a, an Use a before consonant sounds: a historic event, a one-year term (sounds as if it begins with a w), a united stand (sounds like you). Use an before vowel sounds: an energy crisis, an honorable man (the h is silent), an NBA record (sounds like it begins with the letter e), an 1890s celebration.
abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms Abbreviations are shortened versions of words: a.m., p.m., Mr., Mrs. Acronyms are abbreviations formed from the initial letters of other words and are pronounced as words: laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Initialisms are abbreviations formed from the initial letters of other words and are pronounced as strings of letters: CIA, CPU. Abbreviations take ending periods. Acronyms and initialisms do not.
CFAES makes one major exception to AP style regarding the use of acronyms and initialisms. If the audience is likely to be unfamiliar with the acronym or initialism, as is likely to be true with the majority of CFAES-related acronyms and initialisms, spell it out on first reference and immediately follow it with its acronym or initialism in parentheses: College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES); Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). On second and subsequent references, use the acronym or initialism by itself without parentheses: CFAES, OARDC.
Some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized by their acronyms and initialisms: NASA, CIA, FBI. If the entry in the online edition of the AP Stylebook for such an organization notes that an abbreviation is acceptable on first and subsequent references, that does not mean that its use should be automatic. Let the context determine, for example, whether to use Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI.
Other than the exception to AP style noted above regarding the use of acronyms and initialisms, see abbreviations and acronyms in the online edition of the AP Stylebook. Also see College and University Names chapter.
academic courses Capitalize the main words in titles of specific courses, but not names used in a general sense: Economics 200, Science 111, economics courses, sociology. Capitalize all nouns and adjectives referring to languages, countries, and nationalities: a French course, an English course, English 101.
academic degrees Degree abbreviations are preferred on first reference. Abbreviate the degrees Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Juris Doctor, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science, and Master of Public Health as BA, BS, JD, MA, MBA, MS, and MPH. Never use BSc or MSc. Abbreviate doctor of philosophy as PhD, doctor of medicine as MD, doctor of osteopathy as DO, doctor of dental surgery as DDS. Pluralize degree abbreviations by adding s: BAs, BSs, JDs, MAs, MBAs, MSs, MPHs, PhDs, MDs, DOs, and DDSs.
List a maximum of three sets of credentials after an individual’s name, each set off by commas: Shirley Kindrick, PhD, RD. The recommended order is highest earned degree, licensure, state designations or requirements, national certifications, and awards and honors.
Specific degrees are capitalized: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science. Used as general terms, degrees are lowercase and possessive, and the word degree is not capitalized: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree. The term associate degree, however, is not possessive. Also note the terms doctorate and medical degree.
Capitalization of names of degrees should match the registrar’s official degree list. If the official degree name contains of Science, the discipline is capitalized: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Not: Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry or the Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. Similar rules apply to references made to master’s and doctoral degrees.
For non-U.S. degrees, use the standards of the country of origin. PhD equivalent in Germany is Dr., rer., and nat.; MD equivalent in United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Jamaica, South Africa, Pakistan, and India is MB (Bachelor of Medicine), BS (Bachelor of Surgery), or MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery).
academic departments, units Capitalize the official names of academic departments and units. Do not capitalize the names in informal references: Department of Animal Sciences, the animal sciences department.
See College and University Names chapter.
acres Use figures for acreage: 1 acre, 10 acres, 22 contiguous acres, 50-acre site. Both decimals and mixed fractions are acceptable for acreage: 2.5 acres, 2 ½ acres, 2.5 acres of land, a 2 ½-acre farm, a 2.5-acre farm, a 2 ½-acre farm.
active, passive voice In the active voice, the subject of the sentence does the acting: Karen drove the car. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon: The car was driven by Karen. For clarity, use the active voice whenever possible.
addresses Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Capitalize them and spell out when part of a formal street name without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues.
Always spell out all similar words (alley, drive, road, terrace, etc.). Capitalize them when part of a formal name without a number (Abbington Alley); lowercase when used alone or with two or more names (alley, Abbington and Castle alleys).
