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 date.
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 English.
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 50-Year Society)
50-Year 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 office.
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 dash.
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 university.
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 fund-raiser.


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 parents).
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 reference.
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.

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