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IU Editorial Style Guide, Letter C

campus names

See Indiana University.


This term is not hyphenated. With the exception of university-wide, most wide compounds are not hyphenated.


When writing for the web, use sentence case rather than headline case for headings.

Become the best version of you

The ideal college experience, two centuries in the making

As a general rule, official names are capitalized; unofficial, informal, shortened, or generic names are not. This rule applies to names of offices, buildings, schools, departments, programs, institutes, centers, and so on. Therefore, the noun in a phrase such as the center, the institute, or the new museum is not capitalized.

the Office of the Registrar, the registrar’s office, this office, the registrar

the Schools of Nursing and Optometry, the nursing and optometry schools, the University Graduate School, the graduate school

the Department of Physics, the physics department, the department

the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the program

the Center for English Language Training, the center

An exception is that references to the Indiana Memorial Union may be shortened to the Union.

The Frangipani Room is on the mezzanine level of the Union.

Capitalize official names of bulletins, forms, conventions, conferences, symposia, and the like.

the Jacobs School of Music Bulletin, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Republican National Convention

Capitalize official course titles (except for articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions), whether or not the course number is used.

E 201 Introduction to Microeconomics
S 250 Graphic Design I

A new course, Basic Algebra for Finite Mathematics, is appropriate for many students.

Capitalize the letters used for grades, as well as official grade names where applicable. Do not put quotation marks around grades.

A, B, C, D, F, W, I, FX, S/F, P/F, R, Incomplete, Pass, Deferred, a grade of B

Names of official policies such as Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity should be capitalized. If the concept, rather than the official name, is being discussed, lowercase is appropriate.

Departments are working to ensure equal opportunity.

The campus Affirmative Action Office has moved.

Names of holidays and other recurring celebrations are usually capitalized. Names of seasons, academic periods, and one-time celebrations generally are not.

Thanksgiving, Commencement, Founders Day, Arts Week

but: winter 2015–16, summer session II, summer term, spring semester, spring term, orientation, registration, Spring Break, the DeVault Alumni Center dedication, the groundbreaking for the new center

For historical or documentary accuracy, follow the capitalization style of original texts.

“As I am a schoolteacher during the other three seasons, I am happy that I may continue my own education during the Summer Sessions,” wrote a student in 1919.

In titles of works and in headlines that follow the “title” style, capitalize all words except articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions. Note that is is a verb and is therefore capitalized.

The manuscript of Kerouac’s novel On the Road was on display at the Lilly Library.

Two of Cole Porter’s greatest compositions are “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and “Just One of Those Things.”

Some flexibility exists in the capitalization of geographic regions.

See also degrees, forms and documents, grades, titles of people, and titles of works.


Use chairperson or chair in references to heads of IU departments and committees. Exceptions are references to those who chaired departments in the past, when the more traditional chairman or chairwoman may have been used; keep the appropriate term for historical accuracy. In references to people who work outside the university, use their preferred titles.

colons and semicolons

A colon (:) usually serves as an introducer—of a list, an example, an explanatory phrase or sentence, etc.

The instructor made three suggestions for the essay: to shorten it, to use more vivid examples, and to double-check the statistics.

There was one person Mabel could not forgive: herself.

I have a question: where will we put the new computers?

In all of the above examples, em dashes would be acceptable in place of the colons.

A primary use for the semicolon (;) is to join the elements in a compound sentence.

You don’t need to submit original documents; photocopies are sufficient.

A common error is using a comma in a compound sentence instead of a semicolon. This mistake often occurs when a transition word such as however, thus, or therefore is involved.

Bell’s flight was delayed; therefore, the concert was rescheduled.

not: Bell’s flight was delayed, therefore, the concert was rescheduled.

Use semicolons to separate items in a series when the items are long or complicated and commas already serve another purpose in the sentence.

Professor Barbour has included in her cookbook such delicacies as fresh blueberry and lemon cream tart, from the Limestone Grille in Bloomington; shrimp brochette with roasted corn salsa, from the RockWall Bistro in Floyds Knobs; and apple fritters with caramel sauce, from the LaSalle Grill in South Bend.

Some overlap exists between semicolon and colon use. For example, a colon may be used to join the elements in a compound sentence, especially when the second half of a sentence is “introduced” by the first half. Both ways of punctuating the following sentence are acceptable.

