The public affairs office has assembled this style guide to provide guidelines for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage in materials produced by Westmont and on the college's Web site. We have followed most closely The Associated Press Style Book and Briefing on Media Law 2001, with additional citations from the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition. For questions on the spelling or usage of words not found in this style guide or in the references previously mentioned, consult
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition.
Other useful online guides:
Elements of Style by William Strunk
The Columbia Guide to Standard American English
Use a before words that begin with consonant sounds; use an before vowel sounds: an eight-year average,
an M.B.A., a historic event.
Use only the most universal abbreviations: FBI, CIA, NATO.
Use periods with academic degrees: B.A., B.S., Ed.D., M.A., M.A.T., M.S., Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., M.B.A., M.P.A.
Do not capitalize academic degrees when spelled out in general terms: bachelor's degree, master of arts or master's degree, doctorate, bachelor of arts, juris doctor.
Faculty credentials in lists:
- Ph.D. 1966 Princeton University. M.A. 1962 Reed College.
- Ph.D. 1979, M.A. 1972 Stanford University.
- J.D. 1975 Harvard Law School.
Note: Use professor when referring to faculty. Reserve Dr. for medical doctors only.
Do not capitalize names of academic departments (except language departments) that begin with the subject: chemistry department, English department. See also academic majors, academic programs.
Lowercase academic majors except proper nouns: history, East Asian studies, English, international affairs.
Capitalize program names: Language and Literacy Program, East Asian Studies.
See abbreviations and/or names of business entities.
Adams Center for the Visual Arts
Named for Stephen and Denise Adams, who donated $10 million toward its construction. Denise is a former Westmont trustee and a member of the Westmont Art Council.
Use periods with compass directions: S.W., N.E., W., E.
Spell out names of numbered streets through nine; use numerals for 10 and greater: Fifth, Ninth, 10th, 52nd, 108th.
Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. when used in conjunction with the numbers in an address, i.e. 429 Lombard St.
African American (n.); African-American (adj.)
alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus
- alumna - singular, female
- alumnae - plural, women only
- alumni - plural, men only or men and women
- alumnus - singular, male
- alum-singular, male or female; appropriate in informal contexts
- For alumni class identification, see class identification.
Always use figures. If ages are expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun, use hyphens. The child is 2 years old. He just turned 15. She's a 3-year-old child.
all right (adv.)
Not AM or A.M.
See ensure, insure, assure.
Use to indicate footnoted material.
Asterisks (as with all footnote symbols) follow punctuation marks and go inside parentheses.
- Abbott Tennis Courts
- Russell Carr Athletic Field
- Peg Lovik Nicholas Memorial Field
- Hugh R. Murchison Physical Education Complex
Named for Everett and Eleanor Armington, who made a number of contributions to the college, including the college's first $1 million gift, which helped fund construction of the residence halls that bear their name.
Art Center and Reynolds Gallery
Once part of the historic Deane School for Boys property, the Art Center was renovated and established in 1986 and houses Reynolds Gallery.
bar (the legal entity)
Avoid Bar except when used as part of a proper name.
He was admitted to the bar last spring. She is president of the Oregon State Bar.
Baker, Stephen C., vice president for advancement
Sits above Clark Halls and was originally a carriage house. Houses the psychology department.
benefit, benefited, benefiting
board of trustees
Capitalize when referring to Westmont's Board of Trustees; lowercase elsewhere. Use board on second reference.
- Adams Center for the Visual Arts
- Art Center and Reynolds Gallery
- Bauder Hall
- George E. Carroll Observatory
- Deborah Clark Halls
- College Store
- Deane Chapel
- Deane Hall
- Emerson Hall Ruth
- Health Center
- Ruth Hubbard Memorial Music Building
- Kerr Memorial Student Center
- Kerrwood Hall
- Mathematics Building
- John Page Hall
- Physics Building
- Physical Plant and Central Receiving
- Ellen Porter Hall of Fine Arts
- William Porter Center
- Post OfficeReynolds Hall
- Van Kampen Hall
- Nancy Voskuyl Prayer Chapel
- Roger John Voskuyl Library
- David K. Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics
- Mericos H. Whittier Science Hall
Room numbering style -- The name of the hall is followed by the room number: Porter Theatre 4, VL 203, and so on.
