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Editorial Style

Abbreviations/Acronyms

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Directions

Inclusive writing

Letter format

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Amperstand (&)

Apostrophe

Capitalization

Colon

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Ellipsis

Hyphen

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Quotation Mark

Semicolon

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 Abbreviations/Acronyms

An abbreviation is any shortened form of a word or phrase. Example: The meeting will be held Jan. 22. An acronym is a word formed from the initial parts of a name. Example: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Initialism is a group of initial letters used as an abbreviation for a name or expression, each letter being pronounced separately.

Example: "PBS" (Public Broadcasting System).

In General: Avoid Alphabet Soup
Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms unless they are universally recognized, such as NASA or ROTC. Less known acronyms may be used when your copy refers repeatedly to a lengthy name.
Spell out the abbreviation on first reference and follow with the abbreviation in parentheses to prepare readers for your subsequent use of the abbreviation. Avoid putting abbreviations next to each other in a sequence.

Wrong: The VSU COE is housed in Martin Hall.
Right: The VSU College of Nursing (COE) is housed in Martin Hall.

Avoid Periods
Avoid using periods in abbreviations, unless confusion might result.

Wrong: The V. P. of Advancement
Right: The VP of Advancement

Before a name
Abbreviate the following titles when used before a name: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., the Rev., Sen. and military designations. However, spell out all of the abbreviations above when used in a direct quote.

Example: “Reverend Peterson suggested I attend business school,” said Katie Smith.
Example: The Rev. Chuck Peterson said I should attend business school.

After a name
Abbreviate junior and senior after an individual’s name, but do not set it off with a comma. Abbreviate company, corporation, incorporated and limited when used after the name of a corporate entity. Academic degrees may also be abbreviated after a person’s name (set off by commas).
Example: Mary Lou Hart, BS, loved attending VSU.
Example: John F. Kennedy Jr. loved to play golf.

Dates and Numbers
Use the abbreviations A.D., B.C., a.m., p.m. and No. only when the abbreviations are used with numbers. When used with a specific date, abbreviate months Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.

Right: In 450 B.C.; at 9:30 a.m.; in room No. 6; on Sept. 16.
Wrong: Early this a.m. he asked for the No. of your room.
Right: Early this morning, he asked for the number of your room.

Abbreviations That Stand Alone
GPA, SAT and ACT are not spelled out. In fact, SAT is no longer an abbreviation; it is a trademark. Spell out other major academic tests on first reference, follow with parenthesis, then use abbreviations on future references within the same document.

Ampersand (&)
Do not use the ampersand (&) as an abbreviation for “and” unless it is part of the official name of a company, product or other proper noun. The ampersand may be used on covers and display matter, at the discretion of the designer.

State Abbreviations
Use the U.S. Postal Service format (two capital letters, no periods) when you must abbreviate state names on documents to be mailed. Do not use periods for USA, the three-letter abbreviation for United States of America. Use the abbreviation U.S. only as an adjective. Spell out United States when it is a noun.

Example: Most U.S. products are subjected to routine and extensive screening processes.
Example: Valdosta State University is recognized as one of the premier regional universities in the United States.

In text, use the AP Style state abbreviations as listed below:
Ala. Kan. Nev. S.C.
Ariz. Ky. N.H. S.D.
Ark. La. N.J. Tenn.
Calif. Md. N.M. Vt.
Colo. Mass. N.Y. Va.
Conn. Mich. N.C. Wash.
Del. Minn. N.D. W.Va.
Fla. Miss. Okla. Wis.
Ga. Mo. Ore. Wyo.
Ill. Mont. Pa.
Ind. Neb. R.I.

Degrees
If mention of a degree is necessary, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and instead write out the person’s credentials. When degree abbreviations must be used, put the abbreviation after the full name and offset by commas. Do not precede a name with a courtesy title (Dr., for instance), then follow it with an abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.

Abbreviations for degrees are as follows:

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Biology B.S.
Chemistry B.S.
English B.A.
History B.A.

Mathematics & Computer Science

Mathematics B.A.
Applied Mathematics B.S.
Computer Science B.S.
Computer Information Systems B.S.

Modern and Classical Languages
French B.A.
Spanish B.A.

Philosophy

Philosophy B.S.
Physics, Astronomy, & Geosciences
Physics B.S.
Astronomy B.S.
Environmental Geosciences B.S.

Political Science

Political Science B.A.
Legal Assistant Studies B.A.

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice

Sociology and Anthropology B.A.
Criminal Justice B.A.
College-wide
Associate of Arts A.A.
General Studies B.G.S.

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Accounting and Finance

Accounting B.B.A.
Finance B.B.A.

Management

Management B.B.A.

Marketing and Economics

Marketing B.B.A.
Economics B.B.A., B.A.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Adult and Career Education

Business Education B.S. Ed.
Cooperative Technical Program A.A.S.
Dental Hygiene A.A.S.
Office Administration & Technology B.S.
Technical Studies B.A.S.
Technical, Trade, and Industrial Education (Secondary Option) B.S. Ed.
Technical, Trade, and Industrial Education (Postsecondary Option) B.S. Ed.

Early Childhood & Special Education

Early Childhood Education B.S. Ed.
Special Education (Early Childhood Special Ed) B.S. Ed.

Kinesiology and Physical Education

Exercise Physiology B.S. E.S.
Health & Physical Education B.S. Ed.
Athletic Training (Sports Medicine) B.S.

Middle, Secondary, Reading, & Deaf Education

American Sign Language/Interpreting B.S. Ed.
Deaf Education B.S. Ed.
Middle Grades Education B.S. Ed.

Psychology and Counseling

Psychology B.A.
Psychology B.S.

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Communication Disorders B.S. Ed.

COLLEGE OF THE ARTS

Art

Art B.A., B.F.A.
Art Education B.F.A.
Interior Design B.F.A.

