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Editorial Standards A-Z

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University editorial standards primarily follow the Associate Press Stylebook (AP) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. This abbreviated guide is meant to give basic guidance for some commonly used words and phrases, as well as to outline some basic rules for University writers. Certain sections are also based on established University practices. For other general editorial rules, please use the style guide that relates to the publications you are writing and editing.

Editorial Standards A-C

ACADEMIC DEGREES

The preferred form is to avoid abbreviation. However, if it is necessary or appropriate to list the degrees an individual has earned, abbreviations are acceptable. Use apostrophes when writing bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Do not use the possessive when naming the full degree (a Bachelor of Arts degree is a bachelor’s degree). Doctorate is a noun; doctoral is the adjective: you may have a doctorate or a doctoral degree. An academic degree is set off by commas. Commonly used degrees and their abbreviations are:

Associate of Applied Science - A.A.S.
Associate of Arts - A.A.
Associate of Science - A.S.
*Bachelor of Arts - B.A.
Bachelor of Fine Arts - B.F.A.
*Bachelor of Music - B.M.
*Bachelor of Science - B.S.
Doctor of Arts - D.A.
Doctor of Business Administration - D.B.A.
Doctor of Education - Ed.D.
Doctor of Medicine - M.D.
Doctor of Music - D.Mus.

Doctor of Music Arts - D.M.A.
Doctor of Philosophy - Ph.D.
Juris Doctor - J.D.
*Master of Arts - M.A.
*Master of Arts in Teaching - M.A.T.
*Master of Business Administration - M.B.A.
Master of Fine Arts - M.F.A.
Master of Library Science - M.L.S.
*Master of Science - M.S.
Master of Science in Accounting - M.S.A.
*Master of Science in Instruction - M.S.I
*Master of Science in Teaching and Inquiry - M.S.T.I.
*Master of Social Work - M.S.W.

Example: John Smith, Ph.D., is teaching at Northeastern.
The * denotes academic degrees offered by Northeastern Illinois University.

ADDRESSES

When writing out the address for one of the University’s locations, avoid using abbreviations for the street address. Please use the following formats:

NOTE: For locations other than the main campus, when the official University logo is being used, it is acceptable to not use the first address line with the University’s name.

Main Campus Location:

Northeastern Illinois University
5500 North St. Louis Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699

Main Campus Address for Directions/Parking Use Only (this is not an official mailing address):

Northeastern Illinois University
3701 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625

Additional Locations:

Northeastern Illinois University
Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies
700 East Oakwood Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60653-2312

Northeastern Illinois University
Center for College Access and Success
770 North Halsted Street, Suite 420
Chicago, Illinois 60642-5972

Northeastern Illinois University
El Centro
3390 North Avondale Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60618-5435

Northeastern Illinois University
University Center of Lake County
1200 University Center Drive
Grayslake, Illinois 60030-2614

Unit Example:

Northeastern Illinois University
Department of Social Work
5500 North St. Louis Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699

ALUMNA, ALUMNUS, ALUMNAE, ALUMNI

When referring to alumni of the University, please keep in mind the different forms of the word. “Alumna” refers to a female graduate or former student. “Alumnae” is the plural of the feminine form. “Alumnus” refers to a male graduate or former student. “Alumni” is the plural of the masculine form or of the masculine and feminine form together.

Include the graduation year and program information when referring to Northeastern alumni. Please use best judgment whether to write out degree and graduation year or to abbreviate within parentheses. Make sure that the apostrophe before the graduation year faces the proper direction.

Examples:

  • John Smith (B.A. ’13 Anthropology) is an alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • John Smith is an alumnus of Northeastern’s College of Business and Management.
  • Jane Smith is a distinguished alumna of Northeastern.
  • Jane Smith and Sheila Taylor are recent Northeastern alumnae.
  • John Smith and Joe Taylor are recent Northeastern alumni.
  • All of the alumni who came to the event were happy about their experiences at Northeastern.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Capitalize when used in full; on second reference “board” and "BOT" are acceptable. Official name: Board of Trustees of Northeastern Illinois University.

