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Editorial Style Guide

The editorial style guide provides preferred standards and definitions for expressions and constructions found in California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) publications, news releases and all other marketing related material. It is an abbreviated collection of style points. If you have a style question not answered in this guide, please refer to The Associated Press Stylebook.

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Sports Guidelines

Grammar, Punctuation, Etc.


abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviations and acronyms may be used on first reference only if widely recognized.

  • DNA
  • FBI
  • NASA

Otherwise, spell out the complete name or phrase on first reference and follow with the abbreviation in parentheses if and only if the abbreviation will be referenced subsequently.

  • Cal State San Bernardino and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) will work together to promote higher education.

In general, abbreviations and acronyms with only two capitalized letters use periods. For those with three or more capitalized letters, omit the periods between the letters.

  • U.S.
  • CIA

When an acronym serves as a proper name and exceeds four letters, capitalize only the first letter.

  • Unesco
  • Unicef

When an abbreviation follows an indefinite article, choose between “a” or “an” as determined by the way the abbreviation would be read aloud.

  • an HMO
  • a UFO

academic degrees

When referring to degrees granted by the university, it is bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in lowercase:

  • The university conferred 600 bachelor’s degrees and 900 master’s degrees.

When referring to bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, master of arts and master of science, within body copy all are lowercase as well. The discipline in which the degree was earned, unless it is a proper noun, also remains lowercase:

  • bachelor of science degree in biology, bachelor of arts in English, master’s degree in fine arts.

When referring to an individual with a doctorate, the first reference should be John Smith, Ph.D. and then Smith (last name only) in later references. When referencing an academic professional, reference should always be to title rather than degree held, such as:

  • Chancellor Jolene Koester, President Tomás D. Morales, Dean Rueyling Chuang, Professor Stuart Sumida. See Dr. / doctor.

Do not routinely list all degrees in copy. If you need to, list the highest degree earned and use the abbreviations only after a full name, never after just a last name.
Some common abbreviations: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., J.D., M.D., BSN, MBA, MFA, D.Min., Ed.D., M.Div., Ph.D.

CSUSB awards the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Science in Informational Systems Technology (MSIST) 
  • Master of Science Physician Assistant (MSPA)
  • Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
  • Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology (Ed.S.)

academic departments and offices

When including the formal title of an office or department, capitalize names of departments, schools, offices, organizations, committees, societies, institutes, centers, boards, etc. Lowercase when not referenced in full:

  • Jane Doe, chair of the Department of English, gave the opening comments. She has been chair of the history department since 1998.
  • The Office of Student Engagement is located in the Union Hall. Visit the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

CSUSB academic departments and offices:


academic programs

Lowercase within body copy unless it is a proper noun:

  • early childhood education, English and foreign languages, Middle Eastern studies; or unless it involves a recognized acronym: MBA, Ed.D, STEM.

academic semesters and years

Lowercase terms designating academic semesters and years: first-year students (instead of freshman), sophomore, junior, senior, winter, spring, summer and fall.

  • Smith will graduate in spring 2020.

The term first year is gender neutral and has gained support throughout academia.


Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 3700 W. 103rd St. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Western Avenue. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues. Spell out similar designations (alley, drive, road, parkway, etc.). Spell out First through Ninth St., use numerals 10th and above.

Abbreviate compass points in an address, but spell them out when there is no address number:

  • The store is at 900 N. Michigan Ave. They walked along North Michigan Avenue.


not “adviser” [unless it is part of a formal title]

affect, effect

“Affect” is almost always used as a verb, meaning “to influence,” “to act on” or “to produce an effect or change in.”

  • The news stories affected the election.

“Effect” is almost always used as a noun, meaning “result” or “outcome.”

  • His test score had a positive effect on his final grade.
  • The best way to effect change is to become an active participant

African American

Acceptable for an American Black person of African descent. Also acceptable is Black.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Also used when making a non-gender specific reference:

  • The committee was asked to nominate an alumnus of the last decade.

Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman.

Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.

Alum is informal slang and should not be used other than in a direct quote.

When writing about alumni, the graduation year should always be noted:

  • John Smith ’79; Mary Jane Smith, Ed.D. ’65.

Please note that graduation year is included with the individual’s name and that the apostrophe faces away from the year of graduation.


Never use the term first annual. An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held for at least two successive years.

Asian American

A person of Asian birth or descent who lives in the U.S.

