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Editorial Styleguide

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Is it “theater” or “theatre”? Dr. John Doe or John Doe, Ph.D.? The 1990’s or 1990s?

Every day (or is it everyday?) the number of writing questions that we encounter when preparing university documents grows. That’s why it is important to develop a common editorial style guide.

Editorial style is the way we present ourselves to the public through written words, whether in a brochure, magazine, newspaper ad or Web site. Having a common style assists us in projecting a cohesive, coordinated image to the public. It also can offer a quick answer to what otherwise might prove a time-consuming dilemma.

The university's official guide for nonacademic communications, including all recruitment and marketing materials, is the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. Widely used by newspapers and magazines, the AP style is familiar to readers, easy to read and makes sense. Although some AP rules stray from those taught in English composition classes (e.g., the final comma in a simple serial listing is eliminated), this is done intentionally with brevity and clear communication in mind.

For the few exceptions that AP style does not address we use A Manual of Style, while Webster’s New World Dictionary: Third College Edition is our source for spelling issues.

Despite the scope of editorial knowledge contained in these references, these sources do not address some issues that are unique to UofL or that are encountered frequently by the communications and marketing staff. This style guide (items are arranged alphabetically) is intended to provide an answer fast.

Remember--for editorial issues that can’t be resolved by a stylebook, let common sense and an appreciation for the reader be your guide. For questions or to suggest future revisions, contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 852-6171.

Copies of the AP Stylebook and Libel Manual can be obtained through AP Newsfeatures, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020. A Manual of Style can be purchased in area bookstores. Those who are interested in other fast and easily read references dealing with everyday writing issues should check out “When Words Collide,” by Lauren Kessler and Duncan McDonald, and “The Writer’s Handbook,” by John B. Karls and Ronald Szymanski.

Suggestions?

If you have any suggestions for the Editorial Styleguide, please send them to us.