- Apostrophes and Commas
Use to show omitted figures.
The class of '62
Do not use apostrophes with plurals of numerals or multiple-letter combinations.
Adding 's to a singular noun indicates possession.
The boy’s shoes
The bird’s nest
Adding 's to a plural noun indicates possession.
The men’s section
The women’s group
If a plural noun ends in s, only the apostrophe is needed to show possession.
The boys’ shoes
The birds’ nest
Three dollars’ worth
Adding ’s to proper names is done even if the name ends in s.
Exceptions: ancient names -- Jesus', Moses', Ramesses', Xerxes', etc.
When a name is followed by a degree abbreviation, set the abbreviation off with commas.
John Smith, Ph.D., has been selected...
Use commas only when the specific date is included.
Don’t use commas in month/year references.
Classes began in April 1982.
The first day of class was April 2, 1982.
Abbreviate the names of the following months when they include a specific date:
January, February, August, September, October, November
Jan. 1, 2019
Aug. 31, 2018
Don’t abbreviate the names of those months when they don’t include a specific day/date:
February is national Black History Month.
Classes resume in August 2019.
October 2018 is the last time Halloween was on the calendar.
Plans are being made for Armistice Day in November.
Fall commencement is in December 2019.
Never abbreviate the names of these months:
March, April, May, June, July
Use a comma in figures of 1,000 and higher to help differentiate from references to years.
Enrollment topped 2,000 for the first time since the year 2000.
Don't use commas in street address numbers, room numbers, serial numbers, telephone numbers, years and temperatures.
Don’t use a comma before the word “and” at the end of a series.
She studied German, French and Spanish.
Exceptions: Company and corporate names written without commas.
Unless sentence structure requires it, don’t 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...
Example of sentence structure requiring comma:
John Smith Jr., first in his family to graduate from UTC, now lives in Chattanooga.
Academic degrees are not capitalized when spelled out.
A bachelor of arts in English
A master's degree in psychology
A doctorate in chemistry
Building Names and Names of Structures
Proper names of buildings, thoroughfares and monuments are capitalized:
the White House; the Capitol (when referring to the U.S. Capitol or state Capitol buildings)
The Patten House
The Lupton Library
The University Center
The Washington Monument
On second reference to a named building, for example the Lupton Library, by the shorthand “library,” don’t capitalize.
Students using the Lupton Library will find reference materials on the library's first floor.
People were outside the UTC Arena at 5 a.m. Friday waiting to get inside the arena when it opened.
Don’t capitalize references to buildings using common, generic terms, such as library, bookstore, arena.
He had never been to the new library.
College Names within the University
Uppercase College when used as part of the proper name of a college; lowercase otherwise.
Joe was accepted into the UTC College of Arts and Sciences. Academic advisers help students choose appropriate college courses.
Titles following names are not capitalized (unless they contain proper nouns).
Verbie Prevost, UTC professor of English, said . . .
Tim Smith, head of the Department of Safety and Security, said . . .
Titles without accompanying names are not capitalized.
The chancellor said . . .
Federal, State Lowercase: The program is awaiting state and federal funding.
Governor: Lowercase at the beginning of a sentence and spelled out when not a reference to a governor by name:
The governor will not redo the bill.
Capitalize and abbreviate in reference to a governor by name:
Gov. Bill Lee will not redo the bill.
Capitalize, periods on G.I., no space; capitalize Bill.
Capitalize in reference to a specific, named campus event:
UT Chattanooga Homecoming 2018.
Lowercase in general use:
Anne looked forward to the family’s homecoming.
POLITICAL PARTIES, PHILOSOPHIES
Names of national and international political organizations, movements, and alliances and of members of political parties are capitalized, but not the words political party, movement and platform.
Capitalize the word room when designating a particular room.
The class meets in Room 204.
SEASONS OF THE YEAR, SEMESTERS, HOLIDAYS
The four seasons are not capitalized.
Semesters are not capitalized: fall semester, spring break, summer session.
Religious holidays are capitalized, as are most secular holidays.
Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Day, Labor Day
STUDENT CLASSIFICATIONS AND CLASSES
Don’t capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate.
That course should be taken in the freshman year.
She is a junior from Collegedale.
TITLES OF PERSONS
The title of a position is capitalized when it precedes the name of the person who holds the position. Titles are not capitalized when they follow names.
Chancellor Steve Angle came to UTC in 2013.
In 2013, Steve Angle was appointed chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Creative Services Director Stephen Rumbaugh moved to Chattanooga in 2017.
Stephen Rumbaugh is creative services director.
Exception: General titles describing professions (author, actor, pilot, artist, etc.) are not capitalized before a name.
...according to author Shawn Ryan...
Introducing actor Dennis Haskins...
Course and Subjects
Capitalize a specific course or subject:
Geology 101, Investigations in Earth Science
Don’t 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 referenced.