Communication Arts

Dance B.F.A.
Mass Media B.F.A.
Speech Communication B.F.A.
Theatre Arts B.F.A.

Music

Music B.A.
Music Performance B.M.
Music Education B.M.

COLLEGE OF NURSING

Nursing

Nursing B.S.N.

THE GRADUATE SCHOOL


COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Biology M.S.
Criminal Justice M.S.
English M.A.
History M.A.
Marriage and Family Therapy M.S.
Public Administration M.P.A.
Sociology M.S.
College of Business Administration Business Administration M.B.A.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Adult and Career Education

Adult and Vocational Education Ed. D.
Business Education M. Ed.
Vocational Education M. Ed., Ed. S.

Curriculum & Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology M. Ed., Ed. S.
Curriculum and Instruction Ed. D.

Early Childhood and Reading

Early Childhood Education M. Ed., Ed. S.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Reading Education M. Ed., Ed. S.

Educational Leadership

Building & System Level Leadership M. Ed., Ed. S.
Educational Leadership Ed. D.

Kinesiology & Physical Education

Health & Physical Education M. Ed.

Middle Grades and Secondary Education

English, History, Science, Mathematics, Spanish M. Ed.

Psychology and Counseling

Clinical Psychology M.S.
Industrial Psychology M.S.
School Counseling M. Ed., Ed. S.
School Psychology Ed. S.

Special Education and Communications Disorders

Special Education, Mild Disabilities M. Ed.
Special Education, Mental Retardation M. Ed.
Special Education Ed. S.
Communication Disorders M. Ed.

COLLEGE OF NURSING

Nursing M.S.N.

COLLEGE OF THE ARTS

Music

Music Performance M.M.P.
Music Education M.M.E.

Division of Social Work M.S.W.
Library and Information Science M.L.I.S.

Addresses

Abbreviations
Abbreviate Avenue, Boulevard, and Street only with a numbered address. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number. Always spell out Alley, Drive, Road and Terrace.
Example: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. / Pennsylvania Avenue

When abbreviating post office in an address, do not use periods.
Example: PO Box 332

Figures
Always use figures for an address number, but spell out and capitalize numbered streets First through Ninth when used with street names.
Example: 9 N. Smith Road
Example: 7 Fifth Ave. and 100 21st St.

Directions
Always abbreviate compass points to indicate directional ends of streets, but write them out when the address number is omitted.
Example: 22 E. 42nd St.
Example: East 42nd Street

Address Order
Campus addresses should begin with the name, title (optional), office or department, followed by Valdosta State University and Valdosta, GA 31698. VSU has its own zip code, so one does not need to include the main address, 1500 N. Patterson St.
Sentence form Example: Send inquiries to the Office of the President, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698.
Stacked address Example:
Office of the President
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA 31698

Other Contact Information
Phone numbers should include a zip code in all instances. Use dashes to separate the numbers.
Example: 229-333-7145
In text, include contact information in the following manner:
For more information, please call the Office of the President at 229-333-5800 or e-mail Bob Smith at bsmith@valdosta.edu.

Dates

Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd, or th.

Year alone: Years are expressed in numerals: The year is 2008. It is acceptable to start a sentence with a year, but it is preferred to rewrite the sentence so that the year is later in the sentence.

Year abbreviated: In informal contexts, the first two digits of a year can be replaced by an apostrophe: the class of ’58 (not ‘58). Please note the curve of the apostrophe.

Academic year or ranges of years: Use 2007-08 or 2007-2008, but be consistent with the style you choose within your document or set of documents. In running text, the preferred style is 2007 to 2008 rather than using one of the previously mentioned forms.

Centuries: Lowercase and spell out numbers less than 10: the first century; the 19th century. For proper names, capitalize and/or follow the organization’s practice: Century 21 Realty; Twentieth Century Fund. Hyphenate only when the century forms a compound modifier: 18th-century architecture.

Decades: Use numerals to indicate decades of history. Use an apostrophe to indicate numerals that are left out; show plural by adding the letter s: the 1990s (not 1990’s); the Roaring ’20s.

Month and day: Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific name, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Spell out all months when standing alone.

Month and year: Do not set off with commas: October 22.

Month, day and year: Use a comma to separate the day from the year: October 22, 2008, is when Sally was born. Never add “nd,” “st” or “th” to a date: Classes start August 20 (not August 22nd).

Directions/Regions

Lowercase compass directions north, south, northeast, northern, etc. when they indicate compass direction: The cold front is moving east.

Capitalize names of U.S. regions: The Northeast depends on the Midwest for its food supply. A storm system that developed in the Midwest is spreading eastward. The “Middle East” applies to Afghanistan, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The term is preferable to “Mideast.”

Country names: Lowercase compass points unless they are part of a proper name or are used to designate a politically divided nation: northern France, western United States, Northern Ireland.

States and cities: Lowercase compass points when they describe a section of a state or city: western Massachusetts, southern Atlanta. However, capitalize compass points when used in denoting widely known sections: Southern California, the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Inclusive writing

In General
It is important to acknowledge the power of words, both positive and negative. Writers should be conscious of unintentionally conveying bias and thoughtful of every subject and person about which they are writing. Conversely, writers should avoid going overboard to follow trendy, "politically correct" language that changes with the wind. Let the Golden Rule guide your writing — treat people as individuals who are equal — and you are less likely to offend readers.

Below are some guidelines for appropriate references to members of distinctive groups:

Sex and Gender
Avoid the awkward s/he and his/her. The easiest way to write copy that applies equally to men and women is to use plurals.
To be academically successful, students need to do more than attend classes regularly; they also need to practice good study skills, take advantage of faculty office hours, and get sufficient sleep.

If the singular must be used, use both pronouns, joined by a conjunction: A student should make it to his or her class on time.

Another alternative is to write in the second person:
Purchase your parking permit during the first week of the semester.


