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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Browse the editorial styleguide A–Z

a while, awhile
generally a preposition (typically for, after, or in) precedes a while, but awhile stands alone
a.m., p.m.
lowercase with periods (also see times)
In general, avoid abbreviations in running text. The ampersand (&) is not a substitute for and. Use abbreviations and the ampersand only when part of official names. If the name of the abbreviation may be unknown to some readers, use the full name on first reference. See individual entries for usage for specific abbreviations.
academic degrees
see degrees
academic departments
see departments
academic titles
Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as professor, dean, president, chancellor, professor emeritus, and chair when they precede a name: Chancellor John Doe, Professor Jane Doe, Dean John Smith; but John Doe, chancellor; John Smith, dean; or Jane Doe, professor. Lowercase modifiers: music professor Jane Doe, department chair Jane Doe, or Jane Doe, professor of music. Capitalize formal titles of named professorships on all references: Jane Doe has been named the Bascom Professor of Art; Jane Doe, Bascom Professor of Art, received the award; Jane Doe, Bascom Professor Emerita of Art, gave the lecture. Named/endowed professorships, deanships, and the like should be listed before other titles in signature lines and biographies. See also titles of people.
acronyms and initialisms
Although we refer to campus units by acronyms in speech and internal publications (such as DoIT for the Division of Information Technology), acronyms should not be used exclusively except for those commonly used both inside and outside the university community (NASA, FBI). To eliminate confusion when using lesser-known acronyms, spell out the full name on the first mention, with the acronym in parentheses following. Acronyms are made plural by adding an s if there are no periods in the acronym (IOUs) and adding ’s if there are periods in the acronym (vol.'s). See the Chicago Manual of Style for more on the appropriate use of acronyms.
stands for anno Domini, Latin for in the year of the Lord; do not use periods; AD precedes the year; see also CMS 9.34 and 10.38
A treatable disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior. Drug and alcohol use can cause changes in the brain that lead to compulsive use, despite damage incurred to a person’s health and relationships. Genetics, mental illness, and other factors make certain people susceptible to addiction. Addiction is the preferred term. The term substance use disorder is preferred by some health professionals and is acceptable in some uses, such as in quotations or scientific contexts. Alcoholism is acceptable for addiction to alcohol. Avoid words like abuse or problem in favor of the word use with an appropriate modifier such as risky, unhealthy, excessive, or heavy. Misuse is also acceptable. Avoid alcoholic, addict, user, and abuser unless individuals prefer those terms for themselves or if they occur in quotations or names of organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Avoid derogatory terminology such as junkie, drunk, or crackhead unless in quotations. Avoid describing sobriety as clean unless in quotations, since it implies a previous state of dirtiness instead of disease. Not all compulsive behaviors, including shopping, eating, and sex, are considered addictions. Gambling is the only one classified as an addiction in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual. The World Health Organization says excessive video gaming can be an addiction. (Source: AP Stylebook)
In running text, use numerals and figures for numbered addresses (123 Main Street) and spell out the words Street, Avenue, Place, Boulevard, etc. (except for news releases or copy for Inside UW–Madison, in which such words are abbreviated when using numbered addresses according to AP Style). Abbreviate directions in street names: single-letter directions take a period (N. Main Street, E. Washington Avenue); two-letter abbreviations take no periods (NW Maple Street, Seventh Avenue, SE). Include the complete campus street addresses only when publicizing an off-campus event and for publications intended for off-campus audiences. Separate the street address, phone, web address, and the like with a semicolon and use one space between the state abbreviation and zip code. Department of Economics, 7470 Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-2989; fax 608-262-0000;; Include area codes for telephone and fax numbers when the audience is off campus.
admissions, admissions office, Office of Admissions and Recruitment
lowercase unless referring to the formal office name
advisor, adviser
Use advisor for materials produced for admissions, academic advising, housing, and registrar offices. Use adviser for all other uses. It is most important to be consistent within a single publication or family of publications.
afflicted with/stricken with/suffers from/victim of
These terms carry the assumption that a person with a disability is suffering or has a reduced quality of life. Not every person with a disability suffers, is a victim, or is stricken. It is preferable to use neutral language when describing a person who has a disability, simply stating the facts about the nature of the disability. For example: He has muscular dystrophy. (Source: Disability Language Style Guide, National Center on Disability and Journalism)
African American
No hyphen (noun or adjective). Acceptable for an American Black person of African descent. Not necessarily interchangeable with Black. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow a person’s preference. (Source: AP Stylebook)
Agricultural Hall
not Agriculture Hall
air force
see CMS 8.112
all of a sudden
not all of the sudden
All Ways Forward
the name of the comprehensive campaign held from 2015-21
always hyphenated; all is always lowercase unless it refers to the Associated Press–chosen All-American football or basketball team.
