Jacksonville State University
Manual of Style and Usage

V 2.0

Effective February 2005

Send suggestions/comments to phobbs@jsu.edu.


The Division of Institutional Advancement needs your help improving university publications. Please consult this manual when writing brochures, newsletters, Web pages, and other publications that market or otherwise communicate on JSU's behalf. The following list represents ten areas most in need of improvement.

1. NAMES — Avoid referring to adults by first name only in second references. Example: Make it Mrs. Jones won an award rather than Rita won an award.

2. TITLES — JSU prefers the use of social titles, such as Mr. and Mrs., although they are optional and may be dropped with no loss of respect. Usage should be consistent throughout a publication or manuscript.

3. DATES — JSU suggests using the following format for dates: February 17, 2005.

4. ALUMNI — When referring to alumni, please indicate graduation dates as follows: John Doe, '05; Jane Doe, '00/'04.

5. STATES — Use standard abbreviations for states rather than the United States Postal Service format: Ala. rather than AL, Ga. rather than GA, Miss. rather than MS, Fla. rather than FL, etc.

6. JUNIOR, ETC. — According to the Chicago Manual, "The abbreviations Jr. and Sr., as well as roman or arabic numerals such as II or 3rd, after a person's name are part of the name and so are retained in connection with any titles or honorifics. Note that these abbreviations are used only with the full name, never with the surname only." Note that commas are no longer needed around Jr. and Sr. but, if used, "must appear both before and after the element." Commas are never used to set off II, III. Example: John Doe III

7. FORT— Do not abbreviate the word fort when it is used as part of a proper name. It is Fort Payne, not Ft. Payne.

8. SOUTHERNERS — The official name of the Jacksonville State University band is the Southerners, not the Marching Southerners. The dance line is officially called the Marching Ballerinas.

9. NUMBERS — Spell out seventh, third, etc., rather than using abbreviations such as 7th, 3rd.

10. SHORTCUTS — Avoid using & as a shortcut for and, and don't overdo abbreviations, such as VP for vice president.

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The Division of Institutional Advancement presents the following style and usage guide as an aid for improving university publications and other official communication, electronic and print.

The Manual is based on the fifteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style and contains more than a hundred of the most common mistakes found in university publications. It is arranged alphabetically for quick look-up by word (see ensure, for example) or area of concern (see capitalization).

Style deals with preferences — whether to use percent , per cent , or %, for example. Usage pertains to correct word choice, such as infer versus imply.

Throughout the following document, italics are used for emphasis in examples.

For further assistance, we recommend The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth Edition) and the Chicago Manual, which are available through the University Bookstore. Also see bibliography.


Acronym/initialism — Acronyms are pronounceable abbreviated words formed from the initial letters of other words and used at JSU without periods: WIT, ExSEL, CLEP. Initialisms are formed from the initial letters of the words they stand for but are not pronounced as a word: JSU, T/LC, SBDC .

ABD — An initialism that stands for all but dissertation. Used all caps, no periods. At JSU, avoid using ABD following a name as if it were a degree, which it is not. When needing to recognize a person's credentials, write John Doe is a PhD candidate rather than John Doe, ABD. A person who has ABD status is not referred to as Dr.

academic degrees — Capitalize the full proper names of academic degrees conferred by JSU and other higher education institutions. Do not capitalize the discipline or major, minor, concentration, or field of study except in the case of proper nouns. Examples: Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Bachelor of Arts in English. He has a Bachelor of Science in geography and a master's in French. Do not capitalize incomplete or shortened names of academic degrees. Examples: She has a master's in business administration. He has a bachelor's degree in geography. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree and master's degree.

•  When used after a person's name, an academic degree abbreviation is set off by commas: John Doe, PhD, wrote a textbook.

•  Do not precede a name with a courtesy title indicating an academic degree and then follow it with the abbreviation for the degree. Do not use Dr. John Doe, PhD, historian. Instead, write Dr. John Doe, historian, or John Doe, PhD, historian.

•  Avoid using both Dr. and title before a name; use one or the other. Examples: President Dr. William A. Meehan is incorrect; President William A. Meehan is correct. On second references, use President Meehan, Dr. Meehan, or the president .

