The LMU Style Guide provides basic standards for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It is intended as a general guide and extension of the Associated Press Stylebook, one of the most popular and standardized mass communication guides used throughout the world for the past century. Writers working in broadcasting, magazine publishing, marketing departments and public relations firms traditionally adopt and apply AP grammar and punctuation styles. Therefore, LMU has adopted AP style for its official communications and publications.

The first section covers matters of style and preferences specific to Loyola Marymount University. Like every style guide, our aim is consistency, clarity and correctness. While you may not agree with every “rule” set forth in this guide, you may find an answer to a persistent question. If you have a question that is not addressed in this guide, please feel free to contact Marketing and Communications.

Communications Style Guide

Updated August 2018

Preferred Style, Quick Reference
LMU References/Landmarks

1 LMU Drive – not One LMU Drive

Academy for Catholic Thought and Imagination – ACTI on subsequent reference

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – The Jesuit motto. The Latin translates to “For the Greater Glory of God.”

AFROTC – Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (note possessive), the ROTC program at LMU

African American Studies – a major and a minor offered in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.
Note: no hyphen in the department name, however African-American in text.

Ahmanson Auditorium – alternately known as University Hall, Room 1000

AJCU – Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, a consortium headquartered in Washington, D.C., of which LMU is a member.

Alpha Sigma Nu – The Jesuit honor society

Alumni Association

Alumni BBQ

Alumni for Others – service project organized in Alumni Relations

Alumni Relations

Alumni Weekend Celebration

Asian and Pacific Studies – a major and a minor offered in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

Asian Pacific American Studies – a minor offered in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

Athletics Department – also LMU Athletics. Note: capitalize when referring to the department, don’t capitalize if you are referring to athletics in general.

Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies

LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts – Always use the full name on first reference, including LMU; Bellarmine College or BCLA is acceptable on subsequent references.

Bird Nest – not Birds Nest, Bird’s Nest or Birds’ Nest.

bluff – lowercase when referring to the beloved campus location overlooking Playa Vista.

Board of Trustees – Capitalize when referring to LMU’s Board of Trustees (this is an exception to AP style). Do not capitalize when referring to the board.

Board of Regents – Capitalize when referring to LMU’s Board of Regents (this is an exception to AP style). Do not capitalize when referring to the board.

Books – Use quotation marks for titles of books, not italics (follow AP Stylebook rules for composition titles).

Burns Recreation Center – Use full name.

Capitalization – Capitalize a person’s title when it appears before a name but not when they follow a name (for more details, see AP Stylebook)

Do not capitalize university when referring to Loyola Marymount University in a subsequent reference or a generic sense, per the AP Stylebook: “Lowercase these common nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references.” e.g., Promoting academic excellence is embedded in the university’s strategic plan.

Capitalize all schools, colleges and academic centers: the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts; the School of Film and Television; the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, etc.

Capitalize the names of buildings, departments, centers, and divisions, but not majors or general areas of expertise, e.g., the College of Communication and Fine Arts and the Center for Service and Action together offer a course on social justice.

Specific course titles, and papers and presentations and should be in quotes and capitalized (but not italicized). e.g., The College of Communication and Fine Arts and the Center for Service and Action together offer a course called “The Legacy of Mary Poppins.”
Her presentation, “Ways to Work Together,” won an award at the conference.

Capitalize Mass, Board of Trustees, Board of Regents. Do not capitalize when referring only to the board.

Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance, and the Public Interest – Located in the College of Business Administration

Center for Ethics and Business – Located in the College of Business Administration

Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Center for the Study of Los Angeles – Use the full name, the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, on first reference; thereafter, Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles and LCSLA are acceptable.

Children’s Center – LMU Children’s Center is the proper name.

college – Lowercase when it stands alone, even when referring back to a specific college.

LMU College of Business Administration – Always use the full name on first reference, including LMU; thereafter CBA is acceptable.

LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts – Always use the full name on first reference, including LMU; thereafter CFA is acceptable.

Conrad N. Hilton Center for Business – This is the name of the building in which the College of Business Administration is housed. The college itself is not named.

courses – Capitalize specific course titles and put in quotes, e.g., Bob Smith, professor of communication, teaches the graduate-level course “Media Relations in Ethical Business.”

C.S.J. – Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. One of the sponsoring orders of LMU. Use C.S.J. If you bold person’s name, then also bold C.S.J. Do not use Sister or Sr. with C.S.J. or R.S.H.M.

cura personalis – An Ignatian term meaning a personal concern and respect for others. Use italics because it is a foreign phrase.

Doctor – Use when referring to a medical doctor, preferably not for professors. Abbreviate as Dr. before full name only in direct quotations. Use M.D. in all other cases.

Drollinger Parking Plaza – Use plaza, not Drollinger Parking Lot E

eloquentia perfecta
Rhetorical tradition central to Jesuit education that combines oral and written rhetoric, speech/listening with writing/reading. Jesuit eloquentia perfecta is a form of Christian rhetoric based on an Ignatian pedagogy aimed at educating the whole person and producing women and men for others.

emeritus – A designated title for a former professor (it frequently comes with an office and benefits). Not all retired professors are given emeritus status. Capitalize as a formal title before a name, lowercase after.

Father – Spell out before a priest’s name. Do not use Father with S.J.; instead, omit Father and use S.J. after the name. Do not abbreviate as Fr.

first-year –Hyphenate when the words first year are used as an adjective together, e.g., first-year student, first-year course. Except: LMU’s First Year Experience.

fleur-de-lis – Traditionally the heraldic sign of the French royal family. It is used in the presidential seal to represent the French origins of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (R.S.H.M.). Always hyphenate. Note that the plural is fleurs-de-lis.

foreign words/phrases – Use italics except if the word or phrase has been accepted into the English language; consult the dictionary. Use quotation marks if an explanation is necessary.

LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering – Always use the full name on first reference, including LMU; Seaver College on subsequent reference.

Hannon Parking Lot

William H. Hannon Library – Dedicated in August 2009; Hannon Library on subsequent reference.

health care – two words per the Associated Press Stylebook, except when referring to the Healthcare Systems Engineering program or the Lean Healthcare Systems program, both in the LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering.

Ignatian – A descriptive term for those things of or relating to St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, or the Jesuit order.

JAA – Jesuit Advancement Administrators

Jesuits – One of the founding religious orders of LMU. Also known as the Society of Jesus. Capitalize. The order was established on Sept 27, 1540.

Jesuit Community

KXLU – LMU’s radio station. Frequency is 88.9 FM.

Laband Art Gallery
 – a part of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, located in the Burns Fine Arts Complex. Laband on subsequent reference.

Latino Alumni Association – until 2012 was called the Mexican American Alumni Association.

Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles – Use full name, the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, on first reference; thereafter, Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles and LCSLA are acceptable.

lectures – Capitalize with quotation marks when title is given.

Lions – Refers to all LMU athletes, male and female. Never use the term “Lady Lions.”

Loyola Law School – Always use the full name on first reference; the law school is the preferred subsequent reference, but LLS is acceptable when necessary. Capitalize only when the full name is used. In LMU Magazine, use Law to indicate degree achieved by an alumnus or alumna of the law school: John Lion [LibArts’77, Law ’81].

Los Angeles Loyolan – The student-run, weekly campus newspaper, in print and online.

LMU – Spell out first reference to Loyola Marymount University, use LMU, or university (lowercase) in subsequent references.

LMU CARES – Note all caps; use the acronym on first reference, but in a story try to spell it out for clarity in a subsequent reference. The acronym stands for Campus Awareness Resource Education Services, the entity that educates the campus community about resources, support and policies at the university regarding sexual and interpersonal misconduct and prevention.

Los Angeles – Abbreviate as L.A. when used as an adjective: L.A. City Council. When used as part of LMU brand, no periods.

Mass – Capitalize.

Mass of the Holy Spirit – Traditional Mass at Jesuit schools to begin the school year. Capitalize.

The Marymount Institute – Use Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts on first reference. The institute is located in the Marymount Center in University Hall.

magis – An Ignatian term meaning “a striving for excellence.” Italicize.

Murphy Recital Hall – Located in the Burns Fine Arts Complex.

O.Carm. – No space. An abbreviation of the religious Order of the Carmelites, e.g., Albert Koppes, O.Carm., associate chancellor and former dean of the School of Education. If you bold the person’s name, then also bold O.Carm.

Office of Admission – Not “Admissions.” Capitalize.

President’s Day – Specify as “LMU President’s Day”

professor – Capitalize only when it comes directly before the name.

professor titles – Professors’ titles should be written in the following style: Mary Smith, professor of psychology, was honored at the conference. Avoid using Ph.D. with professors’ names. Do not use Dr. when referring to an academic.

Ralph M. Parsons Environmental Engineering Laboratory

Regents Terrace – Between St. Robert’s and Malone; no apostrophe is used in the name of the terrace.

religious orders – The use of a religious order’s abbreviation following a name is preferred to the use of a title such as Father, Sister, etc. (William Fulco, S.J.). Do not use both a title and the order’s abbreviation.

Roski Dining Room – Located in University Hall.

R.S.H.M. – Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, one of the founding orders of Marymount College. Do not use Sister with R.S.H.M. or with C.S.J. If you bold a person’s name, then also bold R.S.H.M.

Sacred Heart Chapel

Seaver College of Science and Engineering – Always use the full name on first reference: LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering

Sir Thomas More Chair of Engineering Ethics

Sister – Preferred usage is the abbreviation of the specific religious order after the name (see S.J.). Do not use Sister with C.S.J. or R.S.H.M. e.g., Peg Dolan, R.S.H.M., is the alumni chaplain. Do not abbreviate as Sr.

St. Ignatius de Loyola – Founder of the Society of Jesus. Born Iñigo Lopez de Loyola, he lived from 1491 to 1556.

LMU School of Education – Always use the full name on first reference, including LMU. Capitalize only when the full name is used.

LMU School of Film and Television – Always use the full name on first reference, including LMU. Capitalize only when the full name is used. SFTV on subsequent references.

Sculpture Garden -located west of Sacred Heart Chapel

S.J. – Abbreviation for the Society of Jesus. Place after the name of all Jesuit priests or brothers on first reference. Always set off by commas, e.g., Robert B. Lawton, S.J., is the former president of the university.

Society of Jesus – The religious order also known as the Jesuits. One of the founding orders of LMU.

Sunken Garden – Not “Gardens.” Capitalize.

theatre – Preferred use of the word in deference to usage by the LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts.

Theatre Arts – The Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.

Theological Studies

Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles – Use full name on first reference, and Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles and LCSLA on subsequent references.

titles/names – The general rule is: titles are capitalized before a name, but not after the name.

President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.; Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., president of Loyola Marymount University (preferred)

Elena M. Bove, senior vice president for student affairs; Senior V.P. Elena M. Bove

Thomas O. Fleming Jr., senior vice president and chief financial officer; CFO Thomas O. Fleming Jr.

