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Editorial Styleguide

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

D

dash

There are two kinds of dashes—of different length and for different purposes—in addition to the hyphen:

The em dash (—) is named for the amount of space that a capital M occupied in a line of lead type set in the particular typeface. It is used for parenthetical remarks or abrupt changes of thought, epigraphs and datelines. Do not include spaces around the dash: Her research found that this is especially true for women―the vast majority of welfare recipients.

The en dash (–) is shorter than an em dash but longer than a hyphen. It is used for continuing or inclusive numbers or words. Do not include spaces around the dash: pages 7–10; Monday–Friday; University of Alabama–Birmingham.

Do not pair an en dash with the word "from": 1968–72 or from 1968 to 1972 NOT from 1968–72).

An en dash also is used in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective when one of the elements is an open compound: post–Civil War; Grawemeyer Award–winning author, Louisville–Jefferson County government.

FYI: On a PC, you can make an em dash or an en dash when working in Word by:

  • placing your cursor where the mark will go
  • go to Insert in the program menu and open up Symbol
  • highlight the appropriate dash located there
  • hit insert

On a Mac, dashes are made in Word the same way, or simultaneously hit the option and hyphen keys to make an en dash and option/shift/hyphen for the em dash.

You can also create your own shortcuts for the em dash and the en dash on the PC by following the directions in the Symbol section.

data, datum

Data is plural; use datum when you mean "a single bit of information." When data is used as a collective noun that represents a unit it takes a singular verb: The data is invalid. When it refers to individual items, use a plural verb: The data were collected by a team of biologists.

dates

Spell out months when used alone or with the year only: September 1991. Abbreviate the month―except for March, April, May, June and July―when used with a specific day: Sept. 2.

Do not use a comma between the month and year when no specific day is mentioned: January 1994. The same rule applies to seasons: fall 1996.

When referring to a month, day and year, place a comma between the day and year: Dec. 7, 1945.

Place a comma after the year when a phrase with a month, day and year is used in a sentence: Feb. 18, 1987, was the target date.

Do not use "on" with dates unless its absence would lead to confusion: The program ends Dec. 15 NOT The program ends on Dec. 15.

To indicate sequences or inclusive dates and times, use an en dash instead of "to": Apply here May 7–9, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Do not use "st," "rd" or "th" with dates: Oct. 14 NOT Oct. 14th; Feb. 2 NOT Feb. 2nd.

dean

Capitalize only when it precedes a name. Don't combine dean or any administrative title with an academic title before a name: Dean John Doe NOT Dean Dr. John Doe.

See also titles

deanís list

Do not capitalize. A student who earns a 4.0 grade point average receives the designation Presidential Scholar for the semester; Presidential Scholars are not officially on the dean's list of their school or college, although the two lists are distributed together.

degrees

Lowercase degree names: The department offers a master of arts and a master of arts in teaching.

With the exception of alumni sections of campus publications, avoid abbreviations: Jane Smith earned her bachelor's degree in English and then went on to gain a master's in biology.

When you do need to use a degree abbreviation, set it off with commas: John Doe, `99B.A., is a member of UofL's alumni band. To save space in an alumni publication's class notes sections, omit the periods: '87BA. In features, news stories, etc., omit the periods in degree abbreviations consisting of three or more letters: He received an MBA in 1987.

EXCEPTION: Degree abbreviations consisting of three or more letters that use a combination of upper and lowercase letters require periods: Ph.D.; Ed.D.

Avoid redundancies: Donald Miller, M.D., NOT Dr. Donald Miller, M.D.

Use an apostrophe when writing bachelor's degree, specialist's degree or master's degree but not when naming the full degree: bachelor of arts degree.

NOTE: When the "19" or "20" is omitted from a written year, an apostrophe is used to indicate the contraction: '87. Be aware that some word-processing programs will incorrectly insert a single open-quotation mark (the tail of the mark will be turned toward the number) rather than an apostrophe (the tail of the mark is turned away from the number), which the writer must then change manually.

departments

Capitalize only when using the full and official name of the department or unit: Department of Sociology; Brandeis School of Law. Lowercase when using a reference that is not the official name: the sociology department; the law school.

Capitalize proper nouns and adjectives in all references: the English department; the Speed engineering school.

"University," "college" and "department" are never capitalized unless they part of the official name or the first word of a sentence.

disabled, handicapped

The phrase "people with disabilities" is preferable to "the disabled"; "disabled" to "handicapped."

See also stereotypes

doctoral, doctorate

"Doctorate" is a noun; "doctoral" is the adjective. You may have a doctorate or a doctoral degree, but not a doctorate degree: He received his doctoral degree in English; He holds a doctorate in English.

dorms/dormitories

Avoid this old-fashioned and limited term; use "residence hall " instead.

Dr.

Use "Dr." before a name only when the person has a medical degree (M.D., DMD, DDS or DVM); the university does not use academic titles in general external communications because it is assumed that UofL faculty possess the terminal degree in their field.

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