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DePauw Style Guide

DePauw University Condensed Styleguide

The DePauw University Condensed Styleguide presents some specific writing style standards mainly for publications created for DePauw’s external audiences. Also included are examples of correct grammar and forms about which people often have questions. It is intended as a guideline for improving the clarity and consistency of University publications, not as a guideline for technical or academic writing. This styleguide is also useful in correspondence.

The basic reference for DePauw writing style is The Associated Press Stylebook. Final, authoritative dictionary reference is Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.

All DePauw publications have one thing in common – the reader/audience. Because of multiple mailings, it is possible for an individual reader to receive more than one DePauw publication in a short time – for example, the DePauw Magazine, an online newsletter and an alumni event brochure all in one week. If the writing style isn’t clear and consistent, the DePauw message is weakened. So, the Condensed Styleguide offers a basis upon which to create University writing, with clarity and consistency being the foundation. If the Styleguide does not provide the information you need, please contact the Publications Office.



Lowercase words are easier for the reader’s eye to follow. Prefer the lowercase and the generic form. There needs to be a specific reason to capitalize a word, i.e., a proper noun, the first word of a sentence, etc.

academic calendar
Use lowercase, fall semester, spring semester, spring break, fall break.

academic degrees
•Use B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
•Use lowercase for bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.
•Use lowercase for doctorate or doctoral program.

academic majors
Do not capitalize major areas of study unless the major includes a word that is normally capitalized. Example – Asian studies.

administrative offices
•Capitalize formal office names. Example – Office of Alumni Relations.
•Use lowercase for alumni office.

Board of Trustees
•Use uppercase for DePauw Board of Trustees.
•Use lowercase for a generic board of trustees.

building names
•Official building names should be capitalized, e.g, East College; but not informal references, the science and math building.
•Do not abbreviate or shorten names of buildings, except in internal publications, e.g., UB, internally, but Memorial Student Union Building externally.

Capitalize when referring to a class year, e.g., Class of 1975.

Lowercase commencement unless it is used as a part of a formal title.

•Capitalize formal names of committees, e.g., Committee on Student Affairs.
•Use lowercase for a student affairs committee.

course titles
•Capitalize formal course titles, Psychology 101; but not a psychology course.
•Do not italicize course titles.

days of the week
Capitalize and write out days of the week in text: The paper was due Tuesday.

Dean’s List
Uppercase unless referring to a generic dean’s list.

directions and regions
•Lowercase north, south, east and west when they indicate compass directions: They went north.
•Capitalize directions when they indicate regions: DePauw is in the Midwest.

grade point average
•Lowercase in first reference, i.e., grade point average.
•Uppercase GPA for alumni publications. Prefer generic terms such as A average or B student for general audiences that include those who are not familiar with the term.

historical periods and events
The Middle Ages, Great Depression, Boston Tea Party. Lowercase century.

Use italics: cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude.

majors and programs
•Academic majors are lowercase, e.g., mathematics.
•Capitalize formal names of programs, e.g., Media Fellows Program.

student classification
First-year student, sophomore, etc.

•Lowercase a.m. and p.m. with periods and no spaces.
•When referring to noon or midnight, do not use a 12, i.e., do not use 12 noon.
•When referring to a time on the hour, no :00 is needed. Example – The seminar will be held from 8-11:30 a.m.

titles (media)
•Capitalize principal words of book titles, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, radio and television programs, and works of art.
•Do not capitalize articles, conjunctions or prepositions in a title unless they are the first word.

titles (personal)
•Prefer lowercase titles following name: William J. Jones, professor of sociology.
•Capitalize titles that precede a person’s name, e.g., Professor of Sociology William J. Jones.
•Use Dr. only for medical doctors.

•Use DePauw University in first reference. In subsequent references use DePauw or uppercase University.
•When referring to universities in general, use the lowercase.
•In sports stories and news headlines, DPU is acceptable.

