Editorial Style Guide
With a few exceptions, Swarthmore College adheres to AP style in its communications.
a bachelor of arts, a bachelor's degree, a B.A.; a master of fine arts, a master's, an M.F.A.
(Note: The possessive pronoun — her doctorate — is not used.)
She has a bachelor (or master) of arts degree in English literature.
He is getting a master's in dance. (Note: Not "his" master's)
She has nearly completed an M.S. in mechanical engineering. (M.A., Ph.D., LL.D., etc.)
Honorary degree recipients: nonalumni: Gilbert Kalish H'36; alumni: indicate first the earned degree, then the honorary degree: Eugene Lang '38, H'81
Capitalize and use italic typeface (e.g., A, B+).
Lowercase general references (e.g., biology major).
Follow first listing in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition): cliché, protégé(e), résumé.
Spell out for first citation and follow with acronym in parentheses:
The Council on Educational Policy (CEP) adopted new procedures. The CEP paved the way for improved policies.
The following are some student groups or national organizations with campus chapters. Spell out the complete title for the first reference with the acronym following in parentheses; for subsequent references, use only the acronym without parentheses. For the titles of additional student groups, see Swarthmore's student activities page at www.swarthmore.edu/students/activities/clubs-cultural.htm.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Deshi: Swarthmore South Asian Association (DESHI)
Dialogue for Peace Initiative (DPI)
Hispanic Organization for Latin American Awareness (HOLA)
Im Tirtzu: Zionists for a Two-State Solution (Im Tirtzu)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Model United Nations (Model U.N.)
MULTI (an organization for students of mixed ethnic or racial heritage)
Muslim Students Association (MSA) (Note: students, plural)
Native American Student Organization (NASA)
Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA)
Swarthmore African-American Student Society (SASS) (Note: hyphen in this title to follow group's Web site, but African American elsewhere as noun and adjective-no hyphen-unless following a particular title style)
Swarthmore African Students Association (SASA)
Swarthmore Asian Organization (SAO)
Swarthmore International Relations Organization (SIRO)
Swarthmore Progressive Action Committee (SPAC)
Tri-College Outdoor Orientation Program (TROOP)
Other organizations often mentioned by their acronyms in the Swarthmore College Bulletin's Class Notes section:
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Field Service (AFS)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
addresses (see also cities and states)
Spell out Avenue, Street, and Boulevard as well as Apartment, North, South, East, West, if necessary.
Delete commas between city and state when zip code is used.
Use only one space between state and zip code.
Print email addresses as all lowercase: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not alter uppercase and lowercase; Web is case sensitive.
adviser (not advisor), but translator, supervisor
Do not hyphenate African American, neither as noun nor adjective; similarly Korean American, Mexican American, etc. (See also hyphens.)
Use numerals (only whole numbers-no fractions or decimals): His daughter is 3 years old.
When following a name, separate by a comma, e.g. John's children Ben, 3, Phil, 5, and Betsy, 8.
Ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for nouns use hyphens, e.g. John's oldest child is an 8-year-old (noun). He also has a 3-year-old son (adjective).
Air Force, U.S. use upper case
a.k.a. do not enclose in quotes
alumnus (male, singular), alumna (female, singular), alumnae (female, plural), alumni (male or male and female, plural)
Alumni Collection, Collection
Alumni College, on campus
Alumni College Abroad, alumni trip
Alumni Council (but council)
Alumni Fund, Annual Fund
parade, the (Alumni Weekend)
Alzheimer's disease (n.)
avoid using unless style of company name
prefix; do not hyphenate except when followed by a vowel, e.g., antitrust, antiwar, but anti-aircraft
Use with possessives: five years' worth, Agnes' book
With the letter s:
Add 's to singular common nouns unless the next word starts with an s: the boss's office, the boss' staff.
Use apostrophe alone following proper names ending with an s: Agnes' home.
Use before class years: '87 (shift-option-] on a Macintosh).
Arabella Carter Award for Community Service
use uppercase for U.S. forces, e.g. the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force but the French army, navy, air force
Abbreviate "Association" in Class Notes, only when part of a name.
as well as
no comma before
the Board of Managers
Board, Manager, Young Alumni Manager, capitalize only when referring to Swarthmore's Board
boldface, use of
See Class Notes Style Guidelines
italicize, e.g., Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods
Use "on" - born on Feb. 5, not born Feb. 5
Use official campus map (found at the back of the course catalog) for proper building names
Swarthmore College Bulletin; alumni magazine (note: not Alumni Bulletin)
Do not enclose in quotes
Abbreviation for the California Institute of Technology
(not catalogue), the more commonly used name for the issue of the Swarthmore College Bulletin listing courses and departmental information
Italicize titles, e.g., Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline
Center City Philadelphia
capitalize when part of a formal name, congregation, or denomination. e.g., St. Mary's Episcopalian Church, the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, but lower case when used in a general reference, e.g. a Roman Catholic church, church and state
cities (see also city nicknames and abbreviations and states)
Always follow a city name with the state in which it is located, unless it is a state capital or an the exceptionally well-known cities Los Angeles, New York City, or Boston.
