What is the Editorial Stylebook?


The Editorial Stylebook (pdf) has been developed for staff and faculty members who write content for print documents, digital communications, websites, and social media platforms that promote Brooklyn College and its departments, programs, and services, and provide information about the college and its activities.

Any style item not included in this stylebook follows the rules of the 2020–2022 AP Stylebook. Any spelling item not included in this stylebook follows the rules of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition.

abbreviations / acronyms

Most abbreviations and acronyms (abbreviations that can be pronounced as words) do not use periods between letters (e.g., CEO, CUNY, ID, NATO, UNICEF, VIP, etc.).

This also applies to organizations and services at Brooklyn College when used on second reference (e.g., BEST, BLMI, SAIL).

  • Exception: W.E.B. (West End Building)

In almost all instances, on first reference the full name should be spelled out, followed by the abbreviation/acronym in parentheses. The abbreviation/acronym may be used on its own from thereon, but use it sparingly, to avoid the “alphabet soup” syndrome.

  • The Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center (AREAC) is located in 100 Ingersoll Hall Extension. AREAC welcomes faculty and students from the Brooklyn College community to participate in research and educational opportunities at the facility. The center has three research themes. Its research opportunities include work with horseshoe crabs, micro-algae, and breeding tilapia.

Exceptions to this, where the shortened form can be used without fully identifying it, are restricted to terms and organizations that are better known by the abbreviation or acronym (e.g., AIDS, ATM, IBM, PDF, UFO).

academic degrees

Spell out the degree and use initial caps in running text.

  • Delilah began working toward her Bachelor of Arts.
  • It took Matthew two years to earn his Master of Science.

Use an apostrophe and lowercase when citing a degree without a specific academic area.

  • Four years after receiving his bachelor’s degree, Morris decided he wanted to earn a master’s.

Note: Associate degree does not receive the possessive.

  • After earning an associate (not associate’s) degree, Hubert enrolled in a four-year college to earn his bachelor’s degree.

In running text, use the abbreviation, with periods, when the graduate degree follows a name and graduation year. Do not precede it with a comma. Do not include the undergraduate degree.

  • Jason Harrigan ’17 was the first of his siblings to graduate from college.
  • Jason Harrigan ’20 M.A. just started working at the University of Arkansas.

In lists, use of the abbreviation is preferred.

  • Samantha Ketola, B.A., Anthropology Elcio Oliveira, B.S., Mathematics Lloyd Silverstein, M.S., Speech-Language Pathology

Brooklyn College offers the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
  • Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)
  • Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
  • Master of Music (M.Mus.)
  • Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.)

The CUNY Graduate Center offers the Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy).



Do not abbreviate avenue, boulevard, and street in running text and addresses unless they are preceded by a numeral. Never abbreviate alley, drive, lane, road, and terrace.

  • The entrance to James Hall on Bedford Avenue is closed.
  • The official address of Brooklyn College is 2900 Bedford Ave.
  • A few of the staff met at 1108 Courtelyou Road for lunch.

Spell them out when more than one street name is involved.

  • The city is going to demolish the building on the corner of Ditmas and Flatbush avenues.

When writing out a location or complete address, use the ordinal number if appropriate:

  • The protestors crowded the sidewalks along West 36th Street.
  • 1753 48th St., Apt. 2B, Brooklyn, NY 11204

Do not include the ZIP code in running text if it is unnecessary.

  • The event will be held at 25 Broadway, New York, NY.
  • Mail your check to the Graduate Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.

Spell out first through ninth when used as a street name. Always use numerals for the building number.

  • Yolanda admires the old buildings along East Eighth Street.
  • Isabel loves her new apartment on 77th Street.
  • She is doing an internship at an architectural firm located at 7 Park Avenue.

Abbreviate compass points, with a period, in a numbered address, but spell them out if there is no building number.

  • Miranda lives at 123 W. 85th St.
  • She loves all the shops along West 85th Street.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement courses and exams may be shortened to AP courses and exams on second reference.

adviser / advisor

Do not use advisor, unless it is someone’s official title.


Do not use a hyphen when using this prefix to form a noun. Use a hyphen to form a compound modifier.

The vice president’s afterthought to hold an after-dinner Q&A caused logistical problems for her staff.


Always use numerals.

  • Quentin, who is 9 years old, admires his older brother.
  • Quentin, 9, was excited when his brother took him to his graduation ceremony.

Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives both before a noun and as substitutes for a noun.

  • The 26-year-old woman has been studying law for one year.
  • Our new art class is geared toward 4-year-olds.


The abbreviation for “also known as” does not use periods. It does use commas both before and after.

  • Ginger Gloria Graham, aka 3G, dropped her first single in 2021.


Use a hyphen for most instances.

  • Trevor McCormack was excited to be named an all-star for his all-around excellent performance on the soccer field in 2020. “But I’d really like to be the greatest of all time,” he said.

Alliance for Minority Participation

Second reference: AMP

alumna / alumnus

  • Alumna is one female.
  • Alumnus is one male.
  • Alumnae is two or more females.
  • Alumni is two or more males.
  • Alums is restricted to referring to a mixed group of males and females.


When referring to Americans of a particular ethnic origin, use a hyphen when employed as an adjective; do not use a hyphen when employed as a noun.

  • The African-American community celebrated Black History Month.
  • Stefano was proud to be the first Italian American to win the award.

a.m. / p.m.

Always lowercase, with periods, and preceded by a space between it and the time.

  • Tessa’s political science class starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.

Do not repeat either in a time range within the same period (e.g., morning or afternoon).

  • Jack goes for a run every day between 7 (not 7 a.m.) and 7:30 a.m.

Never use either to replace the time of day in running text.

  • Professor Hecuba thought that the students in his morning (not a.m.) classes were more alert than those in his afternoon (not p.m.) classes

and / &

Do not use an ampersand in lieu of “and,” unless it is part of the formal name of an organization or in commonly accepted abbreviations.

  • Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
  • Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Willie was an accomplished R&B artist before he opened a B&B.


Add both an apostrophe and an “s” for all singular nouns.

  • The witness’s answers damaged the prosecutor’s argument.

Add only an apostrophe for the possessive form of plural nouns ending in “s.”

  • The professors’ union meeting was highly productive.

Add only an apostrophe for the possessive form of nouns ending in “s” that are plural in form but singular in meaning.

  • Mathematics’ rules can be quite confusing.

Add only an apostrophe for the possessive form of both singular and plural proper names ending in “s.”

  • Dickens’ novels formed a large part of the curriculum.
  • The Sorensens’ daughter graduated from Brooklyn College in 2015.

For the joint possessive form, add the apostrophe after the last name only. For the individual possessive form, add it after both names.

  • Fred and Sylvia’s new apartment is huge. (refers to one apartment belonging to two people)
  • Fred’s and Sylvia’s books take up a substantial part of their living room. (refers to books that belong to Fred and books that belong to Sylvia)


The abbreviation for “application” (when referring to computer programs) is used on first reference. Do not use it as an abbreviation for a document one completes to apply for something.

  • The English Department’s app made it easy for students to complete the application for jobs assisting professors.

Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center

Second reference: AREAC


Lowercase art styles and movements, except when referring to historical periods.

  • Reginald was not a fan of impressionism or modernism.
  • The class took a tour of Gothic cathedrals in France.

Titles of sculptures are italicized.

  • Atlas has been a permanent fixture at Rockefeller Center since 1937.

Titles of paintings are italicized and enclosed in quotes.

  • Marianne thought Albert Bierstadt’s “Storm on the Matterhorn” was his best painting.

assure / ensure / insure

Assure is to give confidence to someone. Ensure is to make sure or certain. Insure is to provide or obtain insurance on or for.

  • Darren assured his staff that no one would be fired.
  • Darren ensured that projects are completed in a timely manner by launching a new management system.
  • Darren insured his house for $1 million.


Always place the asterisk after a punctuation mark, except for the dash.

  • Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2022.*
  • Students who submit complete applications, including processing fee,* will receive an e-mail confirmation.
  • Students who submit complete applications—including professing fee*—will receive an e-mail confirmation.

B Magazine

Second reference: the Brooklyn College magazine or the magazine

Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program

Second reference: the Barry Goldwater Scholarship or the scholarship

Recipient: Goldwater scholar

Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema

Second reference: Graduate School of Cinema or the school


Do not use as an abbreviation for Brooklyn College, unless it is part of an official name.

  • The Brooklyn College student body is one of the most diverse in the United States.
  • BC Navigator is the official mobile app of Brooklyn College.

BC WebCentral Portal

Second reference: the portal


In almost all cases, do not hyphenate.

  • The bipartisan committee celebrated its biannual event in Atlanta.


The acronym for “Black, Indigenous and People Of Color” should be used in direct quotes only. In all other instances, use “people of color.”

Black / White

Uppercase when referring to racial groups. Do not use either term as a singular noun.

  • The White players (not whites) account for 29% of the football team.
  • The Black students (not blacks) formed a new club on campus.

board of trustees / directors

Always lowercase, except:

  • the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York
  • the Brooklyn College Foundation Board of Trustees

When referring to an individual who is a trustee of either of the above organizations, include mention of his or her role as a trustee.

box office

Always lowercase. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.

  • Go to the box office to pick up your tickets.
  • Box-office hours are as follows: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.


The Brooklyn College yearbook

Brooklyn College

Second reference: the college

In general, do not abbreviate to BC. See BC, above.

Brooklyn College Alumni Association

Second reference: BCAA

Brooklyn College Foundation

Second reference: the foundation

Brooklyn College Library

Not La Guardia Library or Gideonse Library

Second reference: the library


Use the full, official name of campus buildings in text and addresses, as follows:

  • Boylan Hall
  • Brooklyn College Library (not La Guardia Library or Gideonse Library)
  • Chiller Plant
  • Gershwin Hall (when referring to the razed structure)
  • Ingersoll Hall
  • Ingersoll Hall Extension (not New Ingersoll)
  • James Hall
  • La Guardia Hall (when making historical reference to the original library building)
  • Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts
  • Plaza Building (when referring to the razed structure)
  • Roosevelt Hall
  • Roosevelt Hall Extension (not New Roosevelt)
  • Student Center (not SUBO)
  • West End Building (W.E.B.)
  • West Quad Center (not West Quad Building)
  • Whitehead Hall
  • Whitman Hall


Restricted to references to the Brooklyn College athletics teams or the athletes themselves. Do not use when referring to Brooklyn College students in general.


A statement introducing a list should precede the bullet points and end with a colon.

Bullet points composed of only a few words should have no punctuation following them.

  • Brooklyn College’s sustainability efforts include reducing the use of:
    • bottled water
    • plastic and Styrofoam
    • paper

If the bullet points are sentence fragments, begin each point with lowercase letters and end each with a comma. The second-to-last point should end with “and” or “or.” The final point should end with a period.

  • Brooklyn College students who participate in the international education program can:
    • immerse themselves in African history and culture in Ghana,
    • make films in India, and
    • visit some of the most important sites in China.

If the bullet points are lengthier sentence fragments, begin each point with lowercase letters and end each with a semicolon. The second-to-last point should end with “and” or “or.” The final point should end with a period.

  • Some of the local and national organizations that the School of Education has partnered with include:
    • College Now, which supports extensive collaborative partnerships between the college, the City University of New York, and the New York City Department of Education;
    • Jumpstart, a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods; and
    • Puppetry in Practice, an independent, not-for-profit organization housed in the School of Education.

If the bullet points are complete sentences, begin them with capital letters and end them with a period.

  • Brooklyn College has made the following improvements on campus recently:
    • The Brooklyn College Library was greatly expanded.
    • The Student Center underwent major renovations.
    • The West Quad Center opened in 2009.

If the bullet points are a step-by-step instructional list, each bullet should be a full sentence, and the bullet point itself should be a number.

