Editorial Style Guide

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a, an

Use the article a before consonant sounds, an before vowel sounds, based on common American English pronunciation of words, abbreviations and acronyms: 

a historic site, an hourlong class
a FAFSA form,
an FCC ruling
a national tournament, an NCAA II game 
a one-day seminar, an 18-month sabbatical

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abbreviations and acronyms

An abbreviation is a shortened form or initialization of a word or words: Oct. for October, B.A. for Bachelor of Arts. An acronym is an abbreviation pronounced like a word, such as NASA. All acronyms and most abbreviations of three or more letters are spelled without periods.

Abbreviations and acronyms may be used on second reference, but only if readers would be able to recognize them quickly and easily in normal narrative.

Do not enclose an abbreviation in parentheses immediately after a full spelling. If the abbreviation would not be understood without this device, it should not be used at all. Instead, use alternative shortened forms: the bureau, the center, the office.

Even if using recognizable abbreviations, avoid alphabet soup by using alternative forms, especially in longer documents: For University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, consider using both UAFS and the university

Do not coin abbreviations. Avoid abbreviations that are particular to a group, occupation or discipline. See jargon.

For guidance on how to use specific abbreviations or acronyms, see entries including academic degreesaddresses, courtesy titlesmilitary titlesmonthssecond referencestate names.

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academic degrees

UAFS awards master's degrees, bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and certificates.

Degrees in common narrative use: associate degree, bachelor’s, bachelor’s degree, master’s, master’s degree. Note: no possessive for associate. Also: Doctoral is an adjective and doctorate is a noun: doctoral degree, a doctorate.

Spell out – In narrative text, the preferred form for establishing someone’s academic credentials is to spell out the degree and subject. Use the proper degree name or common wording: She holds a doctorate in history. He earned a Master of Fine Arts. She has a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration. He has a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Abbreviate – In lists or narrative series, the degrees may be abbreviated and listed after each person’s full name, set off by commas: The honorees included Sally Forth, MBA, Robert Barron, Ph.D., and Clara Nye, Ed.D.

Lowercase the subject if it is not a proper name or part of the proper name of a degree: She earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science in computer graphic technology. 

The first list below contains the names and abbreviations of degrees awarded by UAFS; the second list contains other degrees commonly mentioned in university communications.

Degrees Awarded by UAFS

A.A. – Associate of Arts
A.A.S. – Associate of Applied Science
A.G.S. – Associate of General Studies
B.A. – Bachelor of Arts
B.A.S. – Bachelor of Applied Science
B.B.A. – Bachelor of Business Administration
B.G.S. – Bachelor of General Studies
B.M.E. – Bachelor of Music Education
B.S. – Bachelor of Science
B.S.N. – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
M.S.H.A. Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

Other Degrees
Ed.D. – Doctor of Education
M.A. – Master of Arts
MBA – Master of Business Administration
M.F.A. – Master of Fine Arts
Ph.D. – Doctor of Philosophy

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academic departments

The AP recommends lowercasing the names of academic departments except for proper nouns or adjectives within the names. The word department may appear before or after the academic discipline, although using department first is recommended with longer departmental names: the communication department; the department of English, rhetoric and writing.

See collegedepartmentsofficesuniversity.

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academic titles

Capitalize and spell out formal academic titles when they precede a full name: Chancellor Teresa C. Riley.

Longer Titles should be separated from the name with a comma and constructed in lowercase: Georgia Hale, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

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academic year

When describing an academic year or years by an inclusive range, abbreviate the second part of the range unless the century changes: 1994-98, 1999-2000, 2013-14.

For the sake of clarity, it may be necessary to use academic year in a statement: The course was only offered in the 2000-01 academic year.

The hyphen implies up to and including or through. If using a from-to or between-and construction, do not use a hyphen. Begin an abbreviated year with an apostrophe: She attended UAFS from 1994 to ’98. He taught between 1996 and 2004.

See also years.

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The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The university is approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Arkansas State Approving Agency for Veterans Training.

See the UAFS Accreditation page for accreditation details pertaining to colleges within the university.

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Use only the initials for the previously designated American College Testing.

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The street and mailing address for UAFS is University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, 5210 Grand Ave., P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649.

In all cases, use figures for street and mailing addresses and for any building, box or room numbers. Use the form P.O. Box for post office box numbers, and use Room for room numbers. In body text, use a comma for each line break and a comma after the city name, followed by the state's two-letter postal code and ZIP code. 

For numerical street names, use the ordinal form: 12th (not 12). Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth and use figures for 10th and above: The Drennen-Scott Historic Site is at 221 N. Third St. in Van Buren. The Math-Science Building is at 720 N. 49th St.

Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., St. and compass points in addresses: The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown is at 101 N. Second St. Spell out all other street types – Circle, Drive, Highway, Lane, Road, Terrace, Way: Stubblefield Center is at 532 N. Waldron Road

See streetsstate names.

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Adjectives modify nouns. This style guide uses the abbreviation adj. to identify adjectival forms.

See comma for guidance on punctuating series of adjectives. See hyphen for guidance on compound modifiers before a noun.

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The word adjunct refers to someone who teaches at the university without permanent status as a faculty member. It may also indicate a faculty member in one department who has adjunct teaching status in a different department. Do not capitalize.

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Lowercase except as part of a proper name: Marketing offices are located in Fullerton Administration 218. The university administration, the chancellor’s administration, the Kennedy administration.

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This guide uses the abbreviation adv. to identify adverbial forms. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs: She spoke softly, but the microphone was turned up extremely high, so listeners thought she was shouting very angrily.

See hyphen for guidance on when to use hyphens in compound modifiers.

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adviser, advisor

The preferred spelling is adviser in all cases except when spelled differently in a proper name. A single document may include both spellings: a staff adviser with XYZ Investment Advisors.

Note: In an exception to Associated Press style, the spelling advisor is acceptable in reference to academic advisors at UAFS.

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affect, effect

Affect is most commonly used as a verb, meaning to influence: Your test score will affect your overall grade in the course. It is also used as a noun, primarily in psychology, to describe a feeling or emotion.

Effect is commonly used as both a noun and a verb. As a verb, it means to cause: The chancellor will effect a change in university culture. As a noun, it means result: The new rule had little effect on student behavior.

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Not afterwards.

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all right (adv.)

Never alright. The adverb all right is two words. Do not hyphenate unless using colloquially as a compound modifier: Everything is all right. He’s an all-right guy.

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Always use figures for ages of people, animals, events or things: Sam Sophomore is 19 years old; the law is 5 years old.

When expressing an age as an adjective before a noun or as a substitute for a noun, use hyphens: The 100-year-old house. The 18-year-old voted for the first time.

Ages of people are assumed to be in years unless otherwise stated: The boy, 11, has a sister, 8, and a brother, 2 months.The woman has a 3-month-old daughter.

If estimating an age by decades: He is in his 30s (no apostrophe).

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all caps

The use of all caps means spelling entirely in uppercase letters.

NOTE: The all-caps style can make words look like acronyms and make abbreviations look like words. Follow these guidelines to aid readability:

Plural endings of all-caps words should match case: LION, LIONS; JONES, JONESES.

Place all-caps spellings of proper names within other all-caps text, such as headlines or banners: GET READY FOR THE NUMAS

Within upper and lower text, use standard capitalization for proper names: Numa, the Numa Awards, the Numas

See capitalization.

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alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae

The Latin word alumnus is the singular masculine form, and alumna is the singular feminine form. Use the plural alumni for an all-male or mixed group, the plural alumnae for an all-female group.

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Alumni Association is open to alumni who attended at any time since 1928, regardless of the name of the institution at the time, how long they attended or whether they graduated.

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ampersand (&)

Do not use the ampersand in place of “and” except as part of a proper name or composition title: AT&T, Procter & Gamble Co., House & Garden, Windgate Art & Design. Note: Use and in narrative references to the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as well as the College of Communication, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences. The and is also preferred in headlines and ornamental type. Exceptions may be made when space is limited, as in tabular material.

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a.m., p.m.

Lowercase, with periods. Use with figures except for noon and midnight. See also times.

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An event is not annual until it has occurred at least two years in a row. Do not use first annual. Instead, note that the organizers plan to stage the event annually.

Numbers and capitalization of annual events:

In body text, spell out and lowercase second through ninth and use numerals for 10th and up. Lowercase annual.
In headlines, use numerals for all ordinals, including 2nd through 9th, and capitalize Annual.

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AP, the AP

AP or the AP is acceptable on second reference for The Associated Press, publisher of the Associated Press Stylebook. See also Associated Press.

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apostrophe (’)

Use the apostrophe in place of omitted letters or numbers in contractions: I’m for I amit’s for it isthe Roaring ’20s, the summer of ’42.

Use when pluralizing single letters: Her report card showed two A’s and three B’s. Do not use with multiple-letter strings or when pluralizing numbers: the ABCs, the 1960s.

Use alone or with an s when forming possessives. See possessives for guidance on usage with proper nouns, common nouns ending in s, descriptive words, double possession, joint versus individual possession, plurals.  

Note that the curled apostrophe is the same as a single close-quote mark ( ’), not an open-quote mark (‘ ), regardless of its position in a contraction: rock ’n’ roll. See quotation marks

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Arabic numerals

The numerical figures 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Use Arabic numerals except when denoting wars, establishing a personal sequence for people or animals, or identifying certain legislative acts, which take Roman numerals. See numeralsRoman numerals.

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archaeology, archeology

Spell it archaeology in general use but honor proper names: A group of archaeology students, a program of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.

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area codes

Set off with a hyphen, not parentheses: 479-788-0000. See also telephone numbers.

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Spell out Arkansas as a standalone state name and in most instances with a city: Van Buren, Arkansas.

The standard abbreviation Ark. may be used in lists, tabular material, agate type, credit lines, datelines and short-form party affiliations. 

The postal code AR should only be used when giving a complete mailing address with ZIP code.

Per AP style, the possessive form for a proper name ending in s uses an apostrophe only: Arkansas' population in 2012 was nearly 2.95 million. Note that the Arkansas Legislature in 2007 passed a resolution to spell the possessive Arkansas's. UAFS follows AP in using only the apostrophe. See state names.

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Arkansas General Assembly

Arkansas General Assembly is the preferred first reference for the state legislative body. Also acceptable: Arkansas Legislature. On second reference: General Assembly, assembly, Legislature. Capitalize Legislature and General Assembly when referring to the Arkansas body; lowercase when using generically or referring to other state legislatures.

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associate degree

Do not use a possessive or plural for the word associate. See academic degrees.

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Associated Press

Use The Associated Press with the capitalized article on first reference for the publisher of the Associated Press Stylebook. On second reference, use AP or the AP.

The AP, founded in 1846, is a not-for-profit international newsgathering cooperative whose content is seen by half of the world’s population every day. The first AP stylebook, compiled in 1953, was a 60-page document stapled together; the latest edition fills more than 500 pages and is available in digital form. The stylebook is updated annually and draws input from a broad spectrum of users, sources and references. (Source: AP Stylebook)

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athletic (adj.), athletics (n., adj.)

Use the singular adjective athletic to modify a department, program or administrator unless the plural form appears as part of a proper name. The plural athletics is also a noun form: The athletic department, the athletic director. She engaged in athletics during her entire time at UAFS.

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Abbreviate only with a numbered address: the avenue, Grand Avenue, 5210 Grand Ave. See addresses.

