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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Category: Term


It is acceptable to describe a person as someone who uses a wheelchair, followed by an explanation of why the equipment is required. Avoid confined to a wheelchair or wheelchair-bound as these terms describe a person only in relationship to a piece of equipment.

(Source: Disability Language Style Guide, National Center on Disability and Journalism)


Avoid using the phrase committed suicide. Alternate phrases include killed himself, took her own life, or died by suicide. The verb commit with suicide can imply a criminal act. Laws against suicide have been repealed in the United States and many other places.

(Source: AP Stylebook)

mental illness

Do not describe an individual as having a mental illness unless it is clearly pertinent to a story and the diagnosis is properly sourced. Mental illness is a general term. Specific conditions are disorders and should be used whenever possible. Avoid terms such as the mentally ill. Instead: people with mental illnesses.

Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts, or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story. Avoid using mental health terms to describe unrelated issues. Don’t say that an awards show, for example, was schizophrenic.

(Source: AP Stylebook)


Deaf should be used as an adjective, not as a noun; it describes a person with profound or complete hearing loss.

Many people do not consider being deaf or having hearing loss as a disability. Instead, deafness is often considered a culture. Some people with mild or moderate hearing loss may affiliate themselves with the deaf community and prefer to be referred to as deaf instead of hard of hearing. Alternatively, some who are profoundly deaf may prefer the term hard of hearing.

When quoting or paraphrasing a person who has signed their responses, it’s appropriate on first reference to indicate that the responses were signed. It’s acceptable to use the word said in subsequent references.

(Source: Disability Language Style Guide, National Center on Disability and Journalism)

chronic disease/illness

When referring to a person with a chronic illness, only refer to the condition if it is pertinent to the story you are confident there is a medical diagnosis. Ask your sources how they want to be described and, when in doubt, consider using people-first language, such as person with diabetes rather than a diabetic.

(Source: Disability Language Style Guide, National Center on Disability and Journalism)


Use blind only when the person has complete loss of sight and legally blind when the person has almost complete loss of sight. Other terms also may be acceptable. It is best to ask your sources what terms they prefer and take that into consideration. Commonly used terms include: limited vision, low vision, and visually impaired (but similar to the term hearing impaired, some may object to it because it describes the condition in terms of a deficiency).

(Source: Disability Language Style Guide, National Center on Disability and Journalism)


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)

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)


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)

disabilities (coverage of)

The terms disabilities and disabled include a broad range of physical and mental conditions both visible and invisible. People’s perceptions of disabilities vary widely. Use care and precision when writing about disabilities and people with disabilities, considering the impact of specific words and the preferences of the people you are writing about.

Avoid writing that implies ableism: the belief that typical abilities — those of people who aren’t disabled — are superior. Ableism is a concept similar to racism, sexism, and ageism in that it includes stereotypes, generalizations, and demeaning views and language. It is a form of discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities.

Do not describe an individual as having a disability unless it is clearly pertinent to the story. For example: Merritt, who is blind and walks with the help of a guide dog, said she is pleased with the city’s walkway improvements. But not: Zhang, who has paraplegia, is a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Be specific about the type of disability, or symptoms. For example: The woman said the airline kicked her family off a plane after her three-year-old, who has autism, refused to wear a mask. She said her son became upset because he does not like to have his face touched.

When possible, ask people how they want to be described. Some people view their disability as central to their identity, and use identity-first language such as an autistic woman or an autistic. Others prefer person-first language such as a woman with autism or a woman who has autism. In describing groups of people, or when individual preferences can’t be determined, use person-first language.

In general, refer to a disability only if relevant to the story, and if a medical diagnosis has been made or the person uses the term. If relatives or others use the term, ask how they know, then consider carefully whether to include the information.

Avoid the term handicap for a disability or handicapped for a person.

(Source: AP Stylebook)

singular they (use of)

In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them. They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers.

Arguments for using they/them as a singular sometimes arise with an indefinite pronoun (anyone, everyone, someone) or unspecified/unknown gender (a person, the victim, the winner). Examples of rewording:

  • All the class members raised their hands (instead of everyone raised their hands)
  • The foundation gave grants to anyone who lost a job this year (instead of anyone who lost their job).
  • Police said the victim would be identified after relatives are notified (instead of after their relatives are notified or after his or her relatives are notified).
  • Lottery officials said the winner could claim the prize Tuesday (instead of their or his or her prize).

