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This guide answers recurring questions for writing and editing copy for North Park University. It is the definitive guide that University Marketing and Communications uses in the process of editing copy for print or web.

It is not comprehensive; we encourage you to make use of the external resources listed below to answer questions that may not be addressed here.

Of particular note, this guide includes our "Standard University Copy," which should be used in situations where "boilerplate" about North Park University needs to be included in a document. 

Please direct any questions, comments, or concerns about this writing style guide to umc@northpark.edu.

 

Note on External Resources

University Marketing and Communications depends upon the following resources in determining our style and language:

  • House dictionary: Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.
  • Style guides (in descending order):
    • The Chicago Manual of Style (access it online through the University's subscription)
    • The Associated Press Stylebook (as a secondary source and in cases where brevity is required)
    • D. Kern Holoman, Writing about Music: A Style Sheet

When these guides disagree on a recurring issue, we should specify a rule below.

Standard University Copy

The following paragraphs provide an official, standard summary of North Park University's identity, history, and purpose. These statements will be updated yearly following the release of academic year enrollment data, typically in October.  

University Summary Paragraph (Brief)

North Park is Chicago’s city-centered Christian University.

University Summary Paragraph

North Park is Chicago’s city-centered Christian University. It serves nearly 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students from around the country and the world. Within a diverse, close-knit community, North Park offers a values-based education to students through more than 40 undergraduate majors and an adult degree-completion program, as well as graduate and continuing education in business, nonprofit management, nursing, education, music, and theology. By integrating faith with learning—as it has done since its founding in 1891 by the Evangelical Covenant Church—North Park University continues to focus on the important task of preparing students for lives of significance and service.

University Boilerplate

North Park is Chicago’s city-centered Christian University. Within a diverse community, North Park is a dynamic learning environment. Students experience hands-on learning in a residential environment with all the benefits of the University’s state-of-the-art facilities. Accomplished faculty and staff make deep connections with their students and they take advantage of the tremendous resources of Chicago to prepare students for lives of significance and service.

North Park is the University of the Evangelical Covenant Church and, since its founding in 1891, reflects the church’s core values. North Park is a place where faith is practiced in vibrant community. Graduates describe their experiences as transformational, fostering the development of personal character and convictions while preparing for careers and callings. North Park faculty and staff reflect the rich breadth and depth of the Christian community and respectfully welcome students from a variety of religious backgrounds.

North Park offers the ideal college experience: an affordable, transformative, and challenging education in a world-class city. North Park students have opportunities for service in the city and around the world and leave the University ready for life and career.

Identity

North Park University is a mid-sized, Christian academic community located in the city of Chicago and offers a comprehensive course of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Mission

The mission of North Park University, as an intentionally Christian university of the Evangelical Covenant Church, is to prepare students for lives of significance and service through liberal arts, professional, and theological education.

Core Values

The University's challenging academic programs and supportive learning environment are molded by three core institutional values. Our learning community is:

Christian – We balance commitment and freedom, affirming the historic Christian faith of the Church worldwide. Even as our educational community reflects the ethos of the Evangelical Covenant Church, we continue to welcome students from all faith traditions.

City-centered – We engage Chicago as our dynamic place for learning and service; Chicago is our classroom and all Chicagoans are our teachers.

Intercultural – We embrace and value all people, celebrate the complex cultural tapestry of the world in which we live, and engage the reconciling mandate of the Christian gospel.

Vision

Our vision, building on our core institutional values, is to fashion a university of uncommon character and enduring excellence where faith and learning meet.

Motto

Lives of Significance and Service

Our motto should be written in title case when it is used as an official motto and in sentence case when referred to as a general concept. Whenever title case is used, capitalize all words except for internal articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. Verbs (including forms of "to be") should also be capitalized.

Examples:

  • North Park University's mission is to prepare students for "Lives of Significance and Service."
  • At North Park, students learn the importance of living lives of significance and service.