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Capitalize the proper names of awards: the Numa Awards, the Diligence to Victory Award.

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awhile, a while

The single word awhile is an adverb meaning “for a short time.” Do not use the redundant forHe plans to stay awhile.

The two-word phrase a while uses while as a noun meaning “an interval of time.” Use forHe plans to stay for a while.

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Synonymous with bachelor’s degree.

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bachelor’s, bachelor’s degree

Lowercase. Acceptable in all references to baccalaureates, including Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.

For guidelines on specific degrees and their abbreviations, see academic degrees.

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between ... and, from ... to

Use parallel construction when describing ranges such as dates, times and page numbers. If the word between precedes the first element in the pair, use and as the connector; if from, then toThe booth is open between noon and 3 p.m. Jim Smith operates the booth from noon to 1:30 p.m., and Mary Jones works from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

If using a hyphen as the connector, do not begin the range with between or fromThe program runs Monday-Friday, 7-10 p.m. See hyphen.

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biannual, biennial

Biannual means twice a year and is synonymous with semiannual: We schedule our biannual meetings in January and June. See semiannual.

Do not confuse with biennial, which means every two years: State elections are conducted biennially, in even-numbered years

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bimonthly, biweekly

Bimonthly means every other month. A bimonthly magazine may be published in even- or odd-numbered months.
Biweekly means every other week. One who is paid biweekly receives 26 checks a year. 

See semimonthly, semiweekly.

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Blue Lion

The proper name for the UAFS-owned performance and visual-arts venue at 101 N. Second St. in Fort Smith is The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown. Acceptable second references: Blue Lion, the Blue Lion.

The Blue Lion is home to music concerts, stage plays, art exhibits and special events. Its room-like theater seats 240, and its art gallery offers 1,500 square feet of space.

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board of trustees, Board of Trustees

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees is the 10-member governing body for all of the learning institutions within the University of Arkansas System. Capitalize Board of Trustees on second reference to this particular panel after making first reference to the full name.

Lowercase when either board or trustees is used separately: All trustees attended the board meeting Thursday

Also, lowercase if using as a general term, and when referring to other boards: the university system board of trustees. The Columbia University board of trustees.

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book titles

See composition titles.

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brackets [ ]

The AP does not use brackets and recommends using parentheses instead – or recasting the material to avoid jarring punctuation. See parentheses.

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buildings and venues

Capitalize the proper names of buildings, outdoor spaces and other official venues. See also rooms.

In regular text, spell out building and room information: The marketing office is in Fullerton Administration Room 218. Use building codes for mailing addresses, maps and tabular material: Send interoffice mail to FA 218.

Below are the proper names of buildings and other UAFS venues on and off campus, along with the building codes of on-campus buildings.

51st Annex, AN
Athletic Field, AF
Baldor Technology Center, BD
Ballman-Speer Building, BS
The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown
Boreham Library, LI
Breedlove Building, BB
Business and Industrial Institute, BI
Business Center, BC
Crowder Field, CF
Donald W. Reynolds Plaza, Tower and Campus Green, CG
Drennen-Scott Historic Site
Echols Building, EC
Flanders Business Center, FL
Fullerton Administration Building, FA
Gardner Building, GB
Gymnasium/Field House, GY
Holt Building, HT
Kinkead Annex, KA
Lion’s Den, LD
Lion Plaza, LP
Math-Science Building, MS
Pendergraft Health Sciences Center, HS
Plant Operations, PO
Sebastian Commons, SB
Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center, CC
Stubblefield Center, SC
Vines Building, VB
Windgate Art and Design, WB

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bulleted lists

See listsparallel constructionseries.

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campus, campuswide

No hyphen. See -wide.

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cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation

One “l” in all but cancellation.

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Capitalize – use uppercase for the first letter of a word – when the word is a proper name or a common noun used in a proper name: Mississippi River, Democratic Party, Ohio State University.

Lowercase the common noun element of a proper name when using it alone on second reference: University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, the university.

Also lowercase the common noun elements of proper names in plural uses: the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the Democratic and Republican parties, Ohio State and Michigan State universities.

The all-caps style involves capitalizing entire words, not just the initials. See all caps.

See also composition titles.

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captions, cutlines

Keep photo captions (also called cutlines) to one or two sentences describing who is in the photo and what is going on, in the present tense. Provide context that clarifies the action rather than describing the obvious. Be sure to state when and where the picture is taken.

Do this: Patty Cake arrives at Fullerton Administration to interview the chancellor on Dec. 11, 2013.
Not this: Patty Cake opened the door to the Fullerton Administration building.

For portraits or mug shots (head shots) that accompany articles or other text, use only the subject's last name as a cutline. Distinguish between head shots of two people with the same last name by including their first initials or, if needed, their first names: 

Same last name: A. Brown, L. Brown
Same first initial and last name: Allen Tillman, Andy Tillman.

In pictures of two people, one locator should suffice: 

John Smith, left, hands Don Brown a certificate during the Hotshot Awards ceremony in the Reynolds Room on Dec. 11, 2013.

For pictures of three or more people, identify them from left (no need to say to right).

For unposed pictures of multiple people, start with the main person being written about and provide clear locators for everyone: 

Chancellor Paul B. Beran, center, greets new students at convocation, from left, Sherry Terry, Harry Carey and Larry Barry.

For posed pictures of large groups, it may make more sense to explain the context first, then list the people. If the people are arranged in two or more rows, establish a pattern: First row, from left …. Second row … (no need to say from left again):

Spirit Award winners display their trophies after the awards banquet at The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown on Dec. 11, 2013. First row, from left, Don Juan, Sue Blue and Bill Ball; second row, Sally Mustang, Roger Rabbit and Joe Camel.

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Not catalogue.

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Capitalize center when it is part of a proper name. Lowercase on second reference and in other uses: Center for Business and Professional Development, Latture Conference Center, the center, the conference center.

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For amounts of money less than a dollar, use numerals and the lowercase word: 1 cent, 99 cents. For amounts under $10 containing dollars and cents, use the $ sign and two-place decimal system. $1.01, $1.99. Do not use .00 for flat dollar amounts: $1, $2. For amounts of $10 or more, round off the cents to create a flat dollar amount. See dollars.

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Lowercase the word, spelling out numbers less than 10, unless part of a proper name: The movie was distributed by 20th Century Fox. The Twentieth Century Fund is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to researching and writing about progressive public policy. Welcome to the 21st century.

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Acceptable in all references for chief executive officer. Spell out chief financial officer and chief operating officer on first reference, then use CFO and COO. Always spell out other “C-level” positions.

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Capitalize as part of a proper name.

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chair, chairman, chairwoman

Capitalize chairman or chairwoman when it is a formal title before a name: committee Chairman Bill Williams, company Chairwoman Susan Smith.

Lowercase for temporary titles or after a name: Meeting chairman Bob Fish called for a report from Sally Swan, reunion chairwoman.

In casual use, the lowercase term chair can provide an acceptable gender-free option: Swan announced nominations were open for the next reunion chair.

Do not use coinages such as chairperson. See -person.

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The chancellor is the chief administrative officer of the university. The position, created in 1982, replaced that of university president for all campuses in the University of Arkansas System. Capitalize when used as a formal title before a full name: Chancellor Paul B. Beran, Ph.D., joined UAFS in January 2006. Like the other chancellors, he answers to the system president. See administrationvice chancellor.

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Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts

Organized in 2008, the Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts is dedicated to collecting and preserving works of fine art for the benefit of the university and community at large. Acceptable second references: CCVA, the coalition. The coalition maintains three art galleries on campus with permanent as well as rotating exhibits and was responsible for commissioning Numa, the massive lion statue that stands in front of Stubblefield Center. 

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children, teenagers, adults

Refer to an individual child or teenager as a boy or girl until the 18th birthday is reached, then switch to man or woman. In certain contexts, young man or young woman may be acceptable.

The term child is preferred for anyone 12 or younger; teenteenager or youth for ages 13-17. Avoid the use of kids as a synonym for children. The adjective for teen is teenage.

Do not use gentleman or lady for anyone of any age.

On second reference to named individuals, use the first name for anyone 15 and younger, the last name for 16 and older.

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Capitalize the holidays ChristmasChristmas Day and Christmas Eve.

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cities and towns

Spell out all words in city names except those that have accepted abbreviations as part of the name: Fort Smith, St. Louis.

Cities, towns, counties and military installations should be named with the state on first reference (e.g., Van Buren, Arkansas*) unless the city is so well-known that its name can stand alone in an Associated Press dateline. According to the datelines entry in the AP Stylebook, there are no standalone cities in Arkansas. A Little Rock dateline would read LITTLE ROCK, Ark. See datelines.

This style guide recommends the following for Arkansas cities mentioned in UAFS publications: 

Fort Smith: The full name University of Arkansas – Fort Smith provides sufficient context for Fort Smith, Arkansas, so the state name is not required in a direct reference to the city. Use if needed on first reference for clarity or for a particular effect.

Other Arkansas cities: Include the state on first reference to each, either set off with commas or within a sentence that provides proper context: Little Rock, Arkansas. Or: Students came from Arkansas cities including Jonesboro, El Dorado and Hope.

*NOTE: State names are spelled out in all normal narrative text, including with cities. See state names for abbreviation guidelines.

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Capitalize city only if it is part of a city’s proper name or familiar nickname, or part of a formal title before a person’s name: city of Fort Smith, Kansas City, New York City, Windy City, City Administrator John Smith, the city administrator.

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class, course, section

Class is often used interchangeably with course and section, but the latter two have more precise meanings.

Course is the preferred term for a specific subject or a broader program of study: The professor teaches an English course in the fall. The student is pursuing an accelerated course of studies in economics.

Section refers to a specific time and day scheduled for a course: The history course is available in two sections on Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

In general, use class when referring to students who share the same standing or who meet for the same section of a course: the sophomore class, the English 101 class.

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Retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives or verbs that indicate occupation or status: co-author, co-star, co-worker.  Do not use a hyphen in other combinations: coed, coexist, cooperate, coordinate.

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collective nouns

Collective nouns that denote a unit take singular verbs and pronouns: band, board, class, committee, faculty, group, orchestra, staff, team.

Usage examples: The band is assembling now at the amphitheater. The faculty has made its case for a change of program, and the board supports the proposal. The team holds the regional championship.

In most cases, team and group names that are plural take plural verbs, while those with singular names take singular verbs: The Rolling Stones have been together since the early 1960s. Coldplay is on tour.

Some nouns that are plural in form may serve as both collective nouns and individual items; choose singular or plural verbs accordingly: The data is sound. (A unit.) The data have been carefully collected. (Individual items.)

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college, colleges

Capitalize the word college when it is part of a college’s proper name. Lowercase upon second reference and as a common noun: The College of Business was recently accredited by the AACSB. The college ranks in the top 5 percent of business colleges worldwide.

Colleges and schools at UAFS are listed here with their acceptable abbreviations or acronyms for use on second reference:

College of Applied Science and Technology, CAST
College of Business
College of Health Sciences
College of Communication, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences, CLASS
College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM
School of Education (formerly College of Education)

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colon (:)

The colon is most frequently used at the end of a sentence or phrase to introduce lists, tabulations or texts.

Use a colon to introduce a quote that is two or more sentences long within a paragraph, and at the end of a paragraph that introduces a new paragraph of text or quoted material.

Use a colon to separate hours, minutes and seconds to show time of day or time elapsed: The class begins at 10:30 a.m. The last runner’s finish time was 1:30:27.