All-Campus Party (ACP)
a week of free, alcohol-alternative events for students, hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board (WASB)
use this term only in informal contexts; see also alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae
alumni chapters/clubs
Never use club, even though some Wisconsin Alumni Association alumni chapters refer to themselves that way; terms such as group or alumni community are acceptable to provide variety. Use alumni chapter as a generic reference, and use, e.g., Seattle alumni chapter or Seattle chapter as a quasi-generic reference. For specific references, use the WAA reference first (written out or abbreviated as WAA), then a colon, then the capitalized word Chapter, as in Wisconsin Alumni Association: Fox Valley Chapter; WAA: Fox Valley Chapter; Wisconsin Alumni Association: Big Apple Badgers Chapter; WAA: Motor City Badgers Chapter.
Alumni Park
the park and green space between One Alumni Place and the Memorial Union Terrace; opened in October 2017; capitalize these areas of the park: Badger Pride Wall, Alumni Way, Progress Point, The Lantern; do not capitalize these areas of the park: the fountain, welcome plaza, areas of distinction, Bucky Badger sculpture (its title is Well Red), outdoor classroom; the park's website is
lowercase, one word
alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae
Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a person who identifies as a man who has graduated from a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a person who identifies as a woman. Use alumni when referring to groups that include both men and women. In very informal usages, alum is an acceptable alternative. These terms can also be used for people who attended a school but did not graduate.
American Indians, Native Americans
Both are acceptable terms in general references for those in the U.S. when referring to two or more people of different tribal affiliations. For individuals, use the name of the tribe; if that information is not immediately available, try to obtain it. He is a Navajo commissioner. She is a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Native American gained traction in the 1960s for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Over time, Native American has expanded to include all Native people of the continental United States and some in Alaska. Native American and American Indian can be used interchangeably; however, the term is used only to describe groups — two or more individuals of different tribal affiliation. Always identify people by their preferred tribal affiliation when reporting on individuals or individual tribes. Tribal membership is required by the federal government, and each tribe sets its own membership requirements for enrolled citizens. However, enrollment is not the only factor that determines whether someone is American Indian. Connection to one’s tribal community, culture, heritage, language, and history is also important. Additionally, some American Indians may possess blood quantum from several tribes, yet are not enrolled because they do not meet any single tribe’s enrollment criteria. Tribe, nation, community, and band describe various sociopolitical units; usage also varies based on personal or group preference. For more guidance, visit the Native American Journalists Association website. (Sources: AP Stylebook, Native American Journalists Association, Wisconsin First Nations)
the ampersand (&) is not a substitute for and; use it only when an entity includes it as part of its official name
Annual Campaign
refer to this as the University of Wisconsin–Madison Annual Campaign, with initial caps, on first reference; UW–Madison Annual Campaign is also acceptable; use Annual Campaign (uppercase) on second reference; a generic reference with the year would be, e.g., 2019 Annual Campaign (uppercase)
annual fund
lowercase unless it’s part of a proper name such as the School of Nursing Annual Fund
Stands for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American. UW–Madison’s APIDA Student Center is one of several identity centers housed within the Multicultural Student Center. Desi is a term used by some who identify as South Asian or have a South Asian heritage. It can include the countries of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and sometimes Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Tibet.
see names in appositive form
Arboretum, the
uppercase when referring to the UW Arboretum; lowercase with generic references to arboretums
see CMS 8.112
artist-in-residence, artists-in-residence
Describes people who don’t experience sexual attraction, though they may feel other types of attraction, such as romantic or aesthetic. Not synonymous with and does not assume celibacy. (Source: AP Stylebook)
Asian American
No hyphen (noun or adjective). Acceptable for an American of Asian descent. When possible, refer to a person’s country of origin or follow the person’s preference. For example: Filipino American or Indian American. (Source: AP Stylebook)
Asian American
no hyphen for noun or adjective usages, but hyphenate nouns and adjectives (AP style) for newswriting: Asian-American
associate degree
not associate’s degree
athletics department
In formal references, use UW Department of Athletics or Department of Athletics; in informal references or on second reference, use athletics department (with an s on athletics); as a generic description of the sports program in general, UW athletics is acceptable.
athletics scores
see scores
athletics teams
use UW instead of UW–Madison on second reference when referring to athletics teams
Autism spectrum disorder is a group of complex disorders related to brain development, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder include difficulties in communication, impaired social interaction, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. However, symptoms vary across the spectrum. Many experts classify autism as a developmental disability. Opinions vary on how to refer to someone with autism. Some people with autism prefer being referred to as autistic or an autistic person. Others object to using autistic as an adjective. Ask individuals how they prefer to be described. Refer to someone as having autistic spectrum disorder only if the information is relevant to the story and if you are confident there is a medical diagnosis. (Source: Disability Language Style Guide, National Center on Disability and Journalism)
awards, prizes
uppercase Award or Prize when referring to a specific award (Sparkplug Award), but lowercase when generic (the award); see also CMS 8.83
with a final e in reference to the Badgers’ football rivalry with Minnesota for Paul Bunyan’s Axe