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Writing/Editing Style Guide

Editorial Policy & Standards

All publications written and produced by the CSB/SJU Office of Marketing and Communications will be written to conform to current Associated Press (AP) Stylebook guidelines. However, there are unique grammatical/style circumstances that apply to our institutions that aren't mentioned in this universal manual. Below is a compilation of many of the references unique to CSB and SJU. For further questions about style and usage, please refer to the latest version of the AP Stylebook.

abbey - lowercase unless part of a formal title: Saint John's Abbey

academic degrees - if mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology.

Use such abbreviations as B.A., M.A., LL.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name - never after just a last name.

When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas: Daniel Moynihan, Ph.D., spoke.

Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference: wrong: Dr. Pam Jones, Ph.D. correct: Dr. Pam Jones, a chemist.

academic standing - Use senior, junior, sophomore and first-year when referring to students at CSB/SJU. List the student by the number of years they've been on campus, not their academic standing with credits earned and recognized by the registrar's office.  Example: Someone who is attending CSB for the third year is a junior, even if they have senior standing in terms of credits. The exceptions to this rule would include academic awards (like the DES Awards in spring) or an event like commencement.

During the summer period, all hometown releases listing academic distinctions earned during the previous semester should list the student's academic standing when the student received the honor. 

academic titles - Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chairman, professor, etc. when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. E.g., Mary Smith, associate professor of biology or Professor Mary Smith.

address - the official college address at CSB is: Specific Department, Person or Program, College of Saint Benedict, 37 S. College Ave., St. Joseph, MN 56374-2099. The official college address at SJU is: Specific Department, Person or Program, Saint John's University, PO Box XXXX, Collegeville, MN 56321-XXXX.

admission, Admission Office - capitalize when it is a formal name. Lowercase all other uses, including phrases such as "financial aid."

adviser - not advisor.

alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni - use alumna (alumnae in the plural) when referring to women attending a school, alumnus (alumni in plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. When referring to both women and men, use alumnae/i. Reserve alum (alums in plural) to informal publications only or quotes.

For married couples, use first name, (birth name in parenthesis), married name and class year. Example: John Smith, '90, and Barb (Doe) Smith, '91. If a couple uses two hyphenated or two last names, use style the couple prefers. 

Alumnae Association, Alumni Association, Alumnae Board

Annual Fund

Annual Fund Committee

bachelor of arts, bachelor of science - a bachelor's degree or bachelor's is acceptable reference.

Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict - the official name is: the Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict. The Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict on first reference, Benedicta Arts Center or BAC on second reference.

Board of Trustees - use the full name for first reference. Subsequent references may be styled as the trustees or the board.

bookstore - lowercase when standing alone, uppercase when used with College of Saint Benedict, Saint John's University, CSB, SJU, etc. E.g., Amanda works at the CSB Bookstore.

book titles - italics.

capitalization - lowercase internal elements of an organization or institution when the names are those widely used in generic terms: board of trustees at CSB, history department at CSB/SJU. Capitalize internal elements of an organization when they have names that are not widely used generic terms: Alumnae Council.

Catholic - always uppercase when referring to Roman Catholic.

church - always lowercase unless part of a proper name. E.g., Our family went to church every Sunday at the Church of St. Mary's.

class representatives, class reps (formal, informal).

Clemens Library, the library

the college - lowercase when referring to CSB or any college

College of Saint Benedict, Saint Ben's, CSB - College of Saint Benedict on first reference, CSB or Saint Ben's on second reference.

When referring to both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, they are normally given alphabetically, but the following are acceptable: College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, Saint John's University and College of Saint Benedict, Saint Ben's and Saint John's, Saint John's and Saint Ben's, CSB/SJU, CSB and SJU or SJU and CSB.

