In general, CGU’s style guide for internal and external communications follows the Chicago Manual of Style. This guide addresses common style questions, with usage examples, as well as some exceptions or areas where CGU may deviate from the Chicago style. For dictionary consultation on spelling and word treatment, use Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Table of Contents

Academic Terms
Campus Building Names
Faculty Listings and Their Cited Works
Punctuation, Grammar and Formatting
School, Division and Program Names
Web Style and Terminology
Word List

If you would like to propose an addition to this guide, please visit our Request Forms and Downloads page and fill out the General Request form.


Abbreviations should be restricted to situations where they enhance comprehension, such as when copy refers repeatedly to a lengthy name or term that has a commonly accepted abbreviation. Spell out abbreviated items on first reference, followed immediately by abbreviated parenthetical reference.

If lowercase, use periods: a.k.a.

Exception: am/pm

If capped, no periods: USA, UN, PhD, MA, MS, GPA. (Exception: L.A. and U.S.)


Do not use the ampersand (&) as an abbreviation for “and.” Use the ampersand only when it is part of an official name of a company, product or other proper noun; or on covers and display matter, at the discretion of the designer. CGU is using ampersands for its school and division names, program names, and concentration names; it should only be used when referring to those specific programs.

Articles Before Abbreviations

If as pronounced, the abbreviation begins with a vowel sound that would take the article “an,” use that article:

  • An FBI agent
  • A CGU student
  • An MBA degree

Abbreviations in Social Titles

Social titles are always abbreviated, whether preceding the full name or the surname only. The spelled-out forms Mister or Doctor might be used without a name—as in direct address.

    • Ms.
    • Mrs.
    • Messrs.
    • Mr.
    • Dr. Jekyll


    Thank you, Doctor.

Social titles are routinely omitted in most prose, though a few periodicals, in particular, persist in using them. When an academic degree or professional designation follows a name, such titles are always omitted.

Jennifer James, MD (not Dr. Jennifer James, MD)

State Abbreviations

The names of the 50 US states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city. For information on postal abbreviations, see Addresses.

Relevant Abbreviations


AADC Affirmative Action and Diversity Committee
ACB Academic Computing Building
ADC Academic Deans Committee
APT Appointment, promotion, and tenure
BOT Board of Trustees
CAFE Center for Academic & Faculty Excellence
CDO Career Development Office
CSI Create Supplier Invoice (Workday equivalent of Request for Check (RFC)
CUC Claremont University Consortium
CWR Center for Writing & Rhetoric
DLL Digital Learning Lab
FEC Faculty Executive Committee
FFTE Financial Full-Time Equivalence
GLI Getty Leadership Institute
GSC Graduate Student Council
IAC Institute for Antiquity and Christianity (location of the School of Arts & Humanities)
IRB Institutional Review Board
MCR McManus Conference Room
MMP Minority Mentor Program
ODS Office of Disability Services
OIT Office of Information Technology
OIE Office of Institutional Effectiveness
ORSPG Office of Research, Sponsored Programs & Grants
P Card CGU Purchase Card
PAC Petitions and Appeals Committee
PAF Personnel Action Form
RFPC Request for Payroll Check Form
SAS Student Academic Services
SLDL Office of Student Life, Diversity & Leadership
TCR Treasurer’s Conference Room

CGU Schools and Programs

AWS Applied Women’s Studies
CISAT Center for Information Systems & Technology
DBOS Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences (formerly SBOS)
DOB Department of Botany
DPE Division of Politics & Economics
Drucker The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management
IMS Institute of Mathematical Sciences (formerly SMS)
SAH School of Arts & Humanities
SCGH School of Community & Global Health
SES School of Educational Studies
SSSPE School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation
TNDY Transdisciplinary Studies Program

Claremont University Consortium and Affiliated Members

ACC Administrative Campus Center
ADC Academic Deans Committee
BFAC Business and Financial Affairs Committee
CLSA Chicano/Latino Student Affairs
CLU Claremont Lincoln University (not part of CUC)
CMC Claremont McKenna College
CST Claremont School of Theology
HEO Health Education Outreach
HMC Harvey Mudd College
IDAAS Intercollegiate Department of Asian-American Studies
KGI Keck Graduate Institute
MCAPS Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services
OBSA Office of Black Student Affairs
PIT Pitzer College
POM Pomona College
RSABG Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens
SCR Scripps College
SDC Student Deans Committee
SDRC Student Disability Resource Center
SHS Student Health Services
CUC Claremont University Consortium
TCC The Claremont Colleges
5Cs The five undergraduate colleges: Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps
7Cs The five undergraduate colleges listed above plus the two graduate colleges: CGU and Keck Graduate Institute

Academic Terms

Academic Degree Titles

No periods: MA, PhD, MBA

To pluralize, add s.