Majors and Areas of Study

North Park University offers more than 40 majors to our traditional undergraduate students. These are either bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degrees. Some majors also offer the opportunity for students to specialize their degrees to particular areas of concentration that align with future educational or career goals. For select disciplines, only a minor can be achieved; most majors can also be pursued as a minor. In addition, North Park has outlined a number of pre-professional tracks that students can follow if they plan on entering a graduate or professional school in programs like medicine, pharmacy, occupational therapy, or art therapy. These pre-professional programs are followed alongside a major in an area related to a student’s continuing education or career goals.

Majors (with concentrations):

  • Advertising
  • Africana Studies
  • Art
     - Curatorial Studies
     - Fine Arts
     - Graphic Design
     - Art Education
  • Athletic Training
  • Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business
     - Accounting
     - Economics 
     - Finance
     - Management
     - Marketing
     - Sport Management
  • Chemistry
  • Communication Studies
  • Conflict Transformation Studies
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Middle Grades Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Engineering
  • English
     - Creative Writing
     - Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • Exercise Science
  • Global Studies
  • Health Sciences
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Media Studies
  • Medical Studies
  • Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
  • Music
     - General Studies
     - Arts Administration
     - Composition
     - Jazz Studies (Instrumental)
  • Music Education
  • Music Performance
  • Music in Worship
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Politics and Government
  • Psychology
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Theatre and Performance Studies
  • Youth Ministry

Unique Minors:

  • Arabic
  • Information Technology
  • Latino and Latin American Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Women's and Gender Studies

Pre-Professional Programs:

  • Pre-Art Therapy
  • Pre-Dentistry
  • Pre-Law
  • Pre-Med
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Optometry
  • Pre-Pharmacy
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Pre-Veterinary

Languages (offered without majors):

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • New Testament Greek
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish

Education K-12 Certification:

  • Art
  • French
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Spanish

Undergraduate Certificates:

  • Actuarial Science

  • Bilingual Endorsement

  • Certificate in Music for Social Change and Human Values

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement

  • Combined Bilingual/ESL Endorsement

  • Nonprofit Leadership

  • LBS1 Special Education Approval

Standard Writing Style

Academic Degrees and Honorifics

Degrees are abbreviated without periods and closed up.

Examples: 

  • BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD, MD, MDiv

When spelling out degrees in running text, use proper grammar. A student can receive a master of arts or a master's degree, but NOT a master of arts degree. The same rule applies to bachelor's and doctoral degrees.

Academic degrees are lower-cased when spelled out: baccalaureate degree, bachelor's degree, bachelor of arts; master's degree, master of science; doctoral degree, doctorate, doctor of philosophy, etc. (Note the plural form: bachelor's degrees; master's degrees; doctoral degrees.)

Examples:

  • He received a bachelor of arts in education.
  • NOT: He received a bachelor of arts degree in education.
  • She earned a master's degree in English.
  • She earned an MA and a PhD in English.

In running text, use Dr. when an individual holds a PhD, rather than including an abbreviation of the degree after his or her name. (In rare occasions, abbreviate for clarity when an individual holds multiple doctoral degrees, or the abbreviation is necessary to avoid ambiguity. If this is the case, avoid redundancy by omitting "Dr.")

Do not use "Dr." for unearned or honorary doctorates.

Follow the Chicago Manual of Style on honorifics, including "Rev." and "the Reverend" (10.18). "Rev. Dr." is appropriate usage for someone who is both ordained and has an earned doctorate, but usually only in academic contexts.

(See more about professional titles below.)

Academic Disciplines and Departments

Official units, such as schools, colleges, divisions, offices, and departments used as proper nouns should be title-cased (e.g., "Department of History" but "history department"). Refer to the School Division Roster maintained by the Office of the Provost, or the colleges and schools listed in the provost's website, for the official list of such units.

In general use, disciplines and academic departments should be lower-cased, unless they are the name of a foreign language. Names of majors, minors, concentrations, and programs are lower-cased.

Examples: 

  • College of Arts and Sciences; the college
  • Department of Biology; the department, the biology department
  • Brandel Library; the library
  • He is an intercultural studies professor.
  • She is a biology major.
  • I am going to my English class.

Exceptions to this rule: 

  • North Park University; the University
  • North Park Theological Seminary; the Seminary
(See more about institutions and organizations below.)

