In order to establish a cohesive image of Weber State University and to provide readers with consistent, clear publications, University Communications has produced Figure of Speech, a guidebook of editorial style. For our purposes, style is defined as rules regarding the mechanics of written communication, such as capitalization, spelling and punctuation, not as rules of literary composition that have to do with forms of expression such as manner and tone.
Figure of Speech is based on six reference works and should be uniformly applied to all university news releases, printed materials such as The Weber State University Magazine, University News and Diversity Works, recruitment materials and Web pages produced for the university’s external and internal audiences. Although some variation from established policies may occur at the discretion of the author or editor, the majority of stylistic decisions should be based on the following sources:
Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
Chicago Manual of Style
Merriam-Webster’s Manual for Writers & Editors
Merriam-Webster’s Guide to Punctuation
Webster's New World College Dictionary
We invite you to adopt Figure of Speech for your printed materials except those that are governed by specialized guidelines such as research reports and legal documents. If you have questions or would like to offer suggestions, please contact University Communications at 801-626-6348.
abbreviation: generally avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms the reader would not quickly recognize. Always spell out official names and titles on first reference. Avoid courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr. and Mrs. Delete all periods unless necessary for clarity.
|Special cases: Some abbreviations are acceptable in technical writing or catalogs.
Unacceptable: UB, MC, WSUSA
abbreviation of degrees: avoid using unless producing catalog-type materials.
|Right: BS, MA, PhD
Wrong: B.S., M.A., Ph.D.
academic degrees (see degrees)
academic departments (see departments)
academic rank: do not capitalize assistant professor, associate professor or professor.
|Right: The student spoke with associate professor Rick Smith; The student spoke with Rick Smith, associate professor.
acronym: avoid using an acronym on first reference, unless its meaning is universally recognized. Preferred form is to write a name or term in full on first reference. An acronym then can be used in all subsequent references.
|Right: The Master of Business Administration program is offered at Weber State University Davis. In 2009-10, the MBA program will graduate 42 students.|
addresses: When giving someone directions to get to WSU in Ogden, use 3848 Harrison Blvd. as the location:
|Weber State University
3848 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden UT 84408
Letterhead and business cards use University Circle addresses for Mail Codes:
Weber State University
XXXX University Circle
Ogden UT 84408-XXXX
Mail codes should follow Mail Center guidelines.
Right: Ogden UT 84408-4020
Wrong: Ogden, Ut., 84408-4020
|When listing an address in a publication, omit the comma between city and state. Do not insert a comma before listing the zip code.
Weber State University Ogden
3848 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden UT 84408
Weber State University Davis
2750 N. University Park Blvd.
Layton UT 84041-9099
Weber State University Kaysville Center
Davis High School, Room 1301
325 So. Main
Kaysville UT 84037
Weber State University Morgan Center
241 E. Young St.
Morgan UT 84050
Weber State University West Center
5627 S. 3500 West
Roy UT 84067
Center for Continuing Education
775 S. University Park Boulevard
advisor: or is the preferred usage, even though er is acceptable
ages: always use numerals
alumna: a female graduate; plural alumnae
alumni: the plural form of alumnus (see alumnus); Use alumni to refer to a group of male and female graduates.
alumnus: a male graduate; plural alumni.
Athletics Department: not athletic department
associate or associate's degree: informal form of Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree
bachelor’s degree: informal form of Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree
bell tower: preferred name is Stewart Bell Tower or Stewart Bell Tower Plaza
Board of Regents: takes a singular verb and should be used on first reference; Regents is acceptable on second reference and takes a plural verb.
|Right: The Board of Regents has approved the plan. The Regents have recommended three changes.
Board of Trustees: WSU Board of Trustees, takes a singular verb. Trustees is acceptable on second reference and takes a plural verb.
|Right: The WSU Board of Trustees has approved the plan. The Trustees have tabled the recommendations.
bookstore or WSU Bookstore, for internal audience Campus Stores is preferred
bulleted lists: appropriate mainly for instructional or promotional material. The lead-in to a bulleted list need not be a complete sentence; however, the lead-in should end with a colon as follows:
- Leave at least one space between the bullet and the start of the list item, and indent the list items three to five spaces (start the bullet on the third or fifth column)
- Begin run-over lines under the text of the list item, not under the bullet
- Omit articles (a, an, the) from the beginning of list items
- Punctuate bulleted list items only if they are complete sentences or verb phrases that complete the lead-in sentence (and use periods in these two cases)
- Limit bulleted lists to no more than six or eight list items; for long bulleted lists, look for ways to subdivide or consolidate
- Avoid single-item bulleted lists.