Words to capitalize

  • DePauw (D and P always caps – no space between De and Pauw)

  • Alumni Association Board of Directors

  • Alumni Reunion Weekend

  • Annual Fund/Annual Giving

  • Board of Visitors

  • Board of Trustees

  • Dean’s List

  • Dells

  • Greek (fraternities and sororities)

  • Honor Scholars

  • Hub

  • Little 5

  • Little Sibs’ Weekend

  • Management Fellows

  • Media Fellows

  • Parents’ Executive Committee

  • Science Research Fellows

  • University (uppercase when referring to DePauw, the University)

  • Winter Term



•On academic degrees in general: “If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology, … ” (The AP Stylebook)
•“Use such abbreviations as B.A., M.A., LL.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify any individual by degree on first reference would make the preferred use cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name, never just after a last name.” (The AP Stylebook)

NOTE: Use “a” rather than “an” preceding degrees such as M.A., M.B.A. and M.F.A. (i.e., He/She received a M.A. degree in history. The “a” is used in front of these degree abbreviations because the sentence reads in full as follows: He/She received a Master of Arts degree in history.


DePauw (the word)

•The word “DePauw” is trademarked. Whether used with or without the word “University,” the word “DePauw” must be spelled accurately and consistently. When used in printed materials, the word “DePauw” should be spelled with a capital D and P, with no space between e and P; or it can be shown in all capital letters, e.g., DePauw: DEPAUW.
•Use DePauw University in first reference. In subsequent references, use DePauw or uppercase University.
•In sports stories and news headlines, DPU is acceptable. Do not use DU as an abbreviation.


Equal Opportunity Policy

DePauw University, in affirmation of its commitment to excellence, endeavors to provide equal opportunity for all individuals in its hiring, promotion, compensation and admission procedures. Institutional decisions regarding hiring, promotion, compensation and admission will be based upon a person’s qualifications and/or performance without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender, gender identity or gender expression, except where religion, gender, or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification.

DePauw University’s goals and commitments are best served if the institution reflects the diversity of our society; hence, DePauw seeks diversity in all areas and levels of employment and abides by all local, state, and federal regulations concerning equal employment opportunities. The University admits, hires and promotes individuals upon their qualities and merits.



Preferred spelling is adviser, not advisor.

Affect means to influence. Effect is a result or consequence.

Use an ampersand (&) only as part of an official name, not as a substitute for “and,” as in McDermond Center for Management & Entrepreneurship.

Around means on all sides, or in a circle. About means an approximation.

Beside is a preposition meaning near. Besides is an adverb meaning in addition.

Use “between” when indicating a relationship of two individuals or entities; use “among” for more than two.

Capital is a city that is a seat of government. Capitol is a building.

Avoid the bureaucratic concerning and regarding. About and on are simpler and more direct.

daylight saving time
Not daylight savings time.

Use Arabic figures to indicate decades: 1960s (Note no apostrophe before s). An apostrophe replaces the omitted figures in class year or decade. Example – Class of ’68; ’60s.

NOTE: Use outward-facing apostrophes to replace omitted figures in class year or decade. E.g., ’13.

Entitle means a right to something. Title is the name of a book or other work.

first-come, first-served
Not first come – first serve.

Historic means important in history. Historical pertains to past events. Avoid the redundant past history.

•i.e. (id est) means “that is” and is always followed by a comma.
•e.g. (exempli gratia) means “for example” and is always followed by a comma.
Consider i.e. and e.g. as parenthetical elements and punctuate accordingly: In evaluating an IQ score, several factors, e.g., socioeconomic level, must be considered. (Words Into Type)

One insures a house or car; ensure means to guarantee, such as ensuring results. With insurance, one aims to guarantee from loss or harm. In using ensure, one makes sure or certain.

•It’s is the contraction meaning “it is.”
•Its is the possessive case. Example – The squirrel went back to its home.
•Its’ is not a word in the English language.

•Use “like” when indicating one entity is similar to another. Example – Like its larger counterpart, the state university, the liberal arts college offers undergraduate degrees.
•For a situation in which a specific example follows an abstract or generic description, use “as.” Example –
Liberal arts colleges such as DePauw …

•Use lists and bulleted formats in both publications and correspondence. They break up text and are easy on the eye. Be sure to keep items parallel grammatically: Be consistent in choosing single words, complete sentences or phrases. The first word, in particular, should have a consistent grammatical form.
•If you lead into a list with a colon, the whole list constitutes a sentence, and you should punctuate appropriately. Example – The box contained the following: apples, oranges, plums and bananas.
•Capitalize the first word following the bullet. Use periods, not semicolons, at the end of each section, whether it is a full sentence or a phrase. Example: Jones gave the following reasons:
•He never ordered the package.
•If he did, it didn't come.
•If it did, he sent it back.

neither/nor, either/or
Neither must be followed by nor, not or. Either is followed by or.

not only … but also
Not only must be completed by but also, not just but.