Use a colon to indicate the speaker in dialogue:

Jones: My name is more common than yours.
Smith: I doubt it.

Use a colon to indicate the question or answer in a Q&A:

Q: Did you study regularly?
A: Yes, I studied a chapter a night.

Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the first word of a complete sentence; lowercase otherwise:

She told the class this: The lectures were necessary to understand the principles explored in the course. 
He listed the supplies needed: pencils, calculators and paper.

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comma (,)

These guidelines address some of the most common questions relating to the use of commas.

Simple series – Use commas to separate elements in a series, but not before the conjunction in a simple series: red, white and blue. Tom, Dick or Harry.

Complex series – The so-called serial comma, placed before the concluding conjunction, should be used in a complex series for clarity’s sake. 

Use the serial comma if one or more of the elements contains a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

Use the serial comma in a complex series of phrases: The university’s mission is to prepare students to succeed in an ever-changing global world, to advance economic development throughout the region, and to enhance quality of place in the Fort Smith area.

With two or more adjectives:

Equal adjectives – Use commas to separate adjectives of equal rank (adjectives are equal if the word and could replace a comma without changing the sense): a dark, dangerous street; a tall, slim man.

Noun phrases – Do not use a comma before the last adjective when it forms a noun phrase: a cheap fur coat; a new, blue spring bonnet.

With nonessential information:

Nonessential phrases or clauses provide additional information that is not necessary to understand the thought presented. Use commas to set off nonessential information: The next summer session, which begins Monday, will have a record number of students.

Essential phrases or clauses provide necessary information and must not be set off by commas: The session that just concluded was poorly attended.

See essential and nonessential clauses or phrases.

Set off a person’s age: Barry Duncan, 19, has enrolled.

Set off hometowns as well as city-state and city-nation combinations: Sharon Beck, Elgin, Illinois, arrived first. Colleen O’Brien, Chicago, and Tito Morelli, Florence, Italy, came soon after.

If using of before a hometown, a preceding comma is not needed: Jackie Chan of Hong Kong. Tom and Terry Phillips of Albany, New York.

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Lowercase when referring to commencements in general but capitalize a specific ceremony: The 2014 Commencement.

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Capitalize only when part of a formal name of a standing committee: the House Appropriations Committee. Do not capitalize the name of a temporary committee: the party committee, the tickets committee. Do not abbreviate.

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company, companies, company names

Use the abbreviation Co. or Cos. when a business uses company or companies at the end of its proper name: Ford Motor Co., American Broadcasting Cos. Spell out when the word appears elsewhere in the name of a business or military unit: Company B. On second reference, lowercase and spell out company or companies. Follow the same style with corporation, abbreviating Corp. at the end of a company name.

Possessive forms: Ford Motor Co.’s profits, American Broadcasting Cos.’ holdings, FedEx Corp.’s earnings.

Do not use a comma before Inc. or Ltd., even if it is included in the formal company name. Also omit the comma before other business abbreviations, such as LLP and PLLC.

Do not use all-caps spellings unless the letters are individually pronounced: BMWIkea (not IKEA), USA Today (not USA TODAY).

To avoid distracting or confusing the reader, do not use characters that form contrived spellings: Yahoo, not Yahoo!Toys R Us, not Toys “R” UsE-Trade, not E*Trade.

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compose, comprise, constitute

Compose means to create or put together. It is used in both active and passive voices: She composed a song. The United States is composed of 50 states.

Comprise means to contain, include all or embrace. It is best used in the active voice, followed by a direct object: The United States comprises 50 states. The jury comprises five men and seven women. Memory aid: The whole comprises the parts.

Constitute, meaning to form or to make up, may be the best word to use when neither compose nor comprise seems to fit: Fifty states constitute the United States. Five men and seven women constitute the jury. Memory aid: The parts constitue a whole.

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composition titles

Guidelines here apply to all composition titles, including the names of creative works, journals and reference works.

Present all composition titles in standard type (italics are used here only to highlight terms and examples).

Capitalize the principle words – all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs – regardless of length. Capitalize conjunctions and prepositions of four or more letters. Capitalize the first and last words of a title or subtitle. 

Lowercase the article aan or the. Lowercase conjunctions and prepositions of three or fewer letters.

But capitalize articles and short conjunctions or prepositions if used as a principle word or the first or last word of a title or subtitle: “If, And or But: An Excuse for All Occasions.” “The Proper Use of the Word Of.”

Use quotation marks around the names of books, computer games, movies, operas, plays, poems, short stories, songs, albums, anthologies, collections, radio programs, television programs, lectures and speeches, and when referring to headlines. Within headlines, use single quote marks around mentioned titles:

“Bleak House,” “The Lottery,” “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”
“Star Wars,” “Carmen,” “Temple Grandin”
Santana’s album “Supernatural,” the hit single “Smooth”
William Carlos Williams’ classic poem “The Red Wheelbarrow,” his collection “Spring and All”
“The Big Bang Theory,” “CBS Evening News,” “Good Morning America”
The notoriously incorrect headline “Dewey Defeats Truman”
Fans Flock to See 
Star Wars

Do not use quotation marks for the names of newspapers, magazines or journals, for software names such as Word or Windows, for the Bible, or for works of reference such as almanacs, catalogs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks, textbooks and similar publications:

The Chicago Tribune, the Times Record, the New York Times
The Associated Press Stylebook
Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second Edition
Student Handbook and Policy Manual
Adventures in English Composition

Artworks and classical music:
Use quotation marks for paintings but NOT for sculptures: Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," Michaelangelo's Pieta
Use quotation marks for a composition's nickname but NOT for a sequential identifier: Dvorak's "New World Symphony," Dvorak's Symphony No. 9.

Foreign titles:
Translate a foreign title into English unless the American public knows the work by its foreign name: Rousseau’s novel “War” (not “La Guerre”).
If referring to a musical performance, use the language in which the work is sung: Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” if sung in English, but “Le Nozze di Figaro” if sung in Italian.

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Congress, congressional, congressman, congresswoman

Capitalize Congress and U.S. Congress when referring to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Lowercase congressional unless it is part of a proper name: congressional salaries, the Congressional Record.

For U.S. House members, the preferred title is Rep. or U.S. Rep. used before a full name on first reference. On second reference, congressman or congresswoman in lowercase may be used without names. Capitalize and use as a title only in direct quotes: “I spoke with Congresswoman Smith yesterday,” U.S. Rep. John Jones told the other congressmen.

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Capitalize references to the U.S. Constitution, with or without the U.S. modifier: The president said he supports the Constitution.

When referring to the constitutions of other nations or of states, capitalize only with the name of a nation or state: the Arkansas Constitution, the French Constitution, the nation’s constitution, the state constitution.

Lowercase all other uses: the organization’s constitution. Lowercase constitutional.

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consumer price index

The consumer price index is a measurement of changes in the retail prices of a constant market basket of goods and services. It is issued monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If shortening the term on second reference, use the index. Confine CPI to quoted or tabular material.

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Abbreviate corporation as Corp. when a company or government agency uses the word at the end of its name: CBS Corp., Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Spell out when it occurs elsewhere in a name: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The possessive form: Chevrolet Corp.’s profits.

Spell out and lowercase as a standalone noun: The corporation eventually went bankrupt.

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course titles

Capitalize the full titles of courses but lowercase general subject names unless they are proper nouns: She enrolled in freshman algebra, honors English and Introduction to World History.

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courtesy titles

Identify men and women by the first and last name without courtesy titles on first reference and by last name without courtesy titles on second reference: Susan Smith, Robert Jones, then Smith, Jones.

Use the courtesy titles Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Miss only in direct quotations. See doctor, Dr.

When necessary to distinguish between two unrelated people with the same last name, use their full names on second reference without courtesy titles. For related people sharing a last name (married couples, siblings), see second reference.

If courtesy titles are unavoidable on second reference, apply them equally to men and women.

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credit hours

In marketing and tabular material about academic courses, figures are permissible when referring to creditscredit hours or simply hours when the context indicates college credit: The course offers 3 credit hours.

In other narrative text and when referring to hours of the day, follow the normal rules for numerals, spelling out single-digit numbers: She is taking nine credit hours of history this semester and studies two hours every night.

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curriculum, curricula

Curriculum is the singular term for a program of courses required for a degree in a particular field of study: the chemistry curriculum. The plural is curricula.

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dash ( – ) 

Use a dash ( – ) with a space on each side to indicate an abrupt change of thought or an emphatic pause. Also use dashes to set off a phrase that otherwise would be set off with commas but contains commas itself: She listed the qualities – humor, honesty, independence – that she would expect of a manager.

The AP does not distinguish between the en dash (the width of a capital N in the typeface used) and em dash (the width of a capital M). If both are available, use one consistently.

If a word-processing program does not offer a dash, use two hyphens together, with a space on each side ( -- ). Do not use a lone hyphen in place of a dash. See hyphen (-).

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The plural of datum, meaning a fact or item of information.

When speaking of data as a single body of information, it is acceptable to use with a singular verb: The data is sound. (A body of information.) The data were collected. (Individual items.) See collective nouns.

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dateline is a line at the beginning of a news release or news report indicating the city where the information for the story was gathered.

The AP Stylebook's dateline entry guides university style when mentioning cities. No city in Arkansas qualifies as a standalone city in AP news datelines, so the state must be indicated on first reference to Arkansas cities. In UAFS marketing materials, the full name of the university serves the same purpose as a dateline or first reference for Fort Smith, Arkansas. In all other references to the city, Fort Smith is sufficient.

See cities and townsstate names.

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Always use Arabic figures in cardinal (not ordinal) form: April 5, not April 5th. For dates within the current calendar or academic year, the year is usually not necessary. If also referring to dates in past or future years, the current year may be needed for the sake of clarity. See months.

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days of the week

Capitalize and spell out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, except in tabular material such as course catalogs.

If giving a day and a date, set off the date with commas: The giveaway begins Tuesday, May 6, and will continue while supplies last. (Note: For the sake of clarity, using both day and date is optional. This is an exception to Associated Press style, which calls for using one or the other but not both.)  

Tabular abbreviations should consistently follow a one-letter or three-letter format, with no periods: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun; or M, T, W, R, F, S, U.

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Capitalize Dean if using as an academic title before a full name: Dean Eleanor Thompson. Lowercase in all other uses: Harold Thrift is the dean of student affairs at XYZ University.

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Use figures with an s and no apostrophe to indicate spans of decades and centuries: the 1890s, the 1900s. See years.

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Use a period and numerals to indicate decimal amounts. Do not exceed two decimal places in narrative text unless there are special circumstances, such as discussing fine differences between measurements.

For amounts less than 1, use a zero before the decimal point: 0.03. For measurements of 1 or less, state the type of measurement in the singular form: 0.1 meter, 0.2 cubic foot, 0.3 kilometer, 1 inch. See fractions and numerals.

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decision-maker, decision-making


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See academic degrees.

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Style guidelines for nonacademic departments and offices at the university are similar to the guidelines for academic departments: Lowercase the names except for proper nouns. The word department can come at the beginning or end of the phrase: the department of human resources, the athletics department.

See also academic departmentscollegesofficesuniversity.

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For spelling questions not covered in this style guide, the AP recommends using Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition.

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Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, meters, etc., to indicate length, width, depth and height. Hyphenate adjectival forms before nouns or when using dimensions as a noun.


