Style Guide for Brandeis Websites
The following word styles, grammar and punctuation apply to the Brandeis website.
Text on Brandeis University websites should follow the grammar, punctuation and spelling rules outlined in the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook. Examples of word usage and style commonly used on Brandeis websites are listed here for reference.
How to Refer to Brandeis University
The following may be used:
- Brandeis University (preferred)
The following may not be used:
- Brandeis U.
- Brandeis Univ.
A singly curly apostrophe (also called smart quotes) should be used before a class year, not the straight quotes that programs normally provide by default: ’00 not '00:
- Tim Morehouse ’00
- Tim Morehouse, Class of 2000
- Jonathan Sarna ’75, MA’75
Master's degrees should be listed without a space between the degree abbreviation and the class year:
To create the apostrophe for a class year, click on the Insert Special Characters button on the WYSIWYG toolbar.
Then select the right single quotation mark.
The serial comma is not used unless it is preceded by a compound construct, or clarity demands it. For example:
- The colors of our flag are red, white and blue. [No serial comma]
- They served turkey, peanut butter and jelly, and soup. [Serial comma exception]
- The words website and internet are each one word, not capitalized (unless they are the first word in a sentence)
- Spell out the numbers one through nine. Use Arabic numerals for 10 and up. Always use Arabic numerals for ages and percentages, even for numbers less than 10.
- Spell out numbers that start a sentence. If the result is awkward, re-work the sentence:
- Seventy-five students attended the symposium yesterday. Yesterday, 635 seniors were awarded degrees.
- The exception to this rule is a sentence that begins with a calendar year: 2016 was a record-breaking year for fundraising.
- Use Roman numerals for wars, monarchs and Popes: World War II, King George VI, Pope John XXIII
- In the case of proper names, use words or numerals according to the organization’s practice: 3M, Twentieth Century Fund, Big Ten
- Avoid abbreviations and instead use a phrase: Jehuda Reinharz, who has a doctorate in modern Jewish history …
- Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.
- There is no apostrophe in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.
- Abbreviations such as BA, MA and PhD should not contain periods.
- Use abbreviations only when the need to identify many people by degree on first reference would make the preferred method cumbersome; use the abbreviations only after a full name and set the abbreviations off with commas:
- Dorothee Kern, PhD, delivered a lecture on enzymes.
- Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th.
Example: The fall semester will begin on Aug 21.
- When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.
Example: Fall Fest will be held on Oct. 8.
- When a phrase lists only a month and year, do not separate the month and the year with commas.
Example: The new website launched in February 2017.
- When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.
Example: Aug. 21, 2016, was the first day of the semester.
- Use figures except for noon and midnight. Drop :00 on the hour. Don't repeat a.m./p.m. in the same entry.
Examples: 11:30 a.m. | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | 7 – 9 a.m. | The lunch is scheduled for noon.
- Use a.m. and p.m. not AM and PM
Can be abbreviated U.S. (no spaces) as a noun or adjective.
- A U.S. senator will speak at Brandeis tomorrow.
Spell out the names of the states, do not abbreviate (except for the postal abbreviation in your website's footer).
- Brandeis University is located in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Also, the word state can be used when referring to Massachusetts (even though Massachusetts is a commonwealth)
- For plural nouns ending in s, add only an apostrophe: the students' grades, states' rights
- For singular common nouns ending in s, add 's: the hostess's invitation, the witness's answer
- For singular proper names ending in s, use only an apostrophe: Brandeis’ mission
- For singular proper names ending in s sounds such as x, ce, and z, use 's: Marx's theories
- For plurals of a single letter, add 's: She received all A's this semester.
- Do not use 's for plurals of numbers or multiple letter combinations: the 1960s, USEMs
- For class years, use a curly/smart closed apostrophe.
- Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence: She promised this: The team will go to nationals this year. But: There were three issues with the project: expense, time and feasibility.
- Colons go outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material.
- Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: Boston, Newton, Cambridge and Lexington
- Use a comma to set off a person's hometown and age: John Smith, Newton, was accepted to Brandeis. Jane Smith, 22, graduated yesterday.
- Use a hyphen for compound adjectives before the noun: well-known student, full-time job, 20-year sentence
- Do not use a hyphen when the compound modifier occurs after the verb: The student was well known. Her job became full time. He was sentenced to 20 years.
En Dash ( – ), Em Dash ( — )
An en dash is slightly longer than a hyphen. It is used to connect ranges and replaces the word "to":
- 2017–2018 uses an en dash
An em dash is slightly longer than an en dash. It is used for emphasis and sudden interruption in a sentence — and should be used sparingly. If used, place a space on either side.
- The temptation to use parentheses is a clue that a sentence is becoming contorted. Try to rewrite the sentence, putting the incidental information between commas or dashes, or in a separate sentence. If you must use parentheses, follow these punctuation guidelines:
- Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a sentence (such as this fragment).
- If the material is an independent complete sentence, place the period inside the parentheses.
- Use a single space after the period at the end of a sentence.
- Do not put a space between initials: C.S. Lewis; J.K. Rowling.
- In dialogue, each person’s words are placed in a separate paragraph, with quotation marks at the beginning and end of each person’s speech.
- Periods and commas always go within quotation marks.
- Dashes, semicolons, question marks and exclamation points go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted material. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.
- Use single marks for quotes within quotes: Smith said, “She told me, ‘I wish I had been accepted to Brandeis.’’’
- Titles of academic courses:
- Do not italicize course titles or put quotation marks around them.
- Titles of books, computer games, movies, operas, plays, poems, albums, songs, radio and television programs, lectures, thesis titles, speeches and works of art:
- Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters
- Put quotation marks around all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material: “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Gone With the Wind,” NBC’s “Today Show,” Encyclopedia Britannica
- Translate a foreign title into English, unless the American public knows the work by its foreign name: Rousseau’s “War,” not Rousseau’s “La Guerre.” BUT: Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”
- Titles of newspapers and magazines:
- Do not place these titles in quotation marks.
- Capitalize the in the name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known.
- Lowercase the before names if listing several publications, some of which use the as part of the name and some of which do not: Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post and the New York Times
- Titles of directions/regions:
- Lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc. when they indicate compass direction: The cold front is moving east.
- Capitalize compass points when they designate U.S. regions: A storm system that developed in the Midwest is spreading eastward.
- With names of countries, lowercase compass points unless they are part of a proper name or are used to designate a politically divided nation: northern France, western United States, Northern Ireland
- With states and cities, lowercase compass points when they describe a section of a state or city: western Massachusetts, southern Atlanta
- Capitalize compass points when used in denoting widely known sections: Southern California, the Lower East Side of Manhattan
- Titles of seasons:
- Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter, as well as derivatives like wintertime unless part of a formal name: the Winter Olympics
- Professional titles:
- Capitalize the title of a person when it precedes the person's name: Brandeis University President Ronald D. Liebowitz, but Ronald D. Liebowitz, president of Brandeis University