Age
When writing for a general audience, avoid making assumptions about age-related abilities. Remember that not all college students are between the ages of 18 and 22. Include age in a story when possible, but do not include age if a person has requested you leave out that detail.

Disability
When writing about individuals with disabilities, use “person first” language: Students who use wheelchairs, student who is blind, individual with a disability. Parking for people with disabilities should be referred to as accessible parking, not handicap parking. Don't be afraid to ask how a person classifies their disability, and refer to it in that way. Also, try to avoid "overcoming" and "in spite of" in writing that deals with disabled populations. Such writing implies a certain level of pity. Clever terms like "handi-capable" or "physically challenged" should also be avoided.

Avoid terms beginning with "the" followed by an adjective, such as: the disabled, the blind, the handicapped. Instead, use: people with head injuries, deaf students, blind protesters.

Race and Ethnicity

Black or African American: Black is the preferred term, but use African American if that is how the person self-identifies himself or herself.
American Indian: Descendents of the original North, South, and Central Americans.
Asian Pacific American: Americans of Asian descent or Pacific Island ancestry.
White or Caucasian: White is preferred.
Hispanic American or Latino/Chicano: Americans with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, South and Central American.
Multiracial

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression

Mention sexual orientation only when relevant to the story. To avoid the appearance of bias, avoid "acknowledged, admitted and avowed" as adjectives before the words lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgener. Preferred phrasings to describe sexual orientation and gender identity and expression include gay, lesbian (for gay women), bisexual or transgender. Use" homosexual" in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity. Avoid "sexual preference" or gay or alternative "lifestyle."

Business Letter Format

Letterhead here

July 14, 2007
Joe Doe 1234 Main Street
Hometown, GA 30102

Dear Mr. Doe:

When typing formal letters on VSU letterhead, leave at least one inch of white space below the letterhead and use one-inch margins on the left, right, and bottom sides. Align all type flush left with no paragraph indentations. Double space between paragraphs.

As for other spacing, it’s traditional to triple space between the date and the address block, double space between the address block and the salutation, double space after the salutation, and leave four lines for the signature. However, it’s fine to only double space after the date, especially if doing so will save the letter from running on to a second page.

This block style is the current business letter writing style standard and has been approved by efficiency experts because it saves keystrokes. To readers, this flush left style looks more contemporary than the indented paragraph style. Finally, adopting this style will help convey a consistent image for all VSU correspondence.

Sincerely,

Linda Besen

Administrative Assistant

Lists

Lists within sentences
Within a sentence, separate items in a list with commas (see Punctuation concerning commas in lists) or with semicolons if the items in the list include commas.

Example: The roommates came from Boise, Idaho; Boulder, Colorado; Buffalo, New York; and Burnaby, British Columbia.

Vertical lists
Introduce items in a vertical list with numbers only when the order matters. Otherwise, use bullets or other typographical symbols. If items are numbered, a period follows each number, and each entry begins with a capital letter—whether or not the entry forms a complete sentence. Avoid putting long sentences or a string of sentences in list form; rather, set them as numbered paragraphs and indent only the first line.

If you are the first one to spot a fire:
1. Close your office door behind you.
2. Find and pull the nearest fire alarm.
3. Leave the building via the nearest stairwell.

This course has several graded projects:
a midterm test
a final exam
a team project
a research paper
a weekly log for analyzing your field work

If any or all of the items in a vertical list are complete sentences, punctuate all items in the list with periods. If no items are sentences, follow each with a comma and end the list with a period if the list completes a sentence, or omit punctuation at the end of each item, including the last one. (Be consistent within a document in how you treat similar types of lists.)

When you move to college for the first time, you usually
bring too many things for your dorm room,
forget a few essential items,
bring and forget many of the same things as your roommate, and
wish your parents would take off as soon as the family SUV is unpacked.

If the sentence introducing the list is a complete sentence, it can end in a period or a colon, whichever seems appropriate (following and as follows require a colon). If the introductory material is not a complete sentence, use the punctuation mark that’s appropriate for the context, whether that’s a comma, semicolon, dash, or nothing at all.

Use a line space, or partial line space, before and after all vertical lists.

Names and titles 

Degrees with Names
Use a comma between a person’s name and degree.
Example: Jan Teacher, M.A., now works as an administrator at a prestigious university.

Government Programs
Following the general rules of capitalization, full formal or accepted titles of plans, policies, laws, and similar documents or agreements, together with names of programs resulting from them, are usually capitalized. Incomplete names are lowercased.
Example: In connection with the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, Section 7 (b), when disclosure of the Social Security number . . .

Initials and Nicknames
Use periods and no space between initials, but no periods when the entire name is initials. Put nicknames in quote marks.
Example: G.P. “Bud” Peterson presented the strategic plan to the Board of Regents.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to as FDR, is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms.

Mr. and Mrs.
Do not use courtesy titles before names.

Names with Job Titles
Capitalize formal titles before the name; Lowercase and set off with commas after a name. When a person has a very long title, put the title after the name to avoid clumsy syntax and too much capitalization. Use either Dr. or Professor in front of the name, not “Professor Dr. Bob Smith” to avoid redundancy.
Example: Assistant Professor Jane Smith met with the committee Tuesday.
Example: Dr. Jane Smith, assistant professor, met with the committee Tuesday.
Example: Troy Jones, special assistant to the president and director of special university projects, will take charge of the project.

Names with Suffixes
Omit commas before and after Jr., Sr., and the designations I, II, III, and IV. A possible exception: If you know that a person uses a comma and insists on its use, include it; personal names are a personal matter.
Example: Fred Jones Jr. was introduced by Cedric Waltham III.