Lowercase and spell out when referred to generally in running text:

  • bachelor’s degree
  • master’s degree
  • doctorate
  • master’s programs (plural)
  • bachelor’s degrees (plural)

But capitalized when spelled out in reference to a CGU degree program:

  • Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Master of Science in Mathematics

Academic Grades

A, B-, C+
As, Bs, Cs (no apostrophe for pluralization)

Do not refer to professors as “Dr.” unless they are medical doctors.

Alumnus: singular male
Alumna: singular female
Alumnae: plural female
Alumni: plural male or both male and female

Emeritus: singular male
Emerita: singular female
Emeriti: plural, both male and female


Use numerals when referring to class units. Note that units is always lowercase.


Always spell out route names and capitalize when specific: Baltic Avenue; Foothill Boulevard; Blue Jay Way.

Always abbreviate and use periods with compass points: E. 10th Street; N.W. Houston Boulevard.

Don’t use a comma between the street name and compass points: 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Always use numerals for numbered streets, including 1st-9th.

When abbreviating post office in an address, do not use periods: PO Box 332.

Mailing Address Formats

Sentence form:
Send inquiries to the Office of Marketing and Communications, Claremont Graduate University, 165 E. 10th Street, Claremont, CA 91711.

Office of Marketing and Communications
Claremont Graduate University
165 E. 10th Street
Claremont, CA 91711

Campus Building Names

First reference (official name)/second (casual) reference

John Stauffer Hall of Learning/Stauffer Hall/Stauffer
Ron W. Burkle Family Building/Burkle
Harper Hall/Harper
Harper Hall East/Harper East
McManus Hall of Graduate Studies/McManus Hall/McManus
Academic Computing Building/ACB
Albrecht Auditorium/Albrecht
William S. Rosecrans Tower and Court/Rosecrans Tower and Court
George and Margaret Jagels Building/Jagels Building/Jagels
Art Building
Institute of Antiquity & Christianity/IAC
Getty Leadership Institute/GLI
Sotheby’s Institute of Art/Sotheby’s/SIA
Center for Neuroeconomics Studies/CNS
Claremont Evaluation Center/CEC
The Evaluators’ Institute/TEI
Michael J. Johnston Board of Trustees Room
Treasurer’s Conference Room/TCR
Blaisdell House
Blaisdell Fountain
DesCombes Family Gate
DesCombes Family Quadrangle/DesCombes Quad


In general, avoid over-capitalization, with some exceptions for marketing materials (left to the discretion of the Office of Marketing & Communications). Official names and proper nouns are capitalized on first reference, though shortened forms may be acceptable thereafter.

Academic Degrees
Capitalize the names of degrees unless they’re referred to generically, as in the second example.

  • Rufus earned a Bachelor of Arts in History at CGU.
  • Bill and Ted earned master’s degrees in business administration at different institutions.

Academic Majors

Lowercase when not part of a department or formal degree:

  • He is a master’s student in botany.
  • She received her PhD in economics.

Academic Titles

Titles such as professor or dean are only capitalized when they precede the name:

Assistant Professor of Botany Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, assistant professor of botany


Capitalize only when part of a formal name:

  • The meeting of the Claremont Graduate University Board of Trustees.
  • She joined the board of trustees in 2001.

The century designation follows general number rules. It is spelled out for ninth and earlier, and numerals are used for 10th and later. It is always set in lowercase type: 16th century; 18th-century literature; fifth century BC.


A conference title is listed in plain text and capitalized. Individual meetings, speeches, or discussions are placed within quotation marks:

  • “The Making of a Modern Gentleman” was the title of the panel discussion at the 85th Annual Conference of American Haberdashers.

Composition Titles

Publications, Presentations, and Reports

Titles of books, periodicals, journals, movies, TV and radio programs, musicals, plays, long poems, works of art, comic books series, museum exhibitions, campus publications, podcasts, and blog titles set italic with headline-style caps.

Although a newspaper’s proper name sets italic, as mentioned above, the initial “the” sets roman and lowercase (does not apply to books).

Titles of articles, episodes, short stories, book chapters, poems, conference papers, presentations, essays, dissertations, academic talks, and theses set roman and in quotation marks.

Titles of websites, apps, workshops, and conferences set roman with initial caps.

  • Golden Retrievers: A History of the Breed, available from Random House, is a riveting read.
  • A panel of rock critics discusses “Hotel California: Can You Really Check Out Any Time You Like?” in the Los Angeles Times on April 17, 2016.
  • To learn more about Professor Lynn’s iguana collection, read the blog entry entitled “Lizard Mania Comes to Claremont” on my blog, Useless Stories.

Course Titles

Course titles are headline-capped in roman: Introduction to Business Management; Eighteenth-Century British Literature.

