Cypress College Editorial Style Guide

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The Cypress College Editorial Style Guide is intended to assist faculty and staff in maintaining a consistent voice and style when communicating about the college. The way we communicate as a college is vital to our identity.

The industry-standard Associated Press Stylebook is used as a fundamental guide in our communications, including in preparation of this style guide. We have also referred to several other manuals from higher education institutions, including UC Merced and UC San Diego.

Thank you for using this style guide and for helping the college maintain consistency throughout all campus communications.

Editorial Style Guide Quick List

a.m. and p.m.8:15 a.m., 4 p.m.8:15 AM, 4:00 PM, 4:00 p.m.
Campus LocationsCampanilecampanile, bell tower, spire
 Fine Arts Plazafine arts plaza, Fine Arts plaza, Fine Arts Gateway, etc.
 Gateway Plazagateway plaza, quad, gateway, gateway quad, the gateway, etc.
 piazzaPiazza, terrace
 pondPond, quad, pond quad, pond bridge, bridge pond, etc.
DatesMay 6, June 2, February 1June 2nd, February 1st, May 6th
Electronic addressescypresscollege.edu,
En Dash (–)10–11 a.m.10-11 a.m.
Job Titlestechnician
President Scott Thayer
Scott Thayer, President, Cypress College
president Scott Thayer
Scott Thayer, president, Cypress College
Majors, Minorspsychology, art history, registered nursingPsychology, Art History, Registered Nursing
NumbersOne, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 101, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, ten
RoomHUM-131; CCCPLX- 216; Humanities Building, Room 110HUM 131, CCCPLX Rm. 414
Telephone Number/Extension(714) 484-7000; (714) 484- 7000 ext. 47157714.484.7000; 714-484-7000; x. 47157




























As a rule, we do not abbreviate. This improves search engine optimization (SEO). However, if space does not permit, follow the AP Stylebook guidelines.

Academic Degrees

The preference is to spell out the name of the degree and avoid abbreviations. Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. There is no possessive in associate degree. Do not make Associate in Arts or Bachelor of Science possessive. Do not capitalize degrees when used in general terms.


  • bachelor’s degree or baccalaureate
  • Associate in Arts
  • master’s degree

Using the abbreviated forms of degrees may be necessary if the person has more than one degree or if space does not permit the longer form. In such cases, use periods and do not include spaces.


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

Do not combine a courtesy title and an academic degree that mean the same thing. Incorrect: Dr. Gregory House, M.D.

Academic Divisions & Department

In general, only capitalize disciplines when referring to the specific division or department.


  • He is a chemistry professor in the Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Division.
  • She is a student of photography at Cypress College.

In the first reference, capitalize the department/division (Department of Dance), but use lowercase in subsequent references (dance or dance department).

Academic Majors & Minors

Use lowercase for majors and minors, with the exception of proper nouns.


  • She majored in creative writing and minored in English.

Academic Papers

The title of an academic paper or journal article should be in quotation marks.


  • His paper, “Biomedicine: An improved gel for detached retinas,” was published in the journal Nature.

Academic Senate

Use “Academic Senate.” On second reference, use “the Senate.”

Academic Titles

Capitalize and spell out a person’s formal title. Use lowercase when the title is used without the person’s name, or an informal title is used, such as “athletics dean.”


  • President Scott Thayer
  • Scott Thayer, President of Cypress College
  • Professor Jolena Grande
  • Jolena Grande, a professor at Cypress College
  • Cypress College has a president.
  • Marty Orozco, Department Chair of Automotive Technology

In most cases, titles are only used on the first reference; subsequent references should only be the last name. However, for the Cypress College president, always use “Dr.” On the first reference, use “Cypress College President Scott Thayer, Ed.D.” On all subsequent references, use “Dr. Thayer.”

Do not use references to professorial rank (assistant professor, adjunct professor, associate professor) unless they are necessary in understanding the meaning.

Occupational titles, such as “attorney” and “physicist,” are not capitalized, even if they appear before a person’s name.


Acronyms may be used sparingly. Except as noted below, always spell out the full name on first reference, followed by the acronym in parentheses, then use the acronym in subsequent references.

The following acronyms are approved for campus-wide use. Please do not create new acronyms. For longer acronyms, such as ACCJC and NOCCCD, the acronym is acceptable on the first use. If the acronym is used in the first reference to avoid a cumbersome lead, mention the full name later.

