Editorial Style

For general editorial style in any document designed for mass distribution internally or externally, William Woods University uses the Associated Press Stylebook. An alphabetical listing of words and phrases with guidelines for usage, followed by a punctuation guide, is included in the book. Style rules commonly used at WWU are listed here.

AP Style Tips

WWU follows Associated Press (AP) Style in all of its official publications, including the website and other electronic publications. Academic documents, such as essays, may follow whatever style is determined by the faculty (APA, MLA or similar). Many popular software programs, such as Microsoft Word, do not follow AP Style. Following a style is a common practice and helps to ensure that our messages are consistent, no matter who on campus is generating content. It also helps us to appear as "one WWU" to our constituents. It is also helpful because in English there are often several correct ways to write. Having a house style lets everyone know which of the right options to choose. AP style typically emphasizes brevity—which is, of course, what writing for the web also emphasizes.

Recent AP Additions or Changes

  • cellphone, CEO (acceptable in all references) do’s and don’ts, email, e-commerce, e-book, filmmaker, fundraising, fundraiser, hotline, iPad, news writing, nonprofit, onstage, problem-solving, smartphone, Spam, takeout, web page, website, webcam, webcast, webmaster

Academic Degrees

  • The preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Jones, who has (or holds) a doctorate in psychology.
  • Use an apostrophe and lowercase bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc., but capitalize and use no apostrophe in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. An exception to capitalization is associate degree.
  • When abbreviating degrees, use B.S., M.Ed., MBA, Ed.S, Ed.D. and Ph.D, rather than BSM, MED, etc., which are sometimes used internally.
  • Use such degree abbreviations only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. The plural of Ph.D. is Ph.D.s. 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. Sam Jones, Ph.D. Right: Dr. Sam Jones, a chemist.
  • Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual, but do not continue the use of Dr. in subsequent references.

Academic Departments, Divisions and William Woods University

  • Use uppercase in headings, on signs, etc. Use lowercase in body copy, except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives:the division of education, the education division, the English department, or when department/division is part of the official and formal name: William Woods University Division of Education. Use university (lowercase) in all body copy when used alone and not in conjunction with William Woods.

Academic Titles

  • Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as president, professor, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Lowercase modifiers such as history Professor Oscar Handlin.


  • Always use figures. When the context does not require years or years old, the figure is presumed to be years. Example: The boy, 7, has a sister, 10. Ages expressed as adjectives before a noun use hyphens. Examples: A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old.

Composition Titles

  • For book titles, computer game titles, movie titles, opera and play titles, poem titles, album and song titles, radio and television program titles, and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art: Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize an article—the, a, an—or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title. Instead of underlining or italicizing, put quotation marks around the names of all works except the Bible and reference books (dictionaries, etc.).

Exceptions to AP Style

  • Use theatre, instead of theater
  • Capitalize Deaf


  • Hyphenate when used to form compound modifiers, like full-length. Another example: He works full time. She has a full-time job.


  • For bulleted or numbered lists, use a colon after the introduction and capitalize the first letter of each item. For lists introduced by a complete sentence, do not use punctuation after each item. For lists that complete a sentence begun with the introduction, use commas to separate items, the word "and" after the next to last item and a period after the last item.


  • When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone.
  • When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas. Examples: January 1972 was a cold month and Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. He was born May 8, 1987.
  • When a date is some time past or some time in the future, omit the day of the week. Example: He died Oct. 4, 1998, not He died Sunday, Oct. 4, 1998.
  • Do not use 4 October 1998 or October 4th.


  • Numbers one through nine are spelled out; numbers 10 and above are used as figures, even if mixed in a sentence, such as "He has a fleet of 10 station wagons and two buses." Use the same rules for first through ninth and 10th and above. Example: the 20th century.
  • Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence. If necessary, recast the sentence. There is one exception—a numeral that identifies a calendar year: 1976 was a good year.
  • Use more than rather than over when writing about numbers. More than 200 people attended. "Over" refers to height.
  • Fewer, less—in general, use fewer for individual items that can be counted, less for bulk or quantity. For example, complete your degree in two years or less (years refers to a period of time, not individual years.) Fewer than 10 applicants called (individuals). I had less than $50 in my pocket (an amount). But: I had fewer than 50 $1 bills in my pocket (individual items).


  • One word. It takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an “of” construction: The teacher said 60 percent was a failing grade. He said 50 percent of the membership was there. It takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an “of” construction: He said 50 percent of the members were there. Use percentage in constructions such as “The percentage of Americans with college degrees has increased.”