Introduction to Taxidermy but the taxidermy course.

Department/School/University Names

Both terms should set lowercase when used generally or in stand-alone reference to the proper name of an institution:

  • Claremont Graduate University is truly great. This university attracts the smartest students and faculty.

Capitalize official department and school names on first reference, with abbreviations cited parenthetically with the first reference:

  • The Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences met yesterday. All DBOS members thought the meeting went great.
  • The Religion Department is expanding. Join the religion team today!

The Office of Marketing & Communications may capitalize more phrases in order to refine its marketing and advertising materials.


Academic subjects—as opposed to departments—aren’t capitalized unless they contain, or are themselves, proper nouns:

  • CGU’s Positive Psychology program offers a PhD in positive psychology.

The Office of Marketing & Communications may capitalize more phrases in order to refine its marketing and advertising materials.


Unpublished dissertations and theses are set roman in quotation marks.

Headline/Works Capitalization

Capitalize the following in titles:

  • First word
  • Last word*
  • First word after a colon
  • All nouns, verbs (including short verbs, such as is, are, be), pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions of four or more letters (like with, before, through) and conjunctions of four or more letters (that, because)
  • The second word in a hyphenated word: Fast-Track Your MA in Management at Drucker

*In the rare event a headline ends on a normally lowercased word, this ensures the last word always gets capped: Kangaroo Jack Is McConnell’s Bravest Movie Yet

Do not capitalize the following in titles (unless they fall into one of the previously listed categories):

  • Articles (a, an, the), unless they are part of a proper noun
  • Conjunctions of fewer than four letters (and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet)
  • Prepositions of fewer than four letters (on, of, to, by)

Treat subheads as sentences with normal punctuation, and use roman type.

Lecture titles

Lecture series titles are headline-capitalized and set roman. Individual lecture titles are headline-capitalized, set roman, and appear within quotation marks.

Paired Titles

Lowercase shared proper parts of speech in pairs:

  • The Amazon and Nile rivers
  • Dartmouth and Platt boulevards

Items In a List

Capitalize the first work of each item in a list or an outline.

Here are the items I need:

  • Long-handled screwdriver.
  • Ball-ping hammer.
  • Drill press.

Noun Followed by Number

Capitalize a noun followed by a number or a letter that indicates sequence.

Exceptions: Do not capitalize: line, note, page, paragraph, size, step, or verse.

Account 1210
Act 2
Appendix B
Book IV
Chapter VI
page 7
line 2
Room 100
verse 3


Following an academic subject, program is always lowercase.


Proper nouns that refer to religions are also capitalized:

  • Christianity, Judaism, Islam
  • Christians, Jews, Muslims


Always lowercase unless part of a proper title: fall, winter, spring, summer.



Spell out all months in running text: January 1, 2018. (If using a table format or under space restrictions, abbreviations can be used.)


Do not use the ordinal (st, th, nd, rd).


Use an apostrophe for shortened decades: the ’90s. the ’70s. Or avoid altogether: the 1990s; the 1970s. Note that an apostrophe s is never used when writing out decades.


Written numerically unless they begin a sentence—though it’s advisable to rewrite in order to avoid this scenario.


The seasons like winter, spring, summer, fall, and autumn are not capitalized unless they are being used for events/pronouns.

  • Apply by April 1 for the summer semester.
  • Get ahead by taking a course during the summer.
  • You’ve invited to attend Discover CGU: Spring Preview.

Date Punctuation

No comma is necessary between a month and year: June 2016.

Date Ranges

Use an en dash for continuing or inclusive numbers; however, do not use an en dash as a substitute for the word to:

  • The 2016–2017 academic year is underway.
  • She attended CGU from 2012 to 2015.

Graduation Dates

In running text, when referring to a graduation year, use all four digits. To abbreviate the year, use the final two digits of the graduation year, or expected graduation year, preceded by an apostrophe, and enclose the year in parentheses.

Faculty Listings and Their Cited Works

Website faculty bios omit the name of the author/artist because that name is already the subject of the page. When using a citation from a faculty bio, be sure to add the author/artist’s name into the beginning of the citation—i.e. Last name, First name.


Single Author

Title of Book. City: Publisher, Year.


Taking Charge of Curriculum: Teacher Networks and Curriculum Implementation. New York: Teachers College Press, 2000.

Co-authored With One Other Author

Co-authored with First Name Last Name. Title of Work. City: Publisher, Year.


Co-authored with Paul Gray. What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School: 299 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus, 2008.

Co-authored With More Than One Other Author

Note: If there are two authors, list both names, first then last, separated by and.


(Co-authored with two authors)

Co-authored with Naomi Chowdhuri Tyler and Bianca Elizabeth Montrosse​. “The Supply: Profile of Current Students and Recent Graduates in Special Education.” TESE 35, no. 2 (2012): 114–127.