He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, the 5-foot-6-inch man, the 5-foot man, a 7-footer.
The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high. The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet, the 9-by-12 rug.
The storm left 5 inches of snow.
The building has 6,000 square feet of floor space, the 1,000-square-foot shed.

The apostrophe and close-quote marks for feet and inches (5’6”) should only be used in technical or tabular material.

See also numerals.

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directions and regions

In general, lowercase directional words used to indicate compass points: north, south, easterly, westward. Capitalize when they indicate widely known regions: the West Coast, a Southern accent, the Northeast.

Lowercase directional words when describing an area of a city, state or nation, but capitalize proper names and widely known sections or regions: western Arkansas, northwest Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, West Virginia, the North versus the South, northern France, Northern Ireland, Southern California.

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Capitalize only as part of a formal job title before a full name: Promotions Director John Doe. Otherwise, lowercase: John Doe, promotions director. The promotions director, John Doe

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doctor, Dr.

Use the abbreviated title Dr. on first reference as a formal title before the name of a medical doctor: Dr. Jonas Salk. Second reference: Salk.

In the proper context, Dr. may be used on first reference before the names of people who hold other types of doctorates, such as academics. However, because the public usually identifies Dr. with physicians only, take care to provide clear context or identify any nonmedical specialties. If using Dr. for an academic, state the person's specialty early on, unless the context makes it unmistakable: Dr. Thomas Megabucks, an economics professor. Or: Megabucks teaches the graduate seminar in macroenomics.

Alternatively, an academic degree can be shown after a person's full name, but not in combination with Dr.: Dorothy Bettis, Ph.D.

In some contexts it might be necessary to specify that an individual identified as Dr. is a physician, as when referring to physicians and academics together: Megabucks collaborated with Dr. Hazel Wonk, a physician, on a study of the economics of public health.

The plural form Drs. applies in first reference to a listing of two or more doctors: Drs. Harriet Who and Walter What. Second reference: Who and What.

Avoid using Dr. if the person’s medical or academic credentials are not necessary within the context: Vocals by Harriet Who. Paintings by Thomas Megabucks

Do not use Dr. on second reference or in page headers or headlines. Do not use before the names of people whose doctorates are honorary. See academic titlescourtesy titles.

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doctoral degree, doctorate

Both terms are acceptable. Do not use the adjective doctoral alone as a substitute for the noun doctorate.

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Use the word in casual expressions but $ and figures when stating specific amounts. Do not use .00 for flat dollar amounts: He charged me a dollar. The original price was $3.99, but the item was on sale for $3.

For amounts of $10 or more, round off the cents to create a flat dollar amount unless there is a reason for pointing out small differences: Amounts from $10.01 to $10.49 would round down to $10; amounts from $10.50 to $10.99 would round up to $11.

For amounts of four to six figures, use a comma to set off the last three digits: $1,074, $25,425, $600,530. For millions and above, use rounded figures and up to two decimal places combined with the word: $1 million, $2.5 billion, $3.44 trillion.

For amounts less than a dollar, use numerals and cent or cents, not $ and decimals: 1 cent, 99 cents. See cents.

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Spell the business name with a lowercase e, but capitalize if it is the first word of a sentence or headline: He bought the goods on eBay. EBay is an online auction site.

See iPhone.

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Effect is commonly used in both noun and verb forms. As a verb, it means to cause: The chancellor will effect a change in university culture. As a noun, it means result: The new rule had little effect on student behavior.

Affect is most commonly used as a verb meaning to influence: Your test score will affect your overall grade in the course. See affect, effect.

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This abbreviation stands for the Latin phrase exempli gratia, or for the sake of example. Always followed by a comma: She likes exotic fruit, e.g., mangoes, passion fruit, papaya.

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either ... or, neither ... nor

The nouns that follow these words do not constitute a compound subject. They are alternate subjects requiring a verb that agrees with the nearer subject: Either she or they are going to the luncheon. Neither they nor he has heard the news.

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ellipsis ( … )

Treat an ellipsis as if it were a three-letter word: Use three periods, with a space before and after but not between the dots.

An ellipsis indicates the omission of words, usually by deletion. It may also be used to indicate an incomplete or interrupted thought or statement. If a passage contains both deletions and interruptions, use ellipses for deletions and a dash for the interruption.

If the words before an ellipsis constitute a complete sentence, either in the original of reduced form, put a period after the last word before the ellipsis: She registered early for the class. … Her advising professor is teaching it.

Similarly, when the grammatical sense calls for a comma, colon, question mark or exclamation point before an ellipsis, the sequence is word, punctuation mark, space, ellipsis.  

If material is deleted at the end of one paragraph and the beginning of the next, place an ellipsis in both locations.

Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of direct quotes.

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email, e-

The term email (no hyphen) is acceptable in all references for electronic mail. Other terms use a hyphen to indicate the omitted letters: e-commerce, e-reader.

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Often used to denote people who have retired but retained their rank or title. Place it at the end of a formal title and lowercase or capitalize according to the style used with a name: Dean Emeritus Mary Roe. John Doe, professor emeritus of history.

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ensure, insure

Ensure means to guarantee: She ensured her success by studying extensively.

Insure means to buy, sell or cover with insurance: Employees may insure themselves and their families under the health plan.

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entitled, titled

Use entitled to mean a right to do or have something. Use titled to refer to the name of a composition. She was entitled to a bachelor’s degree. She wrote a story titled “All About Al.”

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essential and nonessential clauses or phrases

This style guide uses essential and nonessential rather than restrictive and nonrestrictive to convey the distinctions in a more easily remembered manner.

Nonessential clauses or phrases provide additional information that can be omitted without changing the meaning. Use commas to set off nonessential content:

Gladys and her husband, Irving, went to dinner. (Gladys has only one husband, so his name is not essential to our understanding and could be omitted.)

Essential clauses or phrases provide integral information that is necessary to the meaning. Do not set off with commas: 

Irving's friend Ted met them at the restaurant. (Irving has more than one friend, so Ted's name is essential information.)

Other examples:

Mildred and Bob’s youngest son, Bill, could not attend the reception. (They have more than one son but only one youngest son.)

Reporters who do not read the Stylebook should not criticize their editors. (The clause "who do not read the Stylebook" is essential and must not be omitted because it specifies a category of reporters who should not criticize their editors.) 

Reporters, who do not read the Stylebook, should not criticize their editors. (This sentence says all reporters don't read the Stylebook and therefore no reporters should criticize their editors. Omitting the clause would not change the meaning.) 

When an article or pronoun that makes a phrase nonessential is omitted, commas should be omitted:

The travel agent, John Smith, hosted the meeting. BUT: Travel agent John Smith hosted the meeting. (Article the omitted.)

Susan and her husband, Jeff, greeted the visitors. BUT: Susan and husband Jeff greeted the visitors. (Pronoun her ommitted.)

See that, which.

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Capitalize the principal words of named events, including conjunctions and prepositions of four or more letters.

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exclamation point (!)

Use the exclamation point (!) to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion. To avoid overuse, end mild interjections with a comma and mildly exclamatory sentences with a period.

Place the mark inside quotation marks if it is part of the quoted material: “How wonderful!” he exclaimed.

Place the mark outside quotation marks if it is not part of the quoted material: I hated reading “The Lottery”!

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When writing about faculty as a group, treat the word as a collective noun and use singular verbs and pronouns: The faculty plans an election to decide whether it will unionize.

When writing about individuals, use faculty members to avoid verb and pronoun difficulties: Three faculty members are developing the program, which they outlined last year.

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Acceptable on second reference for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Do not place FAFSA in parentheses immediately after the full name.

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Capitalize only in proper names: federal aid, federal government, Federal Trade Commission.

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Acceptable on second reference for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Do not place FERPA in parentheses immediately after the full name.

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first reference

The term first reference applies to a single mention as well as to the first of two or more mentions. The full proper name of a person, place or thing is generally required on first reference.

See second reference for guidelines relating to all subsequent mentions of a name.

On first reference, full names of individuals may begin with official or institutional titles, but not common courtesy titles: Chancellor Paul B. Beran, state Sen. Pete Begley, John Smith (not Mr. John Smith). Abbreviated titles should be pluralized when naming two or more people with the same title: state Sens. Pete Begley and June Alonzo.

A person’s title or function may also be set off with commas before or after the name in first reference: June Alonzo, a state senator, met with the chancellor, Paul B. Beran.

Do not follow a long name in first reference with its abbreviation or acronym in parentheses. If the shortened form is not easily understood on second reference without this construction, it should not be used. In rare instances, an abbreviation is so familiar that it serves in all references: FBI, CIA.

See abbreviations and acronyms.

First references specific to UAFS are listed separately along with their acceptable second references. See buildingscollegesdepartments.

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fiscal year

The 12-month period that an organization uses for budgeting and bookkeeping purposes. The university’s fiscal year begins July 1 of one calendar year and ends June 30 of the next calendar year. Use fiscal year 2012-13 instead of fiscal year 2013 or FY 2013 to avoid ambiguity.

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flier, flyer

Use flier for handbills and aviators: We distributed fliers at the event. Use Flyer when it appears in proper names: The Western Flyer.

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fort, Fort

Do not abbreviate. Treat military installations like cities and include the state wherever needed: The city of Fort Smith grew up around a frontier fort on the Arkansas River. He was stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C.

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Fort Smith

The city of Fort Smith may be mentioned with or without the state of Arkansas in UAFS publications.

NOTE: This is a local interpretation of the Associated Press rule that calls for all cities to be named with the state spelled out (e.g., Fort Smith, Arkansas) on first reference unless the state is apparent within the context or the city is so well-known that its name could stand alone in an AP dateline.

There are no standalone datelines in Arkansas (see datelines); however, the full name University of Arkansas - Fort Smith provides sufficient context for UAFS publications to render the state name optional on first reference to the city. Use if needed for clarity or particular effect. All other Arkansas cities require the state name.

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Lowercase foundation except as part of a proper name: The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Foundation on first reference. On second reference, UAFS foundation or foundation.

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Spell out amounts less than 1, using hyphens between the words: two-thirds, seven-sixteenths.

For precise amounts greater than 1, use figures: Three and five-eighths becomes 3 5/8.

Convert fractions to decimals when possible: Four-tenths becomes 0.41 3/4 becomes 1.75.

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A trademark abbreviation for General Educational Development tests, a battery of five exams designed by the American Council on Education to measure high school equivalency. GED should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. Those passing the tests earn a GED diploma or GED certificate, not a GED.

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governor, Gov.

Capitalize and abbreviate Gov. as the title before a full name, but lowercase and spell out governor in other uses: Gov. Mike Beebe; the governor of Arkansas.

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Acceptable in all references to Global Positioning System.

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grade, grades, GPA

The term GPA is acceptable in all references to grade-point average. The GPA is the average of a student's grades for a semester, year or cumulative period. Each letter grade is assigned a point value: 4 points for A, 3 for B, 2 for C, 1 for D and zero for F.

To calculate the GPA, first multiply the point value of each course grade by the number of credit hours for the course; then add the total points earned for each course. Divide that sum by the total number of credit hours attempted in the period. The resulting GPA should be extended to two decimal places. 

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Use from with the verb: He graduated from UAFS.

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Capitalize when used to describe a community and its surrounding region: Greater Fort Smith.

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Capitalize when referring to the nationality or to fraternity or sorority members. Do not use the Greek alphabet or informal abbreviations for Greek organizations. Use the full name and spell them out. Greek life (with life lowercased) refers to the overall college fraternity and sorority experience.

