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UC San Diego Editorial Style Guide

Use this as a guide when you write for Blink, TritonLink, or other UC San Diego websites.


The UC San Diego Web Editorial Style Guide is intended to help writers preparing text for UC San Diego websites. In most instances, it follows The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook (subscription required for online access). We recommend that writers and editors follow this style to ensure consistency throughout UC San Diego websites.

You can access the UC San Diego Library's online copy of the AP Stylebook. This resource is limited to 10 users at a time (including student use). To ensure availability for others, don't leave the website open longer than needed. Access is restricted to UCSD IP addresses (on network or VPN).

Instructions for use

Note that some entries contain separate instructions or style guidelines that are recommended for anyone who writes content for Blink and TritonLink. These entries are identified with the words "Blink/TritonLink instructions." All other UC San Diego writers should follow the general instructions.

For additional reference

If you have style questions or suggestions, contact Workplace Technology Services (WTS).

Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember:



See acronyms and abbreviations.

academic degrees

The preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: Mary Smith, who has a doctorate in philosophy. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. When academic degrees are referred to in general terms such as doctorate, doctoral, bachelor's, or master's, they are not capitalized. When using the initial forms, do not put spaces between the initials. Examples:

  • bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctoral degree, doctoral candidate, a doctorate in history, a B.A., an M.S., a Ph.D., an M.F.A., an M.B.A., a master's (degree) in applied physics, the doctor of philosophy degree
  • A.B.    B.A.    B.S.    D. Eng.    Ed.D.    J.D.    M.A.T.    M.Arch.    M.B.A.    M.D.    M.Eng.    M.F.A.    M.L.A.    M.P.H.      M.P.P.    M.A.    M.S.    M.S.W.    Ph.D.     Pharm.D.

Licenses and associations do not take periods: CPA, LCSW, AAAS, IEEE, ASLA.

academic departments

In general, capitalize disciplines only when referring to specific courses or departments:

  • He is a doctoral student in cognitive science at UC San Diego.
  • She is a master's student in the Department of Cognitive Science.

In a first reference, use "Department of Literature," but use "literature department" or "literature" in subsequent references. Majors and minors are lowercase, but proper names as subjects are always capitalized. Example:

  • She majored in linguistics and minored in Chinese studies.

See also academic degrees, building and facility names, departments, office(s).

Academic Senate

Use "the Academic Senate," or "the senate." If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also collective nouns, faculty.

academic titles

Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, dean, etc., when they precede a name. Use lowercase elsewhere:

  • This year's keynote address will be given by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.
  • The chancellor will give the keynote address this year.
  • The chancellor of UC San Diego is Pradeep Khosla.

See also academic degrees, chancellor, Dr., job titles, lecturer, professor.

acronyms and abbreviations

Use the entire name first, followed by the acronym in parentheses, then use the acronym in subsequent references:

  • Temporary Employment Services (TES)

Exception: If the acronym is familiar to your audience, use it first, followed by the entire name in parentheses:

  • EH&S (Environment, Health & Safety)

Avoid using the word "the" with an acronym unless it is necessary for clarity. In general, omit periods from acronyms: DOE, NCAA, NEA, NIMH, SAT scores, UNESCO, but U.S., U.N. Examples:

  • Check with OSHPP.
  • Visit the OSHPP website.
  • Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) is the office responsible for providing occupational health, safety, and environmental services to UC San Diego.
  • UC San Diego's School of Medicine (SOM) is highly ranked as a research institution. Research from SOM is frequently cited in professional publications.

See a listing of UC San Diego Acronyms and Abbreviations.

If you are using the campus CMS:

  • In the summary: Use the spelled-out name, not the acronym.

Use "the administration" or "UC San Diego's administration." If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.

Admissions, Office of Admissions

Use "Admissions" or "Office of Admissions." If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.


The preferred spelling is "advisor" (not adviser) for college counselors, etc. If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.


See ethnic groups, nationalities.


Always use figures:

  • The department is 9 years old.
  • The graduates are in their 20s.

Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives:

  • She is a 30-year-old graduate student.

See also bias-free language.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for a similar reference to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of women and men. Informally, use "alum" for singular or "alums" for plural.

& (ampersand)

Avoid using "&" except when it's part of the official name of a department:

  • Environment, Health & Safety
a.m. and p.m.

Use lowercase letters with periods and no spaces between letters:

  • 7:30 p.m.
  • 7 a.m.

See also en dash (–), times of day.

Anchor links help readers jump to the topic they need within the same page. Use Back to top format (not "Return to top" or "Top of page"), followed by an extra line space.  

Blink/TritonLink instructions:

  • By using the "drawer" template, you can usually avoid anchor links.

Avoid the use of "and/ or" by writing the sentence in a different way. When you do use it, no space after the slash: and/or.


Usually hyphenated, but refer to the AP Stylebook for exceptions.

apostrophe (')

Plurals of a single letter, add apostrophe s for clarity:

  • There are two l's in Revelle.

Figures, numbers, do not use an apostrophe:

  • The 1960s were an interesting time.
  • The temperature is in the low 20s.

See also possessives, and reference the AP Stylebook (possessives and punctuation guide).


bachelor's degree

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, B.A., B.S. A bachelor's degree or bachelor's is acceptable in any reference and preferable to the term "baccalaureate." See also academic degrees.

Back to top

See anchor links.

bias-free language

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

  • Age: Avoid the terms "elderly" and "senior citizen" in reference to an individual.
  • Diseases: Do not use a disease to describe an individual: He is diabetic. Rather: He has diabetes. One acceptable variation is "survivor of," as in "She is a survivor of cancer."
  • Racial and ethnic group identification: Avoid unless pertinent to the story.

See also disabled, disability, ethnic groups, nationalities, gender, sexual orientation.


See millions.


See ethnic groups, nationalities.


Capitalize only when integral part of a proper name:

  • It is the responsibility of the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board.
  • The board meets 4 times a year.
board of directors, board of trustees

Always use lowercase.

bold text (strong)

Use bold or red text sparingly when you need to emphasize important words or phrases, but generally avoid using italics in online text, since it's hard to scan. Bold any punctuation that immediately follows your bolded text. HTML code:

  • Use <b>  </b> tags.
Bookstore, UC San Diego Bookstore

Use "the UC San Diego Bookstore" in the first occurrence on a page, then use "Bookstore" in subsequent instances (not University Bookstore). If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also Bookstore website.

Brand Guidelines

Brand is more than a visual system with logos, colors and typography. It’s a reflection of campus essence and how UC San Diego stakeholders feel about the institution. See the Brand Guidelines website.

building and facility names

Never abbreviate, except when necessary in charts and tables. Capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the word "building" if it is part of the proper name:

  • He worked in the Capitol Building
  • Her office is in the Center Hall building

If you must abbreviate the name of a building, look for an entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also departments, office(s).

bullet or ordered lists

Always use an initial capital letter on the first word in a list item. Use end punctuation only if the list item is a complete sentence. Use ordered (lettered or numbered) lists when the order of the items is important. Otherwise, use bullet lists. Make all items within a list parallel in construction; e.g., start each item with a verb, make each item a complete sentence, etc.

HTML code:

  • Bullets:<ul> <li> </li> </ul>
  • Numbers:<ol> <li> </li> </ol>

 If an introductory sentence precedes the list, end the sentence with a colon.


