developed by the Gallaudet University Department of Publications and Production

This Editorial Stylebook was developed to help maintain consistency in Gallaudet University publications. In most cases, the stylebook follows The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage (Harper Collins, 1994) and Merriam Webster’s CoIlegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition (1994). Jobs submitted to the Publications and Production Department for design and production will be edited to follow this style. Departments that prepare their materials are encouraged to follow the stylebook to help University publications maintain a unified identity.


What to abbreviate

1. Dr., the Rev., and all military titles when they precede a name.

2. Page to p. or pp. in footnotes or bibliographical material; spell out when used in text material (page, not Page).

3. The word Saint or Sainte when used to refer to cities, landmarks, or geographic names.St. LouisSault Ste. Marie

4. Complimentary titles, such as Dr., but do not use them in combination with any other title or with abbreviations indicating scholastic or academic degrees.

  • (correct) Richard Thompson, Ph.D.
  • (incorrect) Dr. Richard Thompson, Ph.D.
  • (correct) Patricia Harding, M.D.
  • (correct) Dr. Patricia Harding
  • (incorrect) Dr. Patricia Harding, M.D.

5. The degrees bachelor of science, master of science, master of arts, doctor of philosophy, etc., to B.S., M.S., M.A., and Ph.D. — but only when the need to identify several or more individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form (written out) cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name — never after just a last name.

6. The departmental name of a course only when it is followed by the course number. Contact the appropriate department or check the University catalogs for the correct abbreviation:
In addition to an elective course in English, the student should select MA 201.

7. Names of states when following names of cities and towns. Use two-letter postal service abbreviations only in mailing addresses that include zip codes. In all other instances, use the longer state abbreviations.

  • Gallaudet University is in Washington, D.C.
  • The address for Gallaudet is 800 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695
  • She lives in Boston, Mass.
  • Her address is 1702 Dutton Street, Boston, MA 01776

8. State abbreviations are as follows.

Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark. , Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga. , Hawaii, Idaho, Ill, Ind., Iowa , Kan. AL , AK , AZ , AR , CA , CO , CT , DE , DC, FL , GA , HI , ID , IL , IN , IA , KS Ky., La., Me., Md., Mass. , Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev. , N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C. KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO, MT , NE , NV , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC N.D., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa. , R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va. , Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo. ND , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VT , VA , WA , WV , WI , WY

9. In the text, spell out Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Ohio, and Utah., Spell out Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands., Spell out Canadian provinces.

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Montreal, Quebec

What not to abbreviate

1. The word and; use the ampersand (&) only in corporate titles.

2. The names of months when followed by a date: January 5, 1995

3. Words that are part of an address, such as street, road, avenue, boulevard, etc.

  • 800 Florida Avenue, NE
  • 270 North Capitol Street

4. Capitalize when used as part of a formal street name without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue

5. Lowercase when used alone or with more than one street name: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues

6. Names of countries other than the U.S.A. when used alone or U.S. when used as an adjective.

  • The U.S.A. will participate in the Olympic games.
  • Saipan is a U.S. territory.

6. Given names such as George, Charles, and William.

7. The words association, avenue, boulevard, department, institute, street, except in headlines, addresses, and tabular or other special material.

8. Christmas in the form of Xmas.

9. In general, use the word percent, not %; but in scientific, technical, and statistical copy or in tables, use the % symbol.

10. Parts of geographic names, except Saint or Sainte, unless they are used in tabular matter.

  • Mount Rushmore
  • Fort Wayne
  • Montgomery County

11. Assistant and associate when used in titles: associate professor of English


1. Spell out words that are part of an address when used in regular text or as a mailing address.

  • 800 Florida Avenue, NE
  • 720 Piney Branch Road

2. Abbreviate words that are part of an address when used in tables, footnotes, bibliographies, and graphs. Abbreviate, if necessary for copyfitting, in listings of addresses or other tabular material.

3. Abbreviate sectional divisions of a city (NE, NW, SE, SW) in addresses. Use no periods, and put a comma before the division.