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As a collective noun denoting a single unit, group takes singular verbs and pronouns: The group is reviewing its position.

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happy holidays, season’s greetings

Because most university writings are viewed by large, diverse audiences, a general expression of good will such as happy holidays or season’s greetings is preferred during the extended season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. See holidays.

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hashtag (#)

The number sign (#) is referred to as a hashtag when used within a tweet to convey the subject being talked about on Twitter. If the subject is the Super Bowl, for example, a user might include the hashtag #superbowl in a tweet. Hashtags are indexed and searchable, and can be used to view and participate in topical conversations.

Do not use # as a substitute for the word number when designating a position, rank or sequential order. Use No., as in the No. 1 choice.

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he, she, his, her

Do not use a slash to create gender-inclusive terms like he/she or his/her. Occasional use of his or her is more acceptable, and they should only be used in the plural sense.

Better yet, recast the material to use gender-neutral nouns and keep pronouns to a minimum:

Not this: A newsman tries to protect his sources.
Better: A reporter tries to protect his or her sources.
Best: Reporters try to protect their sources.

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headline is a summary line or label for a narrative work or marketing piece. While a label or title-style headline often uses figurative language or adds interpretive insights, a summary headline provides a literal description of the content that follows.

Actual newspaper headlines for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration:         

Day of Change (a label or title-style headline).
Obama Takes Charge (a summary headline).

A summary headline is constructed like a sentence and contains a subject and verb written in present tense to describe the main action. Conjunctions and articles are usually omitted unless the omission creates an unclear or awkward statement:

Juniors, Seniors Attend Party (instead of Juniors and Seniors Attended the Party).

Numbers and quotations in headlines:

Use numerals for all numbers, in contrast to the style of spelling out numbers from one through nine in body text.
Use single quotation marks around quoted text.
Example: 3 Honor Students Agree Class Was 'Easy Peasy' 

The preferred capitalization style – in which the initials of all principal words are capitalized – is detailed under composition titles. If using sentence-style capitalization for headlines, capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns or names. 

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health care

The Associated Press spells health care as two words in all usages: Consider a career in health care. Compare health care plans.

Note: UAFS offers a graduate program using the term as one word: Master of Science in Healthcare Administration.

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highway designations

For highways identified by number, use these forms: U.S. 71, Arkansas 22, Interstate 49. On second reference, for interstates: I-49. If referring to a stretch of highway within city limits, use the local street name: In Fort Smith city limits, Arkansas 22 is Rogers Avenue.

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holidays and holy days

Capitalize holidays, holy days and other special observances: New Year’s Eve, Groundhog Day, Easter, Hannukkah.

The legal holidays in Arkansas are New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

At UAFS, classes meet on Washington’s Birthday and Veterans Day but not on the other state holidays.

The federal government observes an additional holiday, Columbus Day, but does not observe Christmas Eve. On federal holidays, federal employees take the day off or receive overtime pay if they must work.

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Lowercase except when referring to a specific event: UAFS celebrates homecoming every year. Alumni should expect Homecoming weekend to occur in the fall semester.

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See credit hours.

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hyphen (-)

Hyphens are joiners, used to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words.

Use hyphens whenever not using them causes confusion: 

He re-covered the leaky roof. I re-sent that email.

With compound modifiers: 
When two or more modifying words precede a noun, use hyphens to link all of the modifiers except very and adverbs that end in -lyA full-time student, a 15-hour program, a well-known man, a very busy day, an easily remembered rule.
When the modifiers appear after the noun, the hyphen can be omitted – unless the modifiers appear after a “to be” verb: She works full time, the program lasted 15 hours, the job is full-time, the man is well-known.

Some compound modifiers are so familiar that a hyphen is not necessary: The high school teacher, the health care policy.

Use hyphens in telephone numbers with or without area codes: 479-788-7514.

Use hyphens between elements of ranges: the years 1999-2001, the office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (If using a from-to or between-and construction for a range, do not use a hyphen in place of to or and.)

Do not put spaces on either side of the hyphen. Do not use a hyphen in place of a dash. See dash (–).

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ID, identification

ID is acceptable in all references for identification; pluralize with an sPut Lions Cash on your student ID. Student IDs are available at the Records Office.

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Abbreviation for the Latin id est, meaning that is. Always followed by a comma: Many workers expect to work a 40-hour week – i.e., eight hours a day, five days a week.

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Inc., incorporated

Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as part of a corporate name. Do not set off with commas: XYZ Inc. announced its merger with ABC Inc. See company names.

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Use periods and no space between initials when an individual uses initials instead of a first name: H.L. Mencken, J.R.R. Tolkein. (The space between initials is omitted to avoid awkward line breaks.) Avoid using only a single initial (R. Kelly) unless that is the person’s preference or a first name is not available.

Use the preferred spelling of an individual who uses initials without periods for a nickname or professional name: student-athlete Tommy “TJ” Jones, the rapper DMX.

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See ensure, insure.

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Capitalize Internet. See Web.

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The Apple smartphone is spelled with a lowercase i, but capitalize when it is the first word of a sentence or headline. The same rule applies to iPad and iPod: IPod popularity wanes as iPad purchases boom.

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The abbreviation IT stands for information technology and is acceptable on second reference.

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This style guide uses italics – a slanted version of the typeface in use – to highlight entry words and examples. In most writing, limited use is advised.

In narrative text: Italics may be used for emphasis or for presenting a foreign expression: Bon voyage, mon ami. What?

In advertising and marketing: Italics may be used for visual effect in fliers or other graphic materials.

NOT in composition titles:
The Associated Press cannot transmit italics in its news service and does not provide any rules for using italics in writing for the general public. For the titles of all compositions including books, movies and artworks, this style guide follows AP in advising standard (roman) type. See composition titles.

See also: roman, italic.

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Jargon is the special vocabulary of a particular group, occupation or discipline. Avoid using jargon and instead use words that can be widely understood. If jargon is unavoidable, be sure to explain any terms likely to be unfamiliar to general readers.

See abbreviations and acronyms.

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job titles

See titles

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Jr., Sr.

Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. with full names of people or animals. Do not set off with commas: Martin Luther King Jr. Note that II or 2nd does not necessarily equate with Jr.

If necessary to distinguish between a father and son on second reference, use the elder Smith or the younger Smith.

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junior, senior

Spell out when referring to students by their class level: Juniors and seniors attended the celebration.

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kick off (v.), kickoff, (n., adj.)

Two words for the verb form, one word for the noun and adjective forms. No hyphen in any use. They will kick off the game at 2 p.m. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. We will begin the series with a kickoff party.

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Capitalize and use quotation marks around the titles of lectures. See composition titles.

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Lion, Lions

The official mascot of UAFS is the Lion. The singular Lion refers to a single UAFS student, alumnus or player on any of the Lions or Lady Lions (plural) athletic teams. The residential hall is the Lion’s Den (singular possessive), while the online student activities newsletter is the Lions’ Chronicle (plural possessive). The personal name of the mascot is Numa. See Numa.

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list is a group of related items presented in vertical, often bulleted form and introduced with a sentence or header. All items in a list or series should be constructed of parallel elements. See seriesparallel construction.

AP style is to introduce a list with a sentence followed by a colon, then to begin each item with a capital letter and end with a period, regardless of whether the elements are sentences. Do not use numbers in place of bullets unless they serve a purpose, such as to suggest chronology or importance.

Holmes suspected Watson arrived empty-handed for the following reasons:
- He ordered the package and it didn’t come.
- He received the package and sent it back.
- He failed to order the package.

When using a header instead of a sentence to introduce a list, use periods only if the elements are complete sentences:

Three Kitchen Skills You Will Learn
- Coring

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maiden names

Use a maiden name in the manner the individual prefers: Mary Smith JonesMary Smith-Jones. If a married woman no longer uses her maiden name but is known by it, as with alumnae who married after they left UAFS, it is permissible to use Mary (Smith) Jones, which indicates that Smith is no longer part of the legal name.

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majors, minors

Lowercase academic majors and minors unless they contain a proper noun: Students majoring in history may consider a minor such as English or geography.

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For word combinations not listed the style guide, see Webster’s New World College Dictionary. The general rule is to use two words for the verb form and to hyphenate the noun and adjective forms, but AP lists several exceptions, including policymaker, coffee maker. See decision-maker.

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man, woman, person

Refer to an individual adult (18 or older) as a man or woman. In certain contexts, young man or young woman may be acceptable. Do not use gentleman or lady for anyone of any age except in direct quotes.

Use person or people when not specifying sex: What kind of person would do that? How many people are invited? We need one person to work as a greeter and two people to sell tickets.

For ages 13-17, use teen, teenager, youth, boy or girl.

See children, teenagers, adults.

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marketing and communications

The marketing and communications office at UAFS handles university brand awareness, enrollment marketing, advertising, media management, social media, marketing consulting, photography services, design and editorial services, print bid management, university website management, and agency and vendor relationships.

The name may be shown with an ampersand in business cards or ornamental type: Marketing & Communications.

See public relations.

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master’s, master’s degree

Acceptable in all references to the Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration. See academic degrees.

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A word such as physician or surgeon is preferred.

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When referring to forms of mass communication or to artistic means or materials, the word media is plural for medium and takes a plural verb: The news media are resisting attempts to limit their freedom. This artist works well in several media, but she excels in one particular medium: oil paint.

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merry Christmas

Because most university writings are viewed by large, diverse audiences, a general expression of good will such as happy holidays or season’s greetings is preferred.

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Use midnight instead of 12 a.m. in all references: The event runs from noon to midnight. Window hours are 8 a.m.-noon and midnight-4 a.m.

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miles per gallon, mpg

The abbreviation mpg is acceptable in all references.

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miles per hour, mph

The abbreviation mph is acceptable in all references.

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military titles

NOTE: While each military branch has its own system for abbreviating titles, the Department of Defense uses AP’s standardized style in news releases because it is more easily understood by the general public. UAFS follows AP style as well, to aid communication with general readers.

Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before a full name on first reference, using the standardized abbreviations listed below. On second reference, use only the person’s last name, not the title.

Lowercase and spell out a rank or title when it is used as a common noun or set off from a name by commas: John Jones, a colonel, is the base commander. Capt. Kelly Smith leads the combat unit. Smith served as first lieutenant before transferring here.

AP’s guidelines for Army ranks and abbreviations used before names are listed here because UAFS has an Army ROTC unit.

general, Gen.
lieutenant general, Lt. Gen.
major general, Maj. Gen.
brigadier general, Brig. Gen.
colonel, Col.
lieutenant colonel, Lt. Col.
major, Maj.
captain, Capt.
first lieutenant, 1st Lt.
second lieutenant, 2nd Lt.

chief warrant officer five (CW5), Chief Warrant Officer 5
chief warrant officer four (CW4), Chief Warrant Officer 4
chief warrant officer three (CW3), Chief Warrant Officer 3
chief warrant officer two (CW2), Chief Warrant Officer 2
warrant officer (W01), Warrant Officer

sergeant major of the Army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army
command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj.
sergeant major, Sgt. Maj.
first sergeant, 1st Sgt.
master sergeant, Master Sgt.
sergeant first class, Sgt. 1st Class
staff sergeant, Staff Sgt.
sergeant, Sgt.
corporal, Cpl.
specialist, Spc.
private first class, Pfc.
private, Pvt.

