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Editorial Style

A guide to style and usage that was compiled for those who write and edit Syracuse University publications, both online and print.

Style, as it is used here, does not mean literary style. It refers to the guides that editors and writers follow whenever they refer to persons, places, and things; whenever they capitalize, abbreviate, punctuate, or spell. Usage, on the other hand, is a set of guides intended to encourage the correct use of words.

If you have questions about editorial style and usage, please contact the Division of Marketing and Communications.

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Syracuse University Terminology

Identifying the University

  • Official Name: Syracuse University
  • SU: The correct abbreviation for Syracuse University. Do not use periods after S and U; on second reference, refer to Syracuse University as SU, Syracuse, or the University. In an informal context, it can also be referred to as ’Cuse.
  • University: Capitalize University when it refers to Syracuse University. On second reference, refer to Syracuse University as SU, Syracuse, or the University.
  • ’Cuse: An informal reference to Syracuse University that is frequently used in a sports context.
  • the Hill: Reference to Syracuse University, usually by alumni or Syracuse residents.

Office, department, division, program, institute, building

Syracuse in the world

  • Syracuse Abroad
    • Formerly known as the Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA), SU Abroad offers educational programs in more than 30 countries around the globe.
  • SU in LA (SULA)
    • The University’s center on the West Coast, located in Sherman Oaks, California, SULA serves as a creative and intellectual resource for students, alumni, and friends of Syracuse University in the Southern California region.
  • Tepper Semester
    • A New York City-based program that offers undergraduate students in advanced levels of acting, musical theater, design, and stage management the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous artistic training program in the city’s culturally rich setting.
  • Lubin House
    • The Joseph I. Lubin House serves as a home base for Syracuse University’s New York City operations.
  • Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery
    • The Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery is the Syracuse University Art Museum's visual arts venue in midtown Manhattan. The Gallery hosts several exhibits a year featuring the extensive permanent collections of Syracuse University, as well as work from alumni and faculty artists.
  • Fisher Center
    • The University’s academic campus in New York City, which opened its doors in January 2014.
  • Greenberg House
    • The Paul Greenberg House is the University’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Schools and colleges


Campus highlights

  • campus, South Campus, Main Campus
    • Main Campus may be referred to as North Campus in publications dealing with housing; Main Campus is preferred.
  • SU Libraries
    • Syracuse University Libraries (SU Libraries) comprises:
      • Bird Library, including SU Archives and the Special Collections Research Center;
      • the Carnegie Library (science and technology);
      • the Architecture Reading Room in Slocum Hall;
      • the Belfer Audio Archive, located adjacent to Bird Library; and
      • the SU Libraries Facility, located on South Campus.
      • Syracuse University Press is also a unit of SU Libraries.
    • Unless referring to an event occurring in, or something physical about, Bird Library or another library facility, use Syracuse University Libraries. For more information, go to
  • CMAC
    • the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.
  • Syracuse University Art Museum
    • Repository of the Syracuse University Art Collection and formally known as Syracuse University Art Galleries, the museum’s mission is to enhance the cultural environment of the campus community and surrounding area.
    • For more information, go to
  • Connective Corridor
    • A partnership of Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse, and Onondaga County that links the University Hill with downtown via a public transportation route featuring arts and culture venues.
  • the Quad
    • Renamed the Kenneth A. Shaw Quadrangle in 2010 in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Kenneth A. “Buzz” Shaw (1991-2004). In an informal context, it can be referred to as the Shaw Quad or the Quad.
  • LGBT Resource Center
    • The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center serves people with marginalized genders and sexualities by embodying values of awareness, community, integrity, and social justice and by offering intentional programs, developing relationships that lead to meaningful dialogues, providing education and resources, cultivating leadership, engaging in advocacy, and collaborating with others. For more information, go to
  • Light Work
    • An Syracuse University-based, artist-run, nonprofit organization devoted to contemporary photography. Light Work is affiliated with the Community Darkrooms, a nonprofit, membership organization with photography and imaging facilities used by the campus community and the public. Both organizations are located in Robert B. Menschel Media Center and are partners in the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC) at Syracuse University.
  • Syracuse Stage
    • A professional regional theater company, Syracuse Stage has a unique affiliation with the drama department fostered by their common home in the Regent Theatre Complex.