Academic Year

See Dates and Seasons below.

Acronyms

Generally, it's fine to use acronyms if you feel they're commonly recognized or if it helps avoid repetition. Acronyms should be all caps, no periods, and closed up.

  • Examples: GPA, ID cards

In running text, always spell out the full name, title, or phrase in the first reference and then put the acronym in parentheses directly following the spelled-out name.

  • Example: The Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) recently awarded three $2,500 scholarships as part of the 2003 Liberal Arts for Leadership Essay Contest. The contest rewards students at ACI colleges and universities who plan on careers in teaching.

Addresses

When citing an address within body copy, spell out Avenue, Boulevard, Drive, Road, Street, and similar. Spell out all street names and use lowercase when referring to more than one in a phrase. Spell out the names of the 50 United States when they stand alone in text. Abbreviate using AP, not postal rules, when citing a city and a state together. Some states must always be spelled out. See locations information below.

When giving an address as a mailing address, use USPS rules which specify no punctuation within lines. When an address is not being given for mailing purposes, no ZIP is shown and sometimes no state (e.g., Chicago; see table of cities below).

Examples:

  • Our office is on Foster Avenue.
  • The parking lot is on Foster and Kedzie avenues.
  • Illinois and Iowa are neighboring states.
  • The city of Evanston, Ill., is just north of Chicago.
  • Send mail to 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago IL 60625.
  • She lives at 2111 West Foster Avenue, Chicago.

All Caps

All-caps should never be used except for acronyms and states' postal abbreviations. See Italics and Emphasis and Quotation Marks for more details on styling text.

Alumni

In alumni or internal publications such as the North Parker, class years are denoted by the first letter of the school that was attended by the alumnus or alumna. Class years are occasionally also stated for the anticipated graduation years of current (or even future) students.

These abbreviations should not be used in materials intended for external audiences who may not understand the notation.

Academy = A'
Undergraduate college = C'
Graduate programs = G'
Seminary programs = S'                                                                                                                                                                       

All college graduates, whether they received an associate's degree from the Junior College or a bachelor's degree from the College or University, are noted as C'.

If alumni have received multiple degrees from the same school, repeat the degree notation for each class year (i.e., "S'82 S'97). 

Class years should be listed in abbreviated form, omitting the century digits (i.e., "19" and "20"), unless the class year is 100 or more years ago or wherever context doesn't remove all ambiguity.

Examples:

  • Charlene (Smith) Johnson A'60 has a nephew, Robert Johnson G'02, who works in Chicago.
  • Megan O'Reilly C'1912 became one of the first Covenant nurses to work in Thailand.

There should never be a comma between names of alumni and their graduation years. When listing more than one graduation year, there should not be a comma between the years.

  • Example: Rev. James Smith A'52 C'54 S'60

For alumni who graduated from multiple schools within the University in the same year, schools should be listed in the following order: A, C, G, S:

  • Rev. James Smith A'52 C'54 G'60 S'60

Maiden names of alumnae should be listed in parentheses, followed by their married names.

List the full name of the person who graduated earliest, followed by the full name of his or her spouse.

Examples:

  • Erica Olson C'90 and Andrew Olson C'91
  • David Olson A'59 C'63 and Joan (Peterson) Olson C'63
 

When spouses are alumni of the same class, list the woman's name first with appropriate class year, followed by the man's name with the appropriate class year.

  • Example: Marie (Olson) Anderson C'65 and Charles Anderson C'65

Book Titles

See Italics and Emphasis and Quotation Marks.

"Contact Us" Phrases

Make email the primary method of contact by placing it first in the phrase.

  • Example: For more information contact John Jones, department chair, via email or at (773) 244-5691.

Contractions

In most nonacademic writing, contractions make your text easier to read with a more conversational tone. Unless a more formal construction helps emphasize the meaning of a sentence or phrase, use contractions and use them consistently.

Dates and Seasons

Dates should be written in the form of "Month XX, XXXX" (day and year in digits). When a date appears in the middle of a sentence, the year is also followed by a comma. If using only the month and year, there is no comma.