(Co-authored with more than two authors)

Co-authored with Philip J. Burke, et al. “The Federal Investment in Personnel Preparation for Special Educators.” Washington DC: The National Association of Directors of Special Education, 2013.

Editor of a Book (when a faculty member is the sole editor of a book)

Ed., Title of Book. City of Publication: Publishing House, Year.


Ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming.

Co-Editor of a Book

Co-edited with First Name Last Name. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publishing House, Year.


Co-edited with Andrew Thacker. The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines 4–6. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming.

Translator of a Book (when the faculty member is the sole translator of a book)

Trans., Title of Book, by Author’s Name. City of Publication: Publishing House, Year.


​Trans., ​Jihad in Islam​, by Ayatullah Salehi Najafabadi. Montreal: Organizations for the Advancement of Islamic Knowledge, 2012.

Book in a Series

Title of Book. Title of Series. City of Publication: Publishing House, Year.


A Second, or Later, Version of a Book

Title of Book Number Ed. City of Publication: Publishing House, Year.


Religion and Society in Early Modern England: A Sourcebook 2nd Ed. London: Routledge, 2005.

Chapters and Articles

Chapter in an Edited Book

“Title of Chapter.” In Title of Book, edited by First Name Last Name, page range. City: Publisher, Year.


“Resource Equity and Educational Adequacy.” In All Children Can Learn: Lessons from the Kentucky Reform Experience, edited by R. Pankratz and J. Petrosko, ​29–45.​ San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2000.

Single Author of a Scholarly Journal Article

“Title of Article.” Title of Journal Volume, no. Issue (Year): Page Range.


“Radiation Secrecy and Censorship After Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Journal of Social History 48, no. 4 (2015): 842–864.

Co-Author of a Scholarly Journal Article

Co-authored with First Name Last Name ([comma] et al if applicable). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal Volume, no. Issue (Year): Page Range.


Co-authored with Edward P. St. John, et al. “Diversity and Persistence in Indiana Higher Education: The Impact of Preparation, Major Choices, and Student Aid.” Readings on Equal Education 21 (2006): 359–407.

Online Article (not in scholarly journal)

“Title of Article.” Title of Website. Date Published.


“California Deserves Praise Not Punishment for Common Sense School Reforms.” EdSource. November 8, 2013.


“Title of Dissertation.” PhD diss., Name of School, Year.


“Clarifying the Connections: Evaluation Capacity and Intended Outcomes.” PhD diss., Claremont Graduate University, 2012.

Conferences and Lectures

“Title of Presentation.” Conference Presentation. City: Conference, Year.

Art, Music, and Other Non-Written Works


Title of Exhibit. Year. Type of exhibit (not title case). City: Name of Gallery or Museum.


Hard Places. 2016. Solo exhibition. Los Angeles: Ace Gallery Beverly Hills.

Individual Installation

Title of Installation. Year. Medium (not title case). Dimensions (if applicable). City of Installation: Gallery or Location.


City Souvenirs. 2015. Clay sculpture with public participation. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park.

Individual Artwork

Title of Artwork. Year. Medium (not title case). Dimensions (if applicable). City: Name of Gallery or Museum.


Cell: Interlocking Construction. 2010. Plexiglass and cosmetic compound. 144 x 125 x 53. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Art Exhibition

Italicize, with no quotes.

Musical Composition

Title in Italics. For specific performance. Year.


Symphony No. 1. For orchestra. 2012–13.

General Rules for All Entries

When a book is forthcoming, use the word Forthcoming (capitalized) where the year should be. Omit years (even if they are known) when a book has not yet been published, in order to avoid any potential error in publishing dates.

Numbers: Spell out single digits. Use numerals for everything else.


United States
Spell out unless used as adjective. Use “US” in case of adjective.

State abbreviations
Use two-letter postal abbreviations following cities that are not well known. It’s not necessary for cities such as New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris.

Los Angeles
Abbreviate as L.A. with periods (exception to uppercase acronym treatment).


  • Whenever possible, put the full name (can abbreviate middle names) on the citation, unless listed otherwise on the book or article.
  • For page ranges in the hundreds, omit the first number if it is within the same hundred (e.g. 440–448 should be 440–48). When there are only two numbers, keep all the numbers (31–38).

Suggested Structure of Biographical Information

Paragraph 1:
Official title of faculty
Specific interests in research
Courses offered

Paragraph 2:
Brief historical information:
-Where did they study and teach before CGU?
-What awards have they received?

Paragraph 3:
Name a specific and important publication/project they have done and talk about its influence.

Paragraph 4:
What are they working on now?

Style Guide for Faculty Bio Entries

List as many actual titles as they have (line by line), including any chairs, professorships, or directorships, in title caps.

Bio Info
Use full name of the professor at the beginning of the entry; subsequent references should be last name or preferred pronoun only.

Use full name of the university (Claremont Graduate University) on first reference; all subsequent uses should be abbreviated (CGU).

When listing books, put (Publisher, Year) in parentheses after the title of the book.

Separate big lists, including book titles, by semi-colons.

List as many degrees as they have (no more than four); include country after university name if the school is international.

All email addresses should be lowercased.

No numerals next to class titles.



Major cities may be used in news stories without corresponding state designations. Use editorial judgment.

US examples: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle.

International examples: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Cairo, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, Moscow, Mumbai, Oslo, Paris, Quebec, Rome, Saigon, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tehran, Tokyo, Vancouver, Venice, Warsaw, Zurich.


A proper geographic region’s name is capitalized:

  • Southern California
  • Southeast Asia

Editor may use discretion when designating proper geographic regions. For a proper list see Chicago Manual of Style (8.46).


States and territories of the United States should be spelled out in running copy, regardless of whether they stand alone or follow a city. When following a city, states should be offset by commas.

  • We traveled from California to Utah via Nevada.
  • We left Barstow, California, en route to Las Vegas, Nevada, and then Provo, Utah.


Capitalize the word “state” only when it follows the name of the state or is part of the nickname.

New York State is also called the Empire State.
The state of Texas is the second largest in the Union.


All single-digit numbers—as well as those that begin a sentence—are spelled out, while double-digit numbers are expressed as numerals. Exceptions include large numbers that would prove cumbersome in running text (such as 3 million), or any number that begins a sentence or is part of a quotation (spell these out).

  • I made two strong cups of coffee. It felt like I drank 10!
  • Only two students skipped class. Fifteen showed up late, though.
  • Five percent of 1 million is 500,000, but 5 percent of 1 billion is 5 million.

Exception: Use numerals for all ordinal street names: 1st, 2nd, 10th, W. 72nd

Use commas with numbers in the thousands: 3,356.

Use numerals when referring to class units. Note that units is always lowercase.


Ages follow the general rule above.

  • My neighbor is 12 years old. His three-year-old sister is funny.
  • His three children—ages six, eight, and 11—attend the school.


Ordinals follow the same rule as numbers: First, second, third … 10th. The text following the ordinal should remain roman rather than superscript. MS Word automatically superscripts ordinals, so be mindful to change them.

Do not use ordinals with dates in running copy: July 3, 1942, not July 3rd, 1942.


Spell out the word percent, but not the numeral preceding percent:

  • 55 percent; 8 percent

Spell out the number when it opens a sentence:

  • Fifty-five percent of the incoming class are women.

It is OK to use the % symbol in charts and tables to save space.

Phone Numbers
CGU style calls for hyphens with no parentheses around the area code: 909-607-9999

Weights & Measures
Generally, use numeric figures for all weights and measures. Spell out inches, feet, miles, etc., to indicate depth, height, length, width, weight, and distance. Use editorial judgment.

  • She is 5 feet 2 inches tall.
  • The 6-foot-3-inch man
  • The school bus is 26 feet long.
  • The garage is 15 feet by 12 feet; the 12-by-15-foot garage
  • Forecasters predict 8 inches of snow.
  • The 1,000-square-foot apartment

“No. 1” is preferred in body text over “number one,” unless quoted.

Punctuation, Grammar, & Formatting


The article “a” should be placed before words that begin with a consonant sound; “an” should be placed before those that begin with a vowel sounds, including words that begin with a silent “h.”

  • She attended a European university.
  • The school awarded him an honorary degree.

Note: avoid “an historic”—the “h” is pronounced.


Generally, all quotes should have attribution, even if it is obvious who is speaking. A colon after the sentence that directly precedes a quote is fine; otherwise, aim for attribution within or after the first sentence of a quote. Says and said are preferred verbs for attribution. Most news posts should use past-tense attribution (said); service-driven posts generally should use the present tense.


Captions should be set in italics. If the caption is only a name or fragment, no terminal punctuation is necessary.


Colons introduce a series or explanatory phrase or sentence.

The word following the colon should be uppercase when a complete sentence follows the colon. For fragments or lists, use lowercase.


CGU style guide calls for the serial comma—also known as the Harvard or Oxford comma—to be placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms:

  • The Three Stooges consist of Larry, Moe, and Curly.

Serial commas help to avoid ambiguity created by long or complex lists of items:

My three favorite sandwiches are pastrami, peanut butter and banana, and turkey.
My three favorite sandwiches are pastrami, peanut butter and banana and turkey.

With Quote Marks

Commas should always appear inside the quotation marks (single and double).

With Dates

No comma is needed between a month and a year. Do use a comma before and after the year if month, date, and year are used.

  • He was born in January 1955 in the Catskills.
  • The treaty was signed August 4, 1778, to much celebration.

With Introductory Phrases

Use a comma to separate an introductory clause or phrase from the main clause. The comma may be omitted after short introductory phrases if no ambiguity would result.

  • After getting back from the bird sanctuary, I decided it would be a good time to wash the car.
  • When the weather is hot the fire danger increases in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.

Before Name Suffixes

It is not necessary to use a comma before suffixes, including:

  • Name suffixes such as “Jr.” and “Sr.”
  • Company suffixes such as “Inc.” and “Ltd.”

Semicolons in Complex Series

Separate items in a list with semicolons if the items in the list include commas:

  • I have lived in Akron, Ohio; Miami, Florida; and Tulare, California.

With Nonrestrictive and Parenthetical Phrases

Use commas to set off nonrestrictive and parenthetical phrases whose omission from the sentence would not change its overall meaning:

  • Cesar Chavez Day, which is a celebration of the renowned labor leader, occurs in late March.
  • My bike path to work, if you can call it a “path,” follows along Cripple Creek.

With Coordinate Adjectives vs. With Cumulative Adjectives

Use commas to separate coordinate adjectives. Coordinate adjectives are adjectives in a row that each separately modify the noun that follows, as in “heavy, bulky box.” Both heavy and bulky modify box. Here, you can rearrange the adjectives to say, “bulky, heavy box” and the intended meaning remains in tact.

Do not use commas to separate cumulative adjectives. Cumulative adjectives don’t separately modify the noun that follows, even though they appear before the noun. Instead, the adjective right before the noun pairs with the noun as a unit, and then adjective before that unit modifies it. In the phrase “exquisite custom houseboat,” custom modifies houseboat—they become a unit—and then exquisite modifies custom houseboat.

To figure out which kind of adjective you’re dealing with, try reversing them or putting and between them. Neither will work for a cumulative adjective:

“Custom exquisite houseboat” or “exquisite and custom houseboat” both change the intended meaning of this phrase.

The inclusion or exclusion of a comma can even change one type of adjective to the other.

  • Coordinate: He had a deep, religious experience. (The experience was both deep and religious—or, conversely, religious and deep.)
  • Cumulative: He had a deep religious experience. (The religious experience was a deep one.)

With Appositives

Use commas with nonrestrictive appositives (not essential to the meaning of the sentence). Do not use a comma with restrictive appositives (essential to the noun it belongs to).

  • Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, once jumped into an empty swimming pool. (The nonrestrictive appositive provides additional information about Keith Moon but is not essential to the sentence.)
  • Martin Scorcese directed the movie The Godfather. (This restrictive appositive restricts “the movie” to this one particular movie.)


If the name is the only thing in the world described by the identifier, use a comma before the name (and after it as well, unless you’ve come to the end of the sentence). If not, don’t use any commas.

I saw the movie Kangaroo Jack with my wife, Jennifer, and our oldest daughter, Hannah.

Kangaroo Jack does not get commas, since it is not the only movie and it is therefore a restrictive appositive. The inclusion of the names of my wife and oldest daughter—of which there are one each and only one—are not essential to the meaning of the sentence (they could be eliminated without changing it), and therefore are nonrestrictive appositives, offset by commas.

Comma Splices

A comma splice links two independent clauses—that is, grammatical units that contain a subject and a verb and could stand alone as sentences—with a comma. Avoid them.

I used to be rich, now I am poor.

Acceptable fixes for a comma splice:

  • I used to be rich. Now I am poor.
  • I used to be rich; now I am poor.
  • I used to be rich, but now I am poor.

Compound Modifiers

Hyphenate most compound modifiers to avoid modifier confusion, except those beginning with “-ly” adverbs.

  • The police brought in explosive-detecting dogs (as opposed to explosive detecting dogs—dangerous!).
  • Kangaroo Jack is a criminally underrated movie.
  • The photo is high-resolution.

Use the hyphen like so when similarly structured, multiple compound modifiers modify the same noun:

  • First-, second-, and third-grade teachers were invited to the conference.


Observe the distinction between hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes.

En Dashes

Use en dashes between inclusive numbers and date ranges.

  • You’ll find the examples on pages 223-26 of your text.
  • We are starting the 2016-2017 academic year.

To create an en dash, use option+hyphen (Mac) or Alt+0151 (PC).

Em Dashes

Em dashes are used to denote a sudden break in thought or added bit of information. Do not overuse em dashes. They can interfere with readability.

An em dash sets without a space on either side.

  • I can’t for the life of me remember—1943, maybe?—when WWII ended.
  • Peter forgot his wallet—like always—so I had to pay.