In general, no hyphen: byproduct, bygone era



Use as the abbreviation for California. Use "CA" only as a mailing address. See also northern, southern.

California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)

Spell out on first reference, then abbreviate as Calit2 in subsequent references:

  • California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology is a partnership between UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Calit2 is one of 4 California Institutes for Science and Innovation established by former Gov. Gray Davis in December 2000.

Use lowercase in all instances: The UC San Diego campus. Avoid using: the upper campus, the lower campus. Instead, use the Scripps campus and the main campus, or central campus. If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also UC San Diego.

campus ID

Use lowercase "c":  Please present your campus ID.

campuswide, campus-wide

1 word or with hyphen is acceptable. See also universitywide.


Generally, avoid unnecessary capitalizations or those that result from individual preference or sense of emphasis. Consult the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: if lowercase is an acceptable form, follow that usage. Avoid using ALL CAPS in websites, since it's hard to scan. See also buildings, departments, ethnic groups, non-, offices, titles, web page titles.

cards, forms

Cards: Capitalize when part of the name, lowercase when referring to cards in general:

  • Do you have an identification card?
  • This is the Preferred-Program Card.

Forms: Use lowercase:

  • Complete the General Application form.
Cashier's Office

Use "Cashier's Office" instead of Cashier or University Cashier. If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.


Note hyphen and capitalization.

cell phone

2 words, no hyphen.

chair, chairwoman, chairman, chairperson

Use "chair." Avoid chairwoman, chairman, chairperson:

  • It is up to the chair of the Department of History. (whether male or female)
  • Notify the chair of the department.

As part of a formal title, capitalize:

  • Chair Robert Johnson has a 2-year term.

In less formal references, use lowercase:

  • She was meeting chair Robert Johnson during office hours.

See also endowed chair.


Lowercase when not used with a name:

  • The chancellor attended.

Uppercase when used with a name (as part of a title):

  • The main speaker was Chancellor Khosla.

Uppercase when referring to a position or job title:

  • The main speaker was Chancellor Khosla.
  • Recruiting for the position of Chancellor has begun.

If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also vice chancellor.

Chicana/ Chicano

See ethnic groups, nationalities.


Use lowercase when referring to the physical shoreline. Capitalize when referring to U.S. regions lying along such shorelines. Capitalize the Coast when standing alone only if the reference is to the West Coast.

collective nouns

Nouns denoting a unit take singular verbs and pronouns: class, team, faculty:

  • The class comprises freshmen only.
  • The faculty is prepared to meet.

See also data.

college and university names

Spell out and capitalize as part of a formal name:

  • Saddleback College
  • Stanford University

Use lowercase when referring to "the college" and "the academy." Always spell out the proper name of an institution in full on first reference. Popular or shortened versions are OK on second reference. Examples:

  • California State University, Stanislaus, offers bachelor's degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, business, and education. CSU Stanislaus also offers teaching credentials and master's degree programs.
  • Exceptions: Writers may use the abbreviation UC on first reference for all University of California campuses: UC Irvine, UC San Francisco, etc.

See also University of California, UC San Diego.

colleges at UC San Diego

In most cases, use the entire name of the UC San Diego college in the first reference on a page and whenever it appears in a heading, then the shortened name for subsequent references:

  • Thurgood Marshall College, then Marshall
  • John Muir College, then Muir
  • Roger Revelle College, then Revelle
  • Eleanor Roosevelt College, then Roosevelt
  • Sixth College, then Sixth (but never 6th)
  • Earl Warren College, then Warren

When listing the colleges, alphabetize by last name, with Sixth before Warren, in this order:

  • Marshall
  • Muir
  • Revelle
  • Roosevelt
  • Sixth
  • Warren

Use lowercase "college" for general description: college policy, the college's events. See also UC San Diego's Six Colleges and information on individual colleges: Marshall, Muir, Revelle, Roosevelt, Sixth, Warren.

colon (:)

Within a sentence, capitalize the word following a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence:

  • We were on our way: San Diego, then Los Angeles, then north to San Francisco.
  • The instructions read: Stay back.

Use a colon for emphasis or to begin a list:

  • He had only two hobbies: eating and drinking.
  • Please don't forget: Bring your swimsuit and goggles.

A colon at the end of boldface text should also be bold. Colons go outside of quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation itself.

Use a colon:

  • To introduce long quotations within a paragraph
  • At the end of a paragraph that introduces a new paragraph of quoted material

Use a comma to introduce a direct quotation of 1 sentence within a paragraph.


See font colors.

comma (,)

For details on using commas, see the punctuation guide of the AP Stylebook. Exception to the AP Stylebook: Use a serial comma (the final comma in a series of items) when needed for clarity, or when the tone is more formal or academic.

Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: 

  • She signed up for classes in math, science and literature.

Do put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series, however, if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction:

  • I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

Always use lowercase.


Capitalize when "committee" is part of the official title:

  • She is a member of the thesis committee.
  • The committee met yesterday.
  • The Committee on Educational Policy determines that.
  • She is a member of the UC San Diego Signage Committee. This committee meets monthly.

See also collective nouns, subcommittee.


See University Communications and Public Affairs.

composition titles

Use these general guidelines for titles of books, magazines, newspapers, operas, plays, poems, songs, TV shows, web page titles, and titles of lectures, speeches and works of art:

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of 4 or more letters.
  • Capitalize an article (the, an, a) if it is the first or last word in the title.
  • Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily reference works (catalogs, almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks).


  • "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
  • "CBS Evening News"
  • "Schindler's List"
  • "The Star-Spangled Banner"
  • the NBC-TV "Today" program
  • the "CBS Evening News"
  • "Encyclopedia Britannica," but no quotation marks around titles of reference works such as:
  • The AP Stylebook
  • Farmers' Almanac

See also non-, software titles, web page titles.

contact line

Blink/TritonLink instructions: All Blink and TritonLink pages should close with a contact line. Ex:

Note that:

  • A person's name is given, if possible (department or group name is acceptable as a second choice)
  • Link goes to an email address
  • Contact number is the full phone number, no parentheses

HTML code for email and phone number: < a href=""> Allisa Becker</a>, 858-534-1013.

Blink style: In Blink pages, insert contact line in the "More Information" field. If contact information is lengthy (more than 2 to 3 lines), use the "Other" field instead.

TritonLink style: In TritonLink pages, the contact line goes at the end of the body content.

  • Exception: Contact lines in TritonLink menu pages include a link to 1 or more department or organization pages (not an individual's email) in the contact line, followed by a comma and phone number in standard format. The contact line will be the final bullet point on the page; no period after the phone number. Examples:
contacts page

Organize the tables in department contacts pages with the reader in mind. List the services in the left column and the employee or unit name, email, phone and fax numbers in the right column. Example: Imprints: Contacts


Capitalize course titles, but do not italicize or enclose in quotes. In a sequence of courses with a single title and course description, a course should appear as:

  • Chemistry 12A-B-C  (Not "Chemistry 12A-12B-12C")
curriculum vitae
  • Singular: curriculum vitae
  • Plural: curricula vitae
  • Abbreviation: CV



See em dash, en dash.


Usually a plural noun: The data have been carefully collected. "Data" can, however, take a singular verb when used as a collective noun (describing a group or quantity as a unit):

  • The data is accurate.

