- Titles of persons
- Naming the University
- Sexist language
- Titles of publications, works of art, and objects
- Preferred spellings and usage
- Equal employment opportunity statements
General rules for grammar and usage
This guide is intended to address questions of style that are frequently encountered in University publications. University Relations uses this style guide when creating documents and when assigning a publications number. Adoption of a uniform style gives consistency and unity of voice to UTC publications. Uniform style also allows copy to be shared among publications without the need for extensive reediting.
In addition to this guide, the Office of University Relations uses A Manual of Style (The University of Chicago Press), Words Into Type (Prentice-Hall), and the Associated Press Stylebook as its main references for questions of style. Consult recent editions of these works for questions of style not answered here.Contents...
- Use to show omitted figures.
- The class of '62 . . . The '80s
- Use to show plurals of single letters and abbreviations with periods.
- Mind your p's and q's.
Ph.D.'s . . . B.A.'s . . . P.O.W.'s
- But do not use with plurals of numbers or multiple-letter combinations.
- The 1980s . . .his 7s . . .The VFWs
- Form the possessive of singular nouns by adding 's, no matter what the final consonant.
- Ross's Landing . . . Jones's car . . . witch's brew
Exceptions: ancient names -- Jesus', Moses', Rameses', Xerxes', etc.
- Form the possessive of plural nouns by adding 's if the word does not end in s or z sound
- men's jobs . . . women's rights
- or, if it does end in s or z sound, by adding only an apostrophe.
- The Joneses' garden . . . three dollars' worth
Exceptions: Names of organizations often omit the apostrophe.
- ACADEMIC DEGREES
- Academic degrees are not capitalized when written out.
A bachelor of arts in English
A master's degree in psychology
A doctorate in chemistry
- BUILDING NAMES
Eliminate excess capitalization whenever possible. When in doubt, do not capitalize.
- Names of University buildings that have been officially named or that are used in a formal sense after UTC or University are capitalized.
- In Founders Hall
The UTC Fine Arts Center
The UTC Arena
The Lupton Library
The University Bookstore
The rooms in Holt Hall
The University Center
- Buildings with names having common, generic words -- library, center, bookstore, arena -- are not capitalized when used informally or when used as later references after the formal building name has already been used.
- Students using the Lupton Library are . . . Reference materials are found on the library's first floor.
- COURSES and SUBJECTS
- Capitalize a specific course or subject.
- Geology 101, Investigations in Earth Science
- But do not capitalize names of school or college studies, fields of study, majors, minors,curricula, or options unless they contain proper nouns when no specific course is referred to.
- He is studying geology.
The Department of English offers a specialization in creative writing.
She has a dual major in philosophy and English.
- DEPARTMENTAL and OFFICE NAMES
- Departmental and office names are capitalized when written out completely in a formal manner (i.e., the Office of . . . the Department of . . .). Words such as school, department, office, and other common, generic terms are lowercased when used alone.
- The UTC School of Engineering; thereafter, the school
The Department of Mathematics; thereafter, the department
The Individualized Education Program; thereafter, the program
The Center for Economic Education; thereafter, the center
The Office of Records; thereafter, the office or records
- Capitalize the word room when designating a particular room.
- The class meets in Room 204.
- The names of the seasons and semesters are not capitalized.
- In the fall semester . . .
- STUDENT CLASSIFICATIONS and CLASSES
- Do not capitalize the words freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate when referring to the classification of a student or to the year in which a course is taken.
- That course should be taken in the freshman year.
She is a junior in English.
- TITLES OF PERSONS
- Official titles that precede a proper name are capitalized.
- Chancellor Smith said . . .
Graphic Services Director John Doe has . . .
- Exception: General titles describing professions (author, actor, pilot, etc.) are not capitalized before a name.
- . . . according to author Jim Smith . . . replacing actor John Doe . . .
- Titles following names are not capitalized (unless they contain proper nouns).
- Dr. Smith, chancellor of UTC, said . . .
Jane Jones, UTC professor of English, said . . .
John Doe, director of university relations, said . . .
Tim Smith, director of the Department of Safety and Security, said . . .
- Titles without accompanying names are not capitalized.
- The chancellor said . . .
- SPECIAL RULES
- The initials of the University -- UTC -- are used without periods. When the full name is used, The is part of the legal name and is always capitalized.