•  Medical professionals who are doctors should be indicated as follows: Dr. Joe Smith, a physician; Joe Smith, MD; Dr. Jane Doe, a surgeon; etc.

academic and scholarly degrees, abbreviations of — See appendix for a reference list of some of the most frequently used abbreviations in higher education. See the university's undergraduate Catalogue to look up faculty and their degrees.

academic departments and colleges — Proper names of JSU's colleges and departments are capitalized, but informal or incomplete names are lowercased. Examples: the Department of Communication, the communication department, the department; the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the dean of nursing and health sciences, nursing program, the college; English department, Department of English.

academic disciplines — Do not capitalize generic phrases or terms for academic fields of study unless they function as proper nouns. Examples: He is a music major but has a strong interest in English and French. His sister, enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, is delving into history as part of her bachelor's degree program. Sam, formerly a business student, is now studying political science.

academic titles and names — Titles are job descriptions and are used lowercase when they stand alone: president, dean, director, vice president, professor, etc. Capitalize a title when it precedes a name or when the title and name appear in a table or list (as in a directory or program). A shortened title preceding a name is acceptable, although the full formal title is often more appropriate in formal writing. Examples: The university president will address the graduates. President William A. Meehan attended the meeting. Dr. Harvey Jackson, head of the history department, writes a weekly column. Vice President Rebecca O. Turner delivered the keynote address. Dr. Rebecca O. Turner, vice president, delivered the address. Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Rebecca O. Turner spoke to sociology students.

Note: Professor should not be used as a synonym for just anyone who teaches at a university or college; professor is a specific academic rank. To determine a faculty member's academic rank at JSU, consult the undergraduate Catalogue . Double-check for accuracy when stating a person's academic rank. In addition to professors, there are associate professors, assistant professors, adjunct instructors, instructors, etc .

See “professor.”

academic programs — The proper names of formal programs of study should be capitalized in all instances, while informal or generic descriptions of academic programs should be used lowercase. Examples: He considered entering the archaeology program, which is in the Department of Physical and Earth Sciences. The WIT conference is sponsored by the Department of English. The English department hosts many other programs. The Master of Public Administration degree program offers a concentration in emergency management.

academic semester, terms, quarters — JSU's academic year is based on the semester system; avoid quarter as a synonym for semester. A particular semester may be referred to as fall term, spring term, etc. The term that begins in January is the spring semester, not the winter semester. Lowercase reference to a specific semester unless it is used in a table, directory, or schedule. Examples: The fall semester begins on Monday. Enrollment grew during the fall 2003 semester. She received a degree during spring graduation.

academic units/entities (including centers, chairs, colleges, departments, institutes, and offices) — Capitalize the formal name of an academic unit. Lowercase partial or informal unit names except for words that are proper nouns. Examples: Jacksonville State University , the university. The Economic Development Center has done a fine job. The center projects a stronger economy. He was a member of the faculty of the David L. Walters Department of Music. The music department held a concert. The college published 20 books last year.

advance registration — Not advanced registration (no ed). Advance registration means early registration — registration in advance of JSU's normal registration period.

admissions/admission / admittance — At JSU it is the Admissions Office. Example: Go to the Admissions Office for help with the admission process. Admittance should not be used as a synonym; admittance means physical entry to a room or other specific place. Example: Tickets were needed for admittance to the concert hall.

advice/advise — Advice is a noun meaning counsel or guidance; advise is a verb meaning to offer such guidance.

adviser/advisor — The preferred spelling is adviser; note the e .

affect/effect — Affect is most often used in the sense of influencing or changing: Drugs affect the nervous system. Effect means to bring about: The goal was to effect an outstanding recruiting plan.

AL/Ala. — In text, use traditional abbreviations, not the USPS format. Alabama is abbreviated Ala. The Postal Service abbreviation may be used in tabular data.

alumni association — Capitalized when used as a full proper noun: Jacksonville State University Alumni Association. Lowercase informal/incomplete references: The alumni association hosted a trip. Other examples: He is an active member of the Jacksonville State University Alumni Association. She is an active member of the alumni association. The alumni association's trip to New York was a success.

alumni association board of governors — Capitalize when used as a full proper noun: the Jacksonville State University Board of Governors . Lowercase incomplete references: the alumni board of governors.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae, alum — JSU uses alumnus to indicate a male graduate. Alumna (alumnae - plural) indicates a female graduate. Alum is colloquial for either a male or female graduate. Use alumni when referring to a group of male and female graduates.

a.m./p.m. — Use lowercase with periods or small caps without periods. Be consistent with usage.