Familiar abbreviations are acceptable in Class Notes and informal text: LA, NYC.When writing addresses, use the postal regulatory upper case state abbreviation (see "states") after the city name but do not separate them by a comma.
Generally lowercase: class dinner, class officers, the class, class reunion
Exceptions: the Class of '27, Class Notes (when referring to the section in the Bulletin)
Do not capitalize class years: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior.
Collection, First Collection, Last Collection
Use with no hyphen except when noun, adjective, or verb following indicates an occupation or status, e.g., cooperate, coexist but co-author, co-worker.
colleges and universities (see also Swarthmore, Swarthmoreans
Familiar abbreviations are acceptable in Class Notes and informal text: NYU, UCLA, UMass, U. of Pa. or UPenn.
Universities with several campuses are denoted with an en-dash (see dashes) as follows: SUNY-Stony Brook, UC-Davis.Unless part of a proper name (Williams College), "college" is capitalized only when referring to Swarthmore and preceded by "the": He returned to the College for his 20th reunion.
Use a comma between adjectives if the word "and" works equally well:
a smart, diverse student body.
Don't use a comma between adjectives if you can't replace it with the word "and":
the old gray mare.
List ages with a comma on both sides:
Eileen, 17, and Ellen, 15, both play soccer.
Use a comma to separate clauses in a sentence only if each clause has a subject and a verb:
John is teaching religion, and he hopes to do so again next year;
John is teaching religion and hopes to do so again next year.
Use commas before and after the year in a full date: April 1, 1993, was a Monday.
Don't use a comma when there's only a month and year: the May 1996 Bulletin.
essential clauses, nonessential clauses
The AP Stylebook has a useful section on the use of commas with essential and nonessential clauses and phrases; in summary, nonessential clauses (i.e., those with extra information) must be set off by commas, and essential clauses (i.e., those with required information) must not be set off by commas: Tom's friend Chris was his best man. (Because Tom has more than one friend, "Chris" is essential and is not set off by commas.)
His wife, Elizabeth, is a lawyer. (He has only one wife, so giving her name is nonessential.)
Note: In casual writing, the possessive may be omitted, in which case the commas are omitted as well: Wife Elizabeth is a lawyer.
Use a comma following all introductory phrases, e.g., After the banquet, the class enjoyed a talk by Mike Dukakis '55.
Use a comma to introduce a quote of one full sentence:
Mary asserted, "He was not here at the time."
Use a colon to introduce quotes of more than one sentence.
No comma is needed to introduce a partial quote: Mary asserted that he was "not here at the time."
A comma is used instead of a period when attribution follows a complete sentence: "He was not here at the time," asserted Mary.
Commas are always placed inside quotation marks.
Use a comma before the conjunction: Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford (Note: This Swarthmore style preference is an exception to The AP Stylebook.)
Don't use commas before or after Jr. or Sr.:
John Smith Jr. '50, John Smith Sr. '20.
Avoid construction using M.D. after name.
Capitalize when part of a name; otherwise lower case, e.g., The 50th Reunion Committee will hold its final meeting next month; but: I've forgotten the name of that new committee, whose first meeting I attended last week
Usually no need to use Inc. If necessary, do not separate by a comma, e.g., JCPenney Inc.
course, honors, the Course Program, the Honors Program
course or seminar names should be capitalized, not in quotes or italics
cross-country (noun, adj.)
An en-dash is used:
between numbers or dates (1996-1997)
in university names where there is more than one campus
(UC-Berkeley [see colleges and universities])
in compound adjectives with one element consisting of two words
(Pennsylvania-New Jersey area)
in words with a double hyphen (non-self-governing)
An em-dash is used when a dash is desired (e.g., for an abrupt shift in a sentence) without spaces on either side:
"The frozen turkey was the murder weapon-but you know that, don't you?"
Forming en- and em-dashes:
en-dash: (option-hyphen on a Macintosh / on a PC, go to "Insert" on top menu, then "Symbol," and seek the en-dash in the symbol chart. Highlight, hit "insert" button, then "close.")