  • 800 Florida Avenue, NE
  • 5401 16th Street, NW

4. Spell out the designation North, South, East, or West before a street name: North Capitol Street

5. Spell out numbered streets of nine and below. Use numerals for 10 and above.

  • 420 Sixth Street, NE
  • 1850 16th Street, NW South

6. If the street name is a number, like 44th Street, spell it out (320 Forty-fourth Street) to avoid confusion.

7. Use numerals for room numbers, suite numbers, highways, and road numbers.

  • Suite 300
  • Apartment 8
  • I-95U.S. 40



1. Proper nouns, months, and days of the week.

2. All words except articles, conjunctions, and prepositions in the titles of books, plays, lectures, musical compositions, etc., including a and the if at the beginning of the title.

  • A Brief History of Time
  • Deaf History Unveiled

3. All educational, occupational, and business titles when used specifically in front of the name; do not capitalize these titles when they follow the name or serve primarily as an occupational description. These are all correct.

  • President I. King Jordan
  • I. King Jordan, president
  • Gallaudet president I. King Jordan
  • Director Joe Smith
  • Joe Smith, director
  • publications director Joe Smith
  • Professor Donna Johnson
  • Donna Johnson, professor of biology
  • biology professor Donna Johnson

4. The word university whenever referring to Gallaudet University, even though the words Gallaudet University may not be included in the sentence.

5. The words association, building, center, club, conference, department, division, hall, office, senate, board, street, university, etc., when used as part of a title. Thereafter, do not capitalize these words when used alone to refer to that specific place or group.

  • Faculty Senate; thereafter, the senate
  • English Department; thereafter, the department
  • Board of Trustees; thereafter, the board

6. The word class when used with a year.

  • Class of 1982
  • Class of ’59

7. The Geographical regions of the country or world, but not the points of the compass.

  • the Midwest
  • the Far East
  • He headed southeast.
  • He was going to the Southeast.

8. Names of athletic clubs or teams.

  • the Bison
  • the MSSD Eagles

9. Names of all races and nationalities.

  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • Caucasian
  • Irish
  • Chinese
  • but not black or white

10. The word room when used to designate a particular room: Hall Memorial Building, Room 156

What not to capitalize

1. Seasons of the year.

  • This year, fall semester began before Labor Day.
  • Look in the winter issue of the magazine.

2. Titles standing alone or following a name.

  • He is the dean of the School of Management.
  • Richard Jones, professor of economics, will speak.

3. Unofficial titles preceding a name, or titles that serve primarily as occupational descriptions.

  • poet Alfred Lowe
  • career counselor Roger Dunn
  • history professor Susan Smith

4. Fields of study, options, curricula, major areas, or major subjects, except names of languages, unless a specific course is noted.

  • He is majoring in history.
  • Students must meet requirements in English and math.
  • The School of Communication includes a specialization in communication arts.

5. Organized groups or classes of students in a university or high school. Many juniors take history courses. The senior class is preparing for a trip.

6. Designations of offices of a class or organization.

  • Kelly Green is captain of the women’s basketball team.
  • He was elected senior class president.

7. The following words or abbreviations: a.m., p.m., state, page, paragraph, federal government, congressional, baccalaureate, doctoral degree, master’s degree.

8. The words offices, colleges, and departments when referring to more than one individual office, school, or department.

  • English and Biology departments
  • English Department and Biology Department

9. Official university degrees when spelled out, but capitalize when abbreviated.

  • bachelor of arts
  • master’s degree
  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


1. Punctuation and capitalization used in lists can vary, depending on the writer’s preference. The important thing to remember is to make all items in the list consistent. For example, either capitalize all first words of items in a list, or lowercase all first words.

2. When a list is introduced by a complete sentence, that sentence may end with a period or a colon.

He asked students to assemble the following items:

  • pencils
  • paper
  • rulers

3. When the list items that follow a complete introductory sentence are not complete sentences, the items may begin with either uppercase or lowercase letters and end with either periods or no punctuation. Whatever style is chosen, it should be followed throughout the publication for the same type of list.

The speaker focused on several issues:

  • The status of education today
  • The history of education
  • Educational reforms during the past 50 years

4. When a list is introduced by an incomplete sentence, that phrase may end with a comma, semicolon, dash, or no punctuation at all. Each list item must form a grammatically correct sentence when combined with the introductory phrase.

Those who attend the conference will

  • Participate in small group discussions
  • Attend plenary sessions
  • Set an agenda for the future

5. If any item in a list is a complete sentence, each item in that list — whether or not a complete sentence–must begin with a capital letter and end with a period.


