Last updated: March 1, 2016
Generally, use AP Style. This guide will be updated with local and McGeorge exceptions
and special cases.
McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific or McGeorge School of Law?
Use McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific on first reference, McGeorge School of Law or McGeorge thereafter. Do not refer to the law school as "McGeorge School of Law" or "McGeorge."
JD or JD?
LLM or LLM?
Full-time or Day program?
Part-time or Evening program?
Names of Centers -
First reference should be Global Center for Business & Development. Global Center may be used on second and subsequent references. First reference should be Capital Center for Law & Policy, Capital Center may be used on second and subsequent references. First reference should be Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution, Advocacy Center may be used on second and subsequent references.
And or Ampersand
Unless an ampersand is part of an official title, the word "and" should be used.
916.867.5309 not (916) 867-5309 or 916-867-5309.
Contact Information - Addresses
1st Floor not First floor.
When adding a hyperlink, link only the simple name. Global Center not the official name, Global Center for Business & Development.
email, online, website
email not e-mail. online not on-line. Use website not Web site.
70% or 70 percent?
The most recent report shows 96% of McGeorge students are smarter than students at other law schools. This is an example of where McGeorge style departs from AP style.
Spacing after periods
Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence (not two spaces).
Use an em dash to signal a sudden break in sentence structure - like this. The style is space, em dash, space. The keyboard shortcut for Microsoft products is CTRL+ALT+KEYPAD MINUS SIGN.
Comma before and, but, or
In addition to helping people with their immigration status, our clinics also helps those with bankruptcy, defense and elder law issues. Generally, use a comma before and only when a complete sentence follows and. In lists, do not use a comma before and unless needed for clarity.
McGeorge has adopted the Associated Press (AP) guidelines for grammar, punctuation and writing style. The Associated Press Stylebook provides a uniform presentation of the printed word to make copy written anywhere understandable everywhere. The AP's standard reference for spelling is Webster's New World College Dictionary.
The following selections are the most frequently used guidelines at McGeorge. Some of the guidelines have been abbreviated and/or combined, and a few have undergone minor revisions in order to focus on and/or address issues that pertain to the McGeorge community.
If you have questions regarding the use of AP style at McGeorge, please contact the Marketing Department.
Do not put a hyphen after this prefix when it is used to form a noun: aftereffect, afterthought. Do put a hyphen after this prefix when it is used to form a compound adjective: after-dinner drink, after-theater snack.
Do not use afterwards.
Always use figures for people and animals, but not for inanimate objects: The girl is 12 years old. The woman, 35, has a daughter, 10. The boy's sister is 9 months old. The law is eight years old.
Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before nouns and as substitutes for nouns: The 5-year-old boy played in the yard. The race is for 3-year-olds. For years expressed in decades, do not use an apostrophe: The man is in his 50s.
In general, use between to introduce two items and among to introduce three or more items.
An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held in at least two successive years. Do not use the term first annual; instead, note that the sponsors plan to hold an event annually.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: antebellum, antedate.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: antibiotic, antitrust.
Do not use backwards.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: bifocal, bilateral, bilingual, bimonthly.
board of directors, board of trustees
Always lowercase these and similar widely used internal elements of an organization.
Never abbreviate. Capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the word building if it is an integral part of the proper name: The Empire State Building is a well-known landmark. When used alone, do not capitalize: The building was demolished last week.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: bypass, byproduct, bystreet.
cancel, canceled, canceling
Spell with only one l. However, cancellation contains two l's.
It is one word.
Capitalize when it is part of a proper name: Global Center for Business & Development. Do not capitalize when it is used alone: She will arrive at the center at noon.
Capitalize as a formal title before a name: Chairman of Surgery Michael Edwards, M.D., attended the meeting. Lowercase and spell out in all other instances, including when set off from a person's name by commas and when used without a name: Michael Edwards, M.D., the chairman of surgery, attended the meeting. The chairman attended the meeting. Do not use chair. Do not use chairperson unless it is an organization's formal title for office.
Hyphenate all nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status: co-author, co-chairman, co-sponsor, co-worker. Do not hyphenate other combinations: coeducation, coexist, coexistence, cooperate, cooperative, coordinate, coordination.
