Style Guide

This is not a guide for writing academic papers. This is a guide for writing marketing and communications materials intended for general audiences such as current students, potential students, parents, donors, alumni and other groups. To ensure editorial consistency, please use this guide to resolve questions about grammar and style. If your question is not covered in this style guide, please use The Associated Press Stylebook (AP style) for a guide to correct usage. If you have any questions regarding writing style or proper terminology, please contact the Division of Marketing and Communications.

Press releases or publications that are mainly directed toward publication in the media should also follow APAP guidelines and should be submitted to the Office of Media Relations in the Division of Marketing and Communications.




College of Charleston Name

College of Charleston
Use the with the noun College of Charleston except in lists of institutions. Do not capitalize the t in the. When College of Charleston is an adjective, the is not needed. On second reference and when obviously referring to this university, the College may be used. The use of CofC (both as a noun and an adjective) is also acceptable on second reference, in informal references and in headlines/lists. The College of Charleston’s official mailing address is 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424-0001. Any mail addressed to this address will go to mail services.

Graduate School, University of Charleston, South Carolina
When writing out the full name, do not capitalize the t in the (e.g., I attended the Graduate School, University of Charleston, South Carolina). On second reference, use the Graduate School (e.g., I took classes at the Graduate School). South Carolina may be shortened to S.C. for space constraints.

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College of Charleston Descriptive Text

The College has approved the following descriptive text as appropriate in publications, printed materials and websites.

The College of Charleston is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina. Founded in 1770, the College is among the nation’s top universities for quality education, student life and affordability. The College offers the distinctive combination of a beautiful and historic campus, modern facilities and cutting-edge programs.

Students from 50 U.S. states and territories and 60 countries choose the College of Charleston for its small-college feel blended with the advantages and diversity of an urban, mid-sized university. The College provides a creative and intellectually stimulating environment where students are challenged by a committed and caring faculty of distinguished teacher-scholars, all in an incomparable setting.

The City of Charleston – world-renowned for its history, culture, architecture and coastal environment – serves our approximately 10,000 undergraduates and 1,500 graduate students as a living and learning laboratory for experiences in business, science, teaching, the humanities, languages and the arts. At the same time, students and faculty are engaged with the community in partnerships to improve education, enhance the business environment and enrich the overall quality of life in the region.

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Administrative and Professional Titles

In most cases, titles should be capitalized only when using a formal administrative or professional title directly before a name (e.g., President John Smith, Dean Jane Doe, Associate Professor John Doe, Trustee Jane Smith, Chairman John Smith, Coach Doe).

Note that a formal title generally denotes a scope of authority, professional activity or academic accomplishment so specific that the designation becomes as much an integral part of an individual’s identity as a proper name itself (e.g., President Clinton). Other titles serve primarily as occupational descriptions and should be in lowercase. If in doubt, set the name or the title off with commas (e.g., John Doe, coach of the women’s tennis team).

EXCEPTIONS – lowercase

  • When the title comes before the name, but is separated by a comma, use lowercase (e.g., The group presented it to the dean, Jane Doe).
  • For words that are not formal titles, but are occupational descriptions, use lowercase, even when they come before the name (e.g., department head Joan Russell, astronaut Neil Armstrong).

Lowercase titles after names (e.g., John Smith, president of the College; Jane Doe, dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics; John Doe, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship; Jane Smith, trustee). In general, titles containing more than four words should come after the name.

EXCEPTION – capitalize

  • Capitalize the title when it is a named professorship (e.g., Jane Smith, Hales Professor of Ethics, spoke; John Doe, Mary Belle Higgins Howe Chair in English, attended the seminar). Named professorships are often, but not always, created by and named for the donor of the funds setting up the endowment that supports it.

Lowercase titles when a name is not used (e.g., the president, the dean, the director of student affairs, the pope).

When a title applies to only one person in an organization, use the word the in a construction that uses commas (e.g., John Smith, the deputy vice president, spoke). Don’t combine administrative titles with academic titles before a name (i.e., do not use Dean Professor Jane Doe).

chair
Use whatever title the group uses for its leader (e.g., chairman, chairwoman, chair, chairperson). If the group does not make this clear, use chairmen or chairwoman. Chair holder and vice chair are not hyphenated.

director of athletics
The formal title is director of athletics. Do not capitalize athletics director in any instance.

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. Feminine is emerita; plural for both is emeriti. The word may precede or follow professor (e.g., John Doe is an emeritus professor of marketing; Jane Doe, professor emerita at the College).

modifiers to titles
Do not capitalize qualifying words in the title (e.g., former President Ford, acting Mayor John Doe).

professor
At the College, the basic academic ranks include assistant professor, associate professor, professor, visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor and visiting professor.

royal titles/nobility
Capitalize royal titles when directly before a name (e.g., Queen Elizabeth II). Capitalize a full title (without the name) when it serves as the alternate name for an individual (e.g., Duke of Wellington).

Names

As a general rule, use full names on first reference and do not use courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms. On second and subsequent references, use only last names without courtesy titles.

EXCEPTIONS

  • When a text passage describes more than one person with the same last name, first names may be used.
  • In short blocks of copy (e.g., in formal event programs), courtesy titles may be used.

When appropriate, use academic degrees after a name on first reference only (e.g., John Doe, Ph.D., teaches chemistry. Doe is our favorite professor).

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Names of Departments and Offices

In general, use the proper (complete and capitalized) name on first reference. Subsequent references may be shortened and in lowercase if the meaning is clear. Capitalize when using the full, proper name (e.g., the Department of English, Arts Management Program, Asian Studies Program). Lowercase when using a shortened name (e.g., the English department, arts management, Asian studies).

This is not necessarily a comprehensive list of all departments and offices on campus. Please send an email to marketing@cofc.edu for suggested updates.

Academic Divisions

School of the Arts

School of Business

School of Education, Health, and Human Performance

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs

School of Professional Studies

School of Sciences and Mathematics

Honors College

Graduate School, University of Charleston, South Carolina

  • South Carolina may be shortened to S.C. for space constraints

Academic Departments/Programs

African American Studies Program

African Studies Program

American Studies Program

Arabic Program

Arts Management Program

Asian Studies Program

Bilingual Interpreting Program

Call Me MISTER Program

Center for Continuing and Professional Education

Center for Effective Teaching and Learning

Center for Partnerships to Improve Education

Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston

Center of Excellence for the Advancement of New Literacies in Middle Grades

Chinese Program

Crime, Law and Society Program

Data Science Program

Department of Accounting and Business Law

Department of Art and Architectural History

Department of Biology

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Department of Classics

Department of Communication

Department of Computer Science

Department of Economics

Department of English

Department of Finance

Department of French, Francophone, and Italian Studies

Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Department of German and Russian Studies

Department of Health and Human Performance

Department of Hispanic Studies

Department of History

Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Department of International and Intercultural Studies

