sentence ending (period, question mark,
ellipsis or exclamation point). There also should be only one space after a colon and between the
state and ZIP code in an address (in a letter or narrative copy). There is no space between initials
in a name: H.R. Puffinstuff—unless a space is preferred by the nameholder.
Special Forms
The words ―faculty‖ and ―staff‖ are collective nouns, which may be either singular or plural
depending on their use in the sentence: The staff is in a meeting (―staff‖ is acting as a unit here).
The staff are in disagreement about the findings (―staff‖ are acting as separate individuals here).
This last example would read even better this way: The staff members are in disagreement
about the findings.
Who/That
In formal language, ―Who‖ generally is preferred in a restrictive (essential) clause when referring
to a person: The person who left a mess was inconsiderate. Not: The person that left a mess was
inconsiderate.
Who/Whom
―Who‖ is the pronoun used for references to human beings and to animals with individual names.
―Who‖ is grammatically the subject (never the object) of a sentence, clause or phrase: The
student who lives in that residence house left the door open. Who is there?
―Whom‖ is used when someone is the object of a preposition or verb: The student to whom the
bike was given did not know how to ride one. Whom do you wish to invite?
♦―♦—♦
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♦ LETTER WRITING ♦
Addresses, Salutations and Form
If you have access to Banner addresses, they—and not past hard-copy addresses—will be the
most accurate contact information for College correspondents. Please refer to the main files,
though, to verify you are not repeating language in letters to the same person(s) and that you are
using the proper salutation.
Correct City Name
In letter addresses, our city is ―St. Petersburg,‖ not ―Saint Petersburg‖ or ―St. Pete.‖ However,
the city of ―St. Pete Beach‖ has adopted such an abbreviation as its official name.
Courtesy Titles and Salutations
There will be many special circumstances when it comes to the use of courtesy titles. If there is
no guideline here and the preference is not stipulated in Banner‘s APAMAIL, use your good
judgment or ask the College editor for advice. If you notice a pattern—something we can add to
the Writing Style Guide—please suggest it ([email protected]).
When someone is a Ph.D. or M.D., use the ―Dr.‖ courtesy title in the address of the letter. Do not
use a special courtesy title for others with professional degrees except the following:
In an address, when referring to a judge, mayor or other public servant
with the title ―Honorable,‖ use ―The Honorable,‖ such as: The Honorable
John B. Phelps III.
In a formal salutation, refer to a judge as ―Dear Hon. [last name].‖
When addressing a religious official who is a reverend, use ―Rev.‖ on the
envelope, in the inside address of the letter and in the salutation: Rev.
Robert James (in address); Dear Rev. James (salutation).
If the person is both a reverend and a doctor, refer to him or her as ―Rev.
Dr.‖ on the envelope and in the inside address of the letter, then use ―Dr.‖
in the salutation. For example: Rev. Dr. Jose Luega (in address); Dear Dr.
Luega (salutation).
When addressing an attorney in a letter or envelope, it is proper to use the social
title ―Esq.‖ following the name, but do not include any courtesy or academic titles
(such as ―Mr.‖ or ―Dr.‖) preceding the name:
WRONG: Mr. Michael Jacobs, Esq.
RIGHT: Michael Jacobs, Esq.
When referring to a husband and wife who are both doctors and share the same last name, the
address on the letter should read ―Drs. Mike and Kara Smith,‖ and the salutation should read
―Dear Drs. Smith,‖ unless the first names are being used (due to familiarity).
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If a couple uses two different last names, use both full names in the address and stack them
without an ―and‖ separating the names:
Mr. Richard D. Huss
Ms. Mari Henninger.
If possible, use the two first names in the informal salutation: Dear Richard and Mari. If that
would be considered inappropriate, use the courtesy titles with the two different last names:
Dear Mr. Huss and Ms. Henninger.
Marital Power Play—To properly order a married couple‘s names in addresses and salutations
of letters to Eckerd constituents, the person (whether man or woman) with the strongest
relationship to the College should go first unless treated as a standard married couple by their
choice. For example: The Honorable Susan Russ Walker (alumna trustee) and Mr. Dorman D.
Walker (College friend); Dear Susan and Dorman. Or: Mr. and Mrs. Daniel P. Miller; Dear
Mary (alumna trustee) and Dan (College friend).
NOTE: Since Eckerd College always alphabetizes lists and rosters by the last name of the
individual or couple, the constituent with the closest relationship to the College should be listed
LAST in lists and rosters, so the couple can be found alphabetically by that person‘s name: Mr.