Oral means spoken. Verbal pertains to words.

over/more than
Over means above. More than means a greater number.

Principal is a noun or adjective meaning someone or something first in rank, authority, importance or degree. Principle is a noun that means a fundamental truth, law, doctrine or motivating force.

pronoun/antecedent agreement
A pronoun should agree in number with the noun to which it refers. Example – A student plans his or her class schedule. Not – A student plans their class schedule.

•Use “that” in restrictive subordinate clauses (those necessary for the meaning of the sentence. Example – The house that they had decided to buy was green. (Do not use commas to separate the clause from the rest of the sentence because it is integral to the meaning.)
•Use “which” in non-restrictive subordinate clauses (those that are not essential for the meaning of the sentence). Example – The front door, which had beautiful leaded glass, led into a large foyer where the committee members had gathered. (Use commas to separate the clause from the rest of the sentence to indicate that the information is peripheral to the meaning of the sentence.)

Always use toward.

United States
The abbreviation U.S. is acceptable as a noun or adjective.

voice (active vs. passive)
•Use the active voice in the vast majority of cases. Example – I heard the knock on the door. Not: The knock on the door was heard by me.
•Use the passive voice when you do not know the actor or when you do not want to assign responsibility to an individual. Example – The decision was made by the CEO.



•Write out numerals zero through nine.
•For 10 and greater, use numerals except when they begin a sentence. Write out numbers that begin a sentence although you can usually deal with long numerals less awkwardly by recasting the sentence so the number isn’t the first word.
•Use figures for 10 and above and whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things.
•For thousands, use comma. Example – 3,000; 250,000.
•For millions, billions, use figures in all but the most casual uses. Example – I wish I had a billion dollars. Otherwise, e.g., $5 billion, 3 million immigrants.
•Round numbers based on the level of interest and use of the information by readers.
•Write whole dollar amounts without .00. Example – $12.
•Use Arabic figures to indicate decades: 1960s (Note no apostrophe before s). An apostrophe replaces the omitted figures in class year or decade. Example – Class of ’68; ’60s. NOTE: Use outward-facing apostrophes to replace omitted figures in class year or decade. E.g., ’13.

•Spell out and hyphenate in text. Example – one-third, one-half.
•For mixed numbers, use 1 1/2, 2 5/8 with a full space between the whole number and the fraction.

•Use numerals and percent (no space) for percentages. Example – 20 percent.
•For fractional percentages, use decimals not fractions. Example – 2.5 percent.

Use amount when indicating a quantity that cannot be assigned an exact number. Use number for countable items.

fewer/number – less/amount
•Use fewer and number to designate items that you can count, less and amount to indicate quantity that you cannot enumerate. Example – fewer marbles but less sand.
•Use number when indicating a countable quantity. Use amount to indicate a quantity that cannot be counted.



•A paragraph is one complete unit of thought. A reader or a writer in the edit mode should be able to identify the subject of the paragraph. A writer should check for paragraph unity very carefully while editing.
•Generally, the first sentence of a paragraph announces the topic and scope of that paragraph. The rest of the sentences support or prove the topic sentence using details, examples, logic and analogy. You can view the topic sentence as telling, the support sentences as showing.
•Academic writing is generally formal and tends to use long paragraphs because of the complexity of ideas and the fine discriminations that characterize scholarly thought and expression. In academic writing, there is either a professor reading a student’s paper or academic specialists reading each other’s work.
•This audience situation generally does not exist in other writing situations. Especially in publications (because of the generally narrow columns), it is a good idea to paragraph for the eye as well as the thought because long, uninterrupted blocks of text can intimidate a reader. This is especially true in Web publications.
•Other situations that call for less formal organizational communications, such as memos, tend to have short paragraphs.
•Writers can control the length of paragraphs by how they cast ideas in the topic sentence and by breaking up paragraphs at natural divisions.