Examples:

  • The party was on January 1, 2007.
  • On January 1, 2007, we had a party.
  • Commencement was held in May 2000.

Exception: In tight copyfitting contexts (e.g., headlines and teasers), abbreviate month and day of the week and omit the year when it's not ambiguous. For example, use Jan. 17 or Jan. 17, 2012 (if space allows and it must be clarified).
 
Omit the year in publicity contexts when it's unambiguous. For example, omit the year on event posters for a campus concert, though the same concert's printed program always states the year for archival purposes.

In a list of dates, omit the year after the first instance where context is clear, until the year changes.

 Example:

  • December 17, 2019
  • December 23
  • December 31
  • January 1, 2019

Names of the four seasons are always lowercased.

Academic Years

When referring to the academic year, fall semester, spring semester, and summer session are lower-cased, as are first-year, second-year, third-year, and fourth-year. 

When written out, academic year notations are always styled using the four-numeral date for each year joined by an en dash: 2018–2019.

It may be appropriate to refer to a single semester within an academic year, in which case the semester may be written with a capital letter and single year, such as Fall 2019.

Fractions

Decimals and fractions are set in figures, although in some cases, a fraction may be spelled out and hyphenated.

Examples:

  • She earned a 3.75 GPA while at North Park University. 
  • The professor covered about two-thirds of the chapter during the class.

Headlines and Page Titles

Page titles, including news headlines and teaser headings, should be headline-cased. For prepositions in headlines and other title-case usages, we follow Chicago 8.157 (i.e., usually lower-casing them).

Subheadings in general copy should also be headline-cased. Subheads in news items, including secondary headlines, should be sentence-cased.

In web copy, pages use the established hierarchy of header and subhead styles. This gives the site a uniform look across all pages and makes it easier for readers to follow information as they scan through pages. In practical use, this means that a page can only have one H1 tag, H2 tags must be the next level of subhead, H3 the next level, and so on. See the Content Authors guide for more details on working with web content.

Inclusive Language

Whenever possible, avoid using constructions like he or she or his or her (and never s/he or he/she); use the plural instead or rewrite the phrase so a pronoun is not needed. If rewrites are impossible, these formal constructions are acceptable. Especially in casual contexts, it is appropriate to substitute third-person plural pronouns as gender-neutral singular pronouns: they, them, their, and themselves. (See Chicago 5.46 and 5.225.) 

Examples: 

  • When the students return they will see their advisor.
  • When a student returns they will need to check in with their advisor.

Institutions and Organizations

When referring to North Park University or Theological Seminary elliptically as a proper name (either nominally or adjectivally), capitalize thus: "University," "Seminary." Otherwise, lowercase.

Examples:

  • Students love it here at the University.
  • Make sure all your Seminary requirements are complete.
  • Students attend many colleges and universities in Chicago.
  • Students at North Park get a great university education.

Do not use NPU or NP in formal or general references to the University; the preferred shortening of the name in casual contexts is North Park. NPU is acceptable in tight copyfitting contexts, when necessary, and for technical uses, e.g. @NPU or "NPU Preview Days."

When referring to the church universal, use lowercase. (See Chicago and AP.)

When referring to company names, follow their lead, but do not capitalize "The" even when the institution may do so (e.g., "the Ohio State University," not "The Ohio State University"). Use Co., or Cos., or Inc., Ltd., or similar if it appears that way in the formal title of the organization. 

Italics and Emphasis

Italics are used for book titles, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, proceedings, movie titles, television series titles, works of art, operas, and other long musical compositions. They may also be used to emphasize specific words in printed body text, to differentiate words in a foreign language, or for style purposes in some headlines. Shorter written works may be distinguished through the use of quotation marks. On these rules, see Chicago.

In web copy, avoid using italics to emphasize specific words; instead, use bold when emphasis is necessary. Indeed, italics can be used to deemphasize text (e.g., boilerplate footers or similar). Do italicize book titles, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, proceedings, movie titles, works of art, operas, and other long musical compositions.

