Office of Marketing and Communications

Editorial Style Guide

Abbreviations

Acronyms

Acronyms can be useful when a title is long and cumbersome. However, it is essential for the reader to clearly understand what the acronym means. When using acronyms, the name of the group, organization, building, etc. should be spelled out on first reference followed by the acronym in parentheses. The acronym may then be used on second reference and thereafter. Periods are generally not used, since most acronyms use only the initials of each word. Overall, avoid using too many acronyms at once, and never change or alternate the acronym that is formally used by a group. When possible, use the main identifying noun on second reference and thereafter. (See the second example below.)

Examples:
The Leckrone Academic Resource Center (LARC) offers tutoring services for Lewis students. LARC provides many other services as well
.

The Student Recreation and Fitness Center is free to all students. The center offers a number of amenities.

Some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized by their initials: CIA, FBI, FAA. However, as a general measure, it is always helpful to spell out these organization names on the first reference to avoid any confusion. In some instances, you may find that the same acronym may be used by another organization.

Addresses

See States (Mailing Address vs. Running Text) below. Also see Mailing Addresses.

States (Mailing Address vs. Running Text)

When writing a name of a state for mailing purposes, such as when listing a Lewis University address, it is acceptable to use the two-letter state codes designated by the U.S. Postal Service. For example, IL for Illinois would be correct. This abbreviation should not be followed by a period. The correct use of the University mailing address for the Romeoville main campus is shown immediately below:

Lewis University
One University Parkway
Romeoville, IL 60446-2200

In running text, use the abbreviations set out by the Associated Press when the name of a state is used in conjunction with the name of a city, county, town, village or military base. An example of this might be location information included in a press release or in publications:

Lewis University is located in Romeoville, Ill., just southwest of Chicago. When used alone, all states should be spelled out.

Associated Press abbreviations for each state are:

Ala. Fla. Md. Neb. N.D. Tenn.
Ariz. Ga. Mass. Nev. Okla. Vt.
Ark. Ill. Mich. N.H. Ore. Va.
Calif. Ind. Minn. N.J. Pa. Wash.
Colo. Kan. Miss. N.M. R.I. W.Va.
Conn. Ky. Mo. N.Y. S.C. Wis.
Del. La. Mont. N.C. S.D. Wyo.

Never abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah when written in text.

For more information on mailing standards, see the  Mailing Addresses section.

With regard to addresses, use abbreviations of Ave., Blvd., and St. only with numbered addresses.

Example: 1400 Richmont Ave.

An exception to this rule is when addresses are included in very formal publications, such as in invitations. Then, all such descriptors should be spelled out.

Spell out also when used alone or with more than one street name. All similar words (drive, road, terrace, parkway, etc.) are always spelled out. In running text, use the abbreviations set out by the Associated Press when the name of a state is used in conjunction with the name of a city, county, town, village or military base. An example of this might be location information included in a press release or in publications: Lewis University is located in Romeoville, Ill., just southwest of Chicago. When used alone, all states should be spelled out.

Titles/Degrees

Abbreviate the following titles when they precede a name and are written outside direct quotations: Dr., Mr., Mrs., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., Sen., and all military titles. The plural use of these titles is also abbreviated when used before more than one name, such as Drs., Reps., Sens., and Govs. Spell out these titles when included in a direct quote or when used without a name.

Academic Titles/Degrees
Academic titles such as professor, chairperson, and dean should be spelled out. Academic degrees should be spelled out on first reference whenever possible, unless the need to identify individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Degrees may be abbreviated thereafter as long as it is clear to the reader what these abbreviations mean. If needed, the abbreviation can be included in parentheses after the degree. However, this should be done on first reference only.

Examples:
Lewis University offers a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree in journalism.
The Director of Public Relations holds a B.A. in this field of study.

Most academic degrees include periods after the initials such as B.A., M.A., Ph.D. and Ed.D. However, at Lewis University, the abbreviations of MBA (master of business administration), BSN (bachelor of science in nursing), MSN (master of science in nursing) and RN (registered nurse) do not include periods because they are more commonly used and widely accepted in this form. Periods, however, may be included for consistency when part of a larger list in which other degrees require periods.

Legislative Titles
See first paragraph of this section.

Religious Titles
The religious titles of Brother, Sister, Cardinal, Archbishop and Bishop should be spelled out. The title of Reverend should also be spelled out on first reference. On second reference, if used along with the person’s name, Rev. is the preferred style. Reverend should not be abbreviated when used by itself.

Example:
Reverend George Simpson spoke informally with members of the faculty. Rev. Simpson later gave an address to the Lewis community. The reverend is a long-time resident of Joliet.