Associated Students Incorporated

On second reference use ASI


Board of Trustees

Capitalize when referring to the CSU Board of Trustees.

An up-to-date list of the members of the Board of Trustees is kept on file in the Chancellor’s Office with appropriate titles and affiliations. Please contact the Chancellor’s Office if you have questions regarding names, titles, etc.


Treat all items within a bulleted list consistently in terms of capitalization, punctuation and sentence structure. Treat all bulleted lists consistently within a document. Do not use periods after each item in a list if the items are not complete sentences.

The Obershaw DEN offers:

  • fresh fruit
  • vegetables
  • snacks

When bullet points contain complete sentences, use a period after each bullet in the list and capitalize the beginning of each sentence. In such instances, do not include “and” in final point of list.


California State University, San Bernardino

Spell out on first reference. Cal State San Bernardino may also be used in first reference. On second and subsequent references, it may be referred to as Cal State San Bernardino and/or CSUSB. Lowercase university when referring to CSUSB:

  • California State University, San Bernardino is closed today. The university will open tomorrow.

California State University campuses

Listed below are the official names, alternative short forms and initials of the CSU’s other 22 campuses. After the first mention of a campus, you can use the short form or the initials for variation, if applicable.

  • California State University, Bakersfield – CSU Bakersfield – CSUB

  • California State University Channel Islands (no comma after university) – CSU Channel Islands – CI

  • California State University, Chico – Chico State

  • California State University, Dominguez Hills – CSU Dominguez Hills – CSUDH

  • California State University, East Bay – Cal State East Bay – CSUEB

  • California State University, Fresno – Fresno State

  • California State University, Fullerton – Cal State Fullerton – CSUF

  • California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt – Cal Poly Humboldt

  • California State University, Long Beach – Cal State Long Beach – CSULB

  • California State University, Los Angeles – Cal State LA – CSULA

  • California State University Maritime Academy – Cal Maritime

  • California State University, Monterey Bay – CSU Monterey Bay – CSUMB

  • California State University, Northridge – CSUN

  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – Cal Poly Pomona – CPP (never Cal Poly)

  • California State University, Sacramento – Sacramento State

  • San Diego State University – San Diego State – SDSU

  • San Francisco State University – San Francisco State – SF State

  • San José State University – San José State – SJSU

  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

  • California State University San Marcos – CSU San Marcos – CSUSM

  • Sonoma State University – Sonoma State – SSU

  • California State University, Stanislaus – Stanislaus State

*Please note Channel Islands, Maritime and San Marcos do not have a comma in their formal names.

**Please note the order of Polytechnic and State when referring to Humboldt, Pomona and San Luis Obispo.

University of California (system)

Spell out on first reference. On second and subsequent references the UC is acceptable. While it can stand alone, in many cases it helps to clarify it as the system, especially since some members of the public still refer to the Berkeley campus as the University of California. The system leadership includes a president, a Board of Regents, and an Academic Senate.

University of California member institutions

There are nine campuses within the system. Spell out University of California on first reference, using a comma to separate from the location such as University of California, Riverside. Second references usually can be either the abbreviation UC followed by location (UC Riverside) – using no periods or commas, or the accepted acronym (UCR). There are three exceptions to the second reference guideline …

UC Berkeley and UC Merced do not utilize an acronym.

UCLA is always the second reference for the Los Angeles campus.

Each UC campus administration includes a Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost, Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts. UC San Francisco also includes a President and CEO of UCSF Health within its leadership structure.

Two additional recognized locations within the UC system are also of note:

University of California Hastings College of the Law is the proper first reference to the San Francisco-based law school. Second reference UC Hastings is acceptable.

University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert Center is the proper first reference to the established teaching and research center. Second reference UCR Palm Desert is acceptable.


When distinguishing between CSUSB’s campuses, do not capitalize the word campus. Capitalize campus when spelling out Palm Desert Campus, as it is the formal name.