All of our faculty members serve on committees: nine, for example, are on the presidential search and screen committee.

All of our faculty members serve on committees; nine, for example, are on the presidential search and screen committee.

See also commas, dashes, and lists.


Use the serial, or Harvard, comma (i.e., the final comma before and, or, or nor) in a list of three or more items.

red, white, and blue ribbons

An exception exists when items in the series contain commas themselves. In that case, use semicolons between all items.

The letters in question are dated August 7, 1989; May 15, 1990; and January 4, 1991.

For numbers larger than 999, use a comma to mark off the thousands, millions, etc.

1,001 nights; 98,000 students

When they follow a person’s name, qualifiers such as Ph.D. and C.P.A. are preceded by a comma. A second comma follows the qualifier in running copy.

The opening remarks by Valerie P. Jackson, M.D., set the tone for the conference.

However, qualifiers such as Jr., Sr., and III are not set off by commas.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Charles E. Dann III

Set off the name of a geographical unit with commas—on both sides—when it follows the name of a smaller geographical unit found within its borders.

Gnaw Bone, Indiana, is a small community.

not: Gnaw Bone, Indiana is a small community.

The same holds true for a year, if a day of the month precedes it.

March 1, 2016, is the priority date for fall 2016 admission.

but: He understood that the books would be delivered in March 2016.

Be sure to set off a parenthetical (nonrestrictive) expression on both sides. In the following example, the name Ray Wallace is parenthetical because it does not actually narrow down the meaning of The IU Southeast chancellor; IU Southeast has only one chancellor.

The IU Southeast chancellor, Ray Wallace, will be there.

not: The IU Southeast chancellor Ray Wallace will be there.

and not: The IU Southeast chancellor, Ray Wallace will be there.

Note that when chancellor is used as a personal title, no comma is called for.

IU Southeast Chancellor Ray Wallace will be present.

The Latin-derived abbreviations e.g. (for example) and i.e. (that is) are always followed by a comma and are usually used in a parenthetical remark. If used in a nonparenthetical situation, they are often spelled out.

List your favorite software programs (e.g., Microsoft Word, InDesign).

Maria always uses the serial comma; that is, the final comma before and, or, or nor.

Commas appear after, not before, an expression in parentheses (like this), and they go inside quotation marks, “like this,” in almost all cases.

No IU sports teams are to be called “Hurryin’ Hoosiers,” according to the athletics department.

One case in which it is correct to place a comma outside a quotation mark is when the quotation mark is denoting inches. This form of quotation mark is also known as a double prime. Note that it is not slanted or curved like the “smart” (or “curly”) quotation mark.

The painting measures 16" x 19", and it is on display at the Herron Gallery.

See also quotation marks.


Use a capital C when referring to the IU event.

copyright lines

Copyrighting Indiana University promotional printed materials is not required. But if a copyright line is desired, it should be placed at the end of the printed piece in a small font size, typically in a lower corner of the last page or panel. The copyright should be attributed to the Trustees of Indiana University. Adding the department, office, program, or school name is optional.

© 2018 The Trustees of Indiana University

or: © 2018 The Trustees of Indiana University on behalf of the IU School of Global and International Studies

If the objective is only to record the year of the publication, that can be done in the same manner without a copyright line.

2018, IU Office of Admissions

course listings/titles

Each course has a course number and course title, which is always capitalized (even if the course is referred to without the number). No punctuation is used between the course number and course title.

W 231 Professional Writing Skills

In bulletins and other publications that discuss curricula, it’s useful to specify the unit through which the course is offered by using the department or school letter code before the course number and title.

ENG-W 231 Professional Writing Skills
ME 200 Thermodynamics
CMCL-C 121 Public Speaking
SPEA-V 574 Environmental Management in the Tropics

Course titles in running text are also capitalized.

John was hoping to get into a popular course, Rock Music of the ’70s and ’80s.

credit hours

Use numerals to refer to credit hours.

3 credit hours, BUS-S 530 Business Analysis (3 cr.)

In academic bulletins, we don’t use a hyphen between a number and the phrase credit hour or between credit and hour.

She is enrolled in a 3 credit hour course, Business Analysis.

See also numbers.

curricula vitae, curriculum vitae

See vita, vitae.