Always use figures for an address number: 9 Morningside Circle. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures for 10th and above: 7 Fifth Ave., 100 21st St. Use periods in the abbreviation P.O. for P.O. box numbers.
Abbreviate compass points used to indicate directional ends of a street or quadrants of a city in a numbered address: 222 E. 42nd St., 562 W. 43rd St., 600 K St. NW. Do not abbreviate if the number is omitted: East 42nd Street, West 43rd Street, K Street Northwest. Do not use periods in quadrant abbreviations unless customary locally.
Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun: A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy, 7, has a sister, 10. The woman, 26, has a daughter 2 months old. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s (no apostrophe).
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.
ampersand See Punctuation chapter.
apostrophe See Punctuation chapter.
brackets See Punctuation chapter.
campus Do not capitalize north campus, south campus, etc. Exception: West Campus is a formal name. Ohio State comprises six campuses: Columbus campus, Lima campus, Mansfield campus, Marion campus, Newark campus, and Wooster campus.
Never use ag campus or main campus. Use Wooster campus to reference all CFAES land in Wooster, Ohio: The Wooster campus is beautiful! For references to a specific entity located on the Wooster campus, use the entity’s name: Secrest Arboretum is located at the Wooster campus. Both on campus and at campus are acceptable.
See College and University Names chapter.
capitalization Always capitalize proper nouns, proper names, popular names, names derived from proper nouns, the first word in a sentence, principal words in the names of compositions (books, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, radio and television programs, works of art, etc.), and titles used immediately before a name. Always use lowercase for terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles.
See capitalization in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
Cathann A. Kress See College and University Names chapter.
CFAES departments See individual departments names in the College and University Names chapter.
Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens See College and University Names chapter.
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) See College and University Names chapter.
colon See Punctuation chapter.
comma See Punctuation chapter.
dash See Punctuation chapter.
Always capitalize the days of the week. Do not abbreviate, except when needed in tabular matter: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat.
Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Spell out 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: January 2016 was cold; Jan. 2 was the coldest day; His birthday is May 8; Feb. 14, 2013, was the target date; She testified that it was Friday, Dec. 3, when the accident occurred. When needed in tabular matter, use these three-letter forms without periods: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
For years, use figures without commas. Always use the figure for a year at the start of a sentence: 2016 was a good year.
Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1800s, the 2000s. Use an apostrophe to indicate figures that are left out; show plural by adding the letter s: the ’80s, the mid-1980’s, Class of ’66.
doctor, dr. The word doctor describes a person with an MD (doctor of medicine) from an allopathic medical school; a DO (doctor of osteopathy) from an osteopathic medical school; or a PhD or PhD-equivalent degree, including DDS, OD, etc. Identify the person by name, credentials, and department (or division) on first reference: Michael Knopp, MD, Department of Radiology. Thereafter, Dr. may be used. Never use Dr. and credentials at the same time: Dr. Daniel Sedmak, MD.
See academic degrees.
ellipsis See Punctuation chapter.
exclamation point See Punctuation chapter.
Farm Science Review See College and University Names chapter.
Food Animal Health Research Program (FAHRP) See College and University Names chapter.
4-H (Ohio 4-H, Ohio 4-H youth development, 4-H references) See College and University Names chapter.
Use figures for fractions larger than 1, converting to decimals whenever practical: 3 ½ laps, 2.5 acres.
When using fractional characters, use a forward-slash mark (/): 1/8, 1/4, 5/16, 9/10, etc. For mixed numbers, use 1 1/2, 2 5/8, etc., with a full space between the whole number and the fraction. Some systems might automatically replace some fractions with single-character versions: 1/2 might be replaced by ½. These can be left in the form the system changes them to.
genus, species In scientific or biological names, capitalize the first, or generic, Latin name for the class of plant or animal and lowercase the species that follows. Also, use italics for both the first, or generic, Latin name and the species name that follows: Homo sapiens, Tyrannosaurus rex. In second references, use the abbreviated form: P. borealis, T. rex.