Underlining should be avoided for added emphasis, especially since links in online copy are (automatically) formatted with underlining.

All-caps should never be used for emphasis. Only use all-caps for acronyms and states' postal abbreviations.

Use buttons in web and digital copy to encourage further exploration of the material on the University website. The text for a button should be short, descriptive, and content-oriented. Avoiding using "click here."

Include appropriate URLs in printed copy to drive readers to the website. If a URL is long or confusing to include in printed copy, contact University Marketing and Communications to request an alias or alternate URL for use in print, especially for advertisements.

Locations

Locations should not be capitalized unless they are proper nouns. Geographic locations (cities, states, territories, countries, regions) should always be capitalized. Compass directions north, south, east, and west (including northern, southern, eastern, and western) are also lower-cased when not part of a proper name.

  • Examples: North Park's library
  • Brandel Library
  • campus bookstore
  • The Midwest
  • northwestern Indiana

The United States can be abbreviated to U.S. when used as an adjective, but not as a noun.

Examples:

  • He is a U.S. citizen.
  • He is a citizen of the United States.

States and Cities

Spell out the names of the 50 United States when they stand alone in text. 

Abbreviate, using AP, not postal rules, when citing a city and a state together. Some states must always be spelled out. (But see above on mailing addresses.)

Ala.

Alaska

Ariz.

Ark.

Calif.

Colo.Conn.Del.

Fla.

Ga.

Hawaii

Idaho

Ill.

Ind.

Iowa

Kan.

Ky.

La.

Maine

Mass.

Md.

Mich.

Minn.

Miss.

Mo.

Mont.

N.C.

N.D.

N.H.

N.J.

N.M

N.Y.

Neb.

Nev.

Ohio

Okla.

Ore.

Pa.

R.I.

S.C.

S.D.

Tenn.

Texas

Utah

Va.

Vt.

W.Va.

Wash.

Wis.

Wyo.

 

 

 

   

Example:

  • She is from Lansing, Mich. 
  • Not: She is from Lansing, MI.

Major U.S. and foreign cities do not need to be accompanied by a state or a country in running text.

Atlanta

Baltimore

Boston

Chicago

Cincinnati

Cleveland

Dallas

Denver

Detroit

Honolulu

Houston

Indianapolis

Las Vegas

Los Angeles

Miami

New Orleans

New York

Oklahoma City

Philadelphia

Phoenix

Pittsburgh

Salt Lake City

San Antonio

San Diego

San Francisco

Seattle

St. Louis

Washington

When using Washington, D.C., do not abbreviate to D.C. or DC.

Musical Compositions

See Italics and Emphasis and Quotation Marks.

Money

Fractional amounts higher than one dollar are set in figures. Whole dollar amounts do not need ".00" unless used in conjunction with another dollar/fraction amount:

Examples: 

  • His textbook cost $67.
  • The course notes cost $15.95.
  • The registration fee is $75.50 if you are staying on campus, but $55.00 if you stay off campus.

Movie Titles, Television, and Radio Programs

See Italics and Emphasis and Quotation Marks.

Newspapers

See Italics and Emphasis.

Numbers

All numbers, including ages, should be spelled out if they are between zero and nine, except parts of an address, page numbers, times, semester hours, and grade point averages.

  • Examples: Five-year-old, Apartment 4, 3 semester hours, 7 pm, 3.5 grade point average, two pages

Numbers greater than nine may be written as numerals. When a sentence contains a list of multiple numbers with some less than nine and some greater, use numerals.

Never begin a sentence with a numeral. Always spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence or reword the sentence to avoid spelling out a large number.

Use "more than" rather than "over" with numerals.

  • Example: Enrollment is more than 2,800 students.

Numbers that are four digits or more are written with commas, every third digit from the right, when written as numerals (with the exception of dates, temperatures, and SAT scores). Numbers with more than six figures can be written with their corresponding designation, but should still follow the rules above.

  • Examples: 100,000, five million, 15 billion

Ordinal numbers less than 10 are spelled out; numbers greater than 10 are written as numerals followed by the appropriate letters.