Approved acronyms:

  • A2MEND — African American Male Education Network
  • A&R — Admissions and Records
  • AA-T — Associate in Arts transfer degree
  • ACCESS — Achieving Cypress College Educational Student Success
  • ACCJC — Accrediting Commission for the Community and Junior Colleges
  • ADA — Americans with Disabilities Act
  • AdFac — Adjunct Faculty United, the adjunct faculty’s bargaining unit
  • AD-T — Associate transfer degree
  • A.S. — Associated Students
  • ASCIP — Alliance for Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs
  • AS-T — Associate in Science transfer degree
  • AUO — Administrative Unit Outcomes
  • BDPP — Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program
  • BOT — Board of Trustees
  • BP/AP — Board Policy/Administrative Procedures — the acronym is only to be used with specific numbers.
  • CalWORKs — California Work Opportunity & Responsibility to Kids
  • CARE — Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education
  • CBF — Council on Budget and Facilities
  • CC — Cypress College [Note: (CC) is not necessary on the first reference.]
  • CCCAA — California Community College Athletic Association
  • CCCCO — California Community College Chancellor’s Office
  • CCLC — Community College League of California
  • CIF — California Interscholastic Federation (sports references)
  • CMP — Comprehensive Master Plan
  • CPC — Career Planning Center
  • CSD — Counseling and Student Development
  • CSEA — California School Employees Association, the bargaining unit for classified employees
  • CSQR — Campus Services Quality Review
  • CSU — California State University (and individual campuses)
  • CTC — Campus Technology Committee
  • CTE — Career Technical Education
  • CTEP — College Test for English Placement
  • DCC — District Consultation Council
  • DCCC — District Curriculum Coordinating Committee
  • DE — Distance Education
  • DEAC — Distance Education Advisory Committee
  • DEMAC —District Enrollment Management Advisory Committee
  • DLA — Directed Learning Activity
  • DMA — District Management Association
  • DSS —Disability Support Services
  • EEO — Equal Employment Opportunity
  • EMP — Educational Master Plan
  • EOPS — Extended Opportunity Programs and Services
  • ESC — English Success Center
  • ESL — English as a Second Language
  • FTES — Full-time Equivalent Student
  • GE — General Education
  • GPA — Grade Point Average
  • ICC — Inter-Club Council
  • IECC — Institutional Effectiveness Coordinating Council
  • IER — Institutional Effectiveness Report
  • IGETC — Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum
  • ILO — Institutional Learning Outcome
  • ISP — International Students Program
  • LAOCRC — Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortium
  • L/LRC — Library & Learning Resource Center
  • LMS — Learning Management System
  • MESA — Math, Engineering, Science Achievement
  • MIS — Management Information System
  • MLC —Math Learning Center
  • NOCCCD — North Orange County Community College District
  • NOCE — North Orange Continuing Education (formerly SCE, School of Continuing Education)
  • OCDE — Orange County Department of Education
  • OEC —Orange Empire Conference
  • PAC — President’s Advisory Cabinet
  • PBC — Planning and Budget Committee
  • PERS — Public Employees Retirement System
  • PLO —Program Learning Outcomes
  • SAP — Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • SEC — Student Equity Committee
  • SEP —Student Equity Plan
  • SI — Supplemental Instruction
  • SLL — Student Life and Leadership
  • SLO — Student Learning Outcomes
  • SSC — Student Services Council
  • SSMP — Student Services Master Plan
  • SSSP — Student Success and Support Program
  • STEM — Science Technology Engineering Math
  • STRS — State Teachers Retirement System
  • TCC — Technology Coordinating Council
  • UC — University of California
  • UF — United Faculty, the bargaining unit for full-time faculty
  • VP — Vice President
  • VRC — Veterans Resource Center
  • WASC — Western Association of Schools and Colleges


For addresses on envelopes, use the U.S. Postal Service standards.


  • 9200 Valley View St Cypress CA 90630-5805

When included in body text, use the abbreviations St., Blvd., Ave., only when a numbered address is included.


  • Send mail to 9200 Valley View St.
  • Cypress College is located on Valley View Street.

All similar words, such as road, drive, terrace, etc., are always written out. Capitalize them when used as part of a formal name without a number; lowercase when used alone or with multiple names.


  • 1001 Lakeshore Drive

Spell out and use lowercase for all street names when referring to more than one street. Capitalize formal street names.


  • Cypress College is situated between Valley View and Holder streets.


The preferred spelling is “advisor” (not adviser).


“Affect” means (1) to influence, change, or produce an effect; (2) to like to do, wear, or use; or (3) to pretend.


  • The rain might affect our event.

“To effect” means to accomplish, complete, cause, make possible, or carry out. When used as a noun, it also refers to the result of an action.


  • What effect did the win have on the team’s stats?


Not “afterwards”


Always use figures:

  • The college is 50 years old.
  • The student is in her 20s.

Use hyphens when ages are used as adjectives:

  • He is a 19-year-old student.

All Right

Not “alright”


Use “alumnus” when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use “alumna” when referring to a woman who has attended a school. “Alumnae” is used for a group of women who have attended a school. “Alumni” is used for a group of men or a group of men and women who have attended a school. Informally, “alum” for singular and “alums” for plural is acceptable.

Alumni Abbreviations

Identify past and current students by their class years using two digits and a single quote mark and place in parentheses. If including a school, use a comma between the institution’s name and the year. If referring to degrees from more than one institution, refer to each one by name. If listing degrees from Cypress College in a Cypress College context, it is not necessary to refer to Cypress College by name.


  • John Smith (Cypress College, ’01; Northwestern University, ’04)
  • Sarah Thomas (’14)
  • Ron (’74) and Nancy Miller (’72) met at Cypress College.

