There is a distinction between style and grammar. Grammar involves rules that we rarely (if ever) break, but style often is a matter of choice. The key to adopting an effective style is to choose one prevailing guide and apply it across the board consistently.

For all of Carleton’s communications materials (print and digital), the Division of Communications follows the rules outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), which is the preferred style guide for most academic institutions and academic presses. We follow Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary on questions of spelling (use the first listed), compound words, non-English words, accents, and word breaks.

Because not everyone has a copy of CMS — and because even those of us who do often find it cumbersome to use — we have identified and explained items that come into question frequently. In addition, we have listed some Carleton-specific terms, as well as recommended terms and communications advice that further Carleton’s inclusion, diversity, and equity (IDE) goals.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them. If a person is not available to comment on their preferred terminology, consider what word choice would be most respectful and utilize resources from relevant campus offices, such as the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) or the Office of Intercultural Life (OIL). For guidance on using person-first vs. identity-first language (e.g. person with autism vs. autistic person or person experiencing homelessness vs. unhoused person), see this style guide’s section on that topic.

This style guide is intended to evolve, as the English language and society do, to reflect current usage and to embrace new terms and styles as they come into common use. Please contact the Division of Communications with your suggestions for making this guide more helpful and more inclusive, for further guidance on specific questions not addressed by this guide, or to request a paper copy.

A

abbreviations/acronyms/initialisms

An abbreviation is any shortened form of a word or phrase. An acronym is formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word, like NASA. An initialism consists of initial letters pronounced separately, like FDA.

  • If the abbreviation is not generally known, spell the full name out on first reference with the abbreviation in parentheses. Use the abbreviation for every subsequent reference.
    • You can make an appointment at Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) at any point during the academic year. SHAC is staffed by healthcare professionals.
  • Generally, do not use spaces or periods in acronyms or initialisms; however, for abbreviations ending with lowercase letters, use periods with no spaces between letters.
    • CMC, ITS, OHP, AAF
    • p.m., Dr., Mrs.
  • Form a plural by adding an s with no apostrophe.
    • The SWAs are holding a workshop this weekend.
  • For a list of Carleton-specific abbreviations and terms, see the glossary.

See initials; state names

academic degrees

  • Do not use periods with abbreviations.
    • BA, PhD, MD, RN, MBA, MFA
    • See CMS 10.20 for more examples
  • Use lowercase and, where appropriate, possessive in text.
    • He has a master’s degree in business administration.
    • She has a doctorate in political science.
  • Degrees take the indefinite article a.
    • She earned a PhD.
  • Form plurals by adding an s with no apostrophe.
    • BAs, PhDs, MBAs

adviser

Not advisor

ages

  • Spell out one through nine and use numerals for 10 and up.
    • She is two years old.
    • He just turned 12.
  • Hyphenate ages used as adjectives or as substitutes for a noun.
    • A six-year-old child came for a campus visit yesterday.
    • The 27-year-old is eating at LDC today.

See numbers

_____ American identities

  • Capitalize every word of the identity and do not use a hyphen.
    • They are Asian American.
    • He appreciates being part of the African American community.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

American Indian

This is an official government term used for demographic surveys and census data, as well as a preferred identity term for some people. Use American Indian only when referring to official demographic and census data, or when following a specific, personal request; in all other cases, Carleton communications materials should use the term Indigenous rather than American Indian, because Indigenous Carls come from many different nations and countries across the Americas and around the world. Capitalize both terms.

Also note that wherever possible, instead of using the broad term of Indigenous peoples, cite the name that the nation, tribe, and/or community uses for itself. Also note that many Indigenous people prefer using the name in their own language (e.g. Anishinaabe rather than Ojibwe or Chippewa). For more information and resources, visit the National Congress of American Indians website. Contact Carleton’s Indigenous Communities Liaison for further guidance on specific terminology questions.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See Indigenous

and vs. &

  • Use and in most circumstances.
  • Use & only when it is a specific component of graphic design, if it is part of an official name, or when two things are almost exclusively stylized in conjunction with each other.
    • Johnson & Johnson, PB&J

alum/alumni

Use the gender-neutral alum as the singular form and alumni as the plural. Avoid gendered singular terms like alumna and alumnus.

Alumni Annual Fund

Capitalize for clarity. For the same reason, capitalize related entities, like Parents Fund.

Alumni Association of Carleton College

Capitalize the formal name of this group, which includes all people who have ever attended Carleton. The informal name, Carleton Alumni Association, should also be capitalized.

arboretum/the Arb

  • Capitalize the formal name and nickname.
    • Carleton’s Cowling Arboretum is incredibly popular with the local community.
    • She took a walk through the Arb.
  • Use lowercase for informal and general mentions.
    • The presence of an arboretum on campus is a benefit to all students.

B

BCE/CE vs. BC/AD

Generally, BCE and CE will be the preferred, more academic terms; however, disciplines such as art history may use BC and AD more often. The majority of the time, use BCE and CE, but pay attention to context and ask a department expert if clarification is needed.

BIPOC

This acronym stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It is an inclusive term that brings more awareness to the Black and Indigenous members of a community, and many people now use it instead of the more general phrase people of color (POC). For most Carleton communications materials, use BIPOC rather than POC; however, phrases like students of color or alumni of color are preferred if not using an abbreviation and referring to a specific subsection of the wider Carleton community. If a communications material serves a very wide audience, it also might be better to use people of color — it will depend on context. Contact the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Community for further guidance on specific terminology questions.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See people of color

birth name/name when enrolled

Avoid using the term maiden name and use the gender-neutral terms birth name or name when enrolled/name at Carleton instead.

  • Do not set off a birth name in parentheses or quotation marks.
    • Yue Wang Schmidt
  • In publications with alumni as the primary audience, use a graduate’s birth name followed by their married name, if known and applicable.
    • Hanna Kowalczyk Singh ’89
  • Always ask an alum for their preference if possible.

See maiden name

Black

  • Capitalize and use as an adjective, not a noun.
    • A group of Black students from the African Caribbean Association (ACA) hosted a cultural celebration in the Weitz.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

blind/visually impaired/person with low vision

Do not capitalize or hyphenate.

