University Writing Style Guide — D-G
- The dash (–)
is used for parenthetical remarks or abrupt changes of thought, epigraphs and
datelines. Include one space before and after the dash: Smith offered a
plan – it was unprecedented – to raise revenues.
- Also see hyphen
- Spell out months when used alone or with the year
only: September 1991. Abbreviate the month except for March, April,
May, June and July when used with a specific day: Sept. 2.
- Correct abbreviations: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept.,
Oct., Nov., Dec.
- Do not use a comma between the month and year when
no specific day is mentioned: January 1994. The same rule applies to
seasons: fall 1996.
- When referring to a month, day and year, place a
comma between the day and year: Dec. 7, 1945.
- Place a comma after the year when a phrase with a
month, day and year is used in a sentence: Feb. 18, 1987, was the target
- Do not use on with dates unless its absence
would lead to confusion: The program ends Dec. 15 NOT The program
ends on Dec. 15.
- To indicate sequences or inclusive dates and times,
use a hyphen instead of to: Apply here May 7-9, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Do not use st, rd or th with
dates: Oct. 14 NOT Oct. 14th; Feb. 2 NOT Feb. 2nd.
- Do not
abbreviate days of the week when using formally. Sunday not Sun. unless used informally on fliers or brochures.
- For PR Office
use: Include day of the week, month and day (numeral). Monday, Jan. 1. Do not add year if date is in the current year.
- Capitalize only when it precedes a name. Don't
combine dean or any administrative title with an academic title before a
name: Dean John Doe NOT Dean Dr. John Doe.
- Also see titles
- Use figures (e.g., 1870s, 1900s, '80s, '90s)
- See academic degrees
- doctoral, doctorate
- Doctorate is a noun; doctoral is the
adjective. You may have a doctorate or a doctoral degree, but not a doctorate
degree: He received his doctoral degree in English. He holds a doctorate in
- Use Dr. before a name only when the person
has a medical degree (M.D., DMD, DDS or DVM); the university does not use
academic titles in general external communications because it is assumed that
faculty possess the terminal degree in their field. Acceptable to use Ph.D.
after title (e.g., Professor Bob Smith, Ph.D., teaches and researches at UNC.)
- e.g., i.e.
- E.g. stands for for example; i.e.
stands for that is. The two are not interchangeable. Both are always
followed by a comma.
- emeritus, emerita, emeriti
- The title of emeritus is not synonymous with
retired; it is an honor bestowed on a small number of retired faculty and
should be included in the title. Emerita is feminine; emeriti is
plural. The word may precede or follow professor: John Doe is a professor
emeritus of art. Jane Doe, professor emerita at the university.
- entitle, title
- Entitle means having the
right to something: He was entitled to the promotion because he met all the
qualifications and had the full support of the department. Title is
the name of a publication, musical composition, etc.: My first book, titled
My First Book, was for children.
- exclamation point (!)
- Avoid uses in press releases and
other formal documents. Acceptable after Go Bears!
- Fifty-Year Society (it's
Society celebration honoring the class of 1956.
- Lowercase unless it is part of a specific name such
as Faculty Senate or Faculty Research Publication Board.
- financial aid office
- The formal name is Office of Financial Aid. She
works in UNC's Office of Financial Aid. I have to go to the financial aid
- foreign words and phrases
- Use italics on first reference for all but the most
familiar and follow (if needed) with an English translation of the word or
phrase in parenthesis.
- Spell out when used in text; use numerals in
charts. For fractions and percentages, the verb should agree with the noun
following the of: Three-fourths of the students are English majors.
Two-thirds of the project is completed.
- fraternities, sororities
- The full, formal name should be used on first
reference: Sigma Phi Epsilon. Abbreviations are acceptable on second
reference (SfE), but avoid nicknames such as SigEps.
- A member is a member, never a brother or sister.
- In reference to a fraternity or sorority's
building, the word house should be capitalized when it follows the name
of the organization: Sigma Phi Epsilon House; fraternity house.
- Fulbright Scholar
- Proper noun that should be capitalized.
- Fulbright-Hays Grant
- Proper noun. Capitalize it and note the
- full time, full-time
- Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: She
is a full-time employee of the university. She works full time at the
- fund-raiser (n.), fund raising (n.), fund-raising (adj.)
- Fund raising is difficult. They planned a
fund-raising campaign. A fund-raiser was hired. The organization is planning a
- grade point average, GPA
- GPA (no periods) is acceptable on first
reference. Federal law prohibits the listing of a student's GPA in a publication
without the explicit written permission of the student (not the student's
- Acronym for the Graduate Record Examinations.
Always use the official name on first reference. On second reference in
informal usage, GRE is acceptable if the meaning will be clear to
readers. If you intend to use the acronym on second reference, let readers know
this by setting it off in parentheses directly after the first official
- Lowercase for fraternities and sororities;
uppercase when referring to someone from Greece: The Greek student decided
to go greek during rush week and try out for a sorority.