John S. Kiralla, vice president for marketing, communications, and public relations; V.P. John S. Kiralla

Thomas Poon, executive vice president and provost; Provost Thomas Poon

Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, vice president for intercultural affairs; V.P. Abbie Robinson-Armstrong

Evelynne B. Scarboro, executive vice president and chief administrator officer ; Chief Administrative Officer Evelynne B. Scarboro

John Sebastian, vice president for mission and ministry; V.P. John Sebastian

Michael Waterstone, senior vice president and dean of Loyola Law School; Dean Michael Waterstone

Bryant Keith Alexander, dean, LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts; Dean Bryant Keith Alexander

Kristine R. Brancolini, dean, LMU William H. Hannon Library; Dean Kristine R. Brancolini

S.W. Tina Choe, dean, LMU Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering; Dean S.W. Tina Choe

Robbin D. Crabtree, dean, LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts; Dean Robbin D. Crabtree

Dayle M. Smith, dean, LMU College of Business Administration; Dean Dayle M. Smith

Mary McCullough, interim dean, LMU School of Education; Dean Mary McCullough

Peggy Rajski, dean, LMU School of Film and Television; Dean Peggy Rajski

titled/entitled – titled means named; entitled means to have a right to.

time – Include a.m. and p.m. Do not include minutes unless necessary, e.g., The class begins at 8 a.m.; The class begins at 8:15 a.m. Also, use noon and midnight instead of 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.

toward – Not towards.

Tower – The LMU yearbook.

UC Schools – Spell out locations except for UCLA and USC, e.g., UC Santa Barbara, etc. Spell out names of all other schools, e.g., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, California State University, Fullerton.

UCLA – Do not spell out; no periods.

university – Do not capitalize when referring to LMU in subsequent references or in the generic sense.

University Hall – first preference is to spell this out; if it needs to be abbreviated because of format, U Hall is preferred, then UNH, then UHall or Uhall.

USC – Do not spell out; no periods.

U.S. – Use as adjective only. Spell out when used as a noun.

vice president/president – Only capitalize when title appears directly before the name.

Von Der Ahe – use upper case for initial letter of all three parts of the name when referring to the Charles Von Der Ahe building (formerly Von der Ahe library). Except: Von der Ahe Suite in the William H. Hannon Library.

WCC – West Coast Conference. Spell out on first reference; thereafter, WCC is acceptable.

Web – Use Web. Avoid using World Wide Web, Information Highway, etc. When writing a URL, don’t use http://www. if possible. Use only www.—-


years – Use figures without commas, even at the beginning of a sentence. Use an “s” without an apostrophe to indicate spans of time or centuries, e.g., the 1980s.

The (abbreviated) Style Guide

If you don’t see your answer here, please consult the printed or online complete Associated Press Stylebook.


A (or B, C, D or F) – When referring to a letter grade, do not use quotation marks to set the grade apart, or an apostrophe for a plural. Note: Use an en dash for a minus: A–, etc. Grace saw that her final exam score raised her grade to an A in political science, meaning she had earned all As for the fall semester.

a / an – Use “a” before heroic, historian (in front of a consonant or words beginning with a pronounced h); a one-year fellowship (before a “w” sound); a united voice (before a “you” sound). “A” comes before words with a consonant sound, including v, h, w, no matter how the word is spelled (a eulogy, a historic event, a quality product).
“An” comes before words with a vowel sound (an LSAT exam room, an X-ray report, an hour late).

abbreviations/acronyms – With organizations, spell out titles on first reference. If the organization is well-known (such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association), then on first reference do not follow the organization’s name with its abbreviation in parentheses. If the organization is not well-known, it is acceptable, but not preferable, in the first reference to follow the name with its abbreviation in parentheses. Use the abbreviation in subsequent references.

In general, avoid abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize; also avoid lists of abbreviations or acronyms that produce the effect of alphabet soup.

Do not abbreviate the names of campus buildings, e.g., St. Robert’s, not St. Rob’s; Burns Recreation Center, not Burns Rec.

Some exceptions to the use of periods: LMU, USC, UCLA, CFO, CEO

academic degrees –  In general, identify professors by their title with their academic department: Mary Smith, professor of psychology, was honored at the conference. If mention of a degree is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: Jane Doe, who has a doctorate in psychology, was honored today.

Use periods in academic degrees and enclose with commas when used as reference to a person’s degree, e.g., John Doe, M.B.A., was a rich man; M.D., Ph.D., B.A., B.S., M.A., M.B.A.

Spell out degree if using in a generic sense, using the following style: Bachelor of Arts, a bachelor’s degree, Master of Arts, Master of Science, a master’s degree, a doctorate, e.g., She wanted to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Take care in copy to note that degrees are earned, they are not received

acknowledgment (no ‘e’ between ‘g’ and ‘m’)

adviser (preferred spelling)

affect, effect –

  • affect means to influence: Your test scores will affect your overall GPA.
  • affect, when used as a noun, suggests emotion; Joe exhibited a peaceful affect.
  • effect, as a verb, means to cause: The manager will effect positive change in the office.
  • effect, as a noun, means result: The relocation’s effect was positive.

affirmative action (generic term); Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer

African-American – Acceptable for an American black person of African descent. Also acceptable is black. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable. People from the Caribbean, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean-American. Follow the person’s preference. Associated Press hyphenates, except:  African American Studies, the department at LMU.

afterward (not afterwards)

aid, aide

  • aid is assistance: The newly accepted freshman was relieved to see the college’s financial aid offer.
  • aide is a person who offers assistance: The politician’s aide was capable and disciplined.

aka (lowercase; known as)

all right (two words)

All-American (hyphenated)

alma mater (lowercase)

alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni

  • Alumna refers to a singular female graduate.
  • Alumnae refers to graduates of an all-women’s school or to groups of female graduates only.
  • Alumnus refers to a singular male graduate.
  • Alumni refers to male graduates and to mixed groups of male and female graduates.

The word alumni is not capitalized.

Render the year an alum has graduated as: Billy Bean ’86 (closed single quote where possible); multiple degrees are: Sid Johnson ’76, M.A. ’79, Ed.D. ’12

For married alumni, render their years as: Maureen ’87 and Bryan Costello ’87 (not Maureen ’87 and Bryan ’88 Costello).