Campus Stores: the preferred name of WSU Bookstore for internal audiences (see bookstore)
|departments: uppercase formal department names; lowercase the department name in informal references (check the WSU catalog for formal department names).
time periods: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, Summer Semester
titles in general: capitalize the first letter of all words in a title except prepositions, articles and coordinating conjunctions with four or fewer letters.
titles of magazines and newspapers: italicize. Do not underline or put in quotes. Do not capitalize (or italicize) the word the, even if part of an official title.
chairman, chairwoman or chairperson: acceptable. The term chair should not be used.
cities: Ogden and Salt Lake City are the only two Utah cities that stand alone without the name of the state.
|Right: Ogden, Salt Lake City; Layton, Utah; St. George, Utah; Provo, Utah. Consult the Associated Press Stylebook for all other cities.
class of 2010
class work, course work
coauthor (noun) or coauthored (verb)
Code of Conduct, Student http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/6-22.htm
|College of Applied Science & Technology (note use of the ampersand)
College of Science
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions
Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education
John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics
Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities
commas (see punctuation)
avoid courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr. and Mrs. Spell out university titles such as President Charles A. Wight, Provost Michael Vaughan and Vice President Norm Tarbox (also see “abbreviation of degrees”).
dates: capitalize the names of months in all uses. 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 a comma.
Davis Campus (see Weber State University Davis)
Dee Events Center
departments: uppercase formal department names; lowercase the department name in informal references (check the WSU catalog for formal department names).
|Right: the Department of History, the history department; the English department, the Office of Media Relations, the media relations office.
degrees: academic degrees are not capitalized, and the preferred form is to avoid abbreviation. Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. Use abbreviations such as BA, MA and PhD only when the need to identify many individuals by degree would make the preferred form cumbersome. When using the abbreviated form, delete all periods.
|Right: She earned a bachelor’s degree.
Right: Stephen Covey, PhD, spoke.
disk or diskette: not disc
doctorate (noun) or doctoral (adj.) degree
|Wrong: doctor’s degree or doctorate degree
dorm: preferred term is residence hall
email: lowercase the letter “e” when writing the word email; when listing an email address, use lowercase and do not use quotation marks.
|Right: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wrong: E-mail “Recruit1@.weber.edu”
em dash: (for Macintosh users only) The em dash replaces the traditional double hyphen and is used to indicate an abrupt change in thought; strike the option, shift and hyphen keys simultaneously.
emeritus: do not capitalize, and always place emeritus after the formal title
|Right: professor emeritus of history
Wrong: emeritus professor of history
en dash: (for Macintosh users only) Use the en dash between words indicating a duration, such as hours, months or years; strike the option and hyphen keys simultaneously.
|Right: 7:30–4:30, 5–8 years of age, January–March.
Energy and Sustainability Officeengineering technology students: not engineering students
entitled: possessing a right to do or have something; books are titled, they are not entitled
ethnic groups: African American, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander
ext.: do not capitalize. Abbreviated form preferred to extension.
FAFSA: Spell out Free Application for Federal Student Aid on first reference; FAFSA is acceptable on second reference.
Federal Student Aid
financial aid: capitalize in formal reference to the department
|Right: The student received his financial aid today from the Financial Aid Office.
Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music on first reference. Foulger School may be used on second reference.
Founders Society (no apostrophe)
full-time (adj. and adv.) or full time (noun)
|Exception: If full time is placed after a verb or a noun, a hyphen is not necessary.