and — “Popular belief to the contrary, this conjunction usefully begins sentences, typically outperforming moreover, additionally, in addition, further, and furthermore.” (Chicago, 200)

and/or — Avoid when possible. Example: A $25 fine or thirty days in jail or both. (Bernstein, 13)

annual fund, capital campaign — Capitalize specific names used as proper nouns: Jacksonville State University Capital Campaign or the JSU Capital Campaign. Lowercase capital campaign when it stands alone. Lowercase general descriptive phrases describing various fund-raising activities: The capital campaign was successful. Capitalize and use quotation marks with themes and the subtitles of themes that are based upon specific fund-raising drives or campaigns: “The Power of 125 … Join the Celebration!” and “The Power of 125 … Join the Celebration: A Campaign for Jacksonville State University .” Note: Shortened references to a campaign may be capitalized and quoted; take care to be consistent in use: “The Power of 125 …”

appendix, appendices, appendixes — Both appendixes and appendices are correct plural forms of the word appendix, although the latter is preferred.

army — According to Chicago, “words such as army and navy are lowercased when standing alone.” (Chicago, 353) But note: “Titles [proper names] of armies, navies, armies, navies, air forces, fleets, regiments, battalions, companies, corps, and so forth are capitalized.” (Chicago, 353). Example: JSU students joined the army. JSU students join the United States Army.

art, works of, titles of — Italicize titles of paintings, drawings, statues, photographs and other works of art. Example: Larry K. Martin's Fighting Gamecock .

articles, titles of, in magazines, journals and other publications — Capitalize and enclose in quotation marks. Example: The professor's article “Reconciling the Celt” was based on extensive research.

artist-in-residence — Note hyphens.

assure/ensure/insure — “Ensure is the general term meaning to make sure that something will (or won't) happen. In best usage, insure is reserved for underwriting financial risk. So we ensure that we can get time off for a vacation, and insure our car against an accident on the trip. We ensure events and insure things. But we assure people that their concerns are being addressed.” (Chicago, 213)

athletic (adj.), athletics (noun) — An athletics director heads the program. Example: Athletics Director Jim Fuller. Confusion often arises when a writer does not have clearly in mind whether the noun form ( athletics ) is required as a modifier or the adjective form (athletic) is required. An athletic director is a director who is an athlete, regardless of what he or she directs.

awards — “Names of awards and prizes are capitalized, but some generic terms used with the names are lowercased.” (Chicago, 345) Examples: Alumna of the Year; Alumnus of the Year; Outstanding Faculty Award.




bachelor of arts, bachelor of science — Lowercased bachelor's degree is acceptable, as are BA and BS. Capitalize when used as a proper noun: Bachelor of Arts in English .

battalion — Capitalize when used with a figure to designate a name: 3rd Battalion.

board of trustees — Lowercase when using as a stand-alone: The board of trustees approved the measure. Capitalize when referring to the full proper noun, as in the Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees. Shortened forms should be lowercased. The board of trustees meeting.

books, titles of — Italicize titles and subtitles of books. Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize articles (a, an, the), or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.

buildings and spaces at JSU — Capitalize the proper names of buildings on first reference, including the word building if it is an integral part of the formal name. Examples: The university has numerous buildings, including the Theron Montgomery Student Commons Building. Use the building's full formal name rather than abbreviation on first reference. It should be Theron Montgomery Student Commons Building in first reference; acceptable second reference is Montgomery Building or Student Commons Building . The initialism TMB is not preferred in text but acceptable in tables.

Building names:
Abercrombie Hall
Alumni House
Anders Round House
Athletic Multi Purpose Building
Ayers Hall
Bibb Graves Hall
Brewer Hall
Bevill Center
Curtiss Hall
Daugette Hall
Dixon Hall
Duncan Maintenance Shop
Hammond Hall
heating plant (lowercase)
Hopper Dining Hall / Leone Cole Auditorium / McCluer Chapel
International House
Joe Ford Economic Development Center
Houston Cole Library
Luttrell Hall
Martin Hall
Mathews Coliseum
Merrill Building
McCluer Chapel
McGee Hall
Mason Hall
Patterson Hall
Pannell Hall
Rock House
Rowan Hall
Rowe Hall
Ramona Wood Building
Salls Hall
Self Hall
Sparkman Hall
Stephenson Hall
Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center
Theron Montgomery Student Commons Building
Visitor Center
Wallace Hall
Weatherly Hall
Williams Infirmary

Note: Do not confuse halls, centers, buildings, “houses.”  For example, it is McGee Hall, Anders Round House, etc.

