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OU Website Style Guidelines

 

 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Topic Rule Example
24/7 Refers to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. References should be 24/7, not 24x7.
academic degrees Do not use academic degrees after names unless they are relevant/important to the text. Use: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D., etc. Do not capitalize doctorate, doctor's, bachelor's degree, master's degree, master of science, etc.
B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D.
academic years Do not abbreviate. Use lowercase unless starting a sentence. freshman, sophomore, junior and senior
acronyms Spell out what the acronym stands for on first reference on a page. Follow it with the acronym in parenthesis. On following references on the same page, the acronym can be used by itself.
active voice Use active voice whenever possible. Active voice means, in general, avoiding forms of "to be."
addresses Addresses should be centered in Web copy, with separate lines for name; street address; and city, state and ZIP.
adviser This should be spelled with an "e," not an "o." It is adviser, not advisor.
affect/effect Don't use "effect" as a verb. "Effect" is more commonly used as a noun. "Affect" is the verb meaning to modify or take on.
All-University Fund Drive (AUFD) Spell this out on first reference and use AUFD on second reference. When spelling this out, there should be a dash between the words "All" and "University." The first letter of each word also should be capitalized. The acronym is AUFD.
alum
Do not use in copy. Okay to use in Web headlines.
Alumni Association
On first reference use Oakland University Alumni Association (OUAA). Following references can be OUAA.
alumni, alumna, alumnae, alumnus
Use the correct word for the gender: Alumna is feminine singular. Alumnae is feminine plural. Alumnus is masculine and non-gender singular. Alumni is masculine and non-gender plural.
alumni designation/ year graduated When including the year someone graduated and from which school or college, this should be set off by commas when it is used with the person's name. Joe Smith, SBA '83, is vice president of the company.
ampersand (&) Spell out "and" unless an ampersand is officially part of a name or title. On the Web, it is acceptable to use the ampersand on buttons. AT&T
and/or Avoid this construction.
annual Do not use the term "first annual." An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years. Instead, note that sponsors plan to hold the event annually or use "inaugural" or "first."
auxiliaries
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On first reference, use the full university name before an auxiliary. Oakland University's Meadow Brook Hall.
B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D. Use periods in all degrees (B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D.)
Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts Capitalize the first letters in "Bachelor," "Master" and "Arts." There is no "s" at the end of "Bachelor" or "Master."
bachelor's, master's lowercase with an apostrophe between the "r" and "s."
bachelor's degree Lowercase unless it begins a sentence. However, specific degrees should be capitalized. He received his bachelor's degree from Oakland University. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.
Banquet Room A, Banquet Room B, Banquet Rooms Use Banquet Rooms, not Banquet Rooms A and B.
Board of Trustees The "B" in "Board" and first "T" in "Trustees" should be capitalized when using the "Board of Trustees." When just using the "board," it should be lowercase. Use the Board of Trustees on first reference and the board on second reference.
B.S., B.A., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D. Use periods in all degrees (B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., Ph.D.) B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D.
building names Refer to the campus map for appropriate building abbreviations. Do not use BIT for Elliott Hall.
bullet points
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You need not use the word "including" or the phrase "as follows" before a bulleted list. The text that follows the bullet should be in lowercase if it is part of the sentence at the beginning of the list. The text that follows should start with a capital letter only if the bullet point is a complete sentence.
Café O'Bears Use an accent over the "e" in "Café" and only one apostrophe between the "O" and "B" in "O'Bears."
calendar items All items should include: date, time, location and event title or description. If applicable, items should include contact name and number, and cost. List events on the same day in time order.
capitalization The standard rules for capitalization should be followed. Each sentence should begin with an initial cap. All proper names should be capitalized.
capitalization, all caps Never use all caps, unless the word is an acronym or the proper/legal name is in all caps. Legal documents posted on the website are an exception.
capitalization; university
Capitalize university only when it is part of a proper name or at the beginning of a sentence.
click here (and other web directional instructions)
Do not use. Integrate hyperlink into appropriate text. Including "click here" and other phrases are redundant.
coed
Do not hyphenate coed.
colleges and schools Abbreviate the names of OU's colleges and schools after first reference. The following are acceptable: CAS, HC, SBA, SECS, SEHS, SHS, SON. Capitalize the names of colleges and schools within the university.
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Honors College (HC), School of Business Administration (SBA), School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS), School of Education and Human Services (SEHS), School of Health Sciences (SHS), School of Nursing (SON)

comma usage Do not place a comma before the concluding conjunction in a simple series (a listing of three or more items). Do place a comma before the concluding conjunction if the series contains a conjunction. Don't: coffee, tea, and juice. Do: coffee, tea and juice. Don't: coffee, tea, milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Do: coffee, tea, milk, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
contractions Use of contractions is encouraged to make text friendlier to the reader/visitor. Be careful not to overuse.
co-op
Hyphenate.
course names Full titles of an academic course should be capitalized. No quotation marks should be used. He teaches the popular course, 20th Century American History.

credit/credit hours
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Use term credit. Credit hours is redundant.
dashes Used sparingly, the dash can provide emphasis or suspense. Use a dash for: irony, emphasis, breaks in thought, explanatory comments.
dates/months Follow AP style: Spell out month and include year without separating by a comma. Abbreviate month when used with a specific date. When referring to month, date and year, offset year with commas. For Web copy and calendars, include the day of the week when previewing an event. January 1972 was very cold. Jan. 29 was the coldest day. Jan. 29, 1972, hit historic lows.
days of the week Include days of the week with dates in Web copy and calendar items when previewing an event. Offset dates with commas. Monday, April 23, 2001
Decades Use Arabic figures to indicate spans of decades or centuries (1920s, 1900s). Use an apostrophe to indicate numerals that are left out ('20s). Show plural by adding an "s," no apostrophe, to the end (1920s). the 1990s, the '90s, the Gay '90s, the mid-1990s.
Disability Statement People with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this program should contact (insert department name and phone number).
Distinguished Professor The first letter of each word should be capitalized in all cases, including when this is plural, when referring to the prestigious honor bestowed upon OU faculty members by the Board of Trustees.
doctoral degree Lower case unless it begins a sentence. However, specific degrees should be capitalized. He received his doctoral degree from Oakland University. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from Michigan State University.
dorm/dormitory Do not use. Use residence hall instead.

double negatives
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Do not use.
e-commerce
Hyphenate and lowercase unless it begins a sentence. When it begins a sentence, capitalize the "E."
EEO Statement Oakland University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action institution.
EEO/Disability statements The EEO and disability statements should appear on most materials used for publicity, recruitment (of students or staff) or information to the public.
e-mail
Hyphenate, lowercase. Always include with contact information.
ensure/insure Insure: To cover with insurance. Ensure: To make sure or certain.

exclamation point
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Use with discretion and avoid using in formal communication.
FAQ Acronym for frequently asked questions. Okay to use as acronym on Internet. Spell out in copy.
fax
Lower case, unless it begins a sentence.
freshman Lower case, unless it begins a sentence. There are no acceptable abbreviations.

full time, full-time
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Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. She works full time. He has a full-time job.
Graduation year and school/college When including the year someone graduated and from which school or college, this should be set off by commas when it is used with the person's name. Joe Smith, SBA '83, is vice president of the company.
grassroots one word, no hyphen
Grizz

When referring to OU's mascot, it is "the Grizz," not "The Grizz," unless this appears at the beginning of a sentence.
Grizzly ID
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health care Two words except when the name of a company dictates otherwise.
Help Desk Two words with the first letter of each word capitalized.
his/her, s/he Do not use. Use the plural instead. Use: They
home page
Two words, lower case unless starting a sentence.
husband, wife Use commas to separate the words "husband" or "wife" from the name of the spouse His wife, Sally, helped on the project.
hyperlinks
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Hyperlinks should be bold, red, not underlined.
Internet Initial cap.

intranet
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Lower case unless it begins a sentence.
junior, senior
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Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of persons or animals. Do not precede by a comma (Martin Luther King Jr.) only in specific cases where the person whose name it is requests it. The notation II or 2nd may be used if it is the individual's preference. However, note that II and 2nd are not necessarily the equivalent of junior - they often are used by a grandson or nephew. If necessary to distinguish between father and son in second reference, use the elder Smith or younger Smith. Do: All juniors must take this class. Pete Brown Jr. said it was true. Don't: The jr. class will attend the session.
legal documents Legal documents posted to the Web should be posted as approved and distributed by the legal department.

login, logon, logoff
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One word, lower case.
MA, BA, MS, BS, Ph.D. Use periods in Ph.D., but not BA, MA, BS or MS.
Macomb Community College Use the full name on first reference and just "Macomb" on second reference. Never use MCC.
Macomb University Center It should be the Macomb University Center. Never use Macomb's University Center.
Majors and Programs Lowercase names of programs and majors. chemistry program, chemistry major
Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts Capitalize the first letters in "Bachelor," "Master" and "Arts." There is no "s" at the end of "Bachelor" or "Master."
master's, bachelor's lowercase with an apostrophe between the "r" and "s."
master's degree Lower case unless it begins a sentence. However, specific degrees should be capitalized. He received his master's degree from Oakland University. She received her Master of Arts degree from Michigan State University.
Meadow Brook Hall Use the full name on first reference and just the hall (lowercase) on second reference.
mid Do not hyphen unless a capitalized word follows. Midterm, midsemester, Mid-Continent Conference
Midnight Madness Both Midnight Madnezz and Mid-Night Madnezz are acceptable.
money Use figures with the dollar sign in copy. For even dollar amounts do not add decimal followed by double zero. Spell out the word cents and lowercase, using numerals for amounts less than a dollar: 5 cents. Use the $ sign and decimal system for larger amounts ($1.05).
The fee for activities is $25. The exact amount of the bill is $19.48.
monthlong
One word.
months/dates Follow AP style: Spell out month and include year without separating by a comma. Abbreviate month when used with a specific date. When referring to month, date and year, offset year with commas. For Web copy and calendars, include the day of the week when previewing an event. January 1972 was very cold. Jan. 29 was the coldest day. Jan. 29, 1972, hit historic lows.
more than Follow AP style: "More than" should be used when relating to numerals. When you refer to spatial relationships, use "over." Numerals: Salaries increased more than 10%. Spatial: The plane flew over the city.
MS, BS, MA, BA, Ph.D. Use periods in Ph.D., but not BA, MA, BS or MS.
MSU-O, Michigan State University - Oakland
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Use Michigan State University - Oakland on first reference and MSU-O on second reference. There should be a dash between the "U" and "O" and between the words "University" and "Oakland."
names Individuals should be referenced by their full name on first reference of each (Web) page. Following references should be last name only. Do not include courtesy titles in the first or following references.
names; junior, senior, II Use Jr., II, etc. only on first reference with the individual's full name. The abbreviations are not set off with commas.
names; middle initials
Use middle initials in full name reference only if the person uses it regularly.
names; second reference
On second and subsequent references on the same page, refer to individuals by last name only.
noon, midnight Use noon or midnight. Do not use 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.

numbers
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Units of measurement and percents should be indicated in numerals. Spell out numbers nine and under. Use numerals for numbers 10 and higher.
Oakland University Use the full name of the university on first reference. Second references may be Oakland, OU or the university. Headlines may also use OU or Oakland.
offices, departments, divisions Capitalize office, department, division, program, institute, center, etc., when they are part of official titles. Otherwise, use lowercase. The Office of the Dean. The dean's office.
online One word in all cases for the computer connection term (per AP style).
O'rena The "r" should be lowercase and only one apostrophe should be used between the "O" and the "r."
OU at Macomb, Oakland University at Macomb Don't use "the Oakland University/OU at Macomb program"
OU Bookstore, university bookstore Both OU Bookstore and university bookstore are acceptable. When using OU Bookstore, the "B" in "Bookstore" should be capitalized. When using university bookstore, it should be lowercase.
OU INCubator, OU INC When spelling this out (OU INCubator) and using the abbreviated form (OU INC), "INC" should all be capitalized. Use OU INCubator on first reference and OU INC on second reference.
over
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Follow AP style: "More than" should be used when relating to numerals. When you refer to spatial relationships, use "over." Numerals: Salaries increased more than 10%. Spatial: The plane flew over the city.
parenthesis In general, parenthesis create clutter. If your copy has parenthesis, review the material and consider omitting the information in parenthesis or reorganizing the material.
part time, part-time Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. She works part time. She has a part-time job.
passive voice Avoid it. Limited usage may be okay when it is used to achieve a special effect—that should be rare.
percent When spelled out, it is one word.
percent sign Use the % symbol in Web copy with the numeral when in copy. Use the sign with numerals in table. Spell out in all other cases. The survey received a 73% response.
Ph.D., BA, MA, BS, MS Use periods in Ph.D., but not BA, MA, BS or MS.

phone numbers

All phone numbers should include ten digits with a space after the ( ).