Examples: 

  • first, second, third
  • 10th, 11th, 12th . . . 152nd

The plurals of numbers are formed by adding an "s," but no apostrophe.

  • Examples: 5s, 20s, 1980s (NOT: 1980's)

Percentages

Spell out the word "percent." Percent symbols (%) should be avoided in running text, but may used in graphs or other tight copyfitting contexts.

Periodicals 

See Italics and Emphasis and Quotation Marks.

Professional Titles

Lowercase an individual's title, except when it precedes his or her name, is used in a mailing address or is part of a list. Honorific titles, such as endowed chairs, should always be capitalized.

  • Examples: David Nyvall, president of North Park University, was the guest speaker at the luncheon.
  • President David Nyvall was the guest speaker at the luncheon.
  • Dr. John Smith, Nyvall Chair of Biblical and Theological Studies, attended the conference.

Telephone Numbers

Telephone numbers are written with the area code in parentheses and numbers separated by a hyphen: (509) 335-3518. A "1" should not precede any area code.

Time

Figures in the form of "X:XX" plus am or pm (lower case, without periods) are used to designate time in both text and schedules for ease of reading. Include ":00" except in tight copyfitting contexts. Use an en-dash (not a hyphen) to show duration whenever possible.

When duration is being described in a sentence, use of prepositions is appropriate. At any rate, be consistent.

Examples: 

  • 7:00 am, 10:47 pm
  • 7:00–8:00 am, not 7:00-8:00 am
  • The lecture runs from 9:00 to 10:30 am.
  • Not: The lecture runs from 9:00-10:30 am.

"Midnight" and "noon" are preferred and are sufficient without figures. (Never use "12 noon" or "12 midnight," as they are redundant.) If morning or evening are clearly indicated, "am" and "pm" should be omitted. They may also be omitted in tight copyfitting contexts if there's no risk of ambiguity.

Example:

  • Class will be over by 10:00 tomorrow morning.
  • Jazz Ensemble, Anderson Chapel, May 3, 3:00

Omit "am" and "pm" after the first instance in tables or similar lists. Example: 

TimeEvent
8:00 amCheck-in
9:00Session 1
NoonLunch
1:00 pmSession 1

In non-local contexts (especially online for events people elsewhere may be participating in), give the time in Central Time (or the local time zone) and state the timezone as "CT" or similar.

Punctuation

Apostrophe

When referring to the class years of alumni, the apostrophe should face the direction of the omitted numbers.

  • Example: John Smith C'55

Also make sure the apostrophe is curved (not a printer's quote). It should not be straight unless being used in a measurement.

  • Example: The table is 2' 5'' wide.

The possessive form of "Jesus" is "Jesus's." See Chicago 7.20–21.

Bullet and  Numbered Lists

Bullet lists are effective for making copy quickly scannable, especially on the web. Lists may be constructed of partial or complete sentences, though preferably all one or the other. In a bullet list of complete sentences (and only then), each item should have appropriate sentence capitalization and closing punctuation.

Numbered lists are effective for naming the sequential steps of a process, such as an application process. When each list item is a complete sentence, capitalize and close with appropriate punctuation.

See Chicago 6.121–126 for more details and instructions for specific list types.

Comma

Use a comma before "and" and "or" in a series.

  • Example: Entering students will be required to take placement tests in English, mathematics, and a foreign language.

Do not use a comma before Jr., Sr., II, III, IV, etc.

  • Example: John H. Jones III presented the guest lecture.

Ellipsis

An ellipsis is used in place of omitted words, especially in direct quotations. It is three periods, each separated by one space (#.#.#.) It should look like . . .

If an ellipsis follows the end of a sentence, it will contain four periods. . . .

Em Dash

Known informally as a "dash," this mark is the width of two "n"s (or an "m") in roman type. Dashes are often used for dramatic emphasis, as they create a longer pause in a sentence for effect. They can also be used in lists to separate a subject and its description.

En Dash

Slightly longer than the hyphen, the en dash is about the width of the lower case "n" in roman type and is used to indicate a closed range. In running text, close spaces between the en dash and the surrounding copy.