Spaces on campus:

Alabama Gallery
Amphitheater (lowercase)
Gold Room
Intramural Fields (lowercase)
Paul Snow Stadium
Rudy Abbott Field
quad or quadrangle

Street names:

Coliseum Drive
Forney Avenue
McArthur Street
Millican Street
Russell Street
Harwell Avenue
Bennett Blvd
Roebuck Waters Drive
Beck Circle
Cole Drive

but — “Popular belief to the contrary, this conjunction usefully begins contrasting sentences, typically better than however.” (Chicago, 204)




capitalization, down style of — JSU uses the “down” style, “the parsimonious use of capitals” (Chicago, 311). “Although proper names are capitalized, many words derived from or associated with proper names (brussels sprouts, board of trustees), as well as the names of significant offices (presidency, papacy), may be lowercased with no loss of clarity of respect.” (Chicago, 311) JSU also adheres to Chicago's recommendation regarding names versus generic terms: “Many proper names combine a given name with a generic (or descriptive) term (Albion College, the Circuit Court of Lake County, President Bush). After the first mention, an official name is often replaced by the generic term alone, which (no longer strictly a proper name) may safely be lowercased.” (Chicago, 311). When in doubt, please consult the 15th edition of Chicago. Examples of down style: Jacksonville State University is based in northeast Alabama . The university has about 9,000 students. Dr. Bill Meehan is president. The university is governed by a board of trustees.

center around — Use either center on or revolve around.

chair, chairman — JSU's academic departments are led by department heads, not chairs.

civil titles — Lowercase as a stand-alone; capitalize when preceding a person's name. Examples: the president; President George Bush; the congressman; Congressman Bud Cramer; the chief justice; Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

compose, comprise — According to the Wall Street Journal, “compose means to create or put together … : the US is composed of 50 states . … Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace. Use it only in the active voice followed by a direct object: The US comprises 50 states.” (Martin, 51-52.)

contractions — Contractions are recommended for all but the most formal publications, such as the undergraduate Catalogue, and are helpful in conveying warmth and a conversational style. We suggest avoiding one form: he'd, we'd, etc., because he'd can mean both he had and he would, and the reader would need to get well into the text before learning which meaning it is.

courtesy titles — Courtesy/social titles are optional. Social titles may be omitted with no disrespect. Remain consistent throughout a publication. JSU recommends using full name without a courtesy title on first reference and courtesy titles with later references. Try to determine how a woman prefers to be addressed, particularly when using Ms. In cases where a person's gender is not clear from the first name or context, use he or she in subsequent reference.




dates — In text, avoid the all-numeral style of writing dates (10/10/52 , etc). JSU prefers the following format in text: day, month, year (13 August 2004) without punctuation. When the day is unimportant, use the month and year without punctuation: August 2004. A range of days man be written as follows: 13-18 August 2004; 1 July 2004 – 1 August 2004 .

degrees, academic — Do not use periods in PhD, BS, MBA, etc.  According to Chicago, “The trend now is strongly away from the use of periods with all kinds of abbreviations that have carried them in the past. In the [University of Chicago] Press's view this is to the good: anything that reduces the fussiness of typography makes for easier reading.” Capitalize full degree names when used as proper nouns; lowercase shortened uses: Bachelor of Science , but bachelor's in science or bachelor's degree. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree and master's degree .

departments and programs — Full formal names of JSU departments and programs are capitalized: Department of Music, Department of Art. Second references or shortened versions are lowercased: biology program .

dilemma — Avoid using as a synonym for problem; a dilemma implies a choice between two unattractive alternatives.

directions — Compass points and terms derived from them are lowercased when they indicate direction or location: JSU is in northeast Alabama.

disabilities — Write people with disabilities, not the disabled or disabled people.

disk/disc — Use disk when referring to a floppy disk. Disc is preferred in reference to compact disc.

dos and don'ts — Not do's and don't's.




e-mail — Hyphenate in all instances. May be used as a verb: The director e-mailed an announcement. In headlines, capitalize the m: E-Mail Service Upgraded.

ensure/insure/assure — “Ensure is the general term meaning to make sure that something will (or won't) happen. In best usage, insure is reserved for underwriting financial risk. So we ensure that we can get time off for a vacation, and insure our car against an accident on the trip. We ensure events and insure things. But we assure people that their concerns are being addressed.” (Chicago, 213)

events — Capitalize the full name of events, including sporting events. Preview Day. Homecoming. Career Day.




farther/further — Farther is a physical distance; further is a figurative distance, as in, We'll look into it further.

faculty — Can be used as singular or plural. Both faculty members and faculty are correct, but take care to be consistent. The English faculty met at the Alumni House. Some faculty members write books.

fax — Refers to facsimile transmission. The shortened fax is preferred. The plural is faxes. FAX is incorrect, as the word is not an acronym.

fort — Do not abbreviate the word fort when it is used as part of a proper name. It is Fort Payne, not Ft. Payne.

french fries — Not capitalized.