Ampersand (&)

Do not use “&” unless it’s part of an official name.

a.m. and p.m.

Use lowercase letters with periods (no spaces). Do not use double zeros.


  • 8:15 a.m.
  • 4 p.m.


Rewrite the sentence to avoid using “and/or.” If it is necessary to use it, do not include any spaces around the slash.


This is usually hyphenated. Refer to AP Stylebook for exceptions.

Apostrophe (‘)

When writing the plural of a single letter, use apostrophe s for clarity.


  • There are two s’s in Cypress.

Do not use an apostrophe in figures and numbers.


  • Cypress College opened in the 1960s.
  • The temperature is going to be in the 80s today.
  • The ‘70s featured disco.

Associations and Licenses

There are no periods in associations and licenses.


  • CPA



Use “between” to show a relationship between two objects only. Use “among” when there’s more than two. Note: “Between” should be followed by an objective pronoun (me, her, him, us); therefore, it is correct to write “between you and me,” not “between you and I.”


“Biannual” is twice a year. “Biennial” is every two years.

Bias-free Language

Avoid reference to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, ethnic background, or physical condition if it is not pertinent to the story.

Avoid such terms as “elderly” and “senior citizen” when referring to an individual.

Do not describe an individual by a disease (such as stating “She is diabetic.”) Instead, use “She has diabetes.” Avoid racial and ethnic group identification unless it’s pertinent to the story.

Board of Trustees

Capitalize only when using it as part of the proper name or formal title.


  • The North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees met last Tuesday.
  • The board will meet again next month.
  • The trustees discussed the items on the agenda.
  • Trustee Barbara Dunsheath

Bold Text

Use bold text sparingly to emphasize important words or phrases.

Bookstore/Cypress College Bookstore

Use “Cypress College Bookstore” on first reference. On subsequent references, use “Bookstore” (one word, no hyphen). Only use lowercase when bookstore is used in the generic sense.

Brackets ([])

Do not use brackets. Use parentheses.

Building Names

All names of buildings should be capitalized. The word “building” should be capitalized only if it’s part of an official name. When two buildings appear, use lowercase (ex. Between Fine Arts and Humanities buildings). On first reference, use the full name of the building.

Subsequent references can be abbreviated.

Approved Building Abbreviations:

  • Anaheim Campus (AN)
  • Bookstore (BK)
  • Business (BUS)
  • Cypress College Complex (CCCPLX)
  • Fine Arts (FA)
  • Fine Arts Swing Space (FASS)
  • Gymnasium 1 (G1)
  • Gymnasium 2 (G2)
  • Humanities (HUM)
  • Humanities-131 and 136 (H/HUM)
  • Library & Learning Resource Center (L/LRC)
  • Maintenance & Operations (M&O)
  • North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE)
  • Science, Engineering, Math (SEM)
  • Student Center (SC)
  • Student Life and Leadership (SLL)
  • Theater Arts (TA)
  • Technical Education 1 (TE1)
  • Technical Education 2 (TE2)
  • Technical Education 3/Health Science (TE3)
  • Veterans Resource Center (VRC)

Note: When including a room number, include a dash. For room numbers, use designations found in the class schedule.

Example: CCCPLX-404

Bullet or Ordered Lists

The first word in each list item should be capitalized. Use end punctuation only if the list item is a complete sentence. Use ordered lists when the order of the items is important.

Otherwise, use bulleted lists. All items in a list should be parallel in construction (eg. each item starts with a verb, each is a complete sentence, etc.). If an introductory sentence precedes the list, end the sentence with a colon.


In general, there is no hyphen in words that begin with “by” (ex. byproduct)


California State University Campuses

Follow CSU style (short form or abbreviations in parentheses).

  • California State University, Bakersfield (CSU Bakersfield, CSUB)
  • California State University Channel Islands* (CSU Channel Islands, CI)
  • California State University, Chico (Chico State, N/A)
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSU Dominguez Hills, CSUDH)
  • California State University, East Bay (Cal State East Bay, CSUEB)
  • California State University, Fresno (Fresno State, N/A)
  • California State University, Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton, CSUF)
  • California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Cal Poly Humboldt, N/A)
  • California State University, Long Beach (Cal State Long Beach, CSULB)
  • California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA, N/A)
  • California State University Maritime Academy * (Cal Maritime, N/A)
  • California State University, Monterey Bay (CSU Monterey Bay, CSUMB)
  • California State University, Northridge (CSUN, CSUN)
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona** (Cal Poly Pomona, CPP)
  • California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State, N/A)
  • California State University, San Bernardino (Cal State San Bernardino, CSUSB)
  • San Diego State University (San Diego State, SDSU)
  • San Francisco State University (San Francisco State, SFSU)
  • San José State University (San José State, SJSU)
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo** (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, N/A)
  • California State University San Marcos* (CSU San Marco, CSUSM)
  • Sonoma State University (Sonoma State, SSU)
  • California State University, Stanislaus (Stanislaus State, N/A)
  • California State University, Office of the Chancellor

*Please note Channel Islands, Maritime, and San Marcos do not have a comma in their formal names.
**Please note the order of Polytechnic and State when referring to Humboldt, Pomona, and San Luis Obispo.