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millions, billions, trillions

Use figures in combination with million, billion or trillion instead of a long number: 1 million. Not: 1,000,000. Do not mix millions and billions within the same figure: 2.6 billion. Not: 2 billion 600 million.

Do not drop the word million or billion from the first part of a range: Profits grew from $2 million to $4 million. Not: from $2 to $4 million (unless you really mean the first amount was $2).

In headlines, millions and billions may be abbreviated: $5M Lawsuit, $17.4B Trade Deficit.

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minus sign

In tabular material, use a hyphen, not a dash, with figures.

In narrative text, use minus or another suitable word to avoid ambiguity:

For temperatures below zero: minus 5 or 10 below zero, not -5 or -10.
For incremental letter grades: A-minus, not A-.

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Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.

Use these courtesy titles only in direct quotes.  See courtesy titles.

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Capitalize the names of months and spell out when standing alone or with a year. When giving a specific date, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec., but spell out March, April, May, June, July.

If giving a full date, set off the year with commas. Use commas to set off full or partial dates that follow a day of the week. A date range within the same month should not repeat the month. Examples:

January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is March 8. I recall Feb. 4, 1987, as the target date. She testified that it was Friday, April 3, that the accident occurred. The exhibit runs April 1-15. Early registration is Nov. 20-Dec. 1.

In tabular material, all months may be abbreviated with three letters and no period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

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more than, over

Acceptable in all uses to indicate greater numerical value: Salaries increased by more than $20 a week. Salaries increased by over $20 a week.

NOTE: This represents a style update AP made in 2014. Previously, over referred to spatial relationships only, and more than was preferred for numerical comparisons.

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mpg, mph

The abbreviation mpg is acceptable in all references to miles per gallon. The abbreviation mph is acceptable in all references to miles per hour.

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In general, use full names on first reference and a shortened form on second reference.

For people 16 or older, use only the last name on second reference. When two people 16 or older have the same last name, use their first and last names on second reference.

For people 15 or younger, use the first name on second reference.

Do not use courtesy or other titles on second reference except in direct quotes.

See also initialsmaiden namesnicknamesfirst referencesecond reference.


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Acceptable in all references for National Collegiate Athletic Association. Divisions I, II and III may be abbreviated to their Roman numerals when combined with NCAA: UAFS became an active member of NCAA II beginning with the 2011-12 season.

Membership in Division II, which is open to smaller public universities like UAFS, requires sponsorship of at least 10 sports. Male and female teams in a given sport count as two different sports. Coed universities must field athletes in at least four sports for each sex.

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Introduce a nickname on first reference by placing it in quotes immediately before the last name: John H. “Big J” Jones. Mary Jane “Janie” Smith. Use a nickname in place of a person’s first name if the person prefers it: Jimmy Carter

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Use the abbreviation No. for number with a figure when indicating a position or rank: the No. 3 choice.

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Most words beginning with a consonant do not require a hyphen after the prefix nonnonprofit, nontraditional.

Exceptions: Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized or part of a proper name established with a hyphen: non-U.S. citizen, non-Catholic, the Non-Traditional Students Organization at UAFS.

See prefixes.

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No hyphen.

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Use noon instead of 12 p.m. in all references: The event runs from noon to midnight. Window hours are 8 a.m.-noon and midnight-4 a.m.

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northwest Arkansas

Lowercase northwest, in keeping with the rules for directions and regions, which limit capitalization to proper names and widely known regions. See directions and regions.

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The personal name of the UAFS Lion mascot is Numa. Both the Lion and its name date back to the university’s earliest days. See Lion. The name Numa has many uses across campus.

Numa is the name of bronze lion statue in front of Stubblefield Center, and Numa’s Pride is the nickname for the student section at the arena.

The Numa Society recognizes donors who contribute to commission outdoor sculptures on campus.

Student leaders are honored with Numa Awards in an annual ceremony. On second reference to the awards or ceremony, the nickname may be used alone, in plural form: Numas. NOT: Numas Awards.

Note: As with all proper names, use standard capitalization of Numa within normal body text. If including the name within all-caps text, the plural form of Numa should match case: NUMA AWARDS, THE NUMAS. For further guidance on using all-caps spellings, see all caps.

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In general, spell out zero through nine and the ordinals first through ninth. Use figures for 10 or 10th and above: The Yankees finished second. He had 11 months to go.

Use figures before a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Also use figures in all tabular matter and in statistical and sequential forms.

Use figures for years, including at the beginning of a sentence: 1969 was the year of Woodstock

Use figures for all whole numbers in headlines: 3 Win Honors.

Use figures unless otherwise noted below for (examples listed alphabetically by category):

Spell out numbers other than years:

at the start of a sentence: Twenty people were invited.
in indefinite or casual uses: Thanks a million.
in fanciful usage or proper names: The Big Three, the Four Tops.
in formal language, rhetorical quotations and figures of speech: Fourscore and seven years ago.
in fractions less than one that are not used as modifiers: Reduced by one-third.

Numbers of four digits or more, except years, require commas: In 2009, we ordered 1,000 units and paid $3,000.  

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occupational titles

See titles.

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Style guidelines for nonacademic offices and departments are similar to those for academic departments: Lowercase the names except for proper nouns. The word office can come at the beginning or end of the phrase: the financial aid office, the office of financial aid.

See also academic departmentscollegesdepartmentsuniversity.

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OK, OK’d, OK’ing, OKs

Do not use okay. Usage examples: Are you OK? The board OK’d the new salary structure. The boss is busy OK’ing travel vouchers for the conference. If she OKs it, I have no objection. The survey results show five OKs and seven Not OKs.

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Spell out Oklahoma in most cases. See state names for guidance on when to use the standard abbreviation, Okla. The postal code OK should only be used when giving a complete mailing address with ZIP code.

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Do not use on before a day or date unless its absence would lead to confusion: The meeting is Monday. The panel met Sept. 12.

Use on at the beginning of a sentence: On Jan. 20, the new president will be inaugurated.

Use on to avoid awkward juxtapositions with proper names or any suggestion that the day or date is the object of a transitive verb: John met Mary on Monday. The House killed on Tuesday a bill to raise taxes.

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organizations and institutions

Capitalize the formal names of organizations and institutions: Applause, Chemistry Club, Student Government Association, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.

Retain capitalization when flip-flopping names: College of Business, Business College. On second reference, College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics can be shortened to College of STEM. The abbreviated form can be flip-flopped: STEM College. Do not flip-flop the full name.

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Acceptable in all uses for spatial relationships and numerical comparisons: The plane flew over the city. The crop was valued at over $5 billion.

NOTE: This represents a style update AP made in 2014. Previously, over referred to spatial relationships only, and more than was preferred for numerical comparisons. See more than, over.

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page numbers

When referring to page numbers in text, capitalize and spell out page or pages and use figures. If the page number includes a letter, do not hyphenate: Page 1, Pages 12-20, Page 2A.

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See composition titles.

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parallel construction

Parallel construction is the use of like sentence elements to ensure clarity in a series or list. See listsseries. In parallel construction, every element in the series or list functionally matches the others and serves the same grammatical purpose (noun, verb, adjective, adverb).

Use parallel construction in series of single words, phrases, dependent clauses and sentences. Examples:

- Words: win, lose or draw
- Phrases: government of the people, by the people, for the people
- Dependent clauses: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
- Sentences: I came. I saw. I conquered.

When items in a list or series are not parallel, the syntax breaks down and makes nonsense:

Wrong: Sarah Smith volunteered at the homeless shelter, the soup kitchen and taught reading at the literacy center.
Right: Sarah Smith volunteered at the homeless shelter and the soup kitchen, and taught reading at the literacy center.

Wrong: The candidate is a former county judge, state senator and served two terms as attorney general.
Right: The candidate is a former county judge, state senator and two-term attorney general.

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parentheses ()

In quoted material, writers may use parentheses – ( ) – to add clarifying information such as a gesture or omitted word. The AP recommends recasting the material to avoid overusing parentheses, because the punctuation is jarring to the reader.

In a Q&A interview – Q: Were you surprised? A: We planned it that way (laughs). Really!
In direct quotes – The professor said, “No more (exams) will be given,” when she really said, “No more will be given.”

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percent (%)

Spell percent or percentage as one word and use with figures: 1 percent, 20 percent, 6 percentage pointsPercent takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular noun follows an of construction: She said 50 percent of the membership was there. It takes a plural verb when a plural noun follows ofShe said 50 percent of the members were there.

For amounts greater than 1 percent and containing fractional amounts, use decimals: 2.5 percent. For amounts less than 1 percent, use a zero before the decimal: 0.3 percent. For ranges, retain the word percent on both ends of the range unless the meaning is very clear: from 12 percent to 15 percent, between 12 and 15 percent

Do not use the percent sign (%) except in tabular material.

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periods (.)

Use periods according to these guidelines:

At the end of a declarative or mildly imperative sentence: He read the book. Shut the door.

At the end of a rhetorical question or indirect question: Why don’t we go now. He asked what the score was.

With many abbreviations, but not with acronyms (abbreviations pronounced like words). See abbreviations and acronyms.

With initials for first or middle names: John F. Kennedy, T.S. Eliot (no space between two initials, to prevent them from being separated at a line break). Names reduced to only initials take no periods: JFK, LBJ.

Before the quotation mark at the end of a sentence: She said, “This must be the place.”

Use only a single space at the end of a sentence. Use three periods to form an ellipsis. See ellipsis.

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-person (coined words)

Do not use coined words such as chairperson or spokesperson except in quotes or formal titles. Instead, use chairman or spokesman when referring to a man or to the office in general, chairwoman or spokeswoman when referring to a woman.

Alternatively, use a gender-neutral word such as leader or representative. The word chair may be used informally: Three people were nominated for committee chair. See chair, chairman, chairwoman.

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person, people

Use person when speaking of an individual. Use people rather than persons in all plural uses except direct quotes or proper names: One person waited in line. Two people approached. Bureau of Missing Persons.

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The preferred form is to avoid the abbreviation and say a person holds a doctorate. If identifying numerous people or listing them in tabular material, the abbreviation can be set off with commas following the full name: John Smith, Ph.D., spoke. See academic degrees and doctor.

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photo captions

See captions, cutlines.

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Follow these guidelines to form and use plurals:

Most words – Add sstudents, instructors, professors, colleges.

Most words ending in ch, s, sh, ss, x or z – Add esclasses, indexes.

Words ending in is – Change to esellipses, parentheses, theses.

Words ending in y – If y is preceded by a consonant or qu, change y to i and add escities, universities, soliloquies. Otherwise, add sdonkeys, turkeys.

Plural in form, singular in meaning – Some take singular verbs: measles, mumps, news. Others take plural verbs: grits, scissors. Others depend on the context. See politics.

Figures – Add an s to pluralize numerical expressions: the 1960s, two 747s, temperatures in the 20s.

Letters – For single letters, add ’sShe earned all A’s and B’s. Mind your p’s and q’s. For multiple letters, add sABCs, Ed.D.s, MBAs, Ph.D.s.

Words ending in o, words ending in f, words with Latin endings – if this style guide does not contain an entry, check the dictionary.  

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plus, plus sign (+)

Use the plus sign with figures in tabular material and when describing a mathematical operation: 4 + 6 = 10. Otherwise, spell out plus when using as and or describing an incremental grade: Students with valid IDs may receive a discount plus a free drink. She earned an A-plus on the test.