Alzheimer’s disease (note the apostrophe)

American Indian, Indian, Native AmericanAmerican Indian refers to historically indigenous people of North America, although tribal names are often used instead. Depending on the circumstances, this identification is probably a better choice than Native American since many natives are often of other backgrounds.

amid (not amidst)

and, &And is preferable to an ampersand, which should be used only when the name of a company, group, or composition specifically calls for it, as in AT&T. Use of ampersands in headlines, posters, or Web content is acceptable. Do not include a comma before an ampersand.

assure, ensure, insure
Assure means to promise something or to remove doubt.

  • The driver assured me that the bus would arrive on schedule.

Ensure means to make certain something will happen.

  • Generous alumni donations ensure that there are enough scholarships for incoming students.

Insure means to purchase insurance.

  • After a professional appraisal, the family heirloom was insured for its current market value.

award (capitalization of)

  • Emmy award
  • honorary degree

awhile, a while

  • awhile (for a while) adverb: Brittany decided to stay awhile.
  • a while (noun): After traveling around the state, Nick moved into the city for a while.

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baby boomer (lowercase, no hyphen)

baccalaureate – In running text, baccalaureate is not capitalized.

  • B.A.; Bachelor of Arts; bachelor’s degree; B.A.’s
  • B.S.; Bachelor of Science; bachelor’s degree; B.S.’

benefit, benefited, benefiting (preference is to use one “t”)

Bible, biblical – Capitalize Bible, but not biblical.

  • New Testament, Old Testament, Gospel

Bible verses – Use the following form to punctuate Bible chapters and verses:

  • Matthew 8:32–33 (note use of colon, en dash, and spacing after colon)
  • 2 Samuel 7:18

Board of Trustees, trustee – Capitalize Board of Trustees when in reference to LMU’s administrative body. Subsequent use in a shortened form, however, is lowercased: the board, the trustees.

Brother – Do not abbreviate.


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capitalization – In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Use a capital letter only if you can justify by applying these standards: Proper noun, proper name, it is listed separately here or in the Associated Press Stylebook. Lowercase common nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references, e.g. university (referring to LMU), foundation, center, etc.

captions – For consistency and quick identification in photo captions, list subjects from left to right, using each person’s full name and title, and include “left to right” or “from left,” for clarity, in the caption.

cellphone, smartphone

centered on, NOT centered around

chairChair has come to replace chairman, chairwoman, and chairperson, although all of these terms are still acceptable. Use the terminology that the chairholder’s organization, or the chairholder, prefers.

  • She is the chair of the Department of Engineering.
  • He is the Casassa Chair of Social Values.

check in (verb); check-in (noun)

  • We will check in at 3 p.m.
  • Check-in begins at 4 p.m. in the main ballroom.

chief justice (lowercase unless part of a formal title)

Church – Capitalize when referring to the Catholic Church as an institution.

Class – Capitalize the word Class in reference to a graduating class. (Note the single closing quotation mark before the year.) Class groups such as freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate are not capitalized when in reference to the year in which a course is taken or to the student’s classification.

classical, medieval – Written in lowercase: classical Latin

co- – Close up on most cases, such as coexist, cooperate, coauthor, coworker.

college – On second reference, the college may be used.

colons – Capitalize the first word following a colon only if that is the beginning of a complete sentence.

  • The driver had two possibilities: to swerve or to slam on his brakes.
  • The driver had a revelation: He had to swerve to miss the bus.

When using a colon, be sure that the words that come before it form an independent clause.

A colon should not be used after at or such as, between the verb and the rest of the sentence, or between a preposition and its object. This rule includes situations in which a list follows these elements. Items following a colon are not automatically separated by semicolons. The rules for dividing items in a series by commas should be followed.

commas – Do not use a comma before the words and and or that come before the final item in a series, unless it is needed for clarity.

Place a comma after a digit signifying thousands, except when the reference is to a year: 1,150 students or the year 2005.

When writing a date consisting of month, day, and year, place a comma after the day and the year.

  • July 4, 1776, is the date the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Commas are not used, however, when only the month and day, or only the month and year, are written.

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed in July 1776.
  • Americans greet July 4 with spectacular fireworks.

However, commas are not used before Jr., Sr., II, III, at the end of a person’s name.

  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Thurston Howell III

Commencement – Capitalize Commencement when in reference to a specific LMU ceremony.

  • He spoke at LMU’s 50th Commencement.
  • Where is LMU’s commencement usually held?

complement, compliment
Complement refers to making something complete.

A compliment is an admiring remark. Complimentary also means to give free as a courtesy.

Constitution of United States (capitalize)

consistency – Shifting between first, second, and third person when addressing the same subject is a common problem. If referring to students as they, for example, do not refer to them elsewhere as you.

For consistency and ease of identification in photo captions, list subjects from left to right, using each person’s full name and title, if any, and include the obligatory “left to right” or “from left” instruction in the caption.

convince, persuade – A person is convinced about something, but is persuaded to do something.

country names – Country names are not generally abbreviated.

  • U.S.—adjective (the U.S. Department of State)
  • United States—noun (living in the United States)

course, subject – Capitalize a specific course or subject name, such as ACCT 10350, Federal Taxation. Names of college studies, fields of study, options, curricula, or subjects are not capitalized, except names of languages, unless a specific course name is noted.

  • Jane is studying architecture and Spanish.
  • Students must take courses in theology and mathematics.
  • He is majoring in political science and biochemistry.

coursework (one word)

credit hour, 3 credit hour class (no hyphens)

cum laude (no italics)

curriculum, curricula

curriculum vita, CV (no periods), curricula vitae (plural)

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dashes – Spaces are included on either side of a dash, whether used in text or tabular matter.