Capitalize when it is part of a formal name: He is a member of the Committee on Pain Management of the American Back Society. Do not capitalize when it is used alone: The committee will meet twice a month.
Use Co. or Cos. when a business uses either word at the end of its proper name: Ford Motor Co., American Broadcasting Cos. But: Aluminum Company of America. If company or companies appears alone in second reference, lowercase the word and spell it out: The company will hold its annual meeting next month.
Always use Arabic figures without st, nd, rd or th. 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.; always spell out March, April, May, June and July. Spell out all months 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 commas. Examples: February 1981 was a cold month. May 22 is the day she will arrive. Sept. 16 was the coolest day of the month. Her birthday is Nov. 27, 1962. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate a span of a decade or century: the 1890s, the 1900s. Years are the lone exception to the general rule that figures cannot be used to start a sentence: 1976 was a very good year.
days of the week
Capitalize them, and do not abbreviate them.
Do not capitalize such diseases as arthritis, leukemia, pneumonia, etc. When a disease is known by the name of a person identified with it, capitalize only the individual's name: Bright's disease, Parkinson's disease, etc.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: downgrade, downtown.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate nouns and adjectives that are not listed there. Examples: breakdown, countdown. Verbs should be two words. Examples: break down, count down.
each other, one another
Use each other for references to two people. Use one another for references to more than two people.
Do not hyphenate and do not capitalize unless at the beginning of a sentence.
everyday, every day
Use everyday (one word) as an adjective meaning ordinary before a noun: He wears everyday shoes. Use every day (two words) as an adverb to indicate when or how often an activity is performed: She goes to work every day.
Do not hyphenate words that use this prefix to mean "out of": excommunicate. Hyphenate when using this prefix to mean "former": ex-president.
Do not precede this suffix with a hyphen: twofold, threefold, fourfold, tenfold.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: forebrain, forefather, foregoing, foretooth.
Do not use forwards.
Hyphenate when used to form compound adjectives: full-length coat, full-page essay, full-scale room.
full-time, full time
Hyphenate when used as a compound adjective: She has a full-time job. Otherwise: He works full time.
fund raising, fund-raising, fund-raiser
As a noun, use two words: Fund raising is difficult. As an adjective, hyphenate: They planned a fund-raising campaign. As a person or an event, hyphenate: A fund-raiser was hired. The organization is planning a fund-raiser.
Capitalize and abbreviate as Gov. or Govs. when used as a formal title before one or more names in regular text: Gov. Jerry Brown will attend the dedication ceremony. On all subsequent references, use only the individual's last name: Brown attended the ceremony. Capitalize and spell out when used as a formal title before one or more names in direct quotations: "Governor Jerry Brown will arrive at the dedication ceremony around 1 p.m.," the event coordinator said. Lowercase and spell out in all other uses: The governor will attend the dedication ceremony.
It is two words and lowercase in all references.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: inpatient, inbound, indoor. However, a few combinations do take hyphens: in-depth, in-group, in-house, in-law.
Precede this suffix with a hyphen: break-in, walk-in, write-in.
Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as part of a corporate name. Do not set it off with commas: J.C. Penney Co. Inc. announced its expansion this week.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: infrared, infrastructure.
Use periods and no space when an individual uses initials instead of a first name: H.L. Mencken.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix unless the main element is a proper noun: interracial, interstate, inter-American.
It is always capitalized.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: intramural, intrastate.
Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names. Do not proceed by a comma: John F. Kennedy Jr.
Capitalize formal titles of lectures and put them in quotation marks.
Hyphenate only when the word is used as a prefix meaning similar to: like-minded.
Do not precede this suffix with a hyphen unless the letter l would be tripled or the main element is a proper noun: businesslike, shell-like, German-like.
long-term, long term
Hyphenate when used as a compound adjective: She requires long-term legal help. Otherwise: We will win in the long term.
longtime, long time
When used as an adjective: They are longtime friends. Otherwise: They have known each other a long time.
Do not use a hyphen between an adverb ending in ly and the adjective it modifies: an easily remembered rule, a badly damaged island, a fully informed woman.
Do not use a hyphen after this prefix unless a capitalized word or a figure follows: midterm, midsemester, mid-America, mid-Atlantic, mid-30s, mid-1980s.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: miniseries, miniskirt, minivan.
Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references and amounts without figures: The book cost $4. The registration fee for the conference is $75. The new equipment will cost $3,478. Dad, please give me a dollar. Dollars are flowing overseas. For specified amounts, use a singular verb: He said $500,000 is what they want.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: multicolored, multidisciplinary, multilateral, multimillionaire.
Give a person's full name on first reference; if appropriate, include academic abbreviation(s), set off by commas, after the name.
Use this abbreviation for number in conjunction with a figure to indicate position or rank: No. 1 man, No. 3 choice. Do not use it in street addresses or school names.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix when forming a compound adjective that does not have special meaning and can be understood if not is used before the base word: nonprofit, noncontroversial, nonaligned. Use a hyphen before proper nouns and in awkward combinations: non-Republican, non-nuclear.
In general, spell out whole numbers below 10 and use figures for 10 and above: They have three sons and two daughters. She has 15 pairs of black shoes.
Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location: He ran to third base. She was first in line. They reviewed the Fifth Amendment in class. Use figures for 10th and above: She wrote her 15th book last year.
Spell out numerals at the beginning of sentences; reorganize the sentence if necessary. The sole exception to this rule is numerals that identify calendar years.
Wrong: 993 freshmen entered the college last year.
Right: Last year, 993 freshmen entered the college.
Right: 1976 was a very good year.
Spell out casual expressions: A thousand times no! Thanks a million. He walked a quarter of a mile.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate words that are not listed there. Examples: off-color, off-white, offhand, offset, send-off, cutoff, liftoff.
Do not use okay.
It is one word in all uses. Do not hyphenate.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate words that are not listed there. Examples: outpatient, outdated, output.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate nouns and adjectives that are not listed there. Examples: fade-out, hide-out, fallout, pullout, workout. Verbs should be two words. Examples: fade out, hide out, pull out.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate words that are not listed there. Examples: overexert, overrate, override.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate nouns and adjectives that are not listed there. Examples: carry-over, holdover, takeover. Verbs should be two words. Examples: carry over, take over.
over, more than
Over generally refers to spatial relationships: The plane flew over the city. He threw the ball over the fence. More than is preferred with numerals: Their salaries increased more than $20 a week. There are more than 35 students in the class. She has worked at McGeorge for more than 10 years.
Use figures and capitalize page when used with a figure: Page 1, Page 10. When a letter is attached to the figure, capitalize it, but do not use a hyphen: Page 22A.
part-time, part time
Hyphenate when used as a compound adjective: She has a part-time job. Otherwise: He works part time.
Use person when speaking of an individual. People is preferred to persons in all plural uses. Persons should be used only when it is in a direct quote or part of an organization's official title, as in the Bureau of Missing Persons.
Lowercase, with periods.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate words that are not listed there. Examples: postdoctoral, postgraduate, postoperative, post-mortem.
Hyphenate if the word that follows this prefix begins with e: pre-eminent, pre-exist. Otherwise, follow Webster's New World College Dictionary, hyphenating words that are not listed there. Examples: precondition, predispose, premedical, prenatal, preoperative.
Capitalize and spell out only as a formal title before one or more names: President George W. Bush, Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. On all subsequent references, use only the individual's last name: Bush visited the troops in Iraq. Lowercase and spell out in all other uses: The president will attend the meeting. Abraham Lincoln was the president during the Civil War.
Hyphenate words that denote support for something: pro-business, pro-labor, pro-peace, pro-war.
Capitalize all letters, with periods after each letter.
Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter and their derivatives, such as springtime, unless part of a formal name: Summer Olympics, Dartmouth Winter Carnival.
Always hyphenate: self-assured, self-defense, self-esteem.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix unless the word that follows it begins with i: semifinal, semiofficial, semi-invalid.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: subcommittee, subdivision, suborbital, subspecialty.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix unless a capitalized word follows it: supercharge, superpower, super-Democrat.
teen, teenager, teenage
Do not hyphenate these words. Do not use teen-aged.
television program titles
Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters (about, from, into, with and similar words), and put the titles in quotation marks. Put quote marks around show only if the word is part of the program's formal title: "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
3-D is preferred.