Publications, Presentations, and Reports
Apply the guidelines listed here to book titles, computer game titles (but not software titles), movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.
Capitalize the principal 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 or last word in a title.
Put quotation marks around the names of all such words except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material (almanacs, catalogs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications). Do not italicize or underline.
Translate a foreign title into English unless the work is known to the American public by its foreign name.

Magazine titles: Capitalize the name but do not place it in quotes and do not italicize. Lowercase magazine unless it is part of the publication's formal title: Harper's Magazine, Newsweek magazine; Time magazine. Check the masthead if in doubt.
Newspaper titles: Capitalize the in newspaper names if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Lowercase the before newspaper names if a story mentions several papers, some of which use the as part of the name and some do not. Where location is needed but is not part of the official name, use parentheses: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Do not italicize, underline, or place in quotes.

Numbers

In General
The following guidelines apply to writing for external audiences and may not be applicable to scientific, statistical, technical and mathematical writing.

Spell out the numbers one through nine; for 10 and up, use Arabic numerals (10, 26, 400, etc.). Exceptions to this rule include the following — in which numerals should always be used:

Adjacent Numbers
When a sentence has two numbers adjacent to each other, using a combination of numerals and spelled-out numbers can help avoid confusion and, in some cases, is actually required. If one of the numbers is a unit of measurement, leave that number a numeral. In other cases, spell out the shorter of the two numbers.
The play’s set included twelve 8-foot-high plaster pillars.
They distributed 334 twelve-page brochures.

Age: The 8-year-old boy

Beginning of Sentence

Rephrase the sentence to avoid beginning with a number, but if you must start the sentence with a number ... spell it out.
Example: Forty-nine students received the new degree at the May commencement.

Casual expressions

Spell out (A thousand times no!)

Days of the month: February 12, 2010

Dimensions: The 5-foot-6-inch man

Inclusive Numbers
When dealing with ranges of numbers (such as page numbers and years), carry over all the digits that change and include at least two digits for the second number. Use an en dash rather than a hyphen between the numbers.
pages 1,004–05
1991–94
1889–1922
Unless the century changes, inclusive years should be styled with only the last two digits of the second number (1899–1900, but 2001–02). Inclusive years on publication covers, however, can be styled with all four digits of the second number (2001–2002 versus 2001–02) at the designer’s discretion.
Note that in running text, the en dash is not an acceptable substitute for the word to unless the numbers are in parentheses.
She taught anthropology from 1952 to 1992.
She taught anthropology at CU (1952–1960), Harvard (1960–1988), and Berkeley (1988–1992).

Large Numbers: If you must write out a large number, use a hyphen to connect a word ending in y to another word.

Example: Twenty-one, one hundred forty-three, seventy-six thousand five hundred eighty-seven.

Use a comma for numbers with more than three digits unless they represent SAT scores or years.
Resident tuition for 2007–08 was $3,317 per semester.
The book, which was published in 2007, has 1,229 pages.
His combined SAT score was 1235.

Ordinal Numbers: These are figures 1, 2, 10, 101, and so on and the corresponding words — one, two, ten, one hundred. Spell out first through ninth when they indicate a sequence in time or location: first base, the First Amendment, he was first in line. Starting with the 10th, use figures. She placed fourth out of 525 competitors. The 21st century was fodder for many imaginative novelists.

Percentages: The mixture was 2 percent water. *Use the word percent in formal running text. Use the percent sign in tables, charts, scientific and statistical copy, and some informal and promotional copy. Whichever you choose, be consistent throughout a document. The solvent is 20 percent water andn 8 percent cleaning product.

Proper names

Use words or numerals according to an organization’s practice: 3M, Twentieth Century FOX, Big Ten

Proportions: 2 parts powder, and 6 parts water

Roman numerals for wars and to show personal sequence for people and animals: World War II, King George VI, Pope John XXIII.

Round Numbers
The population increased by 2.3 million (rather than including all of the extra zeors and numbers)

Scores: The won 26 to 8

Serial Numbers: The code is A564915

Speeds: He was going 55 mph

Sums of money: He made $8 an hour

Temperature: 100 degrees

Time of day: It's 5:00 p.m. somewhere

Years: The two met in 1965

Time

Use figures except for noon and midnight, and use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Do not include (:00).

Example: He ate at 2:30 a.m., and his heartburn never forgave him.

Example: He went to bed at 2 a.m. after finishing his research paper.

When including time within text, follow this rule: Time, Date Place

Example: The event will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25, in the University Center Magnolia Room.

O'clock: 4 o’clock is acceptable, particularly in narrative writing, but time listings with a.m. or p.m. are preferred

Web Style 

Web documents differ from printed materials in that they need to be shorter and more catchy. Readers tend to skip from one Web page to another and skim through content rather than reading word-for-word, from top-to-bottom. Below are a few tips for writing for the World Wide Web.

Writing for the Web
Make content clear and concise — readers should not have to dig for the name or purpose of the site.

Outline, organize, subordinate: Use links to take readers into deeper levels of a topic. Think of upper-level pages as summaries or abstracts to whet the reader’s appetite. Then use your links as a map of where they can go from there. Use bold subheads, illustrations, lists, and other (quick-loading) visual elements to help communicate your main points and break up copy.

Informal Speak: Speak directly to the reader. Web content is much more personal and less formal that printed materials.

Abbreviations and acronyms: The first time you use an acronym or abbreviation on a page, spell the entire word out and put the abbreviation/acronym in parentheses behind the word. Example: The National Association of Residence Life Professionals (NARL) will hold its annual meeeting Tuesday.

Because of the increasing familiarity people have with the Web, it is now acceptable to use more informal language when referring to your Web site. Instead of visit our Web site at www.valdosta.edu or visit us on the Web at www.valdosta.edu, try visit us at www.valdosta.edu.

Internet-related terms:

Internet (capitalized in all references)

e-mail (also e-commerce, e-learning, e-business)

Web page / Web site / Web (Web is always capitalized and separated from related words). However, use a hyphen when Web is coupled with another word as an adjective. Example: Elliott loves working with the Web-based language program.

home page

search engine

Copyright on the Web
Just because something appears on the Web doesn’t mean that it’s part of the public domain. Since 1989, published material — printed matter or web-based, including photographs — is considered copyrighted whether it has gone through the formal copyright process or not. If you want to use or base your work off of another's site, simply locate the contact information and ask their permission.

URLs and E-mail Addresses
Web addresses are not allowed to end with a period or comma. Therefore, do not end a sentence ending in a URL with a period. Unless your Web site URL is case-sensitive, always use lowercase letters within the URL.

Check us out at www.valdosta.edu
www.valdosta.edu instead of www.Valdosta.edu

http://

Most browsers automatically insert these letters for you, so do not include them when listing a Web address in any publication.

Grammar

Amperstand (&)

Use the amperstand when it is part of a formal title or name of a company: Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company. The amperstand should NOT be used otherwise as a substitute for the word "and."

Apostrophe (')  

Plural nouns ending in s: Add only an apostrophe. tThe girls' toys, states' rights.

Singular common nouns ending in s: Add 's. The hostess's invitation, the witness's answer.

Singular proper names ending in s: Use only an apostroph. Descartes' theories, Kansas' schools.

Singular proper names ending in s sounds such as x, ce, and z: Use 's. Marx's theories, the prince's life.

Plurals of a single letter: Add 's. Mind your p's and q's, the Red Sox defeated the Oakland A's.

Plurals of numbers or multiple letter combinations: the 1980s, RBIs

Capitalization 

The Case for Lowercase
These style guidelines for university-related terms may differ from what you have been using. In general, this guide recommends a lowercase style, for several reasons:

  • When too many words are capitalized, they lose their importance and no longer attract attention.
  • Standard style guides, including the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law and The Chicago Manual of Style, require lowercase letters in running text for things like job descriptions and unofficial department names.
  • Frequent capitalization makes copy more difficult to read.
  • Using lowercase letters in no way diminishes the stature or credibility of an individual’s position or a department’s reputation. Even the title “president of the United States” is lowercased in running text when it doesn’t immediately precede the president’s name.

In General
Official names and proper nouns are capitalized. Common nouns and various shortened forms of official names are not capitalized. Use the full, official name the first time a name or title appears in a document. Rather than repeating a formal name throughout text, use an abbreviation or unofficial name on second reference.

Example: The VSU Department of Sociology and the VSU College of Nursing.
Example: The history department, the English department.
Example: VSU President Dr. Bob Smith / Dr. Jane Doe, the president of the university.

Academic Titles
Capitalize formal titles before the name; lowercase and set off with commas after a name. When a person has a very long title, put the title after the name to avoid clumsy syntax and too much capitalization. To avoid redundancy, remember to not to pair “Dr.” with “professor” before a name (Wrong: Professor Dr. Jane Smith. Right: Dr. Jane Smith, biology professor).

Example: Assistant Professor Jane Smith met with the committee Tuesday.
Example: Dr. Jane Smith, assistant professor, met with the committee Tuesday.
Example: Troy Jones, special assistant to the president and director of special university projects, will take charge of the project.

Composition Titles
Apply the guidelines listed here to book titles, computer game titles (but not software titles), movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.

  • Capitalize the principal 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 or last word in a title.
  • Put quotation marks around the names of all such words except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material (almanacs, catalogs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications). Do not italicize or underline.
  • Translate a foreign title into English unless the work is widely known to the American public by its foreign name.
  • Magazine titles: Capitalize the name but do not place it in quotes and do not italicize. Lowercase magazine unless it is part of the publication's formal title: Harper's Magazine, Newsweek magazine; Time magazine. Check the masthead if in doubt.
  • Newspaper titles: Capitalize “the” in newspaper names if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Lowercase the before newspaper names if a story mentions several papers, some of which use the as part of the name and some do not. Where location is needed but is not part of the official name, use parentheses: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Do not italicize, underline, or place in quotes.

Course Titles
Capitalize official course titles, but do not use quotation marks, italics or any other formatting to offset the course title from the rest of the text.

Example: Students should consider taking Accounting Issues for Lawyers as well as Agency, Partnership, and the LLC.
Example: Sementha Jones said she never thought she would enjoy accounting classes.

Degrees
Capitalize the formal degree name as well as degree abbreviations (see “Abbreviations”), such as B.S. and Ph.D. Do not capitalize informal mentions of degrees.
Example: Lawrence Taylor earned a Bachelor of Music from VSU / Lawrence Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in music.
The Miller family holds a total of five doctor’s, three master’s, and 10 bachelor’s degrees. The oldest Miller earned a BS in biology.

Departments and other units
Capitalize only the complete and official names of colleges, schools, divisions, departments, offices and official bodies (such as University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Students in Free Enterprise, and VSU College of Nursing). Lowercase informal and shortened versions of all such names (such as college of nursing and the system).

Example: The VSU Department of English publishes an annual newsletter.
Example: The Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business is often referred to as the business school.

Geographical and Related Terms
In general, lowercase north, south, east and west, northeastern, etc. when they indicate compass direction; capitalize these words when they designate regions.
Example: He drove west. They cold front is moving east.
Example: The storm system emerged in the Midwest. It will bring showers to the East Coast by morning. He has a Southern accent.
With states and cities, the preferred form is to lowercase compass points when they designate a part of the state or city. But capitalize compass points when they are part of a proper name (West Virginia, North Dakota) or when they denote a widely known section of the state (Southern California, South Side of Chicago, East Side of New York).

Grades
Capitalize grade letters and use two numerals after the decimal point in GPAs.

Example: She got an A in Principles of Economics, which raised her overall GPA up to 3.0.