The color orange

Syracuse University’s official school color.

  • Orange
    • Use a singular verb when referring to the nickname of Syracuse sports teams:
      • “The Orange is home tonight in the Carrier Dome.”
  • Orange Central
    • An annual event held each fall when alumni are welcomed back to campus for class reunion and homecoming activities.
  • Orange CNY
    • An e-newsletter that is Syracuse’s official news source for alumni and friends of the University who live in the Central New York region.
  • Orange men
  • Orange women

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Syracuse-Specific Styles


  • ACC
    • Atlantic Coast Conference
  • games, athletics
    • When pairing the names of two competing schools, use a hyphen: this Saturday’s Syracuse-Nebraska game.
  • Carrier Dome
    • On second reference, the Carrier Dome may be referred to as the Dome.
  • Athletics, Department of
    • When referring to the Department of Athletics, SU Athletics is also acceptable as a first reference. (
  • Manley Field House


  • GPA
    • Use this abbreviation for grade point average. Use figures to at least one decimal point: 3.0, 2.8, 2.75.
  • course names
    • Do not italicize or place course names in quotation marks. Do not use punctuation between the course number and the course name, if used together: He teaches the popular course Sociology of Families. All students must take WRT 105 Writing Studio I.
  • SULA Semester
    • An academic and internship-based program that provides students with the opportunity to gain firsthand professional experience in the entertainment industry.
  • letter grades
    • Do not italicize letter grades. Do not use apostrophes for plurals, except with the letter A (to avoid being read confused with the word as): Frank received five A’s and two Bs.
  • C.A.S.
    • Certificate of Advanced Studies
  • degrees
    • Capitalize the names and abbreviations of academic degrees whether they follow personal names or stand by themselves: Clyde M. Haverstick, Doctor of Law; Mary M. Wilson, D.Eng.; she recently received a Ph.D.
    • Do not use degree designations with names unless the degrees are relevant to the story.
    • Refer to it as “a” bachelor’s, doctoral, or master’s degree; or “an” associate degree; not “his” or “her” associate, bachelor’s, doctoral, or master’s degree: He received an associate degree in art. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
    • Do not capitalize doctorate, doctoral, bachelor’s, master’s, master of science degree, and other degrees.
    • The plural form of a degree is the same as the singular: They received master’s degrees. She received a bachelor’s degree.
    • Cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude, are not in italics or set off with commas: Joann received a B.S. degree summa cum laude in speech communication.
  • Dr./Ph.D. in Text
    • Refer to a person as Dr. if the individual is a doctor of dental surgery, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, or veterinary medicine. Refer to a person with a Ph.D. degree as professor if she or he holds that title, or add Ph.D. after the name.
  • Doctoral
    • Doctoral is an adjective, doctorate a noun: A person with a doctorate has earned a doctoral degree. A doctoral degree isn’t necessarily a Ph.D.
  • Master’s
    • She is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. She earned an MBA degree.
  • Bachelor’s
    • Use bachelor’s degree, not baccalaureate.
  • Associate
    • Use associate in arts (A.A.) and associate in applied science (A.A.S.). NOTE: Associate does not use a possessive form.

