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University Relations > Writing Style Guide
Writing Style Guide for Publications & Advertising

To ensure consistency in representing the University of Minnesota Crookston, while allowing flexibility to promote individual sub-brands, the following guidelines should be followed.

For questions on capitalization, quotes, italics, academic language, and other style guidelines, visit (these are being updated). Following is a list of the most common grammar questions and answers (including new usage).

For the most part, we follow the Chicago Manual of Style.

University of Minnesota Crookston

Name Usage

  • Use “University of Minnesota Crookston” as the title of the university. Do not use a hyphen or comma to separate Crookston in the name. After the first introduction, the name may be shortened to U of M Crookston, although we prefer to use the entire name spelled out when possible.
  • The “University of Minnesota” is the name of the organization that comprises five campuses and should not be used to describe the Twin Cities campus. It is the “University of Minnesota Twin Cities.” Avoid terms that imply a secondary relationship to University of Minnesota Twin Cities such as “the Main U” or “the main campus."

Chancellor Name Usage
In written publications, use Chancellor Fred E. Wood.

Internet related text and capitalization

  • Website should be written as one word (preferred by the Chicago Manual of Style) and does not need to be capitalized unless it begins a sentence.
  • E-mail is always written with a dash, but is only capitalized in titles or at the beginning of a sentence. Note: Associated Press (AP) Style allows for email (without hyphen), but the Chicago Manual of Style requires the hyphen.
  • Internet is a proper noun and is always capitalized.
  • Online is one word, no hypen.

Contact Information for the Campus

  • Use 800-862-6466 (800-UMC-MINN) only.
  • E-mail addresses should end with, e.g.
  • Website URL – use all lowercase letters in the website address When space is limited may be used.



  • In text, abbreviate the names of states, territories, or possessions following the name of a city or other capitalized geographical term as shown below. Do not abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, or Utah.














































  • Time of day – use a.m. or p.m. to denote time of day in text (including periods).
  • Months – Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone or with a year alone: Aug. 18, 2006, or August 2006

Either spelling is accepted. Chicago Manual of Style favors advisor; AP Style favors adviser. We prefer advisor.

Alumna, Alumnus, Alumnae, Alumni, Alum
Use alumnus (alumni plural) for a man who has graduated from or attended UMC. Use alumna (alumnae plural) to refer to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. Although considered slang, OK also to use alum (singular for either man or woman) or alums (plural for men and women). UMC defines alumni as anyone who has graduated from or attended the university or Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA).

Spell out and. Use & only when part of an official name or to save space: Office of Development & Alumni Relations.

Athletic Recognition
For Athletic awards, such as All-American, All-Conference, All-Region, always use the hyphen and capitalize both words. When talking about the all-academic team, use they hyphen but do not capitalize all-academic.


  • Lower case titles when used in apposition to a name (John Jones, associate professor).
  • Upper case is used only when the full and formal title precedes the name: Associate Professor Bill Smith is a great teacher.
  • Generally, lower case references to proper names when not used in full: the program, the college, the university.
  • Capitalize the full and correct name of offices, such as the Department of Math, Science, and Technology. Do not capitalize shorthand for an office, such as the registrar’s office.
  • Capitalize initial letters of major words in course titles; do not use quotation marks around course titles. Do not capitalize fields of study: Carol Cabrizzi was hired to teach Philosophy of Logic; the committee reported on the graduate program in history.
  • Capitalize names of buildings, thoroughfares, monuments, etc., as well as generic terms used as part of the names; do not capitalize generic terms used descriptively: Campus Mall, Kiehle Building, Prairie Room.

In a compound sentence, use a comma before a conjunction joining two independent clauses.
The sun shown brightly on Monday, but the day was still bitter cold.

In a series of three or more words or phrases, use a comma to separate all parts of the series.
The recipe called for thyme, rosemary, and sage. This is known as the serial or Oxford comma. Most U.S. style guides call for the use of the serial comma. The AP Stylebook, however, does not. We prefer to use the serial comma.

Do not add th, nd, rd or st after a date. Write May 10, not May 10th.

Capitalize abbreviations of degrees and use periods; do not capitalize spelled-out names of degrees: Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A., Ed.D., master of science, bachelor of arts, master of arts in journalism, bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees. When writing about an associate degree, do not use the possessive: After earning an associate degree, Tom went on to earn a bachelor's degree in biology.

Doctor Title
To avoid confusing the general public, the Dr. title is used only in reference to people with medical degrees. When referring to people with doctoral degrees, the preferred use is to list degree and title after their name, such as John Smith, Ph.D., professor of mathematics.

Descriptive Phrases
Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in s when it is used primarily in a descriptive sense: citizens band radio, a Golden Eagles infielder, or a writers guide.

Emerita, Emeritus, Emeritae, Emeriti
A title bestowed on retired faculty and administrators. When used, emeritus follows the formal title. For individual female professor, correct term is professor emerita (plural is professors emeritae). When individual male professor, correct term is professor emeritus. When all-male or mixed group, correct term is professors emeriti.

Italics/Quotation Marks
Use italics for titles of complete, independent works: newspapers, books, magazines, movies, plays, etc. Put quotes around titles of works that are contained within other works, such as articles.

Spell out numerals up to and including nine, and use numerals for the rest (zero, one, nine, 10, 27, 125). Spell out any number that begins a sentence. Twenty-three students attended the program.

Placement of Quotation Marks with Punctuation
Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark, and exclamation point go within quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence: Did you know that she said, “Let them eat cake”?

Their is plural and should not replace she, he, his or her. Students will receive their scores in the office mail box.

Titles of Works of Art
Books, films, TV shows, and other standalone media or publications are italicized. Titles of songs, poems, TV episodes, etc. that are not stand-alone are placed in quotes. The full name of course titles — when they appear in text — are italicized and major words are capped.

Who and that
Use who as a pronoun modifying a person. It is incorrect to say He is the boy that won the race. You should use He is the boy who won the race.