Do not use towards.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix unless a capitalized word follows it: transcontinental, transsexual, trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: ultramodern, ultrasonic, ultraviolet.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix unless a capitalized word follows it: unarmed, unnecessary, un-American.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: underground, undersold.
It is two words in virtually all uses.
In general, do not use a hyphen after this prefix: upend, upgrade, upstate.
Follow Webster's New World College Dictionary; hyphenate nouns and adjectives that are not listed there. Examples: breakup, call-up, change-up, checkup, close-up, cover-up, follow-up, makeup, mix-up, setup. Verbs should be two words.
Do not use upwards.
Spell it out in ordinary speech and writing: They discussed the proposal to revamp Medicare versus proposals to reform Medicare and Medicaid at the same time. However, in short expressions, the abbreviation is permitted: The treatment options of surgery vs. radiation were discussed.
Always use two words, with no hyphen: vice chairman, vice chancellor, vice president, vice secretary.
Web page is two words, with Web capitalized, in all references. However, website, webcam, webcast and webmaster are one word, with web in lowercase.
Always use figures: The baby weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces. She had a 9-pound, 7-ounce boy.
Hyphenate when forming a compound adjective: He is a well-known physician. She was a well-dressed woman.
Hyphenate this word.
In general, use a hyphen: wide-angled lens, wide-awake client, wide-eyed child. However, do not hyphenate widespread.
Do not hyphenate: citywide, countrywide, nationwide, statewide, worldwide.
Do not hyphenate when the word means in the direction of or with regard to: clockwise, lengthwise, otherwise. Hyphenate when forming a compound adjective in which wise means smart: penny-wise businessman, street-wise teenager.
workday, workout, workplace, workweek
All are one word, with no hyphen.
It is two words.
It is one word. Do not hyphenate.
The AP Stylebook includes an extensive section dedicated to the proper use of various elements of punctuation. Some of those elements are given below.
apostrophe ( ' )
Listed below are some of the many guidelines related to the apostrophe.
PLURAL AND SINGULAR NOUNS NOT ENDING IN S: Add 's: the alumni's contributions, women's rights, the church's needs, the girl's toys.
PLURAL NOUNS ENDING IN S: Add only an apostrophe: the horses' food, the states' rights, the ships' wake.
SINGULAR COMMON NOUNS ENDING IN S: Add 's unless the next word begins with s (in which case, add only an apostrophe): the hostess's invitation, the hostess' seat, the witness's answer, the witness' story.
SINGULAR PROPER NAMES ENDING IN S: Add only an apostrophe: Achilles' heel, James' book, Tennessee Williams' plays.
FIGURES: For omitted figures, add an apostrophe: The class of '65 will have a reunion this summer. The Charleston was a popular dance in the '20s. However, without omitted figures, add only a lowercase s (no apostrophe): The custom began in the 1940s. The airline has two 727s. Temperatures will be in the low 60s.
LETTERS: For omitted letters, use an apostrophe: It isn't time for class to begin. Rock 'n' roll is his favorite type of music. Her favorite Christmas expression is 'tis the season to be jolly. He is a ne'er-do-well. To make single letters plural, use 's: Mind your p's and q's. He learned the three R's and brought home a report card with four A's and two B's. However, to make multiple letters plural, add only a lowercase s (no apostrophe): She knows her ABCs. I gave him two IOUs. Four VIPs were at the event.
WORDS AS WORDS: Add only a lowercase s (no apostrophe) to make plural: His speech had too many "ifs," "ands" and "buts" in it.
colon ( : )
The most frequent use of a colon is at the end of a sentence to introduce a list, tabulation, text, etc.: There were three considerations: expense, time and feasibility.
Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of
a complete sentence: He promised this: Jones would be punished for his crime. He promised
this: The company will make good all the losses.
PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Colons go outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quotations themselves.
comma ( , )
Listed below are a few of the many guidelines related to the comma.
IN A SERIES: Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before
the conjunction (words such as and and or) in a simple series: The flag is red, white
and blue. (NOT: The flag is red, white, and blue.) He would nominate Tom, Dick or
Harry. (NOT: He would nominate Tom, Dick, or Harry.) However, put a comma before the
concluding conjunction in a series if an integral element of the series requires a
conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.
Use a comma also before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases: The main points to consider are whether the athletes are skillful enough to compete, whether they have the stamina to endure the training, and whether they have the proper mental attitude.