It is not necessary for both the San Bernardino campus and the Palm Desert Campus addresses to appear on all external university publications. The correct listing for each campus is as follows:

  • The San Bernardino campus address is
    5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407.
  • The Palm Desert Campus address is 
    37500 Cook St., Palm Desert, CA 92211.


campus buildings, facilities and landmarks



  • Academic Research
  • Administration
  • Administrative Service/Corporate Yard
  • Alumni Center
  • Arrowhead Village
  • Auto Fleet
  • Biological Sciences
  • Center for Global Innovation
  • Chaparral Hall
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Children’s Center
  • College of Education
  • Coussoulis Arena (formerly known as James and Aerianthi Coussoulis Arena)
  • Coyote Bookstore
  • Coyote Commons
  • Coyote Premier Field
  • Coyote Village
  • Coyote Walk
  • CSUSB Spirit Letters
  • Environmental Health & Safety
  • Facilities Planning & Management
  • Faculty Office Building
  • Fiscalini Field (off-campus baseball field)
  • Health & PE Complex
  • Information Center Coyote Drive
  • Information Center University Parkway
  • Jack H. Brown Hall
  • James R. Watson & Judy Rodriguez Watson College of Education
  • John M. Pfau Library
  • Legacy Fountain
  • Murillo Family Observatory
  • Museum of Anthropology
  • Obershaw DEN (DEN is uppercase and stands for Delivering Emergency Nourishment for CSUSB Students)
  • Obershaw Dining Room 
  • Peace Garden
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Physical Sciences
  • Plant/Central Warehouse
  • Robert & Frances Fullerton Museum of Art – RAFFMA
  • Ronald E. Barnes Theatre
  • San Bernardino Water Conservation Garden
  • Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center
  • Santos Manuel Student Union North 
  • Santos Manuel Student Union South
  • Santos Manuel Student Union South Theater 
  • Serrano Village
  • Sierra Hall
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Student Health Center
  • Student Recreation & Wellness Center
  • University Center for Developmental Disabilities
  • University Enterprises
  • University Hall
  • University Police
  • University Village
  • Veterans Success Center
  • Visual Arts
  • Watson & Associates Literacy Center
  • Wild Song
  • William & Barbara Leonard Transportation Center
  • Yasuda Center

Palm Desert Campus

  • iHub (across the street from PDC)
  • Indian Wells Center for Educational Excellence
  • Indian Wells Theater
  • Mary Stuart Rogers Gateway
  • Palm Desert Health Sciences

cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation


Lowercase (unless part of a proper name). Spell out numbers under 10:

  • the first century
  • the 21st century


preferred usage instead of chairman or chairwoman

civil rights

Lowercase when used generally but uppercase for the Civil Rights Movement

Commencement, graduation

Ceremonies at which at degrees or diplomas are conferred. Graduation is also graduating or being graduated from a school or college.


Capitalize committee names: Student Media Committee

Congress members

Use Representative as formal first usage instead of Congressman or Congresswoman. In non-formal use, member(s) of Congress is acceptable. Never Congressperson.

company names

Do not use commas to offset Co., Cos., Corp., Inc., Ltd., LLP, LLC, and the like when a business uses it at the end of its name: Ford Motor Co., McGraw-Hill Cos., Intel Corp., Apple Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd., Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP.

CoyoteOne Card

CSUSB’s ID card.

course names

Capitalize the official names of courses because they are, in effect, titles:

  • James is taking History of Mass Media this semester.

Lowercase the names of subjects and majors unless they are proper nouns or adjectives:

  • I am studying music and English.




A plural noun that takes plural verbs and pronouns: The criteria are reviewed regularly. The singular form is criterion.

CSUSB Magazine


CSUSB Cybersecurity Center



A plural noun that normally takes plural verbs and pronouns. The singular form is datum.

  • The data are still being examined.

dates and times

Use figures for days of the month, omitting “nd,” “rd,” “st” and “th.” Place a comma between the day and the year when the date is mentioned.

  • On May 21, 2022, students and their families gathered for Commencement.

Do not place a comma between the month and the year when the date is not mentioned.

  • September 2022 will be a busy time.

Abbreviate these months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept. Oct., Nov. and Dec. Write out March, April, May, June and July.

When referring to the academic year, use a hyphen but do not repeat the four-digit year.

  • 2022-23

Use a.m. or p.m. after the time of day, except for noon and midnight. When the time is on the hour, do not include “00.” Use periods for a.m. and p.m. and add a space after the numeral:

  • The class meets at 10 a.m. Redundant: 10 a.m. this morning

For noon and midnight, do not include “12.” 

  • The class meets from noon to 2 p.m.

For a span of time, use “to” instead of a hyphen.

  • 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Deans’ Council

Note placement of the apostrophe.

dean’s list

departments and offices

Capitalize the formal names of departments and offices. Do not capitalize informal names and incomplete designations.