He is studying geology.
She is majoring in engineering.
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 (the Office of..., the Department of...). Words such as school, department, office and other common, generic terms are not capitalized when used alone.
The UTC School of Rock; thereafter, the school
The Department of Mathematics; thereafter, the mathematics department; or the math department; or the department
The Individualized Education Program; thereafter, the program
The Center for Economic Education; thereafter, the center
The Office of Records; thereafter, the records office
Elected Officials and Governing Bodies
Senate, Congress: Governing bodies are always capitalized:
Most Senate incumbents are in favor of the change.
Capitalize when used as the proper name:
U.S. Senate; U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. Congress.
Capitalize and abbreviate in reference to a member and his or her title:
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Do not refer to members as, nor use as titles, “Congressman” or “Congresswoman.”
Tennessee General Assembly: Capitalize, but don’t capitalize the informal name, Tennessee legislature.
Capitalize the proper names of the two legislative bodies:
Tennessee Senate; Tennessee House.
Capitalize and abbreviate a member’s title in reference to a specific individual, but otherwise lowercase:
We met state Sen. Todd Gardenhire. We met the newly elected state senator.
- Hyphenation and Numbers
Hyphenate the following when used as adjectival phrases: 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 (as an adjectival phrase).
three-mile limit … 100-yard dash … 10-meter band … four-year-old boy
The dictionary is the first source for whether words formed with the prefixes listed below are spelled as single words or with hyphens. Lacking dictionary guidance, words formed with this list of prefixes are to be spelled as single words when used as adjectives.
re-, un-, non-, semi-
pseudo-, supra-, co-
- Second element capitalized or a figure, un-American, pre-1914;
- To distinguish homonyms, which have a different meaning than their non-hyphenated counterparts, re-cover, re-create;
- Second element more than one word, pre-Civil War.
Hyphenate words in phrases used as adjectives before a noun.
The proposal was a last-ditch effort at compromise. The candidate produced a mile-long list of ideas. one-time bonus; 100-yard dash; one-foot margin; full-time employee; 30-day pay period; eight-week session.
PAGES and DIVISIONS
PERCENTS and DECIMALS
Use figures for decimal fractions and percentages including academic grades.
Use and spell out the word “percent” in general copy and not the percent sign.
Use the percent sign (%) may be used in general, statistical and scientific copy.
about 3% voted
3.8 and 95 are equivalent grades
Use figures: 865-555-1500.
Use hyphens only. No parentheses and no periods.
For toll-free numbers: 800-111-1000.
If extension numbers are needed, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension:
865-555-1500, ext. 2.
Use figures with a.m. and p.m. and lowercase a.m. and p.m.
Don’t use a colon followed by zeroes.
Add a colon followed by two digits only when those digits are not both zeroes.
Use words with o'clock under 10, figures for 10 and over.
four o'clock … 12 o'clock
It’s not necessary to include “12” and never add a.m. or p.m. to midnight or noon. Always write only noon or midnight for 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.
The store closed at noon…
By midnight, the storm had stopped…
References to years are the only four-digit numerals without commas.
All other figures of four or more digits include commas as appropriate.
She hiked 2,001 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 2001.
Don’t begin a sentence with figures. Spell out the figures or recast the sentence to avoid beginning it with figures.
Exception: Sentences can be started with a figure identifying a calendar year.
1976 was a good year for contributions.
No apostrophe: 1920s, 1980s, mid-1970s
Spell out thirties, forties, fifties, sixties
GRADE POINT AVERAGES
Use figures to express GPAs to one decimal place.
Add extra decimal places when specificity is essential.
Channel 12 … Highway 65 … Henry VIII … Apollo 12
For amounts of $1 million or more, use the $ sign and numerals for up to two decimal places.
worth $4.35 million
more than $1 million
For amounts less than $1 million:
one dollar … $10 … $100 … $1,000 … $100,000
For amounts less than $1, use numerals and the word cents. Use the $ sign and decimals for larger amounts.
five cents … 2 cents … $1.12
Don't use a hyphen between the figure and the word, unless in an adjectival phrase as shown below.
For whole dollar amounts (without cents), don’t use decimals or zeroes.
$1 … $20 … $167
Generally, the same guideline applies as in words and numerals. Use words to refer to ordinal numbers first through ninth, and numeral versions of ordinal numbers 10th and above.
He graduated first in his class, while his twin brother graduated 20th. All of the children in fifth grade were mentored by students in 10th grade.
Expressed as a number, age is always written in figures.
If the age is used as an adjective or as a substitute for a noun, it should be hyphenated. Don’t use apostrophes when describing an age range.
A 21-year-old student. The student is 21 years old. The girl, 8, has a brother, 11. The contest is for 18-year-olds.
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
Always use figures in numbered addresses.