College of Saint Benedict Centennial: A Century of Connection (no italics or quotes) or College of Saint Benedict Centennial, second reference: centennial (lowercase).

comma - do not use the last comma in a series before the and (Harvard comma) unless needed for clarity. E.g., "math, English and history." Commas always go inside quotation marks.

commencement - lowercase when used alone. Uppercase when preceded by College of Saint Benedict, CSB, SJU, etc. E.g., CSB Commencement

committees - official committee names are capitalized. E.g., Joint Events Council, Health at Work.

core curriculum - lowercase.

dean's list - lowercase.

departments - Capitalize official department names and office names in running text. References using shortened or unofficial names should be lowercase.

development, Development Office

dollar amounts - do not use ".00" for even dollar amounts, e.g. the event is $5 for faculty/staff, $3.50 for students.

donor clubs - Builders Club, Builders Club members; Flame Society, Flame Society members; Heritage Association, Heritage Association members; President's Club, President's Club members.

email - lowercase and do not hyphenate.

Endowed Scholars Fund

Endowment Gifts Program

events - capitalize special events: Father/Daughter Dance, Family Weekend.

fall - lowercase all seasons within a sentence.

fall semester - instead of fall term or first semester

field house

First-year student - Do not use the word freshman at CSB or SJU in any OMC releases or stories. (However, SJU athletic teams will use the term "freshman" to describe a student-athlete, as in "The freshman running back rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns.") 

Guesthouse - note use of guesthouse (one word); second reference, the guesthouse.

Homecoming - the CSB alumnae event in June has been officially changed to Reunion. Use homecoming when referring to SJU Homecoming.

identification - in general, identify people as name, job title. E.g., Helen Adams, assistant director of development, will complete the project. Anthony Jones, professor of history, will soon complete an analytical paper. Mary Anthony Johnson, OSB, director of archives, will lead the group.

Identify alumnae in text with their year of graduation on first reference: Gayla Lindt '85, led the Senior Pledge Campaign. No comma between last name and year.

If an alum does not use her maiden name but it is needed for identification purposes, set off the maiden name in parentheses. E.g., Gladys (Antony) Wold '29.

When identifying a monastic member who is also a graduate of CSB or SJU, their class year should be listed before OSB. E.g., Fr. Robert Koopmann '68, OSB.

Internet - Capitalize.

Jackson Fellows Program - College of Saint Benedict Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows Program on first reference, Jackson Fellows Program on second reference.

Johnnie/Johnnies - informal

Johnnie Bread

majors/minors - lowercase unless a language.

master of arts, master of science - a master's degree or master's is acceptable reference.

Mass - meaning Eucharist is always capitalized.

McCarthy Center - The Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at Saint John's University on first reference, McCarthy Center on second reference. 

monastery - lowercase unless part of proper name.

months - when giving a month and year, do not separate with commas. E.g., June 1946. When referencing month, day and year, set off the year with commas. E.g.: Feb. 14, 1987, is the target date.

Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. E.g.: Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the year. Spell out when using a month alone.

More than - Over, can at times, be used with numerals: She is over 30. I paid over $200 for the suit. But, more than may be better: Their salaries went up more than $20 a week. Let your ear be your guide.

numbers - spell out one through nine and first through ninth, use numerals from 10, 10th on. Spell out any numeral at the beginning of a sentence unless that number identifies a calendar year; it is sometimes preferred to restructure the sentence. E.g., Five hundred twelve women donated to the fund last year. Last year, 512 women donated to the fund. 1997 was a good year for all of us.

offices - capitalize the proper title for an office, lowercase reference to the area itself. E.g., Office of Marketing and Communications, communications; Campus Ministry Office, campus ministry.

online - one word for all cases for the computer connection term.

order of events - when describing an event, the following sequence of information should be used: event, time, date, place. E.g., The CSB Reunion will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, in the Haehn Campus Center.

OSB - no periods: S. Colman O'Connell, OSB; Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB.