  • To view the faculty profile for Jennifer Basil:
  1. Go to the Brooklyn College homepage.
  2. Click on “Academics” on the top navigation bar.
  3. Click “Faculty” on the side navigation.
  4. Click “Brooklyn College Faculty” on the side navigation.
  5. Scroll down to and click “Basil, Jennifer.”


In almost all cases, do not hyphenate.

  • Noah was proud of his first byline, for an article he wrote about the destruction caused by the highway’s new bypass.

capstone course

Uppercase only as part of official course title (e.g., Sonic Arts Capstone Seminar).


Center for Academic Advisement and Student Success

Second reference: CAASS or the center

Center for Achievement in Science Education

Second reference: CASE or the center


Always lowercase, unless referring to the film studio cited below.

  • Great technological advances were made during the 20th century.
  • Some of Hollywood”s greatest blockbusters were produced by 20th Century Studios.


  • Not chairman, chairwoman, or chairperson, unless that is the specific title of an individual

child care

Two words, without a hyphen, in all cases

Christoph M. Kimmich Reading Room


Lowercase in all instances except when referring to a building, a congregation, or a denomination.

  • The students explored the concept of a separation between church and state.
  • The Church of the Holy Trinity is a Roman Catholic church.
  • Maria, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, attends Mass every Sunday at the Church of the Holy Trinity.


Most cities require their identifying state, province, or country to appear after them.

  • Esteban chose Ithaca, New York, as his base for his vacation in the Finger Lakes.
  • Ursula started tracing her roots in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Salta, Argentina, has a population of about 620,000.

Certain cities, however, can stand alone:

 United States International
IndianapolisGuatemala City
Las VegasHavana
Los AngelesHelsinki
MiamiHong Kong
New OrleansJerusalem
New YorkJohannesburg
Oklahoma CityKuwait City
St. LouisMadrid
Salt Lake CityMexico City
San AntonioMilan
San DiegoMontreal
San FranciscoMoscow
Washington, D.C.New Delhi
Panama City
Quebec City
Rio de Janeiro
Sao Paulo


Uppercase only as part of an official name or nickname.

  • Phoebe moved from Kansas City to the Windy City.

Lowercase elsewhere.

  • She liked the appeal of the biggest city in Illinois, but she did not care for the policies of the city government.

the City University of New York

Lowercase “the,” except in addresses and the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York.

Second reference: CUNY or the university

The following schools are part of the CUNY system:

  • Baruch College
  • Borough of Manhattan Community College (second reference: BMCC)
  • Bronx Community College
  • Brooklyn College
  • The City College of New York (second reference: City College)
  • College of Staten Island (second reference: CSI)
  • CUNY Graduate Center
  • CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
  • CUNY School of Law
  • CUNY School of Professional Studies (second reference: CUNY SPS)
  • CUNY School of Public Health
  • Hostos Community College
  • Hunter College
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice (second reference: John Jay)
  • Kingsborough Community College
  • LaGuardia Community College
  • Lehman College
  • Macaulay Honors College
  • Medgar Evers College
  • New York City College of Technology (second reference: City Tech)
  • Queens College
  • Queensborough Community College
  • Stella and Charles Guttman Community College (second reference: Guttman)
  • York College

Claire Tow Theater

Refers to the 2,400-seat performance space located in Whitman Hall.

class year

The year noted after the name of an alumna or alumnus is the year of his or her undergraduate graduation. Do not follow it with the degree. Do not separate with commas.

  • Felicia Sanchez ’75 joined the faculty last year.

If the alumna or alumnus earned a graduate degree at Brooklyn College but not an undergraduate degree, specify both the year and the degree. Do not separate with commas.

  • Ben Goldman ’88 M.A. joined the faculty last year.

If the alumna or alumnus earned both an undergraduate and graduate degree at Brooklyn College, list as follows, with the undergraduate preceding the graduate:

  • Marco Caravaggio ’95, ’98 M.A. joined the faculty last year.

If a married couple both received degrees at Brooklyn College, list as follows:

  • James ’85 and Cynthia ’86 Washington attended the reunion.
  • Norman ’01, ’03 M.S., and Lucy ’02 Chin attended the reunion.

If an alumna uses both her maiden and married names, list as follows:

  • Cynthia Allen ’86 Washington applied for the job.

“Class of” should never be used when referring to individual alums. Rather, reserve it for references to the entire class and in running text only.

  • Laurie Fitzpatrick ’86 (not Class of 1986 or Class of ’86) did not attend.
  • The Class of 1986 will hold its 35th reunion this year.


Do not hyphenate, except when forming nouns, adjectives, and verbs that indicate occupation or status, or to avoid confusion.

  • Susannah took the required corequisites during the winter intersession.
  • Timothy Ansel ’88 is a co-author of a novel about three fiercely ambitious and rather underhanded co-stars.
  • Brandon felt cooped up in his co-op after working on his thesis for nine hours without a break.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Second reference: CLAS


Always use the serial comma in a series of items.

  • Fuji took classes in accounting, art, biology, and history last semester.

Commencement / commencement

Use initial caps for both Commencement Ceremony and Commencement Program.

All other instances of commencement are lowercase—commencement tickets, commencement postcard, etc.

compose / comprise

The parts compose the whole.

  • Four departments compose the School of Education.

The whole is composed of the parts.

  • The School of Education is composed of four departments.

The whole comprises the parts.

  • The School of Education comprises four departments.

Never use “comprised of.”

Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College

Second reference: the conservatory

Core Curriculum

When referring to the Brooklyn College Core Curriculum, initial cap both words and all their variants.

  • the Core Curriculum
  • the Core
  • Core courses

course titles

Set the title’s department abbreviation code in all caps, followed by the course number, an em dash, and the course title in initial caps.

  • ACCT 3101—Income Taxation

In running text, the department code and course number may be omitted if not important to the content.