Use lowercase in all instances.

Campus Entities and Named Rooms

The following are the correct names for some campus entities that are not housed in separate buildings. Do not capitalize “the” before a name unless it’s the first word in a sentence.

  • Art Gallery
  • Campus Service Center
  • Campus Theater
  • Charger Café
  • Cypress College Art Gallery
  • Dental Clinic
  • Edouard de Merlier Photography Gallery
  • English Success Center
  • Health Center/Student Health Center
  • Holocaust Survivors Photo Gallery
  • Math Learning Center
  • Recital Hall (FA-304)
  • Studio Theater

Campus ID

Use lowercase “c.”


Use the hyphen. Do not use “campuswide.”


Generally, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Do not use capitals or all caps for emphasis.


Use “chair.” Avoid chairwoman, chairman, chairperson. Capitalize when used as a formal title.


Use lowercase when not used with a name. Capitalize when used with a name as part of a title.


  • The chancellor has arrived.
  • The event was led by Chancellor Breland.

Cities & Towns

Do not capitalize general sections of a city. Capitalize widely recognized city region or neighborhood names.

Classes, Courses, & Lectures

Capitalize the main words in the titles of courses. Do not use quotation marks or italics. Use lowercase when referring to classes and courses, unless it’s the specific and complete title.


  • I’m taking chemistry this semester.
  • She’s taking Organic Chemistry II next semester.

If a course name contains a proper noun, capitalize the entire course name.


  • American Literature Since 1865

Capitalize lecture titles and offset with quotation marks.

Clubs & Organizations

Clubs and organizations do not “belong” to Cypress College. Do not use “Cypress College’s Photo Club” or “The Cypress College Photo Club.”


  • The Photo Club at Cypress College


Use lowercase when referring to the physical shoreline. Capitalize when referring to U.S. regions lying along such shorelines. Do not capitalize “coast” when used alone.

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns, such as “faculty,” “staff,” “team,” and “class” (such as the freshman class), are singular nouns.

Colon (:)

Within sentences, capitalize the word following the colon if it is a proper noun or the beginning of a complete sentence.


  • The students started their college tour: Santa Barbara, Davis, then Berkeley.
  • The instructions read: Stay away.

Use a colon to start a list or for emphasis.


  • She enjoyed two activities: reading and writing.
  • Remember: Bring a pencil and Scantron.

Place colons outside of quotation marks unless it is part of the quotation itself. If the text is bold, the colon should be bold as well. Colons should be used to introduce long quotations inside a paragraph, and at the end of a paragraph that introduces a quotation that is its own paragraph.

Comma (,)

Follow the AP Stylebook regarding commas. NOTE: The serial or Oxford comma should always be used.

Example: She took English, math, and physics.


Use lowercase unless it’s used as a formal name.


Only capitalize when “committee” is part of the formal name.


“Compose” is to create or put together. “Comprise” is to contain, to include all, or embrace. “Constitute” is to make up, to be the elements of.

Composition Titles

Compositions include books, poems, operas, plays, magazines, newspapers, songs, TV shows, web pages, lectures, works of art, and speeches.

  • Capitalize the principal words, including conjunctions and prepositions if they are four or more letters.
  • Capitalize articles (the, an, a) if it is the first or last word in the title.
  • Put all composition titles in quotation marks, except for the Bible and reference works (almanacs, catalogs, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, handbooks).
  • Academic journals should not be in quotes or italics.

Conferences & Meetings

Capitalize full, official names of conferences and meetings.

If the exact wording of an official title is not being used, capitalize only the proper nouns. On subsequent references, abbreviations may be used.

Conference titles should be in quotation marks.

Contact Line

A person’s name should be given, if possible. Use of a department or division name is also acceptable.

The email address should be hyperlinked.

The contact number should be a full phone number, with the area code in parentheses.

Example: For more information, contact Marc Posner at (714) 484-7006 or


As a rule, limit the use of contractions unless done purposefully; for example, intentional use of informal voice. Follow the AP Stylebook regarding contractions.


“Continual” is a steady repetition. “Continuous” means uninterrupted.


See Classes.


Plural (more than one criterion)


Plural form of curriculum


Adjective (the Language Arts Division’s curricular philosophy)



Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae (singular), curricula vitae (plural), CV (abbreviation)



Plural noun; when used as a collective noun (describing a group or quantity as a unit), it takes a singular verb.


Spell out the name of the month. Do not separate with commas when using a month and year only. When there’s a month, day, and year, there should be a comma on both sides of the year.


  • January 2019
  • January 11
  • She will start her new job at Cypress College January 28, 2022, following her vacation.

Do not use the word “on” before a date or day, unless it would cause confusion to leave it out.


  • The semester starts Monday.
  • Opening day is August 25.

Use “to” or “through” when describing sequences of dates or inclusive dates. An en dash may be used when space is an issue (such as on graphics).