•When naming people – faculty, alumni, students – use full name and middle initial in first reference, if possible. Omit middle initial if the person is publicly known without it. Example – Dan Quayle ’69. The exception in published text is references to sports figures. In this case, use publicly known name without middle initial. On second and subsequent reference, use last name only.

•Alumnus: male singular reference.
•Alumna: female singular reference.
•Alumnae: female plural reference.
•Alumni: male plural and collective plural reference.
•Alumni/ae: Class year indicated by apostrophe and final two numbers in graduation year. Example – George T. Franklin ’68.
•For alumni who attend DePauw but do not graduate, DePauw assigns a class year four years after their entering year unless they explicitly request to be considered a member of another class. There is no ’x designation at DePauw as there is at some universities.
•Alumnae: Include maiden and married name. Example – Jean Smith Johnson ’34 – not Jean Johnson DPU ’34 or Jean B. Smith Johnson 1934.

chairman, chairwoman, chair
Prefer the non-gender-specific chair. Note: follow same rules as academic titles for capitalization. Example – Jennifer L. Smith, associate professor and chair of the history department.

courtesy titles
•Do not use courtesy titles: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr., in publications. Use them in correspondence.
•However, The AP Stylebook stipulates use of Dr. in first reference to a medical doctor in published text. The use of Dr. to designate other medical specialties (dentistry, optometry) and holders of the Ph.D. is acceptable in correspondence, but not in published text.

The AP Stylebook uses Dr. only for medical doctors.

Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of persons. Do not precede by a comma. Example – John M. Smith Jr. ’74.

Try to avoid references that might be interpreted as sexist, e.g., man, mankind. Instead, use terms such as humanity or people.

•In copy for publication, refer to a professor’s official rank in first reference. Example – Leslie R. Matthews, assistant professor of biological sciences.
•Do not use Dr. in text for publication. It is acceptable in correspondence.
•Do not list academic degrees following a professor’s name.
•Never abbreviate professor.
•Lowercase before a name, but uppercase when part of a formal name or title.



•An apostrophe indicates omitted letters or numbers.
•An apostrophe replaces the omitted figures in decades. Example –’60s.
•Use an apostrophe to designate a DePauw graduate’s year of graduation. Example – Joan B. Smith ’68.
•Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
•Use curly (not straight) typographer’s apostrophe.

•Use a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. Example – He left by the front door, and then he opened the garage.
•Do not use a comma to separate a compound predicate. Example – He left by the front door and then opened the garage.
•In text, when city and state are used, put a comma between city and state and a comma after the state. Example – He came from Decatur, Ill., to Chicago.
•Before “and” in a series, generally omit the serial comma. Example – buildings, roads and bridges … Include the serial comma only when necessary for clarity. Example – I had juice, toast, and ham and eggs
•Use a comma to separate nonrestrictive clauses from the rest of the sentence. Example – The house, which is located on 17 acres, is 12 miles from town.
•Do not use a comma to separate restrictive clauses from the rest of the sentence. Example – The house that faced west was warmer in the afternoon.
•Use commas to set off nonrestrictive clauses. Example – The path, which was shaded, led me straight home. The logic is to use commas to separate elements of a sentence that are not essential to its meaning.

Use a dash to indicate “and,” e.g., faculty-staff (faculty and staff). Use a slash to indicate or, e.g., his/her (his or her).

Treat dashes like words that require a space before and a space after. They are used to set off parenthetical material that deserves emphasis. Example: He had completed his final paper – unlike most of his classmates.

ellipses (...)
•Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in quotes, texts and documents. Make sure deletion doesn’t distort the meaning.
•Treat ellipses as three-letter words, constructed with three periods and one space before and after periods. If the ellipsis takes the place of a sentence, there is a period at the end of the sentence, a space, three periods and another space. If the ellipsis takes the place of words within a sentence, the form is space, three periods, space.