Contact information

  • addresses, fax, web, email
    • While it is necessary to make distinctions between telephone numbers and fax numbers, it is no longer necessary to call special attention to an email or Internet address. For consistency use these terms in the same order throughout documents. Use f: to distinguish a fax number from a telephone number. It is unnecessary to indicate telephone:, email:, website:, Internet:with these elements.
      • School of Information Studies
        Syracuse University
        343 Hinds Hall
        Syracuse, NY 13244-1190
        f: 315.443.6886
  • addresses with a name or a title
    • Follow these models:
      • Acting Dean Amy Falkner
        S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
        Syracuse University
        215 University Place
        Syracuse, NY 13244-2100
      • Office of the Dean
        College of Arts and Sciences
        Syracuse University
        300 Hall of Languages
        Syracuse, NY 13244-1170
  • Syracuse University zip codes
    • The zip code for the University is 13244.
    • In addition, each Syracuse University building or location has been assigned a four-digit add-on number, or extension, based on the existing building numbering system. For residence halls, living centers, fraternities, and sororities use the 13244 zip code.
  • telephone numbers
    • When printing telephone numbers that include area codes, use periods: 315.443.1870.
    • Do not place telephone numbers or area codes in parentheses.
    • Campus extension numbers should be written with a lowercase x followed by the number in text: x5421.
  • room numbers
    • College, hall, building may be deleted when the name of the building is known. The word room may be deleted. Use the following examples for number designations:
      • 121 Crouse College
      • Orientation will be held in the Hall of Languages; first-year students will meet in Room 500.

Race and diversity

  • African American
    • Do not hyphenate this phrase: African American students volunteered to work with children in local schools.
  • ethnic and racial designations
    • National-origin identifiers such as Italian American, Polish American, and Japanese Americanare appropriate. (Do not hyphenate these words even when they are used as adjectives: the Polish American Hour, a Japanese American newspaper.)
    • Use the preferred ethnic designations—African American, American Indian or Native American, Asian, and Latino/Latina—instead of other identifiers.
    • Lowercase black and white when using them as ethnic and racial designations.
    • If possible, ask the people or group being referenced what they prefer.
  • Haudenosaunee
    • Meaning “People of the Longhouse,” this is the proper name of the league of six nations of indigenous peoples of North America formerly known as the Iroquois. Using the word Iroquois is outdated and should be avoided, as should other outdated ethnic descriptors.

Faculty and staff

  • faculty rank
    • In formal lists of faculty members and in course catalogs, always denote rank, and be sure that the rank is correct: David T. Sullivan, professor of biology; Barbara Grosh, assistant professor of public administration; Sally Daniels, instructor of English; Joe Smith, professor of practice.
    • In running text all faculty are referred to as professors. Refer to adjunct faculty members as instructors.
  • professorships, named
    • Titles of named professorships are always capitalized: He holds the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Professorship of Public Affairs. He is the David Edelstein Professor of Practice. At Syracuse, the titles Distinguished Professor and University Professor are also capitalized: She is a Distinguished Professor of Marketing. He is University Professor of Environmental Systems.
  • emeritus/emerita
    • Place emeritus (or emerita for feminine) after the formal title. Professor Emeritus Marvin Druger; the chancellor emeritus; Chancellor Emeritus Kenneth A. “Buzz” Shaw; Joan Burstyn, professor emerita.
    • For a list of faculty who retired with emeritus status, visit the emeriti directory.
  • Titles and offices
    • The following list illustrates ways in which various University titles and offices might be referred to in running text:
      • Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University; Chancellor Syverud; the Chancellor.
      • Craig Boise, dean of the College of Law; Dean Boise; the dean.
      • Julia Czerniak, associate dean of the School of Architecture; Associate Dean Czerniak; the associate dean.
      • Catherine M. Girard, director of the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration; Director Girard; the director.


  • board of trustees
    • Capitalize only when using with the formal or full title of the organization: The Board of Trustees of the Middleville School District decides on policy issues. The board decided to reduce salaries.
    • Exception: References to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees are always capitalized: The Syracuse University Board of Trustees meets twice each year.
  • Chancellor
    • Capitalize when it refers to the Syracuse Chancellor: Chancellor Syverud; Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University; the Chancellor.
  • Chancellor’s Cabinet
    • The Chancellor’s Cabinet is composed of senior-level administrators, each the head of a major division of the University. Chaired by Chancellor Syverud, the Cabinet is involved in budget and policy decisions.