BUILDINGS

Each building’s official name is given first followed by the University-approved abbreviations. Some buildings have an alternate name, and that is shown in parentheses. Please note that some buildings do not have an alternate name, and that in most cases the official name – not the alternate name – should be used in University publications.

Main Campus
Alumni Center - I
Bernard J. Brommel Hall - BBH
Bernard Office Building - BOB
Building B - B
Building D - D
Building E - E
Building F - F
Building H - H
Building J - J
Childcare Center - CH
College of Business and Management - CBM

Grounds Maintenance - GM
Jerome M. Sachs Administration Building
(Sachs Administration Building, Building C) - C br Lech Walesa Hall - LWH
Ronald Williams Library (Library) – LIB
Parking Facility - PF
Physical Education Complex - PE
Salme Harju Steinberg Fine Arts Center (Steinberg Fine Arts Center) - FA
Student Union - SU

Center for College Access and Success (CCAS)
El Centro - EC
Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies) - CCICS

 

CAMPUS

Only the Main Campus may be referred to as a campus, according to the Higher Learning Commission. Capitalize Main Campus when referring to the location on St. Louis Avenue. Other Northeastern properties should be referred to as locations.

CLASSES

Lowercase freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate.

COLLEGES

There are four colleges at Northeastern Illinois University. Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education is named after alumnus, donor and former trustee Daniel L. Goodwin. The college’s full name, Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education, should be used on every reference in all internal and external communications.

These are the official names of the four colleges on first reference (and second reference):

  • College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
  • College of Business and Management (COBM)
  • College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR)
  • Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education (Goodwin College)

COMMENCEMENT

Use upper case for the formal ceremony, but use lower case for generic usage.

Examples:

  • Undergraduate Commencement will be held on the Athletic Field.
  • Northeastern holds two commencements each year.

COMPOSITION TITLE

Use the guidelines below for book titles, computer game titles, movie titles, opera titles, poem titles, album titles, song titles, radio and television program titles, lecture and speech titles, and works of art.

  • Put quotation marks around all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material (including almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications).
  • Television stations use call letters but no quotation marks.
  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.

COURSES OR PROGRAMS

Uppercase when referring to a specific course or programs; lowercase when describing a general course or program. For a specific course, capitalize the subject or course name when used with a numeral.

Examples:

  • He is enrolled in Sociolinguistics 101 and Organic Chemistry 309.
  • He is enrolled in a linguistics course, and a chemistry class.

University editorial standards primarily follow the Associate Press Stylebook (AP) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. This abbreviated guide is meant to give basic guidance for some commonly used words and phrases, as well as to outline some basic rules for University writers. Certain sections are also based on established University practices. For other general editorial rules, please use the style guide that relates to the publications you are writing and editing.

Editorial Standards D-L

DATES

Use the sequence of month-day-year. When used in a sentence, set off the year by commas. However, if the day is not given, no commas are needed. When referring to decades or centuries by year (e.g., the '70s, the 1900s), no apostrophe appears between the year and the s. In some cases, such as news stories and calendar notices, best practice is to abbreviate months (AP style: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.); please see Months section for more detail.

Examples:

  • On October 23, 2013, he will be speaking in Alumni Hall.
  • He will be speaking in Alumni Hall October 2013.
  • The 1300s were a time of unrest.

NOTE: In invitations, flyers, and similar announcements, always give the day of the week before the date. The year is not necessary in many such publications, particularly if the year is included in the name of the event.

DAYS OF THE WEEK

Do not abbreviate days of the week in running text. Where space is limited, as in tables, abbreviate as follows: Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (to facilitate tabular format).

NOTE: Due to severe space limitations, the Northeastern Schedule of Classes uses the following abbreviations: M (Monday), T (Tuesday), W (Wednesday), R (Thursday), F (Friday), S (Saturday) and U (Sunday).

DEPARTMENT NAMES

Use lowercase (except when using proper nouns or adjectives): the department of economics, the department of English, etc. As an official or formal name: Northeastern Illinois University Department of Economics. As a secondary reference: The economics department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

DOCTOR

Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title for an individual who holds a medical degree. If appropriate in the context, Dr. may also be used on first reference before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, because the public identifies Dr. only with physicians, care should be taken to ensure the individual’s specialty is stated in first or second reference. Do not continue the use of Dr. in subsequent references.