  • Examples: 4–5:30 pm, p. 55–70, September–June

It can also be used to contrast values or illustrate a relationship between two things.

  • Examples: Parent–child relationship, alumni–student connections

Exclamation Points

Avoid using exclamation points in promotional copy, as they often exaggerate. If necessary, never use more than one exclamation point.

Hyphen

Hyphens should be used for clarity when a compound adjective precedes a noun and the omission of the hyphen would cause ambiguity.

  • Examples: User-friendly website
  • Self-motivated employees
  • 100-year-old tradition

Words beginning with "non" do not need to be hyphenated.

  • Examples: Nondenominational, nonacademic, nonprofit, noncredit, nonnegotiable

Period

A period should only be used at the end of a thought if that thought is a complete sentence. Do not use periods after website addresses unless the address is given at the end of a complete sentence.

In running text that is nonacademic (for example, website and promotional copy), use only one space after a period rather than two.

Quotation marks

Quotation marks should be used for direct quotations. End quotes should be placed outside of all punctuation marks (comma, period, question mark, exclamation point, etc.) except in the case of a question, if the quoted material is not a part of the question.

  • Examples: She asked, "Are you going to the reunion?"
  • Did you hear him say, "I am going to the reunion"?

Quotations must also be used to distinguish the titles of shorter written works, including songs, plays, short stories, poems, and episodes of television and radio programs. Titles of movies, television and radio series, and publications (including magazines and books) should be set in italics.

Common Spelling and Usage Questions

American spellings are preferred over British with rare exceptions (for example: "dialogue").  

General Spellings/Usages:

  • Advisor, not adviser
  • Alumna/alumnae; alumnus/alumni
  • Classwork, not class work
  • Curriculum vitae (singular); curricula vitae (plural); vita (informal)
  • Emerita/emeritae; emeritus/emeriti
  • Ex-officio, with a hyphen
  • Fundraising (one word as both a noun and an adjective)
  • "Gender" preferred to "sex" (on forms, for example)
  • Healthcare, not health care
  • "High school" and "financial aid" even when they're adjectival (without hyphens)
  • In-depth, in-service, when used as an adjective before the noun
  • 'L' to refer to Chicago's elevated train line (not "El" or "L")
  • Percent, not per cent
  • Résumé
  • Student-athlete, not student athlete
  • Theatre, not theater, when referring to our academic program or performances
  • University-wide but campuswide, citywide, nationwide, statewide
  • Viewbook

Computer Terms:

  • Database, data file, debug, hard copy, input, online
  • "Log in" when a verb; "login" when a noun or adjective
  • Homepage, website, Internet, web, webmaster, email

Theological Terms:

  • When referring to God/the Trinity, use lowercase pronouns ("he/him," not uppercase "He/Him"), in keeping with most Bible translations—but when possible, avoid using gender-specific pronouns altogether. (Except in the case of including original lyrics or Bible passages in pieces such as music programs, where they are left as is.) 
  • Capitalize persons of the Trinity ("Father, Son, Holy Spirit").
  • Capitalize "Bible/the Bible;" lowercase "biblical." 
  • Capitalize "Scripture/the Scriptures."
  • Capitalize "the Gospel(s)" when referring to a specific book of the Bible; lowercase "the gospel" in general references to the Christian message.
  • If a common noun is used alone to refer to a book of the Bible, it is usually capitalized ("Job"); if the common noun is used in conjunction with a part of the Bible, it is not capitalized ("the book of Job").
  • When referring to the church universal, use lowercase. 

University-Specific Terms:

  • Office of (Undergraduate or Graduate or Seminary) Admission; but Admissions; the formal name, "Office of Enrollment and Recruitment," is not used in public-facing contexts.
  • Campus Green (formerly "Greenspace")
  • North Park Gymnasium or gymnasium (not Carlson Gym/nasium, except in informal contexts)
  • CollegeLife (worship service)
  • NPU is acceptable in tight copyfitting contexts, when necessary, and for technical uses, e.g. @NPU or "NPU Preview Days."
  • Catalyst 606__ (no space between underscores)
  • CRUX (all-capped)
  • No labels