In stories about people who identify as neither a man or a woman or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person. Examples of rewording:

  • Hendricks said the new job is a thrill (instead of Hendricks said Hendricks is thrilled about the new job or Hendricks said they are thrilled about the new job).
  • Lowry’s partner is Dana Adams, an antiques dealer. They bought a house last year (instead of Lowry and Lowry’s partner bought a house last year or Lowry and their partner bought a house last year).

When they is used in the singular, it takes a plural verb: Taylor said they need a new car. Again, be sure it’s clear from the context that only one person is involved.

(Note for UW­–Madison communicators: Additional techniques for achieving gender neutrality in your writing can be found in Section 5.255 of the Chicago Manual of Style.)

(Source: AP Stylebook)

gender-neutral language (use of)

In general, use terms that can apply to any gender. Such language aims to treat people equally and is inclusive of people whose gender identity is not strictly male or female.

Balance these aims with common sense, respect for the language, and an understanding that gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language is evolving and in some cases is challenging to achieve.

Consider any word or term that has the effect of emphasizing one gender over another. Is there another word that could be substituted? For example: search instead of manhunt. Police officer instead of policeman. Door attendant instead of doorman. A true gender-neutral noun often presents itself easily: chair or chairperson, firefighter, workforce. In other cases, a noun may technically not be gender-neutral but instead be a masculine noun that assumes the generic case under English language convention: actor, host. In general, use terms such as chair or chairperson, councilperson or council member, and spokesperson unless the -man or -woman terms are specified by an organization. While some -person constructions, such as chairperson and spokesperson, are commonly used, avoid tortured or unfamiliar constructions such as snowperson, baseperson, or freshperson.

(Note for UW­–Madison communicators: Additional techniques for achieving gender neutrality in your writing can be found in Section 5.255 of the Chicago Manual of Style.)

(Source: AP Stylebook)

pronouns (use of)

Use the pronoun that matches the person’s authentic gender. A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or undergone surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender. If you are not certain which pronoun to use, ask the person, “What pronouns do you use?”
(Source: GLAAD Media Reference Guide)

If a person uses pronouns that are not familiar to most readers (such as xe or ze) or may grammatically confuse readers (such as they/them/theirs), include an explanation on first reference if you plan to use the pronouns in subsequent references. For example: Joe Smith, who uses they/them/theirs pronouns … 

When listing preferred pronouns, separate them with a forward slash and no spaces: he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs


(Adjective) Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning and/or queer. In quotations and the formal names of organizations and events, other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained. I generally stands for intersex, and A can stand for asexual (a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction), ally (some activists decry this use of the abbreviation for a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports LGBT communities), or both. Use of LGBT or LGBTQ is best as an adjective and an umbrella term. Don’t use it, for instance, when the group you’re referring to is limited to bisexuals.

(Source: AP Stylebook) 


An adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g., queer person, queer woman). Typically, for those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting. Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBT people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term even within the LGBT community.

The term should only be used for people or organizations that use queer to identify themselves. Do not use it when intended as a slur.

(Source: GLAAD Media Reference Guide, AP Stylebook)

homosexual, homosexuality

Avoid identifying gay people as homosexuals, an outdated term considered derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people.

Gay or lesbian is preferred as an adjective (for example: a gay man); homosexuality is acceptable when an umbrella term is needed. Avoid homosexual as a noun.

(Source: GLAAD Media Reference Guide, AP Stylebook)


In males, a sexual orientation that describes attraction to females, and vice versa. Straight is acceptable. Transgender people can be heterosexual.

Avoid identifying gay people as homosexuals, an outdated term considered derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people.

(Source: AP Stylebook, GLAAD Media Reference Guide)


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)


Describes people attracted to more than one gender. Some people prefer pansexual, which describes people attracted to others regardless of their gender.

(Source: AP Stylebook)

gay, lesbian

Used to describe people attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women.

Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to sexual preference or to a gay or alternative lifestyle.