Use Numerals for

1. Numbers 10 or over, including ordinal numbers. Spell out numbers one through nine.

  • About eight or nine people attended the meeting.
  • Program planners expect about 200 participants.
  • We are moving toward the 21st century.

2. Use numerals, even if the number is below 10, when indicating ages, figures containing decimals, statistics, results of voting, percentages, sums of money, times of day, days of the month, latitude and longitude, degrees of temperature, dimensions, measurements, proportions, numbers that are part of titles, sports points, and scores.

  • The class is for children ages 6 through 12.
  • Only 5 percent of the group disagreed with the majority.

3. Days of the month. Do not use rd, th, st, or nd following numerals.

  • August 15
  • January 22

4. Numbers within a series in order to maintain consistency, if more than half the numbers are 10 or larger; otherwise, spell out numbers within a series.

5. A million or more, but spell out the word million.

The charity raised $12 million last year.

6. Spans of years are given as follows:

  • 1861-1865
  • 1880-95
  • 1903-04

7. Spell out numbers of centuries from first through ninth, and do not capitalize

  • the first century
  • the eighth century

8. Use numerals from the 10th century on

  • the 12th century
  • the 20th century

9. Hours of the day. Avoid using unnecessary zeros in text.

  • 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. (not 7:00 p.m., unless used in a list, to preserve alignment of type, or as a design element in display type)
  • The dance performance will be held at 10 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.
  • Workshops will be held at the following times:
    • 9:00 a.m.
    • 10:30 a.m.
    • 1:00 p.m.

10. Use noon and midnight, not 12 noon, 12 midnight, 12 a.m., or 12 p.m.

11. Amounts of money with the word cents or with the dollar sign.

  • $3 (not $3.00)
  • $5.0977 cents (unless tabulated in columns)

12. Do not begin a sentence with numerals; supply a word or spell out the figures. (Note: Numbers below 100 should be hyphenated when they consist of two words.)Forty-two people attended the dinner.



1. In making the plural of figures, do not use an apostrophe.

  • The early 1900s
  • the late ’60s

2. Punctuate year of college classes with an apostrophe.

  • Class of ’71
  • John White, ’23

3. Master’s degree should always be written with an ‘s. Never write masters degree or masters’ degrees.


1. Follow a statement that introduces a direct quotation of one or more paragraphs with a colon. Also, use a colon after as follows or the following.

2. Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.

  • He promised this: The University will make good all the losses.
  • There were three considerations: expense, time, and feasibility.

3. Colons can be used for emphasis.

He has only one hobby: eating.

4. Use a comma to introduce a direct quotation of one sentence that remains within a paragraph. Use a colon to introduce longer quotations within a paragraph and to end a paragraph that introduces another paragraph of quoted material.

5. Do not combine a dash and a colon.


1. Use a comma before the words and or or in a series of three or more words, phrases, or clauses:

The workshop will be presented by the Career Center, Psychology Department, and Social Work Department.

2. Place a comma after digits signifying thousands, except when reference is made to temperature or year:

1,850 students 4600 degrees the year 2001

3. Introductory words such as namely, i.e., and e.g. should be preceded by a comma and followed by a comma.

4. When listing names with cities or states, punctuate like this:

  • George Andrews, Boston, president
  • Carol Green, Detroit, vice president

5. Place commas after both the city and state in a sentence:

He moved to Frederick, Md., to start a new job.

6. When writing a date, place a comma after the day and after the year:

July 4, 1776, is the date the Declaration of Independence was signed.

7. Do not place a comma between the month and year when the day is not mentioned:

He graduated in May 1994.

8. Use a comma to separate an introductory phrase or clause from a main clause:

When he had tired of the mad pace of city living, he moved to Virginia.

9. The comma may be omitted after short introductory phrases if no ambiguity would result:

During the night he heard many noises.

But use the comma if its omission would slow comprehension:

On the street below, the curious gathered.

10. When a conjunction such as and, but, or for links two clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a comma before the conjunction:

He wanted to go to the party, but he did not feel well.

But use no comma if the clauses cannot stand alone as separate sentences:

He wanted to go to the party but did not feel well.

11. As a rule of thumb, use a comma if the subject of each clause is expressly stated:

We are visiting Gallaudet, and we also plan a side trip to Baltimore.

But use no comma when the subject of the two clauses is the same and is not repeated in the second clause:

We are visiting Gallaudet and also plan a side trip to Baltimore.