Call, Chris - vice president for administration
cancel, cancelable, canceled, canceling, cancellation
Capitalize proper nouns:
- Westmont Board of Trustees
- Westmont Foundation
- Hieronymus Lounge
Lowercase common nouns:
- the board
- the graduate school
- the institute
- the law school
- the college, this college, collegewide
Cap prepositions or conjunctions of four or more letters in headlines or titles:
- Secrets From the Center of the World
When a generic term is used in the plural after more than one proper name, the term should be
lowercased; it should be capitalized before more than one proper name:
- the Pacific and Atlantic oceans
- Harvard and Princeton universities
- Santa Barbara and Ventura counties
See also titles of people.
George E. Carroll Observatory
Built in 1957, features a 16-inch reflecting telescope, a classroom and office space.
Use numerals: 18th century, 19th century.
Hyphenate as an adjective: 20th-century poetry.
Use instead of chairman or chairwoman. Exception: Use chairman of the board if this title is used by a corporation.
Do not use state designations with these U.S. cities:
cities and towns:
These foreign locations stand alone:
Salt Lake City
Deborah Clark Halls
class identification (by graduation year)
- John Smith '71 (college)
- Jane Smith M.Ed. '75, special education (graduate school)
- John Smith '71, M.A.T. '75 (two degrees)
- Jane Smith J.D. '83 (law school)
class year/standing (for college)
first-year student, sophomore, junior, senior.
In general, hyphenate: co-author, co-director, co-pastor.
Use the full name of colleges and universities:
- Bard College
- Harvard University
- Reed College
- State University of New York at Buffalo
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of Oregon
- Willamette University
However, when referring to Westmont, use Westmont College on first reference and "Westmont" on second reference.
Capitalize college only when it is part of the whole name (Westmont College); lowercase elsewhere: a college like Westmont, this college, the college.
College Store - Often referred to as the bookstore, but the official name is Westmont College Store.
Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue. Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series, however, if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.
See names of business entities.
Include notice of copyright in book-length items. In some instances, the long version of the notice may be appropriate for additional clarity (e.g., in Web documents):
- Short version: © 2002 Westmont College
- Long version: Copyright © 2002 Westmont College
When used in the sense of two people, the word takes plural verbs and pronouns: The couple were married and are leaving tomorrow on their honeymoon. In the sense of a single unit, use a singular verb: Each couple was asked to give $10.
courses (titles of)
Use caps and lowercase with course titles. Do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks.
Cronk, Ronald, vice president for finance.
cum laude (at Westmont, 3.30), magna cum laude (3.70), summa cum laude (3.85)
See degrees with distinction.
WARNING: Dashes may not appear correctly online.
em dash --
Use to indicate an abrupt change in thought, or where a period is too strong and a comma is too weak. Put a space on each side of a dash.
en dash -
Use to indicate duration: October-December; 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Also use in a compound adjective in which one of the elements is two words or a hyphenated word: San Francisco-Chicago flight; pre-Vietnam War period; quasi-public-quasi-judicial body.
Use commas to set off the year when using full dates:
- She was born on Sept. 15, 1985, in Los Angeles.
Do not use commas when using only month and year constructions:
- Planning began in September 1985.
Do not use 1st, 2nd, etc., with dates:
- July 21, April 2, etc. (not July 21st, April 2nd, etc.)
Use the year if not the current calendar year:
- The carnival was in May 1998: John and Joan Jones had a baby in December 1997; the Smiths had a baby in January.
Periods of years:
- He worked from 1949 to 1961.