Department of Management and Marketing

Department of Mathematics

Department of Music

Department of Philosophy

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Department of Political Science

Department of Psychology

Department of Religious Studies

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Department of Studio Art

Department of Supply Chain and Information Management

Department of Teacher Education

Department of Theatre and Dance

Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program

Film Studies Program

General Education Program

Hindi Program

Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program

Honors Program in Business Administration

Italian Studies Program

Japanese Program

Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities

  • second reference: The Riley Center

Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math

Marine Resources Library

Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library

  • first or second reference: Addlestone Library

Memminger Partnership Program

  • second reference: Memminger Partnership

N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center

Neuroscience Program

Office of Maymester and Summer Sessions

Office of Professional Development in Education

Office of Student Life

Office of Student Services and Credentialing

Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities

Portuguese Program

Program for Legal Interpreting

Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World

Russian Studies Program

Special Collections

Tate Center

Teaching Fellows Program

Urban Studies Program

Women’s and Gender Studies Program

Writing, Rhetoric, and Publication Program

Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program
  • second reference: Jewish studies

Administrative and non-academic Offices

Academic Advising and Planning Center

Ann and Lee Higdon Student Leadership Center

  • first or second reference: Higdon Student Leadership Center
Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
  • second reference: Avery Research Center

Campus Housing

Campus Recreation Services
  • often abbreviated as CRS

Career Center

Carter Real Estate Center

Center for Academic Performance and Persistence

Center for Civic Engagement

Center for Creative Retirement

Center for Disability Services

Center for International Education

Center for Student Learning

Center of Sustainability

Central Stores

  • also called Central Warehouse
College of Charleston Bookstore

College of Charleston Dining Services
  • also called Dining Services
College of Charleston Foundation

College of Charleston North Campus
  • on second reference: North Campus

Controller’s Office

Community Service Center

Copy Center

Cougar Card Services

Counseling Center

Department of Athletics

  • also Athletics Department

Department of Public Safety

Department of Residence Life

Division of Business Affairs

Division of Information Technology

Division of Institutional Advancement

Division of Marketing and Communications

Division of Student Affairs

Eddie Ganaway Diversity Education and Resource Center

Environmental Health and Safety

Facilities Management

  • made up of Administrative and Maintenance Support Center, Carpentry Shop, Central Energy Plant, Custodial Services, Electrical Shop, Elevator Repair and Service, Engineering Division, HVAC Shop, Lock Shop, Maintenance Shop, Paint Shop, Plumbing Shop, Recycling Shop, and Special Events, Moving and Emergency Maintenance Services

Faculty Senate

Fire and EMS

Gender and Sexuality Equity Center

Grounds Department

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Hissar Sailing Program

Office for Institutional Effectiveness

Office for the Academic Experience

Office of Advancement Communications

Office of Admissions

Office of Alumni Affairs

Office of Annual Giving Programs

Office of Budgeting and Payroll Services

Office of Business and Auxiliary Services

Office of College Marketing

Office of Development

  • also called the development office

Office of Equal Opportunity Programs

Office of Facilities Planning

Office of Financial Assistance and Veterans Affairs

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life

Office of Government Relations

Office of Human Resources

Office of the Internal Auditor

Office of Institutional Diversity

Office of Institutional Events

Office of Institutional Research

Office of Legal Affairs

Office of Legal Residency

Office of Mail Services

Office of Media Relations

Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services

Office of New Student Programs

Office of Parking Services

Office of the President

  • also referred to as the President’s Office

Office of Procurement and Supply Services

Office of Professional Development in Education

Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • also referred to as academic affairs

Office of the Registrar

Office of Research and Grants Administration

Office of Student Media

Office of Summer Sessions

Office of Victim Services

Quality Enhancement Plan Office

Student Health Services

Treasurer’s Office

Upward Bound and Pre-College Programs

Veteran and Military Student Service Center

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Names of Buildings and Campus Landmarks

Following is a list of the formal and informal names of campus buildings and landmarks. Named rooms, wings and centers within these buildings are also listed under their respective buildings. Note that not all buildings are officially named and, therefore, not all buildings are listed here.

As a rule, capitalize campus buildings that have a formal, given name. All major words in the name should be capitalized, including the words Building or Center. Lowercase should be used for buildings with generic names that reflect the discipline taught or the activity conducted therein. An exception to this rule is the descriptive naming of buildings/places that carry such tradition that they have assumed the status of a formal, given name (e.g., the Cistern, the President’s House).

Use lowercase for rooms and facilities within buildings (e.g., room 118 in the Education Center, Maybank Hall conference room). Exceptions: Capitalize rooms and facilities within buildings that have a formal, given name (e.g., Alumni Memorial Hall in Randolph Hall).

In general, use the formal (complete and capitalized) name on first reference. Subsequent references may be shortened and in lowercase if the meaning is clear. For events or casual references, the shortened version may be most appropriate on first reference.

Abiel Bolles House
Located at 7 College Way, it houses faculty offices.

Addlestone Library
The formal name is the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library; Addlestone Library may be used on the first reference. Located at 205 Calhoun Street.

  •     Henry Brown Wing
  •     S. Odell Hawkins Café  
  •     Special Collections

Aiken House
The formal name is the Governor William Aiken House; Aiken House may be used on the second reference. Located at 10 Green Way, it houses the Honors College. Also referred to as the Honors Center.

AT&T Building
See BellSouth Building.

Avery Research Center
The formal name is the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture; Avery Research Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 125 Bull Street.

  • Avery Room
  • Cox Gallery: The formal name is the Benjamin F. and Jeannette K. Cox Exhibition Gallery; Cox Gallery may be used on the second reference.
  • McKinley Washington Auditorium

Barnet Courtyard
Outdoor common area located directly east of the Barnard Elliott House.

Beatty Center
The formal name is the Beatty Center for the School of Business; Beatty Center is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 5 Liberty Street.

  • Wells Fargo Auditorium

BellSouth Building
Located at 81 St. Philip Street, it houses classrooms and faculty and administrative offices.

  • Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math

Berry Hall
The formal name is the Joe E. Berry Jr. Residence Hall; Berry Hall is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 80 St. Philip Street.

Blacklock House
The formal name is the William Blacklock House; Blacklock House is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 18 Bull Street, it houses administrative offices.

bookstore
The formal name is the College of Charleston Bookstore; the bookstore may be used on the second reference. Located at 160 Calhoun Street.

Buist Rivers Residence Hall
Residence hall located at 13 College Way. It also includes Honors College administrative offices.

  • Hawkins Living-Learning Center

Calhoun Annex
Located at 172 Calhoun Street.

  • Chapel Theatre

Cameron House
The formal name is the Hugh P. Cameron House; Cameron House may be used on the second reference. Located at 12 Bull Street, it houses faculty offices, studio space and seminar rooms.

  • Caroline and Albert Simons, Jr. Center for Historic Preservation and Community Planning

Casa Hispánica
Residence hall for Spanish speakers, located at 8 Bull Street.