12. Do not use a comma at the start of an indirect or partial quotation:

He said that his victory put him “firmly on the road to a first-ballot nomination.”

13. Use a comma before and after Jr. or Sr. in a name. Do not use a comma (or period) for II or III.

  • Dr. Edward C. Merrill, Jr., was Gallaudet’s fourth president.
  • Edward C. Merrill III accepted a citation recognizing his father’s service.


1. Use a dash to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause.

  • We will fly to Trinidad in June–if I get a raise.
  • Boswell offered a plan–it was unprecedented–to increase donations.

A dash should be indicated by striking the hyphen key twice, with no spaces before or after.

2. When a phrase that otherwise would be set off by commas contains a series of words that must be separated by commas, use dashes to set off the full phrase:

He listed the qualities–intelligence, charm, beauty, independence–that he liked in women.

Do not add spaces before or after the dashes.


1. Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts, and documents. Be especially careful to avoid deletions that would distort the meaning. Leave one regular space on both sides of an ellipsis:

I … tried to do what was best.

2. When an ellipsis is used after the end of a sentence to indicate deleted material, use a period, followed by a space and then the ellipsis:

From President Nixon’s resignation speech: “In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the nation. …When deleting words from the end of a sentence, add the space and ellipsis, followed by a period. However, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base ….”


1. In general, do not hyphenate prefixes unless they are combined with a capitalized word or if there is a possibility of misunderstanding or mispronouncing.

  • bicultural
  • cosponsor
  • midsemester
  • nontechnical
  • nonrefundable
  • preschool
  • postsecondary
  • reuse

2. Do use a hyphen if the following word is capitalized:

  • Pre-College Programs
  • pro-American

3. Use the nonhyphenated spelling of a word if either spelling is acceptable. If in doubt, check the dictionary. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, is preferred.

4. Use hyphens sparingly with compound adjectives. Hyphenate primarily to avoid confusion of meaning or to help readers grasp the thought quickly.

  • cost of living index
  • balance of payments issue
  • old-furniture dealer
  • first-class treatment

5. Hyphenate most modifiers ending in ing or ed.

  • law-abiding citizen
  • agreed-upon rules

6. When compounds follow the noun they modify, however, they appear without a hyphen.

  • law-abiding citizen
  • The citizen was law abiding.
  • agreed-upon rules
  • The rules were agreed upon in advance.
  • fund-raising program
  • Fund raising is her job.

7. Hyphenate part-time and full-time when used as adjectives, and hyphenate any modifying word combined with well.

  • She has a part-time job.
  • She works part time.
  • well-built engine
  • well-rounded person

8. Do not use the hyphen to connect an adverb ending in ly with a participle.

  • newly married couple
  • elegantly furnished house

9. Do not hyphenate the words hard of hearing.

10. Hyphenate closed captioned, on campus, and off campus only when used as a compound adjective to modify a noun.

  • They watched a closed-captioned program on TV.
  • The program was closed captioned.
  • Three hundred people attended the off-campus event.
  • The event was held off campus.

11. Hyphenate ages used as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun.

The 12-year-old girl ran home.

  • The girl is 12 years old.
  • The race is for 3-year-olds.
  • The dance class is for 8- to 10-year-olds.

12. Leave a space between the first hyphen and to, and between to and the next number.

13. In general, hyphenate numbers and letters used to form modifiers.

  • a three-week vacation
  • sixth-grade teacher
  • a 24-hour day

14. Exceptions to this rule include modifiers using money or the word percent.

  • a $10 million project
  • a 5 percent increase


1. Letter symbols of degrees, such as B.S., M.A., or Ph.D., and the national abbreviations U.S. and U.S.A., should be capitalized and written with periods. However, USA is an acceptable alternative, particularly in tabular matter. Use no periods with MSW or LCSW.

2. Alphabetical abbreviations of groups, organizations, or laws–such as NAD, NICD, or ADA–should be capitalized and written without periods or space.

3. Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if material inside is not a sentence (such as this phrase). (An independent sentence inside parentheses, such this one, takes a period before the closing parenthesis.)

Quotation Marks

1. Use single quotation marks for quotations printed within other quotations.

2. Use single quotation marks in headlines.

3. Use double quotation marks for photo captions.

4. If several paragraphs are to be quoted, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph, but at the end of the last paragraph only.