She works full time in the department.
fundraiser (event), fundraising (adjective or noun)
grade point average(s): write out words on first reference, GPA or GPAs (no apostrophe) acceptable on second reference.
graduate degree programs
|Master of Accounting
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Criminal Justice
Master of Education
Master of English
Master of Health Administration
Master of Professional Communication
Master of Science in Athletic Training
Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences
Master of Taxation
half, one-half (adj. or noun): a half-hour, a year and a half, 1 1/2-year-old
Hill Air Force Base (HAFB): the acronym HAFB should not be used in first reference.
home page: two words
Honors Issues Forum
Honors Program: honors students for students in the WSU honors program, honor students generically
Housing and Residence Life: is the formal name of the office responsible for WSU campus housing. Use WSU housing, campus housing or housing for general purposes, but use the formal title as needed.
|Right: Housing and Residence Life
Wrong: Housing and Residential Life
Inc.: do not set off with commas. Do not write as INC.
interdepartmental: all one word, no hyphen; refers to interaction between or among WSU departments.
Intermountain West: intermountain area
interoffice: all one word, no hyphen; functioning or communicating between the offices of an organization or company; an interoffice memo
Internet: capitalize always; the Net is acceptable on second reference
junior: abbreviate as Jr. only with full names of persons and do not precede by a comma.
|Right: John F. Kennedy Jr.
KWCR 88.1 FM: KWCR on second reference
library (see names)
logo: distinctive identifying mark that can be used alone or with the university signature. See the Guide to Weber State University Graphic Standards, http://documents.weber.edu/styleguide/01.asp or call University Communications at ext. 6548 for additional information about WSU logos.
Mail Center: not mail services
master’s degree, also see graduate degree programs
|Right: master’s degree in education
Wrong: master’s degree of education
|buildings (names): capitalize; preferred use is to omit the word Building; note exceptions
campus facilities (names of designated spaces) within buildings: capitalize generally, but note exceptions
centers (names): capitalize
landmarks: capitalize when using the formal name
names–first reference: preferred use is first and last name, followed by title or position; use of middle name(s) and maiden names optional. Avoid using courtesy titles (Dr., Mr., Mrs.).
|Right: Charles A. Wight, WSU president, spoke Thursday.
Wrong: Dr. Charles A. Wight spoke Thursday.
Mr. Charles A. Wight spoke Thursday.
names–initials: Omit spaces between initials, but do not omit periods (see abbreviation)
|Right: E.B. White
Wrong: E. B. White
names–second reference: preferred use is last name only in second and subsequent references.
|Right: Wight said enrollment is up.
Wrong: President Wight said enrollment is up.
Network Technology and Business Multimedia (NTM): formerly the department of Telecommunications and Business Education. Name changed March 1, 2012.
Northern Utah: capitalize when referring to region, lower case when using as direction
numbers: generally, spell out numbers below 10, use figures for 10 and above
|Right: They had three children.
Nearly 100 students attended.
Spell out first through ninth when indicating a sequence in time or location.
Right: First Amendment; he was first in line.
Starting with 10th use figures. Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence, except calendar years.
Right: 1945 was a good year. Twenty-one students attended.
Do not use an apostrophe in calendar years, but do use an apostrophe when omitting the first two numbers.
Right: 1980s, ’80s
School years should be written as 2009–10, usually omitting the century and the apostrophe in the second year. Macintosh users should use the en dash (see en dash).
off campus and on campus after the noun, off-campus and on-campus before the noun.
Ogden: stands alone in publications written for alumni, faculty, staff or students of WSU. All other Utah towns and cities, except Salt Lake City, should be followed with a comma and the state. (see cities)
|Right: Rick Smith of Ogden received the scholarship. Tyler Smith of Layton, Utah, received the scholarship. Sara Smith of Salt Lake City received the scholarship.
Wrong: Rick Smith of Ogden, Utah, won three awards. Tyler Smith of Layton won three awards.
online: (one word)
Pell Grant, Federal
percent: Percentages should be expressed in numerals with percent spelled out.
|Right: 21 percent increase
Wrong: 21% increase
president: capitalize president only as a formal title used directly before an individual’s name. Lowercase in all other uses.
|Right: President George Washington, also the president said today...
program: use uppercase for the formal name of academic programs.
|Right: the Dental Hygiene Program, the Honors Program
Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music on first reference. Foulger School may be used on second reference.
Richard Richards Institute for Politics, Decency & Ethical Conduct on first reference. Richards Institute may be used on second reference.
Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service on first reference. Walker Institute may be used on second reference.
punctuation: use as a courtesy to help readers’ understanding.
quotations: use open-quote marks (“) and close-quote marks (”) to surround the exact words of a speaker or writer and to show which words are quoted directly or verbatim.
quotations (see punctuation)
resume or resumé: accent mark optional
room numbers: it is unnecessary to use the word “room” if the building is named
|Right: Shepherd Union 335
Wrong: Shepherd Union Building, Room #335
If the name of the building is not included, capitalize and spell out the word Room, or abbreviate and capitalize, Rm.
Right: Weber State University Davis, Rm. 335
Capitalize the names of specifically designated rooms.
Right: Betty Hess Lampros Board Room
Salt Lake City: stands alone. Do not write as SLC. All other Utah towns and cities should be followed with a comma and the state (see cities).
School of Accounting & Taxationscholarship: generally, but the Larson and Powell Nursing Scholarship fund
shootout (noun) shoot-out (adj., adv.)
sports scores: game scores should be written in numerals, even if fewer than 10.
|Right: The final score was 33–3. (Macintosh users note use of the en dash rather than a hyphen, see en dash.)
Stromberg Complex: use in reference to entire complex which houses the Swenson Building and the Wildcat Center for Health Education and Wellness (formerly known as the Stromberg Center). The Swenson Building is to the east and the Wildcat Center for Health Education and Wellness to the west. The Swenson Gymnasium is housed within the Swenson Building.
Student Code of Conduct: http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/6-22.htm
studentbody: no hyphen unless used as an adj.
street names: write out street names such as Sixth South.
TBE: see Network Technology and Business Multimedia
theater: in all references to on-campus venues, but theatre arts in reference to academic major and proper names of performing groups
time: use today, this morning, this afternoon, tonight, etc., as appropriate. Use the day of the week elsewhere. Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. this morning, 10 p.m. tonight.
|occupations: titles that serve primarily as occupation descriptions should be written in lowercase
formal titles: generally confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s name
plays, movies and books: italicize generally for plays, movies and books. The titles of articles in books, journals, newspapers and seminars should appear in quotation marks.
university: not capitalized unless written as Weber State University or as part of any other university’s name.
University Village: comprising of Building 1, Building 2, Building 3, Building 4, Building 5 and a community center. Never reference a University Village building on it's own.
|Right: Building 1 in Wildcat Village
Right: Wildcat Village, Building 1
Wrong: Building 1
|Right: Go to weber.edu to access the homepage.
Wrong: Our URL is http://www.weber.edu.
Utah: Utah should not be abbreviated in regular text. Abbreviate Utah as UT in mailing addresses.
Utah State Legislature: capitalize when preceded by the state name.
|Right: the Utah State Legislature.
Retain capitalization when the state name is dropped but the reference is specifically to a state’s legislature.
Right: The Legislature needs to appropriate more money.
Wrong: He ran for the Legislature in every western state.
vice president: (no hyphen) capitalize when used as a formal title (see titles)
Wasatch Mountains, Wasatch Front, Wasatch Range
Weber State University: on first reference; WSU acceptable in subsequent references, not Weber, Weber State or W.S.U.
Weber State University Davis: on first reference; WSU Davis on second reference, not WSU Davis Campus, Davis Campus or Davis.
Web page, Web site: two words
Wildcat: capitalize if referring to university’s mascot
Wildcat Center for Health Education and Wellness: Formerly known as the Stromberg Center, part of the Stromberg Complex along with the Swenson Building, located west of the Swenson Building.
Wildcat Village: comprising of Hall 1, Stewart Wasatch Hall and Hall 3World Wide Web, the Web acceptable
WSU Davis: acceptable on second reference
WSUSA: Weber State University Student Association
Xerox: a trademark and never a verb; preferred use is a generic term such as photocopy
year: 2000s (no apostrophe); note the omission of an apostrophe before the “s” in the example. School years should be written as 2009–10, omitting the century in the second year and without an apostrophe. (Macintosh users note use of the en dash, see en dash.)