Use 1981–82, not 1981/82 or 1981–1982 (use en dash between); in the '80s or 1980s. See also en dash.

days of the week

Use "weekdays" instead of "Monday through Friday." Generally, spell out the days of the week:

  • Monday through Wednesday

When space is an issue (e.g., on some graphics), abbreviate the days. Do not use a period after an abbreviation, and separate the days with an en dash. Examples:

  • M–Th
  • Mon–Thu

See also weekdays.


Acceptable, or use "hard of hearing," but not "hearing impaired." Do not use "deaf-mute" or "deaf and dumb." See also disabled, disability.


Lowercase when not used with a name:

  • She is the dean of Graduate Studies.
  • The dean attended the seminar.
  • The dean of Arts and Humanities Jason Jones spoke.

Uppercase when used with a name:

  • Dean Williams gave the keynote speech.

See academic degrees.


Capitalize "Department" when the word is part of the official name, but not when part of running text:

  • She chairs the Department of Philosophy
  • The chemistry and biology departments are involved in the research.
  • She majored in economics.
  • She majored in one of the most popular majors in the Department of Economics.

If you must abbreviate the name of a department, look for an entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also academic departments, building and facility names, office(s).


Use a hyphen in all instances, even when another website referred to uses "dialin."


Use lowercase when not used with a name:

  • The director of CMRR gave the opening address.
  • The director, known for her humor, told a joke.
disabled, disability

The term "disabled" is preferable to "handicapped." The phrase "people with disabilities" is preferable to "the disabled." Do not use "afflicted with" or "wheelchair-bound." Examples:

  • He has muscular dystrophy.
  • She uses a wheelchair.

For more information on people with disabilities in postsecondary education, visit the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).

See also bias-free language, deaf.

disc/ disk

Disc is the preferred spelling for CDs and CD-ROMs (optical or laser-based media). Disk refers to floppy and hard drives (magnetic storage media).


Blink/TritonLink instructions: The disclaimer on a Blink or TritonLink page points out that the content has been derived from university or UC San Diego policies and procedures, which take precedence over Blink or TritonLink content in any case of dispute. The disclaimer (if used) appears in gray at the bottom of the page.


See disc/ disk.


See Dr., M.D., professor.

dollar amounts ($)

Use the symbol and numerals for exact amounts: $75. Spell out proximate amounts or casual references: a million dollars. Use a singular verb for specific amounts: We applied for a $500,000 grant. Do not include decimal or zeros in round dollar amounts: $50 (not $50.00) For amounts over $1 million, use the $ symbol and numerals up to two decimal points. Examples:

  • The building was appraised at $4.25 million.
  • The department has a $3.2 billion budget. (Note: no hyphens.)

See residence hall.


A business operating on the World Wide Web. Use lowercase and hyphen.


Use the title "Dr." for medical doctors only: Dr. Jonas Salk. Never use Dr. and M.D. at the same time. Refer to individuals with other doctoral degrees (such as Ph.D.s) by their specialty or department. Examples:

  • Mary Stewart, Ph.D.
  • Mary Stewart, assistant professor of ethnic studies

See also M.D., professor, Ph.D.

Hyphenate. (See Merriam-Webster entry.)

  • Select an entry from the drop-down menu.

An acronym for digital video disk or digital versatile disk. Always capitalize.



Generally, use lowercase; capitalize when used as the proper name of the planet.


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

ellipsis (...)

Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of 1 or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Avoid deletions that would distort the meaning. Leave 1 space before and after an ellipsis. Example:

  • I ... tried to do what was best.

If the words preceding an ellipsis constitute a complete sentence, place a period at the end of the last word before the ellipsis, and follow it with a regular space before the ellipsis:

  • I no longer have a strong political base. ...

Use an ellipsis with sentences ending in other punctuation marks (question mark, exclamation point, comma or colon) in the same manner:

  • Will you come? ...

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.


Do not use a hyphen. Only use: email. When used in a title, capitalize only the "e":

  • "How to Send Email"

Use the person's name — not the email address — as the name of the link. Follow the name with a comma and the phone number:

  • Mary Smith, 858-555-5555.

HTML code: < a href=""> Mary Smith</a> 858-555-5555.

Use a hyphen with other e-terms, such as: e-book, e-business and e-commerce.

em dash (—)

Use an em dash to indicate a break in thought, an abrupt change, or emphasis within a sentence:

  • Topics include — but are not limited to — the items on the list.

Use an em dash to set off a series of words separated by commas:

  • Several kinds of interview questions — open-ended, behavioral, follow-up — should be included.

Always use a space before and after an em dash. HTML Code: —

See also en dash, hyphen.

emeritus, emeriti, emerita

Use emeritus (emeriti in plural) when referring to a man who has retired from a position. Use emerita (emeriti in the plural) for a similar reference to a woman. Use emeriti when referring to a group of women and men:

  • Professor Emeritus of Literature John Smith
  • Professor Emerita of Physics Joyce Smith
  • The department's faculty includes 6 professors 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. Examples:

  • 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 1 space before and after it:

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

HTML Code:

See also em dash, hyphen, times of day.

endowed chair

For names of endowed chairs, capitalize the entire entry:

  • He filled the Simon Bolivar Chair in Latin American Studies.
  • The department planned to solicit donations for 3 endowed chairs.

See also chair.


"Ensure" means to make certain of, to make sure of:

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

See also insure.


Always capitalize (not "ethernet").

ethnic groups, nationalities

Avoid racial, ethnic group references unless pertinent to the story. Capitalize the names of people, races, tribes, and other groupings of humankind, including American Indian, Asian, and Hispanic. Use lowercase for black and white (noun or adjective). Preferred usage:

  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: People having origins in any of the original American Indian peoples of North America, including Eskimos and Aleuts, or who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition. Native American may also be used in news releases and publications, depending on the wishes of the individual(s) cited in the story. If "Indian" is used, be careful to adequately distinguish from East Indian.
  • Asian: Includes Chinese/ Chinese-American, Japanese/ Japanese-American, Filipino/ Pilipino, Pakistani/ East Indian, and other Asian groups.
  • Black: People having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Capitalize Black (noun or adjective) in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. Use African-American only in quotations or the names of organizations, or if individuals describe themselves so.
    The lowercase black is a color, not a person.
  • Chicano, Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, Mexican-American: These terms, which should be capitalized, have distinct meanings that depend, to a large extent, on the interpretations and preferences of individuals. "Hispanic" includes black individuals whose origins are Hispanic, as well as Mexican/ Mexican-American/ Chicano, Latin-American/ Latino, and other Spanish/ Spanish-American individuals. According to AP Stylebook, the preferred term is Hispanic for those whose ethnic origin is a Spanish-speaking country. Latino is an acceptable alternative for Hispanics and Latinx is a gender-neutral form for those who prefer that term. When possible, use a more specific identification, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Mexican-American.
  • Indigenous: We also now capitalize Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place.
  • Muslim: The preferred term (favored over "Moslem") to describe followers of Islam.
  • White: Primarily people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe. Note that "white" is lowercase when referring to ethnicity.

See also bias-free language.

every day, everyday

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

  • She walks every day.
  • She wears everyday shoes.
exclamation point (!)