Awards and scholarships

If the word award is part of the name, then it is capitalized. Following are some of the most important and commonly referenced Syracuse University awards:

  • Fulbright Scholar
  • The George Arents Award
    • The highest award granted by the University to distinguished alumni, based on excellence in their fields of endeavor.
  • Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence
    • The Chancellor’s Citation awards were first presented in 1979 in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship, and creative work. Through the years, the focus of the awards has changed to reflect new priorities and institutional directions, but the emphasis on excellence and outstanding achievement remains unchanged.
  • Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship
    • This award is presented to students, student groups, faculty, and staff who participated in public service projects associated with Syracuse University’s Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service.
  • Dean’s Citation
    • An award made by a Syracuse University college, generally to an alumnus, based on criteria unique to each school.
  • Remembrance Scholarship
    • To honor the memory of the 35 students lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, these scholarships are granted to undergraduate seniors, based on their academic standing, citizenship, and service to community. A Remembrance Scholarship is the highest honor a Syracuse University undergraduate student can receive.
    • For more information, go to

Abbreviation and capitalization

  • capitalization
    • Avoid the unnecessary use of capital letters.
    • Do not capitalize Syracuse University majors, minors, programs of study, departments, or offices unless referring to an official title.
  • college abbreviations
    • Do not abbreviate the names of Syracuse University colleges in running text.
  • Centro
    • (Central New York Regional Transportation Authority) Acceptable to use Centro on first reference.
  • college and university (plural)
    • Lowercase when they are used in the plural: Syracuse and Princeton universities.
  • Commencement
    • Capitalize when referring to Syracuse University.
  • Convocation
    • Capitalize when referring to Syracuse University.
  • school names
    • On first reference use proper names: University of Connecticut, Boston College.
    • Such colloquialisms as Pitt, UConn, and BC may be used on second reference.
    • In a sports context, university or college can be dropped in first reference: Duke, Purdue, Wake Forest. Team nicknames can be used as a second reference.
  • Central New York
  • colleges and universities other than Syracuse
    • Use the full name of the college or university in a first reference: Purdue University, University of Notre Dame.
    • In subsequent references, use the name of the college or university alone, or use an abbreviation if one exists: Wisconsin, RPI.
    • Exception: In a sports context, it is acceptable to drop the word college or university in a first reference: Duke, Purdue, Wake Forest.
  • fellow, fellowship
    • Lowercase except when used with proper names:
      • He received a Syracuse University Fellowship.
  • places, Syracuse neighborhoods
    • Capitalize City of Syracuse.
    • Capitalize these Syracuse areas in text in stories discussing issues or events linked to them:
      • West Side, South Side, East Side, and North Side.
  • semesters
    • Lowercase references to semesters:
      • the spring 2015 semester
  • ampersand (&)
    • Use the ampersand only when it is an official part of the name or title: AT&T Corporation, Simon & Schuster, Procter & Gamble Company.
    • Note: The College of Arts and Sciences, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts do not contain ampersands. Spell out and with these names.
    • Ampersands are never used in running text in place of the word and.
  • class year
    • Combine the class years of students with their colleges: Linda Rubenstein, a junior in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Jack Moriarty, a first-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences. Using class year is also acceptable: Linda Rubenstein ’16, a drama major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
  • Oncenter
  • Postdoctoral
  • SUNY
    • State University of New York. For more information, go to
    • SUNY Upstate Medical University
    • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
      • SUNY ESF is an acceptable second reference.
  • work-study, Federal Work-Study Program, work-study students
    • Use work-study as an adjective, not a noun