Abbreviate Ave., Blvd. and St. and directional cues when used with a numbered address.
Always spell out other words such as alley, drive and road.
If the street name or directional cue is used without a numbered address, it should be capitalized and spelled out.
If a street name is a number, spell out First through Ninth and use figures for 10th and higher.
Examples of correctly formatted addresses:
The office is on North Grant Street; the office is at 101 N. Grant St. Northwestern Avenue goes to the city limits; he lives just outside the city limits at 10101 Northwestern Ave. South Ninth Street is closed for repairs; you can walk past the construction site to reach the apartment building at 10 S. Ninth St. The fraternity house is at 102 S. 10th St.; fraternity houses run the length of South 10th Street. He just moved to 605 Woodside Drive; Woodside Drive is at the top of the mountain.
FIGURES OR WORDS?
In general, use figures for numbers 10 or higher, including ordinal numbers.
eighth ninth 10th 11th eight nine 10 11
Spelling, hyphenation and usage rules for some common terms
child care (two words) classwork: one word; coursework, one word daytime; nighttime decision-making process; the process of decision making email (no hyphen) fundraiser; fundraising (no hyphen) 15-week semester grade-point average healthcare (one word) lifelong (adjective)
(daylong; monthlong; weeklong; yearlong) life span (noun); life-span (adjective) long-range (adjective) long-term (adjective) longtime (adjective) multicampus on-site (hyphenate as adjective or adverb) startup student-athlete tax-deductible turfgrass "ultra" don’t hyphenate: ultrafine, ultraviolet "under" don’t hyphenate: underline, underfunded up-to-date Vice President no hyphen, and capitalized only preceding name website one word workforce, workplace, workstation; but work site is two words X-ray hyphen
Nonprofit is one word.
OFF CAMPUS, ON CAMPUS
As adverb, no hyphens; as adjective, hyphens.
The students rented an apartment off campus for the summer. On-campus space is unavailable.
non-credit nondegree-seeking student non-discrimination non-preregistered non-student non-University
Any like words can be spelled without hyphenating.
Childlike; lifelike; birdlike.
Self words should be hyphenated.
Self-employed; self-serving; self-sufficient
Use a hyphen with all proper nouns and wide:
Don’t hyphenate other wide words: statewide, nationwide, countywide.
Multi words are not hyphenated unless such spelling makes for awkward reading.
Multimedia; multifaceted; multipurpose Multi-talented; multi-generational
When a number and unit of measurement are used adjectivally, they are hyphenated
12-inch ruler; 19th-century painter.
Don’t hyphenate compounds with words ending in ly:
Highly regarded leader; ridiculously long half-time show; beautifully decorated office; quickly drawn character.
Hyphenate half compounds
Robert was only half-awake during the lecture. Mike refused to consider the half-baked Halfhearted and halfway are spelled without hyphenating.
- Referring to the University
On first reference:
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
On second reference:
or, the University
(capitalization to distinguish from generic “university”)
Don’t use hyphenated forms such as:
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
“The” is not part of the proper name of the institution and, therefore, is not capitalized when preceding the proper name unless at the beginning of a sentence.
Classes have begun at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga…
OTHER UT ENTITIES
University of Tennessee, Knoxville; or UT Knoxville (no hyphen and no UTK)
University of Tennessee at Martin, or UT Martin (no hyphen)
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, or UTHSC (no hyphen and no Memphis)
University of Tennessee Space Institute, or UTSI
University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, or UTIA
University of Tennessee Extension, or UT Extension
University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service, or IPS
All of the campuses and institutes together are the University of Tennessee.
Differentiating between “UT System Administration” and “UT System.”
UT System Administration:
[proper name] The administrative/governing body, headed by the president and the administration and staff who support that office, for the statewide enterprise. UT System:
[general] The collective campuses, institutes, divisions, offices, properties and facilities statewide that belong to UT or the University.
- Preferred Spellings and Usage
adviser not advisor. alumni (plural); alumnus (singular/masculine) alumna (singular/feminine) alumnae (plural/feminine) All alumni agree. He is a distinguished alumnus. Famed UT Martin alumna Pat Summitt… awhile Spell as one word when not preceded by for … stay awhile, but stay for a while. and Use the word not "&" unless the symbol is an element of a proper name. benefit, benefited, benefiting not benefitted, benefitting. capital city of the governmental seat, Nashville is the state capital; financial term, the new business will require a lot of capital capitol a specific building, the state capitol is in Nashville. chair holder Two words. chair of excellence Lowercase shortened and incomplete forms chair of excellence in the humanities, humanities chair, SunTrust Bank chair. Capitalize when the complete name is used, the Burkett Miller Chair of Excellence in Management and Technology. Chancellor's Roundtable, then, the roundtable. . . Coach, head coach Capitalize coach when it precedes the name; lowercase when used with a qualifying term. . . .said Coach Jones … said head coach Jones … curriculum (singular); curricula (plural) 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.