  • “I found the Income Taxation course to be surprisingly interesting,” Giancarlo stated.

course work

courtesy titles

Do not use them (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc.).

Use “Dr.” only if the person is a medical professional, not a Ph.D.

CUNY Counseling Assistantship Program

Second reference: CUNYCAP



Do not use a hyphen.

  • cyberattack, cyberspace


There are two types of dashes—em and en—in addition to the hyphen, and they vary in length and purpose.

The em dash is the longest and is used to show suspension of sense, a break in speech, an unexpected turn of thought, a sudden change in construction, parenthetical expressions, or divided quotes. On a PC, the em dash is keyed in by pressing CTRL, ALT, and the minus sign on the number pad at the same time; on a Mac, it is keyed in by pressing Option, Shift, and the hyphen. Do not put spaces before or after the em dash. Do not use a double hyphen (–) in lieu of the em dash.

  • The Scholars Program at Brooklyn College—the oldest honors program in the City University of New York—is the only honors program open to matriculated freshmen and sophomores.
  • Eugene had to write proposals for research and gather letters of recommendation—five for the Rhodes scholarship and eight for the Marshall Scholarship.

The shorter en dash (half the size of the em dash but still longer than the hyphen) is used to connect continuing or inclusive numbers. On a PC, the en dash is keyed in by pressing CTRL and the minus sign on the number pad at the same time; on a Mac, it is keyed in by pressing Option and the hyphen. Do not put spaces before or after the en dash. Do not substitute “to” with an en dash in running text when “from” is also included.

  • June–August 2005
  • December 24–25
  • 2–5 p.m.
  • The war raged from 1941 to 1945 (not 1941–1945).


Do not use ordinals.

  • Eddie celebrated his birthday on March 15 (not March 15th).

day care

Two words, without a hyphen, in all cases.

days of the week

Never abbreviate the days of the week in running text.

  • The college will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2, in honor of Labor Day.

Abbreviations are acceptable in a tabular format only. Then: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

dean’s list


Use numerals and write the entire decade. Do not add an apostrophe.

  • Student activism was particularly strong during the 1960s (not 1960’s).

When shortening a decade on second reference, use an apostrophe when deleting the century numerals. Do not spell out the decade.

  • Protests during the ’60s (not Sixties) lead to open enrollment the following decade.

departments and offices

When formally referring to a department or office, the name takes initial caps.

  • The Department of English is located in Boylan Hall.
  • Go to the Registrar’s Office for assistance.

When informally referring to a department or office, the name may be shortened by dropping “department” or “office,” but it remains capitalized:

  • Doug Schwab, Art, received an award.
  • Elliot Ehrlich, Student Affairs, spoke at the meeting.

On second reference, lowercase “department” and “office.”

  • The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is sponsoring a full-day information session. Faculty from the department will be available to answer your questions.


Diana Rogovin Davidow Speech Language Hearing Center

Second reference: the center

died / passed away

In most instances, when referring to a deceased person, use “died.” For obituaries, use “passed away.”


For publications, advertisements, and digital media: width x height

For original works of art: height x width x depth

Use numerals and spell out the measurements.

  • Professor Estoril’s self-published magazine measures 11 inches by 10 inches.
  • Stephanie’s painting is 11 inches by 2 feet.

directions / regions

Lowercase when used generally or to indicate compass direction.

  • Trishelle drives east from New Jersey to get to Brooklyn College.
  • The wind blew across campus in a northerly direction.

Uppercase when used as an adjective pertaining to a specific region.

  • Billy Bob speaks with a Southern accent.
  • The Western students studying abroad were welcomed at a reception on their first day in Beijing.

Uppercase when used to refer to specific or widely known regions, but not general areas.

  • Brooklyn College was shut down by the massive blizzard that blanketed most of the Northeast.
  • Izzy transferred to Brooklyn College from a university in Southern California.
  • Many of our alums live in southern New Jersey.

doctor / dentist

In running text, use “Dr.” for medical professionals (e.g., doctors, dentists, psychiatrists) only, not for academics with a Ph.D. In lists, do not use “Dr.” at all.

Don Buchwald Theater

Second reference: the Buchwald Theater


Hyphenate all instances of electronic terms.

  • e-book, e-business, e-commerce, e-mail, e-zine

East / West Quad / Quadrangle

Generally, use “Quad” when referring to the quadrangle between Boylan and Ingersoll halls and the quadrangle between Roosevelt and James halls.

  • Rick and Andy tossed around a football on the East Quad.
  • Patricia read a book under a tree on the West Quad.

Use “Quadrangle” only for formal occasions held here.

  • The Commencement Ceremony used to be held on the East Quadrangle.
  • The art installation celebration occurred on the West Quadrangle.

e.g. / i.e.

Do not confuse the two: e.g. means “for example”; i.e. means “that is.” Both are always followed by a comma.

  • Applicants should list as many forms of financial aid as possible (e.g., awards, fellowships, scholarships).
  • Paul retreated to the only place on campus where he can study without distraction, i.e., the East Quad.

emerita / emeritus

  • Emerita is one female.
  • Emeritus is one male.
  • Emeritae is two or more females.
  • Emeriti is two or more males.

When referring to a mixed group of both males and females, use emeriti.

When using emerita or emeritus as a title with someone’s name, follow the capitalization styles below:

  • Sarah Wexley, professor emerita of philosophy, presented her findings yesterday.
  • Professor Emerita of Philosophy Sarah Wexley presented her findings yesterday.
  • Sarah Wexley, Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Enrollment Services Center

Second reference: ESC or the center


See assure / ensure / insure.

et al.

Et al. means “and others” and is always followed by a period.

  • Jorge Mercado et al. presented their poster on Cuban migration patterns during Faculty Day.

faculty profiles

The college’s faculty profile pages adhere to a defined style outside the scope of this stylebook. The BC WebCentral Portal contains detailed information.


The abbreviation for “frequently asked questions” is acceptable on first reference. Note that “questions” is already plural; thus, FAQs is incorrect and should be not used.