WITH INTRODUCTORY CLAUSES AND PHRASES: Use a comma to separate an introductory clause or phrase from the main clause: When he had tired of New York City, he moved to Boston. On the street below, the curious gathered.
WITH CONJUNCTIONS: When a conjunction – such as and, but or for – links two clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a comma before the conjunction in most cases: She was glad she had looked, for a man was approaching the house. We are visiting St. Paul and Minneapolis, and we also plan to take a side trip to Duluth, Minn. We visited Washington, D.C., and our senator greeted us personally. However, do not use a comma when the subject of the two clauses is the same and is not repeated in the second clause: We are visiting Washington and plan to see the White House.
IN LARGE FIGURES: Use a comma for most figures greater than 999. The major exceptions are street addresses, room numbers, serial numbers, telephone numbers and years.
PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Commas always go inside quotation marks.
dash ( — )
Guidelines for two of the most frequent uses of the dash are given below.
SERIES WITHIN A PHRASE: When a phrase that otherwise would be set off by commas contains
a series of words that must be separated by commas, use dashes to set off the full
phrase: He listed the qualities — intelligence, humor, conservatism and independence
— that he liked in an executive.
ABRUPT CHANGE: Use dashes to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause: Smith offered a plan — it was unprecedented — to raise revenues. We will fly to Paris in June — if I get a raise.
PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Dashes go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted material only. They go outside the quotation marks when they apply to the whole sentence. Put a space on each side of a dash.
ellipsis ( … )
An ellipsis consists of one space, followed by three periods, followed by one space.
OMISSION OF WORDS: Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in
condensing quotes, texts and documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that
would distort the meaning. Example: He felt strongly that it was necessary to see
the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be
… a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
HESITATION: An ellipsis may also be used to indicate a pause or hesitation in speech or a thought that the writer or speaker does not complete.
SPECIAL EFFECTS: Ellipses also may be used to separate individual items within a paragraph to show business gossip or similar material.
hyphen ( - )
Hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words. They should not be used in instances where dashes are required.
parentheses ( )
Be sparing with parentheses. They are jarring to the reader. The temptation to use parentheses is a clue that a sentence is becoming contorted; try to write it another way. If a sentence must include incidental material, then commas or two dashes are frequently more effective. Use these alternatives whenever possible.
period ( . )
Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.
PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Commas always go inside quotation marks.
question mark ( ? )
PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Question marks go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted material only: He asked, "How long will it take?" They go outside the quotation marks when they apply to the whole sentence: Who wrote "Gone With the Wind"?
quotation marks ( " " )
Periods and commas at the end of quotations always go within the quotation marks.
Dashes, semicolons, question marks and exclamation points go within the quotation
marks when they apply to the quoted material only. They go outside the quotation marks
when they apply to the whole sentence. Colons go outside quotation marks unless they
are part of the quotations themselves.
AVOID UNNECESSARY FRAGMENTS: Do not use quotation marks to report a few ordinary words that a speaker or writer has used:
Wrong: The senator said he would "go home to Michigan" if he lost the election.
Right: The senator said he would go home to Michigan if he lost the election.
PARTIAL QUOTES: When a partial quote is used, do not put quotation marks around words that the speaker could not have used. For instance, the individual says, "I am horrified at your slovenly manners."
Wrong: She said she "was horrified at their slovenly manners."
Right: She said she was horrified at their "slovenly manners."
semicolon ( ; )
In general, use the semicolon to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can convey, but less than the separation that a period implies.
TO CLARIFY A SERIES: Use semicolons to separate elements of a series when the items
in the series are long or when individual segments contain material that also must
be set off by commas: He leaves a son, John Smith, of Chicago; three daughters, Jane
Smith, of Wichita, Kan., Mary Smith, of Denver, and Susan Smith Kingsbury, of Boston;
and a sister, Martha Warren, of Omaha, Neb. (Note that the semicolon is used before
the final and in such a series.)
TO LINK INDEPENDENT CLAUSES: Use a semicolon when a coordinating conjunction – such as and, but or for – is not present: The package was due last week; it arrived today.
PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Semicolons go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted material only. They go outside the quotation marks when they apply to the whole sentence.
In writing each section, consider the following questions: