Santa Clara University

Office of Marketing and Communications

SCU Editorial Style Guide



TV is acceptable as an adjective or in such constructions as cable TV.

Ten Commandments

Do not abbreviate or use figures.

The Alameda

Street name; use "The" and capitalize in all instances.


Use this spelling in all instances, unless talking about a movie theater.

thee, thy, thou

Use only in direct quotations.  Lowercase personal pronouns referring to God.

there, their, they're

Use there when referring to a place, whether concrete or abstract:

  • There is an antique store on Camden Avenue.
  • The science textbooks are over there on the floor.

Use their to indicate possession:

  • My friends have lost their tickets.
  • Their things were strewn about the office haphazardly.

Remember that they're is a contraction of the words they and are:

  • Hurry up! They're closing the mall at 6 tonight!
  • I'm glad that they're so nice to new students here.

Use periods with a.m and p.m

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

No colon and double zeroes for even times:

  • 4 p.m. NOT 4:00 pm

Always say noon and midnight.

  • DO NOT USE: 12 noon, 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.

When using two times from the same time period do not repeat a.m. or p.m.

  • 3-3:45 p.m. NOT 3 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
  • BUT 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
titles, academic

Capitalize and spell out before names; lowercase after.

  • I am studying chemistry with Assistant Professor John Smith.
  • John Smith, assistant professor of chemistry.


If the name of an office, department, or college is part of the title, capitalization rules apply.

  • Jim Smith, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Mary Lewis, professor in the history department

Faculty Titles

  • assistant professor
  • acting assistant professor
  • associate professor
  • professor

Other faculty titles

  • lecturer
  • senior lecturer
  • visiting faculty: holds equivalent rank at another college of university. Appointments are usually for one year and in no case for more than three years.
  • adjunct faculty: part-time appointments
  • special appointments: Distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, engineers, executives, statesmen, and others may be granted appointments-in-residence from time to time, as approved by the provost.
  • professor emeritus: A tenured associate or full professor, upon retirement from outstanding service at Santa Clara University, is eligible for this title, which is awarded by the president.
titles, book, magazine, newspaper, etc.

For more information on the use of italics in titles see italics.

  • Capitalize the principle words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
  • Use quotations for titles of lectures and speeches but capitalize only the first word.
  • Italicize magazine, book, newsletter, and other publication titles (but not online publications).
  • Italicize titles of movies, TV shows, and albums. Although individual episodes and songs are placed in quotation marks.
titles, courtesy, personal, or other

Do not use courtesy titles such as Mr. or Mrs. except in an obituary to refer to the deceased.  For proper usage of other titles (e.g., foreign, nobility) consult the AP Stylebook or contact OMC.

titles, military

Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual's name.  Consult the AP Stylebook to determine whether the title should be spelled out or abbreviated in regular text.

titles, professional

Initial-cap only when preceding a person's name

  • History Professor Jane Smith
  • Jane Smith, history professor

For endowed professorships, initial-cap title, and use only after name:

  • Jane Smith, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Chemistry

Lowercase dean or vice president when referring to the position or when used after a name:

  • He is the dean of the law school.
toward, towards

Both mean "in the direction of."  Toward is more common in American English; towards is the predominant form in British English.


Capitalize only if used before the name of a member of SCU's Board of Trustees.

Twelve Apostles



A community-based message-distribution system that allows users to post continual status updates of up to 140 characters detailing their activities for followers. The verb is to Twitter or to tweet. A Twitter message is known as a tweet.

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