  • She appreciates being part of the blind community.
  • The visually impaired student received accommodations.
  • He is a person with low vision.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See disability; person-first vs. identity-first language

Board of Trustees and other Carleton boards

  • Capitalize when referring to a specific governing body.
    • The Board of Trustees voted today.
    • They had a meeting with the Board.
  • Capitalize Trustee when using as an honorific. Use lowercase for informal trustee titles.
    • He addressed Trustee Martin with his speech.
    • They listened as trustee chair Tom Colwell ’52 made a speech.

See titles, personal

Bookstore

Write as one compound word with no hyphen.

  • When referring to the Carleton Bookstore located in Sayles, capitalize to avoid ambiguity.
    • She went to the Carleton Bookstore yesterday. She thought the Bookstore was organized very well.
  • Do not capitalize when referring generally to bookstores.
    • The paper argues that bookstores are a valuable resource for students.

brackets

Use square brackets, not parentheses, to insert words for clarification or context in quoted material.

  • “I really enjoyed [the president’s] speech,” he said.

See CMS 13.58 for more examples

C

‘C’ Club

Use single quotation marks when referring to the ‘C’ Club, which is an organization of alumni who lettered in varsity athletics during their time at Carleton.

campus location names (for other colleges/universities)

When a college or university has more than one campus, separate the campus name from the institution’s name with an en dash:

  • University of California–BerkeleyCal State–FullertonState University of New York–Buffalo

capitalization

In accordance with CMS, this style guide prefers a sparing use of capitals — sometimes referred to as a “down” style, in which lowercase is the default. For example, although Brussels (the Belgian city) is capitalized, CMS prefers brussels sprouts. Likewise, President Byerly is capitalized, but the president is not. However, be sure to capitalize all official names and titles (e.g. Campus Handbook or Whistleblower Policy).

The capitalization style for headlines differs between Carleton News and newsletters vs. the Carleton College Voice.

  • In order to align with standard news and journalism practices, headlines for Carleton News and newsletters (via email and in print) follow sentence case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
    • Dancer and disability rights advocate Jerron Herman to deliver Carleton convocation
  • The Voice follows standard CMS rules for headline capitalization, meaning every major word is capitalized. Lowercase words are: the, a, an, and, but, for, or, nor, to, as, and all prepositions, except when used adverbially or adjectivally (e.g. Turn Down or Come Up).
    • The Same Flower Can Grow in All Kinds of Gardens
    • See CMS 8.157–160 for more examples

See titles of works

captioning photos

End photo captions with a period if the caption is a complete sentence, and no period if it is not a complete sentence. Length is not the determining factor.

Carleton vs. Carleton College

Carleton is the default when referring to the College. Use the full name of Carleton College only when writing exclusively for an external audience with zero familiarity with Carleton or its reputation. Exceptions can be made for search engine optimization (SEO), for which including the full name is necessary to broaden the reach of communications materials, or for specific graphic design purposes.

Carleton College Voice

  • Italicize and capitalize the formal name of the College’s alumni magazine, usually adding an unitalicized, lowercase the.
  • Italicize and capitalize the magazine’s less formal title, again with an unitalicized, lowercase the.
    • She read the Voice this week.

The Carletonian

  • Italicize the formal name of the College’s student newspaper, including the capitalized The.
    • She wrote for The Carletonian as a student.

Carleton Student Association (CSA)

Capitalize the formal name of the student governing body. When shortened to CSA, do not use periods or spaces between letters.

See clubs/student organizations

check in

  • Hyphenate when used as an adjective or noun. Do not hyphenate when used as a verb.
    • When does check-in start? They went to the check-in table already.
    • They need to check in.

cities

See state names

class titles

See course titles

class year (including parent years, honorary degrees, and deceased spouse class years)

  • Do not separate class years from names with commas or parentheses, unless the full four-digit year must be included for clarity.
    • Margaret Dow, Class of 1913, studied philosophy and music at Carleton.
  • Make sure the apostrophe taking the place of the 19 or 20 is a true (sometimes referred to as “backward” or “left-facing”) apostrophe, not a single open quotation mark.
    • John Nutting ’53
    • Keyboard shortcuts can be used to type the correct apostrophe every time.
      • Mac: Shift+Option+Right Bracket
      • Microsoft Word: Type a single quotation mark, and it will automatically change to a true apostrophe once the two-digit year is typed after it
      • Windows: Unknown… Please contact the Division of Communications if you know this shortcut
  • Capitalize the word Class when it refers to a specific year.
    • The Class of ’56 presented a gift to support science technology.
    • She is a member of the Class of 2023.
  • For parent years, honorary degree years, and the class years of deceased spouses, include a space between the letter P for parent, H for honorary, or W for widowed, and the year. If the parent, honorary degree recipient, or widowed spouse is also a Carleton alum, include a comma between their class year and their parent/honorary degree/deceased spouse’s year. Parent and honorary degree years must be included whenever known and possible. The class year of a deceased spouse can be included on request, but its inclusion is not the default. If all three options apply, the order is parent, then honorary degree, then deceased spouse, with commas between each entry.
    • Imani Johnson P ’26
    • Tim Chen ’93, P ’20
    • Peter Schjeldahl ’64, H ’15
    • Candace Williams ’73, P ’06, P ’11, W ’73
  • Include class year on first use with someone’s full name, then use their last name without class year on all further references.
    • Arjun Sharma ’13 wrote his first novel last year. Sharma is this week’s convo speaker.
  • Avoid using a possessive on first use to prevent awkward, unclear phrasing.
    • The career of Jack Smith ’87, not Jack Smith’s ’87 career
  • When writing about two alumni with the same last name, even when they also have the same class year, include the last name and year separately for both people.
    • Emily Achebe ’01 and Victor Achebe ’02
    • Carlos Perez ’54 and Sofia Perez ’54
    • If the official name of an endowed fund does not follow this style, it is acceptable to still use the official name of the fund.
  • When publishing in print or online, do not allow line breaks to occur between someone’s name and their class year.

clubs/student organizations

Capitalize the official names of all campus clubs and student organizations. For organizations with an acronym or initialism as their official name, follow style guidelines for acronyms and initialisms.