Note: CFAES makes one major exception to AP style regarding the use of genus and species names: Italics should be used as noted above. Other than the exception to AP style noted here regarding the use of genus and species names, see genus, species in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
grade, grader Hyphenate both the noun and adjectival forms: first-grader, 10th-grader, a fourth-grade student, a 12th-grade student. But: She is in the fifth grade. The construction pre-K is acceptable on first and all subsequent references for the word prekindergarten. It is also acceptable as a modifier that describes someone of prekindergarten age: pre-K student. Use the construction pre-K-12 when referencing the span of grades from prekindergarten through 12th grade. But use kindergarten through 12th grade or first through 12th grade when referencing the span of grades from kindergarten through 12th grade, or the span from first grade through 12th grade.
highway designations Use these forms for highways identified by number: Interstate 77, Route 16, State Route 315, U.S. 15, U.S. Highway 1, U.S. Route 8. On second and subsequent references only for Interstate, Route, and State Route, use I-77, Rte. 16, and St. Rte. 315. When a letter is appended to a number, capitalize it but do not use a hyphen: Route 1A, Rte. 1A.
hyphen See Punctuation chapter.
See internet in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
If each bulleted or numbered item is a complete sentence, capitalize and punctuate each as you would do normally for a complete sentence.
If the list completes a sentence begun in an introductory element, begin each item with a lowercase letter unless the item is a proper noun. Also, omit periods after items unless the items in the list are separated by commas or semicolons.
The student has already taken:
- a general math course
- an advanced physics course
- three language courses
Ordinarily, commas are not used following a series of items. If the listed items are phrases, especially long phrases, that grammatically complete the sentence containing them, commas may, but need not, be used. If commas are used, the last item is followed by a period.
In preparation, the student:
- earned a high score on the ACT,
- studied extensively on related subjects,
- talked with professionals in the field.
Note: It is not necessary to include and before the last item in the list.
majors and minors Do not capitalize names of college studies, fields of study, curricula, majors, minors, or programs unless a specific course is referred to or if using names of countries, nationalities, historical periods, or languages: She is majoring in political science. He is a psychology major. She changed her major from history to English.
Molly Caren Agricultural Center See College and University Names chapter.
money (dollars, cents, millions, billions, trillions) Always lowercase dollar. Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references or amounts without a figure. For specified amounts, the word takes a singular verb: The book cost $4. Dad, please give me a dollar. Dollars are flowing overseas. He said $500,000 is what they want.
Always lowercase and spell out the word cents, using numerals for amounts less than a dollar: 5 cents, 12 cents. Use the $ sign and decimal system for larger amounts: $1.01, $2.50.
Use figures with million, billion, or trillion in all except casual uses. For amounts of more than $1 million, do not go beyond two decimal places, and do not link the numerals and the word by a hyphen: He is worth $4.35 million. He proposed a $300 billion budget.
Decimals are preferred where practical: 1.5 million.
Do not mix millions and billions in the same figure: 2.6 billion. Not: 2 billion 600 million.
Do not drop the word million or billion in the first figure of a range: He is worth from $2 million to $4 million. Not: $2 to $4 million, unless you really mean $2.
In headlines, abbreviate only millions and billions: $5M lawsuit, $17.4B trade deficit.
numerals In general, spell out numbers one through nine; use figures for 10 or above. Always spell out numbers at the start of a sentence, but use the figure for a year at the start of a sentence: 2016 was a good year. If a number other than a year begins a sentence, rewrite the sentence so that it doesn’t begin with the number.
For ordinals (first, second, 10th, 25th, etc.), spell out first through ninth, and use figures starting with 10th: fourth grade, first base, the First Amendment, 10th place, 20th year.
Spell out numbers in indefinite and casual uses (Thanks a million; He walked a quarter of a mile; One at a time; a thousand clowns; one day we will know; an eleventh-hour decision; dollar store; a hundred dollars); fanciful usage or proper names (Big Ten, Big Three automakers, Fab Four, Final Four, the Four Tops); formal language, rhetorical quotations, and figures of speech (“Fourscore and seven years ago …” Twelve Apostles; Ten Commandments; high-five; Day One); and fractions less than 1 (reduced by one-third; he made three-fourths of his shots).