5. Set quotation marks outside periods and commas and inside colons and semicolons. Quotation marks should be set inside exclamation points and question marks that are not part of the quotation.

6. No quotation marks are necessary in printing interviews when the name of the speaker is given first or in reports of testimony when the words question and answer or Q and A are used.

  • Q: Who is eligible for the program?
  • A: Full-time faculty …
  • Jones: When will the committee meet?
  • James: On the second Thursday of the month.

7. Use quotation marks for all titles of articles, chapters, divisions of a publication, short stories, poems, songs, and television or radio programs.

8. Use brackets when adding editorial explanations within a direct quote or to enclose parenthetical matter within matter already included in parentheses.

  • “I’ve seen [employees] here as late as 9:30 p.m.,” he said.
  • This Po River country was called Cisalpine Gaul (Gaul on this side [i.e., Italian side] of the Alps) because there was another Gaul on the other side of the Alps (Transalpine [trans-al-pin] Gaul).


1. Use semicolons to separate items in a series when individual parts contain commas:

The new officers are Marvin Smith, president; Jane Doe, vice president; and James Schultz, treasurer.

2. Use a semicolon in compound sentences when no connecting conjunction is present:

The letter was due last week; it arrived on Tuesday.

3. Use a semicolon before a conjunctive adverb that connects two main clauses:

I’ll try to attend the meeting; however, I may be late because I have a doctor’s appointment.

4. Place semicolons outside quotation marks.


Of Works

1. Italicize–indicated in typed copy by underlining–titles of books, magazines, newspapers, proceedings, pamphlets, movies, videotapes, plays, operas, musicals, collections of poetry or long poems published separately, and works of art.

2. Use quotation marks for all titles of articles, chapters, divisions of a publication, short stories or compositions, television or radio programs, songs, and poems.

3. Use ordinary Roman type for long musical compositions, such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Orchestra.

Of People

1. Always include the first name or initials of people the first time they appear in an article.

Use both initials, the first name, or the first name and middle initial (never only one initial).

  • J.H. Henry, John Henry, or John H. Henry
  • but not J. Henry

2. Use the title Dr. when referring to a doctor of any kind, on first reference only.

  • Dr. Harry Junkins, director of the genetics lab, did not foresee the cuts, according to his staff.
  • Junkins was, said many, upset when he heard the news.

3. Use the title Dr. both for individuals who have received honorary doctoral degrees from Gallaudet and for people with earned doctoral degrees.

4. After first referring to an individual by using his or her full name, use that person’s last name, even if he or she has a professional or religious title.

5. When referring to Gallaudet faculty, use the title or rank given them by the University.

Associate professor of economics Mary Hartman Dean Roger Gray If the person also is a doctor, use Dr. on first reference, then last name only for remainder of text.

  • Dr. Mary Hartman addressed the group on March 31.
  • Hartman discussed the theory of trickle-down economics.

6. Avoid using long titles before the names of people, such as:

Associate director of development for the Annual Fund Joe Smith

Instead, say:

Joe Smith, associate director of development for the Annual Fund

7. The word the should be used before Rev. when referring to most clergy on first reference. On second reference, use only the person’s last name. Use the Rev. Dr. only if the person has an earned doctoral degree and reference to the degree is relevant. Use Rabbi before a name on first reference; use only the last name on second reference.

8. When referring to an endowed professorship, always use the full title on first reference, whether or not the title stands alone:

the Powrie V. Doctor Chair of Deaf Studies

Jane James, holder of the Powrie v. Doctor Chair of Deaf Studies

After that use:

the Doctor Chair …

Word Usage

Following is a list of preferred usage of words and terms, many of which are commonly misused or misspelled. Please use the words first listed unless otherwise noted:

1. Advisor, not adviser.

2. Affect/effect–Use affect as a verb:

The game will affect the standings.

Effect, as a transitive verb, means to cause:

He will effect many changes in the department.

Effect, as a noun, means result:

The effect was not what she intended.

3. A lot, not alot.

4. All right, not alright.

5. And, not as well as.

6. And, not &, unless the ampersand is a formal part of a corporate or business name.

7. Because, not due to the fact that or since:

Because the electricity went off, we can go home.

Since generally refers to time:

Since Gallaudet was established, many changes have been made.