Em-dash: (shift-option-hyphen on a Macintosh / on a PC, go to "Insert" on top menu, then "Symbol," and seek the em-dash in the symbol chart. Highlight, hit "insert" button, then "close.")
Abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec., and write out March, April, May, June, and July.Do not abbreviate months when they stand alone or with a year alone but no date:
She gave her first performance on Aug. 3, but her next will not be until February 1997. (Note: Not Aug. 3rd)In formal text and alumni event invitations, months may be written out, even if with a specific date.When announcing upcoming events, it is useful to include the day of the week:The lecture will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in Kohlberg Hall.
(Note: Comma follows 23)
decision making (noun), decision-making (adj.)
departments, academic and administrative
Departments, divisions, offices, and programs are capitalized only when full name is used: Chemistry Department, Alumni Office, Education Program, the Division of the Humanities, psychology, economics, development (see also titles)
dimensions: 3- to 7-inch layer, 2- by 4-foot rectangle
In general, lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, when they indicate compass direction:
Drive east on I-80 until you cross the Mississippi.
Capitalize when they designate regions:
A storm system that developed in the Midwest is heading eastward.
an educational vacation with guided tours and lectures
ellipses A three-point ellipsis, with a space before and after but not between points, is used midsentence to indicate deleted text. A four-point ellipsis, with a space after but not before, is used to denote the end of a complete sentence: The weather forecasters predicted rain tomorrow ... and a warm and sunny weekend.
"Good morning.... Our first item is a sales report," read the director's memo.
lower case, not hyphenated
emeritus, emerita, emeriti
Professor Emeritus of Engineering John McCrumm but John McCrumm, professor emeritus of engineering
Centennial Professor Emerita of Classics Helen North
but Helen North, Centennial Professor Emerita of Classics (keep upper case because it's a named professorship)
Avoid using, preferring "and so on."
Use faculty members and staff members to avoid awkward singular constructions.
Not first come, first serve
Capitalize for Quaker reference
Meetinghouse one word
full-time (adj.), full time (adj. and adv.) (See also part-time, part time)
a) Use hyphen with adjective when it precedes a noun but not when it follows the noun, e.g., The recently divorced mother of three had to take a full-time job to feed her family. The job of taking care of three children is full time, too.
b) Do not use a hyphen when using as an adverb.
"I'm working full time twice over," she said.
In a), full-time, full time are adjectives describing the noun "job."
In b) full time is an adverb, describing the verb "work," answering the question, in what capacity is she working?
fund-raising, fund-raiser, fund-raise
All forms use hyphen
referring to sports teams, singular
The Garnet Letter
an alumnus or alumna whose class graduated 50 or more years ago; Supreme Sage, president of the 50th reunion class
genus (s.), genera (pl.)
Do not italicize
Frequently used in Class Notes for "grandchildren"
gray, not grey
group names, music
The Beatles, with no quotes
Hyphenate as both adjective and adverb
Capitalize, no quotes
The Hon. William Caldwell
Capitalize when part of the program name, e.g., the Honors Program; similarly the Course Program but high honors, highest honors, decision to do honors or course
Never hyphenate adverbs ending in "ly" and adjectives:
the newly elected president
Do not hyphenate (when used as nouns or adjectives):
Mexican American, when used as nouns or adjectives.
Do not hyphenate:
freelance (in accordance with Webster's)
cross-country team (adj.)
decision-making (adj.)-but: no hyphen as noun
need-blind admissions policy
He has a part-time job. But: He works part time.
policy-making (adj.)-but no hyphen as noun
Abbreviate and do not precede by comma
preceded by a comma, e.g., My gem collection, including sapphires, emeralds, and rubies ...
no space between initials, e.g., B.J. Smith
Italicize titles of books, plays, newspapers, magazines, operas, ships, movies, television program titles, paintings, exhibits, record titles, works of art, famous statues, and long musical compositionsItalicize foreign words if they don't appear in the regular part of the dictionaryItalicize 's if it is attached to an italicized word (The Bulletin's editors ...)
Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr., and do not precede by a comma, e.g., Edward Borer Jr. '80
Kendal at Longwood, Kendal and Crosslands
Retirement communities frequently mentioned in Class Notes
law school, lower case unless part of an official school name: My cousin is in law school. He's at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
italicize, Roe v. Wade
Capitalize in Quaker reference
closed up as a suffix, no hyphen before, e.g., a lifelike sculpture
(preceded by "an"), or a master of arts degree, a master's degree
A Marine, Marine Corps, U.S. Marines
programs for those older than 21 years. No apostrophes, e.g. Masters Rowing Program
medical school, lower case unless part of an official school name
meetinghouse, monthly meeting, Friends meeting, Friends Meetinghouse
millennium (lowercase and note double l and double n)
italicize, e.g. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
quotes and roman for short pieces, italics for long compositions, e.g. Paul McCartney's "Yesterday," but Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (Choral)
names, of alumnae/i (See also names of classmates and other alumni in Class Notes Guidelines)
Include maiden name in first mention, e.g., Cindy White Lohr; use Cindy or Cindy White in second mention. Bold all alumnae/alumni names in Class Notes.
of nonalumni Do not include maiden name, and do not bold in Class Notes.
newspapers follow exact title style (check if The is part of actual title for each one)
Delaware County Daily Times (The is not part of title)
The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Inquirer
The New York Times, the Times
The New Yorker
The Washington Post
The Village Voice, the Voice
Refer to dictionary; no hyphen with words with which prefix non could be replaced by word not: nonacademic, nonprofit; hyphenate with proper nouns: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; or awkward combinations: non-nuclear
Spell out whole numbers below 10, and use figures for 10 and above.
Spell out first through ninth, use figures for 10th and above:
the first victory, the 21st century
Spell out when beginning sentences, e.g., Three hundred students attended Last Collection.
Use figures for times, measurements, decimals, fractions, percentages, sports scores, and
ages: 3 ounces, 3.5, 3 percent, final score was 5-2, the child was 5 years old.
OK (not "okay")
Do not hyphenate.
paintings, painting exhibits
italicize, e.g., Velasquez' Adoration of the Magi, Renoir Landscapes
Parents Weekend (no apostrophe)
part-time, part time (see also full-time, full time)
Use hyphen as an adjective when it precedes a noun but not when it follows the noun, e.g., Following his retirement, he couldn't resist taking a part-time job. Because the job was part time, he was able to spend more time with his grandchildren. "There's nothing like working part time," he says.
The Phoenix, student newspaper
Use parentheses around the area code, followed by a space and then a dash between first three and last four digits, e.g. (610) 328-3609.
policy maker (n.); policy making (n.); policy-making (adj.)
a) Plural nouns not ending in s: Add 's, e.g., women's rights, children's books, alumni's donations
b) Plural nouns ending in s: Add only an apostrophe, e.g., the girls' needs, the dogs' leashes
c) Nouns plural in form but singular in meaning: Add only an apostrophe, e.g., measles' effects, physics' laws. Often in these cases, it is preferable to simply say "the effects of measles" or "the laws of physics."
d) Nouns the same in singular and plural: Treat them as plurals, even if the meaning is singular: the two sheep's tracks, the many deer's feeding bins
e) Singular nouns not ending in s: Add 's, e.g., the dog's dinner, the ship's keel, the CEO's plan
f) Singular common nouns ending in s: Add 's, unless the following word begins with an s, e.g., the hostess's invitation but the hostess' seat; the witness's answer but the witness' story
g) Singular proper names ending in s: Use only an apostrophe, e.g., Dickens' London, Tennessee Williams' plays
h) Special expressions comprising a word that does not end with the letter s but with the sound of an s and which is followed by a word beginning with an s: Use just an apostrophe, e.g., for my conscience' sake but my conscience's voice
i) Pronouns. Personal, interrogative, and relative pronouns take the forms mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs, whose. None of them use apostrophes-do NOT use it's as a possessive. "It's" can ONLY mean "it is."
j) Compound words. Apply the same rules as for single words, e.g., the major general's decision, the head teacher's voice, John Smith Jr.'s mother
k) Joint possession/individual possession. If ownership is joint, use the possessive form only after the last word, e.g. John and Susan's joint bank account. If objects are individually owned, use possessive after both words, e.g. John's and Susan's retirement funds.
l) Descriptive phrases. Do not use an apostrophe with a word ending in s, if the function of the word is primarily descriptive, e.g. The Parents Newsletter, the writers guide
Close up prefix (postgraduate, postwar).
Do not hyphenate as prefix (premed, preseason), unless followed by a word beginning with e: pre-eminent, pre-empt (based on the rule that a hyphen is used if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with a vowel, these form exceptions to Webster's first-spellings, which use no hyphens).
professor emeritus/a (See also emeritus)
Use lower case in general references but upper case in a formal title preceding a name or when referring to a named professorship.
Use upper case when part of an official title, e.g., the Honors Program; but lower case in general references, e.g. Swarthmore Recreation Association has excellent programs for children's athletics.