Use an em dash (—) to set off parenthetical matter that calls for emphasis; to show an interruption in speech; to occasionally set off appositives; and to prepare for restatements, lists, or a change in thought. An em-dash is the length of two hyphens.

  • Baseball — which traces its origin to a British sport — is today considered the American pastime.

Use an en dash (–), slightly longer than a hyphen, within sets of numerals (such as date ranges) or letters, and to separate multiple compound modifiers that are made up of multiple proper nouns or hyphenated words.

  • the NFL–AFL merger
  • open Monday–Friday (but not: open from Monday–Friday)
  • April 1–13, 2008; 2010–13

dates – When writing a date consisting of month, day, and year, place a comma after the day and the year.

  • July 4, 1776, is the date the Declaration of Independence was signed.

In running text, names of months are abbreviated: The advisory board will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Exceptions: March, April, May, June and July are never abbreviated

Commas are not used, however, when only the month and day, or only the month and year, are written.

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed in July 1776.
  • Americans greet July 4 with spectacular fireworks.

daylight saving time (not plural, savings)

dean – generic term, lowercase; Dean Crabtree (capitalized with specific person when placed before a name, lowercased when after: Robbin Crabtree, dean of Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts)

  • The dean met with a large group of prospective students to discuss the college’s programs.

Dean’s List (capitalize)

decades – List as 2012–13 (not 2012-2013); the ’90s; the 1990s

decision making (two words, no hyphen, as a noun)

decision-making process (hyphenated when an adjective)

degrees – Academic degrees should be spelled out on first reference within text material, and abbreviated thereafter in all text and tabular material, except when part of a person’s name/title.

  • bachelor of arts degree
  • bachelor’s degree / master’s degree
  • Sid Johnson ’76, M.A. ’79, Ed.D. ’12

Capitalize letter abbreviations of academic degrees.

  • B.A.
  • M.F.A.
  • M.B.A.
  • Ph.D.

Generally, names of degrees are lowercased, designating a field of study:

  • He has a bachelor of arts in communication studies.
  • He has a bachelor’s degree in communication.

Department, Office – Capitalize when part of a complete title.

  • Department of Studio Arts, Office of Undergraduate Admission


  • The department celebrated the end of the school year with a luncheon.

diocese (lowercase unless used with a full, proper name, then capitalize)

  • The diocese supported the local high school’s food drive.
  • The Diocese of Los Angeles is headquartered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Dr. – Dr. is used to refer to a doctor of medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. It is not used to refer to people who hold a doctor’s degree but don’t practice in one of these fields, including professors.

  • Professor Jones teaches English.
  • Dr. Jones is a well-known obstetrician.

dormitory, dorm (acceptable, but “residence hall” is preferred)

due to, because of – Due to is an adjective phrase that usually follows a form of the verb to be. It is often used incorrectly as a preposition in place of because of.

  • The chairman retired because of an ongoing, prolonged illness.
  • The chairman’s retirement was due to an ongoing, prolonged illness.
  • BUT NOT: The chairman retired due to an ongoing, prolonged illness.

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earth – usually lowercase unless used as the proper name of the planet.

  • Sam would move heaven and earth to be at the party.
  • Does life exist on Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn—or are we alone here on Earth?

East – Capitalize if referring to a specific geographic region, but not a compass direction. Do not spell out in street addresses: 200 W. Elm Street, for example.


e-book, e-reader

e.g. (for example) – always followed by a comma

electronic content terms – As language and terminology evolves for Web use, the following list includes commonly used terms:

  • blog (verb and noun)
  • CMS (content management system)
  • email (one word, no hyphen)
  • homepage (one word)
  • html
  • Internet (proper noun)
  • log in (verb)
  • login (noun)
  • log on (verb)
  • logon (noun)
  • online (one word, no hyphen)
  • SEO
  • toolbar (one word)
  • URL
  • username (one word)
  • Web, website, webpage, webinar

LMU’s main website is (no need to include www. in the address).

When determining if www. is needed in listing a website, check it to see if the site is accessible without this designation. Avoid including it if possible. Web addresses do not need to be italicized but can be bolded or placed in color to attract attention or to clarify.

When including a URL in running copy, aim to avoid placing it at a line break; rewrite the sentence if necessary. If a Web address is at the end of a sentence include a period or other ending punctuation as necessary.

ellipses – Ellipsis points are used to show omission within a quotation. However, it is not necessary to place the points at the beginning or end of a quotation, even if an omission is being made at that point.

Use ellipsis points in sets of three. Leave a space between each point, as well as between the words on either side of them.

  • I pledge allegiance to the flag . . . with liberty and justice for all.

Ellipses should be used sparingly.

email – The word email is not capitalized unless it is the first word of a sentence. Email is not hyphenated.

emcee – master of ceremonies is preferred

emeritus, emerita, emeriti

entitled, titled – Entitled means give a right to. There is no comma between titled and the title.

  • The article is titled “101 Ways to Study for Finals.”
  • His writing of the book entitled him to 50 free copies.


etc. – Etc. should be used sparingly, and not in conjunction with such as, which signals that the list of items following is only a partial list, or with and as in and etc.

Eucharist – Capitalize when referring to the sacrament.

euro (lowercase)

everyday, every day – Everyday means common or ordinary. Every day means occurring daily.

  • Losing an hour in traffic has become an everyday occurrence in the lives of L.A. residents.
  • On average, L.A. drivers lose an hour of their lives every day in gridlock.

extracurricular (one word)

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farther, further

  • farther refers to a physical distance: Stephanie ran farther into the woods by taking the steeper trail.
  • further refers to time or degree: The professor will look further into the mystery of the disease.