- He worked in 1949-50 (if academic year).
- He worked in the 1950s (if a decade); avoid '50s.
See also months.
Another building that was originally part of the historic Deane School for Boys. Houses the Weller Organ and serves as a classroom, rehearsal hall and concert hall for small chamber groups and faculty and student musicians.
Part of the historic Deane School for Boys property, houses the departments of history, sociology, economics and business, communication studies and political science.
decision making (n.), decision-making (adj.)
See academic degrees.
degrees with distinction
(cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude). Do not capitalize or use italics.
See academic departments.
directions and regions
Consult The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual for guidance.
Reserve for medical doctors only.
Use a dollar sign followed by a numeral. Do not use .00 with dollar values:
$250 (not $250.00), $12,300, $5.3 million
Avoid; use residence hall.
Westmont's residence halls are: Deborah Clark Halls (17 buildings), Emerson Hall, Van Kampen Hall, John Page Hall and Armington Halls (four separate wings). Page is a first-year hall, and Clark typically houses first-year students and sophomores. Armington is home to sophomores and juniors. Van Kampen is typically a senior hall.
exempli gratia, for example
This abbreviation should be used only in parenthetical phrases, where it is punctuated with periods and set off with commas:
The college offers several majors (e.g., biology, economics, Hispanic studies).
Do not use etc. at the end of a phrase beginning with e.g.
emeritus faculty titles
- professor emeritus of English (male)
- professor emerita of history (female)
Built in 1984 and initially called New Residence Hall, Emerson Hall sits on the highest point of campus and commands a stunning view of the ocean. The hall, which houses 104 students, was renamed in 2002 in honor of Wallace Emerson, the college's first president.
(Use initial capitals for named chairs whether the name of the holder is attached, before or after the holder's name, or using the full or abbreviated form. )
Westmont endowed chairs include the Robert H. Gundry Chair of Biblical Studies, held by religious studies Professor Tremper Longman III, and the Kathleen Smith Chair of Religious Studies.
ensure, insure, assure
Use ensure to mean guarantee or make certain. Steps were taken to ensure the document's accuracy.
Use insure for references to the characteristics of insurance: The policy will insure your home.
Use assure to give confidence or to inform positively: She assured him that the decision was a wise one.
Abbreviate in We-Mail when referring to a phone number; otherwise spell out: For more information, call Jena at ext. 222.
Treat similarly as couple: The faculty usually attend these events.
They will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Avoid freshman or freshmen.
See class year/standing.
fund-raiser (n.), fund-raising (adj., n.)
Gaede, Stan D., president of Westmont since July 1, 2001.
Gaede, Judy, wife of Stan D. Gaede.
Do not capitalize
Hyphenated. Use GPA on second reference.
Use letter grade with no quotation marks: She received an A in the course. There is a W on her transcript. He earned three Bs and two Cs.
Health and Counseling Center
high school (n., adj.)
Hieronymus Lounge, in Kerrwood Hall, the historic administration building on campus.
Higa, Jane Hideko, vice president and dean of students.
the "front" page of a particular Web site
See degrees with distinction.
Ruth Hubbard Memorial Music Building - a practice hall for students; also houses music faculty offices.
id est; that is
Used for listing the specific case(s) referred to in the preceding material. Should be punctuated with periods and set off with commas: Please state your response (i.e., yes or no).
Do not separate with a space: J.C. Penney Corp., Professor R.J. Fortuna.
Institute for the Liberal Arts
Established at Westmont in 2000, focuses on the study of the liberal arts in American higher education.
See ensure, insure, assure.
It's is an abbreviation for it is. Its is a possessive pronoun. Before using it's, make sure you can substitute "it is" in the sentence.
junior (Jr.), senior (Sr.)
kickoff (n.), kick-off (adj.), kick off (v.)