  • Bridge Club, Cujokra, CANOE

college vs. College

  • Capitalize when referring specifically to Carleton.
    • The president is proud of the College’s stance on this decision.
  • Use lowercase when referring to college in general.
    • One of the crucial issues facing every college is environmental impact.

content warning

Generally, use content warning rather than trigger warning, in order to avoid the medical and psychological connotations of the word trigger; however, trigger warning is acceptable to use at the discretion of the writer depending on the context of the communications materials.

commas

  • Use the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma). This means that in a series consisting of three or more elements, the elements are all separated by commas. When a conjunction joins the last two elements, use a comma before the conjunction.
    • English, physics, history, and computer science are all majors offered at Carleton.
    • See CMS 6.18–6.21 for more examples
  • Do not use commas with restrictive (defining) relative clauses, which are usually introduced by that/who/whom/whose and are essential to the meaning of the sentence.
    • The version of the manuscript that the editors submitted to the publisher was perfectly formatted.
  • Use commas with nonrestrictive (descriptive) relative clauses, which are usually introduced by which/who/whom/whose and could be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence.
    • The final manuscript, which was perfectly formatted, was submitted to the publisher on time.
  • An appositive (word, phrase, or clause referring to a specific noun) that is nonrestrictive, meaning it could be removed from a sentence without obscuring the meaning of the noun it is referring to, should be set off by commas.
    • Maria’s husband, Gabriel, liked touring the campus.
      • Since Maria has only one husband, the construction is nonrestrictive and should therefore include commas.
    • See CMS 6.23 for more examples
  • A restrictive appositive, which is necessary for the clarity of the noun it refers to, should not be set off by commas.
    • Maria’s three girls, including her daughter Katya, loved the tour.
      • Since Katya is one of several daughters, the construction is restrictive and should therefore not include commas.
    • See CMS 6.23 for more examples
  • Use a comma after using the word titled when referring to the exact title of a work.
    • His professor published a paper last year titled, “The Beginner’s Guide to Writing at Carleton.”

See which/that; Jr. and Sr.

Commencement

Capitalize Commencement only when it refers to the specific Carleton event in June. Do not capitalize weekend when referring to Commencement weekend.

committees

Capitalize the names of all faculty, staff, student, alumni, and trustee committees. Hyphenate only when the hyphen is part of the official name.

  • The Budget Committee met with the Sustainability Working Group to discuss the topic.

compound words

  • In general, use Merriam-Webster’s to determine whether to hyphenate a compound word or to spell solid (without spaces) or open (with spaces). In accordance with CMS, this style guide prefers a spare hyphenation style, so if no suitable example or analogy can be found either in this section or in Merriam-Webster’s, hyphenate only if doing so will aid readability.
    • The schedule was clear-cut.
    • My workweek is four days.
    • They studied off campus last term.
  • To avoid ambiguity, hyphenate compound modifiers preceding nouns. If the compound word is in the dictionary, ambiguity is unlikely, so those do not generally need hyphens.
    • The compound-modifier issue is not too complex.
    • A high school student visited the office yesterday.
    • See CMS 5.91 for more examples
  • Do not hyphenate when the first word of a compound modifier is an adverb ending in –ly.
    • The smartly dressed alum made a great impression during their interview.
  • With frequent use, open or hyphenated compounds tend to become closed, as happened in the shift from on line to on-line to online. The general adherence to Merriam-Webster’s by CMS does not prevent the occasional exceptions to hyphenating a compound word, such as when the closed spellings have become widely preferred by writers, like website, and pronunciation and readability are not at stake.
  • See CMS 7.77–85 for more examples, including a full hyphenation guide for compound words and words formed with prefixes

See hyphens

comps

Do not capitalize. The full official name for comps is integrative exercise, which is also not capitalized.

community engagement terminology

Emphasize respect, collaboration, and listening to community partners when discussing Carleton community engagement efforts.

  • Use phrases like addressing community priorities, advancing shared goals, and fulfilling our responsibility to our community instead of meeting community needs.
  • Use words like collaborating, working together, and learning from/with instead of helping.
  • Use doing with instead of doing for.
  • Use jointly defining problems and creating solutions instead of fixing problems.
  • Use phrases like real world, hands-on learning, and preparing students for work, life, and citizenship instead of service-learning.

convocation

  • Capitalize only when modified by an equally important adjective, transforming it into a special event. Otherwise, use lowercase.
    • Honors Convocation, Opening Convocation, and Alumni Convocation are important events.
    • This week’s convocation speaker was a hit.
  • In particularly formal materials, generally use the full name of convocation. In all other situations, use the lowercase nickname of convo.
    • Today’s convo was attended by nearly half the class.

course titles

Capitalize the official names of Carleton courses. Do not italicize or use quotation marks. When referring to the subject and course number as well as the title of a course, write it in the order of subject, number, title, with a colon after the number and using the course catalogue’s shortened form of the subject (e.g. ECON 267: Behavioral Economics).

  • Her course, Film Noir: The Dark Side of the American Dream, was offered in the winter.
  • The students enrolled in ARTS 151: Metalsmithing hosted a jewelry show last week.

COVID-19

Use all capital letters and include the -19 to differentiate from other coronaviruses.

D

dates

  • Use month-day-year sequence (omitting the year if it’s obvious), with a comma between the day and the year as well as after the year.
    • This style guide was updated on November 7, 2023, by a Carleton staff member.
  • If the day of the week must be included, place it before the month and use a comma.
    • The event is on Monday, May 8, 2024.
  • Use cardinal, not ordinal, numbers.
    • June 30, not June 30th
  • If the sequence only includes month and year, do not separate with a comma.
    • She visited campus September 2022.
  • Use an en dash, not a hyphen, when writing out date ranges like June 8–10 or year ranges like 2024–25. Sometimes words like from, to, and between are necessary to use instead of or to supplement an en dash. The rule here is clarity — consider what will be most easily understood by a reader, while also taking into account how to save space and make writing concise.

See en dash; months; numbers; years

deaf/hard of hearing

Do not capitalize or hyphenate.

  • She appreciates being part of the deaf community.
  • The student, who is hard of hearing, received accommodations.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See disability; person-first vs. identity-first language

dean’s list

Do not capitalize.

departments and offices

  • When referring to a department informally, use lowercase, except for proper nouns.
    • He is part of the German and Russian department.
    • She has friends in the biology department.
  • Unless an office includes the name of a publication, like the Voice, or a building, like the Alumni Guest House, use lowercase when referring to it informally.
    • The admissions office is hosting a tour today.
    • She works in the alumni relations office.
  • When referring informally to a department with studies in the title, capitalize the proper noun in the phrase, but do not capitalize studies.
    • They took many Africana studies courses at Carleton.
    • Her major in Asian studies provided many connections through the alumni network.
  • Capitalize the full, formal names of all departments and offices.
    • He teaches in the Department of Philosophy.
    • They work in the Office of Alumni Relations.
  • See CMS 8.67 for more examples

disability

When writing about disability, do not use language that connotes pity. Instead, use neutral language that describes but does not judge. For example, has X condition and wheelchair user are preferred over suffers from X condition and wheelchair-bound. When disability is the focus of a communication, use non-disabled rather than able-bodied or normal to refer to someone who does not have a disability. Use the word accessible when something has been modified or created to work for people with various disabilities.

Some people prefer to use person-first language when it comes to disability, such as person with autism. However, other people prefer identity-first language, such as autistic person. Neither is more valid than the other, and the choice between them depends on personal preference and context. See person-first vs. identity-first language for more guidance and information on this topic.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See blind/visually impaired/person with low vision; deaf/hard of hearing; neurodivergent/neurotypical; person-first vs. identity-first language; speech impaired

Division of Communications

Capitalize when using the formal name. Do not use the previous names of CCOM or College Communications.

double spacing

Do not use double spaces after punctuation or between words.

E

ellipses

  • For the Voice, use periods separated by spaces on all sides except when ending a sentence.
    • The class . . . read Austen enthusiastically.
    • The class, as sophomores, read Austen. . . . As seniors, they read Joyce.
  • For all other contexts, use the ellipses character (…) that automatically appears when three periods are typed in a row on Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other word processors.

email

Do not hyphenate or capitalize.

em dash

  • An em dash sets off a separate thought and often takes the place of commas, parentheses, and colons. Do not include spaces around an em dash, unless the spaces are needed for readability online.
    • He knew—or thought he knew—he was right.
  • Keyboard shortcuts can be used to type the correct dash every time.
    • Mac: Shift+Option+Hyphen
    • Windows: Alt+0151
    • Google docs: Type three hyphens in a row
  • See CMS 6.82–6.89 for more examples

en dash

  • An en dash primarily connects numbers, such as date ranges, times, and page numbers. It can also replace to in sports scores and directions.
    • 1979–83
    • 2–6:30 p.m.
    • See pages 4–6.
    • Her team beat Chicago, 3–4.
    • They caught the London–Paris train.
  • To remember the difference between an en dash and a hyphen, remember that a hyphen brings things together and an en dash shows that they are separate entities.
  • Keyboard shortcuts can be used to type the correct dash every time.
    • Mac: Option+Hyphen
    • Windows: Alt+0150
    • Google docs: Type two hyphens in a row
  • See CMS 6.78–6.81 for more examples

See hyphens

ethnicity

Ethnicity is not the same as race, but it can share similarities, as ethnicity refers to groups of people with common ancestry and a shared racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, historical, or cultural origin or background.

When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves this aspect of personal identity, always ask for a person’s preferred terminology and capitalization style, if possible, and use that in relation to them.

See race

F

faculty/staff

Faculty and staff are singular nouns, referring to groups en masse. To make them plural, or to refer to individuals, add members.

  • The faculty is holding a symposium.
  • Faculty members expressed approval for the proposal after staff members joined the meeting.

first year vs. freshman

Use first year instead of freshman unless writing a direct quote that includes the word freshman

  • Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
    • The first-year student brought a book.

fractions

  • Spell out and hyphenate fractions in their noun, adjective, and adverb forms, unless the fraction is forming part of a compound modifier, in which case the noun form does not have a hyphen but the adjective form does.
    • She thought three-fifths of the class would be there. She needed a two-thirds majority to win.
    • The event will begin in a half hour. The last half-hour session ran long.
    • See CMS 7.85 and 9.14–15 for more examples
  • If a word processor allows characters for fractions, like ½, those are acceptable to use.

See compound words; numbers; percent

full time/part time

Do not hyphenate when used as a noun. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.

  • They work full time.
  • He has a part-time job.

G

gender identity

Gender identity is not synonymous with sex. Gender refers to a person’s social identity while sex refers to biological characteristics. Respect all gender identities and pronouns in Carleton communications materials. Also, since not everyone falls in the traditional gender binary, use person and people when referring generally to people and avoid the phrasing men and women.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See nonbinary; pronouns; transgender/trans

graduated

Use from when referring to graduation from a specific place or school.

  • He graduated from college, not He graduated college.

H

headlines

See capitalization.

hyphens

  • Hyphens separate numbers as well as letters when spelling out a word. Also use hyphens when writing the nicknames for NCAA sports divisions.
    • Their cell number is 555-123-4567.
    • His name is Frank; that’s f-r-a-n-k.
    • Carleton has many D-III sports teams.
    • See CMS 6.77 for more examples
  • Do not use hyphens in place of em or en dashes, or vice versa.
  • If line breaks are necessary for a print piece, use a word’s syllables and pronunciation (according to Merriam-Webster’s) as the main guidelines for where to divide it with a hyphen. Make sure to divide after vowels and before or after prefixes and suffixes if applicable.
    • See CMS 7.31–43 for more examples
  • When the second part of a hyphenated expression is omitted, the hyphen is retained and followed by a space.
    • The professor talked about fifteen- and twenty-year mortgages in her lecture.
    • See CMS 7.84 for more examples

See compound words; em dash; en dash; prefixes/suffixes

I

Indigenous

  • Capitalize when referring to the diverse group of peoples, nations, and communities who have extensive historical and political connections to specific places. Use lowercase when referring to something that is native to a region but does not belong to the previously mentioned category.
    • The CCCE fosters important relationships between Carleton and local Indigenous nations and people.
    • That species of flower is indigenous to Minnesota.