Father – The first reference should refer to the religious order: Thomas Rausch, S.J. Subsequent references he may be referred to as Father Thomas or Father Rausch. Do not abbreviate as Fr.

federal government – Federal government is not capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence.


fieldwork (one word)

first annual – Something cannot be annual until it has been conducted for two successive years. In place of first annual, mention that the event is scheduled to become annual or write first or inaugural.

first-class mail (hyphenated)

firsthand (one word)

First Year of Studies
But: first-year student

flier, flyer, frequent flyer (changed by AP in the 2017 stylebook)

  • flyer — pamphlet (often used to promote an event), and a person flying in an aircraft
  • flier — the proper name of some trains and buses, and the preferred spelling for the colloquialism “take a flier” meaning to take a risk

follow up (verb); follow-up (noun)

foreign words – If foreign words are necessary and not translatable, italicize them only if they are not in Webster’s. Be sure to include appropriate accent marks and other language symbols.

Frisbee (capitalize)

from, until; from, to (not from 2002–10)

full-time (adjective) full time (adverb)

fundraiser, fundraising

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gender, sex – Gender should be limited to discussion of the social and psychological distinctions between men and women. In all other cases, sex can be used to differentiate between men and women when there is no chance of misinterpretation.

Gospel, gospel – Lowercase when referring to the genre of music. Capitalized when referring to the Gospel of the Bible.

Grade point average (GPA), no hyphen

Graduate-level (adjective)

  • He enrolled in four graduate-level courses as a senior.

groundbreaking (one word)

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hands-on (hyphenated)

William H. Hannon Library – Hannon Library on subsequent references.

hardworking (one word)

health care (two words, no hyphen)

high school students (no hyphen)

hip-hop (hyphenated)

Hispanic, Latino/Latina – Hispanic refers to those from, or whose ancestors are from, a Spanish-speaking country. Latino and Latina are sometimes preferred. These terms also include those of Brazilian background, where Portuguese is spoken.

hyphens – If both a hyphenated and nonhyphenated spelling of a word are acceptable, use the nonhyphenated spelling.

Adverbs ending in –ly don’t take a hyphen to connect them to the word they describe.

  • His publicly traded shares
  • a highly anticipated news conference

The words vice president and vice chair are not hyphenated.

Use a hyphen between prefixes and proper nouns, such as in un-American or non-Catholic.

Compound modifiers (a string of words that works together to modify another word) should all be hyphenated.

  • the 17-year-old girl
  • the basketball player was 6-foot-11
  • the 2,340-square-foot laboratory allows for new research equipment

Dollar figures of $1 million or more are not hyphenated when used as a modifier.

  • the $3.7 million gift
  • the $10M gift
  • not the $3.7-million gift

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ID, ID card

i.e. – According to Webster’s, i.e. comes from the Latin id est, which means “that is.” It is used to introduce something that explains a preceding statement more fully or precisely.

Example: Please take the medication for the time prescribed (i.e., three to five days).

impact – Prefer not use impact as a verb (consider affect or influence instead).


institute – Capitalize Institute only when used in connection with another part of the name, but lowercase when used alone.

Internet – Always capitalize Internet, as it is still considered a proper noun.

iPad, iPhone, iPod

irregardless (not a word, a double negative; use regardless)

italics – Italicize only foreign words and phrases, not titles of compositions. A foreign word or phrase is not italicized if it can be found in Webster’s.

its, it’s

Its means belonging to it.

  • The department held its Christmas party at a nearby coffee shop.

It’s means it is.

  • It’s an inspiring spiritual, intellectual, and social place for four remarkable years of your life.”

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Jr. – There is no comma between the last name and Jr., Sr., III, etc.


kickoff, kick off – No hyphen when used to designate a starting point.

  • Saturday’s kickoff will be at noon.
  • The game will kick off at noon.

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law school (generic term), but Loyola Law School; the law school is the preferred subsequent reference, but LLS is acceptable when necessary. Capitalize only when the full name is used.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

level (hyphenate when part of a compound: undergraduate-level or graduate-level courses)

like, such as – Like should not be used as a synonym for such as, which directly points to examples. Like should be used in the sense of  “similar to” and such as as meaning “including these examples.”

login, log in; logon, log on

  • login (noun)
  • log in (verb)
  • logon, although not in Webster’s, is used as a noun.
  • log on is a verb.

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M.A.; Master of Arts; Master of Arts degree; master’s degree; master’s degrees; M.A.s

mailing addresses (format)

University Relations
Loyola Marymount University
1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Mass – Capitalize Mass when referring to the sacrament.

M.B.A. (exception: College of Business Administration uses no periods)

mic (shortened form of microphone)

Middle Ages (capped)

middle class (lowercase)


monthlong (daylong, weeklong, yearlong), no hyphen

months – Abbreviate the names of months in datelines and ordinary text when followed by a numerical date, except for the months of March, April, May, June, and July, which are never abbreviated.

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national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”

9/11 – Sept. 11 is preferred; use 2001 if needed for clarity.

NGO (nongovernmental organization)

No. – Use to indicate rank or position, especially in sportswriting). Do not use # as it now means hashtag in social media.

nondoctoral – no hyphen

nonprofit, not-for-profit

noon (preferable to 12:00 p.m., NOT 12 noon)

numbers, numerals – For print, use figures for numbers 10 and larger, including ordinal numbers (22nd, 34th, and so on). Exceptions: Use numerals, even when the number is less than 10, to indicate age, quantities containing both whole numbers and decimals or fractions, statistics, voting results, sports scores, percentages, amounts of money, times of day, days of the month (when used after the name of the month, as in February 5), latitude and longitude, degrees of temperature, dimensions, measurements, proportions, distances, and numbers that are part of titles. Note: For Web, use numerals for all numbers for faster scanning.