DOLLARS

Always lowercase. Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references or amounts without a figure.

Examples:

  • $500,000, $5 million, $5 billion, $1,234,567, $300 billion

For amounts more than $1 million, use up to two decimal places. Do not link numerals and the word by a hyphen.

Examples:

  • $1.23 million, $9.87 billion

ELIPSES

In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces, as shown here: ( ... )

Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that would distort the meaning. An ellipsis also may be used to indicate a thought that the speaker or writer does not complete. Substitute a dash for this purpose, however, if the context uses ellipses to indicate that words actually spoken or written have been deleted.

EMAIL

The University standard is to refer to electronic mail as one word: email. Never allow an email address to break over two lines with a hyphen.

EMERITUS, EMERITI, EMERITA, EMERITAE

The title of “emeritus” or “emerita” is not synonymous with "retired." It is an honor bestowed on certain retired faculty and should be included in the title. "Emerita" refers to a female. "Emeritus" refers to a male or gender-neutral individual. "Emeritae" is the feminine plural. "Emeriti" is the plural of the masculine form or of the masculine and feminine form together. The word should follow "professor."

Examples:

  • Professor Emerita Jane Smith is present.
  • John Smith, professor emeritus of Economics, is present.
  • Jane Smith and John Smith are professors emeriti.

FAX

An abbreviation of “facsimile,” not an acronym; it should not be spelled in uppercase.

GOVERNOR

Capitalize and abbreviate as Gov. or Govs. when used as a formal title before one or more names.

GRADUATE

Graduate is correctly used in the active voice. She graduated from Northeastern.

It is correct, but unnecessary, to use the passive voice: He was graduated from Northeastern.

Do not drop from: She graduated from Northeastern. Incorrect: She graduated Northeastern.

INTERNET

A worldwide system of interconnected computer networks. Lowercase the “i” unless it is at the beginning of a sentence.

LEARN IN THE CITY. LEAD IN THE WORLD.

“Learn in the city. Lead in the world.” The official University tagline.

LEGISLATIVE TITLES

On first reference, use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names. On second reference, do not use legislative titles before a name unless it is part of a direct quotation. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. Capitalize when used before a name, lowercase in other uses. Add U.S. or state before title if necessary.

University editorial standards primarily follow the Associate Press Stylebook (AP) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. This abbreviated guide is meant to give basic guidance for some commonly used words and phrases, as well as to outline some basic rules for University writers. Certain sections are also based on established University practices. For other general editorial rules, please use the style guide that relates to the publications you are writing and editing.

Editorial Standards M-S

MONTHS

In running text, do not abbreviate the names of months. Spell out months when used alone or with a year. When used with a specific date or if you must abbreviate in a situation where space is limited, shorten as follows: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Examples:

  • October 2013 was a cold month.
  • Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, is the delivery date.
  • Feb. 23 was a warm day.

NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY

The first letter of each word in the name of the University should be capitalized. In promotional or marketing publications, it is common to use Northeastern, or to capitalize “university” to refer to Northeastern Illinois University after an initial mention of the full University name. Use NEIU to head a narrow column of data on a chart or for a publication headline, if necessary.

Correct:

Northeastern Illinois University (first reference)
Northeastern (second reference)
University (second reference)
NEIU (occasionally and for internal use)

Incorrect:

N.E.I.U.
NorthEastern
Northeastern Illinois
Northeastern University

NUMBERS

Spell out numbers when they begin a sentence. Also spell out numbers one through nine; use numerals for 10 and above. Spell out first through ninth; use numerals for 10th and above. Percentages, decimals and technical measurements should be written in numerals.

OFFICE NAMES

Office is used to refer to an administrative division within the University, such as the Office of Public Relations. (Academic divisions should be referred to as departments, such as the Department of Economics.) Always use uppercase. Preferred style is Office of Public Relations, though Public Relations Office may be used on second reference. In most cases, the word “office” is not necessary after first reference. Some offices that have commonly used acronyms, such as Student Leadership Development (SLD), may use acronyms on second reference.

OFFICE OF …

Use “Office of” for all campus areas unless otherwise noted.

ONLINE

One word (no hyphen) used for the Internet connection term.

PERCENT

Spell out the word “percent” and repeat if a range is described. Do not spell out the numbers, use numerals.

Example:

  • The class is composed of 60 percent females and 40 percent males.

PUNCTUATION

Ampersand (&)
Commonly known as the “and sign,” the ampersand should not be used as an abbreviation. Write “and” when needed. Exceptions can be made for website headers when space is limited, social media and trademarked names.

Colons and Capitalization
In most cases, the first word after a colon in a sentence should be lowercased. Exceptions to this are if the first word after a colon is a proper noun, a new complete sentence, or an extracted quote.

Commas in a Series
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 ate an apple, chips, and peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.) Use a comma also before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases. Exceptions can me made to include a comma before the conjunction in a simple series (also known as the Oxford comma) if the communication is academic in nature and the comma is expected.

Commas with Dates

It is not necessary to use a comma in running text if you are writing only the month or season and year. However, if you are writing a date in month-day-year form then use a comma before and after the year.

Examples:

  • In March 2008 we will celebrate University Day.
  • We will celebrate University day in spring 2008.
  • University Day on March 27, 2008, will take place in Alumni Hall.

Examples:

  • In March 2008 we will celebrate University Day.
  • University Day on March 27, 2008, will take place in Alumni Hall.

Dash

Do not put a space on either side of a dash. Here are some examples of dash usage:

ABRUPT CHANGE: Use dashes to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause: Through her long reign, the queen and her family have adapted—usually skillfully—to the changing taste of the time. But avoid overuse of dashes to set off phrases when commas would suffice.

SERIES WITHIN A PHRASE: When a phrase that otherwise would be set off by commas contains a series of words that must be separated by commas, use dashes to set off the full phrase: He listed the qualities—intelligence, humor, conservatism, independence—that he liked in an executive.

ATTRIBUTION: Use a dash before an author's or composer's name at the end of a quotation: "Who steals my purse steals trash." —Shakespeare.

Exclamation Points
Use an exclamation point only to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion. Most appropriate in casual communications and social media. Avoid overuse.

Possessives
Plural nouns not ending in s: Add ’s: the alumni’s contribution.

Plural nouns ending in s: Add only an apostrophe: the students’ grades.

Nouns plural in form, singular in meaning: Add only an apostrophe: mathematics' rules.

Quotation Marks with Other Punctuation

The period and the comma always go within the quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark and exclamation point go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

Examples:

  • We hosted a conference called “Dialogue Under Occupation.”
  • We hosted “Dialogue Under Occupation,” an investigative conference.
  • We hosted “Dialogue Under Occupation”; it was an investigative conference.
  • Did he say, “Read the first chapter”?

Space between Sentences
After a sentence, there should be only one space and not two spaces. This is the case no matter what punctuation ends a sentence.

ROOM NUMBERS

The standard format for writing out University room numbers is to use the University-approved abbreviation followed by a space followed by the room number. Please use the word “room” prior to the actual room number.

Correct:

Room LWH 4036
Room C 330
Room FA 214

Incorrect:

Room LWH-4036
Room LWH4036
LWH-4036

SEASONS

Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter unless used in a formal name: Spring 2015 or Northeastern Spring Carnival.

University editorial standards primarily follow the Associate Press Stylebook (AP) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. This abbreviated guide is meant to give basic guidance for some commonly used words and phrases, as well as to outline some basic rules for University writers. Certain sections are also based on established University practices. For other general editorial rules, please use the style guide that relates to the publications you are writing and editing.

Editorial Standards T-Z

TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Begin with the area code in parentheses: (773) 442-1234.

For internal communications, the preferred format is to use the full seven-digit phone number: 442-1234. However, it is acceptable to use “extension” or its abbreviation, “ext.,” for on-campus numbers: extension 1234 or ext. 1234. Do not use an “x” to replace the word “extension” as in x1234.

TIME TERMINOLOGY

Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a.m. and p.m. with periods after each letter., Do not use the abbreviations a.m. and p.m. with the words morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night or o’clock.

Write the time of day as follows: 3 p.m., 9:15 a.m., 4:05 p.m.

Do not include :00 for on-the-hour times. However, if you will be listing more than one time, give the minutes for all of them if you must give them for any: 1:15, 2:00, 3:20 not 1:15, 2, 3:20.

TIME ZONES

Capitalize the full name of the time in force within a particular zone: Eastern Standard TimeMountain Daylight TimeCentral Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time, etc. Lowercase all but the region in short forms: the Eastern time zoneEastern timeMountain time, etc. Avoid use of abbreviations such as CST and EDT to avoid confusion.

TITLES, ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL

Formal academic titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are used as part of the name. Titles should be lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name. Once a title has been mentioned, it does not need to be repeated each time a person’s name is mentioned.

Examples:

  • Professor Jones; the professor; John Jones, professor of Biology
  • Associate Professor Jones; the associate professor; John Jones, associate professor of Biology
  • Assistant Professor Jones; the assistant professor; John Jones, assistant professor of Biology
  • Instructor Jones; the instructor; John Jones, instructor of Biology
  • Chair Jones; the chair; Joan Jones, chair, Department of English
  • Dean Jones; the dean; Joe Jones, dean, College of Education

The use of the prefix Dr. most frequently is understood to identify physicians. However, in the context of Northeastern Illinois University, which does not have a medical school, there should be little confusion. Remember that not all terminal degrees are Ph.D.s, so not every professor would take a “Dr.” prefix. The use of Dr. and other degree attributions will vary by audience and medium, but here are some general guidelines:

For news stories to be read by the general public

English Professor John Smith is going to appear ... (Can only be used if the faculty member has been promoted to professor.)

Art Associate Professor Jennifer Smith is going to appear …

Spanish Assistant Professor Jim Jones is going to appear…

Business Law Professor Jane Smith, J.D., is quick to point out ... (Can only be used if the faculty member has been promoted to professor.)

Art Associate Professor Jennifer Smith, M.F.A., is going to appear …

Spanish Assistant Professor Jim Jones, Ph.D., is going to appear…

Biology Instructor John James, M.S., is going to appear…

For formal communications

John Smith, J.D., associate professor of Business Law, will present...

Jane Smith, D.M., associate professor of Music, will present …

Jim Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of Accounting, will present …

Jenny Smith, Ed.D., professor of Educational Leadership and Development, will present …

Jenn Smith, M.F.A., instructor of Art, will present …

Jeanne Smith, M.F.A., professor of Art, will present…  

Or

Economics Associate Professor John Smith, Ph.D., was awarded ...

Also

  • Dr./Ms./Mr. Smith to be used on subsequent references.

  • If a subject holds multiple advanced degrees, list them in order of his or her preference. If that is unknown, list in order from most to least advanced. Ex.: John Smith, Ph.D., M.B.A., professor of Economics, has been awarded …

Professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are used as part of the name. Titles should be lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name. Once a title has been mentioned, it does not need to be repeated each time a person’s name is mentioned.

Examples:

  • President Jones; the president

  • Vice President Jones; the vice president

URLS/WEB ADDRESSES

For promotional, marketing or informal publications, it is acceptable to print the Web address or URL (Universal Resource Locator) without the protocol or transfer method (generally, http). In these publications, the goal is not documentation but instead conveying an address that people will remember. For example, in a brochure, you can list the University website aswww.neiu.edu and do not have to use http://www.neiu.edu. Do not assume that a Web address works without the “www.” Always include this as part of Web addresses in printed material. Also, do not underline Web addresses in your publications.

In printed materials, it is preferable not to split up a Web address between lines. If you must break a Web address at the end of a line, do not add a hyphen to show the line break. Web addresses that have to be broken should be broken after the natural punctuation within the address, whether the punctuation is a tilde, slash, double slash or underscore.

Example of an acceptable break:

WEB AND WEBSITE

The word “web” is short for World Wide Web, which is an information system on the internet. Proper uses: web, web page, website, webinar and so forth.

Brand

Contact the Division of Marketing and Communications

T (773) 442-5419

marketing@neiu.edu

Contact the Division of Marketing and Communications

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