Gays is acceptable as a plural noun when necessary, but do not use the singular gay as a noun. Lesbian is acceptable as a noun in singular or plural form.

Avoid identifying gay people as homosexuals, an outdated term considered derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people.

(Source: AP Stylebook, GLAAD Media Reference Guide)

sexual orientation

An individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or different gender, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual (straight) orientations.

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.

Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to sexual preference or to a gay or alternative lifestyle.

(Source: GLAAD Media Reference Guide, AP Stylebook)

sex reassignment, gender confirmation

The treatments, surgeries, and other medical procedures used by transgender people to match their sex to their gender. The preferred term over gender reassignment; do not use the outdated term sex change. Sex reassignment or gender confirmation surgery is not necessary for people to transition their gender.

(Source: AP Stylebook)

gender-nonconforming, nonbinary, genderqueer, bigender, agender

Gender non-conforming is acceptable in broad references as a term for people who do not conform to gender expectations. (Acceptable use: The group is providing scholarships for gender-nonconforming students.)

Nonbinary and genderqueer are terms used by some people who experience their gender identity as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They are not synonyms for transgender and should only be used if someone self-identifies as nonbinary or genderqueer.

Explain the terms in a story if the context doesn’t make it clear.

Similar guidance goes for other terms like bigender (people who identify as a combination of two genders) and agender (people who identify as having no gender).

(Source: AP Stylebook, GLAAD Media Reference Guide)


The processes transgender people go through to match their gender identity, which may include sex reassignment or gender confirmation procedures, but not necessarily. (Acceptable uses: Washington is transitioning while helping his daughter consider universities. Chamberlain’s family offered support during her transition.)

Avoid the phrase sex change.

Altering one’s birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition can include some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one’s family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery. The exact steps involved in transition vary from person to person.

(Sources: AP Stylebook, GLAAD Media Reference Guide)


Describes people whose gender identity matches the one they were assigned at birth; that is, not transgender. Explain (on first reference) if necessary.

(Source: AP Stylebook)


Describes people whose gender identity does not match the sex they were identified as having at birth. Does not require what are often known as sex reassignment or gender confirmation procedures. Identify people as transgender only if pertinent, and use the name by which they live publicly. Generally, avoid references to a transgender person being born a boy or girl, since it’s an unnecessary detail and excludes intersex babies.

The shorthand trans is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.

Use the name by which a transgender person now lives. Refer to a previous name, sometimes called a deadname, only if relevant to the story.

Do not use as a noun, such as referring to someone as a transgender, or use the term transgendered. (Instead, as an adjective: Bernard is a transgender man. Christina is transgender.) Not synonymous with terms like cross-dresser or drag queen, which do not have to do with gender identity. Do not use the outdated term transsexual. Avoid derogatory terms such as tranny.

(Source: AP Stylebook)


Describes people born with genitalia, chromosomes, or reproductive organs that don’t fit typical definitions for males or females.

Avoid the outdated and derogatory term hermaphrodite. While some people can have an intersex condition and also identify as transgender, the two are separate and should not be conflated.

(Source: AP Stylebook, GLAAD Media Reference Guide)

gender identity

A person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (e.g., nonbinary and genderqueer).

(Source: GLAAD Media Reference Guide)


Gender is not synonymous with sexGender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to botheither, or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people.

(Source: AP Stylebook)


The classification of a person as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy.

(Source: GLAAD Media Reference Guide)


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.


Use undocumented to refer to a group of people or an individual who does not have documentation required for legal immigration or residence, and only when relevant to the story and with explicit permission from a group or individual. For example, undocumented immigrants or an undocumented student. Avoid illegal or alien.

people of color

The term is acceptable when necessary in broad references to multiple races other than white: We will hire more people of color. Nine playwrights of color collaborated on the script.

Be aware, however, that many people of various races object to the term for various reasons, including that it lumps together into one monolithic group anyone who isn’t white. Be specific whenever possible by referring to, for instance, Black Americans, Chinese Americans, or members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

(Source: AP Stylebook)


An emerging acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Some feel the term is more appropriate than people of color because it acknowledges the varying levels of injustice experienced by different groups. In these instances, be sure to ask individuals or groups how they prefer to be identified.

