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University Editorial Style Guidelines
A guide for effective communication
Wondering how to abbreviate academic degrees? Whether to use the serial comma? When to capitalize academic titles? Or how to choose between “its” or “it’s”? The University Editorial Style Guide is a tool for everyone writing for print or electronic publications for Santa Clara University. This guide provides quick answers to these and many other commonly recurring questions.
This searchable style guide serves as a dictionary, a spelling reference, and a guide for basic grammar and punctuation. It provides clarification for some frequently misspelled, misused, and confused words, and lists the proper forms of University-specific terms and locations. Finally, this guide gives the preferred usage for Santa Clara publications and communications, to help the University develop a consistent, unified voice, tone, and style.
The Associated Press Stylebook, which all newspapers use, is heavily relied upon for this guide, though this guide supersedes the AP Stylebook in several cases. This version incorporates comments from previous style guides and reflects several changes on campus. There is a list of University centers and buildings, including the full names, locations, and common names.
Use Webster’s Dictionary for definitions and spellings not listed in this guide; where two spellings are given, use the first. The Chicago Manual of Style is the recommended guide for publication of books, proceedings, papers and articles for professional journals. The AP Stylebook is used for University news releases, Santa Clara Magazine, fyi, school and department newsletters and brochures, as well as most documents targeting a general audience.
Our guide contains style guidelines specific to SCU, and a few exceptions to both The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style. Where conflicts exist between this and other guides, the SCU style guide takes precedence. For punctuation, grammar, and other usage questions (e.g., capitalization) that are not explained in this guide, refer to the AP Stylebook. For basic guidelines on magazine and book style, consult the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
Refer to the Quick Reference Guide for most commonly asked style questions.
If you would like to download a PDF of this style guide, please click on the Print PDF link in the alpha-grid navigation in the right hand column.
Please keep in mind that this guide is not comprehensive; old information is routinely deleted and new information added. If there is an omission or misinformation that needs to be addressed or if you have questions about writing, grammar, or style that are not included here, please email University Writer/Editor Jeff Gire or call him at 551-1796.