Following the first reference, religious titles may be used before the person’s name as a courtesy. However, the person’s last name may also be used alone on second reference and thereafter as appropriate.

Related Rules (Regarding Titles/Degrees)
The title of Dr. should not be used in conjunction with Ph.D., Ed.D or other academic degrees. Use one or the other. However, academic degrees can be used after the names of individuals who hold religious titles.

Examples:
Correct: Sister Stacey Walton, Ph.D.
Incorrect: Dr. Kevin Carmichael, Ph.D.

Academic degrees should be used only once (usually on first reference) in conjunction with the person’s full name. The title of Dr. as well as most religious titles (Sister, Reverend, etc.) may be used on all references as a form of courtesy, but is not required after the first reference. The last name of the person may be used alone on second reference if deemed appropriate.

Example:
Sister Stacey Walton, Ph.D., spoke to the crowd. Walton, a professor of physics, addressed the recent curriculum changes.

At Lewis University, the religious title of Brother is an exception to the above rule. See Brother under Editorial Style (A–Z).

When using the title of Dr. in materials for public/media distribution, it is important to identify early on the person’s credentials, i.e. whether he or she is a doctor of medicine or holds a doctoral degree in specific areas of study. Often, including a person’s official occupational title will help to clarify this matter. To further clarify, information about the person’s educational/occupational background can be included where appropriate.

Other Abbreviations

Family Lineage (Junior, Senior)
Abbreviate junior (Jr.) and senior (Sr.) only with full names of persons as it refers to that individual’s family lineage. This abbreviation should be preceded by a comma.

Example: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The notation II or 2nd may be used if it is the person’s preference. Note, however, that II and 2nd are not necessarily the equivalent of junior. They are often used by a grandson or nephew. II or 2nd are not preceded by a comma.

Graduation Years
See Omitted Figures under Apostrophe in the Punctuation section.

Saint
Abbreviate the word Saint as St. in the names of saints, cities and other geographic locations, with the exception of the founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.

Example: St. Lawrence Seaway

Time
Use a.m. and p.m. in conjunction with specific times.

Examples:
Incorrect: Early this a.m., he went to the doctor.
Correct: Early this morning, he went to the doctor.
Correct: At 8: 30 a.m., he went to the doctor.

See Time under Editorial Style (A–Z).

Time Zones
See Time Zones under Editorial Style (A–Z).

TV
This abbreviation for television is acceptable as an adjective or in such constructions as cable TV. But it generally should not be used as a noun unless part of a quotation.

United Nations, U.N.
Spell out United Nations when used as a noun. Use the abbreviation U.N. (no spaces) only as an adjective, and only when the acronym is understood.

United States, U.S.
Spell out United States when used as a noun. Use the abbreviation U.S. (no spaces) only as an adjective.

Versus
Abbreviate as vs. in all uses, except when spelled out as part of a formal title or as part of quoted material.

Do not abbreviate

Christmas
Spell out the word Christmas. Do not use forms of abbreviation such X-mas or Xmas.

Cities
Spell out names of cities (Los Angeles, not L.A.), unless in direct quotes.

Countries
Spell out the names of countries other than U.S.A.

U.S., referring to the United States, may only be used as an adjective.

Example: U.S. currency

Days of the Week
Capitalize the days of the week. Do not abbreviate them except when used in tables where space limitations exist. Abbreviations to be used for the days of the week are Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., and Sun. If additional abbreviation is needed due to space constraints, tabular format may be used where periods are removed and Tues. may be abbreviated further to Tue and Thurs. to Thu to facilitate composition.

Geographic Names
Do not abbreviate parts of geographic names such as Fort Wayne and South Dakota. However, cities and other geographic locations that include the word Saint may use St. as an abbreviation for this word. See Saint above.

Lewis University
Never abbreviate Lewis University, in any reference. Lewis or the University may be used on second reference. When at all possible, Lewis University should be kept on the same line in running text. University should always be capitalized when referring to Lewis University.

Lewis University Logos and Seal
See the Graphic Identity section.

Lewis University’s Address
Never abbreviate the University’s address:
One University Parkway
.

The numerical designation One should always be spelled out as well as University and Parkway.

Months Without Dates/Years Only
Names of months without a specific date, or with a year alone should be spelled out. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out all other months.

Examples:
January 1967 was a cold month.
Jan. 12, 1967 was a snowy day.

Percentages
Do not abbreviate the word percent. In scientific, technical and statistical copy, use the symbol %. In all other copy, spell out. Never use pct.

Other Examples
Do not abbreviate the words association, institute, Lasallian, and Catholic. Saint should not be abbreviated when referring to the founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.

General Rule
As a general rule when in doubt, spell it out. It is always better to be clear than to leave the reader wondering what a certain abbreviation means.