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police department

Capitalize when referring to a specific police department if that is part of its name: University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Police Department. On second reference: UAFS Police Department.

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policymaker, policymaking

One word.

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Used with a plural verb in most cases: My politics are my own business.

But singular when referring to politics as a single discipline or pursuit: World politics is a popular subject. Politics is a demanding profession.

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Add only an apostrophe to form the possessive of a proper name ending in s, regardless of pronunciation: Achilles’ heel, Descartes’ theories, Arkansas’ population.

Add only an apostrophe-s to show possessive of acronyms: CBS’s hit series, UAFS’s current enrollment, the MLB’s lineup.

Other rules ….  proper nouns, common nouns ending in s, descriptive names, double possession, joint versus individual possession, plurals.

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In accordance with the rules for prefixes, use pre- without a hyphen in front of words that begin with a consonant, a capital letter or a vowel other than e. If the word that follows begins with an e, use a hyphen. Examples: prearrange, precook, pre-existing, pre-Jeffersonian

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Generally do not hyphenate when using a prefix before a word that starts with a consonant.

When to use a hyphen:

Except for cooperate and coordinate, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.
Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized: pre-Jeffersonian.
Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph.

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prior to

Before is less stilted in most cases. Prior to can be used to denote a requirement: The fee must be paid prior to the examination.

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Never abbreviate professor. Lowercase as a job title or professional rank in all cases: professor John Taylor, English professor Lilith Avon, associate professor Dale Delman.

Capitalize only as part of a conferred title before a name: Professor Emeritus Frank Oldman.

For endowed professorships, capitalize the full formal title but separate such long titles from the holder's name with commas or other text: The Neal Pendergraft Professor of Accounting, Amelia Baldwin, was appointed in 2010Balbir Bhasin later joined UAFS as the Ross Pendergraft Professor of International Business. 

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program, program of study

Lowercase academic programs: the communications program, the mathematics program.

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The provost is the senior academic administrator for the university. At UAFS, the provost is also the vice chancellor for academic affairs. Capitalize provost as a formal title appearing before the full name: Provost John Smith.

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public information, public relations

The public information office at UAFS serves as the liaison between the campus community and the news media. Its functions include writing news releases and public service announcements, arranging news interviews with staff and students, managing UAFS news on the university website, writing articles, fact sheets and statements for the university, and maintaining the UAFS Speakers Bureau.

See marketing and communications.

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Although style guides may differ in the details, they all generally agree that the purpose of punctuation is to clarify the thought being expressed. If a punctuation mark does not contribute clarity – or worse, if it causes ambiguity or changes the meaning of a sentence – it should not be used at all.

If a sentence becomes cluttered with commas, semicolons and dashes – or worse, parentheses and slashes – start over and recast the statement, perhaps breaking the sentence into two or more shorter sentences.

See individual entries for apostrophebracketscoloncommadashellipsis, exclamation pointhyphenparenthesesperiodsquestion markquotation marksemicolonslash.

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Use Q&A to describe a question-and-answer interview format. (Note: This represents a style update the AP made in 2014. Previously, Q-and-A was preferred.)

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question mark (?)

Use a question mark (?) at the end of a direct question, but not at the end of an indirect question: Who teaches the course? I asked who teaches the course.

Use a question mark at the end of an interpolated question: You told me – Did I hear you right? – that Gibbons teaches the course.

Placement of the question mark inside or outside of quotation marks depends on the meaning: He asked, Who wrote the book? Do you know who wrote Gone With the Wind?

If attribution follows a quoted question, use a question mark instead of a comma before the ending quote mark: “Who wrote the book? he asked.

^Top ^Q

quotation marks (“ ”)

Use quotation marks (“ ”) around the exact words of a speaker or writer, regardless of whether quoting fully or partially: He said, I had an easy time last semester. She said she would make the course “much more challenging in the future

Quotes within quotes: Alternate between double (“ ”) and single (‘ ’) quotation marks as needed, beginning with double quotes around the main quotation: Sarah said, “Ben wrote in his letter, I enjoyed War and Peace in translation, but he didn't identify the translator.” 

In headlines, use single quote marks: Fans Flock to See 'Star Wars'

If two quoted elements end at the same time, use both single and double close-quote marks after the period: John said, “I have never read ‘Crime and Punishment.’”  

With unfamiliar terms: Use quotation marks to introduce an unfamiliar expression and explain it. Subsequent references to the same expression do not need quotation marks. 

Placement with other punctuation marks:
The comma and period always go inside the quotation mark. Other marks, such as the dash, colon, semicolon, question mark and exclamation mark, are placed inside the quotes if applied only to the quoted matter, but outside if applied to the whole sentence: She asked, “Where did you go?” Did he just say, “I went to the market”?

Do not put quote marks around the questions and answers in a Q&A.

When using curled quote marks, note that both double and single marks curl toward the enclosed text, and the single close quote ( ’) is also an apostrophe. See apostrophe.

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Quotations should be exact. Do not use quotation marks around indirect quotes or paraphrased material. Partial quotes are permissible to capture unusual phrasing:

Indirect quote: He said he would be late to the meeting. 
Partial quote: He said he would be johnny-come-lately to the meeting. 
Complete quote: He said, I'm going to be johnny-come-lately to the meetup.

Follow basic style guidelines for abbreviations and symbols in quotes:

He said, “I paid $30 for the No. 1 seat at the table. 
I was only going 25 mph, he told the officer. 
Tell Gov. Biggs the hotel is at 2020 First St., she said.

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river valley

Lowercase as a generic term. When referring to the region of Arkansas defined by the Arkansas River, include Arkansas and capitalize the phrase: Arkansas River Valley.

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rock ’n’ roll 

The general term contains the letter n set off with apostrophes. But the museum in Cleveland is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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roman, italic

The primary, upright style of a given font or typeface is roman, in contrast with italic, which is a slanted style that creates a cursive effect. The lowercased term roman should not be confused with designed fonts or typefaces such as Times New Roman, which contain characters in roman, italic, boldface, condensed and other styles.

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Roman numerals

Use Roman numerals – capital letters to express numbers – when designating wars, establishing a personal sequence for animals or people, or referring to certain legislative acts: World War I, the racehorse Native Dancer II, John Smith III, Louis XIV, Title IX.

NOTE: Pro football Super Bowls should be identified by the year rather than by Roman numeral sequencing: 1969 Super Bowl, not Super Bowl III. This represents a style change the AP made in February 2014.

Roman numeral values: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500 and M = 1,000.

Forming other numbers requires adding or subtracting values according to their placement in relation to each other:

Placing a lower number before a higher number means to subtract it, so IV means 4 and XL means 40.

Placing a lower or equal number after a higher or equal number means to add it, so XI means 11 and CC means 200.

A sequence that involves both adding and subtracting: MMIX means the value 2,009 or the year 2009.

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Capitalize the names of specially designated rooms: Reynolds Room.

For numbered rooms, capitalize Room and use figures: Room 218, Fullerton Room 218. For tabular material, building codes may be used: FA 218.

See buildings and venues, About UAFS.

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The abbreviation ROTC is acceptable in all references to Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. When the service branch is specified, spell it out: Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC.

ROTC is a leadership program that allows officer candidates to pursue a military career while working toward a college degree. At UAFS, which has an Army ROTC unit, interested students may coordinate their ROTC courses with their regular program of study. 

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saint, St.

Abbreviate as St. in the names of saints, cities and other places: St. Jude; St. Paul, Minnesota; St. Lawrence Seaway.

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Use only the initials for the previously designated Scholastic Aptitude Test.

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Capitalize school only when used as part of a formal name: The School of Education, formerly the College of Education, was redesignated in 2014. The school is now part of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.

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season’s greetings

Because most university writings are viewed by large, diverse audiences, a general expression of good will such as happy holidays or season’s greetings is preferred during the extended season between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

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second reference

The term second reference means all subsequent mentions of a person, place or thing identified on first reference with the full proper name. See first reference.

Second reference is guided by informal and spoken syntax, so capitalization and other conventions required on first reference may not apply. Thus, The Associated Press, whose formal name begins with a capitalized The, becomes AP or the AP (no capital on the) on second reference. Similarly, The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown becomes Blue Lion or the Blue Lion.

For people 16 or older, use the last name on second reference: Dr. Martha Goodwin becomes GoodwinRep. Harold Zimmer becomes Zimmer; Bridget Jones becomes Jones. Courtesy and professional titles are not used on second reference in written copy except in direct quotes: “I’ll discuss this with Rep. Zimmer and Ms. Jones,” Goodwin said.

For children 15 or younger, use the child’s first name on second reference.

Adults with the same last name:

When two unrelated adults have the same last name, use their full names on second reference: Sally Brown and Ronald Brown.

When same-named adults are related and the tone and context permit, consider modifying the style in this manner:

If they have equal prominence in the narrative, introduce them together by full name and relationship, then use their first names on second reference: Engineer Sally Brown and her musician brother Bill Brown, then Sally and Bill.

If the narrative focuses mainly on one person, identify that person first and begin using the last name on second reference, then introduce the other person and switch to first names. Thus, Sally Brown is Brown until her brother Bill Brown is introduced. Then they become Sally and Bill.

For business or institutional names, an acceptable second reference may be a company nickname or shortened proper name, a familiar or easily understood abbreviation or acronym, or a common noun: Ford Motor Co. becomes FordUniversity of Arkansas – Fort Smith becomes UAFS or the university.

The listing of an acceptable second reference does not mean it must be used; often a generic term such as the agency is less jarring, while at other times the full name may be repeated for clarity.

Do not follow a long name with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses. If the shortened form is not easily understood on second reference without this construction, it should not be used. Do not coin abbreviations or acronyms to trim words or save space.

Second references specific to UAFS are listed separately. See also buildings and venues.

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semester, semesterlong

No hyphen for the adjective form. This is in keeping with AP style for daylong, weeklong, monthlong, yearlong.

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Semiannual means twice a year and is synonymous with biannual: We schedule our semiannual meetings in January and June.

See biannual, biennial.

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semicolon (;)

Use the semicolon to indicate a greater separation between thoughts and information than a comma can convey but less than a period implies. 

Use semicolons between elements in a series if the elements are long or contain commas themselves: She teaches literature, both contemporary and Victorian; English poetry, but only in the summer term; and early American fiction, which is scheduled based on enrollment

Use semicolons between independent clauses when a coordinating conjunction such as and, but or for is absent: They arrived early; they stayed two hours.

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semimonthly, semiweekly

Semimonthly means twice a month. One who is paid semimonthly receives 24 checks a year.
Semiweekly means twice a week: A semiweekly newspaper may be published on Wednesdays and Saturdays. See bimonthly, biweekly.

series, serial comma

series is a list of related items presented as part of a complete sentence. All items in a series or list should be constructed of parallel elements. Simple series elements are usually separated by commas. The comma before the concluding conjunction is often called the serial comma. See commalistsparallel construction.

For a simple series – Use commas between series elements, but not before the concluding conjunction: The flag is red, white and blue. He would nominate Tom, Dick or Harry.

For complex series – AP recommends using the serial comma in complex series for clarity’s sake.

Put a comma before the concluding conjunction when an integral element in the series contains a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases: The main points to consider are whether the athletes are skillful enough to compete, whether they have the stamina to endure the training, and whether they have the proper mental attitude.

See dash and semicolon for cases when series elements contain internal commas.

