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Editorial Style Tips

With a few exceptions, Swarthmore College adheres to AP style in its community messages and publications. For the complete editorial guide, please see page 10 of the College Style Guide [PDF].

academic majors Lowercase general references: biology major

alumna (female, singular), alumnae (female, plural), alumnus (male, singular), alumni (male or male and female, plural), alum/alums (gender-neutral, for casual references)

class Generally lowercase: class officers, the class, class reunion Exception: the Class of ’87 Do not capitalize class years: freshman/first-year, sophomore, junior, senior

college 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 Alumni Weekend.

commas Use commas 1) before and after the year in a full date: April 1, 1993, was a Monday. Commas are always placed inside quotation marks, and 2) after the last item in a series: We went walking with our dogs, grandma, and grandpa.

course names Should be capitalized, not in quotes or italics

dashes An en-dash is used: between numbers or dates: 1996–97, in university names where there is more than one campus: UC–Berkeley (see colleges and universities), and in compound adjectives with one element consisting of two words: Pennsylvania–New Jersey area. An em-dash is used when a dash is desired (e.g., for an abrupt shift in a sentence) with spaces on either side: “The frozen turkey was the murder weapon — but you knew that, didn’t you?” 

dates When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Do not abbreviate months when they stand alone or with a year alone: She gave her first performance on Aug. 3, 2016, but her next will not be until February 2018. (Note: Not “Aug. 3rd”) 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.  

departments, academic and administrative Departments, divisions, offices, and programs are capitalized only when full name is used: Chemistry Department, Educational Studies Program, the Division of the Humanities

email addresses Print as all lowercase: 

phone numbers No parentheses around the area code: 610-328-3609

seasons Lowercase spring, summer, fall, and winter

times Use figures except for noon and midnight, inserting one space after the number but no further spaces: 9 a.m., 10 p.m.

titles Capitalize titles only when they appear immediately before a proper name: Professor Amy Cheng Vollmer visited the class. Valerie Smith, president of Swarthmore College, spoke with parents. The president held open office hours.

web addresses In virtually all cases, it is OK to omit “http://www.”:,