Social Media

  • Usernames, Handles, and Custom URLs
    • Keep it short
    • Include “SU” or “SyracuseU”
    • Be consistent across all social media platforms
    • Avoid punctuation and symbols, such as underscores “_”
  • Full Account Names
    • Include “Syracuse University” ahead of the unit’s name
    • “SyracuseU” and “SU” are preferred alternatives where characters are limited
    • Use the unit’s full name and avoid acronyms
  • Naming Examples: Syracuse University Art Galleries
    • Twitter
      • Name: SUArt Galleries
      • Handle: SUArt
    • Instagram
      • Name: SUArt Galleries
      • Handle: SUArtGalleries
    • Facebook
      • Name: Syracuse University Art Galleries
      • URL: SUArtGalleries
  • Profile Descriptions
    • Keywords
      • Many people search “Syracuse University” with another keyword. Social media account descriptions, bios, and about sections assist in improving these search results across platforms.
      • Include “Syracuse University”
        • “SyracuseU” is the preferred alternative where characters are limited
        • Avoid using “SU” or “Syracuse”
      • Use the unit’s full name, especially if it’s abbreviated in the account nameMany people search “Syracuse University” with another keyword. Social media account descriptions, bios, and about sections assist in improving these search results across platforms.
    • Always link to the unit’s web presence on
    • Links

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Common Editorial Guidelines


Consult Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) for an extensive listing of standard abbreviations.

  • Use standard abbreviations when it’s customary to do so. Frequently used standard abbreviations include the following:
    • A.D.
    • a.m., p.m.
    • B.C.
    • B.C.E. (before the current era)
    • C.E. (current era)
    • GNP
    • Mr., Mrs., Ms.
    • NBA
    • NFL
    • SU
    • SU I.D.


  • Acronyms are abbreviations that spell out pronounceable words:
    • Alcoa, ARCO, NATO, radar, scuba.
  • For proper-name acronyms of more than four letters, capitalize the first letter only:
    • Nafta, Unicef, Centro.
  • If the acronym could be unfamiliar to your readers or if it spells out an existing word, first spell out the full name and put the acronym in parentheses on first reference:
    • Residents of the South East (ROSE).
  • Some acronyms do not have a spelled-out version; they are referred to only by the acronym:
    • Amtrak.


alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni

  • Use the correct word for gender and number.
    • Alumna is the feminine singular form.
    • Alumnae is feminine plural.
    • Alumnus is the masculine (or nongender) singular.
    • Alumni is masculine or mixed-gender plural.


  • Use italics for emphasis and for more obscure foreign words and phrases. Italicize words used as words: The word sensitivity connotes responsiveness.
  • Italicize the names of books, long works and compositions, works of art and art exhibitions, legal cases, magazines, pamphlets, long poems, plays, movies, television series, television programs, symphonies, and operas
  • If running text appears in italics, place titles and other words that would otherwise be italicized, in Roman type: Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility.


  • Always use Arabic figures, without -st, -nd, -rd, or -th:
    • November 3, 1996.
  • In running text, dates should be written in the sequence month-day-year:
    • April 20, 2014, or in the sequence day-date-time: Tuesday, April 20, 9 a.m.
  • Avoid the following forms:
    • 4/20/14, 4-20-14, 20 April 2014
  • When a date consists only of a month and year, use no comma between them:
    • March 2014
  • When a phrase refers to a month, day, and year, set off the year with commas: February 19, 1996, was their wedding date. It is OK to use 2010-20, 1998-99 or 2010-2020, 1998-1999. Do not use 1999-00 if you mean 1999-2000.


  • Use figures except for noon and midnight.
  • Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 3:30 p.m.
  • On the hour use no colon and zeros: 3 p.m., 5 a.m.
  • In running text, times of day in even, half, and quarter hours are spelled out: seven o’clock, quarter of eight, half past eleven.
  • When the exact moment of time is important, use figures with a.m. or p.m. The abbreviations a.m. and p.m. are always lowercased with periods:
    • The seminar meets Tuesday at 9 a.m. The course meets on Tuesday, April 21, at 9 a.m. The interview was broadcast at 8:45 p.m.
  • In running text use to between times: The meeting runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In lists hyphens can be used between days and times:
    • Monday-Wednesday  9-11 a.m.
    • Tues.-Thurs.  1-5 p.m.