Refer to "A Guide to Punctuation" in The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual
Quaker form of address
According to Mary Ellen Grafflin Chijioke '67: "The traditional Quaker practice is to use a person's full name in place of titles, for example, in formal relationships and in documents like minutes. Just how full depended on what the user knew and what the person preferred. Married women did tend to keep their maiden names as a middle name, so that the most frequent form of a full name for a married woman was first name, maiden name, married name. Inclusion of the maiden name was also a matter of identification: Given the requirement of intermarriage and the tendency to re-use the same names within a family, there were an awful lot of people with the same first and last names.
"In the abstract one might hear, 'This Friend speaks my mind,' but it was not normal to use 'Friend' as a title, e.g., 'Friend Brown.'
"The refusal to use titles was linked to the same testimony as the refusal of doffing one's hat to superiors or of rising for judges: Such displays of honor fed pride in the recipient. Early Quakers always leveled down, not up!"
Swarthmore College has tended to keep this aspect of Quaker tradition, in part, because of the practicality of using maiden names for identification among classmates who knew each other before they were married, although generally the full name is used only on first reference.
If you wish to use a Quaker-styled salutation in a letter, the following form may be used:
Anne Brooke Smith '37
123 Main Street
Warrenton VA 12345
Dear Anne Smith,
Capitalize first word of a quote unless it's midsentence. Precede first word by a comma (if the quote is one sentence or less) or a colon (if the quote is longer than one sentence).
Use quotation marks for titles of poems, short stories, lectures, short musical compositions, song titles, titles of articles within magazines and newspapers, book chapter titles, and dance titles (see also italics)
a prefix used with no hyphen except if followed by a vowel or if sense of word is changed, e.g., re-elect, re-enlist; re-cover (to cover again) and recover (to get better), re-sign (to sign again) and resign (to step down from a position or job)
the reunion, class reunion, reunion dinner, reunion plans, 50th reunionBut: Fiftieth-Reunion Gift Fund (because it's a specific fund)
Use before name of pastor or minister. "Reverend" is an adjective.
An alumnus/a who graduated 50 or more years ago
Scott Amphitheater, also Scott Outdoor Auditorioum
not Scott Outdoor Amphitheater
Lowercase spring, summer, fall, and winter
secondhand (adj.)no hyphen
prefix, closed up
Italicize, e.g. Titanic
Use quotes and no italics
Use upper case
state names (see also cities)
Spell out when state name stands alone
Abbreviate as follows in Class Notes when following a city/town name: Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Colo., 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., Va., Vt., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.
Use postal upper case abbreviations in mailing addresses as follows: AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI MN, MS, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
state of Connecticut (lower case "state")
Do not abbreviate except for postal addresses: Alaska (AK), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Iowa (IA), Maine (ME), Ohio (OH), Texas (TX), Utah (UT)
prefix, closed up, e.g., stepfather, stepdaughter
Always write out in formal text (Swat, Swatties, S'more, and S'moreans OK in Class Notes but discouraged in formal writing).
Tarble in Clothier
theater, unless referring to a specific name or Swarthmore's Theater Department
till (not 'till), acceptable for "until"
Use figures except for noon and midnight, inserting one space after the number but no further spaces: 9 a.m., 10 p.m.
Capitalize titles only when they appear immediately before a proper name:
Professor Bernard Saffran visited the class.
Rebecca Chopp, president of Swarthmore College, addressed the nervous parents.
The president held open office hours.
Courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss) are generally not used (see Quaker form of address)
no s at end
not t-shirt or tee-shirt
Use the same typeface for any punctuation around a word or group of words, including apostrophe+s indicating possession, e.g. Hallowell's house; "No!" she screamed.
Abbreviate "university" to "U" in Class Notes, e.g. Carnegie Mellon U.; identify multicampus universities with "U" + en-dash + campus name, e.g. UC-Berkeley; some universities have their own abbreviated forms, e.g. UPenn, UVA
United Nations(n.);U.N. (adj.)
United States(n.),U.S. (adj.)
Do not hyphenate. Use lower case except when preceding a name, e.g. Barack Obama is not running for vice president. But Former Vice President Al Gore was a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ville, the, referring to the borough of Swarthmore
welfare (lower case)
World War II
worldwide (also nationwide, campuswide, citywide)
World Wide Web; the Web
Xmas (no hyphen)
yearlong (no hyphen)
Yearly Friends Meeting; yearly meeting
year-round, hyphenate as both adjective and predicate adjective
years, separate the beginnings and ends of time spans by an en-dash in schedules, calendars, lists, reports, and so on, e.g. the budget report for fiscal year 2007-2008; but by "to" in articles or stories, e.g., From 2007 to 2008, the college graduate worked as a shoe-shine boy at Penn Station.