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Quick Reference Guide | Building Names
Abbreviations and acronyms – Do not use abbreviations and acronyms that the reader would not understand quickly. Unless the abbreviation or acronym is very familiar, spell out the word(s) in the first usage. Avoid overuse. Don't allow your text to become an "alphabet soup." Note: Abbreviations require periods; acronyms do not.
- ACADEMIC DEGREES: Use periods when abbreviating academic degrees, because under Georgia College style, the short form of an academic degree's name is considered an abbreviation, not an acronym. Examples: B.A., B.S., M.B.A., Ph.D., Ed.D.
- BUSINESS/CORPORATE NAME: Abbreviate company, companies, corporation, incorporated and limited. Use a comma only if the organization uses a comma in its formal name. If used, a comma must be used both before and after the abbreviation in textual material unless the company's name appears at the end of a sentence.
- BEFORE A NAME: Abbreviate the following titles when used before a name outside direct quotations: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Rep., the Rev., Sen. and certain military designations. Spell out all except Dr., Mr., Mrs., and Ms. when they are used before a name in a direct quotation. See courtesy titles.
- AFTER A NAME: Abbreviate junior or senior when either appears after an individual's name. Do not use a comma. CORRECT: John Doe Jr. WRONG: John Doe, Jr.
- GEORGIA: The abbreviation for the state of Georgia in textual material is always Ga. Note the lowercase a. When used with a city name, it is followed by a comma unless at the end of a sentence: The Milledgeville, Ga., native won a Pulitzer Prize. The U.S. Postal Service delivery address code for Georgia is GA and should only be used in addresses. See state names and U.S. Postal Service codes.
- NUMBERED ADDRESSES: Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St. only with a numbered address: 231 W. Hancock St. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Clarke Street. All similar words (alley, circle, court, drive, road, place, terrace) always are spelled out. Always use figures for an address number: 9 Downing Street.
- DATES: Spell out the months of the year when they are used alone or with the year. With a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
academic degrees – If the mention of academic degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Doe, who has a doctorate in biology.
Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's degree, but there is no possessive in bachelor of science or master of arts.
Lowercase the names of academic degrees, majors, minors, concentrations or fields of study. Examples: bachelor of science in chemistry, master of fine arts degree with a major in studio, doctor of philosophy with a major in business administration and a concentration in financial planning.
When used after a name (and this should be done sparingly), an academic degree abbreviation is set off by commas. Use the degree on first reference only. Do not precede a name with a courtesy title indicating an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree.
- CORRECT: Jane Doe, Ph.D. is the university historian. Dr. Jane Doe is university historian.
- WRONG: Dr. Jane Doe, Ph.D. is the university historian. This usage is redundant.
academic departments, schools and colleges – Capitalize the formal names of academic departments, but lowercase informal or incomplete references. Examples: The J. Whitney Bunting School of Business, the business school, the School of Heath Sciences, the nursing school.
academic titles – Formal titles, such as dean, president, chairman, director, vice president, professor, chancellor, are capitalized only when they precede a name. Otherwise, lowercase such titles when they stand alone or when they follow a name. Titles that follow the name and titles in apposition are set off with commas. Exception: Named professorships, fellowships and chairs are always capitalized when standing alone, as well as after and before the designees' names: Dr. John Doe, Ludwig von Beethoven, Smith Professor of Musicology.
- CORRECT: Dean John Doe; President Jane Doe; John Doe is the director of financial aid.
- WRONG: John Doe is the Dean of Students. Jane Doe, President.
Note: At Georgia College, the term professor is used very specifically; it is not a generic term for any person teaching a course at the university. The word should be used only in references to those who have official status as full professors. In references to other faculty members, use the official Board of Regents' designations, even in casual references. Such designations include associate professor, assistant professor, adjunct professor, instructor, clinical professor, etc. See professor.
Georgia College allows capitalization of titles outside of body text on posters or playbills.
acronyms – Do not use periods in acronyms. See abbreviations and acronyms.
- CORRECT: The GIVE Center, SAT, NCAA
- WRONG: The G.I.V.E. Center, N.A.A.C.P, A.C.T.
ad hoc – Do not italicize. It should be hyphenated when used in front of a noun. Dr. Sam Jones chairs the ad-hoc committee on parking.
administration – Always lowercase: the administration, the president's administration, the governor's administration.
Admissions, Office of – The formal, capitalized name is Georgia College Office of Admissions. In subsequent references, the lowercased admissions office is acceptable.
adviser – This is the spelling preferred at Georgia College; note the e.
affirmative action – The term is a name for a policy for correcting the effects of past discrimination; it is lowercased. An affirmative action statement must appear on Georgia College publications distributed to the general public. It should say "Georgia College & State University, a unit of the University System of Georgia, is an equal opportunity educational institution and is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer."
ages – When expressing age, always use a figure. This is an exception to the usual rules about numbers. Use hyphens in ages expressed as adjectives before nouns or as substitutes for nouns.