Lowercase when used as an adjective to distinguish something from national entities.

  • There are many federal programs that provide tuition assistance.
  • The federal government is planning to review these programs.

Uppercase when referring to the architectural style.

  • Anna took some photos of the Federal homes in Philadelphia.


fiscal year

Either spell out the term and write the complete year, or abbreviate both the term and the year.

  • Fiscal Year 2020 included a 16% budget cut.
  • FY20 included a 16% budget cut.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Enrollment has increased fourfold since 1951.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Foretelling and foreshadowing are popular literary devices.

foreign words

Foreign words that have been absorbed into the English language receive no special treatment other than the retention of all accent marks.

  • Adam worked on revising his résumé while enjoying a café au lait.

Foreign words that are not universally understood should be italicized and followed by an explanation.

  • Vanessa was preoccupied with la bella figura, i.e., cutting a beautiful figure, when she got dressed for school every morning.

Adhere to the original language’s style regarding capitalization, but adapt to standard American style for translations.

  • Seitsemän veljestä (The Seven Brothers) is widely regarded as the first significant novel written in Finnish.


Do not abbreviate for cities or military installations.

  • Chen spent a summer internship working with dolphins in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Vincent spent a summer internship looking for artifacts on the grounds of Fort Hamilton, the army base near the Verrazzano Bridge.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Second reference: Fulbright Grants

Recipient: Fulbrighter


Hyphenate to form compound modifiers.

  • Brooklyn College ran a full-page ad to congratulate the Class of 2007.

full / part time

Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier.

  • Luke works part time at the Library Café.
  • Sandra maintained her full-time enrollment status for another semester.

gender pronouns

For individuals who do not self-identify with a particular gender, the plural pronouns “them” and “they” and the plural possessive “their” should be used very sparingly to avoid confusion to the reader who is reading about a singular person.

  • Rebecca Schmitt began taking classes in fall 2012. Schmitt’s (rather than “their”) GPA stood at 3.46 by the end of the second year. The junior (rather than “they”) is now ready to decide between becoming a chemistry or a biology major.

genus / species

In scientific or biological names, capitalize the first name (genus) and lowercase the second (species). Italicize both.

  • The Quercus durata grows in California.
  • Associate Professor Ford spent his sabbatical looking for evidence of Tyrannosaurus rex in Colorado.

Second reference: Abbreviate the genus.

  • Alas, his search for T. rex bones proved disappointing.

Golden Key International Honour Society

grade point average

The grade point average (second reference: GPA) should be written with two digits after the decimal point.

  • Ross increased his grade point average from 3.00 to 3.25. It was the highest GPA he had ever achieved.


Do not place quotation marks around letter grades. Grades are always capitalized.

  • Helen had her grade changed from an INC to a B+ after she submitted her final paper.

Graduate Center for Worker Education


The abbreviation for the Graduate Record Examinations is preferred. Never use GREs, except when actually referring to more than one GRE.

  • Inez scored a 145 on the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE.
  • Inez took three GREs before achieving the score she desired.

Graduate Students Organization

Second reference: GSO

Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Second reference: the scholarship

Recipient: Truman Scholar

health care

Two words, without a hyphen, in all cases

historical periods

Capitalize the names of widely recognized epochs in anthropology, archaeology, geology, and history, and the names of periods and events.

  • On an archaeological dig in Scotland, Professor Ferris discovered a trove of artifacts from the Bronze Age.
  • Living in New York was particularly hard during the Great Depression.

Capitalize only the proper noun in general descriptions of a period.

  • In her Core Curriculum course on classical cultures, Petra became fascinated by the history of ancient (not Ancient) Greece.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Grace clicked on the hyperlink that brought her to the website she needed to learn about hypertension.

Best practice for digital media treats URLs and e-mails as hyperlinks rather than writing them out.

When written out, for print materials, do not include any blank spaces in a URL or e-mail. Do not include “www.” in URLs. Include “http://” in the URL only if it does not begin with “www.”

  • Visit the website at brooklyn.cuny.edu.
  • Visit the website at https://portal.brooklyn.edu.
  • Send an e-mail to jsmith@brooklyn.cuny.edu.

If a URL or e-mail must be spelled out in running text, use standard punctuation.

  • Once you are approved, you will receive an e-mail from approval@abc.com.


i.e. / e.g.

See e.g. / i.e.

inclusive language

Make every attempt to use the terms most accepted by the groups or individuals they are describing.

  • A meeting for students with disabilities (not disabled students) was held to address the accessibility of college buildings.
  • Nearly 25% of students come from developing nations (not Third World nations or the Third World).

Ingersoll Hall Extension

Not New Ingersoll


See assure / ensure / insure.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Aleksei registered for three interrelated courses in the fall semester as part of his international education program.



Do not hyphenate.

  • The college’s intramural program guarantees that everyone can participate in sports.


Use italics—not bold or an underscore—to emphasize a word or phrase. Include any punctuation mark immediately following the word or phrase in the italics.

  • Elizabeth was really excited when she won the science award.

Also use italics for the titles of:

  • books, magazines, and newspapers;
  • movies, plays, and television and radio series;
  • paintings, sculptures, photographs, and catalogs;
  • pamphlets and brochures; and
  • comic strips.

Jr. / Sr.

Always uppercase with full names, and never precede or follow it with a comma.

  • David Pistouris Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps as a Brooklyn College alumnus.

La Guardia Hall

Not LaGuardia Hall. Use only for historical reference to the original building now referred to as the Brooklyn College Library.

Latin / Latina / Latino / Latinx

When referring to the community, use Latin.

  • The Latin community held its annual parade under fair skies.

Latina is reserved for a woman, Latino for a man.

  • Gabriela Ruiz, a 27-year-old Latina from Brooklyn, was named chair of the committee.

If the person’s nationality is known, it is preferable to use that over Latina or Latino.

  • Arturo Castillo, a 27-year-old Ecuadorian American, was named chair of the committee.

Avoid using Latinx unless it is the official name of a program, organization, etc.

Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts

Refers to the entire complex, including all performance spaces, rehearsal rooms, classrooms, dressing rooms, and common areas included in the new facility, along with Whitman Hall.

Second reference: the Tow Center


The abbreviation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community is acceptable upon first use.


Hyphenate when used as a prefix meaning “similar to.”

  • Associate Professor Claxton noted that the twins in his class were not particularly like-minded.

Do not hyphenate in words that have meanings of their own.

  • The likelihood of Yuri passing his final without cramming for the next 24 hours was dismal.


Do not hyphenate, unless the two letters preceding it are both “l.”

  • Jasper’s businesslike demeanor helped him secure a job at Citibank.
  • Claudia found some shell-like creatures while doing research with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.

log in, log off, log on / login, logoff, logon

In all three cases, always write it as one word, without a hyphen, as a noun or adjective.

  • In a rush, Lolita typed the wrong login name.

In all three cases, always write it as two words, without a hyphen, as a verb.

  • Lolita remembered to log off the shared computer when she was finished with her work.


Do not hyphenate between adverbs ending in “ly” and adjectives they modify.

  • Kendra’s poorly written (not poorly-written) report received a D.

MacArthur Fellows Program

Second reference: the program or the fellowship; also referred to as “genius grant”

Recipient: MacArthur Fellow

Macaulay Honors College

Magner Career Center

Second reference: the center

Maximizing Access to Research Careers

Second reference: MARC

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Dissertation Grant

Second reference: the MMUF grant or the grant

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Travel and Research Grant

Second reference: the MMUF grant or the grant

Michelle J. Anderson

Use “Michelle J. Anderson” (with “President” beneath) on official decrees, proclamations, and statements from the president.

  • Sincerely, Michelle J. Anderson President

Use “President Michelle J. Anderson” for less formal messages from the president.

  • Cordially, President Michelle J. Anderson

Second reference: President Anderson or the president


Do not hyphenate unless it is followed by a capitalized word or a figure.

  • Victor was pleased with the 95 he received on his midterm exam.
  • He plans to write his final paper on Revolutionary War battles in the mid-Atlantic states.
  • The mid-1860s was a critical period in U.S. history.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Jean-Luc said that the idea for his award-winning miniseries originally came to him while he was taking television and radio classes.

months of the year

Spell out the months of the year when they stand alone or with a year (without a separating comma).

  • February is typically a cold month, but February 2015 was particularly brutal.

Abbreviate the months of the year with a period when used with a specific date. Note that, in running text, March, April, May, June, and July are never abbreviated.

  • Sebastian was born on Thursday, Oct. 23, 1980.
  • His sister was born on Oct. 23, three years later.
  • Their parents celebrated their anniversary on April 19.

In a tabular format, abbreviate all months and do not use a period, as follows: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Morton and Angela Topfer Library Café

Second reference: the Library Café


Do not hyphenate.

  • The multimillionaire is proficient in multitasking.

Murray Koppelman School of Business

Second reference: School of Business or Koppelman School


Numerals are acceptable when referring to the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.


Initial cap “the” if it is part of the newspaper’s official name. Newspaper titles are italicized.

  • Dilbert reads The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but never the New York Post.


Do not hyphenate, except before a proper noun or in an awkward combination.

  • Violetta enrolled in Brooklyn College as a nondegree student while continuing to work at a nonprofit that aims to create a non-nuclear society.


Noon stands on its own. Do not write 12 noon or 12 p.m.

  • Jenna’s meeting ran from noon until 1:30 p.m.

number / no.

Use the abbreviation for number only if it is followed by a numeral.

  • Brooklyn College ranked no. 1 (not #1) for the third consecutive year.
  • What is the office’s room number?



See departments and offices.


Not on-line.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Diane thought that Professor Barron-Lewitsky’s overall teaching skills were overrated.

page numbers

Use numerals and capitalize “page.”

  • Assistant Professor Sonia Moreno Montaña told the class to read Page 4 through Page 24A.

Use numerals and lowercase “page” if used in plural form.

  • Assistant Professor Sonia Moreno Montaña told the class to read pages 4 through 24A.


See artwork.

part / full time

See full / part time.


All caps, and acceptable on first reference when used as the abbreviation for “Portable Document Format.” Enclose in parentheses in both running text and lists when immediately following a linked document, and include as part of the hyperlink.


Use the % symbol and always use numerals, except for zero.

  • Dean Robinson expects that 15% of the school’s classes will have to be canceled due to low registration.
  • Hector works for a nonprofit dedicated to zero percent emissions policies.

Use decimals, not fractions.

  • The response to the e-mail invitation was a dismal 9.5% (not 9½%).

Percent takes a singular verb when a singular word follows an “of” construction; it takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an “of” construction.

  • The union leader estimated that 75% of the membership was there.
  • The union leader estimated that 75% of the members were there.

photo captions

Photo captions do not necessarily have to be full sentences.

Include punctuation at the end of a caption, even if it is an incomplete sentence, except for captions that are solely titles and names.

  • Associate Professor Colin MacDougall, Physics, hosted a student forum.
  • Associate Professor Colin MacDougall, Physics, at the student form.
  • Associate Professor Colin MacDougall

p.m. / a.m.

See a.m. / p.m.

political parties

Capitalize both the name of the party and the word “party.”

  • Sheryl joined the Democratic Party in 2019.

Capitalize when referring to a member(s) of a party.

  • The Republican senator didn’t have a coherent answer to the journalist’s question. The Democrats nodded knowingly.

Lowercase when referring to political philosophy.

  • Grygor was a member of the Communist Party until he fled Bulgaria and then promptly denounced communism.


Generally, do not hyphenate.

  • Gina expects to complete her postdoctoral work by June.

Post 50th Lifetime Achievement Award

Not Post-50th


Generally, do not hyphenate.

  • Professor Bastone is a preeminent authority in the field of prehistoric civilizations.


Hyphenate only when using words that denote support for something.