fund raising (n.), fund-raising (adj.), fund-raiser (n.) — “Fund raising is difficult, so they hired a fund-raiser to plan a fund-raising campaign.” (Martin, 99)




grade-point average — Note the hyphen. May be abbreviated to GPA for multiple references or if the context allows for clear meaning.

grades, scholastic — Letters used to denote grades are capitalized and are not italicized. Do not use quotation marks or an apostrophe with plural forms. Examples: John made all As. John received an A for the composition.

graduate, graduate from — Universities graduate students, but students graduate from universities.




headline style — The following guidelines apply to headlines in JSU publications such as Gem of the Hills, the Viewbook, and annual reports. “(1) Always capitalize the first and last words both in titles and in subtitles and all other major words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and some conjunctions — but see rule 4. (2) Lowercase the articles the, a, and an. (3) Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, except when they are stressed (through in A River Runs Through It), are used adverbially or adjectivally (up in Look Up, down in Turn Down, on in The On Button, etc.) are used in conjunctions (before in Look Before You Leap, etc.), or are part of a Latin expression used adjectivally or adverbially (De Facto, In Vitro, etc.). (4) Lowercase the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor. (5) Lowercase the words to and as in any grammatical function, for simplicity's sake. (6) Lowercase the second part of a species name, as us lucius in Esox lucius, or the part of a proper name that would be lowercased in text, such as de or von .” (Chicago, 366-367)

honorary degrees — The honorary title Dr. is usually omitted. However, when it is necessary to use Dr. in certain cases, make it clear that the degree is honorary. Example: Dr. John Doe, who holds the honorary LLD. Dr. John Doe, who holds an honorary doctorate from JSU, spoke Thursday. See “academic degrees” and “courtesy titles.”




ID — Capitalize. No apostrophe when writing the plural: IDs .

imply/infer — “The writer or speaker implies (hints, suggests); the reader or listener infers (deduces).” (Chicago, 218)

impact — Avoid using as a verb unless in a physical context. Chicago suggests, “Try affect or influence instead. Besides being hyperbolic, impact is widely considered a solecism [irregularity in speech or diction].” (Chicago, 218)

insure/ensure/assure — “Ensure is the general term meaning to make sure that something will (or won't) happen. In best usage, insure is reserved for underwriting financial risk. So we ensure that we can get time off for a vacation, and insure our car against an accident on the trip. We ensure events and insure things. But we assure people that their concerns are being addressed.” (Chicago, 213)

Internet — Capitalize in all cases.



journals, journal articles — The name of a journal should be italicized. Journal articles are put in quotation marks.



Korean War — Korean War, not Korean conflict.



lecture titles — Capitalized and set within quotation marks; not italicized.

legal citations, versus in — In legal citations, the abbreviation v. should be used rather than vs. Italicize legal citations. Example: Roe v. Wade . Versus may be shortened to vs. in sports stories but the preferred style is to spell it out.



magazine titles — Italicized. Capitalize the word magazine only if it is part of the formal name.

majors, minors and concentrations — The names of majors, minors, concentrations, areas, and fields of study should be lowercased, unless the word is a proper name. The formal degree name should be capitalized. Example: She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in foreign language and a minor in English.

Marching Ballerinas — The correct name of the JSU dance line that performs with the Southerners is the Marching Ballerinas. The Marching Ballerinas are referred to as a dance line, kick line, or dancers but never as a squad, team, or group.

media, mediums — “In scientific contexts and in reference to mass communications, the plural of medium is media . But if medium refers to a spiritualist, the plural is mediums .” (Chicago, 221-222)

McClellan — McClellan is the official name of a community located on a former army base in Anniston called Fort McClellan. When fact-checking, please keep in mind that a small portion of the old base is still called Fort McClellan; approximately 300 acres was set aside for the Fort McClellan Army National Guard Training Center.

movie titles — Italicized.

Mr., Mrs., Ms. — Courtesy/social titles are optional. Social titles may be omitted with no disrespect. Remain consistent throughout a publication. JSU recommends using full name without a courtesy title on first reference and courtesy titles with later references. Try to determine how a woman prefers to be addressed, particularly when using Ms. In cases where a person's gender is not clear from the first name or context, use he or she in subsequent reference.

music compositions, titles of — Italicize plays, musicals, operas, and similar long compositions. Capitalize and set within quotation marks the titles of arias, choruses, dances, ensembles, songs and similar short compositions . Examples: Messiah, an oratorio; You Can't Take it With You, a play; West Side Story , a musical; Signor Deluso, an opera; “Maria,” a song; “Hallelujah Chorus,” a short composition.


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