Carleton communications materials should generally use the term Indigenous rather than terms like Native American or American Indian, because Indigenous Carls come from many different nations and countries across the Americas and around the world. Exceptions include references to official demographic and census data as well as specific, personal requests or the preference of a specific Native Nation (the term Native Nation, by the way, should be capitalized).

Also note that wherever possible, instead of using the broad term of Indigenous peoples, cite the name that the nation, tribe, and/or community uses for itself. Also note that many Indigenous people prefer using the name in their own language (e.g. Anishinaabe rather than Ojibwe or Chippewa). For more information and resources, visit the National Congress of American Indians website. Contact Carleton’s Indigenous Communities Liaison for further guidance on specific terminology questions.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See American Indian

initials

  • Use periods and spaces between initials standing for given names.
    • R. S. Smith, W. E. B. DuBois
  • If an entire name is abbreviated, do not use spaces or periods.
    • JFK, LBJ, RBG
  • See CMS 10.4–5 and 10.12 for more examples

See abbreviations/acronyms/initialisms

in person

  • Do not hyphenate when used as a noun. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
    • They attended in person.
    • She went to the in-person meeting.

italics

  • Italicize court cases, degree honors, and non-English words not listed in Merriam-Webster’s.
    • They studied Roe v. Wade in class.
    • She graduated magna cum laude, he graduated cum laude, and they graduated summa cum laude.
  • Do not italicize commonly used Latin words and abbreviations like ibid., etc., and et al.

See titles of works; non-English words

italics vs. quotation marks

See titles of works

J

Jr. and Sr.

No longer preceded by a comma in contemporary usage. However, there is usually still a comma in official professorship and fellowship titles; keep the comma if it is in the title in the campus directory.

  • He was friends with Robert A. Oden Jr.
  • She is the Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Humanities and Archaeology.

K

Kickoff/kick off

  • Write as one word when used as a noun or adjective. Write as two words when used as a verb.
    • Her office will host the campaign kickoff.
    • They want to kick off the meeting soon.

L

Latina/o/e/x

Capitalize. When not following someone’s specific, personal request or when referring to anything other than official demographic or census data that requires the specifically gendered terms of Latina or Latino, Carleton communications materials should use the gender-neutral term Latine rather than Latinx in order to better honor Spanish pronunciation.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

Laurence McKinley Gould Library/the Libe

  • Capitalize the formal title and official nicknames of Carleton’s library. Do not capitalize the when referring to the Libe.
    • He worked at Laurence McKinley Gould Library.
    • Gould Library has everything the class needs.
    • She studied in the Libe.
  • Do not capitalize more general references to libraries.
    • He visited the library. Students value libraries a lot.

LGBTQIA+

Carleton communications materials should generally use the initialism of LGBTQIA+. However, the term queer is also often acceptable, because queer is the academic term used by scholars of gender and sexuality, and Carleton is an academic institution. Use of one over the other depends on the context of the writing. When using the initialism, always include the + at the end. Contact Carleton’s Gender & Sexuality Center for further guidance on specific terminology questions.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See gender identity; nonbinary; pronouns; transgender/trans

liberal arts

Do not capitalize or hyphenate, even when used as an adjective.

  • This school has a liberal arts environment.

M

maiden name

Avoid this phrasing and use the gender-neutral terms birth name or name when enrolled/name at Carleton instead.

See birth name

majors

See departments

middle initials

It is not necessary to use middle initials in Carleton communications materials except in formal usage (e.g. the Honors Convo program) or where someone with a common name might otherwise be confused with someone else. Be alert to cases in which a middle initial stands for a person’s birth name, and generally substitute the full name for the initial; however, always follow preference when observed and ask if clarity is needed, as some people only want the initial included even when it refers to their birth name.

See birth name; initials

months

Spell out in text.

See dates

N

neurodivergent/neurotypical

When referring generally to communities and people who differ in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical, and when not referring to a specific condition, use the adjective neurodivergent. When referring to communities and people who align with what is considered typical, use the adjective neurotypical.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See disability; person-first vs. identity-first language

nicknames

Use quotation marks, not parentheses, for nicknames if including someone’s full legal name.

  • Margaret “Muffy” Smith Jones ’45

non-English words

  • Use italics only for unfamiliar non-English words and phrases not listed in Merriam-Webster’s.
    • A chullpa is an ancient Aymara funerary tower found across Peru and Bolivia.
    • He had wanderlust, so he went abroad. He sang a lot of karaoke.
  • If a non-English word becomes familiar through repeated use throughout a communications material, italicize it only on the first occurrence; however, if the word appears only rarely, retain italics throughout the piece.
  • If one or more full sentences appear in a non-English language, set in roman type (no italics) and use quotation marks.
    • See CMS 13.71 for examples

See italics

nonbinary

Do not capitalize or hyphenate.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See gender identity; pronouns; transgender/trans

numbers

  • Spell out one through nine and use numerals for 10 and above. Also follow this style for ages. Only make exceptions for stylistic consistency within the same phrase.
    • They have two papers due next week. She gathered 11 students together for a club meeting.
    • The crowd included a nine-year-old child and her mother, a 47-year-old professor.
    • Five or ten years from now, there will be a new building there.
  • When writing ordinal numbers, do not use superscript. Spelling out one through nine and using numerals for 10 and above still applies for ordinal numbers.
    • She attended her 25th Reunion.
    • He was 123rd in line.
    • They were in the eighth section of students.
  • Hyphenate numbers when spelling them out, except for when spelling out the year, which is only done when it must unavoidably be placed at the beginning of a sentence (avoid this sentence construction).
    • Two thousand and twenty three was the year in which she created twenty-five paintings.
  • Spell out monetary amounts for whole numbers of one hundred or less, and use numerals and symbols for larger amounts.
    • This snack costs seventy-five cents and that snack costs two dollars.
    • He charged $125 per session.
  • When writing the symbols of chemical elements, use subscripts for the numbers. Capitalize letters and do not use periods.
    • She is studying the properties of H2SO4 for her lab assignment.

See ages; dates; fractions; percent; telephone numbers; time; years

O

okay vs. OK vs. ok

Generally, use the capitalized, shortened OK, as that is what Merriam-Webster’s prefers; however, it is acceptable to use one of the other forms if there are concerns about stylistic consistency in a communications material.