  • Registration is open July 11 to August 27.
  • The Office of Campus Communications is open Monday through Friday.

    Do not use suffixes with dates.
  • Correct: May 6
  • Incorrect: May 6th

Use an “s” without an apostrophe after the year to indicate spans of decades. An apostrophe is only needed if using the possessive form of the year; however, it is preferable to use an “of” construction rather than using the possessive form. Use the four-digit year for clarity.


  • Cypress College was built in the 1960s.
  • The college’s anniversary was 2017’s biggest event.
  • The college’s anniversary was the biggest event of 2017.

Daylight Saving Time

Not daylight savings time

Days of the Week

Generally, spell out the days of the week.


  • Monday through Friday

When space is an issue (such as on graphics), abbreviate the days. Do not use periods and separate the days with an en dash. Note: While it should be avoided, “R” has been used in some circumstances to designate “Thursday.” Similarly, “U” has been used for “Sunday.”


  • M–F
  • Mon–Fri


Acceptable. “Hard of hearing” may also be used. Do not use “hearing impaired.”


Lowercase when not used with a name. Use uppercase when used with a name.


  • She is the dean of Social Sciences.
  • The dean is speaking at Opening Day.
  • The dean of Language Arts, Janet Vera, spoke.
  • Dean Cassens gave the closing speech.


Not deep-seeded

Different from

Not different than


Use lowercase when not used with a name.

Examples: The Financial Aid director spoke at Opening Day.

Disabled, Disability

The term “disabled” is acceptable, but whenever possible, use “individual with a disability,” rather than “disabled individual.” Do not use “handicapped,” “afflicted with,” “suffers from,” or “wheelchair bound.”


“Disinterested” means impartial. “Uninterested” means the person lacks interest.

Dollar Amounts

Use the symbol and numerals for exact amounts. Spell out casual references and proximate amounts. Use a singular verb for specific amounts. Do not include decimals or zeros in round dollar amounts. For amounts over $1 million, use the $ symbol and numerals up to two decimal points.


  • a hundred dollars
  • The student was given a $1,000 scholarship.
  • $74 (not $74.00)

The department has a $3.4 million budget. (Do not include hyphens.)


Hyphenate (ex. drop-down menu)



Means “for example” (in Latin) and is followed by a comma. Do not confuse with “i.e.,” which means “that is” or “in other words.”

Electronic addresses

In the body of the text, electronic addresses are lowercase. Correct:

It is no longer necessary to use http:// or www. Correct:

Rarely, some external sites still require “www,” but most do not. If “www” is used when it is not needed, the address will not work. The best practice is to check any web address that will appear in your communications to make sure it is correct and functional. Do not omit the period when a web address falls at the end of a sentence.

Ellipsis (…)

Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts, and documents. Avoid deletions that would distort the meaning. Leave one space before and after an ellipsis.


  • He … earned an A on the exam.

If the words before an ellipsis make up a complete sentence, place a period at the end of the last word before the ellipsis, followed by a regular space before the ellipsis:


  • I am taking classes at Cypress College. …

Follow that same rule when using an ellipsis with sentences ending in other punctuation marks (question mark, exclamation point, comma, or colon):


  • Will you be at the alumni event? …

Do not use an ellipsis at the beginning and end of direct quotes. Do not use an ellipsis to indicate a pause in speech—use a dash, unless it is in a context where words have been deleted, in which case an ellipsis would be appropriate.


Use lowercase and do not hyphenate. When used in a title, capitalize only the “e.”

Em Dash (—)

Use an em dash to indicate a break in thought, an abrupt change, or emphasis within a sentence. An em dash should also be used when setting off a series of words separated by commas. Always use a space before and after an em dash.


  • Events include — but are not limited to — plays and athletics.
  • Several general education classes — math, history, English — should be taken.

Emeritus, Emerita, Emeriti

When referring to a retired man, used “emeritus.” When referring to a retired woman, use “emerita.” When referring to a group of women and/or men, use “emeriti.”

En Dash (–)

An en dash is half the length of an em dash and longer than a hyphen. An en dash connects numbers in dates, times, and references. When an en dash connects letters or numbers, do not add a space before or after it.


  • Letters A–D
  • 1–2 p.m.
  • Pages 12–14
  • 2006–2007

When an en dash connects words or a word and a number, add one space before and after it:


  • May – June
  • 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Note: Where space is at a premium, it is acceptable to deviate from this rule; deviation from the rule can only be done on reader boards, marquee, and PowerPoint.


“Ensure” means to make certain of, to make sure of:


  • We’re working to ensure our team will meet its deadline.

“Insure” means to obtain financial protection against potential loss.

Example: He paid $200 to insure his vehicle.


“Entitled” means having the right to something (she is entitled to the inheritance). Use “titled” to introduce the name of a publication, speech, musical piece (the piece is titled “Love and Illusion.”).


Always capitalize (not “ethernet”).