Daniel P. and Mrs. Mary E. Miller ‘97.
―Ms.‖ should be used when the marital status of a woman is not known or her preference is
known to be ―Ms.‖ instead of ―Mrs.‖
In letter salutations, do not use abbreviations other than: Mr., Mrs., Ms., Messrs., Dr., Drs., Rev.,
Hon. and certain military titles such as: Gen., Brig. Gen., Capt., Col., Lt. Col., Maj., etc.
Nicknames—Do not use a nickname in a formal letter unless the signer knows the recipient
very well, and you know personally that the recipient prefers that the signer regularly call him or
her by this nickname (don‘t trust Banner). It is never appropriate to use a nickname with
someone the correspondent does not know well. When in doubt, use a more formal greeting such
as the first name or ―Mr. …,‖ ―Ms. …,‖ ―Mrs. …,‖ ―Dr. …‖ or ―Rev. ….‖ If you are unsure of
the correct courtesy title, make an effort to find out what is appropriate, or take the opportunity
to call the correspondent to converse and inquire as to how he or she would like to be addressed.
For older correspondents, always use formal greetings in letters even if you call them by their
first names in person (unless they have asked you to address them by first name only). Use your
good judgment and if you have a question, ask! It is less of a sin to be overly formal and have
someone correct you than to be presumptuously informal and annoy someone who may never
even tell you.
Layout, Line Spacing and Language
Please use the TIMES NEW ROMAN 12-point font for all correspondence, and place the text in
block style (left justified). Each new line of the letter should begin at the left margin, starting
with the date; then inside address; the salutation; followed by the body of the letter; and finally
the signature information and letter notations, if any.
A College letter, whether printed on executive (7¼‖ x 10½‖) or standard (8½‖ x 11‖) letterhead,
should be centered vertically below the College logo with 1.25-inch left and right margins. The
inside address of a letter should begin a triple-space (leaving two blank lines) after the date. Then
28
double-space (leaving one blank line) after the inside address, type the salutation (with a comma
ending the line unless it is a very formal letter that requires a colon—but this is rare), doublespace again and begin your letter. The typical College letter contains three paragraphs. After the
letter body or message comes the complimentary close and letter notations (see ―Template for
College Letters,‖ ―Letter Content‖ and ―Letter Notations,‖ below, for more details).
When a letter continues onto a second page or covers an enclosure, the first page of the letter
should be printed on standard-sized letterhead with matching but blank second sheets. Left and
right margins may be scaled back to one inch if necessary. Subsequent pages of the letter should
not contain headers or be stapled to the first page. Enclosures should not be stapled to the letter.
When an address includes an apartment number, building number, suite number or such, and the
street address is so long that such identifier requires its own line, this item should appear on the
line ABOVE the street address (even though this may not be the form Banner takes). Remember,
postal workers read an envelope from the bottom up, so the address on the envelope and in the
inside address should contain the broadest locator on the bottom line (city, state and ZIP) then
narrow down as the address goes up each line to the most specific item: the formal name of the
addressee.
Remember to consult the addressee‘s hard file, if applicable, to avoid unnecessary repetitions in
language.
Street Names and Post Office Boxes
When possible, be sure the address includes appropriate periods and commas and that each
address has words like ―Street,‖ ―East,‖ ―Suite,‖ ―Boulevard,‖ ―Circle,‖ ―Court‖ and ―Avenue‖
spelled out completely. Spell out ―North,‖ ―South,‖ ―East‖ and ―West.‖ Abbreviate ―NE,‖ ―SW‖
or other compound directional descriptors. For example: 11850 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street
North, 129 Sunset Boulevard, 9 Morningside Circle NE.
Always use figures for an address number: 123 Burns Road, 942 5th Avenue North.
All street names that are numbers should be in figures, with ―st,‖ ―nd,‖ ―rd‖ or ―th‖ after them. If
the avenue or street name is a number below 10, an en dash preceded and followed by one space
can (but does not have to) separate the numbers to keep each distinct: 5560 – 6th Street East, 245
East 2nd Street, 4200 54th Avenue South. In formal correspondence, however, such as printed
event invitations, it is proper to spell out street names that are numbers below 10: 500 Fifth
Avenue North.
Spell out the words ―Post Office‖ in an address such as: Post Office Box 335.
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Template for College Letters
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
October 14, 2011
←———— 2 lines
Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Template
1234 Grand Court
Highland Beach, Florida 33487-5306
←———— 1 line
Dear Kyle and Kari,
←———— 1 line
Thank you and the Template Foundation for your gift of $1,000 to
the Eckerd College Annual Fund. With construction underway for
the new science facility and the 2011–12 academic year in full swing,
there is an atmosphere of excitement and renewal around campus.
