Writing Style Guide
The following style guide is based largely on AP Style rules and contains the approved spelling, grammar, punctuation and general writing guidelines for all written content for and about Seminole State College. Members of Seminole State's faculty and staff should refer to this guide when writing Web content and for College-related publications.
For questions on a word, phrase or grammar concept, email Kimberly Allen, communications coordinator, or call her at 407.708.2272.
|Item and Style||Example(s)|
|Academic Degrees (abbreviated)|
Use periods between letters, no spaces.
Letters that immediately follow a period are always capitalized.
|Academic Degrees (spelled out)|
In general, spell out degree names on first reference and include the degree abbreviation in parenthesis after it.
Lowercase the word "degree."
|Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree|
Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree
Associate in Science (A.S.) degree
Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree
Master of Arts (M.A.) degree
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree
Capitalize the proper names of academic terms: Fall Term, Spring Term, Summer Term but: Lowercase fall semester
Accept is a verb meaning "receive."
Except means "other than" or "but for."
|I can accept all your suggestions except for the last one.|
|Acronyms (common usage)|
Use acronyms for names or word groups that are more commonly recognized in their condensed form (VA, ELS, SAT, GED, GPA, etc.)
|I am taking the SAT on Saturday.|
Not: I am taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test on Saturday.
"Add" should always precede "drop" when referencing the Add/Drop Period each term.
Not: Drop/Add Period
Use "admissions" in most cases. Exception: "application for admission."
But: application for admission
Advisor should be spelled with an OR, not ER. This rule is an exception to AP Style.
|My academic advisor is Mr. Smith.|
Affect is a verb, meaning to produce an effect.
|Good written communication skills affect one's chances for a successful reaccreditation.|
One effect of this manual should be to enhance your awareness of the importance of accurate English.
Something occurs between just two people; it happens among three or more.
|There is a strong bond between Alice and her mother.|
There is a strong bond among family members.
It's best not to use an ampersand (&) in place of the word "and" in text unless it is an official part of a name.
|College of Performing and Visual Arts|
|Building Names on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus|
Buildings with letter names should be referred to by using "building" and the corresponding letter/name.
|Students can register for classes in building SC on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.|
Use bullets before indented, unnumbered, small lists in the text. Only use terminal punctuation if the bullet items form complete sentences or more than one sentence.
|Campuswide (departments/programs) |
Capitalize department and program names. Lowercase subject areas.
|The Interior Design Program; a professor in the Mathematics Department; a professor of interior design; a member of the physical sciences faculty|
Titles should be capitalized when used before a person's name. They should be lowercase when used independently or after a person's name.
|Recruitment Specialist John Doe was very helpful yesterday.|
John Doe, recruitment specialist, was very helpful yesterday.
|Catalog vs. Catalogue|
Never add "ue" to the end of "Catalog." College Catalog is capitalized.
Use "Choose one:" when referring to courses that students can choose from to satisfy a program's course requirements in the College Catalog.
Capitalize "College" when referring to Seminole State College.
|The College was established in 1965.|
Should be lowercase, one word, no hyphen.
Not: college wide or college-wide
|Commas in a Series (serial commas)|
There should be no comma before "and" in a series, unless the sentence or series is complex, or if adding a comma would help clarify an ambiguous statement.
|The dean, student and instructor arrived.|
Use simple, direct language whenever possible.
|The registrar now uses cumulative data.|
Not: At this point in time, cumulative data is used by the registrar.
Spell "corequisite" and "prerequisite" as one word with no hyphen.
|I am taking prerequisite courses.|
Not: I am taking pre-requisite courses.
|Course Prefixes and Numbers|
Capitalize course prefixes. There should be a space been the course prefix and the course number.
Use "coursework" as one word. There should be no space between "course" and "work."
"Data" is plural but is generally considered a unit (a collective noun). Therefore, it should take a singular verb in most cases. Occasionally, however, "data" does refer to individual items and should take a plural verb.
|Your data is invalid.|
The data were collected from all four campuses.
Use "database" as one word. There should be no space between "data" and "base."
When referring to a specific department, the word "Department" should be capitalized. When referring to department in general, the word should be lowercase.
|The Computing and Telecommunications Services Department...|
Throughout the different departments of the College...
When referring to a specific division, the word "Division" should be capitalized. When referring to divisions in general, the word should be lowercase.
|The Division of Student Affairs...|
Throughout the different divisions of the College...
Seminole State is divided into four Divisions.
|Many employees work in the Division of Student Affairs|
Or: Many employees work in Student Affairs.
When citing sources, enclose them in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Separate each source with a semicolon, and put the period outside the closing parenthesis. Do not use "See" or "Exhibit" to document sources.
|...showed that the students were generally satisfied (College Factbook 2000-01; College Catalog 2000-01).|
Not: ...showed that the students were generally satisfied (See College Factbook 2000-01; College Catalog 2000-01).
When used in the middle of a sentence, use a lowercase "e," followed by the word "business" or "mail" in lowercase letters. When beginning a sentence, capitalize the "e."
|Ebusiness is a growing field.|
She checked her email.
Use ensure to mean guarantee.
|Follow these rules to ensure stylistic accuracy.|
|Florida, state of|
Formal references should be to the "state of Florida." Other references should be to the "state." Do not capitalize the word "state."
|The state of Florida|
The first state budgeting effort...
|Forward Slash "/" (also called solidus or virgule)|
Do not insert spaces on either side of a forward slash.
|Sanford/Lake Mary Campus|
Not: Sanford / Lake Mary Campus
On first reference, use the full name. On further reference, use the acronym "FTE."