Westmont's student-run radio station
- Lay means "to put" or "to place." It requires an object to complete its meaning. Principal forms are: lay, laid, laid, laying.
Please lay the boxes there. I laid the message on the table.
- Lie means "to recline, rest, or stay" or "to take a position of rest." It refers to a person or thing as either
assuming or being in a reclining position. This verb cannot take an object. Principal forms are lie, lay, lain,
lying. He's been ill and lies in bed all day. The mail is lying on the secretary's desk.
Hint: In deciding whether to use lie or lay in a sentence, substitute the word place, placed, or placing (as
appropriate) for the word in question. If the substitute fits, the corresponding form of lay is correct; if it
doesn't, use the appropriate form of lie.
If the first of two consecutive modifiers ends in -ly, do not separate with a hyphen: It's a newly created program.
Luy, Joyce - director of admissions
Macintosh: the computer made by the Apple company, not the fruit.
MacIntosh: the fruit, not the computer made by the Apple company.
See academic majors.
Mathematics Building - Between Voskuyl Library and Whittier Science Hall, it houses the mathematics department.
mid - to late (month)
The report will arrive in mid- to late November.
See dollar amounts.
Capitalize the name of months in all uses. When a month is used with a date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
Westmont provost and professor of history. She is the top academic officer of the college, responsible for the curriculum, faculty, student life and admissions. She reports to the president and is a member of the President' s Staff.
Hugh R. Murchison Physical Education Complex
Also called Murchison Gym. Named for Hugh and Pauline Murchison. Hugh Murchison was a trustee of the college. He and his wife gave $800,000 toward construction of the complex, which was completed in 1969.
musical ensembles (at Westmont)
- Chamber Singers
- College Choir
- Jazz Bands - including the Day Band, Six O'Clock Combo, Eight O'Clock Combo, Westmont College Big Band
- Westmont OrchestraWind Ensemble
- Vox Lumina - the women's chorus
names of business entities
Consult the company or Standard & Poor's Registry of Corporations if in doubt about a formal name. Do not, however, use a comma before Inc. or Ltd. Generally follow the spelling and capitalization preferred by the company: eBay, iMac. But capitalize the first letter if it begins a sentence.
names of people
In first reference, use the individual's full name. Leave out middle initial unless they prefer to use it, or if it is used in a formal context. In subsequent sentences, use last names only:
- First reference: Donald Balmer. Second reference: Balmer
- First reference: Jennifer Johnson. Second reference: Johnson
- First reference: Harvey Schmidt Jr. Second reference: Schmidt
Do not set off Jr. or Sr. following a name with commas:
- I saw Robert B. Pamplin Sr. at the event.
Enclose nicknames in quotation marks.
Note: Nicknames generally should be avoided.
Westmont College does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, age, veteran status, national or ethnic origin, or disability in its admissions policies or in the administration of its athletic and other college-administered programs and activities.
It usually means no single one. When used in this sense, it always takes singular verbs and pronouns: None of the seats was in its right place. Use a plural verb only if the sense is no two or no amount: None of the consultants agree on the same approach. None of the taxes have been paid.
Non-profit (n., adj.)
Spell out zero through nine; use numerals for 10 and greater. Use a comma with numerals of 1,000 and above (except dates): 5,000, 42,000.
Use numerals when referring to academic credit: The student earned 2.5 hours of credit.
Use numerals when referring to a page number: The passage begins on page 5.
See also percentages.
Off-Campus Programs Office
John Page Hall
One word. It takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows and of construction: The teacher said 60 percent was a failing grade. He said 50 percent of the membership was there.
Use figures: 1 percent, 25 percent. Repeat percent with each individual figure. He said it was from 10 percent to 30 percent complete.
Physical Plant and Central Receiving
Not PM or P.M.
Ellen Porter Hall of Fine Arts
William Porter Center
In general, use a hyphen if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel: pre-election, pre-empt. Otherwise, pre-approved, pre-set, pre-dental, pre-law, pre-med, pre-vet.