Example: Jean Warren, Director
Example: John Smith, Associate Director

Seasons and Semesters
Seasons, semesters, and terms should all be lowercase.

  • spring semester
  • fall 2006
  • the summer 2007 term (no commas)
  • summer session
  • spring break

Structures and Places
Capitalize only the official names of buildings and formally designated places on campus.

Pedestrian Walkway
Fine Arts Building
Sawyer Theatre
Odum Library

Titles in Addresses and Display Format
When a title appears in an address or other display format (such as list of administrators in an annual report), as opposed to running text, the title can be capitalized even if it appears after the name.

Trademarks
Many words and names are legally trademarked and should appear with initial capitals to acknowledge that fact. However, avoid using trademarked names. Instead of writing Kleenex and Xerox, use facial tissue and photocopier (unless you intend to refer to the trademarked brand name). A good dictionary will tell you whether commonly used words are trademarked and will also indicate if a trademarked term should be capitalized.
The symbols ® and ™, which often appear on product packaging and advertisements, need not be used in running text.

University
There is still considerable confusion about whether to capitalize university when the word refers to the Valdosta State University. We recommend a foolproof solution: no capitalization unless you are spelling the full name of the university. In most cases, context will clearly indicate when university refers to the Valdosta State University.

Years
Do not capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or first-year student, unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence or in a headline.

Colon (:) 

Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence: He promised this: The company will make good all the losses. But: There were three considerations: expense, time and feasibility.

Colons go outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.

comma (,)

Simple Series: Do not put a comma before the c onjunction in a simple series.

John, Paul, George and Ringo; red, white and blue.

Complex series: Include a comma before a conjunction in a complex series

I eat toast in the morning, a ham sandwich in the afternoon, and pork and beans for dinner.

Hometown and age: Set off hometown and age with commas.

Jane Doe, of Framingham, Ga., was absent. Joe Johnson, 34, was arrested yesterday.

Dashes 

Dashes break up words and copy. See distinctions below:

En Dashes( - )
Use en dashes between inclusive numbers, such as phone numbers and inclusive pages.

Example: You’ll find the examples on pages 223-26 of your text.

Em Dashes ( — )
Em dashes are used to denote a sudden break in thought that causes an abrupt change in sentence structure. Do not overuse em dashes because they can interfere with the flow of the sentence. Make sure to put a space on either side of the em dash.

Example: The meeting will be held in Valdosta — a beautiful college town in South Georgia — for the Azalea Festival.

Ellipsis 

Treat an elipsis as a three-letter word (with three periods and two spaces on either side) ... NOT . . .

Use ellipses to indicate that one or more words has been omitted from the middle of a quotation, document and other texts. Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of a quotation even if you start or stop in the middle of the quoted sentence. Elipses may also be used to indicate hesitation in a speech or written thought.

Example: "Leave all video cameras, tape recorders, and still cameras with the staff . . . at the entrance.”

When the omitted material includes a period, use a period plus ellipses:

“You are now certified to the world at large as alumni of the university. ... With hope and faith, I welcome you into the fellowship.”

Hyphens ( - )

Hyphens are joiners. Use them to aviod ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words.

Avoid ambiguity: Use a hyphen when its omission would result in confusion. Example: The president will speak to small-business men. (Businessmen is typically one word, but "The President will speak to small businessmen is unclear").

Compound modifiers:

Compound proper nouns and adjectives:

Prefixes and suffixes:

With numerals:

Period ( . )

Use a period ...

  • at the end of a declarative sentence: They stylebook is finished.
  • at the end of a mildly imperative sentence: Shut the door.
  • end of some rhetorical questions (A period is preferable if a statement is more of a suggestion than a question): Why don't we go.
  • many abbreviations: John F. Kennedy. T.S. Elliott
  • Abbreviations using only the initials of a name do not take periods: JFK or LBJ.
  • Ellipsis ( ... )
  • Enumerations: 1. Wash the floor. 2. Clean the refrigerator. 3. Do the dishes.
  • Placement with quotations: Periods are always placed within quotation marks: "I love going to the store," Mary said.

Quotation mark ('' '')

Follow these guidelines when using quotation marks within any text:

For direct quotations: Surround the exact words of a speaker or writer.

Example: "I aim to raise the standards of excellence," said President Sam Johnson. Franklin said, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

Running quotations: If a full paragraph of quoted material is followed by a paragraph that continues the quotation, do not put close-quote marks at the end of the first paragraph.

Dialogue or conversation: Each person's words, no matter how brief, must be put into quotations.

Example "Will you go?" "Yes." "When?" "Thursday."

Compostition titles: Use quotations around the titles of books, movies and a variety of other published works and television programs, excluding magazines and newspapers. For a complete list of rules about composition titles, see "Composition titles" in the VSU Writing Guide or an AP Stylebook.

Nicknames: Put quotation marks around nicknames.

Example: James "fast-hitter" Wilson will be first at bat.

Partial quotes: She said she was horrified by their "sloth-like behavior."

Quotes within quotes: Alternate between double quote marks ('' '') and single quote marks (' ').

Example: "He said, 'I love cheese,'" Homer stated. "But after biting into the goat cheese, he said, 'I take that back.'"

semicolon ( ; )

In general, use the semicolon to denote a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can convey but less than the separation that a period implies.

To clarify a series: Use a semicolon to separate a series when elements of a series also must be set off by commas.

Example: He leaves a son, John Smith; three daughters, Jane Smith, Joy Nelson and Page Dear; and his wife, Thelma Smith.

To link independent clauses: Use a semicolon when a coordinating conjunction such as and, but or for is not present.

Example: The package was due last week; it arrived today.

Placement with quotes: Place semicolons outside of quotation marks.