  • The Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps has developed author guidelines that state, in part: “Words such as the handicapped and the retarded should never be used as nouns. In general, phrases such as persons with severe disabilities and children with autism are appropriate, emphasizing the person first, rather than the disability.”
  • For more information on language usage regarding disabilities, contact TASH (formerly the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps), 2013 H Street, NW; Washington, D.C. 20006; 202.540.9020; f: 202.540.9019;;
  • The National Rehabilitation Association also offers editorial guidelines and assistance: National Rehabilitation Association, P.O. Box 150235, Alexandria VA 22315; 888.258.4295, 703.836.0850; f: 703-836-0848;;


  • Spell out one through nine and first through ninth, and use numerals for higher numbers:
    • the third man, the 21st victory of the year. He was a first-grade teacher. He teaches first grade.
  • Follow the same rule for round numbers in the millions and billions: eight billion people, 11 million people.
  • When the numbers are not round, use decimals: 2.5 million people.
  • Always use numerals in scores, court decisions, legislative votes: a 5-4 victory; a Senate vote of 64-36.
  • Always spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence, regardless of any resulting inconsistency: Eighty-nine women and 78 men received degrees.


  • state names
    • Capitalize the names of states; lowercase the word state:
      • the state of New York. Exception: New York State.
    • Names of states, territories, and possessions of the United States should be spelled in full in running text.
  • Places
    • Capitalize popular and legendary names; do not place them within quotation marks:
      • the Bay Area, the Big Apple, Central New York, the Delta, the Lone Star State, Twin Cities, the West Side, the Windy City, the States, the Salt City; Silicon Valley, Southern Tier.
    • Some nouns and adjectives referring to regions within states are capitalized; others are not:
      • Upper Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, northern Michigan, Central New York, upstate New York, Western New York, the South, the Southern Tier, the Southwest, the Northeast, southern, southwestern.
      • When in doubt, use lowercase.
  • conference, symposium names
    • Capitalize, but do not italicize or use quotation marks for conference or symposium names:
      • We attended the Cyberspace Law: Copyright and Access Conference.

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Voice and Tone


  • a lot
    • Avoid overuse.
  • alum, alums
    • Use in direct quotations or in an informal context.
  • alumni class year, class-year abbreviations
    • In running text, use the following forms for class year: John Skeeter, a 1927 Syracuse University graduate; 1927 graduate John Skeeter.
    • When alumnus status is obvious from the context, use class-year contractions: John Skeeter ’27; John Skeeter ’27, G’29.
    • The letter G is used to denote a graduate degree; H is used to denote an honorary degree; L is used to denote a law (J.D.) degree. John Skeeter ’27, G’29, L’35, H’75. When someone has two or more graduate degrees (excluding a law degree), G is used in both instances: John Skeeter ’27, G’29, G’31.
    • Use full years for alumni who graduated in early 1900s and late 1800s: Mary E. Smith 1893, Joanne Jones 1901.
    • When crediting an accomplishment to two or more alumni, list the name of the earlier graduate first: Jack Spellbinder ’71 and Steven Aron ’75 recently received a patent for a new kind of heat pump.
    • When two people are listed as a couple and only one is a graduate, the class year is listed after the graduate’s last name: Joseph and Mary Jones ’52. When two alumni are married, the class year is listed after each individual’s last name: Mary ’52 and Joseph Jones ’53.
    • In instances of two or more alumni from the same family, refer to alumni with full names and dates of graduation following each name: Siblings Kevin Jones ’89, Joe Jones ’91, and Mary Jones Smith ’93 were involved in the community food drive.
    • Note: The apostrophe before the class year should appear as a curved right single quote: ’90, ’00, ’59.
  • and/or
    • Do not use this construction.