1 line —→
Your contributions and involvement throughout the years have
helped produce a resurgence of giving to this special place. As you
know, one of the many outcomes we had hoped to achieve through
the Many Experiences, One Spirit Campaign was to foster a new
tradition of giving at Eckerd. You both are helping us build that
tradition by being a model of philanthropy. We are fortunate to count
you among our dedicated alumni.
1 line —→
Thank you and the Template Foundation, again, for your investment
in the success of the College, and for helping lead the way as we
reshape our campus and our future.
1 line —→
All best wishes,
←———— 3 lines
Donald R. Eastman III
President
←———— 1 line
Enclosure
←———— 1 line
cc: Jessica Reid, Template Foundation
←———— 1 line
P.S. I look forward to seeing you and your family soon!
4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33711 727-864-8211 800-456-9009 727-864-1877 fax
Related by Covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA)
30
Letter Content
College letters usually contain just three paragraphs: an opening, a main, and a closing
paragraph. The sentences in each paragraph should vary in pattern, type and length to avoid
monotony. As with the sentences they contain, paragraphs should vary in length and pattern—
always constructed for flow and concision.
Generally, the main paragraph should be longer than the opening and closing paragraphs, and it
is permissible for one paragraph in a letter to contain only one sentence. Good news or
appreciation is best expressed in the opening paragraph, and next steps and future prospects
should be mentioned in the closing. The main paragraph should provide background information
and supporting details to justify the main point of the letter, which should be introduced in the
opening paragraph and reinforced in the closing paragraph.
One caveat is to avoid overusing the pronouns ―I‖ and ―we.‖ Three paragraphs beginning with
―I‖ or ―We‖ are two too many. The thrust of a letter should be ―you,‖ the letter‘s recipient, so it
is important that the message not be inadvertently self-centered.
Repetition
It is okay to pull from previous letters to write new ones, but be careful about using the same
content for the same person in more than one letter. Always check the letter recipient‘s file, if
there is one, to be sure you are not repeating phrases and sentences that person has already read.
Also, vary your words, phrases and sentence construction (by mixing simple and complex
sentences) within a single letter. No reader wants to be bombarded by redundancy or battered
with prosaic syntax. Variety sparks interest.
Letter Notations
Blind Copy Notation (bc)
If a copy is to be sent to a second person, and the addressee is not to be made aware of it, type or
print the ―bc‖ notation followed by a colon at the bottom left of the photocopy in a style similar
to those illustrated below for courtesy copies.
Courtesy Copy Notation (cc)
The courtesy copy notation (cc) should be the last one (besides a postscript) on a letter. If it
appears before the enclosure notation, the reader might think ―Enclosure‖ also pertains to the
copy. If it does pertain to the copy, that fact may be definitely indicated.* ―Mr.,‖ ―Ms.‖ and other
titles are used before only surnames that stand alone and names of outsiders:
cc: Dr. Watson
*cc + enc: Lisa Mets
cc: Mr. J.T. Dare, Tulsa
Iris Yetter
Names should be listed alphabetically or in the order of professional status, with outsiders (if
any) listed first.
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Enclosures
You may type ―Enclosure‖ or ―Enclosures,‖ whichever is appropriate, at the left-hand margin a
double-space (leaving one blank line) below the title of the letter signer. Specifics regarding an
enclosure also should be mentioned within the body of the letter.
Initials
When someone other than the signer types and finalizes a letter, it is common practice to include
a notation indicating who performed this work. Beginning at the left-hand margin a double-space
below the signer‘s title, show the capitalized initials of the author followed by either a colon or
forward-slash and the assistant‘s lowercased initials. For example: DRE/jt or DRE:jq.
Some College offices do not notate letters with author/typist initials because their goal is to keep
all correspondence on as personal a level as possible between the signer and the addressee.
Responsibility for each letter drafted can be recorded through the typist‘s/drafter‘s initials
preceding the draft date in the electronic file name of the Microsoft® Word document saved on
the office‘s shared drive.
Postscripts
A postscript is the last notation on a letter and should begin with ―P.S.‖ The postscript should
begin at the left-hand margin and a double-space (leaving one blank line) down from the signer‘s
title or the previously final letter notation:
P.S. Please keep this written acknowledgment of your donation for your tax records.
What to Avoid
Don‘t assume the electronic spelling-and-grammar checker is correct. The grammar checker, in
particular, is frequently wrong. Review each letter carefully to make sure every one is perfect
BEFORE you ask others to review or sign it.