  • Center for International Studies and Programs
  • Cross Cultural Center
  • Division of Administration and Finance
  • First Peoples’ Center
  • Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis
  • Institute of Child Development and Family Relations
  • Institute of Research, Assessment and Professional Development        
  • LatinX Center
  • Learning Research Institute
  • Office of Academic Research
  • Office of Community Engagement, community engagement
  • Office of Graduate Studies, graduate studies
  • Office of Institutional Research
  • Office of Ombuds Services
  • Office of the Provost and Division of Academic Affairs
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Office of Marketing and Communications
  • Office of Services to Students with Disabilities
  • Office of Student Research
  • Osher Adult Re-Entry Center
  • Pan-African Center
  • Queer and Transgender Resource Center
  • Rancho Mirage Student Center
  • Special Events and Guest Services
  • Undocumented Student Success Center
  • Veterans Success Center
  • Women’s Resource Center

directions and regions

Lowercase compass direction. Capitalize words that denote specific regions.

  • She drove east.
  • She moved from the Midwest to Southern California.

disabled, disability

Use “students with disabilities” instead of “disabled students.” Do not describe an individual as disabled unless it is clearly pertinent to the story. If a description must be used, refer to a person’s specific condition. Refer to individuals as “using” a wheelchair, not as “confined” to a wheelchair.

  • He has muscular dystrophy.
  • She has used a wheelchair since her accident.


Use only when referring to a medical doctor. Do not use Dr. and M.D. together: Dr. David Davis, M.D. In most instances, Dr. is unnecessary — assuming the copy adequately explains the person’s position. Dr. appears only before a name on first reference. Do not use the title Dr. for people who hold doctorates because the average reader associates it with an M.D.



AP Stylebook, American Copy Editors Society and the Chicago Manual of Style have all chosen to drop the hyphen.


Not the same as retired. This word is often added to formal titles to denote that individuals who have retired retain their rank or title. The title emeritus (for a man) and emerita (for a woman) is awarded to some, but not all, retired faculty members who keep their rank. The plurals are emeriti (for more than one professor, male or female). Place the word “emeritus” after the title.

  • Professor Emeritus Samuel Eliot Morison, Dean Emeritus Courtney C. Brown
  • Angela Winston, professor emerita of economics.


Capitalize the formal name of special CSUSB events.

  • Commencement
  • Convocation
  • Coyote Cares Day
  • Homecoming
  • President’s Showcase
  • Make A Difference Day
  • Move-In Day
  • National Voter Registration Day
  • Spirit of the Entrepreneur



The word “faculty” takes a singular verb. Use “faculty members” and “staff members” to avoid awkward singular constructions.

first-generation students

Refers to students enrolled in postsecondary education whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) do not hold a bachelor’s degree.

First Peoples' Center

Note the placement of the apostrophe.


Flyer is the preferred term for a person flying in an aircraft and for handbills

  • He used his frequent flyer miles.

  • They put up flyers announcing the show.


A freeway is part of a highway, but not all highways are freeways. The key defining points of a freeway is that it is separated from other roadways, typically accessed using ramps; and that freeways do not utilize traffic control lights. To designate roadways appropriately, use identification forms Interstate, U.S. Highway, U.S. Route or state Route, accompanied by its numeric designation:  Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 395, U.S. Route 66, state Route 91. On second reference, I-15, U.S. 395, Route 66, SR-91, 60 freeway are all acceptable. Do not use community designations or proper named sections unless they are used in direct quotations or are crucial to the piece: San Bernardino Freeway, Santa Monica Freeway, Corona Expressway, Gary Moon Memorial Interchange.

foreign students

Use “international students” instead.

freshman, freshmen

freshman is a singular noun or adjective:

  • a college freshman, the freshman class.

Freshmen is a plural noun:

  • The freshmen assembled quietly.

Use “first-year student” if possible. Avoid the more casual “first-years.”

fundraising, fundraiser



Not synonymous with sex. “Gender” refers to a person’s social identity while “sex” refers to biological characteristics.

gender-inclusive language

Avoid using “he” when referring to an unspecified single person. Instead, rewrite the sentence, using the plural form or avoid the use of pronouns entirely.

  • Instead of: Each student completed his survey. Try: All students completed the survey.
  • Instead of: If a writer plans ahead, he will save a lot of effort. Try: The writer who plans ahead will save a lot of effort.