Ethnic Groups, Nationalities

References to racial and ethnic groups should be reserved for use only when such descriptions are pertinent to the story. In general, references to groupings of people are capitalized (ex: African American). Lowercase is used for black and white (noun or adjective). When describing demographic groups, it is generally best to use Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) descriptions from the U.S. Department of Education since these descriptions correlate with the national database.

However, context is important when writing about ethnicity, race, and nationality since these identifications are often an intrinsic characteristic of self identity. At the same time, various programs prefer descriptions that vary from the official IPEDS categories. For example, while IPEDS uses “Hispanic” as a designation, the Cypress College Puente Program prefers use of “Latino.”

This construct of contextual relevance might result in a passage such as this, which references a self-identity, a program identity, and IPEDS identity:

Rodriguez, who describes himself as Mexican-American, participates in the college’s Puente Program, which focuses its English coursework on the Latino experience. At Cypress College, he is part of a student body that is nearly 45% Hispanic.

Following are the official designations from IPEDS:

  • Hispanic
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White

The overriding concern of this entry is to provide a framework for descriptions and to emphasize flexibility in descriptions of identity when they are relevant to the writing. See also bias-free language.

Every day, Everyday

(adv.) every day; (adj.) everyday:


  • She walks from Lot 9 to the Humanities building every day.
  • Sunshine and blue skies are considered everyday weather in Southern California.

Exclamation Point (!)

Be wary of overuse. An exclamation point expresses a high degree of surprise or strong emotion.


See telephone number/extension.



Always use lowercase. E.g.: the faculty, the faculty of Cypress College, faculty member.


See semesters.


An FAQ is a set of “frequently asked questions.” Use FAQ in titles and headers. For body text, use “frequently asked questions.”

Farther, Further

Farther refers to physical distance. Further refers to an extension of time or degree.


  • She lives farther from campus than her classmate.
  • His decision to not complete a student educational plan further delayed his graduation.


If you have a fax number, use “F:” on the website.


Always use lowercase. E.g.: fees, health fee, parking fee, etc.

Fellow, Fellowship

Use lowercase unless written in combination with the name of a specific granting organization.


Use “fewer” for individual items (plural noun) that can be counted. Use “less” for bulk or quantity that is measured (singular noun).

Fiscal Year

Abbreviate as FY.

Flyer, Flier

Use “flyer” for consistency.


Spell out fractions less than one, using hyphens between words. Use figures for precise amounts larger than one, converting to decimals, except at the beginning of a sentence.


  • one-third, two-fifths
  • 1.75 quarts
  • one and three-fourths quarts

Full Time, Full-time

Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier (adjective):

  • She has a full-time teaching assignment.

Do not use a hyphen when “full time” appears after the verb:

  • The custodial position is full time.


Always one word without a hyphen.



When writing generally, avoid gender as much as possible. E.g.: All students have a preference. (Not: all students have their preference.)

Be sensitive to gender-specific terms and titles:

  • Chair/Chairperson (not chairman, chairwoman)
  • Flight attendant (not stewardess)
  • Server (not waitress/waiter)

Attempt to use bias-free language. Instead, seek inclusivity. E.g.: “humankind” not “mankind.”

General-education Requirement

Hyphenate as a modifier (adjective):

  • Transfer students must fulfill all general-education requirements.

GPA/Grade-Point Average

In most cases, use the abbreviation GPA (no periods). When spelling out, hyphenate as a modifier.


Use letter grades without quotation marks: She earned an A in chemistry. Use an apostrophe with plural grades: He earned all A’s this semester.


Always one word, without hyphen.


Use gray. Gray is the American spelling. Grey is the English spelling.



“Half-mast” refers to flags on a ship/naval station. A flag elsewhere is at “half-staff.”

Health Care

Use two words.


“Historic” means important. “Historical” refers to any event in the past.


Use lower case and italicize cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Honors (silver) indicates students who have maintained an overall grade-point average of 3.3–3.74 during their college career. High honors (gold) indicates students who have maintained an overall grade-point average of 3.75–4.0.


Hopefully means in a hopeful manner. Do not use it to mean it is hoped, let us hope, or we hope.


  • Dr. Thayer spoke hopefully at Opening Day.
  • It is hoped that Guided Pathways will be implemented this semester.

Hyphen (-)

Use a hyphen to link compound modifiers.


  • She was a well-read student.

However, do not hyphenate compound modifiers ending in “ly” or including the word “very.”


  • He provided a very clear syllabus.
  • She enrolled in a completely online schedule.

Use a hyphen for clarity.


  • He resigned from the Academic Senate.
  • She re-signed the purchase agreement.

Hyphenated words in titles and headers are capitalized when the hyphen connects two separate words.

Examples: First-Generation



This is a Latin abbreviation for “that is.” It means “in other words” and is always followed by a comma. It is frequently confused with e.g., which means “for example.”


Only capitalize if it begins a sentence.


International student (not foreign student).


Avoid using italics unless necessary; it makes text difficult to read.


The correct use is “regardless.”


Job Titles

Lowercase job titles when they appear in body copy or when they refer to a specific person, but do not appear as part of that person’s official title.