Don‘t be redundant with your letter content.
Don‘t use too many adjectives or adverbs. Instead, pick one or two and make sure they are exact.
Better yet, use strong, specific verbs and nouns in your sentences. Generally avoid: very, really
and sincerely.
Don‘t write passively; write actively. If there are a lot of ―to be‖ verb forms (was, is, isn‘t, were),
recast the sentence with a subject-verb-object pattern.
Don‘t use ―please accept‖ in a positive situation.
Don‘t use the word ―towards‖; it always should be ―toward.‖
♦―♦—♦
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♦ MEMOS ♦
(Generally, per How to Say It® {Prentice Hall Press, 2001})
Due to email, interoffice memorandums may be an endangered species, but memos still serve the
purpose among Eckerd employees of streamlining communication in the following cases:
when the information is too confidential for email;
when you attach it to a report with too many pages and/or graphics to be easily sent
electronically;
when you want a message routed and signed or initialed or commented upon; and
for routine out-of-office communications with colleagues, constituents or vendors.
Memos also double as track-coverers—so you can turn on someone months later and snarl:
―Well, you should have known about it. I sent you a memo!‖
General Style
The memo heading has four items, or five if someone is to receive a courtesy copy (cc). These
items should be formatted like the example that follows and printed on office or collegium
letterhead:
MEMO
TO: John Doe, Vice President of Example
FROM: Jane Doeraymee, Director of Example
CC: Joley Aswell, Associate of Example
Jim Also, Assistant of Example
DATE: September 15, 2008
RE: 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend
The Microsoft Word ―Page Setup‖ should be set for 1-inch top and bottom margins and 1.25inch left and right margins. The first page of the memo should begin on the sixth line (five
returns down), and subsequent pages of text should start at the top of the page, with no headers
or footers since the memo will be stapled.
Please use the College‘s preferred font: Times New Roman—12-point with a 28-point ―MEMO‖
heading on the first page as illustrated above. The body of the memo should be single-spaced and
left justified with one blank line between paragraphs, as this section exemplifies.
33
Content
Select a phrase for the subject line that will immediately tell the reader the main point of your
memo. Begin the body of your message a double-space (leaving one blank line) below the
horizontal line and left justified (as illustrated above). Bulleted lines, if any, should be indented,
as may be charts, tables or graphics (at your discretion for spatial appeal).
If appropriate, close with a request for the action you want and a date by which it should be
carried out: Please call me before Tuesday. Please inform others in your department. Please let
me know your thoughts.
As the sender of the memo, sign your initials next to your name in the heading.
If any attachments are included with the memo, they should be mentioned in the body of the
memo and in a left-justified notation a double-space (leaving one blank line) after the closing
sentence, similar to the following:
Attached: Draft of Weekend Events
Don‘t include salutations or complimentary closings or any of the wind-up or wind-down
sentences used in a standard business letter. Be courteous, professional and concise.
Don‘t use a memo for official communications such as promotions.
Special Situations
An issue memo is a fact-oriented report that summarizes important information so policy
decisions can be made. The efficient organization of material includes some or all of the
following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
stating the issue, putting it in context, providing background information;
listing available or suggested options or solutions, along with their pros and cons;
detailing the costs, fiscal impact and effects of each of the options;
if appropriate and welcome, naming steps necessary to implement the various options;
offering your recommendations; and
suggesting the next step in the process (further study, meeting, discussion, executive
decision).
Tips on Writing
State the purpose of your memo in the first sentence.
34
Be succinct. Use short, simple sentences with present tense and active verbs. Although
memos can be any length, the one- or two-page memo is the norm, except for report or
issue memos. The shorter the memo, the more likely it will be read immediately.
Informality is the hallmark of memos. They are shorter and less complicated than letters.
They use plainer language. Jargon and acronyms familiar to those at Eckerd may be used.
―We‖ can take the place of ―Eckerd College.‖
When sending a memo to more than one person, list the recipients‘ names after ―TO‖ in
the heading with each person‘s name/title on its own line; or list the principal recipient
after ―TO‖ and the others after ―CC‖ (see example on page 33). Recipients‘ names should
be in the order of College rank or if equal in rank, alphabetically by last names.
Names appear without courtesy titles (―Ms.,‖ ―Mr.‖) but occasionally with professional
titles (―Dr.‖) and always with capitalized job titles following the names.
Write Memos About
announcements
changes in policy/procedure
College or campus events
instructions
meetings
reminders
reports
special projects
updates
♦ THE END ♦
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