(248) 370-2100
Programs and Majors
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Lowercase names of programs and majors. chemistry program, chemistry major
residence hall Use the term residence hall instead of dorm or dormitory.
room numbers Use figures. Capitalize "Room" when used with a figure.
The seminar will be in Room 4B.
rooms
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Capitalize the names of specifically designated rooms. We will meet in the Gold Room. The session was held in the common room.
seasons Do not capitalize seasons unless they designate an issue of a periodical. The winter of 1978 was the coldest on record. Have you seen the Fall issue of Inside Oakland?
semesters References to semesters should be lowercase. The spring 2001 semester.
senior, junior Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of persons or animals. Do not precede by a comma (Martin Luther King Jr.) only in specific cases where the person whose name it is requests it. The notation II or 2nd may be used if it is the individual's preference. However, note that II and 2nd are not necessarily the equivalent of junior - they often are used by a grandson or nephew. If necessary to distinguish between father and son in second reference, use the elder Smith or younger Smith.
sentence length
Use short, direct sentences instead of long, complex ones.
sophomore Lower case, unless it begins a sentence. There are no acceptable abbreviations.
SpiritCard One word with the "S" and "C" capitalized.
SpiritCash One word with the first "S" and the "C" capitalized. However, in some cases, SpiritCa$h is acceptable.
Spouse, husband, wife Use commas to separate the words "husband" or "wife" from the name of the spouse. His wife, Sally, helped on the project.
state names When standing alone in copy, spell out the name of the state.
state names, abbreviations
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Use AP accepted state abbreviations in copy. Use two-letter postal abbreviations with full address and ZIP code. Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W. Va., Wis., La., N.C., Wyo. Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah are not abbreviated.
The Honors College Capitalize "The," except when this is used as an adjective. Bill Smith is a student of The Honors College.
The President's Club Capitalize "The," except when this is used as an adjective. The program was sponsored by The President's Club.
time Use a.m. and p.m. to designate day or evening times. Use midnight or noon instead of 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. For full hour times use only the first number.
8 a.m. not 8:00 a.m.
time reference/days
Do not use in copy: today, tonight, tomorrow or yesterday.
titles, books, publications, TV shows, movies, magazines, etc.
Enclose the title in quotation marks in the Web copy.
titles; academic Like other professional titles, formal academic titles should be capitalized when they immediately precede an individual's name. Lower case titles when they are used after a name; offset with commas. Shortened versions of titles are acceptable in Web copy. Vice President for Development, Alumni and Community Engagement Susan Goepp. Geoff Upward, director of Communications and Marketing.
titles; university president On first reference use full name and title. On subsequent references use last name only.
today
Do not use in copy.
tomorrow
Do not use in copy.
 

tonight

Do not use in copy.  
Trustees
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Capitalize the first "T" in "Trustees" only if this is before a name, otherwise it should be lowercase (trustees).
United States Spell out when used as a noun. Use U.S. (no space and periods) only as an adjective.
under way
Two words in almost all cases.

underline

Do not underline text in Web copy. Underlining indicates hyperlink on most sites. It is not a hyperlink on Oakland.edu and should not be used in regular text or to indicate hyperlink.
university bookstore, OU Bookstore
Both OU Bookstore and university bookstore are acceptable. When using OU Bookstore, the "B" in "Bookstore" should be capitalized. When using university bookstore, it should be lowercase.
university update
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On first reference, use University Update. On second reference, or when just using the words "university update" alone, it should be lowercase.
Web Use upper case W when referring to the World Wide Web. Use upper case W for all references.
Web page Two words. Upper case W, all other letters lower case.
website One word, all lowercase (per AP Style).
webcast Online broadcast. One word, lower case (per AP style).
webmaster
One word, all lower case (per AP style).
weeklong
One word.
wife, husband Use commas to separate the words "husband" or "wife" from the name of the spouse His wife, Sally, helped on the project.

World Wide Web
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All initial caps, no hyphens. Can be shortened and referred to as "the Web."
Year and school/college graduated from When including the year someone graduated and from which school or college, this should be set off by commas when it is used with the person's name. Joe Smith, SBA '83, is vice president of the company.
yearlong
One word.
Years Use commas only with a month and day: Dec. 18, 2005, is a Sunday. Years are the lone exception to the general rule in numerals that a figure is not used to start a sentence: 2000 was a very good year.  

yesterday
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Do not use in copy.
ZIP Codes
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When using OU addresses, always include the ZIP Code with the four-digit extension. For more information, check the list of four-digit extensions.