P

people of color

Abbreviated by the initialism POC, this broad term includes all non-white people. It is currently generally preferred to use the acronym BIPOC rather than people of color, but if a communications material serves a very wide audience, it might be better to use the more general term people of color — it will depend on context. Contact the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Community for further guidance on specific terminology questions.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See BIPOC

percent

Use numerals for all percentages. In nontechnical usage, spell out percent after the numeral. In infographic and scientific usage, use the symbol % with no spaces between the symbol and the numeral. Avoid starting a sentence with a percentage, because that requires the number to be spelled out.

  • Less than 3 percent of them attended.
  • Only 40% of the study subjects experienced a loss of sleep.

person-first vs. identity-first language

Person-first language is a way of communicating that emphasizes someone’s personhood and views any conditions they have or situations they’re in as just one part of their whole person (e.g. person with autism). Identity-first language, in comparison, is a way of communicating that considers some characteristics as inseparable parts of a person’s identity, and some communities use it as a way to show pride in who they are (e.g. autistic person). Neither way is more valid than the other, and the choice between them depends on personal preference and context.

Person-first and identity-first language do not only have to be used in a disability context, although that is common. Many people use person-first construction or altered identity-first construction to avoid the negative connotations of certain words and phrases. For example, instead of homeless person, many prefer person experiencing homelessness or unhoused person (note that one of those replacement terms is person-first and one is identity-first, but both are used by advocates). Also, instead of prisoner, many prefer person experiencing incarceration or person who is incarcerated.

In general, whether using person-first or identity-first language, default to using adjectives rather than nouns; for example, use older people instead of the elderly. For more clarity on specific terminology, check with active advocacy groups, making sure to find ones that are trusted by the communities being communicated about; for example, refer to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) rather than an oft-distrusted organization like Autism Speaks.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

If a person is not available to comment on their preferred terminology, or if a community or population of individuals is being referred to more broadly (e.g. students with disabilities), Carleton communications materials should default to person-first language. Always consider what word choice would be most respectful and utilize resources from relevant campus offices, such as the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) or the Office of Intercultural Life (OIL). Contact the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Community for further guidance on specific terminology questions.

See disability

places, names of

  • Use lowercase for place names if they simply indicate direction or location.
    • northern, an east wind, in the southwest of Liechtenstein
  • Capitalize world and national regions when used as a noun; if the noun is attached to specific geographical adjectives, capitalize the adjective as well (e.g. South Asia, North Africa, and Central America, but central Europe and the eastern United States). Use lowercase when used as an adjective alone and when adding a suffix implying residence.
    • West, the Western world, the Midwest, the East, Swiss Alps
    • southern, a southerner
  • Capitalize specific geographical place names that are often referenced in popular culture.
    • the Gulf, the Twin Cities
  • Use lowercase for generic parts of urban areas and capitalize areas with specific titles.
    • the business district, the inner city
    • She lives in Montrose, a neighborhood of Houston.
  • Capitalize greater when used with the name of a city to denote a whole metropolitan area, but use lowercase when used with the phrase metropolitan area.
    • Greater Chicago, the greater Chicago metropolitan area
  • See CMS 8.43–8.49 for more examples

places, Carleton campus

  • Capitalize the names of unique places on Carleton’s campus. If using the before the name, keep the article lowercase.
    • Libe, Hill of Three Oaks, Sayles, Great Hall, the Rec
    • See the campus map for the full names and details of all campus places
  • When creating schedules, invites, posters, and similar materials for external audiences, list the full names of buildings and rooms (no nicknames).
    • Weitz Center for Creativity | Room 236
    • The Fourth Floor of the Laurence McKinley Gould Library
  • For internal audiences, it is acceptable to use the shortened, casual options and nicknames preferred by many.
    • Weitz 236
    • 4th Libe

possessives

  • For singular common and proper nouns that end in s, add an ’s.
    • the class’s graduation party
    • Congress’s deadline
  • For plural common and proper nouns that end in s, add only an apostrophe.
    • the three students’ books
    • the United States’ policies

prefixes/suffixes

  • Most words with prefixes and suffixes are spelled closed (no spaces or hyphens). Use Merriam-Webster’s as a guide.
    • postdoc, prerequisites
  • Use a hyphen between a prefix and a capitalized word or numeral.
    • sub-Saharan, pre-1950
  • Use a hyphen between a prefix and an already hyphenated compound term. If the compound term is open, use an en dash instead of a hyphen.
    • non-self-sustaining, pre–Vietnam War
  • Use a hyphen to separate identical vowels or other prefix/stem combinations that may cause misreading.
    • anti-intellectual, pre-health, pre-med, pre-law
  • When two or more prefixes are listed for one common stem, use a hyphen for the prefixes listed before the and, regardless of whether those prefixes and stem would be spelled closed.
    • macro- and microeconomics
  • See CMS 7.85 for more examples

See hyphens

president of Carleton

  • In a first reference to the president of Carleton, use her title and full name.
    • President Alison Byerly
  • On later references, use either her title and last name or just last name, depending on context.
    • President Byerly or Byerly
  • Use lowercase for president when not using the title directly before her name.
    • Alison Byerly is the president of Carleton.

See titles, personal

pronouns

Carleton communications materials should always respect people’s pronouns. The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) has a full guide on pronoun use. When discussing the topic in general, simply use the word pronouns rather than preferred pronouns, because preferred indicates merely a preference, but using the correct pronouns is a requirement for respectfulness. If someone wants their pronouns explicitly stated in a communications material, include pronouns for every person featured in the piece (with permission) so as not to exclude or isolate anybody.

  • Use the singular they when describing a generic or hypothetical person whose gender is irrelevant to the context of the usage, instead of using he or she or (s)he sentence construction.
    • One student per class should submit their name for consideration.
  • Default to using singular they when someone’s gender identity is unknown, and when writing alt text for photo accessibility (the Division of Communications has a full guide for how to write alt text).

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See gender identity

Q

quotation marks, punctuation with

  • Always place commas and periods inside quotation marks.
    • “I was awake,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep.”
  • Place question marks and exclamation points inside quotation marks only if they are part of the quoted matter.
    • The professor asked, “Who completed the assignment?” The student said, “I did!”
    • Why was the student scratching their head when they said, “My turn”? They really want me to believe that their “paper was due tomorrow”!

