Style Quick Tips

  • To the extent possible, the Web Team reviews copy submitted through the content management system for conformity to the Chicago Manual of Style.

    Here are a few examples and suggestions to consider in preparing your copy. For more detail, see the University Style Guide.


    Use the proper form for the individual or group in question:
    Alumnus: one man
    Alumna: one woman
    Alumnae: more than one woman  (a group constituting only women)
    Alumni: more than one man or mixed group

    Capitalization of Proper vs. Common Nouns

    Proper nouns are capitalized; common nouns are not: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra; Council of Trustees, the trustees; Stapleton Library, the library; the University Museum, the museum; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the university.

    E-mail and Other Electronic Terms

    Because virtually every word that uses the letter “e” as a shortcut for electronic (e-commerce, e-money, e-zine) uses a hyphen, there is no reason not to use one in e-mail.

    Freshman, Freshmen

    Freshman is an adjective and a noun. Freshmen is never an adjective. The freshman class donated money. Her son is a freshman at IUP. The new freshmen were shy at first.


    Spell out one through nine; use numerals for 10 and higher. (Chicago section 9.3, page 464) 

    Exceptions: Use numerals for percentages and in other mathematical or scientific contexts. Spell out numbers 10 and higher when they begin a sentence.


    • IUP's three new parking lots will provide space for 500 more cars. 
    • Thirty-two faculty members in 12 departments were promoted to the rank of professor. 
    • The property is held on a 99-year lease.
    • About 7 percent of the property is wooded.
    • Indiana County is more than 200 years old.  

    Ordinals with Dates

    Avoid using ordinals in dates. For example, instead of using April 21st, 2012, use April 21, 2012.

    Phases (Residential Revival, et al.)

    Use roman numerals to designate each phase:  Phase I, Phase II.


    Use a capital letter when referring to a specific semester or session:  During the Fall semester, plans were made for the next year’s Summer sessions.

    When only a season, not a semester or session, is referenced, use lowercase:  In the fall, we’ll plan courses for the following  summer.

    Titles and Offices

    Capitalize a title when it immediately precedes a personal name. The examples Chicago gives are President Lincoln; the president. Dean Mueller; the dean. [Note:  Different rules may apply in lists, as opposed to running text.]

    Avoid stacking titles before the name; choose one and use others elsewhere.  For instance, avoid Fine Arts Dean Mr. Michael Hood in favor of Fine Arts Dean Michael Hood and, on second reference, Mr. Hood or Dean Hood.

    University Name

    The possessive form of IUP is never to be used, such as “IUP’s mission is to...”
    Trademarks (to be considered a licensable brand) must be distinctive. Pluralizing, possessive forms, or other misuse of a formal brand name are considered to dilute the distinctiveness of a brand, thereby rendering it something “common,” which cannot be legally protected as a trademark. Consequently, to continue to protect the IUP brand, we need to eliminate the most common misuse—the possessive form.

    World Wide Web, the Web, Website

    Capitalize the “W” in "the Web," but lowercase (and make one word) website whenever it is used. The Web can easily substitute for World Wide Web in virtually every instance, as most people know what it is.