Use figures for almost everything else, including academic course numbers (Economics 200); acres (1 acre, 50-acre site, 2.5 acres, 2 ½ acres); address numbers (1600 Pennsylvania Ave.); ages (The girl is 15 years old; a 5-year-old); centuries above 10 or 10th (21st century); dates and years (Feb. 14, 2013); decades (the 1890s, the ’80s, Class of ’66); decimals, percentages, and fractions with numbers larger than 1 (0.03, 7.2, 3.7 percent, 3 ½ laps); dimensions to indicate depth, height, length, and width (5 feet 6 inches tall; The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 5 feet high; The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet; the 9-by-12 rug); distances (walked 4 miles, missed a 3-foot putt); highway designations (Interstate 77, I-77, Route 16, Rte. 16, State Route 315, St. Rte. 315); mathematical usage (multiply by 4, divide by 6); million, billions, trillions, and monetary units (1 million people, 5 cents, $5 bill, $2 billion); odds, proportions, and ratios (9–1 long shot, 3 parts cement to 1 part water); rankings (No. 1 choice, ranked No. 3, five Top 40 hits); speeds (7 mph, winds of 5 to 10 mph); sports scores, standings, and standards (defeated 10–3, par 3, 5 under par, 3-point play, 5-yard line); telephone numbers (614-621-1500; 212-621-1500, ext. 2); temperatures (8 degrees, minus 8, temperature dropped from 38 to 8 in two hours); times (1 p.m.; 10:30 a.m.; 8 hours, 30 minutes; winning time of 2:17:3); and votes (a vote of 6 to 4, but a two-vote margin).
Exceptions: For addresses, spell out numbered streets nine and under (First Ave., Ninth St.). For centuries, spell out numbers one through nine, and first through ninth (one century, nine centuries, first century, ninth century). For temperatures, spell out zero (8 degrees below zero). For times, spell out noon and midnight (At noon, we will make plans for 3:30 p.m.).
See numerals in the online edition of the AP Stylebook. Also see academic courses, acres, addresses, ages, dates, fractions, highway designations, money, percent, rankings, telephone numbers, and times in this guide.
Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) See College and University Names chapter.
Ohio State ATI See College and University Names chapter.
Ohio State University Extension (Extension references) See College and University Names chapter.
parentheses See Punctuation chapter.
percent Use figures and spell out the word percent: 1 percent, 2.5 percent (use decimals, not fractions), 10 percent, 4 percentage points. For ranges, 12 to 15 percent, 12–15 percent, and between 12 and 15 percent are all acceptable. For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6 percent. The % sign may be used only if space is limited in such functions as social media, graphic designs, and tabular matter.
Percent takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an of construction: The teacher said 60 percent was a failing grade; He said 50 percent of the membership was there. It takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an of construction: He said 50 percent of the members were there.
periods See Punctuation chapter.
prefixes See separate listings in the online edition of the AP Stylebook or in the latest edition of the Webster’s New World College Dictionary.
Generally, do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant. Three rules are constant:
- Except for cooperate, cooperative, and coordinate, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.
- Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized.
- Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph.
question mark See Punctuation chapter.
quotation marks See Punctuation chapter.
rankings Do not use a hyphen when referring to a Top 10 or Top 25 program. Use No., not the # sign: She hopes to stay in the Top 10 of her class. Ohio State is a Top 10 research university. We are No.1!
Scarlet and Gray Uppercase when referring to the Buckeyes. Lowercase when referring to the colors: She roots for the Scarlet and Gray, even though she lives in Texas; She wears scarlet and gray to the games.
School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) See College and University Names chapter.
See academic periods.