Academic Words/phrases

alma mater: The college one attended (lower case); “Alma Mater” (upper case, in quotes) is the song.

alumna: Feminine singular noun for a graduate of the institution.

alumnae: Plural singular noun for a graduate of the institution.

alumni: Masculine (or mixed masculine and feminine) plural noun one graduate is an alumnus (masculine) or an alumna (feminine).

alumnus: Masculine singular for a graduate of the institution.

class: Classes or courses are appropriate terms. Capitalize the formal title of a class, but do not italicize or put in quotations.

cum laude: “With distinction”; italicize in formal settings.

dorm/dormitory: Unacceptable use. Student residence live in residence halls.

GPA: Second reference for grade point average (no periods).

grade point average: Spell out on first reference. Federal law prohibits the listing of a student’s grade point average in a story, except with the explicit written permission of the student.

graduate, graduation: Valdosta State University has a commencement ceremony, not at graduation ceremony. Note that the verb “graduate” applies only to bachelor’s (undergraduate) degrees. Graduate studenst earn or receive degrees (instead of "graduate").

Greek: In reference to fraternities and sororities, avoid this word when possible. If it is unavoidable, use it only as an adjective and capitalize it.

HOPE scholarship: A recipient is a HOPE Scholar. Students “earn” or “win” HOPE Scholarships for a given year. However, when students fail to maintain the necessary grades to earn the scholarship in a succeeding year, they do not “lose” their scholarship — they simply don’t win it again. The acronym stands for “Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally.”

magna cum laude: “With great distinction”; italicize in formal settings.

maymester: One-month academic term sandwiched between spring and summer semesters. Limit use of the coined word “Maymester” to internal and alumni publications, whose audiences are familiar with the term.

residence hall: The preferred term for on-campus student living accommodations; do not use “dorm” or “dormitory.”

SAT: Once an abbreviation for Scholastic Assessment Test (and earlier for Scholastic Achievement Test), SAT is sufficient on all references, with no periods. Score totals are written without a comma: 2100. As with GPAs, federal law prohibits releasing individual student scores except with the explicit written permission of the student.

semesters: Valdosta State University has four distinct semesters during which students take classes: fall semester, spring semester, maymester and summer semester. Do not capitalize the names of semesters. Can be written as" fall 2009 semester" instead of the more lengthy "the fall semester in 2009."

summa cum laude: “With greatest distinction”; italicize in formal settings.

VSU Buildings and locations

Capitalize the word “building” as part of the name: the Fine Arts Building. When referring to a room in a building, give the building’s name and the room number and capitalize “Room”: University Center, room 1104.

Campus Buildings
Alumni House
Ashley Hall
Band House
Barrow Hall
Baseball Fieldhouse
Baytree Apartments
Bazemore-Hyder Stadium
Billy Grant Field (Baseball)
Brown Hall
Carswell Hall
Centennial Hall
Center for International Programs
Converse Hall
Farber Hall
Fine Arts Building
Georgia Hall
Hopper Hall
Hugh C. Bailey Science Center
Langdale Hall
Lowndes Hall
Martin Hall
My Friend's House
Nevins Hall
Oak Street Parking Deck
Odum Library
Palms Dining Center
Patterson Hall
PE Complex
Physical Plant
Pine Hall
Pound Hall
Powell Hall
Rea and Lillian Steele North Campus
Reade Hall
Reames Practice Field
Student Health Center
Student Recreation Center
Student Recreation Sports Complex
Student Union
Sustella Parking Deck
Thaxton Hall
University Center
University Park
Valdosta Educators Credit Union
VSU Athletic Fieldhouse
VSU Retirement Walkway
West Hall

Unofficial location names - do not capitalize
softball field
central warehouse
greenhouse
front lawn
main campus
north campus
pedestrian walkway
tennis courts

Names of Departments that double as building names - Capitalize
Bursary
Campus Mail
English Language Institute
Equal Opportunity Programs and Multicultural Affairs
Moore Street Clinic
Office of Admissions
Printshop
Regional Center for Continuing Education
Special Events
University Bookstore

Commencement 

commencement: Capitalize the formal ceremony; lower case for generic usage: Valdosta State University's Spring 2010 Commencement will be held at 2 p.m. in the P.E. Complex. Visitors are allowed to take photographs during commencement ceremonies.

cum laude: “With distinction”; italicize in formal settings.

graduate, graduation: Valdosta State has a commencement ceremony, not a graduation ceremony. Note that the verb “graduate” applies only to bachelor’s (undergraduate) degrees. Graduate students earn or receive degrees, but does not graduate.

magna cum laude: “With great distinction”; italicize in formal settings.

summa cum laude: “With greatest distinction”; italicize in formal settings.

For detailed information about VSU Commencement ceremonies, go to www.valdosta.edu/commencement/

Degrees 

If mention of a degree is necessary, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and instead write out the person’s credentials. When degree abbreviations must be used, put the abbreviation after the full name and offse it by commas. Do not precede a name with a courtesy title (Dr., for instance), then follow it with an abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Biology B.S.
Chemistry B.S.
English B.A.
History B.A.

Mathematics & Computer Science

Mathematics B.A.
Applied Mathematics B.S.
Computer Science B.S.
Computer Information Systems B.S.

Modern and Classical Languages

French B.A.
Spanish B.A.

Philosophy

Philosophy B.S.
Physics, Astronomy, & Geosciences
Physics B.S.
Astronomy B.S.
Environmental Geosciences B.S.

Political Science

Political Science B.A.
Legal Assistant Studies B.A.

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice

Sociology and Anthropology B.A.
Criminal Justice B.A.

College-wide

Associate of Arts A.A.
General Studies B.G.S.

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Accounting and Finance

Accounting B.B.A.
Finance B.B.A.

Management

Management B.B.A.
Marketing and Economics
Marketing B.B.A.
Economics B.B.A., B.A.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Adult and Career Education

Business Education B.S. Ed.
Cooperative Technical Program A.A.S.
Dental Hygiene A.A.S.
Office Administration & Technology B.S.
Technical Studies B.A.S.
Technical, Trade, and Industrial Education (Secondary Option) B.S. Ed.
Technical, Trade, and Industrial Education (Postsecondary Option) B.S. Ed.