- Freshman (singular); Freshmen (plural); The freshman class. How many freshmen are in the class?
- 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.
- healthcare two words
- Homecoming Capitalize UTC Homecoming. Lowercase homecoming in general use.
- ID Caps, no periods.
- kickoff, noun, one word; kick off, verb, two words.
- media (plural); medium (singular)
- More and Over: Over and under indicate place. Greater/more than and fewer/less than indicate degree. Use more than or fewer than to reference a numeric value.
- Fewer than 4 percent of new hires decline healthcare benefits.
- More than 5,000 graduates became donors within five years of graduation.
- Fewer than half of all freshmen live off campus.
Noncredit, one word, not non-credit. president-elect Use hyphen. principal, a school official or the most important in rank, Davy Crockett was the first Signal Mountain Elementary School principal; the principal reason for making the change… finance term, How much of the principal has been paid back on the loan? Who is listed as a principal on the company’s charter? principle a rule of action or conduct, a fundamental tenet, Self-rule is a basic principle of democracy. regardless irregardless is not a word state of Lowercase state of constructions, state of Tennessee. tenants: renters tenets: beliefs, principles telethon, one word; hyphenate phone-a-thon, bike-a-thon, walk-a-thon total, totaled, totaling not totalled, totalling. UT Board of Trustees; UT Trustees; the UT Board UT system Reference differentiation (above) between “UT System Administration” and “UT system” UTC Campus Advisory Board; Campus Advisory Board; the Board
Following are on the editors' list of words not to be used in University publications. To avoid needlessly formal or jargon words, as a general rule, if you wouldn’t use a word in conversation, don’t use it in writing.
“A number of times…” If there is a number, use it. Don’t write “a number of…” Additionally Memo jargon. Just write and or also, the way most people talk. And/or Bureaucratic jargon, choose one word or the other. Contact If a phone number is provided, write “call.” If an address is provided, use “write.” Don’t use contact when you mean call, write, email or visit. Use call, write, email or visit. Strive to list all and only what is necessary, and don’t use “etc.” which reads like an unfinished thought. 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. Loan Loan is a noun. The verb is lend, lent. Offputting, ongoing Let's offput these words and ongo to others. Publically Neither a word nor a correct spelling of “publicly” “Some 10,000 students” News media jargon/puffery. Is it some or, is it 10,000? Just say which it is. Utilize Bureaucratic/jargon word for use, use use.
Higher Ed jargon, with common language alternatives:
Facilitate: to make possible, to help bring about
Instead: "She helped the two sides get together."
"He made the program happen."
Matriculate: to enroll at a college
Instead: "She wants to enroll at a college."
Synergy/Synergies: integrated alignment
Instead: "The programs are integrated"
- Titles and Honorifics
In accordance with AP style, don’t use the following courtesy titles or other similar honorifics preceding names.
Mr., Miss, Mrs., Ms., Prof.
Also in accordance with AP style, Dr. is used on first reference only in reference to a medical doctor or person with a medical degree.
On second and subsequent reference to any person, use last name only.
(This practice established by AP for news media/general communication [non-academic publications] and intended for clarity is based on assumption by most of the general public that Dr. refers to a physician.)
John Smith, dean of the UTC College of Business, was honored by the National Association of Business Educators.
Smith was named business dean in 1975.
JoAnne Romagni, UTC vice chancellor of research and graduate studies, will lead the task force . . .
Romagni led similar efforts in California.
Dr. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General, died at the age of 96.
Koop was surgeon general from 1982 to 1989.
Never use title + honorific in this way:
UTC Chancellor Dr. Steven Angle…
UT President Dr. Joe DiPietro
UTC Chancellor Steven Angle, UT President Joe DiPietro
HEAD vs. CHAIR
Heads of academic departments at UTC are to be referred to as department heads, not as chair or chairman.
- Titles of Works and Publications
Capitalize all words except prepositions, unless the author did otherwise or the AP style manual requires otherwise. Italicize the entire title.
Anne of Green Gables
Inherit the Wind
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
Italicize titles of musical works—such as albums and Broadway shows. Use quotation marks to indicate the names of songs within those works.
Bob Dylan’s classic “Like a Rolling Stone” debuted on the Highway 61 Revisited album in 1965.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” is among its many best-known songs.
- URLs and Website Names
Preferred practice is to drop “http://”, “https://” or “www” in URL (web address) references.
Most web servers will accept URLs with or without “www” and redirect as necessary, or the “www” prefix may conflict with another subdomain (example: alumnus.tennessee.edu).
There may be exceptions in cases when the URL won’t work for certain browsers if the “www” is not inserted as part of the address.
It is recommended that the URL be tested and confirmed—including whether the use of “www” is necessary—before it is included in written communication. Treat each case as practical considerations demand.