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slash (/)

The forward-leaning slash (/) is acceptable in certain descriptive phrases such as 24/7 or 9/11, but otherwise should be confined to special uses such as website addresses, fractions or line breaks in quoted poetry.

Not to be confused with the backward-leaning backslash (\), which is used only in some computing contexts.

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Use a single character space (not two) between sentences in a paragraph. Advanced typesetting technology has made the two-space practice unnecessary and undesirable.

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state names

Spell out all 50 U.S. state names in narrative text, whether standing alone or with cities: Students in Arkansas and its border states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas – are eligible for in-state tuition rates at UAFS.

Abbreviations and postal codes:

Standard abbreviations of states (e.g., Ark., La., Miss., Mo., Okla., Tenn.) may be used in datelines, lists, agate type, tabular material, credit lines and short-form party affiliations. Eight states do not have standard abbreviations and should be spelled out everywhere: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Utah.

Postal codes (e.g., AR, OK, TX) are reserved for use in complete mailing addresses with ZIP codes.

When referring to cities and their states together – required for all except major cities that could stand alone in AP datelines – set off the states with commas on both sides within a sentence: They left Beaumont, Texas, and stopped in New Orleans before passing through Mobile, Alabama, and Orlando, Florida, on their way to Miami. See datelines.
Arkansas style note:
The Associated Press recommends identifying the state on first reference to a city in narrative copy that has no dateline. In UAFS marketing materials, the logo or text version of University of Arkansas – Fort Smith provides sufficient first reference to Fort Smith, Arkansas. For all other Arkansas cities, identify and spell out the state on first reference to each. A single reference that includes all cities is acceptable: They visited the Arkansas cities of Little Rock, Jonesboro and Van Buren.
NOTE: The requirement to spell out states when listed with cities represents a change the AP made May 1, 2014, to bring domestic style into agreement with international style. Previously, most state names were abbreviated when paired with cities. With the updated rule, Little Rock, Ark., becomes Little Rock, Arkansas.

All 50 states are listed below with their standard abbreviations and postal codes. If a state has no standard abbreviation, it is spelled out twice in the list.

Alabama, Ala., AL
Alaska, Alaska, AK
Arizona, Ariz., AZ
Arkansas, Ark., AR
California, Calif., CA
Colorado, Colo., CO
Connecticut, Conn., CT
Delaware, Del., DE
Florida, Fla., FL
Georgia, Ga., GA

Hawaii, Hawaii, HA
Idaho, Idaho, ID
Illinois, Ill., IL
Indiana, Ind., IN
Iowa, Iowa, IA
Kansas, Kan., KS
Kentucky, Ky., KY
Louisiana, La., LA
Maine, Maine, ME
Maryland, Md., MD

Massachusetts, Mass., MA
Michigan, Mich., MI
Minnesota, Minn., MN
Mississippi, Miss., MS
Missouri, Mo., MO
Montana, Mont., MT
Nebraska, Neb., NE
Nevada, Nev., NV
New Hampshire, N.H., NH 
New Jersey, N.J., NJ

New Mexico, N.M., NM
New York, N.Y., NY
North Carolina, N.C., NC
North Dakota, N.D., ND
Ohio, Ohio, OH
Oklahoma, Okla., OK
Oregon, Ore., OR
Pennsylvania, Pa., PA
Rhode Island, R.I., RI
South Carolina, S.C., SC 

South Dakota, S.D., SD
Tennessee, Tenn., TN
Texas, Texas, TX
Utah, Utah, UT
Vermont, Vt., VT
Virginia, Va., VA
Washington, Wash., WA
West Virginia, W.Va., WV
Wisconsin, Wis., WI
Wyoming, Wyo., WY

See cities and towns, datelines.

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Always spell out and capitalize the names of streets when used without addresses: Main Street, Park Avenue.

Letter streets should show the letter capitalized, with no punctuation: E Street (not “E” Street).

Number streets should be presented in ordinal form, with figures for numbers 10 and above: First through Ninth, then 10th, 22nd, 133rd, etc.

Spell out compass points for standalone streets but abbreviate with numbered addresses: North Second Street, 101 N. Second St.

Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., St., when used with a numbered address, but spell out all other street types in all uses:  5210 Grand Ave., 44 Beautiful Blvd., 789 Main St., 813 N. Waldron Road, 1 River Drive, 61008 Winding Highway.

Spell out and lowercase all street types in plural form: The Blue Lion is on the corner of North Second and North A streets.

See addresses.

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student activities office

The student activities office at UAFS seeks to promote student engagement, leadership and academic success through activities, organizations and events designed to meet student social needs and extend learning beyond the classroom.

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student classification

Student classification is determined by the number of credit hours passed, whether at UAFS or accepted as transfer credits:

Freshman: up to 29 credit hours passed
Sophomore: 30 to 59 hours passed
Junior: 60 to 89 hours passed
Senior: 90 or more hours passed

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telephone numbers

For U.S. telephone numbers, use the area code and hyphens: 479-785-0000. Toll-free numbers: 800-111-1000.

The country code for the United States, 1, is usually assumed.

If listing an international number, provide the number needed to dial from the United States, 011, followed by the country code, city code and phone number, separating the sections with hyphens: 011-44-20-7353-1515.

For extensions, follow the phone number with a comma and abbreviate extension: 212-621-1500, ext. 2.

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tests (see UA)

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that, which

Use the pronouns that and which when referring to inanimate objects or unnamed animals.

Introduce essential phrases or clauses with that. Introduce nonessential phrases or clauses with which and set off with commas: 

The horse that led the parade has an injured leg. The other horse, which appears to be quite old, has been put out to pasture.

See essential and nonessential clauses or phrases; who, whom.

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In composition titles, capitalize the if it is the first or last word, but lowercase an internal theThe Proper Use of the Word The.

If a periodical uses a capitalized The in its formal name, AP recommends following suit unless naming several papers including some that do not capitalize: The New York Times would become the New York Times or simply New York Times in such a list.

The AP generally lowercases or omits the initial the when naming organizations and institutions, even if the formal name shows a capitalized TheThe Ohio State University becomes Ohio State University.

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theater, theatre

Associated Press style is theater in all references except when a proper name is spelled otherwise: a movie theater, a theater troupe, the campus amphitheater, Fort Smith Little Theatre.

Note: In an exception to AP, the spelling theatre is acceptable in reference to stage programming at UAFS, where it appears in many proper names:

Students need not major in theatre to participate in Theatre at UAFS productions.
But: The Windgate Art and Design building at UAFS houses a 150-seat movie theater.

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In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s full name. Lowercase when used without a name or when set off from a name with commas: Earlier today, Chancellor Paul B. Beran introduced the president, Barack Obama, to the vice chancellor for student affairs.

Informal job titles or occupational descriptions should be lowercased: editor Brenda Starr, accountant Bernie Crook, professor Harold Holt.

See academic titlescomposition titlescourtesy titles, headlines, military titles.

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titles of works

See composition titles.

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transfer, transferable, transferred, transferring

Note the single "r" in transferable. 

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Acceptable as a noun or adjective in all references to television.

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See University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.

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United States, U.S.

The abbreviation U.S. is acceptable as a noun or adjective in all uses and preferable when naming government departments or agencies: the United States, the U.S., the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Capitalize university in formal names, but lowercase in all other uses, including second reference to UAFS: University of Arkansas – Fort Smith alumni return to the university each year for Homecoming.

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University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas  Fort Smith began as Fort Smith Junior College in 1928. The institution changed its name to Westark Junior College in 1966, Westark Community College in 1972 and Westark College in 1998 before joining the University of Arkansas System and adopting its current name on Jan. 1, 2002.

University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, with a hyphen or short dash set between single spaces in body copy (the official logo contains a hyphen between spaces), should be used on first reference. The legal name, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, is used only in legal documents.

On second reference, use UAFS or the university. Do NOT use UA Fort Smith, UA-Fort Smith, U.A. Fort Smith or U of A Fort Smith.

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University of Arkansas System

The University of Arkansas System oversees 13 academic institutions and four other units. The system is governed by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and administered by the president of the system. System offices are in Little Rock.

On first reference, use University of Arkansas System. On second reference, use UA system or the system.

For the governing body, the formal name is University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. On second reference, use Board of Trustees or the board. In all references, the people who serve on the board are board members or trustees.

UAFS adopted University of Arkansas – Fort Smith as its formal name in 2002. Its legal name, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, is used only in legal documents.

The system’s flagship institution is the University of Arkansas, located in Fayetteville. To avoid confusion, use University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on first reference and UA Fayetteville (not UAF) on second reference.

The other system campuses are:

Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Arkansas at Monticello
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service
University of Arkansas Community College at Hope
University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

The UA System also oversees the Arkansas Archeological Survey, the Criminal Justice Institute, the Division of Agriculture and the Winthrop Rockefeller Center.

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University Police Department

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versus, vs., v.

In most ordinary uses, the spelled-out word versus is preferred over the abbreviation vs.: We debated going out to lunch versus cooking at home. Use the abbreviation v. for court cases: Smith v. Jones.


vice chancellor

Each vice chancellor at the university is an administrative officer who reports directly to the chancellor.

UAFS has five such officers: the vice chancellor for academic affairs, the vice chancellor for enrollment management, the vice chancellor for finance, the vice chancellor for student affairs and the vice chancellor for university advancement. 

Capitalize vice chancellor when used as a title before a full name. Do not use the area of oversight as part of the formal title; lowercase and set off with commas: Vice Chancellor Mary Lackie, who oversees university advancement. The vice chancellor for university advancement, Mary Lackie, is also executive director of the university foundation.

The vice chancellor for academic affairs is also the provost, and the shorter title is preferred before the name: Provost Georgia Hale, the vice chancellor for academic affairs.


Web, website

The World Wide Web can be referred to as the Web, capitalized alone and when used in terms with separate words: Web feed, Web page. Lowercase one-word forms, such as website, webcam, webcast.


west, West, western, Western

Lowercase when conveying a compass direction or general area; capitalize when referring to a widely known region: There is a store in western Arkansas that sells cowboy boots and other Western wear. Head west on Rogers Avenue. In this fusion menu, East meets West.

See directions and regions.


who, whom

The pronouns who and whom refer to human beings and animals with a name.

Grammatically, who is always the subject (never the object) of a sentence, clause or phrase: Who is there? The woman who lives next door is a dentist. Fido, who likes to be petted, nuzzled his owner's hand.

Use whom when someone is the object of a verb or preposition: Whom do you wish to see? The woman to whom we sold the house has a dog named Fido

See essential and nonessential clauses or phrases; that, which.


who’s, whose




workforce, workplace





Always use figures, without commas: 1999, 2001. When giving a complete date, set off the year with commas, but do not use a comma in a month-year or season-year combination: Feb. 28, 1990, was the target date. The fall 1999 semester. The program ended in April 2000.

Dates within the current year rarely need to include the year. When referring to dates in past or future years, specify the years. In such cases, dates in the current year may need to include the year for clarity.

To express a range of years, abbreviate the second part of the range unless the century changes: 1996-97, 1999-2000, 2010-11. See academic year.

Add an s with no apostrophe to indicate a decade or century: the 1920s, the 1800s.

Years are the lone exception to the rule against beginning a sentence with a figure: 1976 was a very good year.


ZIP code

The all-caps ZIP stands for Zoning Improvement Plan. Use with lowercase code. When providing a mailing address, write city name, comma,  two-letter state postal code and ZIP code: New York, NY 10020.