  • A&R has multiple technicians.
  • Scott Thayer is Cypress College’s president.

Capitalize an individual’s official title, when it’s used prior to a person’s name.


  • President Scott Thayer
  • Scott Thayer, President, Cypress College



Use one word, no space, with an upper-case “C.”



Use “like” to compare nouns and pronouns. Use “as” to introduce clauses and phrases.


  • She writes like a graduate student.
  • He’s as close to graduation as I am.

Letter Spacing

Use one space after a period in both printed materials and website copy.

Library, Librarian

Use uppercase only when part of a name.

Example: The Cypress College Library


“Literally” means in an exact sense. “Figuratively” means in a comparative sense.


  • The pond was literally filled with water.
  • I figuratively died laughing.

Log in (v.), Log out (v.), Login (n. or adj.), Logout (n. or adj.)


  • Open myGateway and log in.
  • Don’t forget to log out of Canvas.
  • Your myGateway login will be sent by email.
  • Click the logout button when finished.


Majors, Minors

Majors and minors are not capitalized.

Make Up (v.)/Makeup (n. or adj.)


  • I need to make up a test. (v.)
  • Some professors offer makeup exams. (adj.)
  • I wear makeup every day. (n.)


“Marquee” is the digital sign in front of the campus. “Marquis” is a nobleman. Use “marquee.”


No hyphen, unless a capitalized word or a figure follows.


  • He did well on his midterms.
  • NASA launched the rocket in the mid-Pacific.
  • The temperature on Senior Day was in the mid-70s.


Use midnight and noon instead of 12 a.m. or 12 p.m., without the “12” in front of either one. Use numerals when writing a timeframe, for example: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.


  • The event begins at noon.
  • The deadline is midnight.


See Dollar Amounts.


Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone.


  • The fall semester starts in August.
  • They enrolled in January 2016.

If space restraints require an abbreviation, abbreviate as: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Never abbreviate March, April, May, June, or July.


In general, multi does not require a hyphen: multimedia, multidisciplinary.


Lowercase “m,” capital “G.”



Spell out one through nine unless writing dollar amounts, ages, measurements, percentages, or time. Spell out numbers that begin a sentence.


Off Campus/On Campus

Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.


  • She chose to eat on campus in the Charger Café.
  • There are many off-campus dining options nearby.


Capitalize “Office” when the word is part of the official name.


  • He went to the Bursar’s Office.
  • The college counseling office is in the Student Center.
  • The Office of Campus Communications authored this style guide.


One word; do not hyphenate.


Parentheses ()

Be cautious not to overuse parentheses. Commas and em dashes are alternatives to set off incidental material within a sentence. Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a sentence (such as this fragment). (An independent parenthetical sentence such as this one takes a period before the closing parenthesis.) When a phrase placed in parentheses (this is an example) might normally qualify as a complete sentence but is dependent on the surrounding material, do not capitalize the first word or end with a period.


“Partially” means to a certain degree when speaking of a condition or state. “Partly” implies the idea of a part, usually of a physical object, as distinct from the whole. The two are not interchangeable.


  • The Board was partially convinced.
  • The curriculum changes are partly complete.

Part Time, Part-Time

Hyphenate when used as an adjective.


  • We have a part-time photographer.
  • Our photographer works part time.

Past Experience

“Experience” alone is sufficient.

People, Persons

When speaking of an individual, use “person.” When speaking of more than one person, use “people.” “Persons” should only be used in a quote.


“Percent” should be written out, unless used in a chart or table.

Period (.)

Use a period at the end of a declarative sentence: The book is finished. Use a period at the end of a mildly imperative sentence: Shut the door.

Use an exclamation point instead of a period for greater emphasis: Be careful!

Use a period at the end of some rhetorical questions. A period is preferable if a statement is more a suggestion than a question: Why don’t we go.

Use a period at the end of an indirect question: He asked what the score was.

Use a period with initials: John F. Kennedy, T.S. Eliot. But, people referred to by their initials only do not take periods: JFK, LBJ. Periods always go inside quotation marks: She said, “Let’s go to class.”

Ph.D., Ph.D.s

The preferred form is to say a person holds a doctorate and name the individual’s area of specialty.


Form plurals of the following by adding “s” alone:


  • MP3s
  • M.A.s and Ph.D.s
  • The three Rs
  • The 1960s
  • VIPs
  • in twos and threes

Form plurals of the following by adding “’s” (apostrophe s):


  • A’s and B’s
  • dot your I’s and cross your t’s

Form plurals of family names that end in “s” by adding “es.”


  • The Evanses live on the west side of town.
  • The Evans family lives on the west side of town.

Form possessives of proper names that end with “s,” “x” and “z” according to the following examples:

  • Moses’ writings, Joseph James’ dissertation
  • Marx’s films

Plural possessives combine the above rules.