Use the exclamation point to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion. Avoid overuse. Use a comma after mild interjections and a period to end mildly exclamatory sentences. Place the exclamation point inside quotation marks when it is part of the quoted material. Examples:

  • "How wonderful!" he exclaimed.
  • "Never!" she shouted.

Place the exclamation point outside quotation marks when it is not part of the quoted material:

  • I hated reading Spenser's "Faerie Queen"!

Do not use a comma or a period after the exclamation mark:

  • "Halt!" the corporal cried. (Not: "Halt!", the corporal cried.)
extension/ Ext.

See telephone number/ extension.

Extension, UC San Diego

See UC San Diego Extension.



Use lowercase: the faculty, the faculty of Muir College. See also academic senate, collective nouns.


See quarter, seasons.


FAQ is an acronym for "frequently asked questions." Use the acronym primarily in titles and headers, not in body text. Use the spelled-out version of "frequently asked questions" in body text, at least in the first usage. When referring to 1 document that contains frequently asked questions, refer to the document as an "FAQ" (not "FAQs"). When referring to more than 1 document that contain frequently asked questions, refer to the documents as "FAQs." Refer to specific questions within an FAQ as "questions," not as "FAQs." When writing an FAQ page, if you have more than 10 questions, try grouping them into categories.

farther, further

Farther refers to physical distance:

  • He ran farther than before.

Further refers to an extension of time or degree:

  • She will investigate the matter further.

Do not capitalize: fees, university registration fee, parking fee, housing fees

fellow, fellowship

Use lowercase when used alone, but capitalize in combination with the name of a granting organization:

  • Mark is an AARA Fellow.
  • A fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association will attend.
  • He is hoping for a Guggenheim Fellowship
  • She was one of 4 fellows selected from California universities.

See numbers.

first-year student

Use first-year as the adjective: They beat the first-year team (not "freshmen team") alternative. Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier. Examples:

  • She is a first-year student at Warren College.
  • She worked hard during her first year at UC San Diego.
fiscal year

Abbreviate as FY: "FY 2007."

flyer, flier

Use "flyer" for both physical (paper) postings and electronic notices.

font colors

Blink/TritonLink instructions: For the most part, don't use colored fonts in Blink or TritonLink text. Use a red font sparingly, for emphasis, following these guidelines:

HTML code: Do not use <font="red">

  • Blink: Use <span class="emphasis"> 
    • Example: <span class="emphasis">your red text here</span>
  • TritonLink: Use <span class="cwp-important"> 
    • Example: <span class="cwp-important>your red text here</span>

See international.


See cards, forms.

freelance (v. and adj.)

The noun: freelancer; no hyphen for all forms.

freshman, freshmen students
See first-year
full time, full-time

Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier (adjective):

  • She has a full-time commitment.

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

  • This position is full time.
fundraising, fundraiser

1 word, no hyphen.


See fiscal year.



If singular construction is necessary, use "he" or "she."  No slashes ("his/her"). Avoid the awkward "he or she" and "his or her" by using plurals wherever possible, being careful not to mix singular and plural:

  • All students have their preferences. (Not: "Every student has their preference.")

Be sensitive to gender-specific terms and titles:

  • Chair (not chairman, chairwoman, chairperson)
  • Supervisor (not foreman)
  • Police officer (not policeman)
  • Flight attendant (not stewardess)
  • Server (not waitress)

Copy intended to apply to both sexes should be written without gender bias. Avoid specifying gender unless it is essential to meaning. Avoid using "man" or "mankind" when referring to men and women; instead, use "human," "humanity," or "humankind." See also bias-free language, sexual orientation.

general-education requirement

Hyphenate as a modifier:

  • You must fulfill all general-education requirements.

See grade-point average.

grade, grader

Hyphenate both the noun forms (first-grader, 10th-grader) and the adjectival forms (an 11th-grade competitor).


Letter grades appear without quotation marks (as in B average). Use an apostrophe in plurals: She earned all A's this quarter.

grade-point average

Hyphenate as a modifier; no hyphenation for the noun form: She earned 12 grade points during the year. Abbreviate as GPA — no periods.


Alt text is mandatory (find more information about alt text and why it is used).

  • For images that are decorative only, use an empty alt tag: alt=""
  • HTML example: <img alt="" src="/Blink/_images/homepage/news_geisel3.jpg">

In cases where the image carries meaning, follow these guidelines for alt text:

  • Keep it short.
  • Accurately describe the graphic.
  • Use an initial cap on the first word, then lowercase subsequent words unless they are proper nouns
  • HTML example: <img src="/Blink/Images/Gallery/5811hp.jpg" alt="Bar graph showing diversity statistics">

1 word, no hyphen.



Readers should be able to scan the headers on a page for an overview of the main ideas. Use no more than 2 levels of headers (<h2> and <h3>) below the page title. Use <h2> for main topic areas and <h3> for subtopics.

health care

Use 2 words (as both an adj. and noun). Use UC San Diego Health when referring to the UC San Diego patient-care program.

health sciences

In general, use lowercase:

  • UC San Diego educates many students in the health sciences.

Use uppercase when referring to the department:

  • The vice chancellor of Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine discussed the issues.

Note hyphenation.


See ethnic groups, nationalities.

historical periods and events

Capitalize the names of widely recognized epochs in anthropology, archaeology, geology and history:

  • the Bronze Age
  • the Dark Ages
  • the Pliocene Epoch

Capitalize recognized popular names for the periods and events:

  • the Atomic Age
  • the Boston Tea Party
  • Prohibition

Lowercase century: the 20th century. Capitalize only the proper nouns or adjectives in general descriptions of a period:

  • ancient Greece
  • classical Rome
  • the Victorian era
home page

The "front" page of a particular website. Always 2 words, no hyphen.

honorary degrees

All references should specify that the degree is honorary.

hyphen (-)

Use a hyphen to link compound modifiers:

  • It was a good-faith attempt.

Use a hyphen for clarity:

  • She recovered the data.
  • They re-covered the damaged roof.

Do not hyphenate compound modifiers that include the word "very" or words that end in "-ly":

  • She gave very clear directions.
  • The instructions were overly complicated.

Capitalize hyphenated words in titles and headers only if the hyphen connects 2 separate words:

  • How-To
  • Sign-On

Do not capitalize the letter following the hyphen in hyphenated words:

  • Email

See also anti-, by-, em dash (—), en dash (–), inter-, intra, mid-, pro-, -wide.


ID card, UC San Diego

See campus ID.


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

index, index number

Both "index" and "index number" are acceptable. Use the plural "indexes."

Indian, American Indian

See ethnic groups, nationalities.


Use periods and no space when someone uses initials instead of a first name: R.G. Little. See also period.


Hyphenate and lowercase when used generically or following an individual's name:

  • The department had an artist-in-residence during each of the past 5 years.
  • Joyce Smith, the department's professor-in-residence, will be on campus until April.
  • Many American universities have artist-in-residence programs.

Capitalize when used as a formal title or name:

  • When will Artist-in-Residence John Smith present the lecture?
  • We discussed the UC San Diego Artists-in-Residence Program.
  • John Smith, UC San Diego Artist-in-Residence.

"Insure" means to contract to be paid money in the case of loss:

  • UC San Diego offers a benefit that enables you to insure against accidental injury or loss of life.

See also ensure.


Prefix use rules apply, but in general, no hyphen: interstate, interracial, but inter-American.


Always capitalize.