8. Bilingual and multicultural, not bi-lingual and multi-cultural


9. Capitol Hill or the Capitol when referring to the area or building in Washington, D.C.; nation’s capital or capital when referring to Washington, D.C., or other state capitals.

10. Chair, not chairman, chairwoman, or chairperson.

11. Classwork or coursework, not class work or course work.

12. Comprise/compose–The whole comprises the parts; the parts compose the whole.

  • The committee comprises 11 members.
  • The committee is composed of 11 members.
  • not The committee is comprised of 11 members.

13. Computer terminology:

  • BITnet
  • CD-ROM
  • e-mail for electronic mail
  • database, not data-base or d-base
  • desktop publishing or desktop computer
  • Internet
  • on-line
  • fax, except when used in a listing of phone numbers:
    Call 888-1222 (V/TTY) or 888-1211 (FAX).

14. Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area

15. Continual means occurring frequently. Continuous means occurring without interruption.

16. Coworkers, not co-workers

17. Ensure means guarantee. Insure refers to cover through insurance. Use assure in reference to a person.

  • Steps were taken to ensure accuracy.
  • The policy insures his life.
  • He assured the child that she would be safe.

18. Faculty, staff, board, team, etc. can be either singular or plural, depending on usage; use singular when discussing the group as a body and plural when speaking of the people as individuals.

  • The faculty supports the concept of shared governance.
  • The faculty support each other by discussing their classroom experiences.

19. Facsimile or fax when written in text. Use (FAX) after phone numbers on business cards where (V/TTY) also is used.

20. Fund raising, not fundraising, when used as a noun:

Fund raising is a priority in the Development Office.

Fund-raising when used as an adjective:

The fund-raising campaign got underway last week.

21. Kendall Green, not Main Campus.

22. Master’s degree or master’s degrees, not masters degree or masters’ degrees.

23. Midsemester, midterm, or midsummer, not mid-semester, mid-term, or mid-summer.

24. More than for amount; over for position and age.

  • More than 300 people attended the conference.
  • All participants were over 55.
  • He climbed over the chair.

25. People, not persons. Use person only when speaking of an individual.

  • Hundreds of people attended the fair.
  • All people entering the building must go through the metal detector.
  • Each person must have a ticket for the performance.

26. Percent, not %, except in tabular material.

27. Postsecondary, not post-secondary.

28. Preschool, not pre-school.

29. Subject/pronoun agreement: Make sure subject and pronoun agree.

  • Incorrect: Each student must have their health insurance form filled out before they can register.
  • Correct: Each student must have his or her health insurance form filled out before he or she can register.

Better still, change the sentence to make it more readable:

All students must have their health insurance forms filled out before they can register.

30. Telephone numbers–Use (202) 651-5000 (V/TTY)–or (TTY/V)–not 202-651-5000 Voice or TTY. TTY, TDD, T, TT, or Text

Telephone may be used, depending on audience and client preference.

31. Theater, not theatre, unless it is part of an official title.

32. Under way, not underway.

33. That/which–In general, use that when a clause is essential to a sentence. Do not use commas with essential clauses:

The house that I want has been sold already.

Use which when a clause is not essential to the sentence. Nonessential clauses are set off by commas:

The speech, which was very long, contained some useful information.

34. University–Capitalize the word university when referring specifically to Gallaudet University:

The University will be examining enrollment trends over the next few years.

Writing Inclusively

Avoid any language or sentence construction that might imply bias in the areas of race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, physical attributes, disability, or age.

Try to use the most currently acceptable terms, and the ones most preferred by the group about which you are writing. These terms do change, so the best approach is to use words that seem to have become widely accepted in print. For example, currently used terms include African American or black, people with disabilities (instead of the handicapped or the disabled), and developing countries (instead of third world or less-developed countries).

Also, in general, avoid adding information that describes a person or group in racial, sexual, physical, or other terms–which could be viewed as bias–unless such description is integral to the story.

Following are some more specific guidelines.


Do not identify individuals by race, religion, or national origin unless such identifications are essential to an understanding of the story or to emphasize a point (e.g., if the fact that a person is the first African American deaf Ph.D. is pertinent to the information being communicated).

Capitalize African American, Hispanic, Latino/Latina, Asian American, Caucasian, etc.

Do not capitalize black or white.