Secrest Arboretum See College and University Names chapter.
semicolon See Punctuation chapter.
state names Regarding the use of U.S. state names and their abbreviations in news releases, see state names in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
Regarding the use of U.S. state names and their abbreviations in all written material other than news releases, spell out the names when used in running text, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village, or military base. In lists, tabular matter, and other functions in which space is limited, use the state abbreviations listed below. In parentheses next to each state abbreviation is the state’s Zip code abbreviation, for use only with a full address, including a Zip code.
- Ala. (AL)
- Alaska (AK)
- Ariz. (AZ)
- Ark. (AR)
- Calif. (CA)
- Colo. (CO)
- Conn. (CT)
- Del. (DE)
- District of Columbia (DC)
- Fla. (FL)
- Ga. (GA)
- Hawaii (HI)
- Idaho (ID)
- Ill. (IL)
- Ind. (IN)
- Iowa (IA)
- Kan. (KS)
- Ky. (KY)
- La. (LA)
- Maine (ME)
- Md. (MD)
- Mass. (MA)
- Mich. (MI)
- Minn. (MN)
- Miss. (MS)
- MO. (MO)
- Mont. (MT)
- Neb. (NE)
- Nev. (NV)
- N.H. (NH)
- N.J. (NJ)
- N.M. (NM)
- N.Y. (NY)
- N.C. (NC)
- N.D. (ND)
- Ohio (OH)
- Okla. (OK)
- Ore. (OR)
- Pa. (PA)
- R.I. (RI)
- S.C. (SC)
- S.D. (SD)
- Tenn. (TN)
- Texas (TX)
- Utah (UT)
- Vt. (VT)
- Va. (VA)
- Wash. (WA)
- W.Va. (WV)
- Wis. (WI)
- Wyo. (WY)
Note: Eight states are never abbreviated, even in lists, tabular matter, and other functions in which space is limited: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.
suffixes See separate listings in the online edition of the AP Stylebook or in the latest edition of the Webster’s New World College Dictionary. If a word combination is not listed in the latest edition of the Webster’s New World College Dictionary, use two words for the verb form, and hyphenate any noun or adjectival forms.
telephone numbers Use figures and hyphenate where necessary. Do not use periods or parentheses. Include the area code for all numbers: 614-621-1501. Do not use a 1 before toll-free numbers: 800-111-1000. If extension numbers are needed, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension, and use a lowercase e for ext.: 212-621-1500, ext. 2.
The Ohio State University See College and University Names chapter.
The Ohio State University South Centers See College and University Names chapter.
The Ohio State University Stone Laboratory See College and University Names chapter.
times Use figures and omit the zeros for on-the-hour times. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. To avoid confusion, use noon and midnight instead of 12 p.m. and 12 a.m. Avoid such redundancies as 10 a.m. this morning and 10 p.m. tonight. The construction 4 o’clock is acceptable, but time listings with a.m. and p.m. are preferred: 1 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1–3 p.m., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 8 a.m. to noon.
titles (of books, reference works, journals, magazines, newspapers) Use italics for titles of books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, journals, magazines, movies, newspapers, and songs. Use quotation marks for titles of book chapters; conferences, exhibits, lectures, and speeches; dictionary and encyclopedia entries; and journal, magazine, and newspaper articles.
See separate listings in the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
titles (of people) Capitalize formal titles when they precede a person’s name: President Michael V. Drake, Dean Cathann A. Kress. Lowercase and spell out titles when they do not precede a person’s name or when they are in constructions set off from a person’s name by commas: Michael V. Drake, president of The Ohio State University; the president of The Ohio State University, Michael V. Drake; Cathann A. Kress, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; the dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Cathann A. Kress.
A final determination on whether a title is formal or occupational depends on the practice of the governmental or private organization that confers it. If there is doubt about the status of a title and the practice of the organization cannot be determined, use a construction that sets the name or the title off with commas.
See titles in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
URLs See web addresses.
Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory See College and University Names chapter.
See web in the online edition of the AP Stylebook.
Use http:// and/or www. at the start of web addresses only when they are essential (i.e., if the website will not load without the http:// and/or www.)
Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park (ORWRP) See College and University Names chapter.