To create an em dash, use shift+option+hyphen (Mac) or Ctrl+minus (PC).


Ellipses indicate that material has been omitted from the middle of a quotation. The three periods ( … ) that make up an ellipses must always appear together on the same line.

  • The Preamble to the Constitution states,” We the people, in order to form a more perfect union … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

If the omission begins after a complete sentence, include a period, with the ellipses set off by a space on either side:

  • Our commitment to diversity states, “Claremont Graduate University locates diversity as an essential component of its institutional mission and its credo. … Each of us deserves an intellectually vibrant, diverse, and socially responsible environment in which to learn, teach, and become leaders in the worldwide community.”

Exclamation Points

Use them sparingly—if at all!

Marketing usage: Yes, this rule is true even in marketing copy. Please use sparingly.

Foreign Language Words

Foreign language words or phrases that are common parts of English—like ad hoc, per capita, subpoena, etc.—need not be italicized. If it is a word that is likely unfamiliar to the reader, italicize.


Use only when necessary, such as in compound adjectives that might create ambiguity:

  • high-flying acrobat
  • full-time worker
  • 49-year-old man
  • the 18-to-30 demographic

Don’t use hyphens in compound modifiers that begin with an “-ly” adverb: highly regarded program; superbly stated response.

If a compound modifier appears in a title, capitalize the second word in that modifier:

  • High-Quality H2O: The Story of Adam Sandler as the Water Boy
  • Tail Wags Dog: A Tale of Two-Party Politics


Up to editorial discretion and depends on the publication in which it occurs. Never use indentation in email body copy.


The singular possessive is formed by adding ’s to the word. The plural possessive just takes an apostrophe:

  • Rick’s dog
  • Dickens’s novel
  • General Motors’ profits
  • The Super Mario Brothers’ mustaches

Shared possessive: When the thing being possessed belongs to both, use one terminal apostrophe. When ownership is separate, use one for each subject:

  • I went to my aunt and uncle’s philosophy party, where I explored Descartes’s and Kant’s works.

Names ending in S: In a return to the practice in the 14th edition, names that, like Descartes, end in an unpronounced s form the possessive like other names—with an apostrophe s.

Names ending in ez: Surnames like Gutierrez and Martinez form the possessive in the usual way—with an apostrophe s. Plural forms like Gutierrezes and Martinezes just take an apostrophe:

  • Andrea Gutierrez’s cat is the best in the world.
  • The Gutierrezes’ cat is better than yours.

Names ending with an “eez” sound: Names like Xerxes or Euripides now form the possessive in the usual way—with an apostrophe s. When these forms are spoken, however, the additional s is generally not pronounced.

Do not use an apostrophe when a word is primarily descriptive rather than possessive:

  • homeowners association
  • kids department
  • writers room


In general, close up prefixes unless it affects readability or meaning:

  • cooperate
  • hypertension
  • re-signing vs. resigning
  • re-searched vs. researched

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks to indicate the exact words that someone spoke or wrote.

Commas and periods should always appear inside quotation marks, while colons and semicolons should always appear outside quotation marks.

With question marks and exclamation marks, if the punctuation is part of the quotation, put it inside the quotation marks; if it’s not, put it outside.

Avoid scare/irony/unnecessary quotation marks.


In news stories, use said or says. Avoid overly specific examples like “he explained” or “she sighed.”

In general, use last names on second reference. When two or more people use the same last name, use the first name.

Use [sic] after a word to indicate a misspelling in written quoted material.

If you’re using an em dash for attribution, one space before the dash, no space after. “Quote.” —Guy Who Said Quote

Marketing usage: The name of the person being quoted may be stacked below the quote without an em dash. If in running text, designer may take artistic license, but it needs to be distinct enough to not confuse the reader.


A semicolon may be used between two closely related independent clauses, provided they are not already joined by a coordinating conjunction.

  • They have to get up early for work tomorrow; they can’t go to the midnight movie.
  • Tim went to the store at 10 p.m.; he was totally out of food.

Semicolons are also used to separate items in complex series that contain additional commas:

  • Our road trip took us through New Orleans, Louisiana; Austin, Texas; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sentence Spacing

One space only after terminal punctuation such as a period, question mark, or exclamation mark. Never two.


It is perfectly acceptable to use they as a gender-neutral singular third-person pronoun in place of awkward constructions like he/she and s/he.

Words Used as Words

Italicize words used as words and letters used as letters, rather than place in quotation marks:

  • I dislike the word moist.
  • My name starts with an E.

School & Division Names

First reference (formal)/second reference

CGU Schools
Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management/Drucker School of Management/Drucker School
School of Community & Global Health/SCGH
School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation/SSSPE
School of Arts & Humanities/SAH
School of Educational Studies/SES
Center for Information Systems & Technology/CISAT
Institute of Mathematical Sciences/IMS
Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences/DBOS
Division of Politics & Economics/DPE
Botany Department

Marketing usage: In addition to logo lockups, an ampersand may be used in running or title text. Informal second reference for the Drucker School of Management is at the writer and/or designer’s discretion.

The Claremont Colleges:
Pomona College/Pomona
Claremont Graduate University/CGU
Scripps College/Scripps
Claremont McKenna College/CMC
Harvey Mudd College/HMC/Mudd
Pitzer College/Pitzer
Keck Graduate Institute/Keck/KGI
Claremont University Consortium/CUC/the Consortium

“The” is always capped in “The Claremont Colleges.”

5C: In reference to the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges

7C: In reference to all seven Claremont Colleges

Claremont University Consortium
Central coordinating and support organization for the seven institutions, created in 2000. Previously known as “Claremont University Center.”


am and pm are used to designate morning and afternoon/evening. Years should be written numerically unless starting a sentence—though it is advisable to rewrite to avoid this. Use the complete X:OO format for consistence, even for full hours.

For time ranges in marketing materials, tables, etc., use an en dash with a space on either side, and include am or pm designation on both sides of the time range as well as a minutes designation, even for full hours. If it’s a virtual event, include the time zone PST or PDT during daylight saving time.

  • 3:00 pm – 7:30 pm
  • 11:00 am – 4:15 pm PDT or PST
  • 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • 9:30 pm – 12:00 am

For time ranges in running text, use the word to rather than an en dash. In running text, if both times fall in the same half of the day, you may omit the first am or pm designation:

  • The meeting went from 3:00 to 5:30 pm.
  • We surfed from 11:00 am to about 3:15 pm.

Web Style and Terminology

Web Terminology

web link

URLs and Email Addresses

Hyperlinks and URLs

To follow accessibility best practices, make the text that you link to indicative of where the link will take you. “Click here” does not tell you where the link will take you; “Visit the Claremont Graduate University website” does.

Link to readable text and hide complicated URLs in the link. Avoid pasting hyperlinks into the text so that screen readers will stumble over them.

If your link goes to a downloadable file, such as a DOC or PDF, indicate that in brackets following the link text.

In marketing materials, it is not necessary to include http:// at the beginning of URLs. Since URLs are never case sensitive, always write web addresses in lowercase, unless your URL is so long it would benefit from capitalization ( or could be misread otherwise ( It’s also usually not necessary to include “www.” before URLs, unless you can’t access the site without it.

Although some confusion is possible when a URL ends a sentence and the writer adds the necessary period, most people who use the web will not be confused by this because web addresses are not allowed to end with a period or comma. Follow these guidelines for presenting URLs:

  • Do not add capitalize to an email address:, not
  • If an email or web address won’t fit on one line, break the address after a forward slash, @, or a dot that is part of the address, without inserting a hyphen.

Word List



Lowercase even in reference to presidential administration: Obama administration

afterward (not afterwards)

billions: always use numerals (5 billion people)

cell phone (but smartphone)


COVID-19 (COVID after first reference; never Covid)

Earth (capped only when referring explicitly to the planet)

e.g.: Abbreviation meaning for example. Followed by a comma. Do not confuse with i.e., which means that is.



forward (not forwards)

fundraiser, fundraising

GPA (no periods, OK on first reference)

health care (noun and compound adjective)


i.e.: means that is; do not use to mean for example

internet (lowercase)

L.A. (exception to rules on uppercase abbreviations)

login/logon/logoff (noun and adjective)

log in/log on/log off (verb)

Interchangeable only if you are offering a hypothesis that may or may not be true. In general, “may” expresses likelihood while “might” expresses doubt.

  • The professor may know the material, but I don’t have a clue.
  • We might come in under budget this year, but I doubt it.

millions: always use numerals (5 million people)

more than vs. over
Technically interchangeable, but more than typically is used for quantity while over is used to delineate spatial relationships.


nonprofit (as noun and adjective)


online, offline

Phone Numbers
CGU style calls for hyphens with no parentheses around the area code: 909-607-9999

publicly (not “publically”)


Qur’an (noun); Quranic (adjective)

resume (no accent marks)

retweet (noun and verb)

RSVP (OK to use abbreviated; do not say “Please RSVP”—redundant)

RT’d, RTs, RT (on Twitter)

ship names: capped and italicized (USS Arizona; the SS Beagle)

smartphone; smartwatch

startup (noun and adjective)

they (acceptable as gender-neutral singular third-person pronoun to avoid awkward he/she or s/he constructions)

toward (not towards)

tweet (noun and verb)

United States (noun in running text)

units (lowercase when following requirements for a program)



Washington DC

web; website; webpage