Early Childhood & Special Education

Early Childhood Education B.S. Ed.
Special Education (Early Childhood Special Ed) B.S. Ed.

Kinesiology and Physical Education

Exercise Physiology B.S. E.S.
Health & Physical Education B.S. Ed.
Athletic Training (Sports Medicine) B.S.

Middle, Secondary, Reading, & Deaf Education

American Sign Language/Interpreting B.S. Ed.
Deaf Education B.S. Ed.
Middle Grades Education B.S. Ed.

Psychology and Counseling

Psychology B.A.
Psychology B.S.

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Communication Disorders B.S. Ed.

COLLEGE OF THE ARTS

Art

Art B.A., B.F.A.
Art Education B.F.A.
Interior Design B.F.A.

Communication Arts

Dance B.F.A.
Mass Media B.F.A.
Speech Communication B.F.A.
Theatre Arts B.F.A.

Music

Music B.A.
Music Performance B.M.
Music Education B.M.

COLLEGE OF NURSING

Nursing
Nursing B.S.N.

THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Biology M.S.
Criminal Justice M.S.
English M.A.
History M.A.
Marriage and Family Therapy M.S.
Public Administration M.P.A.
Sociology M.S.
College of Business Administration Business Administration M.B.A.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Adult and Career Education
Adult and Vocational Education Ed. D.
Business Education M. Ed.
Vocational Education M. Ed., Ed. S.

Curriculum & Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology M. Ed., Ed. S.
Curriculum and Instruction Ed. D.

Early Childhood and Reading

Early Childhood Education M. Ed., Ed. S.

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Reading Education M. Ed., Ed. S.

Educational Leadership

Building & System Level Leadership M. Ed., Ed. S.
Educational Leadership Ed. D.

Kinesiology & Physical Education

Health & Physical Education M. Ed.
Middle Grades and Secondary Education

Secondary Education

English, History, Science, Mathematics, Spanish M. Ed.

Psychology and Counseling

Clinical Psychology M.S.
Industrial Psychology M.S.
School Counseling M. Ed., Ed. S.
School Psychology Ed. S.

Special Education and Communications Disorders

Special Education, Mild Disabilities M. Ed.
Special Education, Mental Retardation M. Ed.
Special Education Ed. S.
Communication Disorders M. Ed.

COLLEGE OF NURSING

Nursing M.S.N.

COLLEGE OF THE ARTS

Music

Music Performance M.M.P.
Music Education M.M.E.
Division of Social Work M.S.W.
Library and Information Science M.L.I.S.

VSU Departments And Offices

Capitalize names of academic departments when using the formal name: Department of Biology. Lowercase, except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives, when referring to departments in a general way: one of the best biology departments; the English department.

Departments

Accounting and Finance
Adult and Career Education
African American Studies
Art
Biology
Chemistry
Communication Arts
Communication Disorders
Curriculum and Instructional Technology
Early Childhood and Special Education
Educational Leadership
English
History
Honors Program
Kinesiology and Physical Education
Mass Media
Management
Marketing and Economics
Mathematics and Computer Science
Middle Grades and Secondary Education
Modern and Classical Languages
Music
Philosophy
Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences
Political Science
Psychology and Counseling
Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Special Education
Women's Studies

Offices

Access Office
Admissions
Athletic Department (Intercollegiate Sports)
Athletic Training
Alumni Relations
Auxiliary Services
Baseball
Basketball (Men)
Basketball (Women)
Bookstore
Business Services
Bursary
Career Services & Cooperative Education
Cheerleaders
Communication Unit
Counseling Center
Cross Country (Men)
Cross Country (Women)
Credit Union
Dean of Students
Development
Division of Academic Affairs
Division of Finance & Administration
Division of University Advancement
Environmental & Occupational Safety
Equal Opportunity Programs/Multicultural Affairs
Event Services
Financial Aid
Financial Services
Football
Golf
Grants & Contracts
Housing and Residence Life
Human Resources
Information Technology
International Programs
Legal Affairs
Marketing & Community Relations
News
Odum Library
Office of Internal Audits
Office of Special Events
Office of the President
One Card Services
Orientation
Parking and Transportation
Physical Plant & Facilities Planning
Public Services
Red Hots Basketball Dance Team
Registrar
Softball
Strategic Planning
Strategic Research & Analysis
Student Affairs
Student Dining Services
Student Employment Services
Student Health Services
Student Success Center
Tennis (Men)
Tennis (Women)
Testing
Training & Dev
University Bookstore
University Bursary
University Police
Volleyball
VSU Tech Shop

Equal opportunity statement  

Valdosta State University is an equal opportunity educational institution. It is not the intent of the institution to discriminate against any applicant for admission or any student or employee of the institution based on the sex, race, religion, color, national origin or handicap of the individual. It is the intent of the institution to comply with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent executive orders as well as Title XI in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Equal Opportunity Programs and Multicultural Affairs

Students who feel as though they have been discriminated against on the basis of their sex, race, religion, color, national origin or handicap, should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and Multicultural Affairs. Through the use of due process procedures appropriate action will be taken to address instances of discrimination and sexual harassment. For more information, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/Multicultural Affairs Office, 1208 N. Patterson St. at 229-333-5463.

Official Names and Slogans 

A variety of campus departments, offices and units have created their own slogans for programs at Valdosta State University. However, The university must create a consistent, powerful identity that provides us with a competitive advantage. When writing for external audiences or as part of formal university documents, please use the following university-approved names and slogans:

Names

Valdosta State University is the formal title of the university.

On subsequent references, the below names may be used:

VSU

V-State

Valdosta State

Slogans

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