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Style Guide for Class Notes


Class Notes style is a modification of AP style. Following are guides for usages that occur frequently. Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum, but they are acceptable when trying to achieve a colloquial tone.

  1. NUMERALS
    Spell out one through nine and first through ninth unless an Arabic numeral is part of a name, such as 7th Fleet.

    Use Arabic numerals from 10 and 10th up, unless a proper name includes a word (Big Ten) and in casual usages (a thousand times no!).

    Ages: Use numerals only. Hyphenate when age is an adjective, noun or predicate noun. A 1-year-old daughter. Her daughter is a 1-year-old. Do not hyphenate when age is a predicate adjective. Her daughter is 1 year old
  2. DATES
    Births, marriages, deaths and other events: Abbreviate when day and/or month and year are given. They were married 3/12/96 (or 3/96).

    Spell out month when it is referred to without a day or year, if year will be clear at the time of publication. We visited Bryn Mawr this May. She will start law school next year.
  3. STATES
    Abbreviate when part of address. She lives in West Chester PA. Spell out when alone. She spent July in Maine.

    Abbreviations for states are not followed by a comma in a sentence. Cities and state abbreviations are not separated by commas unless followed by a zip code. She moved to Bryn Mawr PA. Her new address is 6 Little Street, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.
  4. DECADES and YEARS (note placement of apostrophe)
    calendar decades—during the ’60s.

    abbreviate age—Now that we’re in our 60’s
  5. COLLEGES and UNIVERSITIES
    Use informal, well-known references whenever possible. Penn, Dartmouth, MIT, Georgetown, UCLA, UMass, UNC, UVM, Auburn.

    When designating campuses, indicate states with slashes and campuses with hyphens, and abbreviate according to the official name. U/IL-Chicago, U/NC-Chapel Hill, U/GA-Athens, SU/NY-Stony Brook, CO/SU-Denver.

    For city universities, separate U and the city with a hyphen. U-Ottawa, U-Chicago. Otherwise, Boston U, NYU. For all other references, including lesser-known schools, use U or College. Goddard College, St. Lawrence U.

    Acceptable references to Bryn Mawr College are BMC, the College, and Bryn Mawr. Haverford can be abbreviated as Hfd or ’Ford if used as an adjective modifying an alumnus. Her husband went to Hfd. Her ’Ford husband.
  6. ACADEMIC DEGREES
    Do not use periods in abbreviations. PhD, BA, MA, MSS, MEd. Do not capitalize master’s. Avoid courtesy titles except for Rev. and Sr. Use Dr. only for medical doctors.
  7. LATIN TERMS
    Italicize academic references such as cum laude. Do not italicize other Latin terms commonly used in English such as pro bono or per capita.
  8. CAPITALIZATION
    Avoid capitalization whenever possible.

    Exceptions are College when referring to Bryn Mawr, Editor when referring to the class editor and Reunion when referring to the actual event. I look forward to seeing you at Reunion. I enjoy attending high school and family reunions.

    Capitalize formal titles only when used immediately before a name. Lowercase formal titles when used alone, as terms that describe a job or in constructions set off by commas. Professor of Anthropology Mary Bly. Mary Bly is professor of anthropology. Mary Bly, professor of anthropology, sends greetings.
  9. COMMAS
    Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series. Use a comma before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases. The flag is red, white and blue. We have water, juice, and coffee and tea.
  10. TITLES
    Italicize titles of books, exhibits, journals and paintings. Quote titles of articles in journals, plays and songs.
  11. PROBLEM WORDS
    Full and part time
    Full time and part time are not hyphenated when used as adverbs. Adjectival forms are full-time and part-time. I am working full time. I have a part-time job.

    That and which
    Use that to introduce a clause that cannot be eliminated without altering the basic meaning of a sentence. Dogs that chase cars make me nervous.
    Use which (or who) to introduce clauses that must be set off by commas and that can be eliminated without altering the basic meaning of the sentence. Her dog, which chases cars all the time, is not friendly.

    Archaeology
    Use this spelling (not archeology) since it is the one the College uses.
  12. NOTES ON OTHER PUNCTUATION
    Do not separate em-dashes and words with spaces. (My cats—all three of them—are happy.) Eliminate all periods that follow street abbreviations. (6 Little St, Bryn Mawr PA)

    All quotes should be set off with a colon. Mary writes: "I love Bryn Mawr."

    When using possessive for an alumnae’s name, do not boldface the apostrophe and s that follow. Barbara Smith’s house.

    City abbreviations such as L.A. or S.F. should have periods. U.S. can be used as an adjective and a noun and should have periods.

    Separate telephone area codes by parentheses. (Her number there is (508) 829-2631.)
  13. TECHNOLOGY AND INTERNET TERMS
    e-mail listserv

    the Internet, or the Net

    the Web, the website, the webzine