  • There are 26 teams in the old league but only eight in the new one.
  • 4:35 p.m., 5 a.m. (Note the periods in a.m. and p.m.)
  • $3.00, $5.95, 75 cents
  • Longitude 67° 03’ 06” W
  • The temperature fell to 12 degrees below zero.
  • The tree stood 5 feet high.
  • The proposal was defeated, 25 votes to 3.

room numbers

  • Capitalize the word room in reference to a room followed by a number.
    • We are meeting in Room 502.

In month-day combinations, ordinals are not used.

  • Sept. 17 instead of Sept. 17th

However, in other contexts, such as in using a number to denote the repeating occurrences of a regularly occurring event, ordinals are used.

  • 23rd anniversary

For spans of years. Note that for 1999–2000, or for any span of years in which three or more numbers will change, the entire number for both years should be written out.

  • 1861–65 but: 1999–2000 (not 1999–00)

For numbers in the millions and beyond, spell out the word million, billion, etc., unless it is necessary to give an exact figure.

  • The university raised $33.8 million in the 1984–85 academic year.

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off-campus (adjective) or off campus (adverb)

  • She lives in off-campus housing this year, and pays rent with her job at a University department off campus.

OK (not okay)

on (unnecessary before a date or day of the week) – The conference will be May 29 (not: The conference will be on May 29).

online – Not on-line or on line

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parallelism – Express parallel ideas in a parallel manner.

  • WRONG: He was an expert in eating, drinking, sleeping and how to win an argument.
  • RIGHT: He was an expert in eating, drinking, sleeping and knowing how to win an argument.
  • WRONG: Students will study physics, learn certain mechanical functions, and various Internet applications.
  • RIGHT: Students will study physics, learn certain mechanical functions, and master various Internet applications.
  • WRONG: The bed is designed to support your back while improving your sleep.
  • RIGHT: The bed is designed to support your back and improve your sleep.
  • RIGHT: The bed supports your back while it improves your sleep.

Observe parallelism throughout the items in a list:

  • RIGHT: The class has three objectives: (1) to help people lose weight, (2) to encourage fitness, and (3) to promote better health.
  • WRONG: The class has three objectives: (1) to help people lose weight, (2) to encourage fitness, and (3) promoting better health.

papal, papacy (lowercase)

percent, % – Spell it out except in headlines, tabular, or other special material. Note: Web style dictates the use of the % sign for ease of reading.

periods – In Web and print, use only one space after any punctuation.

In reference to the time of day, use the abbreviations a.m. and p.m., with periods between the letters. In text material, they should be written in lowercase letters or small caps.

Place periods between the letters of academic degrees (M.A., Ph.D.) and abbreviations of religious orders (R.S.H.M., S.J.).

There are no periods in acronyms unless the entity that the acronym represents specifically uses periods. Use this same principle in making subsequent references to famous people who are popularly known by their initials.


persons – Substitute people.

PIN – PIN stands for personal identification number. It is redundant to write PIN number.

pope – Capitalize when using as a formal title before a name; lowercase in all other uses.

  • He was the pope in 2013. He spoke to Pope Francis on Monday.
  • papal; papacy


  • doctoral; postdoc
  • postgame; postseason (no hyphen)


  • pregame; preseason

Most instances, closed: preempt, preeminent, preexist


president – Capitalize when the title is listed before the name (past or present presidents). Lowercase when the title follow the name. Examples: President Ford or former President Lawton, but president of his alumni club.

President’s Professor – not Presidential Professor. It is a designation assigned by the president; there are six: education (Antonia Darder); theatre arts (Beth Henley); rhetoric (Steven Mailloux); education (Martha McCarthy); marketing (David Stewart); biology (Eric Strauss).

prior to, before – Before is almost always the better alternative.

problem-solving (adjective); problem solving (noun)

professor, endowed professorships

program – Usually lowercase

  • M.B.A. program; ACCESS program

PS:  for the postscript to a communication

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Q&A – question and answer

quotation marks – Set quotation marks outside periods and commas and inside colons and semicolons. They also should be placed inside exclamation points and question marks that are not part of the quotation.

  • “Ask what you can do for your country.”
  • Barry exclaimed that “it was a long trip”; was it really over?
  • “What’s the matter?” she asked.
  • Do you understand the statement “I think; therefore, I am”?

Use single quotation marks for quotations printed within other quotations.

  • Brett said, “I remember when my mother told me, ‘Wash behind your ears.’ ”

If several paragraphs are to be quoted successively, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph and at the end of the last paragraph only.

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re-elect; re-examine; re-admit


Rosary (prayers); rosary (string of beads for praying)

RSVP (no periods; also, no need to write “please RSVP” because SVP means please in French)

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sacraments – Capitalize the sacraments — Baptism, Eucharist — as well as the word Bible, in reference to either the Old Testament or New Testament. Church should be capitalized when in reference to any Catholic Mass or to the Catholic Church as an institution (as in “the Church has issued a decree”). The word biblical is lowercased. Scripture is capitalized when referring to books of the Bible.

Saint – abbreviate as St.


screen saver

Scripture – Capitalize when referring to books of the Bible.

  • The literature class will also have assigned readings from Scripture.

seasons – Lowercase (fall, winter, spring, summer)

self- – always hyphenated: self-aware, self-conscious, self-serve

semicolons – Use semicolons to separate all items in a series if there is internal punctuation within one or more of the items in the series. The length of an item alone does not warrant its use.

Use a semicolon to take the place of a coordinating conjunction in joining two independent clauses.

  • The board’s first item of business was to approve its annual budget; doing so would not be a simple task.