  • Gary took proactive steps in the pro-labor protest.


Spell out in text. Use the professor’s full official title.

  • Twenty-three students accompanied Professor (not Prof.) Chamberlain on a field trip to Central Park.
  • Associate Professor Cox took a sabbatical in spring 2016.

public school / PS

Use figures and capitalize “public school.” PS is acceptable on second reference.

  • Associate Professor Perelandra brings her education students to teach at Public School 44, while Associate Professor Bick takes her students to PS 122.

publishing houses

When providing publishing details, set the company, followed by the year of publication of the item, in parentheses.

  • Luigi Bonaffini, Modern Languages and Literatures, co-authored Italian Vocabulary (McGraw-Hill, 2002).

punctuation marks

Use only one space, not two, after any punctuation mark that ends a sentence—periods, question marks, exclamation points, and quotation marks.


See East / West Quad / Quadrangle.

quotation marks

Use quotation marks for titles of the following:

  • poems and short stories,
  • episodes of television series,
  • book chapters,
  • a series of books or films (except when the series is identified by a character’s name, e.g., the Harry Potter series),
  • paintings (which also require italics),
  • journal and magazine articles and columns,
  • art shows, and
  • lectures and conference presentations.

When using quotation marks within a quote, use single quotation marks for the interior quote.

  • “FDR said ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ during his inaugural address in 1932,” explained Professor Zuckerman.


Hyphenate only when the meaning of the hyphenated word is to do something again.

  • When the incompetent John Sheridan re-signed the contract that would keep him in a position of authority for another five years, Bethany decided to resign.

Rhodes scholarship

Second reference: the scholarship

Recipient: Rhodes scholar

room numbers

Use the room number and complete building name.

  • Visit the office in 2153 Boylan Hall (not Room 2153 Boylan Hall or 2153 Boylan).

When referring to a room number by itself, however, include and capitalize “room.”

  • Bruce ran up the stairs in Boylan Hall to get to his class in Room 4111.

Roosevelt Hall Extension

Not New Roosevelt

Rosen Fellowship Program

Second reference: the fellowship

Recipient: Rosen Fellow

saint / St.

Spell out for general usage, but use the abbreviation for the names of saints, cities, and other locations.

  • Veronica was well on her way to becoming a saint for being so patient with her seven children.
  • Frank spent a year writing his dissertation on St. Stephen from his home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Then he went on a two-week vacation to St. Lucia.


Salutations follow capitalization rules for titles—headers (see below) and are followed by a comma.

  • Dear Colleagues,
  • Dear Seniors and Juniors,

When addressing different constituencies within the college, maintain the following order: (1) Students, (2) Staff, and (3) Faculty.

  • Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,


The abbreviation for the Scholastic Aptitude Test / Scholastic Assessment Test is preferred. Never use SATs, except when actually referring to more than one SAT.

  • Cyndi scored a 1280 on her SAT.
  • Cyndi took three SATs before achieving the score she desired.

School of General Studies

Second reference: SGS


The five schools at Brooklyn College are:

  • Murray Koppelman School of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
  • School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts

When listing more than one school, write them in alphabetical order, as shown above.

Second reference for all: the school

Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay

Second references: the institute or SRI@JB


See artwork.


Lowercase spring, summer, fall, and winter for both specific and general semester references.

  • Zachary earned 17 credits in fall 2011.
  • He took his final Core courses during the summer.

Uppercase only when referring to a specific issue of a publication or as part of a formal name.

  • Clarissa read the Spring 2019 issue of the B Magazine during a break from her training for the Summer Olympics.


Always hyphenate.

  • Belinda’s self-esteem received a big boost when she aced her final exam.


Do not hyphenate, unless the following word begins with “i.”

  • The Bulldogs basketball team advanced to the CUNY semifinal.
  • Carole volunteers at an organization that teaches semi-independent living skills for adults with disabilities.


Social Security

Uppercase when referring to the U.S. system. Lowercase for generic uses.

  • Students are required to enter their Social Security number on the application.
  • How many countries provide a social security program?

Sr. / Jr.

See Jr. / Sr.


Lowercase when used as a noun or adjective to specify a level of jurisdiction.

  • The state saw a massive deficit during the economic crisis.
  • Dwight received enough state funds to cover the year’s tuition.

states / provinces

Spell out the full name of the state or province in almost all instances.

  • Marguerite lives in Saskatchewan.
  • Marguerite applied for a job in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Abbreviate their names in complete addresses and short-form listings of political party affiliation.

  • Mail the application to 1878 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.
  • Senator Betsy Soved, R-Wyo., made a colossal error in judgment.

Student Center



Do not hyphenate.

  • The subcommittee met to discuss the future of the liberal arts departments.

subscripts / superscripts

Maintain the raised or lowered style for chemistry formulae, footnotes, and endnotes.

  • Parker went to the lab to conduct experiments with H2O and He3.
  • Joe passed his audition for the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College.8


Do not hyphenate.

  • Andrea’s supersized art project took up most of the space in the gallery.

telephone / fax numbers

Numbers are separated by periods. Always include the area code. Always use the entire phone or fax number rather than only the extension.

  • The office may be reached at 718.951.1878.

If an extension exists, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension, and abbreviate extension as “ext.”

  • The office may be reached at 718.951.5000, ext. 1878.

theater / theatre

Use the American English spelling (“theater”), unless the official name of a theater employs the British English version.

  • Theater student Kelly Lauder performed at the Eastman Theater in Rochester, New York, and the Gennesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois.

time of day

Always use colons between the hour and minutes. Always use either a.m. or p.m., with a space between it and the final digit of the time.

  • The biology class starts at 11:45 a.m. and ends at 1:15 p.m.

Do not include “:00” for times on the top of the hour.

  • All chemistry lectures begin at 2 p.m.

Never refer to noon as “12 p.m.”

  • Erik conducted research in the library from noon to 5 p.m. every day this week.

Never refer to midnight as “12 a.m.”