- He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
- University is capitalized in general usage when referring specifically to UTC. If the precedes University, the is not capitalized in this case.
- The grant was given to the University in April.
- OTHER CAMPUSES
The preferred usage is the full name -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
or its initials -- UTC.
Avoid the use of hyphenated forms: UT-Chattanooga; The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; or UTK
The University of Tennessee at Martin, or UT Martin (no hyphen)
The University of Tennessee, Memphis; or UT Memphis (no hyphen)
The University of Tennessee Space Institute, or UTSI
All the campuses together are the University of Tennessee. (Note the lowercased the. Although the is part of the legal name, system policy lowercases it in all but the most formal situations.)
Also, lowercase system in UT system.Contents...
- FIGURES OR WORDS?
- In general, use figures for numbers 10 or higher, including ordinal numbers.
- eighth ninth 10th 11th
eight nine 10 11
- When several numbers appear together in context, the style of the larger number rules the style of the smaller numbers.
- 20 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds
- BEGINNING SENTENCES
- Do not begin a sentence with figures. Spell out the figures or recast the sentence to move the figures.
- Exception: It is acceptable to begin a sentence with a figure identifying a calendar year.
- 1976 was a good year for contributions.
- GRADE POINT AVERAGES
- Use figures to express GPAs to one decimal place. Add extra decimal places when accuracy is essential.
- 2.0 . . . 3.5 . . . 3.95
- IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS
- Use figures.
- Channel 12 . . . Highway 35 . . . Henry VIII . . . Apollo 12
- For amounts of $1 million or more, use the $ sign and numerals for up to two decimal places. Don't use a hyphen between the figure and the word.
- worth $4.35 million
over $1 million
- For amounts under $1 million:
- one dollar . . . $10 . . . $100 . . . $1,000 . . . $100,000
- For amounts under $1, use numerals and the word cents. Use the $ sign and decimals for larger amounts.
- five cents . . . 12 cents . . . $1.12
- PAGES and DIVISIONS
- Use figures.
- page 10 . . . part 4 . . . exercise 2 . . . chapter 12
- PERCENTAGES and DECIMALS
- Use figures for decimal fractions and percentages (including academic grades). Use the word percent in general copy. Reserve the percent symbol (%) for use in scientific or statistical copy.
- about 3 percent voted . . . 3.8 and 95 are equivalent grades
- Use figures with A.M and P.M. Ciphers are optional, but their use should be consistent throughout.
- 11 A.M. . . . 4:00 P.M.
- Use words with o'clock under 10, figures over 10.
- four o'clock . . . 12 o'clock
- Hyphenate the following when used as compound modifiers: full time, part time, on campus, off campus.
- The part-time faculty . . .on-campus housing
- Hyphenate a cardinal numeral used with a unit of measurement if the compound precedes a noun.
- three-mile limit . . . 100-yard dash . . . 10-meter band . . . four-year-old boy
- ADJECTIVE FORMS
- The dictionary should be the first source for whether words formed with the prefixes listed below are spelled solid or with hyphens. Lacking dictionary ruling, words formed with this list of prefixes are to be spelled solid when used as adjectives.
- pre-, post-
re-, un-, non-, semi-
pseudo-, supra-, co-
Exceptions: 1) Second element capitalized or a figure, un-American, pre-1914; 2) To distinguish homonyms, re-cover, re-create; 3) Second element more than one word, pre-Civil War.Contents...
ACADEMIC DEGREESWhen a name is followed by a degree abbreviation, set the abbreviation off with commas.
- John Smith, Ph.D., has been selected . . .
- Do not use commas to set off the year when the month but not the day is used.
- It was in April 1982 that . . .
It was on April 1, 1982, that . . .
- Use a comma with most figures higher than 999. Don't use commas in street address numbers, broadcast frequencies, room numbers, serial numbers, telephone numbers, years, and temperatures.
- Use a comma before the words and or or in a series.
- She studied German, French, and Spanish.br not
She studied German, French and Spanish.
- Exceptions: Company and firm names that are written without commas.
- SPECIAL ABBREVIATIONS
- Unless sentence structure calls for them, do not use commas before or after these: Jr.; Sr.; Inc.; or II, III, etc.
- John Smith Jr. is the chair of . . .
We asked John Smith II about the . . .
He works for Smith Inc. in . . .