Over - May be used with numerals: She is over 30. I paid over $200 for the suit. But, "more than" may be better: Their salaries went up more than $20 a week. Let your ear be your guide.

part time, part-time - hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: She works part time. She has a part-time job.

percent - one word. Spell out "percent" in all text; use the % in charts.

percentages - use figures: 1 percent, 1.5 percent (use decimals, not fractions), 10 percent. For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6 percent. Repeat percent with each individual figure: he said 10 percent to 30 percent of the electorate may not vote.

phone numbers - use hyphens to separate the area code from the exchange and the exchange from the number: 320-363-2595.

President - capitalize when used before a name, lowercase when used after a name. E.g., President George Bush; George Bush, president of the United States.

programs, committees, campaigns - capitalize the names of specific college programs, committees and campaigns: Athlete to Athlete, Friends Campaign; lowercase references such as the program, the committee, the campaign.

quotation marks - placement with other punctuation: The period and comma always go inside the quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark and exclamation point go within the quotes when they apply to the quoted material.

The Record - school newspaper of CSB/SJU. Note the "T" in "The" is capitialized, as in "Writers from The Record won 14 awards in the contest."

reunion class, reunion class agents

The Rule of St. Benedict, italicize. The Rule, italicized, on second reference 

Saint - always capitalize and spell out when referencing College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. References to "St." in city names remain the same: College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn.

Saint Benedict - shortened from College of Saint Benedict. Not "Saint Benedict's," unless used in a possessive context.

Saint John's University, Saint John's, SJU - Saint John's University on first reference, SJU or Saint John's on second reference.

When referring to both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, they are normally given alphabetically, but the following are acceptable: College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, Saint John's University and College of Saint Benedict, Saint Ben's and Saint John's, Saint John's and Saint Ben's, CSB/SJU, CSB and SJU or SJU and CSB.

school - students attend either CSB (female) or SJU (male). They do not attend CSB/SJU. Exceptions: Activities and clubs (She is a member of the CSB/SJU College Democrats; Charlie McCarron is a member of the CSB/SJU Orchestra).

Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, Saint Benedict's Monastery, the monastery

sister - use sister/sisters when referring to the women in the monastery. S. is preferred for text.

spring - lowercase all seasons within a sentence.

spring semester - instead of spring term or second semester

States - Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when they stand alone in textual material. E.g. Dorothy moved from Oklahoma to attend college in Minnesota. Use AP abbreviations for states when listed with a city, county, town, village or military base. E.g., While attending college in St. Joseph, Minn., Emma worked at the bookstore.

Summer Term - instead of May Term.

Theater - Colman Theater, Black Box Theater, Darnall Amphitheater, Theater Department, Stephen B. Humphrey Theater.

times - do not use ":00" for on-the-hour times; also, it is 12 p.m., 12 a.m., noon or midnight, never 12 noon or 12 midnight. E.g.: The game is at 8 p.m. and a reception will follow at 9:30 p.m.; everyone will take off their masks at midnight. When referencing a timeframe, use a hyphen to separate the beginning and ending time when the times are both a.m. or both p.m. E.g., The art exhibit will be open from 8-8:45 p.m., but the gallery lobby will be open from 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

titles - in general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual's name: President Mary Dana Hinton, Provost Rita Knuesel.

academic Do not use Dr.; use rank following name as a general rule.

religious Use S., Br. and the Rev. for sister, brother and father before a name.

The basic guidelines:

Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an individual's name: The president issued a statement. The pope gave his blessing.

Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas: James Smith, associate professor of history, attended the conference. The vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, declined to run again. Paul VI, the current pope, does not plan to retire.

Capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names: Pope John Paul VI, President George Washington. (A formal title generally is one that denotes a scope of authority, professional activity or academic accomplishment so specific that the designation becomes as much an integral part of an individual's identity as a proper name itself.)

Other titles serve primarily as occupational descriptions and should be lowercase: astronaut John Glenn, movie star John Wayne.

university - lowercase when referring to SJU or any university.

upperclass - when referring to seniors; not upper class

website - Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, Web page and Web feed.

years - no apostrophe when the meaning is plurality. 1980s or '80s refers to the years 1980-1989. 1980's or '80's is possessive and refers to an event happening in or belonging to 1980, i.e. 1980's cars.