Avoid gender-specific language whenever possible.

  • chair rather than chairman/chairwoman/chairperson
  • police officer rather than policeman
  • parenting rather than mothering
  • supervisor instead of foreman
  • humankind instead of mankind

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

When “they” is used as a singular, it takes a plural verb. Be sure it is clear from the context that only one person is involved.

  • Pat said they need a new car.

grade-point average

or GPA


health care

Two words, in all cases.



Inland Empire

Region that incorporates the San Bernardino-Riverside-Ontario metro areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to that definition, it comprises both Riverside County and San Bernardino County, covering more than 27,000 square miles and has a population of nearly 4 million.

However, the region is, as one local historian put it, “an amorphous blob.” The boundaries are not quite so well defined. Many definitions do not include vast, sparsely populated portions of north and east San Bernardino County and east and southeast Riverside County within the I.E. The communities of the Coachella Valley have traditionally not considered themselves as part of the I.E., but rather as having their own unique identity. And portions of eastern Los Angeles County (Pomona, Claremont, La Verne) on the east side of Kellogg Hill are sometimes incorporated into the I.E., although Claremont often distains such inclusion.

Inside CSUSB

Capitalize and set in plain text.


according to AP Stylebook, ACES and Chicago Manual of Style, no longer capitalized.



it’s, its

It’s is a contraction for it is or it has: It’s up to you. It’s been a long time.

Its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun: The company lost its assets.


Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration

Use Jack H. Brown College or JHBC on second and subsequent references.

James R. Watson and Judy Rodriguez Watson College of Education

Use Watson College of Education on second and subsequent references. 

journal titles

Capitalize the name: The study appeared in the journal Nature.

Journal articles should be placed in quotes: Musgrove’s “What Happens When We Read: Picturing a Reader’s Responsibilities” was published in the Winter 2005 volume of the Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning.


third-year student




legislative titles

On first reference, use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names in regular text. Do not use legislative titles before a name on second reference unless they are part of a direct quotation.


Use instead of Latina or Latino when a gender-neutral term is preferred. Note: The SMSU Cross Cultural Center includes the LatinX Center. (The center capitalizes the ‘x’ in LatinX).


The acronym is acceptable on first reference (stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning)


One word in all uses, per AP Style.

long time, longtime

They have known each other a long time. They are longtime friends.


magazine titles

Capitalize the name. Lowercase magazine unless it is part of the publication’s formal title: CSUSB Magazine, Time magazine.


In the sense of mass communication, the word is plural:

  • The news media are resisting attempts to limit their freedom.

Medium is the singular form:

  • The newspaper is an important news medium.


Do not put a 12 in front of it. It is part of the day that is ending, not the one that is beginning.


Use a dollar sign and numerals from $1 through $999,999 and any time a precise amount is required. Use figures and a combination of numerals and words/decimals for numbers greater than $1 million. In body copy, extend decimals to two places, rounding the last decimal (e.g., $3.27 billion).

To be consistent, use a hyphen between the numeral and the word when forming a money-based adjective.

  • Charles Bentley received a $6.7-million grant from the Poynter Institute.

musical works

Capitalize, but do not use quotation marks on descriptive titles for orchestral works: Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Orchestra; Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola.

Use quotation marks for nonmusical terms in a title: Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony.

If the work has a special full title, all of it is quoted: Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Titles of songs are enclosed in quotation marks: “All You Need Is Love”; the “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore.

Many instrumental works are known by their generic names – symphony, quartet, concerto, sonata, minuet, etc. – and such names should be set in plain text.



When referring to individuals in print, use both the first and last name during the initial reference and only the last name in subsequent references. This is true for students as well as all other individuals.

newspaper names

Capitalize the in a newspaper’s name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known such as The Press-Enterprise, The Sun. Do not place the name in quotes or italics: the Coyote Chronicle, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal.

Where location is needed but is not part of the official name, use parentheses: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times.


Do not put a 12 in front of it.


Single word, not hyphenated. Refers to an organization that is not intended to make a profit. Do not confuse with “not-for-profit,” which can refer to an activity as well as to organizations that may include individuals who do directly benefit from the income generated by the group/association.