- Avoid sexist words and terms. Do not avoid them, however, at the expense of correct grammar. Most sexist language problems -- especially "he or she" constructions -- can be eliminated by careful writing.
- ALTERNATIVE NONSEXIST WORDS
- Use words that refer to both sexes in lieu of "single sex" words and terms. The National Council of Teachers of English recommends the following alternatives:
- chairman -- use chair, chairperson
common man -- use average person, ordinary people
mailman -- use mail carrier
man-made -- use synthetic, manufactured, crafted, machine-made
mankind -- use humanity, human beings, people
policeman -- use police officer
- Many individuals at UTC have numerous professional and honorary titles that can be used with their names. Avoid excessive repetition of these titles. Upon first reference to a person's name use whatever titles seem appropriate to identify the person for the reader.
- Thereafter, use a single academic or professional title (Dr., Prof., Director, etc.) and the last name or simply the last name only.
- Dr. John Smith (first ref.), dean of the UTC School of Business, was recently honored by the National Association of Business Educators. Dr. Smith (second ref.), who was named business dean in 1975, was cited . . .
Prof. Jane Doe, director of research, was recently honored for her work in . . . . Doe has been associated with the University since . . .
- Mr. Miss Mrs. Ms.
- Avoid the use of these nonacademic titles. Use either a professional or academic title or the last name only.
- The abbreviations Prof. and Profs. can be used before the first name or initials.
- Prof. J. C. Doe
Profs. John Doe and Jane Smith
- But spell out the titles when used with the surname alone or with additional terms of rank.
- Professor Doe
Professors Doe and Smith
Assistant Professor Smith
- HEAD vs. CHAIR
- Heads of academic departments at UTC are to be referred to as department heads, not as chair, chairman, etc.
- ITALICIZE (UNDERLINE) THESE
- Titles of separate publications -- books, periodicals, newspapers, bulletins, long musical works (operas, oratorios, motets, etc.)
Titles of computer software
Titles of plays
Collections of poetry, long poems
Titles of motion pictures
Names of ships, trains, aircraft, spacecraft
Works of art including paintings, drawings, and sculpture
Legal citations, but el al., ex parte, v.within the citation are not italicized.
- PUT THESE IN QUOTATION MARKS
- Minor titles -- short stories, essays, short poems, songs, articles from periodicals, and subdivisions of books
Titles of television and radio shows
adviser not advisor.
awhile Spell solid when not preceded by for . . .stay awhile, but stay for a while.
benefit, benefited, benefiting not benefitted, benefitting.
chair holder Spell open, two words.
chair of excellence Lowercase shortened and incomplete forms chair of excellence in the humanities, humanities chair, Suntrust Bank chair. Cap when the complete name is used, the Burkett Miller Chair of Excellence in Management and Technology.
Chancellor's Roundtable, the roundtable. . .
Coach, head coach Capitalize coach when used directly before the name; lowercase when used with a qualifying term. . . .said Coach Jones. . .said head coach Jones. . .
ensure, insure Use ensure to mean guarantee; insure for references to insurance.
farther, further Use farther for distance; further for time or quantity.
50 Plus, 50 Plus Club Use figure and word, not 50+ or Fifty Plus.
Founders' Day, but Founders Hall
fund raising, fund-raising, fund-raiser Use fund raising and fund-raiser as nouns. Fund-raising is the adjective form.
Homecoming Capitalize UTC Homecoming. Lowercase homecoming in general use.
ID Caps, no periods.
kickoff, noun; kick off, verb, spelled open.
noncredit not non-credit.
president-elect Use hyphen.
state of Lowercase state of constructions, state of Tennessee.
telethon, phone-a-thon, bike-a-thon, walk-a-thon
total, totaled, totaling not totalled, totalling.
UT system Lowercase system.
HIT WORDSThe following are on the editors' "hit" list of words not to be used in University publications.
And/or Bureaucratic jargon, choose one word or the other.
Contact Use phone, write, or call.
Hopefully Not accepted by usage authorities when used to mean it is to be hoped or let us hope. Take responsibility: I hoped, we hope.
Impact, impacted To describe things bumping together, yes, but not to mean effect.
Loan as a verb. The verb is lend, lent.
Offputting, ongoing Let's offput these words and ongo to others.
Utilize Bureaucratic form of use, use use.