See academic programs.
The vice presidents and the provost who serve the president.
Lowercase the names of seasons:
- fall, winter, spring, summer
- fall semester, spring semester
- winter 1996
senior (Sr.), junior (Jr.)
senior citizens (usually those over age 65)
Avoid seniors, which may cause confusion with fourth-year students in some contexts.
- Avoid words that are commonly perceived as sexist:
Chairman/chairwoman (preferred: chair)
- Avoid substituting person for man:
Chair (not chairperson)
News anchor (not anchorperson)
- Avoid awkward constructions using he/she, his/her, s/he.
If this construction cannot be avoided, use he or she.
Capitalize in all references to the government program.
His Social Security number is 555-00-3333.
Software terms (languages, programs, systems, packages) are set in full capitals if they are acronyms;
otherwise, they are spelled according to their trade or market names:
Use one space after periods, commas, or colons when typing text.
See the faculty entry for rules on when to consider plural or singular.
Follow AP style: Abbreviate all state names with the exception of Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah; use postal abbreviations only in full addresses. Set off states or countries with commas:
- Fresno, Calif.,
- Washington, D.C.,
- Seoul, Korea,
Some major cities do not require state or country identification; see also cities.
That is used to introduce an "essential" clause and which is used before a "non-essential" clause. The difference between the two is that the essential clause cannot be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence. Also, an essential clause must not be set off from the rest of the sentence by commas, while a clause beginning with which should be set off with commas: This is a course that is both informative and enjoyable. His first book, which is titled Plato Revisited, is riveting.
Unless you're referring to a specific theater name: Porter Theatre, Granada Theatre, Lobero Theatre.
time of day
Use a colon to separate hour from minutes. The colon and minutes are not necessary for even-hour times: 11 a.m. (not 11:00 or 11:00 a.m.), but 3:30 p.m. 5:30-8:30 p.m. (in listings), from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (in text), noon, midnight (not 12 noon or 12 midnight, or 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.)
When spelled out, designations of time zones are uppercased. Abbreviations are capitalized:
- Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
- Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
titles of people
Capitalize formal titles before a name or names:
- President Stan D. Gaede
- Provost Shirley Mullen
- Associate Professor Heather Speirs
Lowercase formal titles after a name or names:
- David Winter, chancellor
- Tony Askew, professor of art
- Stephen C. Baker, vice president for advancement
Lowercase titles standing alone:
- the president
- the provost
- the chair
Civil, religious, medical, and military titles:
- Rev. Paul Wright
- Dr. Henry Gage (denotes medical doctor)
- Lt. Gen. George Smith
- U.S. Rep. Lois Capps
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein
For additional guidance, see the AP Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
titles of works
Based on AP guidelines (Note: these are different from academic style)
For book titles, computer game titles (but not software titles), movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television and radio program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.
- Capitalize the principle words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
- Capitalize an article - the, a, an - or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first of last word in a title.
- Put quotation marks around the name of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications.
- Translate a foreign title into English unless the work is known to the American public by its foreign name.
Do not use italics, underlining, or quotation marks (but use appropriate capitalization) with:
total, totaled, totaling
A reasonable effort should be made to capitalize trademarked names.
- Coca-Cola (but cola drink)
- Pyrex dishes
United States (n.); U.S. (adj.)
Van Kampen Hall
Spell out in running text; may be abbreviated (vs.) in charts or other graphics where space is at a premium. In legal cases: Martin v. Martin.
Visa (credit card)
President Emeritus Roger Voskuyl
Nancy Voskuyl Prayer Chapel
Roger John Voskuyl Library
See that, which.
Mericos H. Whittier Science Hall
Dr. David K. Winter, president of Westmont from 1976 until 2001.
David K. Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics
Helene Winter Gallery (in Winter Hall)
World Wide Web
In Web site addresses (URLs), avoid http://.