Sister – Do not abbreviate as Sr.; the religious order is preferred. The first reference to a nun should give her full title: Mary Thomas, O.P. Thereafter, she may be referred to as Sister Mary or Sister Thomas. Note that in running text, there is always a comma after the religious designation (C.S.J., S.J.) unless it falls at the end of the sentence.

size – Olympic-size pool (not sized)

spacing – Type only one space between sentences, after a colon, or between a state name and zip code. Use only a single space, always and everywhere, in text material.

start-up (use a hyphen for both adjective or noun)

student-athlete (note hyphen)

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T-shirt (capitalize)

telephone numbers – Pay attention to consistency when writing telephone numbers in text material. Use periods in place of parentheses or hyphens. Do not use “1” in front of long distance numbers.

  • Call 310.258.XXXX

temperatures – minus 10 degrees, or 10 below zero (NOT -10)

Ten Commandments (not 10 Commandments)

that, which

Which can be used to introduce a clause containing nonessential or essential information, but that can be used only for essential information. Some writers use which to cover the functions of both relative pronouns, but this sometimes creates difficulty in understanding whether the information being given is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

A good set of rules to follow: If that can be substituted for which without changing the meaning of the sentence, use that. If the information following which is necessary in understanding the sentence, use that. If the information can be omitted from the sentence without affecting its meaning and in most cases can be set off by commas, use which.

  • The retreat, which is located on 20 acres, was surrounded by towering trees and bordered by a shimmering lake.
  • The retreat that I attended took place last July.

Exception: To avoid immediately repeating that in certain constructions, it is acceptable to use which in place of one occurrence of that.

  • That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

they, he, she, he/she – Although the generic he is perfectly grammatical, many today view it as being sexist. Be aware of the sensitivities of your audience in choosing generic, third-person pronouns. For example:

  • The customer might not be aware that he can request this service.

If you believe this sentence could cause offense, you first should consider recasting the sentence in the plural:

Customers might not be aware that they can request this service.

Avoid using clumsy he or she and his or her constructions. When they must be used, use them sparingly. Never use awkward expressions such as he/she, his/her, s/he, he (she), or his (her). Don’t alternate between generic he sentences and generic she sentences as a way of achieving balance.

Another alternative to the generic he and the cumbersome he or she is to switch to the second-person pronoun:

  • You might not be aware that you can request this service.

Third World – Avoid using this term. Developing nations is more appropriate when referring to the economically developing nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America.


three Rs

time – Times of the day should be expressed in numerical terms of hours and minutes, with a colon separating the hours from the minutes and a designation of whether the time is in the morning or the evening, using a.m. and p.m., in lowercase letters or small caps. Leave a space between the time and the a.m. or p.m., and make sure to use periods in the a.m. and p.m.

  • 8 a.m., not 8:00 a.m. or 8 am or 8am
  • 3:52 p.m., not 3:52 pm or 3:52pm

Exception: *Neither of the 12 o’clock times during the day can accurately be expressed as being “a.m.” or “p.m.” At midday, 12 o’clock should be written as noon, not 12:00 p.m. At night, it should be written as midnight, not 12:00 a.m.

When referring to a time span between two points on the clock, it is not necessary to repeat a.m. or p.m. for both times, if they both occur together in the a.m. or p.m. hours. If the time span crosses from a.m. into p.m. or vice versa, however, designate each time with the appropriate mark.

  • 9:30–11 a.m., not 9:30 a.m.–11 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m., not 10:30–3:00 p.m.

Titles (publications / compositions / events) – Use quotation marks to enclose titles of short songs, short poems, articles, chapters, works of art, movies, plays and books.

  • “Talk of the Town,” in last week’s National Review
  • Miles Davis’s “So What,” from “Kind of Blue”
  • Chapter 7, “How to Campaign for Office”
  • “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
  • “Animal Farm”
  • “The Thinker”
  • “M*A*S*H”

Periodicals, such as newspapers and magazines are not put in quotes or italicized.

  • Wall Street Journal
  • Los Angeles Times
  • LMU Magazine

titles (rank) – Assistant and associate are not abbreviated or capitalized when used as a generic title not immediately preceding the name of the person holding the title.

Capitalize all educational, occupational, and business titles when used specifically in front of the name, unless a comma follows the title. Titles usually are not capitalized when they follow the name.

Second references to professors, deans, and administrators may be by last name only.

titles (religious) – The first reference for a religious should include the order: William Fulco, S.J. Do not use Father and the order on the same reference. Subsequent references can be Father Fulco (spell out Father).

toward – In British English, towards is acceptable. American English leaves off the s.



Twitter, tweet, tweeted

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United Kingdom (UK)

United Nations (UN General Assembly)

U.S., United States

  • U.S.—adjective (the U.S. Department of State)
  • United States—noun (living in the United States)

under way – It is spelled as one word in all uses.

university – Lowercase the word university, when in subsequent reference to Loyola Marymount University.



user ID


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versus (avoid the abbreviation vs., especially in running text; in titles of legal cases, use v.)

Veterans Day (no apostrophe)

vice president (open, no hyphen)

vita, vitae

voicemail, voice message (two words)


Web – Web or World Wide Web, webpage, but website

Web and email addresses – In most instances, it is no longer necessary to include http:// or www. in Web addresses. However, to be sure, check that the address links without the prefix. Some http addresses are secure, and thus require https://.

Use periods at the end of sentences that end with a Web address or an email address, just as you would punctuate any other sentence. Concluding slashes on Web addresses should be omitted.

Web master – Capitalize Web but not master unless it is an official title preceding a name.

Web page – Capitalize Web but not page.

website – One word; not capitalized

who’s, whose

Whose is possessive: Whose keys are these?

Who’s is a contraction of who is, who was, or who has: Who’s been sleeping in my bed?


World Wide Web – Web or World Wide Web, Web page, but website.

  • Find us on the Web at, our helpful, creative website.

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Abbreviated Style Guide