  • Most words: Add s (boys, girls, etc). Words ending in ch, s, sh, ss, x and z: Add es. Words ending in is: Change is to es. Words ending in y: If y is preceded by a consonant or qu, change y to i and add es. Otherwise add s (donkeys). Proper names: Most ending in es or s or z add es. Most ending in y add s.
  • Multiple letters: Add s without an apostrophe, such as ABCs, IOUs, VIPs. William Woods University Style Guide 17


  • Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue.
  • Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks. “Thru the Woods,” which tells much of the history of William Woods, is for sale at the bookstore. For exclamation points and question marks, usage depends on the meaning—if it is part of the quoted material, it goes inside the quote marks. Both replace the comma that is normally used.
  • Semicolons (;) are used to separate elements of a series when the items in the series are long or when individual segments contain material that also must be set off by commas: She is survived by a son, John Smith, of Chicago; two daughters, Jane Smith.
  • Question mark (?) placement with quotation marks: Inside or outside, depending on the meaning: Who wrote “Gone With the Wind”? or He asked, “How long will it take?”
  • Use a possessive form after only the last word if ownership is joint: Fred and Sylvia’s house. Use a possessive form after both words if the objects are individually owned.

State Names

  • Spell out the names of the states when they stand alone, but if they are used with the name of a city, use the AP abbreviation, not the post office one: Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.
  • Place one comma between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence. Example: St. Louis, Mo., is her home, but she vacations in Branson, Mo.
  • Lowercase the compass point—central Missouri—unless it’s widely known, like South Florida

Years and Time

  • Use figures, without commas: 1986. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 90s, the 1890s, the 1800s. May start a sentence with a year: 1976 was a very good year.
  • Lowercase a.m. and p.m. and use periods with no space between them. Avoid the redundant 10 p.m. tonight.
  • When referring to a time span, use 2-5 p.m., rather than 2 to 5 p.m.

WWU exceptions to AP style:

  • We spell Joe Potter’s field as “theatre” rather than “theater (AP says “theater”).

  • We always capitalize “Deaf” (AP says not to).

  • In everything we print/publish excluding news releases that are for distribution to the media, we follow the “Oxford comma” rule. For example, AP would say to leave out the comma when listing items in a series like this, except when absolutely essential for clarity: “We ate apples, bananas, and grapes.” We always leave in the last comma.

Campus Facilities

Official Name Additional Acceptable Reference(s) Incorrect Reference(s)

Aldridge Recreation Center


Cutlip (Could be confused with other facilities)

Allen Hall



Amy Shelton McNutt Campus Center

McNutt Campus Center, McNutt

Student Union or Student Center, the Dome

Atkinson Hall

Atkinson, Chi-Omega (Chi-O) house


Bartley Hall



Bettina Bancroft Equestrian Center

the stables

the barn

Booth Hall

Booth, Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) house


Brockman Hall

Brockman, Alpha Phi house

Centennial Hall

Burton Business and Economics Building

Burton Building


Center for Human Performance



Cockrell Hall

Cockrell, Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) house


Cox Science and Language Building



Cutlip Auditorium



Dana and Sue Anderson Arena

Anderson Arena

gym, arena

Dulany Auditorium


Dulany Hall

Dulany Library



Dulany Library Auditorium

Library Auditorium (prefered to avoid confusion with Dulany Auditorium)


Equestrian House


Firley Soccer Field



Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts

Kemper Arts Center, KAC

art building or center

Harmon Hall

Harmon, Delta Gamma (DG) house


Helen Stephens Sports Complex

Sports Complex, Athletic Complex

Stephens Sports Complex

Ivy Room


Blue Room

Jones Hall



Junior Lake


Big Lake

Lambert Hall

Lambert, Alpha Chi Omega (Alpha Chi) house

Camden Point

Logo Store


book store

Maintenance Facility



McCallister Room



Mildred M. Cox Gallery

Cox Gallery, Mildred Cox Gallery

art gallery

Myldred Fox Fairchild Alumni House

Alumni House

Alumnae House, Alumni Center

Nielson Room



Randall B. Cutlip Residence Hall

Cutlip Residence Hall, R.B. Cutlip

Cutlip (could confuse with other facilities)

Rosa Parks Center


Rowland Applied Indoor Riding Arena

Rowland Arena, RARA


Senior Lake


Smith, Allen, Swearingen Complex

The Complex


Smith Hall



Softball/Baseball Field

Backer Sports Complex


Stone-Campbell Memorial Hall

Stone Campbell, Stone Campbell Apartments


Summers Apartments

staff apartments


Swearingen Hall



The Angeline Schwab Grow Multi-Purpose Room

Multi-Purpose Room

gym, turf room

Thurmond Chapel



Tom and Claudine O'Connor Alumni and Visitors' Center

Alumni and Visitors' Center, AVC

Alumni Center

Tucker Dining Hall



Virginia Cutlip Center

Virginia Cutlip

Cutlip (could confuse with other facilities)

Weider Fitness Center

Weider Fitness Center


W.S. Woods Academic Building

Academic Building

administrative building