•Avoid hyphenating the word DePauw; never DeP-auw.
•Check the dictionary for first reference on whether to hyphenate compound words or not. Generally, hyphenate compound words that aren’t joined when used as adjectives before nouns. On-campus programs, but students on campus this semester; full-time student, but the student is full time.
•Do not hyphenate compound modifiers that include an -ly word, e.g., nationally known composer.
•Between two words, a hyphen means “and,” e.g., work-study; a slash means “or,” e.g., pass/fail.

italics/quotation marks/underlining
Use italics to designate longer publications, such as books, plays, names of newspapers and magazines, and movies and television shows. Generally, quotation marks designate shorter works, such as poems and songs. Avoid underlining in text or letters.

quotation marks
Use italics or quotation marks to set off a word you are discussing or explaining. Avoid, however, setting off an informal expression that the reader will already know. “If you use a colloquialism or a slang word or phrase, simply use it; do not call attention to it by enclosing it in quotation marks. To do so is to put on airs, as if you were inviting the reader to join you in a select society of those who know better.” (Strunk and White, The Elements of Style)



•When no city is cited, write out state names in text for publication.
•In published text, when including city and state, abbreviate the state name.
•In all text, use AP style for state abbreviations following city names:


•In all text for publication, spell out the names of the eight states that are not abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
•Use official U.S. Postal Service abbreviations (IN, IL, TX) only for addresses with zip code included. Never use U.S.P.S. abbreviations in publication text.
•State abbreviations are not necessary with large cities for which there can be no confusion. AP style does not require the name of the state to accompany the following 30 cities:

Las Vegas
Los Angeles
New Orleans
New York
Oklahoma City
St. Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco


Technology terms

For the World Wide Web and references to digital communication in text, the reference of choice is The AP Stylebook. Following are basic terminology and usage, as well as DePauw-preferred style.

Blackboard Learning System
Full name is capitalized, as is the colloquial Blackboard (one word).

Uppercase B, lowercase r, hyphenated. Abbreviation is BD.

dial up (verb)

dial-up (adjective)

•Compact disc, CD-ROM (compact disc – read-only memory), laserdisc and videodisc spelled with “c.”
•Computer hard and “floppy” disk spelled with “k”; lowercase.

DVD: Digital Video/Versatile Disc  
Always capitalize all three letters.

One word, not capitalized.

email addresses
In text, manage end-of-line splits at natural divisions in address: Space after periods or slashes so that initial part of address fills first line and does not leave a large space in the text.

One word, capitalized.

Capitalize, no hyphen.

Always capitalize.

•Hyphenated and lowercase.
•Capitalize the H if it begins a sentence.

home page
Two words, not capitalized.

One word, not capitalized.

Always capitalize.

login, logon, logoff
One word, not capitalized, but use as two words in verb form: I log in to my computer.

Always capitalize.


Always capitalize in reference to Internet.

One word, not capitalized, not hyphenated.

One word, not capitalized, not hyphenated.

PC/personal computer
Capitalize, no periods; encompasses Macintosh in generic usage but not in more specific, technical references.

One word, not capitalized.

text message
Do not capitalize.

•Capitalize Twitter (name of the service). 
•Do not capitalize “tweet” as a noun or verb (to tweet).

One word, lowercase.

World Wide Web
Always capitalize.


Graphics Guidelines

DePauw University Business Card Guidelines

A DePauw business card may be the first contact that an off-campus constituent has with the University. As such, it is one of the primary means of establishing and/or reinforcing the graphic identity/brand of DePauw University at the most personal level. Since it often provides the first impression of DePauw, all representatives of the University will use the official University business card design, ink colors and stock.

When ordering business cards, use the online form at
services/businesscard/. A proof will be produced and submitted for your approval. Once approved, the business cards will be printed by the Mail Center, typically within five business days, and delivered via campus mail. A minimum order of 36 cards is required. Orders of 240 cards or less will be printed free of charge. Orders of more than 240 cards will be internally billed at a rate of .02 per card.

Contact for business cards:
Lyn Smith
Assistant to Vice President for Communications and Strategic Initiatives/
Communications Assistant


DePauw University Letterhead and Envelope Guidelines:

Refer to the Visual Identity Manual at:


DePauw University Logo:

Refer to the Visual Identity Manual at:


Copyright Policy:

Contact Mandy Henk, coordinator of access services, at 765-658-4656 or