  • Erik studied until midnight every day this week.

When citing a range of times, if both hours fall within the morning, or within the afternoon / evening, include a.m. and p.m. only after the second time.

  • The class reunion is scheduled for Thursday, April 24, 1–5 p.m.


Capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions with four or more letters; lowercase for those with three or fewer letters. All other words are capitalized, regardless of length.

  • Brooklyn College Launches a New Program in the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
  • Sociology Student Moves Up in the World, With or Without Her Family’s Support

In headers, capitalize both elements of a hyphenated phrase, whether or not the second element is a proper noun.

  • Co-Curricular Activities Increase Student Satisfaction
  • Twentieth-Century Historian Makes Critical Discovery
  • Non-English Speakers Enroll in New Class


Capitalize a person’s title if it immediately precedes his or her name.

  • Associate Professor Isaac Jones teaches economics.
  • Professor of Economics Isaac Jones is on sabbatical.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore wrote a book.

Capitalize the title in list items whether or not the title comes before or after the person’s name.

  • Professor Isaac Jones
  • Isaac Jones, Professor, Department of Economics
  • Kim Willensky, Dean, School of Architecture

Lowercase the title in running text if it follows the person’s name, or if it precedes the name with punctuation.

  • Isaac Jones, professor of economics, is on sabbatical.
  • The economics professor, Isaac Jones, is on sabbatical.

Lowercase the title if it stands alone, without a person’s name.

  • The associate professor of psychology returned the students’ final exams.

Never abbreviate academic titles (e.g., professor, not prof.). Abbreviations are used for medical doctors and for politicians only.

  • Ted made an appointment with Dr. Cruz to discuss his psychological condition.
  • Gov. Dover floated the idea of legalizing gambling in his state.

For instructors, always use their full, official title (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, visiting professor, adjunct professor, instructor, lecturer, etc.).


Do not hyphenate unless the suffix begins with a capital letter.

  • The club for transgendered students meets in the Student Center every other Tuesday.
  • The club was excited for its trans-Siberian adventure.


Do not hyphenate unless the suffix begins with a capital letter.

  • Four of the seven candidates for the administrative assistant position were unqualified.
  • Jeremiah’s un-American sentiments landed him in hot water.


Do not hyphenate.

  • The office became understaffed when three of its employees went on maternity leave at the same time.

under way / underway

Under way is an adverb and means “in motion or in progress.”

  • The fall semester got under way with the annual Welcome Back Bash.

Underway is an adjective and means “occurring, performed, or used while traveling or in motion.”

  • The underway construction on the new science center is expected to be completed in 2026.

United Kingdom / U.K.

Spell out the name of the country, except when used as an adjective.

  • The United Kingdom comprises England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
  • The U.K. economy was a hot topic of conversation at the conference following the Brexit vote.

United States / U.S.

Spell out the name of the country, except when used as an adjective.

  • The United States is bordered by Canada and Mexico.
  • The U.S. dollar has been strengthening against the euro.


Lowercase on second reference to the City University of New York or to any other university.

  • The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university. The university serves more than 450,000 students.
  • When Princeton University was cited for its excellence, the university administration thanked its dedicated faculty.

up to date / up-to-date

Use hyphens only as a compound modifier before a noun.

  • The department’s digital newsletter keeps students up to date on important deadlines and events.
  • The most up-to-date information can be found in the digital newsletter.


Use two words without a hyphen.

  • The vice chancellor was not pleased by the vice principal’s statements, and vice versa.


Not voice-mail

-ward / -wards

Never use “wards.”

  • After moving backward for so long, Tyler was finally on a forward trajectory toward his goal.


The Brooklyn College on-campus radio station


Lowercase in all forms when referring to this part of the internet, except for World Wide Web. Combine with suffixes, except for “web address” and “web browser.”

  • Diego searched the website for the dates of the webcasts.
  • The programmer contacted the webmaster when he noticed an error in the web address.


Always hyphenate.

  • Brooklyn College provides both a well-rounded education and numerous programs to ensure our students’ well-being.

West End Building

Second reference: W.E.B.

West Quad / Quadrangle

See East / West Quad / Quadrangle.

West Quad Center

Not West Quad Building

White / Black

See Black / White.

Whitman Hall

Refers to the section of the Performing Arts Center that is not part of the new construction, and includes the Claire Tow Theater, the New Workshop Theatre, the Mezzanine Lounge, and the classrooms, dressing rooms, and other areas located below the Claire Tow Theater. “Whitman Theatre” is no longer used as a venue name.


Almost always hyphenated.

  • Nick learned how to use a wide-angle lens in his photography class.


Do not hyphenate.

  • Campuswide protests broke out when the president announced tuition would double.


Woody Tanger Auditorium

year / year-

Do not hyphenate “yearlong.”

Hyphenate “year-end” and “year-round.”


Do not include the year when referring to a date occurring in the current year.

  • Upcoming events for the fall semester include a symposium on October 4, a movie screening on November 17, and an awards ceremony on December 15.

Always write the entire year (except when included after the name of Brooklyn College alums). Years are the only numerals that can start a sentence.

  • Oliver plans to graduate in 2018.
  • DeShawn Brooks ’14 decided to apply to graduate school.
  • 2014 was a very good year for the Brooklyn College Bulldogs.

Exception: When referring to a range of years and using the en-dash, drop the first two numerals of the second year:

  • From 2017 to 2018, the team won only six games.
  • The 2017–18 season was disappointing.

“A.D.” (anno Domini: in the year of the Lord) and “B.C.” (before Christ) are preferred when referring to years. Note the different placement for each:

  • The Ottoman Empire was dissolved in A.D. 1922.
  • The Roman Empire was founded in 27 B.C.

“C.E.” (Common Era) and “B.C.E.” (Before Common Era) may be used in lieu of A.D. and B.C., respectively.

Young Alumnus / Alumna Award

Zicklin Summer Fellows Program

Second reference: the program

Recipient: Zicklin Fellow