- CORRECT: He's just a 6-year-old child. His sister is 4 years old. Her son is 4.
- WRONG: The 40 year old woman has a son, who is nine, from a previous marriage.
alma mater - Note spelling.
alumni association – Lowercase this term if it stands alone. Capitalize only when included as part of a proper name. Georgia College's alumni association is the Georgia College Alumni Association, but it may be called the GC Alumni Association or the Alumni Association of Georgia College.
alumni association board of directors – The term board of directors is always lowercased. At Georgia College, we have the Georgia College Alumni Association board of directors.
alumni office – At Georgia College, the Office of Alumni Relations (note caps) is a unit of University Advancement. It co-administers the GC Alumni Association with the association's board of directors.
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae, alum – An alumnus (alumni in the plural) is a man who graduated from a school. An alumna (alumnae in the plural) is a woman who graduated from a school. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women graduates. Alum is colloquial for either a male or female graduate and should be avoided in official publications. It can be used in certain contexts, however, to avoid sexist language.
ambassadors – The proper name for the student organization is The Student Ambassadors Team. Ambassador Team or ambassadors is acceptable on subsequent references.
ampersand (&) – This symbol is acceptable only in the names of organizations, companies and firms in which it is an actual part of the formal name. Georgia College uses an ampersand in its formal written name (Georgia College & State University). The word and is not part of the formal name. The ampersand should not otherwise be used in place of and: School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of History and Geography.
a.m., p.m. – Lowercase and use periods. There is a space between the figure and a.m. or p.m. Avoid such redundancies as We met in the morning at 10 a.m. Contrary to popular belief, noon is 12 p.m.; midnight is 12 a.m. Both times should be expressed without the number as simply noon or midnight. Do not use A.M. or P.M. or am or pm.
- CORRECT: 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 3:30 p.m., noon
- WRONG: 10:00 a.m. 4PM, 12 midnight
annual – An annual event is one that has been held in at least two successive years. Do not use first annual.
and/or – or will suffice.
apostrophe (') – Use the following guidelines:
- CONTRACTIONS AND OMITTED LETTERS: Avoid the excessive use of contractions; those listed in the dictionary are acceptable in informal contexts. Examples: I've, it's, don't, tis, rock n roll, ne'er do well.
- OMITTED FIGURES: The apostrophe is often misplaced, particularly in plurals. No apostrophe is needed before an s indicating a plural: The Spirit of 76, the class of 59, the gay 90s, the roaring 20s, 1970s.
- PLURALS OF A SINGLE LETTER: Do not use an apostrophe with a single capitalized letter, but do use one with lowercased letters. The misuse of the apostrophe most often is seen with grades. She earned two Bs and three Cs last quarter. (Note that there are no quotation marks around grade letters.) But: Mind your p's and q's.
- PLURALS OF MULTIPLE LETTERS OR WORDS: Don't use s. The contract had just too many ifs, ands and buts. She earned her degree in the early 1960s. It will be in the high 80s tomorrow. The VIPs arrived early. See possessives, false and possessives, quasi.
appendix, appendices, appendixes – Both appendixes and appendices are correct plural forms of the word appendix, although appendices is preferred at Georgia College.
Appendix A, Appendix I, Appendix 1 – Capitalize in references to a specific appendix or specifically to that portion of a book or report. Lowercase generic references: in the Appendix, an appendix, the appendix of a book.
approximate numbers – Generally, approximate numbers are estimated numbers, indicating that an exact count was not taken. Therefore, such numbers are usually rounded off. Do not use exact figures as though they were approximate ones.
- CORRECT: Approximately 30 people attended. More than 100 men ran the race. (Or: More than a hundred men ran the race.). About 250 women participated. A crowd of about 1,500 watched.
- WRONG: Nearly 1,346 birds were sighted by the 47-odd watchers, who were among the roughly 148 people present. More than 22,136 students enrolled at Georgia College last quarter. (Either round off the figures or state as unqualified exact figures.)
approximately – If about will do, use it instead.
arts and sciences – Does not use an ampersand: the Arts and Sciences Auditorium, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
articles (capitalization of articles in titles) – Lowercase articles (a, an, the) unless they are the first or last words of a title or subtitle.
articles (titles of articles in magazines, journals and other publications) – Capitalize and enclose in quotations marks.
association – Do not abbreviate and always capitalize when used as part of a proper name.
assure – Assure, ensure and insure are commonly confused. Generally, you assure someone that something will or will not occur. To ensure is to guarantee that something will or will not occur. You insure property or life.
as well as – The connective phrase does not change the verb: Joe as well as Bill was (not were) early for class.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The – The proper form for references to the newspapers published by Atlanta Newspapers Inc. is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On second reference, except in formal publications, AJC is acceptable. Newspaper names should be italicized.