R

race

Do not hyphenate or capitalize mixed race.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves this aspect of personal identity, always ask for a person’s preferred terminology, if possible, and use that in relation to them.

See ____ American identities; American Indian; BIPOC; Black; ethnicity; Indigenous; Latina/o/e/x; people of color

résumé

Use the accents. Do not italicize.

Reunion

  • To avoid ambiguity, capitalize when referencing the official Carleton event held every June.
    • She came back to campus for Reunion. They danced too much during Reunion weekend. He is the Reunion co-chair. They attended their 50th Reunion.
  • Use lowercase when referring generally to reunions.
    • She enjoyed a quick reunion with friends.

S

sign in

Use sign in rather than log in.

  • Do not hyphenate when used as a noun or verb. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
    • Students must sign in online to access their grades.
    • The sign-in page was unavailable.

speech impaired

  • Generally use speech impaired instead of mute and only hyphenate when used as an adjective.
    • The speech-impaired man used sign language.
    • She is speech impaired.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

See disability; person-first vs. identity-first language

sports

  • Use en dashes, not hyphens, in sports scores.
    • Carleton defeated St. Olaf 49–6.
  • When describing events that include distance, add a hyphen for compound adjectives, but not when the phrase is used as a noun.
    • The men’s 100-meter dash.
    • She ran the 100 meters.
  • Use lowercase for names of individual sports when not referring to team names, except for Ultimate Frisbee (Frisbee is also always capitalized on its own, because it is a brand).
    • rugby, a men’s cross-country meet, baseball, the soccer team
  • Capitalize official team names.
    • Men’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball, Carleton Football

Spring Concert/Sproncert

Capitalize. Use Spring Concert for more formal communications materials with a mostly external audience. Sproncert is better suited for materials geared toward students and other internal audiences, although Spring Concert is also acceptable.

state names

  • Fully spell out state names in most cases. Only use two-letter postal abbreviations (no spaces or periods) in bibliographies, charts, lists, and mailing addresses. The only exception to this rule is the Class Notes section of the Voice, for which state names should follow AP Style abbreviations in order to save space:
    • Ala. (AL), Ariz. (AZ), Ark. (AR), Calif. (CA), Colo. (CO), Conn. (CT), Del. (DE), Fla. (FL), Ga. (GA), Ill. (IL), Ind. (IN), Kan. (KS), Ky. (KY), La. (LA), Md. (MD), Mass. (MA), Mich. (MI), Minn. (MN), Miss. (MS), Mo. (MO), Mont. (MT), Neb. (NE), Nev. (NV), N.H. (NH), N.J. (NJ), N.M. (NM), N.Y. (NY), N.C. (NC), N.D. (ND), Okla. (OK), Ore. (OR), Pa. (PA), R.I. (RI), S.C. (SC), S.D. (SD), Tenn. (TN), Vt. (VT), Va. (VA), Wash. (WA), W.Va. (WV), Wis. (WI), Wyo. (WY)
    • Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah are never abbreviated

State names are not necessary when referring to large, well-known cities such as New York City, Baltimore, or Los Angeles. Northfield, Minneapolis, and St. Paul also do not usually need an attached Minnesota, unless the communications material is solely for a geographically distant, external audience.

T

telephone numbers

Use hyphens between sets of numbers in a telephone number.

  • 507-222-1234

television/TV

Spell out television when used as a noun. When used as an adjective, it can be spelled out or abbreviated depending on context and design.

terms, academic

Generally use term rather than trimester, but both are correct. Consider tone, context, and design when deciding, if necessary.

  • Capitalize only when referring to a specific Carleton term in a specific year. If the word term is included in the phrase, capitalize that as well. Use lowercase in all other situations. This also applies to breaks.
    • Fall 2023, Winter Term 2024, Spring Break 2025
    • fall term, summer break
    • The committee meets every spring term.

theater

Spell theater, unless theatre is part of an organization’s official name, in which case use it only in the full name of the organization.

time

  • Use lowercase and periods with no spaces for a.m. and p.m.
  • Use an en dash when writing out time ranges.
    • 3–8:30 p.m.
  • Spell out times of day for even, half, and quarter hours.
    • Half past six, quarter to three
  • Use lowercase noon and midnight instead of 12 p.m. and 12 a.m.

See en dash

time zones

  • Always include daylight (D) or standard (S).
  • When using an initialism, capitalize and do not use periods or spaces.
    • CDT, EST
  • Use lowercase when spelling out time zones.
    • central standard time, mountain daylight time

In Minnesota, CDT begins the second Sunday of March at 2 a.m. and CST begins the first Sunday of November at 2 a.m.

titles, personal

  • Capitalize official, formal titles when they precede a name; use lowercase when they follow the name or stand alone. Always place long titles after a name for readability. Use lowercase for informal titles before or after a name.
    • The program is run by Professor of Music Melinda Russell.
    • The event is dedicated to Fred Easter, associate dean of students.
    • They should talk to art history professor Lauren Soth.
  • Capitalize courtesy titles such as Chair, Co-chair (hyphenate and do not capitalize chair), Trustee, Judge, and Professor (courtesy titles should not include professorship levels like associate).
    • Professor Reitz, Dean Kimble, Trustee Perlman
  • Capitalize all the nouns in named professorships and place them after the name. If the named professorship is in a list that includes non-named professorships, use lowercase for the common nouns for consistency if necessary.
    • She talked to Robert “Bob” Will ’50, Raymond Plank Professor of Incentive Economics.
    • The panel included Rosemary Rader, associate professor of religion; Harry Nordstrom, professor of music; and Hartley Clark, Frank B. Kellogg professor of international relations.
  • Emeriti professors and presidents use their last active title followed by emeritus for men or emerita for women. The gender-neutral alternative of emerit can be used if the professor prefers it. Do not capitalize or italicize the honorific. Use a comma between an official, formal title and the honorific, but no comma between an unofficial, informal title and the honorific.
    • Bardwell Smith, John W. Nason Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, emeritus
    • Stephen R. Lewis, president, emeritus and professor of economics, emeritus
    • Nancy Wilkie, professor emerita
    • Sy Schuster, math professor emeritus
  • Spell out and capitalize titles like Senator and General when they precede names.
    • Senator Paul Wellstone taught at Carleton before running for office.
  • Avoid honorifics like Dr., Rev., PhD, and Esq. However, if someone has a strong preference that one of these honorifics be included before or after their name, honor that request.
  • See CMS 8.18–8.32 for more examples