Preferred to "foreign." International student, not "foreign student."


Prefix use rules apply, but in general, no hyphen: intramural, intranet


Avoid using italics online except in special design circumstances; it makes text difficult to scan online.


job titles (UC San Diego)

Lowercase job titles when they appear in body copy:

  • Human Resources has several recruiting specialists.

Lowercase job titles when they refer to a particular person but do not appear as part of the person's official title:

  • Steve Relyea is one of UC San Diego's vice chancellors.

Uppercase job titles when they appear as part of an individual's official title:

  • Steve Relyea, Vice Chancellor, Business Affairs.

Uppercase job titles when they refer to a position:

  • We have an opening for a Senior Writer.

If you must abbreviate a job title, look for an entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also capitalization, titles.


Use a hyphen.


Not judgement.

junior, senior

Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names. Do not precede by a comma: Joseph P. Baldwin Jr.


No entries.


Latino/ Latina/ Latinx

See ethnic groups, nationalities.


A gender-neutral word for people of Latin American descent.

lectures, lecturers, lectureships

The title of a lecture should, in all cases, be written in quotes but not italicized. Lectures can be held, presented or given. The title "lecturer" should be treated as an occupational title rather than a formal title, and thus always be lowercased, even before a name. Example:

  • Nutrition lecturer Mary Smith.

Lectureships, often endowed or underwritten, enable the university to invite distinguished scholars to campus for a period of a few days to participate in seminars and to give one or more talks:

  • The 19th annual Shell Biochemistry Foundation lectureship is funded by a grant from the Shell Oil Corp.

If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.

left hand, left-handed, left-hander

left hand (n.), left-handed (adj.), left-hander (n.)

letter grades

See grades.

letter spacing

Use 1 space after a period in both printed materials and website copy.

library, librarian

Use uppercase when part of a name:

  • The UC San Diego Library; Geisel Library

Use lowercase when not part of a name:

  • The university librarian, the librarian

If you must abbreviate, see entries in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also job titles, UC San Diego Libraries.

Link Family

Use initial cap on both "Link" and "Family." "Link products" is also acceptable. Avoid using the lengthier "Link Family of products." The Link family is an integrated Web-based environment that provides authorized UC San Diego students, faculty, and staff with consistent and easy-to-use access to administrative information. See LinkFamily for more information.

links to Excel, PDF, PPT, Word, and Zip files

When you link to a document in one of these file formats, put the name of the application or format in parentheses at the end of the link:

  • Link text (Excel)
  • Link text (PDF)
  • Link text (PPT)
  • Link Text (Word file)
    • Note: Use "file" after Word only.
  • Link Text (Zip)
Listserv, list server

Use "mailing list" or "electronic mailing list" instead of the trademarked word Listserv to refer to an electronic discussion group based on common interests that uses a mailing list program to distribute messages to all members' email addresses. UC San Diego uses Mailman software to administer its electronic mailing lists.

log in (v.), log out (v.), login (n. or adj.), logout (n. or adj.)

Log in and log out are the preferred terms for entering/ exiting an application. Log in/ log out are used as verbs; login/logout may be either a noun or an adjective. Log in/ log out (verb). Examples:

  • Did you log in?
  • When finished, don't forget to log out.

Login/logout (noun or adjective):

  • If you forget your login ID, you can request it by email.
  • And don't forget to click the logout button to exit the program.

Note: If your use of log in is followed by the word "to," then use "into":

  • You can log into your email from home.


magazine names

Lowercase the word "magazine" unless it is part of the publication's title:

  • Harper's Magazine (part of title)
  • Newsweek magazine (not part of title)

See also composition titles.

Mail Code

Capitalize both words, no hyphen.

majors, minors

Majors and minors are not capitalized:

  • She majored in economics.
  • Her minor was world literature.

If you must abbreviate the name of a major or minor, look for an entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.

make up/ makeup

"Make up" when it's a verb, but "makeup" when used as a noun or adjective (never hyphenated):

  • I hope they can make up after their argument. (verb)
  • You'll need to take a makeup exam. (adjective)
  • I'm going to put on my makeup. (noun)
man, mankind

See gender.

Blink/TritonLink instructions: Following the named location, lowercase the word "map" and enclose in parentheses, with only the word "map" hyperlinked to the URL (not the parentheses):

  • Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Price Center, Ballroom A (map).

To find the map URL:

  1. Go to MapLink.
  2. Use the Search box or browse categories to find the location.
  3. Select the correct pin.
  4. Click "Link to Map".
  5. Copy the URL from the "Link to map" popup.
master of arts, master of science

Can be shortened to a master's degree or master's. See also academic degrees.


Preferred usage is physician or surgeon. See also Dr.

Medical Center

See University of California, San Diego Medical Center.


See ethnic groups, nationalities.


Generally, no hyphen, unless a capitalized word or a figure follows:

  • It was midafternoon before he arrived.
  • Hurricanes often occur in the mid-Atlantic
  • The temperature is in the mid-50s.
middle class/ middle-class

No hyphen when used as a noun:

  • He belongs to the middle class.

Hyphenate when used as a modifier:

  • He lives in a middle-class suburb.
millions, billions

Spell out the word and use with numerals:

  • The population reached 1 million.
  • The company posted a $1.2 billion deficit.

Do not hyphenate when used in a phrase:

  • She received a $24 million grant.

See dollar amounts ($).


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

  • I was born in December.
  • They emigrated in April 1943.

Abbreviate only with date in calendar and event listings. Abbreviate as: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Never abbreviate March, April, May, June, or July.

Moores Cancer Center

Use "Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health" on first reference; may use "Moores Cancer Center" on subsequent references. Do not use "Moores UC San Diego Comprehensive Cancer Center," “Moores UCSD Cancer Center” or "Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center."


Prefix use rules apply, but in general, no hyphen: multiethnic, multilateral, multimedia, multidisciplinary.

Muslim, Moslem

See ethnic groups, nationalities.




See ethnic groups, nationalities.


1 word, no hyphen.

Native American

See ethnic groups, nationalities.

newspaper names

Capitalize "the" in a newspaper's name if that's how the publication prefers to be known:

  • I subscribe to The New York Times.
  • She was quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

See also composition titles.


UC San Diego common usage often includes a hyphen in words with the prefix "non":

  • non-employee
  • non-federal

Otherwise, follow prefix rules; no hyphen.

Capitalization in titles: When "non" is used as part of a hyphenated word in a title or heading, use an initial cap only:

  • Non-vendor Instructions
  • Non-cash Awards

Write "12 p.m." or "noon" (but not "12 noon").

north, northern, northeast, northwestern

But use Northern California.


In general, use numerals in Web writing, since usability tests show they are easier to scan. If a number occurs at the beginning of a sentence, spell out the number. Spell out 1 – 9 in text, except when you want to draw attention to the number or when using a numeral makes the text easier to scan. With measurements (percentages, hours, etc.), use numerals. Examples:

  • We only have a 4% return on investment.
  • Jack slept for 4 hours.

In all cases, use judgment based on context. You wouldn't write "4 score and 7 years ago."




Use lowercase when the word "ocean" stands alone, or in plural uses:

  • I saw the ocean.
  • Capt. Jack sailed both the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Capitalize the proper name of the ocean:

  • The Atlantic Ocean can be very cold.
off campus/ off-campus

Hyphenate only when used as an adjective before a noun:

  • Press 8 to call an off-campus phone number.
  • Torrey Pines Center South is located off campus.

See also on campus/ on-campus.


Capitalize "Office" when the word is part of the official name, but not when part of running text, such as "the office provides . . . ". Capitalize "Office" in the official name "the Registrar's Office" but not in "the registrar." Examples:

  • He went to the Cashier's Office
  • You can give it to the cashier.
  • The college advising office is located in that building.
  • The Office of Admissions will take your form.
  • Contact the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

If you must abbreviate the name of an office, look for an entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also departments.


1 word, no hyphen. See also online.

on campus/ on-campus

Hyphenate only when used as an adjective before a noun:

  • The new guidelines apply to all on-campus offices.
  • The Women's Center is located on campus.

See also off campus/ off-campus.


1 word, no hyphen. See also offline.

ordered lists

See bullet or ordered lists.





parentheses ()

Use sparingly or try to rewrite the sentence to avoid them. Use commas or dashes to set off incidental material within a sentence whenever possible. 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.

part time, part-time

Hyphenate only when used as an adjective before a noun (no hyphen when "part time" appears after the verb):

  • This is a part-time position.
  • This position is part time.
people, persons

Use "person" for an individual, "people" as the plural. Use "persons" only in a quote.


Use the symbol % when writing for the Web. Always use numerals. However, when AP style is required, "percent" should be written out:

  • The professor said 40% is a failing grade.
  • About 60% of the association's membership was there.
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 head for the pub."

See also spacing.


See People, persons.

Ph.D., Ph.D.s

It is preferable to say that someone holds (or has) a doctorate and name the specialty area. (Note that areas of study are not capitalized.) Examples:

  • He holds a doctorate in mathematics.
  • She has a doctorate in bioengineering.
  • He is a doctoral student in literature, not: She is a Ph.D. student in pharmacology.

See also academic degrees, academic titles, Dr., professor.

phone number/ extension

See telephone number/ extension.

  • PID: Use "personal ID number (PID)" (lowercase except for acronym) on first reference, then use "PID" in subsequent references.
  • PAC: Use "personal access code (PAC)" (lowercase except for acronym) on first reference, then use "PAC" in subsequent references.

Use lowercase with periods. Do not write: 11 p.m. tonight. See also a.m. and p.m., times of day.


In general, lowercase when you are not using a specific policy's official name:

  • UC San Diego Professional Development policy
  • UC policy
  • Relocation policy

Blink/TritonLink instructions: Blink and TritonLink aim to summarize, not restate, policy. If you need readers to see word-for-word policy, link to its location in the online Policy & Procedure Manual (PPM) using the policy number and proper name:

  • Singular nouns not ending in "s" — add apostrophe s: The university's location
  • 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 proper names ending in "s" — use only an apostrophe: Scripps' history, Socrates' life, Kansas' schools
  • Plural nouns not ending in "s" — add apostrophe s: The alumni's decision
  • Plural nouns ending in "s" — add only an apostrophe: All employees' rights, the girls' apartment, the students' parents

See also apostrophe.


Follow prefix rules and Webster's except when the prefix precedes a word that begins with the same vowel: pre-election, pre-exists.


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

  • She is a midfielder.
  • He resides in the mid-Atlantic states.

See the AP Stylebook. for additional examples and use guidelines. See also anti-, by-, inter, intra, non-, pre-, pro-, re-, sub.


Capitalize only when part of a formal title: UC Office of the President. Otherwise, use lowercase: The president arrived today.


Hyphenate only when joining words that mean in support of something: pro-war, pro-peace. See also prefixes.


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

  • The professor of literature gave the lecture.
  • She is a professor emeritus.
  • Professor Peter Smith is going to Africa next month.

If you must abbreviate, see the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also Dr., Ph.D.


Program names are capitalized: courses in the Education Studies Program. Check program names carefully so that words aren't transposed in the "official" names. If you must abbreviate a program name, look for an entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also collective nouns.

pronouns - gender neutral

they, them, their

In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them. They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze.

Usage example: A singular they might be used when an anonymous source's gender must be shielded and other wording is overly awkward: The person feared for their own safety and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Arguments for using they/them as a singular sometimes arise with an indefinite pronoun (anyone, everyone, someone) or unspecified/unknown gender (a person, the victim, the winner). Examples of rewording:

  • All the class members raised their hands (instead of everyone raised their hands).
  • The foundation gave grants to anyone who lost a job this year (instead of anyone who lost their job).
  • Police said the victim would be identified after relatives are notified (instead of after their relatives are notified or after his or her relatives are notified).
  • Lottery officials said the winner could claim the prize Tuesday (instead of their or his or her prize).

In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person's name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person. Examples of rewording:

  • Hendricks said the new job is a thrill (instead of Hendricks said Hendricks is thrilled about the new job or Hendricks said they are thrilled about the new job).
  • Lowry's partner is Dana Adams, an antiques dealer. They bought a house last year (instead of Lowry and Lowry's partner bought a house last year or Lowry and their partner bought a house last year).

When they is used in the singular, it takes a plural verb: Taylor said they need a new car. (Again, be sure it's clear from the context that only one person is involved.)

Do not use themself.


Follow these examples for usage:

  • Dean Thomas, the provost of First College.
  • Sally took the paper to the provost.
  • Provost Susan Smith attended the celebration.
  • The meeting is in the Office of the Provost of Tenth College.
  • Go to Muir Provost's Office

If you must abbreviate, see entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.


See apostrophe, colon, comma, ellipsis, em dash, en dash, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation marks, and semi-colon. See also the Punctuation Guide of the AP Stylebook.



Generally use:

  • fall quarter
  • winter quarter
  • spring quarter

Capitalize when referring a specific quarter/ year such as Fall Quarter 2006-2007 or Fall Quarter 2008. If referring generically to any fall quarter, use lowercase. Note that summer is a session, not a quarter. See also week of quarter, Summer Session, term.

question mark (?)

Use a question mark at the end of a direct question:

  • "Who started the riot?"
  • "Did he ask who started the riot?"

Do not use question marks to end indirect questions:

  • He asked who started the riot.
  • To ask why the riot started is unnecessary.
  • I want to know what the cause of the riot was.
  • How foolish it is to ask what caused the riot.

Put question marks inside or outside of quotation marks, depending on the meaning:

  • He asked, "How long is the book?" and who wrote "Gone With the Wind"?
quotation marks (" ")

Use quotation marks around the title of a book or other major literary or artistic work. Use quotation marks to refer to a word as a word, or to indicate foreign words:

  • The word "mediation" has several meanings.

Put periods at the end of sentences inside the quotation marks. Put a question mark inside quotation marks if the question is part of the sentence or item in quotes:

  • I think the title is "What About Retirement?"

Put colons and semicolons outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation. Do not put quotation marks around page or form names in text unless they are necessary:

  • Find out more in the Diversity Overview.
  • Refer to the "10 Steps to Safety" guide.


racial groups

See ethnic groups, nationalities.


Use figures and hyphens: 2-to-1, a 2-1 ratio.


Prefix rules apply. Use a hyphen when the prefix ends in a vowel and the following word begins with the same vowel:

  • re-elect
  • re-enact
  • re-enter

Also use hyphen if meaning denotes repetition:

  • re-cover (cover again), but recover (regain)

The formal name is the Board of Regents of the University of California. Acceptable abbreviations include: UC Regents, the Regents of the University of California, the Board of Regents, the regents, or the board. UC Regents is OK on first reference. See also collective nouns.

See text links and See Also box.

residence hall

Preferred. Avoid "dormitory."


Do not include accent marks in onscreen text. In body text, be careful not to place the word where it could be mistaken by the reader for the verb "resume."

right hand, right-handed, right-hander

right hand (n.), right-handed (adj.), right-hander (n.)


Completely identify a location by including the building name and the room's name (capitalize) or numbers (in figures):

  • East Conference Room
  • Social Sciences Building
  • Literature Building, Room 210

See also building and facility names.


An abbreviation of the phrase "please respond" in French. Do not write, "R.S.V.P. please."


School of Medicine

The acronym is SOM.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Use "Scripps Institution of Oceanography" in first reference. In second reference use "Scripps Oceanography" if space permits and just "Scripps" if space is limited.

Institution, not Institute.

Remove all references to the acronym "SIO."

Use Scripps' (not Scripps's).

There is no "the" or "The" in front of the institution name.


Always lowercase unless part of a formal title, even when naming an issue of a publication:

  • They organized our annual Summer Spectacular event.

See also quarter.

See Also box (related links field in CMS)

Blink/TritonLink instructions: Items that appear in the See Also box link to other websites, documents, applications, or Blink or TritonLink pages. These links supplement the information on the page where they appear.

  • Use no more than 5 links
  • Refrain from relisting any links that are siblings to the page in question (siblings show up in the left-hand nav already).
  • Give the link the same name as the document or website it links to. If the name is too long, give the link a shorter, logical name, using an initial cap on the first word only.
semi-colon (;)

The semi-colon is often used to separate lengthy sentences. In online writing, it's best to simply write shorter sentences. Instead of using a semi-colon in a complicated list, use bullet points:

With semicolons (hard to scan): He teaches a writing class, "Your Autobiography," at UC San Diego; a composition class, "Paragraphs 101" at Grossmont College; and a basic writing class at Mesa College.

With bullets (easier to scan):

  • He teaches:
    • "Your Autobiography," a UC San Diego writing class
    • "Paragraphs 101," a composition class at Grossmont College
    • Basic writing at Mesa College

Place semi-colons outside quotation marks.

sexual orientation

Most individuals of same-sex orientation prefer "gay" or "lesbian" to "homosexual." See also bias-free language.

Single Sign-On

Capitalize all 3 words and use a hyphen between "sign" and "on" when referring to the UC San Diego system. Spell with all lowercase letters when using "single sign-on" as a generic term for systems that require only 1 password.

Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
slash (/)

Space once after the slash:

  • Payroll/ Personnel
  • receipt/ invoice

Exception: If the words are short, don't space after the slash:

  • in/out
  • and/or
Social Security number

Use initial caps on "Social Security" only:

  • Social Security number
  • Social Security card

The acronym for Social Security number is SSN.

software titles

Capitalize but do not use quotations marks around titles such as MS Word or Windows. Use quotation marks for computer game titles: "The Sims."

south, southern, southeast, southwestern

But use Southern California.

spacing (between sentences)

Use 1 space between sentences. See also period.


Use figures:

  • The car slowed to 11 miles per hour.
  • Typhoon winds of 100 miles per hour hit the ship.

See also numbers.


For word spellings, consult these references in order:

When the dictionary lists multiple choices for word spellings (e.g., "canceled" and "cancelled"), use the first-listed spelling. If Webster's provides different spellings in different listings, (e.g., "tee shirt" and "T-shirt"), use the spelling that appears with the full definition ("T-shirt").

The spell-checker in Microsoft Word uses a different dictionary, so double-check with the Merriam-Webster online dictionary if you aren't sure.


See quarter, seasons.

state names

In running text, always spell out state names when they stand alone. When used in conjunction with the name of a city or town, abbreviate states per the AP Stylebook. (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah are not abbreviated according to these rules.) See also Calif.


1 word, no hyphen.

strong text

See bold text.

Student Services Center

See also building and facility names.


Prefix rules apply.


1 word, no hyphen. Capitalize if part of the group's formal name. Otherwise, use lowercase. See also committee, collective nouns.


See headers.


Follow the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center

Use "Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health" on first reference; may use "Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center" on subsequent references. Do not use "Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center."


See seasons, Summer Session.

Summer Session

Uppercase both words. Note that summer is a session, not a quarter.

syllabus, syllabuses

The plural "syllabi" is also acceptable.

systemwide, systemwide

1 word or with hyphen is acceptable for the University of California campuses and labs.



CMS users: When creating a table, follow these guidelines:

  • Don't indent HTML code for a table. This makes code harder to read.
  • HTML code:
<table class="styled">
<th>Header 1</th>
<th>Header 2</th>
<td>column 1</td>
<td>column 2</td>
teen, teenager, teenage

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

telephone number/ extension

General style:

858-555-1111, Ext. 45555
800-888-8888, not 1-800-888-888
Ext. 45555 (not X45555, x45555, ext. 45555, or extension 45555)


Use quarter, not "term."

A link that appears within the main body of a Blink or TritonLink page is called a "link in text" or "text link." These links are indicated by underline and connect to:
  • websites
  • Online documents
  • Applications
  • Other Blink or TritonLink pages
  • Email addresses

General guidelines for text links:

  • Keep text links as short as possible while still conveying adequate meaning. For example, a link to the Blink page Hardware and Software Recommendations might appear as the word "recommendations" in a sentence.
  • Avoid the use of "click" or "click here" to point out links. Instead, make the link a logical word in a sentence:
    • Contact your college advisor. (Not "Click here to find your college advisor.")

Use your judgment about the number of text links to include. Too many links make a page hard to read, but if the links are necessary (for example, to explain steps in a process), include them. Do not underline punctuation marks that appear next to text links. Examples:

  • Use the term "recommendations" to illustrate this.
  • Consult with Human Resources, then take the appropriate action.

Link to a Web page outside of Blink or TritonLink:

  • Use the complete URL.
  • HTML code: See the Office of the President's <a href="">website</a>.
that, which, who, whom

Generally, use "which" in nonessential clauses (clauses that could be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence). Nonessential clauses are usually set off by commas:

  • That 1998 report, which focused on attendance, was the first of its kind.

Generally, use "that" in essential clauses (clauses that can't be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence):

  • The report that focused on attendance was the first of its kind.

Use "that" and "which" to refer to inanimate objects and animals without a name:

  • The department that created the process now shares it with other UC San Diego departments.
  • Casey and Spirit, who are golden retrievers, behave well at work.

Use "who" as the subject of a sentence, clause or phrase:

  • Speak to the staff member who is in charge.

Use "whom" as the object of a verb or preposition:

  • She is the teaching assistant to whom you should address your questions.

Lowercase when used with organizations. Capitalize when used with the name of newspapers and periodicals if they are part of the proper title:

  • The findings were reported in The Sacramento Bee.
  • The measure was approved by the University of California Board of Regents.
  • She works for the Dow Chemical Co.
theater/ theatre

Use "theater" for all generic references to auditoriums and the theatrical arts. Use "theatre" only if part of a proper name. Theaters located on the UC San Diego campus are:

times of day

Always use numerals, except for noon and midnight. Use lowercase type and periods, but no spaces, with a.m. and p.m. Use an en dash for ranges. Examples:

  • a.m., p.m.
  • midnight (not 12 a.m.)
  • noon (not 12 p.m.)
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • 7 a.m.
  • 1–2 p.m. (See en dash for spacing.)
  • 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (See en dash for spacing.)

See also en dash, a.m. and p.m.


General guidelines, including UC San Diego web page titles, capitalize:

  • The first and last word
  • Principal words
  • Prepositions and conjunctions of 4 or more letters: With, From, Before, Toward, After, Although
    • Examples:
      • Questions to Ask During an Interview
      • Personnel Policies for Staff Members
      • How to Declare or Change a Major

Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hyphenated compound word, but only the first letter of the first word in a hyphenated prefix:

  • Job-Seeker
  • Non-employee

Capitalize words in parentheses after a title:

  • How to File for Your Degree (Undergraduates)

Capitalize the title of a person when it precedes the person's name but not when it appears separately:

  • Vice Chancellor Relyea and Trustee Marvin Waring spoke. But: The vice chancellor agreed.

When the title appears after the name, do not capitalize:

  • Steve Relyea, vice chancellor at UC San Diego, agreed.

See also academic degrees, academic titles, composition titles, job titles, magazine names, M.D., newspaper names, software titles, the, web page titles.


Blink/TritonLink instructions: For pages that are overviews or instructions on how to use a tool (e.g., MyBlink, Connexxus, FinancialLink), get a link to the tool as high on the page as possible and alert the user if authorization is required. Examples:


Treat as a formal title when appropriate and capitalize in such cases if used before a name:

  • Trustee John Smith

Otherwise, use lowercase:

  • John Smith, trustee of the UC San Diego Foundation



See University of California.


UCPath is the University of California's system-wide payroll, benefits, human resources, and academic personnel system.

Do not use "UC Path."

UC San Diego

UC San Diego is the preferred first reference in higher-level Web pages, but the following forms are also acceptable:

  • University of California San Diego (no comma between "University" and "San Diego")
  • UC San Diego

Use “University of California San Diego” for a first reference. Use the abbreviated version “UC San Diego” in subsequent references and in headlines.

Do not use “UCSD.”

Write "the university" (lowercase) for both UC San Diego and UC references.

See also UC San Diego Health.

UC San Diego Extension

Use "UC San Diego Extension" when referring to UC San Diego Extended Studies and Public Programs. See entries in Acronyms and Abbreviations.

UC San Diego Health

"UC San Diego Health" refers to the entirety of the academic medical enterprise at UC San Diego. Use "UC San Diego Health" when referring to any of the medical center’s patient-care programs or locations on first reference.

  • UC San Diego Medical Center at UC San Diego Health
  • Thornton Hospital at UC San Diego Health
  • Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health
  • Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health
  • Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health

On second and subsequent reference, the name of the facility alone can be used. See UC San Diego Health’s Brand Guide or Editorial Style Guide on Pulse (login required) for more details.

UC San Diego Health Sciences

"UC San Diego Health Sciences" is largely outdated - use "UC San Diego Health" instead in most cases. "UC San Diego Health Sciences" may still be used to describe the organizational structure of the medical center within the context of the university setting or in job titles for staff. Example:

  • John Carethers, MD, is vice chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences.
UC San Diego Medical Center

Use "UC San Diego Medical Center" only when referring to the hospital in Hillcrest.

Always capitalize "Medical Center."

Do not use "UC San Diego Medical Center – Hillcrest," or refer to it as "Hillcrest."

If an event is place-specific, you may use "UC San Diego Medical Center." But use "UC San Diego Health" when referring to our general services. Example:

  • The birth class is held at UC San Diego Medical Center.
  • UC San Diego Health offers many birth options.
under way

2 words, no hyphen:

  • The project is under way.

On the World Wide Web, underlining in a document indicates that the underlined word or phrase is an active hypertext link. All HTML editing programs automatically underline any text linked to another hypertext or website.

When composing Web documents, avoid underlining. Instead, bold the text or use quotation marks around words for emphasis.

United States

Spell out in most cases. Use U.S. (with periods) only as an adjective:

  • He was born in the United States.
  • California exports more U.S. produce than Utah.

See UC San Diego, college and university names.

University Center

Spell it out in most cases. If you must abbreviate, use UCtr. Don't use UCTR, Uctr, Ucen, or Ucenter.

See the entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations.

University of California

All of the following are acceptable:

  • University of California
  • the university
  • UC
  • UC System

If confusion with UC San Diego is likely, refer to "the 10-campus UC system." University of California Office of the President may be abbreviated as "UC Office of the President" or "UCOP." Do not use "Systemwide" as a title for UCOP. However, "systemwide" is acceptable as an adjective. Example:

  • The committee reviewed systemwide personnel policies.

Abbreviate other UC campuses as UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UCSF, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz.

See also UC San Diego and college and university names.

University Communications and Public Affairs

Refer to "Communications" as University Communications and Public Affairs.

universitywide, university-wide

1 word or with hyphen is acceptable. Interchangeable with "systemwide" to refer to the campuses in the UC System. See also campuswide.


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), an Internet address. Plural: URLs. If a Web address falls at the end of a sentence, use a period.

user ID

Capitalize "ID."


1 word, no hyphen.



Veterans Administration Medical Center

See entries in Acronyms and Abbreviations.

vice chancellor

Use lowercase when not used with a name:

  • The vice chancellor of Business Affairs was there.
  • It was left up to the associate vice chancellor.

Use uppercase when used with a name (as part of a title):

  • Vice Chancellor Jones congratulated the team.
  • Associate Vice Chancellor Smith paid us a visit.

If you must abbreviate, see entry in Acronyms and Abbreviations. See also chancellor.

voice mail

2 words, no hyphen.


waitlist (n), wait-list (v)

Use waitlist as a noun and wait-list as a verb or compound modifier:

  • Put yourself on the waitlist. (noun)
  • You can wait-list a class. (verb)
  • See a list of wait-listed classes. (compound modifier)

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

web page titles

Capitalize the first and last word, principal words, prepositions and conjunctions of 4 or more letters such as With, From, Before. Examples:

  • Questions to Ask During an Interview
  • Personnel Policies for Staff Members
  • How to Delcare or Change a Major

See web.

week of quarter

When referring to a particular week within the 10-week quarter, use an uppercase "W," followed by a numeral:

  • He added the class during Week 2.

Use "weekdays" instead of "Monday through Friday." See also days of the week.


1 word, and hyphenate.

which, who, whom

See that, which, who, whom and the AP Stylebook entry on "essential clauses."


Do not use a hyphen in campuswide, systemwide, nationwide, worldwide. Do use a hyphen in these cases:

  • UC-wide
  • CSU-wide

See quarter, seasons.


1 word, and hyphenate.


1 word, no hyphen.


No entries.



1 word, and hyphenate.


1 word, no hyphen.


Use figures, without commas: 1975.

To indicate decades, use an "s" without apostrophe: 1990s. It was back in the ‘80s or 1980s.

To indicate a range of years, use an en dash and this format: 2004–2006 (not 1981/82 or 1981–82)


ZIP code

Use all caps in "ZIP" and lowercase "c" in code. Always 2 words, no hyphen.