  • cities and towns
    • Always spell out the names of cities; avoid such forms as Cinci and Philly. In general, the name of a city should be followed by the name of its state. However, it is not customary to use state names with the following cities:
      IndianapolisLas VegasLos AngelesMiami
      MilwaukeeMinneapolisNashvilleNew Orleans
      New YorkOklahoma CityPhiladelphiaPhoenix
      PittsburghSt. LouisSalt Lake CitySan Antonio
      San DiegoSan FranciscoSeattleSyracuse
  • cliche
    • Avoid using trite expressions, or cliches, such as acid test, crack of dawn, generous to a fault, leading-edge technology, on the cutting edge, the picture of health, and state-of-the-art.


  • dining centers
    • Note: Dining room, dining hall, cafeteria, and room and board are not preferred usage. Use dining centers and housing and meals instead.


  • etc.
    • If you must use etc. in running text, place a comma before it and do not italicize it.


  • foreign student
    • Use international student.
  • freshman
    • Use first-year student.


  • graduated
    • Graduated from is preferable to graduated: He graduated from Syracuse University in 1987.
    • Do not write: She graduated college. The college graduated 50 students.
  • girl
    • Use woman when you refer to a female 18 years old or older.


  • he, she
    • Do not use constructions like s/he. When necessary, use she or he as the nongendered pronoun form, but avoid awkwardness by rephrasing.
    • Example: When naming a person, use whatever style she or he prefers, can be rephrased as: When naming individuals, use whatever style they prefer.


  • in order to
    • This is never necessary.
    • Do not write: In order to write a clear sentence, we do this.
    • Write: To write a clear sentence, we do this.
  • in the course of
    • Use during.
  • international student
    • Use instead of foreign student.


  • lady
    • Use woman when referring to a female 18 years old or older.


  • minority and minorities
    • Use traditionally underrepresented groups, when speaking demographically.


  • names of people
    • Individuals are entitled to be identified in the manner they prefer.
    • Use the middle initial whenever an individual prefers it and to add formality: Martin J. Whitman; and in personal names used as the titles of buildings and professorships: the John G. Alibrandi Jr. Catholic Center, the Maurice E. Shaffer and Dorothea I. Shaffer Professorship.
    • Use Jr., II, 3rd, etc. only with the person’s complete name. The abbreviations are not preceded or followed by a comma: Martin Luther King Jr., Jacob A. Jacobs 2nd, Henry Wrisley II.
    • In general, observe the following guides and consult the “Biographical Names” section of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary  (11th ed.) for the correct form and spelling of many historical and contemporary names.
    • When persons are referred to by initials only, no periods are used: JFK, FDR.
    • Instead of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, use John and Betty Smith.
    • Use a maiden name when a woman prefers that usage; do not use hyphens: Hillary Rodham Clinton (except when a hyphenated name is preferred: Ann Jones-Smith).
    • Include the maiden name in alumni publications if it is known; the maiden name may be placed in parentheses in lists or class notes. Carol (North) Schmuckler ’57, G’85.
    • If a nickname is used following a person’s first name, place it in quotation marks; familiar nicknames used in place of first names are not placed in quotation marks: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Seymour “Cy” Leslie, Babe Ruth.
    • On second and subsequent references to persons, use only their last names.
    • Always use the professional title (Chancellor Syverud or the Chancellor) when referring to the Chancellor of Syracuse University. Otherwise, use professional or courtesy titles only when there is a compelling reason to do so: Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi.
  • nonsexist language
    • In general, remember that persons, people, and humankind are common substitutes for man, men, and mankind when both genders are intended. Use substitutes for the -man wordsbusinessperson, firefighter, police officer, letter carrier, line worker.
    • Use homemaker rather than housewife.


  • OK
    • This is preferred to okay.


  • please
    • Avoid using excessive pleases in text: Please call, please return, please reply should be phrased to call, return, reply.


  • residence halls
    • Use residence hall instead of dorm and dormitory
  • room and board
    • Use housing and meals

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