Spell out whole numbers one through nine, use figures for 10 and above. Use figures for act numbers, ages, dimensions, percentages, room numbers and sports statistics. Use a combination of numerals and words/decimals for numbers greater than 1 million. Consult the numerals entry in The Associated  Press Stylebook.


Office of Community Engagement



Palm Desert Campus

California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus

Cal State San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Palm Desert Campus of California State University, San Bernardino

Palm Desert Campus of Cal State San Bernardino

Palm Desert Campus (second reference and after only)

PDC (second reference and after only)


Use the % sign when paired with a numeral, with no space

Use figures for percent and percentages: 1%, 2.5% (use decimals, not fractions), 10%. The exception would be in the use of percentage ex – A change from 10% to 13% is a rise of 3 percentage points

For a range, 12% to 15%. 12%-15% and between 12% and 15% are all acceptable.

For amounts less than 1%, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6%.

Percent takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an of construction:

  • The teacher said 60% was a failing grade. He said 50% of the membership was there.

Percent takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an of construction:

  • He said 50% of the members were there.


Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.

Periods always go inside quotation marks.



Not capitalized unless it immediately precedes the person’s name as a formal title. Never abbreviate.

  • The president of the California State University, San Bernardino is Tomas D. Moráles. President Morales met with the committee.

Past CSUSB and CSU presidents can be referred to as President Emeritus, but typically refer to past CSUSB and CSU presidents with “former” preceding their title on first reference. However, the title “emeritus” does not extend after death.

John M. Pfau (1962-1982)
Anthony Evans (1982-1997)
Albert K. Karnig (1997-2012)
Tomás D. Morales (2012- ) 

President’s Council



quotation marks

Periods and commas always go within the quotation mark. Question marks, dashes, semicolons and exclamation points marks go within the quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

  • Kurt Vonnegut wrote “Slaughterhouse Five.”
  • Who wrote “Breakfast of Champions”?
  • I borrowed Kim’s copy of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

The close quotation mark always is placed before a colon or en dash (–):

  • There are two publication dates for “In Cold blood”: in 1965 by the New Yorker and 1966 by Random House.

Use quotes around titles of works contained within other works, such as articles.

  • “Turning Colloidal Gold in Clathrates” was published March 3 in the journal Science.


room numbers

Hyphenate between wing and number: E-200; L-103B


The abbreviation for the French repondez s’il vous plait, it means please reply.


Santos Manuel Student Union

Santos Manuel Student Union North

Santos Manuel Student Union South

Santos Manuel Student Union East


Schools and colleges within the university are uppercase. On second reference: the school, the college.

  • School of Computer Science and Engineering
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Entrepreneurship
  • School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

seasons, quarters

All four seasons should be lowercase: spring, summer, fall and winter. Lowercase references to academic quarter: spring quarter.


final year of school before graduation

software titles

Capitalize but do not use quotation marks around such titles as Microsoft Word or Windows, but use quotation marks for computer games: “The Sims” is his favorite game.


Second-year student

Southern California

Acceptable reference to the region (same with Central and Northern California); always capitalized when referring to the specific region.

state abbreviations

Use two-letter postal abbreviations only for mailing addresses. Otherwise spell out the name of the state if no city is indicated. If a city is indicated, abbreviate the state name as listed.

State Postal Text
Alabama AL Ala.
Alaska AK Alaska
Arizona AZ Ariz.
Arkansas AR Ark.
California CA Calif.
Colorado CO Colo.
Connecticut CO Conn.
Delaware DE Del.
Florida FL Fla.
Georgia GA Ga.
Hawaii HI Hawaii
Idaho ID Idaho
Illinois IL Ill.
Indiana IN Ind.
Iowa IA Iowa
Kansas KS Kan.
Kentucky KY Ky.
Louisiana LA La.
Maine ME Maine
Maryland MD Md.
Massachusetts MA Mass.
Michigan MI Mich.
Minnesota MN Minn.
Mississippi MS Miss.
Missouri MO Mo.
Montana MT Mont.
Nebraska NE Neb.
Nevada NV Nev.
New Hampshire NH N.H.
New Jersey NJ N.J.
New Mexico NM N.M.
New York NY N.Y.
North Carolina NC N.C.
North Dakota ND N.D.
Ohio OH Ohio
Oklahoma OK Okla.
Oregon OR Ore.
Pennsylvania PA Pa.
Rhode Island RI R.I.
South Carolina SC S.C
South Dakota SD S.D.
Tennessee TN Tenn.
Texas TX Texas
Utah UT Utah
Vermont VT Vt.
Virginia VA Va.
Washington WA Wash.
West Virginia WV W.Va.
Wisconsin WI Wis.
Wyoming WY Wyo.


Stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.


Stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Acceptable to use on first reference.



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

That is used to introduce essential clauses. An essential clause cannot be cut without changing the meaning of the sentence—it restricts the meaning of the word or phrase that its absence would lead to a substantially different interpretation of what the author meant:

  • Greg remodeled the house that burned down Friday.

Which is used to introduce non-essential clauses. Nonessential clauses can be eliminated without altering the basic meaning of the sentence. A nonessential  clause must be set off by commas:

  • The house, which Greg remodeled, burned down Friday.

See essential clauses, nonessential clauses in The AP Stylebook.


In running copy, capitalize “the” if it is part of a formal title of a publication, a company, division or university.

  • The quote appeared in The New York Times.
  • He attended the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration.


Use American spelling for all general references. Use the British spelling of “theatre” only when it appears in a formal name.

  • CSUSB Department of Theatre Arts
  • Ronald E. Barnes Theatre
  • Santos Manuel Student Union Theater
  • Indian Wells Theater

titles (people)

Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chair, dean, professor, etc., when they immediately precede a name. Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas. Lowercase modifiers such as department in department Chair James Walker.

  • Dean John Smith spoke to the students. John Smith, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, addressed the crowd.

Capitalize all position titles (conferred and traditional educational, and business) when used specifically in front of the name or after the name in formal documents such as diplomas and proclamations, in programs for special events, and in lists. Do not capitalize these titles in the text, i.e., body copy, when they follow the name or when they stand alone:

  • Professor John Doe of the Department of Philosophy was the featured speaker. He is a professor in the department.
  • John Doe, professor of philosophy, gave the convocation.
  • Speakers:
    • John Doe, Professor of Philosophy
    • Jane Doe, Associate Professor of Nursing

titles (publications and creative works)

The following are set in quotations:

  • books
  • pamphlets
  • magazines
  • plays
  • movies
  • TV programs
  • radio programs
  • operas
  • oratorios
  • tone poems
  • long musical compositions (except those with generic titles)
  • musicals
  • albums
  • paintings
  • drawings
  • sculptures
  • articles
  • poems
  • stories
  • unpublished works (except for books under contract),
  • TV episodes
  • songs
  • exhibit titles
  • speeches
  • lectures
  • titles of photographs

The following are set in plain text (no italic or quotes):

  • scriptures and other highly revered works
  • newspapers
  • titled websites
  • instrumental works
  • works of art of antiquity (whose creators are often unknown)


Lowercase in most body copy. Uppercase only as a title when it precedes the name of a member of the CSU Board of Trustees.


United States

As an abbreviation, use U.S. (with periods). U.S. is acceptable in first reference. Do not use USA unless in a direct quotation.


Lowercase unless it appears as part of a proper name.



URLs are all lowercase. It is not necessary to include “http://” or “www” when writing a URL. Only use “www” if it is necessary part of the web address. If a URL falls at the end of a sentence, it should be followed by a period.



vice president

Do not hyphenate. Capitalize only when it is used as a title before a person’s name.



James R. Watson and Judy Rodriguez Watson College of Education

Use Watson College of Education on second and subsequent references. 


Also website, webpage, webcast and webmaster. In all uses, web is lowercase.


Who is the word when someone is the subject of the sentence, clause or phrase:

  • The woman who rented the room left the window open. Who is there?

Whom is the word when someone is the object of a verb or preposition:

  • The man to whom the car was rented did not fill the gas tank. Whom do you serve?






ZIP code

Use all-caps ZIP for Zoning Improvement Plan, but always lowercase the word code.

Sports Guidelines

athletics terminology

  • Lowercase team names
    • women’s volleyball
    • men’s basketball
  • Yotes
  • Division II
  • pregame, preseason, postgame, postseason

California Collegiate Athletic Association

Use CCAA in subsequent references and in headlines

cross country

No hyphen based on the practices of U.S. and international governing bodies for this sport

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

National Collegiate Athletic Association

Or NCAA. CSUSB is an NCAA Division II institution, which refers to the level of play within the association.

play off (v.), playoff, playoffs (n. and  adj.)