  • The Davis Family’s hometown, the Lopez family’s accomplishments
  • The Davises’ hometown, the Lopezes’ accomplishments


Singular proper names ending in “s” — use only an apostrophe: Scripps’ history, Socrates’ life, Kansas’ schools

Singular common nouns ending in “s” — add apostrophe s unless the next word begins with “s”: The class’s topic, but the class’ story; the hostess’s invitation, but the hostess’ seat

Singular nouns not ending in “s” — add apostrophe s: The university’s location

Plural nouns ending in “s” — add only an apostrophe: All employees’ rights, the girls’ apartment, the students’ parents. Plural nouns not ending in “s” — add apostrophe s: The alumni’s decision


Use a hyphen when the prefix precedes a word that starts with the same vowel, except in cooperate and coordinate. Do not use a hyphen when the prefix precedes a word starting with a consonant. Use a hyphen if the word that follows the prefix is capitalized.


“Premier” is first in status or importance, chief, or a prime minister or chief executive. “Premiere” is a first performance.


Capitalize only when part of a formal title: President Scott Thayer. Otherwise, use lowercase: The president hosted community members.


Never abbreviate. Capitalize when used as a formal title before a full name. Do not continue use on the second reference.


Program names are capitalized.


Question Mark (?)

Use a question mark at the end of a question.

Quotation Marks (” “)

In general, follow AP Style. Use quotation marks around direct quotes, as well as titles of books or other literary/artistic works. Quotation marks should also be used to refer to a word as a word.

Do not use quotation marks to add emphasis.

Periods and question marks must be on the inside of the quotation marks. Colons and semicolons should be placed outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quote. Each person’s words, no matter how brief, are placed in a separate paragraph, with quotation marks at the beginning and the end of each person’s speech.



Acceptable Uses:

  • Humanities Building, Room 110
  • HUM-131
  • CCCPLX-216

Refrain from using “Rm.”



Use lowercase.


  • Cypress College welcomed its largest class in fall 2012.

Semi-colon (;)

In general, use the semicolon to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can convey, but less than the separation that a period implies.

Slash (/)

No space surrounding the slash.


  • and/or

Spacing (between sentences)

Use one space between sentences.

State Names

Do not abbreviate state names unless it’s part of an address.


One word, without hyphen.

Student Body

Use “student” or “students” instead.

Student ID

Capitalize “ID.”


One word, without hyphen.

Syllabus, Syllabi

Do not use “syllabuses.”


One word, without hyphen.


Teen, Teenager, Teenage

No hyphens. Do not use teen-aged or teenaged.

Telephone Number/Extension

General style:

  • (714) 484-7000
  • (714) 484-7000 ext. 47157

Note: Extensions beginning with “48” cannot be dialed directly externally. All “47” numbers can be direct dialed (eg. 47006 = (714) 484-7006).

On the web, use T, E, F to designate telephone, email, and fax (eg. T: (714) 484-7000). In print, use Cell, Fax, Phone, Email. Numbers are assumed to be office numbers unless designated.


One word, without hyphen.

That, Which, Who, Whom

Use “that” in essential clauses. Use “which” in nonessential clauses. Use “who” as the subject of a sentence, clause, or phrase. Use “whom” as the object of a verb or preposition.


“The” is only capitalized when it is part of the proper title. Otherwise, it is lowercase.


  • Guided Pathways is an initiative promoted by the CCCCO.
  • A story on the topic appeared in Sunday’s The Orange County Register.


Use “theater” for all references, unless it is part of the proper name. No Cypress College theaters end in “re.”


  • Campus Theater
  • Studio Theater

Time Span

The use of an en-dash is preferred to “to.” For example: 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m., not 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (with hyphen).


Generally capitalize principal words in a title, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Do not capitalize prepositions or conjunctions shorter than four letters (e.g. an, the, it, to, for), unless they start the title. See also Academic Titles and Job Titles.


“Toward” is correct. “Towards” is not.


Under way

Two words; no hyphen.


  • The semester is under way.


Do not use underlines because they are confused with hyperlinks.

United States

Spell out when used as a noun. Use U.S. (with periods and no spaces) only as an adjective.

University of California Campuses

Nine UC campuses offer undergraduate and graduate education; one (UCSF) is graduate/professional only. Write “UC” without periods.

  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UCLA
  • UC Merced
  • UC Riverside
  • UC San Diego
  • UC San Francisco
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • UC Santa Cruz


In general, avoid using a specific URL unless necessary. A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is an internet address. Plural: URLs. If a web address is at the end of a sentence, use a period.


One word, without hyphen.



Use one word, without hyphen.


Waitlist (n), Wait-list (v., adj.)


  • The waitlist is full.
  • Wait-listed students may petition.
  • Students are able to wait-list a class.


Lowercase web, website, webserver, webcam, webcast, webinar, and webmaster.

Week of Semester

When referring to a particular week within the semester, use an uppercase “W,” followed by a numeral.


  • Parking permits are required at the beginning of Week 3.


Do not use a hyphen in districtwide or systemwide. Use a hyphen in campus-wide.


One word, and hyphenate.


One word, without hyphen.



One word, and hyphenate.


ZIP code

Use all caps in “ZIP” and lowercase “c” in code. Always two words, no hyphen.