Do not hyphenate the terms African American, Asian American, etc., whether used as adjectives or nouns. Gallaudet has an organization for African American students. They studied the contributions of African Americans during Black History Month.

Try to use the term currently preferred by the group about which you are writing. These terms do change.

African American is widely accepted, but black is still preferred by many.

Hispanic is accepted by most people of Mexican, South American, Central American, or Spanish-speaking Caribbean descent. The terms Latino/Latina and Chicano/Chicana are favored by some and not by others. People from Puerto Rico prefer to be known as Puerto Ricans unless they are grouped with other Hispanics.

Asian American or Asian can be used to describe people from that world region, but it is preferable to use the specific nationality when possible. People from China are Chinese, never Chinamen or Orientals.

American Indian or Native American are terms frequently used to refer to indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. Native American is out of favor with some North American Indian groups. Many groups prefer to be referred to by their specific tribal names. Some groups also find the term native to be condescending. An exception is the term Alaskan natives, used by Aleuts, Indians, and Eskimos of Alaska.

Deaf-Related Terminology

1. The Department of Publications and Production uses a small-d deaf in its official University publications as most inclusive of the largest number of deaf people. Some groups and individuals prefer to use a large D when speaking about Deaf Culture, the Deaf Community, or Deaf people in general. Individuals or departments may choose to use either small-d deaf or large-D Deaf in their publications, depending on audience, subject matter, and personal preference. Mixing small-d and large-D uses of deaf/Deaf in a publication, however, is often confusing to the reader.

2. Regardless of how d/Deaf is used, hard of hearing and hearing are not capitalized.

3. Use deaf and hard of hearing, not hearing impaired.

4. Deaf and hard of hearing are adjectives and should not be used as nouns. Use deaf people, not the deaf.

5. Capitalize the names of specific languages, sign systems, communication methods, and philosophies.

American Sign Language

  • Cued Speech
  • Pidgin Signed English
  • Signing Exact English
  • Sign Supported Speech
  • Total Communication
  • Visual Gestural Communication
  • not sign language

6. Depending on preference, several different terms are used (all with similar meanings) for text-based telecommunications devices: text telephone, TTY (named after “teletype”), TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf), TT, or T. Many in the deaf community prefer the term TTY.

7. After phone numbers, any of the following are acceptable, depending on audience and client preference:

  • (V/TTY) or (TTY/V)
  • (Voice/TTY or (TTY/Voice)
  • (Voice/Text) or (Text/Voice)
  • (V/T) or (T/V)
  • (Voice/TDD) or (TDD/Voice), etc.


1. Whenever possible, speak of the person first, not the disability.

  • people with disabilities, not disabled people
  • people who have a visual impairment, not visually impaired people

2. When necessary use multihandicapped, not multi-handicapped, multiple handicapped, or multiply handicapped. The preferred term is people with multiple disabilities.


1. Do not presume maleness in constructing a sentence. Revise the sentence whenever possible. Do not say:

A reporter attempts to protect his sources.

Instead, change the sentence to:

Reporters attempt to protect their sources.

2. When necessary, use the term he or she, or his or her, not just he or his:

Each student must bring his or her permission slip.

Better still, change the sentence to read:

All students must bring their permission slips.

Remember in revising sentences to maintain consistency in successive pronouns.

  • Students must submit their choices by noon.
  • not Each student must submit their choice by noon.

3. Do not use his/her or s/he. If the sentence cannot be revised easily, then use his or her and he or she.

Other Preferred Terms

1. Homosexual is the general term. Gay is used for describing homosexual men and lesbian for describing homosexual women. Bisexual is the term used for people who are sexually oriented toward both sexes.

2. The term sexual orientation is preferred to sexual preference.

3. Companion is the preferred term used to describe the partner of a person in a homosexual relationship.

4. People over age 18 are women or men, not girls or boys.

5. Senior citizen is widely accepted and preferable to elderly, old person, or aged. Senior can be used as a noun, as in a program for seniors.

6. Avoid biases that express a local point of view. For example, American does not only mean people in the United States. There are other Americans in North and South America. Canadians prefer to be called North Americans, not Americans. Residents of Mexico usually use the term North American to refer to U.S. citizens.

7. Be aware of your geographic location. For example, Asia is preferable to Far East or the Orient, which describe the writer’s location in relation to those areas rather than the area itself.

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JSAC 1225




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