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

Grammar, Punctuation, Etc.

active voice/passive voice

The active voice is usually more direct than passive voice. If the subject performs the action, the verb is in active voice: The tornado destroyed the home. If the subject is acted upon, the verb is in the passive voice: The home was destroyed by the tornado. When given a choice, use active voice.


Use ‘&’ only if it is in the formal title


Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it begins a complete sentence. Otherwise, for lists and single words, the first word should be lowercase (unless it is a proper noun).

  • The agreement covered three areas: higher education, graduation and financial aid.
  • The answer to the question was obvious: World War II.
  • He was uncertain: Should he go to France or to Spain?


Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before “and” or “or” in a simple series.

  • The bookstore sells books, study materials and clothing.

However, include a comma if clarification calls for it, including when an element within a series contains a conjunction.

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

Use a comma to separate an independent clause joined by a conjunction.

  • She was glad she had looked, for a man was approaching the house.

Use a comma to separate multiple modifiers of a noun.

  • It was a long, complicated explanation.
  • She was well-regarded, world-renowned expert in child development.

As with all punctuations, clarity is the biggest rule. If a comma does help make clear what is being said, it should be there. If omitting a comma could lead to confusion or misinterpretation, then use the comma.


Avoid excessive use of contractions. E.g., He would = he’d

dangling participle

A participle, particularly at the beginning of a sentence, must have a noun or pronoun it can belong to or modify. The participle should be immediately followed by the noun it modifies. Example: Driving along the road, the house came into view. The phrase driving along the road does not modify house.

Recast: The house came into view as we drove along the road.


An abbreviation meaning “for example.” It is always followed by a comma.


Treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces as shown here ( … ). Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that would distort the meaning.

hyphens and dashes

Modifying phrases are hyphenated when used before a noun, but not after – unless the hyphen is needed to prevent confusion.

  • He was a well-known man.
  • He was well known.
  • She has a full time job at the bookstore.
  • She works at the commons.

Words formed with prefixes are hyphenated to avoid duplicated vowels and tripled consonants.

  • anti-inflation
  • shell-like

But double-e combinations usually don’t get a hyphen:

  • preempted
  • reelected

Two or more hyphenated modifiers having a common base are treated in this way:

  • long- and short-term memory
  • two-, three- and 10-minute intervals

Do not use a hyphen after words ending in “ly” followed by a participle or adjective:

  • poorly attired man
  • historically underrepresented group

Use an en dash (–) sparingly to indicate emphasis or explanation, to define a complementary element or to denote a sudden break in thought. Put a space one each side of en dash.

  • The influence of three impressionists – Monet, Sisley and Degas – can be seen in his work as a painter.


An abbreviation for “that is to say.” It is always followed by a comma.


In general, spell out numbers one through nine.

  • The Coyotes finished third.
  • CSUSB is number one.

Use figures for 10 or above and whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things.

  • CSUSB ranked number 12.
  • He was 6 years old.


Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.

Periods always go inside quotation marks.

apostrophes and possessives

Plural nouns not ending in “S”: Add ’s:

  • the alumni’s contribution

Plural nouns ending in an “S”: Add only an apostrophe:

  • the churches’ needs
  • the girls’ toys
  • the horses’ food
  • the ships’ wake
  • states’ rights
  • the VIPs’ entrance

Nouns plural in form, singular in meaning. Add only an apostrophe:

  • mathematics’ rules
  • measles’ effects

Apply the same principle when a plural word occurs in the formal name of a singular entity:

  • General Motors’ profits
  • the United States’ wealth

Nouns the same in singular and plural. Treat them the same as plurals, even if the meaning is singular:

  • one corps’ location

To indicate possession by multiple individuals or groups, add the possessive only to the final item in the series:

  • the library’s staff
  • Sam, Carey and Jay’s apartment


A semicolon is used to join complete sentences when a period would create too much of a pause in the train of thought.

  • He wanted to give his aunt something special; he wanted to surprise her.

Use the semicolon to set off a series of commas in a long, complex series.

  • The main offices are in Mercer County, New Jersey; Marion County, Indiana; and Broward County, Florida.

split infinitive

The construction should be avoided unless the adverb bears the emphasis in the phrase: to boldly go; they expect to more than double their income.


Do not use superscript when using ordinals (numbers used to indicate order – first, second, 10th, 25th , etc.)

  • She lives on 42nd Street.
  • The event took place in the 21st century.