This is uppercase when referring to General Education requirements
|The degree candidate must satisfy these General Education requirements.|
|Grade Point Average (GPA)|
In most references, use the acronym "GPA" (no periods).
|I have a 3.5 GPA.|
When referencing a person's height as an adjective, use whole numbers with "foot" and "inch," separated by hyphens.
|The 7-foot-5-inch power forward was one of the tallest players the team ever had.|
|Higher vs. Better|
Use "higher" instead of "better, when referring to letter grades.
|Students must pass this course with a "C" or higher to enter the program.|
Not: Students must pass this course with a "C" or better to enter the program.
Two words, lowercase
Use insure for references to insurance.
|The policy insures his home against flood damage.|
"Is" is associated with singular nouns. "Are" is associated with plural nouns.
|He is a baseball player.|
They are part of the newspaper staff.
When referencing a specific letter grade, capitalize the letter and put quotation marks around it.
|Students must pass this course with a "C" or higher.|
Not: Students must pass this course with a C or higher.
|Login, Logon, Logoff|
Make "login," "logon" and "logoff" one word when used as nouns. But make them two words when used as verbs.
Hyphenate lower-division and lower-level when they precede a noun. Do not hyphenate them when used after a noun.
The students were in the lower division.
|More Than vs. Over|
Words with the prefix "non" generally are not hyphenated unless the prefix is directly before a proper noun. The dictionary contains a list of words with the prefix "non" and appropriate spellings.
But: non-English speaking
Use words to express numbers one through nine and figures to express numbers 10 and above.
|Approximately five weeks ago...|
There are 23 majors...
|Numbers with Text|
Put a comma in all whole numbers larger than 999.
Office names should be written as they are referred to in the College Catalog.
|Office of the Registrar|
Office of Student Services
Lowercase, no hyphen.
Capitalize "Open Enrollment" in all instances since it is the formal name of the period of time when students can enroll in classes for the next term.
|I cannot take "Introduction to Basket Weaving" this term because I was at home playing video games throughout Open Enrollment.|
Spell out first through ninth; use figures for 10th and above.
|He made it safely to first base.|
She was 10th in line.
Use as one word, and always spell it out (do not use the % symbol).
|The survey found 12 percent of students...|
Not: The survey found 12% of students...
Use periods between groups of numbers instead of dashes, and do not use parentheses. When listing an extension, abbreviate ext.
407.708.4722 ext. 3015
|Point of View|
Avoid using first person (I, we, us) and second person (you). Instead use third person (he, she, it, they, the committee, etc.) to maintain an objective tone.
|The committee finds the budgetary process at Seminole State to be adequate.|
|Pre- / Post-|
Words with prefix "pre" or "post" generally are not hyphenated unless they come directly before proper nouns. The dictionary contains a list of words with the prefix "pre" or "post" with appropriate spellings.
Capitalize when referring specifically to the President of Seminole State College.
|President Georgia L. Lorenz...|
Capitalize the word "program" when using an official program name. Lowercase in all other uses.
|Recommend vs. Recommended|
In the College Catalog, use "recommended" to refer to the classes students can take to satisfy the requirements of a specific program.
|Recommended Courses (choose 3):|
Seminole State is divided into four schools:
|Adult Education is now the School of Academic Foundations.|
|Seasons (see also: Academic Terms)|
Lowercase seasons (spring, summer, winter, fall) unless they are used to form the proper name of an academic term
|He starts classes in the fall.|
He starts classes in Fall Term.
|Seminole State College vs. Seminole State|
Use "Seminole State College" on first reference. Thereafter, use "Seminole State."
|Seminole State College/Seminole State|
|Seminole State College of Florida District Board of Trustees (abbreviation)|
Spell out on first reference in each section. Thereafter, abbreviate it or use the acronym.
|Board of Trustees/BOT|
Use gender-neutral terms when possible:
Chair (not Chairman or Chairperson).
Representative, senator or member of Congress (not congressman).
Humans or people (not men or mankind).
When possible, use plural forms of pronouns. Instead of he or she, use they.
|Members of Congress usually campaign extensively before they are elected.|
Avoid using slang. Think globally: What is understood in the United States is not always understood in other countries.
|He browsed the Internet.|
Not: He browsed the Net.
Should be one word, no hyphen.
|They're, their, there|
|Titles (Dean, Director, Vice President, Associate Vice President, Manager, Coordinator, etc.)|
|Upper-Division, Upper Level|
Hyphenate upper-division and upper-level when they precede a noun. Do not hyphenate them when used after a noun.
|Upper-division engineering majors|
The students are in the upper level.
|Veterans Affairs (VA)|
Use the more familiar acronym, VA, in most instances, unless it would confuse the meaning of a sentence.
|My great-grandfather has to get his treatments performed at the VA hospital, but he dislikes having to wait all day to be seen.|
Use active voice rather than passive voice whenever possible. Passive voice is characterized by the use of a form of the verb "to be" (am, is, are, was, were, be, being and been), followed by a past participle form of a verb (a verb form typically ending in -ed or -en, such as helped or broken). To avoid the use of the passive voice, state as clearly as possible who is responsible for the action in the sentence.
|The committee found no discrepancies in the records.|
Not: There were no discrepancies found in the records.
Write "W4s" with quotation marks, no spaces, a capital "W" and a lowercase "s" for all plural references.
|Professors must submit their "W4s" no later than Friday at 4:30 p.m.|
|Website, Web page, the Web|
Write "website" as one word, lowercase. Capitalize "Web" when referring to a Web page or the World Wide Web. The word "page" is always lowercase and a separate word.
|website, Web page, the Web|
Not: Website, Web site, web site, webpage, Webpage, web page, the web