Cistern, the
The concrete oval in front of Randolph Hall. The grassy area between Randolph Hall and Porters Lodge should be referred to as the Cistern Yard.

CofC at WestEdge
Located at 176 Lockwood Blvd. across from Brittlebank Park, the formal name is College of Charleston at WestEdge. CofC at WestEdge may be used on second reference.

  •  Controller's Office
  •  Office of Procurement  
  •  Riley Center for Livable Communities

College Corner, The
A retail shop for College of Charleston merchandise located at 327 King Street.

College Lodge
Residence hall located at 157 Calhoun Street.

College Way
The brick walkway located east of and parallel to Coming Street. It runs from George Street to Calhoun Street.

Cougar Mall
The outdoor common area located between Maybank Hall and the Robert Scott Small Building. It was formerly called Maybank Mall/Cougar Plaza.

Craig Residence Hall and Craig Union
The formal names are S. Douglas Craig Residence Hall and S. Douglas Craig Union; Craig Hall and Craig Union are acceptable on the first reference. Located at 33 St. Philip Street, they are named for S. Douglas Craig, Class of 1905. Craig Union houses the Office of Admissions and Dining Services.

Early Childhood Development Center
The formal name is Nathan E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center; Early Childhood Development Center is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 91 Wentworth Street. Also referred to on campus as ECDC, which may be used on second reference.

Education Center
The formal name is the Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center; Education Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 25 St. Philip Street, it houses classrooms and faculty and administrative offices. It is named for Thaddeus Street Jr., Class of 1935.

  • Jon Morter Laboratory of Anthropology
  • Michael Pincus Language Resource Center
  • Septima Clark Memorial Auditorium   
  • Volpe Center (second floor): The formal name is the Charles and Andrea Volpe Center for Teaching and Learning; Volpe Center may be used on the second reference.

Edward Leon Guenveur House
Located at 57 Coming Street, it houses faculty offices.

  • Lauretta Goodall-Guenveur Garden

Erckmann House
Located at 9 College Way, it houses faculty offices. From 1948 to 1971, John Zeigler Jr. and Edwin Peacock operated the Book Basement on the ground floor of this building.

Faculty House, the
The formal name is the Thompson-Muller House; the Faculty House is also acceptable. Located at 20 Glebe Street.

French House
Residence hall for French speakers. Located at 6 Bull Street.

Fresh Food Company
Located at 8 Liberty Street.

George Street Apartments
Residence hall for upperclassmen, located at 55 George Street.

George Street Parking Garage
Located on St. Philip Street between George Street and Liberty Street.

Glebe Courtyard
Located between 6 and 12 Glebe Street.

Glenn McConnell Residence Hall
Located at 101 Wentworth Street, it is named for Glenn McConnell, Class of 1969.

Greek houses
The following houses are home to Greek organizations: 3 Coming Street (also known as the Scott House); 28, 32, 34, 35 and 43 Coming Street; 36 Coming Street (also known as the Graves House); 97, 99, 101, 103 and 105 Wentworth Street; and 107 Wentworth Street (also known as the William Johnson House).

greenhouse
Located at 18-A Bull Street, between the Blacklock House and the Addlestone Library.

Green Way
The brick walkway running between St. Philip and Coming Streets. It was originally called Green Street (before it was closed in by the College).

Grice Marine Lab
Located at 205 Fort Johnson Road on James Island, it is named for George Grice, president of the College from 1945 to 1966.

  • Marine Resources Library (building 8)

Harbor Walk
Located at 360 Concord Street, part of Aquarium Whaf. It is leased space for classrooms, labs and offices, including the Department of Computer Science.

Higdon Center for Student Leadership and Fraternity and Sorority Life
The formal name is the Ann and Lee Higdon Center for Student Leadership and Fraternity and Sorority Life; Higdon Center may be used on the second reference. It is named for Lee and Ann Higdon, president and first lady of the College from 2001 to 2006. Located at 69 Coming Street in the Farr House.

Honors College
Located at 10 Green Way in the Aiken House.

J.C. Long Building
Located at 9 Liberty Street, it houses classrooms and faculty offices.

Jewish Studies Center
The formal name is the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center; Jewish Studies Center is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 96 Wentworth Street, it houses the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program.

  • Arnold Hall: The formal name is Norman and Gerry Arnold Hall; Arnold Hall may be used on the second reference.
  • Karesh Lobby: The formal name is the Stanley and Charlot Karesh Lobby; Karesh Lobby may be used on the second reference.
  • Levin Library: The formal name is the Rabbi Hirsch Levin Judaica Library; Levin Library may be used on the second reference.
  • Marty's Place: The formal name is Marty's Place Dining Hall; Marty's Place is acceptable on the first reference.

John Kresse Court
Located in the TD Arena.

John M. Rivers Communications Museum
Located at 58 George Street in the Barnard Elliott House, the museum is named for John M. Rivers Sr., Class of 1924.

Johnson Center
The formal name is the F. Mitchell Johnson Physical Education Center; Johnson Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 30 George Street, it is named for F. Mitchell “Cussie” Johnson, Class of 1937.

Jonas Beard House
Located at 112–114 Wentworth Street, it houses faculty offices.

Kelly House
Residence hall located at 106 St. Philip Street.

Kennedy House
Located at 26 Glebe Street, it houses faculty offices.

Knox-Lesesne House
Historic residence house located at 14 Green Way.

Liberty Street Residence Hall
Located at 8 Liberty Street.

Lightsey Center
The formal name is the Harry M. Lightsey Center; Lightsey Center may be used on first reference. Located at 160 Calhoun Street, it is named for Harry Lightsey Jr., president of the College from 1985 to 1991.

Lightsey Center Annex
Located at 160-A Calhoun Street, it houses the Office of New Student Programs.

Lucas House
Historic residence house located at 24 Bull Street.

The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts
Located at 161 Calhoun Street.

  • Halsey Institute: The formal name is Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art; Halsey Institute may be used on the second reference. Located on the first floor of The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, the Halsey Institute’s staff curate and organize exhibitions of contemporary art.
  • Hill Exhibition Gallery

Martindale-Bell House
Located at 2 Green Way, it houses the office of the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Maybank Hall
The formal name is Burnet Rhett Maybank Hall; Maybank Hall is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 169 Calhoun Street, it is named for Burnet Rhett Maybank, Class of 1919.

McAlister Hall
The formal name is Marcia Kelly McAlister Residence Hall; McAlister Hall is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 80-B St. Philip Street.

The Multicultural Center
Located at 207 Calhoun Street.

North Campus
The formal name is College of Charleston North Campus. North Campus is acceptable only for abbreviation. Located at 3800 Paramount Drive.

  • Lowcountry Graduate Center
  • School of Professional Studies

Patriots Point Athletics Complex
Located in Mt. Pleasant. Home to the baseball, softball, soccer and tennis programs.

Pi Kappa Phi Bell Tower
Located between 65 and 69 Coming Street.

Porters Lodge

President’s Garden
Garden located on the east side of Randolph Hall. It is dedicated to Kathleen K. Lightsey.

President’s House
Located at 6 Glebe Street.

Randolph Hall
The formal name is Harrison Randolph Hall; Randolph Hall is acceptable on the first reference. It is named for Harrison Randolph, president of the College from 1897 to 1945.

  • Alumni Memorial Hall (second floor): Alumni Hall is acceptable on the first reference.
  • Classics Museum (third floor)
  • Graduate Studies Office (third floor)

Riley Center
The formal name is the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities; the Riley Center may be used on the second reference.

Rivers Green
Outdoor area directly behind Addlestone Library.

Rivers House
The formal name is the William James Rivers House; Rivers House is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 40 Coming Street, it houses administrative offices.

Robert Scott Small Building
Located at 175 Calhoun Street, it houses classrooms and faculty and administrative offices. It is named for Robert Scott Small, Class of 1936.

  • John Henry Dick Wing
  • Robert Scott Small Room
  • Wendell Mitchell Levi Wing

Rutledge Rivers Residence Hall
Located at 15 College Way, it is named for Rutledge Rivers, Class of 1890.

School of Education, Health, and Human Performance Building
The yellow building at 86 Wentworth Street.

  • Alumni Center: The formal name is the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance Alumni Center; the Alumni Center may be used on the second reference.
  • Gangi Courtyard
  • Jeremy Center: The formal name is Jeremy Warren Vann Teacher Education Center; Jeremy Center may be used on the second reference. It is named for Jeremy Warren Vann, Class of 1997. This is the white, “L”-shaped wing of the facility at 86 Wentworth Street.
  • Monica A. Janas Conference Room

School of Sciences and Mathematics Building
Located at 202 Calhoun Street.

  • Jennings Biochemistry Lab: The formal name is Earle D. Jennings Biochemistry Laboratory; Jennings Biochemistry Lab may be used on the second reference.
  • Lowcountry Hazards Center
  • Mace Brown Museum of Natural History
  • Santee Cooper Geographic Information Systems Laboratory
  • South Carolina Space Grant Offices

Science Center
The formal name is the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center; Hollings Science Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 58 Coming Street, it is named for Rita Liddy Hollings, Class of 1957.

Silcox Center
The formal name is the Willard A. Silcox Physical Education and Health Center; Silcox Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 24 George Street, it is named for Willard A. Silcox, Class of 1933.

  • Richard N. Godsen Exercise Physiology Lab    

Simons Center
The formal name is Albert Simons Center for the Arts; Simons Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 54 St. Philip Street.

  • Recital Hall
  • Robinson Theatre: The formal name is Emmett Robinson Theatre; Robinson Theatre may be used on the second reference.
  • Theatre 220

Sottile House
The formal name is the Wilson-Sottile House; Sottile House is acceptable on the first reference. Located at 11 College Way, it houses administrative offices.

Sottile Theatre
The formal name is the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre; Sottile Theatre may be used on the second reference. Special events venue located at 44 George Street.

St. Philip Courtyard
The brick courtyard in front of the Simons Center.

St. Philip Street Parking Garage
Located between Calhoun Street and Vanderhorst Street.

Stono Preserve
The College's environmental campus located on the Stono River. The formal name is the College of Charleston at Stono Preserve; Stono Preserve may be used on the second reference.

Stern Student Center
The formal name is the Theodore S. Stern Student Center; Stern Student Center may be used on the second reference. Located at 71 George Street, it is named for Ted Stern, president of the College from 1968 to 1979. The building houses the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Student Life, the Student Government Association, and many student organizations.

  • Stern Center Ballroom
  • Stern Center Food Court
  • Stern Center Garden

Tate Center
Formerly called the Tate Center for Entrepreneurship. Located at 5 Liberty Street, it is named for Jack Tate.

TD Arena
Located at 301 Meeting Street.

  • John Kresse Court

Towell Library
The formal name is Edward Emerson Towell Library; Towell Library is acceptable for the first reference. It is named for Edward Towell, Class of 1934. Pronounced like Toll.

Wagener House
Located at 6 Green Way, the building is currently under renovation. Beginning January 2014, the house will be occupied by the offices of Nationally Competitive Awards and Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities.

Walker Sailing Complex
The formal name is the J. Stewart Walker Sailing Complex, named in honor of J. Stewart Walker, Class of 1978.  Walker Sailing Complex may be used on the second reference. Located at Patriots Point Marina, it is home to the Hissar Sailing Program.

Warren Place
Residence hall located at 1, 10 and 20 Warren Street.

Wentworth Street Parking Garage
Located between King Street and St. Philip Street.

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Common Grammar and Style Terms

abbreviations and acronyms
In general, avoid using abbreviations and acronyms unless they are universally recognized, such as AIDS, FBI, GPA and NASA. Please refer to the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook for specific guidelines. For associations, companies, organizations, etc., use the official name on first reference. On second reference, the abbreviation may be used (e.g., The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a satellite office in the Fort Johnson complex. NOAA is responsible for issuing hurricane warnings). For plural abbreviations, add an s without an apostrophe (e.g., RAs). For abbreviations for College of Charleston degrees, see Academic Degrees.

academic disciplines
Lowercase all academic disciplines except those incorporating proper nouns (e.g., biology major, concentration in English, history department, Jewish studies).

academic grades
Capitalize and use roman typeface (e.g., She made a B+ on the paper).

adviser/advisor
Adviser should be used for general use, especially business settings. Advisor is acceptable for academic purposes. In formal publications, however, use the spelling adopted for the particular position.

African American, black
According to AP style, the preferred term is black. Use African American only in quotations, the names of organizations or if individuals describe themselves so. Do not hyphenate African American, even as an adjective.

alumni
Alumnus refers to one male who graduated from a college or to a graduate of unspecified gender. Alumna refers to a female graduate. Alumni refers to two or more graduates who are either all male or are both male and female. Alumnae refers to a group of female graduates. Use the nickname alum sparingly. In text, graduates’ names may be followed by a note of their year of degree (e.g., John Doe ’50); note the apostrophe preceding the year (i.e., not a single quotation mark).

American Indian, Native American
American Indian is preferred, but Native American may also be used, depending on the wishes of the individual. Whenever possible, be precise and use the name of the tribe. If Indian is used, be careful to adequately distinguish from East Indian. Do not hyphenate American Indian or Native American, even as adjectives.

a.m., p.m.
Lowercase and use periods. Small caps (a.m., p.m.) are acceptable.

ampersand (&)
Do not use an ampersand in running text unless it is part of a formal name. It is allowed in a list or a table where space is an issue.

annual
Do not use first annual; it is redundant. Instead, use inaugural.

arboretum
The proper name of the campus arboretum is the College of Charleston Arboretum. Subsequent references may use arboretum alone in lowercase.

archaeology
Not archeology.

Asian American
Do not hyphenate, even when used as an adjective.

bachelor, bachelor’s degree
Use an apostrophe when modifying a noun, otherwise use no apostrophe (e.g., She’s getting a bachelor of arts; His bachelor’s degree means great job prospects).

bachelor of arts
Capitalize when used with an academic major, but not in general use (e.g., She’s getting a Bachelor of Arts in English; His bachelor of arts means great job prospects).

bachelor of science
Capitalize when used with an academic major, but not in general use (e.g., She’s getting a Bachelor of Science in Biology; His bachelor of science means great job prospects).

black, African American
According to AP style, the preferred term is black (lowercase). Use African American only in quotations, in the names of organizations or if individuals describe themselves so.

blog
Can be used as a noun or as a verb.

Board of Trustees
Always capitalize when referring to the College of Charleston Board of Trustees. On second reference, the Board may be used.

campus
Lowercase in all instances.

campuswide
When used as a suffix, wide is not usually hyphenated, per AP.

canceled
Not cancelled.

catalog, cataloged, cataloger, cataloging
Not catalogue.

Class of 19XX/20XX
Capitalize class when describing graduating bodies of students.

College of Charleston, the
Use the with the noun College of Charleston except in lists of institutions. Do not capitalize the t in the. When College of Charleston is an adjective, the is not needed. On second reference and when obviously referring to this university, the College may be used. 

commencement
Capitalize this word when referring to the formal ceremony and use lowercase for generic usage (e.g., The May Commencement will be held in the Cistern Yard; The College has two commencement ceremonies in May).

compound words and hyphenated words
See hyphen entry in the Punctuation Guide.

comprise
Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace, so never say comprised of. See AP’s “compose, comprise, constitute” entry.

CougarAlert
Used as one word with capital C and A when referring to the campus emergency notification system.

Cougar Club
Two words.

Cougar Pride
Two words.

course titles
Use roman type, capitalized, without quotation marks (e.g., Introduction to World History).

coursework

cultural and historical periods, movements, styles
In general, the names of historical or cultural periods are lowercased, except for proper nouns and adjectives, or to avoid ambiguity (e.g., baroque architecture, classical sculpture, colonial politics, Hellenistic period, Victorian era, Bronze Age, Enlightenment, Middle Ages, Reformation, Renaissance). Similarly, capitalize the names of cultural movements and styles if they are derived from proper nouns; otherwise lowercase them (e.g., Doric, Gothic, Neoplatonism, Pre-Raphaelite, Romanesque, cubism, modernism).

data
Can be used as a singular or plural noun and may take either a singular or plural verb.

database

degrees
Currently, the College offers the degrees listed below. For more information, see page Academic Degrees. Note that generic degree designations are lower case, while degrees that refer to specific academic programs are capitalized.

A.B. – Artium Baccalaureatus
B.A. – bachelor of arts
B.G.S. – Bachelor of General Studies
B.P.S. – Bachelor of Professional Studies
B.S. – bachelor of science


Graduate degrees offered at the College are as follows:

M.A. – master of arts
M.A.T. – Master of Arts in Teaching
M.Ed. – master of education
M.F.A. – master of fine arts
M.P.A. – Master of Public Administration
M.S. – master of science

doctorate, doctoral
Doctorate is a noun; doctoral is an adjective. You may have a doctorate, or a doctoral degree, but not a doctorate degree.

dorms, dormitories
Avoid these terms; use residence halls instead.

e.g.
This always means “for example” and is always followed by a comma.

email

First Year Experience
FYE can be used on second reference.

foreign words
On the first reference, italicize words that have not been incorporated into everyday use. Check Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary if you are unsure about the word’s use.

Founders' Day
Celebrated on January 30 in honor of the founding of the College of Charleston.

freshman, freshmen
Do not use freshmen as an adjective. (It’s not freshmen residence halls any more than it is sophomores residence halls.)

fundraiser, fundraising
One word in all cases, per AP.

gender-neutral language
Be sensitive to the implications of language and try to avoid sexist terms. When possible, replace masculine pronouns with nouns (e.g., Each student should hand in his paper on time may be rewritten as Students should hand in their papers on time).

gender pronouns
A variety of gender pronouns exist to describe a person’s identity (e.g. Ze is an activist. I am proud of zir. She is an activist. I am proud of her. That book is pers. That person likes perself.) Use a person’s preferred pronoun(s) upon request. They/them/theirs is also acceptable for singular, gender-inclusive pronouns.

General Education, General Education Program, General Education course, General Education requirement
Capitalize as shown in reference to a specific program, but lowercase when used generically (e.g., Many universities have revised their general education requirements in recent years).

GPA
GPA may be used in all references.

Greek life
In reference to fraternities and sororities on campus. Also referred to as Greek system. The campus office is the Office of Greek Life.

groundbreaking, groundbreaking ceremonies

healthcare, health care
Health care is a noun, healthcare is an adjective (e.g., Legislators are concerned about the price of health care; Healthcare providers are concerned.).

Hispanic, Latino/a, Mexican American
These terms, which should be capitalized, have distinct meanings that depend, to a large extent, on interpretations and preferences of individuals. But, according to AP style, the preferred term is Hispanic for those whose ethnic origin is a Spanish-speaking country other than Spain. Latino/a is an acceptable alternative for Hispanics who prefer that term. When Latino/a is used, care should be taken to use the proper ending: Latino refers to one male, Latina refers to one female, Latinos refers to more than one male or a group of mixed gender and Latinas refers to more than one female. When possible, use more specific identification, such as Mexican American, Cuban or Puerto Rican. Avoid using Chicano unless it is the person's preference. Do not hyphenate Mexican American, even when used as an adjective.

Homecoming
Capitalize to denote the official event, but lowercase when used generically (e.g., We will be attending Homecoming this year; College campuses across the nation celebrate homecoming).

homepage

i.e.
This always means “that is” and is always followed by a comma.

internet

learning communities
Lowercase in all instances.

lectures
Put the full titles of lectures in quotation marks (e.g., The title of his lecture is “The World of Walt Whitman”). Topics need no quotation marks (e.g., She will speak about the fiction of Charles Dickens). Capitalize lecture titles and lecture series titles, but not preceding modifiers (e.g., She delivered the fourth annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture).

lists
See the list punctuation entry in the Punctuation Guide.

Listserv
Capitalize, as it is a trademarked name, or use listserver or email discussion group.

master, master’s
Use an apostrophe when modifying a noun; otherwise use no apostrophe (e.g., She’s getting a master of science; His master’s degree means great job prospects).

master of arts
Capitalize when used with an academic major, but not in general use (e.g., She’s getting a Master of Arts in English; His master of arts means great job prospects).

Master of Arts in Teaching

Master of Business Administration

master of education
Capitalize when used with an academic major, but not in general use (e.g., She’s getting a Master of Education in Early Elementary Education; His master of education means great job prospects).

master of fine arts
Capitalize when used with an academic major, but not in general use (e.g., She’s getting a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing; His master of fine arts means great job prospects.)

Master of Public Administration

master of science
Capitalize when used with an academic major, but not in general use (e.g., She’s getting a Master of Science in Biology; His master of science means great job prospects).

multicultural

Muslim
This is the preferred term to describe followers of Islam.

nonprofit

OAKS
Acronym for Online Academic Knowledge System, the College’s online learning-management system. OAKS may be used on first reference.

on-campus, on campus
Hyphenate when serving as an adjective describing a noun (e.g., I want to live in on-campus housing). Do not hyphenate when on serves as a preposition (e.g., I want to live on campus). The same applies to off-campus and off campus.

online

orientation
Lowercase in all instances.

percent
When used with a numeral the % sign should be used.

possessives
See apostrophe entry in the Punctuation Guide.

range
See dash in the Punctuation Guide.

residence hall
This is the preferred term for on-campus student living accommodations; do not use dorm or dormitory.

résumé

scholarships
Use lowercase except for named awards (e.g., She received a scholarship from the College; He received the John Doe Merit Scholarship).

seasons
Lowercase, except at the beginning of a sentence.

semesters
Lowercase, except at the beginning of a sentence (e.g., The class will be offered for the first time during spring semester 2009). Capitalize Maymester, the formal name for the College's summer session that takes place in May.

signs, notices, mottos
Specific wording of signs, notices, mottos or inscriptions within text should be capitalized and, if long, placed in quotation marks (e.g., She has a No Smoking sign on her door; The College’s seal bears the motto “Sapientia Ipsa Libertas Aedes Mores Juraque Curat).

state names
Follow AP’s guidelines. In body copy, always spell out state names. Abbreviations should be used in headlines in conjunction with the name of a city or a town, as well as in lists. (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah are never abbreviated.) Do not use postal abbreviations (e.g., use S.C. and not SC, Mass. and not MA, Fla. and not FL).

student-athlete

Student Government Association
Capitalize on first reference; SGA may be used on the second reference without indicating its meaning.

students
In external communications, always include College of Charleston on the first reference (e.g., He is currently a College of Charleston student).

titles
See the Administrative and Professional Titles section.

trademark symbol (™)
Use only on the first reference. If you cannot use superscript, use parentheses: (TM).

U.S.
This abbreviation is acceptable as an adjective or as a noun, per AP.

USA
Do not use periods.

URL
Use lowercase roman type. If a URL is at the end of a sentence, follow with a period. Always check that the URL works and appears in the text exactly as it appears online.

For print: If an internet address must be split into two lines, break it before a slash or dot and make sure that a hyphen is not added. If the address begins with http://www, do not include http:// (e.g., www.cofc.edu). If the address begins with something other than http://  (e.g., https:// or ftp://), include the entire address (e.g., https://gibbes.cofc.edu).

web
Lowercase

web address

webcam, webpage, website

white, black
Lowercase both of these words when using them to describe racial groups.

workforce

World Wide Web

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Charleston Terms

Below is a list of terms that are unique to the Charleston area. Many of these are commonly misspelled and/or mispronounced; others may simply need a little explanation for those who are unfamiliar of their meaning.

Barre Street
Pronounced like Barry.

Battery, the
The formal name is Battery Park, which includes the waterfront promenade and White Point Park and Garden; the Battery may be used on the second reference.

Charles Towne Landing

Charleston Air Force Base

Charleston Harbor

Citadel, The
Capitalize the T in The.

Colonial Lake

Cooper River

Daniel Island

Dewees Island

East Cooper
The region east of the Cooper River.

Elliotborough

Frogmore stew
Also known as Lowcountry boil, this stew usually combines shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage and red potatoes.

Hasell Street
Pronounced like Hazel.

Holy City, the

Huger Street
Pronounced Hujee.

Joe, The
The formal name is Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park; The Joe may be used on the second reference.

Johns Island

Legare Street
Pronounced La-gree.

Lowcountry

Mazyck-Wraggsborough

Moncks Corner

Montagu Street
The street that intersects with Coming Street is Montagu Street. Montague Avenue is in North Charleston. Same pronunciation.

Naval Weapons Station
The formal name is Naval Weapons Station Charleston; the Naval Weapons Station may be used on the second reference.

oyster roast
A popular winter-time social occasion that involves grilling/steaming oysters, prying them out of their shells and eating them with cocktail sauce.

palmetto bug
A nicer way to say American cockroach.

Patriots Point

Radcliffeborough

Ravenel Bridge
The formal name is the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge; Ravenel Bridge may be used on the second reference. Do not use Cooper River Bridge. Constructed in 2005, this bridge crosses the Cooper River and connects Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. It is named after the 1950 College of Charleston graduate.

RiverDogs
The name of the Charleston minor league baseball team.

R months, the
Local oysters are said to be best during the months that have the letter r in them (i.e., September– April).

shag
The official state dance.

she-crab soup
A creamy Lowcountry soup made with crabmeat, crab roe and sherry.

shrimp and grits

Spoleto
The formal name is Spoleto Festival USA; Spoleto may be used on the second reference. Pronounced Spuh-lay-toe.

St. Philip Street
Pronounced Saint Philip Street.

Sullivan’s Island

sweetgrass basket

Vanderhorst Street
Pronounced Vandross.

Wagener Terrace

Washout, the
An area of Folly Beach that is a favorite among surfers.

West Ashley
The area west of the Ashley River.

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Academic Degrees

  • Omit D.B.A., D.V.M., M.D., Ph.D. and other degrees in text after a person’s name, with the exception of formal event materials, such as formal programs, invitations, letters and donor lists.
  • Omit abbreviations for fellowships or certifications after names (e.g., FACS), except on formal programs, invitations, etc.
  • Communicate a person’s expertise and academic excellence through the use of titles and context.
  • Use discretion and context in determining the most appropriate descriptive terms for people with multiple titles and professional achievements.
  • In general writing, please use the following general College of Charleston degrees. Note that generic degree designations are lower case, while degrees that refer to specific academic programs are capitalized.

Artium Baccalaureatus
bachelor’s degree
bachelor of arts
Bachelor of Professional Studies
bachelor of science
master’s degree
master of arts
Master of Arts in Teaching
Master of Business Administration
master of education
master of fine arts
Master of Public Administration
master of science

  • When abbreviations are appropriate, please use the following College of Charleston degree abbreviations:

A.B. – Artium Baccalaureatus
B.A. – bachelor of arts
B.S. – bachelor of science
B.P.S. – Bachelor of Professional Studies
CER – certificate
M.A. – master of arts
M.A.T. – Master of Arts in Teaching
MBA – Master of Business Administration
M.Ed. – master of education
M.F.A. – master of fine arts
M.P.A. – Master of Public Administration
M.S. – master of science

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Numbers

Generally, spell out zero through nine (and first through ninth). Use numerals for everything 10 (10th, etc.) or more. This holds true in a series (e.g., They had four four-room houses, 10 three-room houses and 12 10-room houses).

Exceptions – Always Spell Out

  • casual expressions (e.g., a quarter of a mile, hundreds of pages, thousands of fleas)
  • sentence start (e.g., Tenth place isn’t that bad, Twenty-three people showed up)
  • street names (e.g., 124 Second Street)

Exceptions – Always Use Numerals

  • academic course numbers
  • ages (e.g., The 2-year-old child will be 3 years of age next year)
  • betting odds (e.g., The chances were 5-4)
  • court decisions (e.g., The court ruled 5-4)
  • dimensions (e.g., The rug is 6 feet wide. The one exception is two-by-four.)
  • dollar amounts (e.g., 5 cents, $60,000, $4 million)
  • formulas
  • GPAs
  • highway designations (e.g., U.S. Highway 1)
  • in headlines
  • in recipes
  • mathematical usage
  • military ranks when used with or after a name (e.g., 1st Sgt. Jane Doe, but He was a second lieutenant.)
  • millions and billions (e.g., 7 million people)
  • parts of a book or play (e.g., Chapter 3, Act 2)
  • percentages (e.g., 7%)
  • proportions (e.g., 2 parts powder to 6 parts water)
  • ranks (e.g., No 1, Top 40)
  • ratios (e.g., a 2-1 ratio)
  • room numbers
  • sizes (e.g., a size 9 shoe)
  • speeds (e.g., 50 mph) and distance (e.g., They traveled 4 miles.)
  • sports scores
  • street numbers (e.g., 1 Broad Street, 6 Fifth Street)
  • tabular matter and statistical formats
  • temperatures (except zero)
  • time (e.g., 2 a.m.)
  • volume (e.g., 2 ounces)
  • votes
  • weights

dates

  • Numbers are used for dates. In informal contexts, abbreviate years with an outward apostrophe (e.g., Class of ’84). Decades should be expressed as numerals (e.g., the ’80s, the 1980s).
  • Use numbers for centuries 10 or higher(e.g., 20th century). Spell out for numbers nine and lower (e.g., the fourth century).
  • Dates should generally be written as May 11, 1975 (e.g., The email dated May 12, 1999, says that's the case.)

fractions

Fractions are spelled out if less than 1 (e.g., two-thirds). If used in a quotation, use figures (e.g., She was 3 1/2 meters ahead.). 

numbers in proper names

Numbers in proper names are written as the organization writes them. For personal names, the names of wars, and the names of yachts, spacecraft, etc., use Roman numerals (e.g., Robert P. Smith III, World War II, America IV, Voyager II). Do not separate the name and the number with a comma.

plural numerals

For plural numerals, add an s with no apostrophe (e.g., 1990s, she’s in her 40s).

spelled-out numbers

When numbers are spelled out, use a hyphen to connect a word ending in y to another word. (e.g., twenty-one, one hundred forty-three). Do not use commas between other separate words that are part of one number (e.g., one million two hundred seventy-six thousand five hundred eighty-seven).

telephone numbers

Do not use parentheses with area codes; use periods (e.g., 843.953.5500). Do not put a 1 before any phone number.

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Punctuation Guide

The College of Charleston follows the punctuation rules set forth in the AP Stylebook. Below are some of the guidelines (and exceptions).

apostrophe (’)

  • To indicate a possessive, add an ’s to singular common and proper nouns (e.g., the dog’s tail, your money’s worth, the fox’s den, Metz’s publication, the justice’s verdict).
  • When a singular or plural noun ends in s, add only the apostrophe to indicate possession (e.g., five years’ worth, Agnes’ book, others’ plans). This also applies to both common and proper nouns.
  • The following special expressions take an apostrophe alone: for conscience’ sake, for appearance’ sake, for goodness’ sake (but the appearance’s cost, my conscience’s vote).
  • To show joint ownership, use the possessive form after the last word only (e.g., Fred and Sylvia’s dogs). Fred’s and Sylvia’s dogs refers to distinct ownership of the dogs: Fred owns one (or more) and Sylvia owns one (or more).
  • Do not add an apostrophe to a word ending in S when it used as a descriptor (e.g., a Cincinnati Reds infieldera teachers college, a writers guide, a citizens band radio). The apostrophe usually is not used if for or by rather than of would be appropriate in the longer form (e.g., a college for teachers). Note that if the term involves a plural word that does not end in S, an apostrophe should be used (e.g., a children’s hospital).
  • Use an apostrophe to indicate omitted letters (e.g., I’ve, don’t) and figures (e.g., Class of ’62, the ’50s). Note that when there is a space before the word or number preceded by an apostrophe, the apostrophe should point outward (e.g., ’tis). When there is a space after the word, the apostrophe should point inward (e.g., rock ’n’ roll).
  • Use an apostrophe to indicate the plural of a single lowercase letter (e.g., Mind your p’s and q’s); capital letters do not require an apostrophe in the plural (e.g., the Five Ws). However, do not use an apostrophe for plural abbreviations that are more than one letter (e.g., RAs).

brackets ([ ])

  • Editor’s notes and corrections, explanations or comments within quoted material should be enclosed in brackets (e.g., “They are furnished separate but equal [locker room] facilities,” he said).
  • Use brackets as parentheses within parentheses (e.g., One of the department’s alumni (who had received both a bachelor’s degree [1980] and a master’s degree [1985] from the College) contributed $10,000 for the scholarship).
  • Brackets may also be used to enclose phonetic pronunciation (e.g., I really enjoyed visiting Suisun [sue-soon’] Bay).
  • Per AP, news releases should not contain brackets; substitute parentheses.

colon (:)

  • Use a colon at the end of a complete sentence to introduce a list (e.g., Jeff has three favorite meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • If the material following a colon consists of one or more complete sentences, or if it is a quotation, it should begin with a capital letter (e.g., She made up her mind: She would leave in the morning). However, lowercase a sentence fragment following a colon (e.g., She packed everything she owned: a toothbrush, a camera and a duffle bag’s worth of clothes).
  • Colons go outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation itself.
  • Do not combine a dash and a colon in a sentence.
  • Do not use a colon to separate main sentence elements, such as a verb and a direct object, even if the direct object is in a list:


          The items in the briefcase are
          paperclips
          pens
          pencils
          keys.

comma (,)

  • Use a comma to separate adjectives of equal weight modifying a noun (e.g., Meteorologists forecast another hot, humid summer).
  • To avoid confusion, use a comma to separate an introductory clause or phrase from the main clause (e.g., When the fire alarm went off for the third time that night, the motel clerk finally called the fire department). The comma may be omitted if doing so does not change the clarity of the sentence (e.g., For six nights floodwater threatened the future of Charleston).
  • Commas separate main clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions if the subjects are separate (e.g., Seven men were arrested this morning on the east side, and 10 more were taken into custody six hours later).Use a comma to attribute full quotes (e.g., Clark says, “Everyone who visits the College of Charleston falls in love with it”). Do not use a comma before a partial quote (e.g., Williams said that Parks’ legacy “represents the power of the individual”).
  • Use commas to set off non-restrictive (non-essential) clauses, phrases and modifiers from the rest of the sentence (e.g., John Doe, assistant to President Joe Smith, says the fund’s aim is to help projects that could otherwise slip past other funding sources).
  • When a conjunction such as and, but or for links two clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a comma before the conjunction when the subject of each clause is expressly stated (e.g., She was glad she found a more convenient flight, but she was disappointed that there were no seats left in first class). Do not use a comma when the subject of the two clauses is the same and is not repeated in the second clause (e.g., She was glad she had found a more convenient flight but disappointed that there were no seats left in first class).
  • Use a comma at the end of a quote that is followed by attribution, but not if the quoted statement ends with a question mark or exclamation point (e.g., “Eat your vegetables,” Mom said; “Why should I?” he asked).
  • Commas set off an individual’s hometown and/or age when it is placed in apposition to a name (e.g., Mary Green, Summerville, S.C., was there; Mary Green, 48, was there).
  • Commas always go inside quotation marks (e.g., “Eat your vegetables,” she said.)
  • Use commas to separate items in a series (e.g., The new director enjoys sailing, cooking, stamp collecting and gardening.) See also serial commas.

dash (— and –)

  • The College uses an en dash (–) with a letter space on both sides to set off parenthetical remarks and phrases that would otherwise be set off by commas but that already contains a comma (e.g., My brother’s puppy – a brown Pomeranian with white, orange and black spots – is spoiled rotten).
  • The en dash is also used for continuing inclusive) numbers or words (e.g., January 5–9, E–P, Monday–Friday). Do not use an en dash when the word from is actually used (e.g., 1968–72 or from 1968 to 1972, never from 1968–72).
  • An en dash is also used in place of a hyphen in compound adjectives when one of the elements is an open compound (e.g., post–Civil War period, Peabody Award–winning program), when referring to one campus of a multi-campus university (e.g., University of Wisconsin–Madison), when combining two equal elements (e.g., Paris–Rome train) or when combining two hyphenated compounds (e.g., quasi-public–quasi-judicial body).
  • The em dash (—) is used for abrupt changes of thought, epigraphs and datelines. AP requires space on each side of an em dash; in printed publications, however, letter spacing is the responsibility of the designer (of the typeface and of the publication), not of the writer. Most importantly, treat em dash spacing consistently throughout a document or publication.

ellipsis (…)

  • Within sentences, use spaces to separate dots from one another and from surrounding text.
  • If the words that precede an ellipsis constitute a complete sentence, place a period at the end of the last word before the ellipsis. When the complete sentence calls for a question mark, exclamation point or colon, use the appropriate punctuation. Regardless, follow the punctuation with a space and an ellipsis (e.g., I no longer have a political base. …; Will you come? …).
  • Do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of a quotation or citation.

exclamation point (!)

  • Use exclamation points sparingly. End mildly exclamatory sentences with periods.
  • Exclamation points go inside quotation marks when they are part of quoted material (e.g., “Never!” he shouted). Do not use a comma after the exclamation point.

hyphen (-)

  • Use a hyphen to link words with prefixes only when not using a hyphen causes confusion (e.g., He recovered from his illness; She re-covered the upholstered chair).
  • When a compound modifier – two or more words that express a single concept – precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb very and all adverbs that end in ly (e.g., bluish-green dress, full-time job, well-known man, know-it-all attitude, very good boy, easily done task). When compound modifiers come after a noun, however, they are not hyphenated (e.g., The dress is bluish green; Her job is full time; That man is well known; His attitude suggested that he knew it all).
  • Do not use hyphens with phone numbers; instead, use periods.

list punctuation

  • Bulleted lists are best introduced by a complete sentence, ended by a colon.
  • Items carry no closing punctuation, unless they consist of complete sentences.
  • When a vertical list completes a sentence begun in the introductory element and consists of phrases or sentences with internal punctuation, semicolons may be used between the items, and a period should follow the final item. Each item begins with a lowercase letter. Such lists, often better run into the text, should be set vertically only if the context demands that they be highlighted.

parentheses ( () )

  • Avoid using parentheses, if possible. Try using commas or dashes to isolate incidental material.
  • Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a complete sentence (such as this fragment). When a phrase placed in parentheses (this one is an example) might normally qualify as a complete sentence but is dependent on the surrounding material, do not capitalize the first word or end the sentence with a period. (An independent parenthetical sentence such as this one takes a period before the closing parenthesis.)

period (.)

  • Periods always go inside quotation marks.
  • Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.

question mark (?)

  • Use a question mark directly after questions within sentences (e.g., You told me – Did I hear you correctly? – that you had started your homework).
  • Place question marks inside quotation marks when the question is part of the quotation and outside the quotation marks when the question is not part of the quotation (e.g., He asked, “How long will it take?”; Who wrote “The Road Not Taken”?). When both the sentence and the quotation are questions, use a single quotation mark at the end of the full sentence (e.g., Did you hear him say, “What right do you have to ask me about that?”).

quotation marks (“”)

  • If a full paragraph of quoted material is followed by a paragraph that continues the quotation, do not put a closing quotation mark at the end of the first paragraph; start the next paragraph with opening quotation marks.
  • A partial quote always requires a closing quotation mark, even when immediately followed by a new paragraph that continues a quote by the same individual.
  • In dialogue, every change in speaker requires a new paragraph.
  • Quotation marks indicate irony (e.g., The “discussion” turned out to be a one-sided lecture) or unfamiliar terms on the first reference only. (e.g., The scientist suggested that one thing affecting neurotransmission is “somatostatin.” She explained that somatostatin regulates the endocrine system).
  • Alternate between double quotation marks (“) and single marks (‘) for quotes within quotes.
  • The period and the comma always go within the quotation marks. The dash, question mark and exclamation point go within the quotation marks when they apply to quoted material only. When they apply to the entire sentence, they go outside the quotation marks.

semicolon (;)

  • Use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses that are not related, thus avoiding comma splices or run-on sentences (e.g., Her cabinets are filled with plates, bowls and glasses; utensils can be found in the drawer).
  • Semicolons also may be used to separate the elements of a series when the elements themselves include commas. In such a case, include a semicolon before the conjunction at the end of the series (e.g., In attendance at the ceremony were April Lane, mother of the bride; Scott Lane, father of the bride; and Peter Lane, brother of the bride).

serial commas

  • Per AP style, omit the serial comma (the comma preceding and or or in a series) when it is not needed (e.g., The U.S. flag is red, white and blue).
  • In some cases, the serial comma is simply necessary to prevent confusion (e.g., There are four major groups of vertebrates: mammals, reptiles and birds, fish, and amphibians). See also semicolon and dash.

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