titles of works

  • Italicize titles of major or freestanding works. This includes the names of ships and other craft, species names, and legal cases.
    • Book, journal, periodical, magazine, online magazine, newspaper, movie, play, long/epic poem, work of art, opera or other long musical composition, TV program or series, art exhibition, musical album, video, radio program, blog or vlog title, podcast title, and similar online formats.
  • Use quotation marks for titles of smaller works and subsections of larger works.
    • Comic strip, short story, short poem, chapter and article titles, song or other short musical composition, TV episode, blog entry, podcast episode, and similar online formats.
  • Use roman type (no italics or quotation marks) for all other titles.
    • Newspaper/magazine column, academic course, computer program, computer game, website, web page, series of artworks, and similar online formats.
  • Treat titles of works the same whether they are published in print or online.
    • The Chicago Manual of Style Online is the online edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
    • She edits Wikipedia in her free time.
  • If the title of a newspaper includes the city but not the state, and the city is not nationally known, include the state in parentheses and roman type after the city.
    • He writes for the Oberlin (Ohio) News-Tribune.
  • See CMS 8.2 and 8.154–197 for more examples

trademarks

  • Capitalize trademarks.
    • Frisbee, Thermos
  • A trademark symbol ™ is usually not necessary, but always use the registered trademark symbol when referring to the GI Bill® and AP® (Advanced Placement).

traditions, Carleton

Capitalize all established Carleton traditions and hallmark events.

  • Bubble Brigade, Friday Flowers, International Festival, Late Night Breakfast, Midwinter Ball, Primal Scream, Rotblatt, Senior Week, Silent Dance Party, Spring Concert/Sproncert

transgender/trans

  • Transgender (and its oft-used shortened form, trans) is an adjective, not a noun. Do not use transgendered. Avoid hyphenating or making into a compound word with the noun it is modifying (such as transwoman or trans-woman), as that isolates many trans people from their gender identity.
    • He appreciates all the trans men in his life.
  • Do not use an asterisk after trans.
  • Generally avoid the older term transsexual, but if a person prefers it, use it where they request.
  • Avoid the phrasing identify as and simply use is/are.
    • She is a woman. They are trans nonbinary.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves this aspect of personal identity, always ask for a person’s preferred terminology, if possible, and use that in relation to them. 

See gender identity; nonbinary; pronouns

T-shirt

Capitalize the T and hyphenate.

U

Ultimate Frisbee

Capitalize both words (Frisbee is a brand name). Usually, it is fine to use Ultimate by itself to avoid the brand reference. Ultimate is also sometimes referred to as disc, which does not need to be capitalized.

undocumented

Use undocumented when referring to immigrants to any country who are not documented. Do not use illegal or alien, as they are dehumanizing terms.

This style establishes Carleton standards for communications materials in order to maintain specificity and consistency in writing; however, we always respect and honor individual preferences. When writing or producing content for and about Carleton that involves someone’s personal identities of any kind, always ask them what they prefer, if possible, and use that terminology in relation to them.

United States vs. U.S.

  • Spell out when used as a noun. Abbreviate with periods when used as an adjective.
    • She returned to the United States.
    • The U.S. representative to Japan sat there.
  • Include periods but no spaces in the abbreviated U.S.

For clarity, avoid using America as a standalone noun when referring only to the United States, as America could also refer to Central or South America.

V

vs. (versus)

  • Use lowercase and write as its shortened form, with a period.
    • She was debating the merits of beige paint vs. cream paint.
  • Only use the further shortened v. for legal cases, and remember that legal cases are italicized.
    • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark case for civil rights in the United States.

W

web address

  • Whenever possible, do not spell out a web address. For online materials, hyperlink the specific thing the web address links to, such as the title of a journal article. For print materials, social media posts, or anywhere else where hyperlinks are not possible, use the shortest address possible, such as carleton.edu/admissions.
  • If spelling out a web address is necessary, use all lowercase, never add spaces or hyphens between characters, do not include www., and do not put a period at the end unless the address is at the end of a sentence.
  • If breaking a web address across two lines is needed for print materials, avoid breaking at a hyphen or a period; however, if necessary, break before the hyphen or period, so the symbol begins the next line. If there are slashes in the address, break on either side of a single slash, and keep any double slashes together on the same line.
  • Web addresses only use forward slashes (/) and are referred to as simply slashes.

For accessibility, do not write and hyperlink click here. For more information about accessibility, visit or reference the Office of Accessibility Resources.

website

  • Use lowercase and write as one word. This also applies to related words like webcam and webcast. However, other website-adjacent terms generally use two words, such as web page, web browser, and web server. Use Merriam-Webster’s as a guide for spelling.
  • Capitalize titles of websites and set in roman type (no italics or quotation marks). Capitalize and italicize official names like blog titles.
  • An initial the in website titles should be lowercase in mid-sentence; however, an initial the in named blogs should be treated as part of the title and therefore capitalized.
  • See CMS 8.186–187 for more examples

See titles of works

which/that

  • Which is a nonrestrictive (descriptive) pronoun and the phrase or clause it introduces could be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence. That is a restrictive (defining) pronoun and introduces a phrase or clause essential to the meaning of the sentence.
    • The lounge, which is usually occupied by students, was empty yesterday.
    • The textbook that the professor usually used for class was unavailable.
  • See CMS 6.22 for more examples

See commas

Y

years

  • Spell out centuries and do not capitalize.
    • Her research area is the sixteenth century.
  • Plural years and decades can be written in numerals with an s and no apostrophes; spelled out with an s; or shortened so the first two numerals of the year are replaced with an apostrophe and an s is added at the end (without another apostrophe).
    • the 1800s, nineties, ’90s

See dates; numbers