(Source: University of Iowa Style Race and Ethnicity Guide)


Descendants of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. Practicing unique traditions, Indigenous people retain social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.

Capitalize this term used to refer to original inhabitants of a place. Aboriginal leaders welcomed a new era of Indigenous relations in Australia. Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples represent some 62 percent of the population.

(Sources: United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, AP Stylebook)

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)

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)

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)


Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.

African American is not necessarily interchangeable. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow an individual’s preference if known, and be specific when possible and relevant. Minneapolis has a large Somali American population because of refugee resettlement. The author is Senegalese American.

Use of the capitalized Black recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone.

(Source: AP Stylebook)

Latino/a/x, Hispanic, Chicano

Latino is often the preferred noun or adjective for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Some prefer the recently coined gender-neutral term Latinx, which should be confined to quotations, names of organizations, or descriptions of individuals who request it and should be accompanied by a short explanation. For groups of women, use the plural Latinas; for groups of men or of mixed gender, use the plural Latinos.

Hispanic refers to a person from — or whose ancestors were from — a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino, Latina, or Latinx are sometimes preferred. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Mexican American.

Chicano is a term that Mexican Americans in the U.S. Southwest sometimes use to describe their heritage. Use only if it is a person’s preference.

(Source: AP Stylebook)

Red Gym

The University of Wisconsin Armory and Gymnasium is commonly known as the “Red Gym.” The full name or the nickname (“Red Gym”) is acceptable on first reference; “Red Gym” is preferred for subsequent references. A registered National Historic Landmark, the Red Gym is home to many student services offices.

Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program

name for the program which administers the Chancellor’s Scholarship and Powers-Knapp Scholarship programs. Scholarship recipients are referred to as Chancellor’s scholars or Powers-Knapp scholars, but collectively are referred to as Mercile J. Lee scholars.


do not use to refer to a disability: use accessible parking (without the word handicapped), accessible restrooms, accessible building

Varjian, Leon

the late student-government leader who was the vice president of the Pail and Shovel Party, which was responsible for the plastic flamingos on Bascom Hill in fall 1979 and the Statue of Liberty on the lake later, among other pranks

Mallon, Jim

the student-government leader who was the president of the Pail and Shovel Party, which was responsible for the plastic flamingos on Bascom Hill in fall 1979 and the Statue of Liberty on the lake later, among other pranks; graduation year is ’79


do not include credentials or degrees (PhD, MD, FASLA, FAAN, CFP, and the like) after names unless the person, school, or college is adamant about it

UW Spirit Squad

UW–Madison’s squad comprises the dance team, cheerleaders, and Bucky Badger mascots; on second reference, use Spirit Squad or the squad; lowercase other schools’ spirit squads


for place names with Saint, Fort, Mount, and the like, write out the words except where space is at a premium: Fort Myers, Mount Airy; see CMS 10.30

Wisconsin Alumni Association® (WAA)

WAA (never the WAA) is preferred on second reference, but the association is acceptable

Usage of the registered mark:

  • use ® only when the full name is written out, only once, and on the first reference (or first “convenient” reference)
  • punctuation follows the ®
  • do not use it in running text in On Wisconsin, Badger Insiderthe Flamingle, articles submitted for publication elsewhere, the body of press releases, mailing addresses, envelopes, or letterhead
  • do use it in the mastheads of On Wisconsin, Badger Insider, and the Flamingle; the contact listing and final About WAA paragraphs in press releases; the masthead and last paragraph of newsletters; ads and other promotional materials
  • if a marketing vehicle has several pieces, use the ® on the first reference in each piece
  • do not use superscript online or with emails, but generally superscript is preferred if it’s readable

Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA)

the logo uses an ampersand, but use and in running text; WFAA (never the WFAA) is acceptable on second reference. WAA’s merger with the UW Foundation was effective July 1, 2014. The blended organization is now called the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA). Both WAA and UWF also maintain their separate brand identities to external alumni and donor audiences

website (URL) addresses

test every site before publishing it; use the shortest version that works; use roman type without brackets; put a period at the end if it falls at the end of a sentence; delete the http:// and www portions of the address; do not hyphenate a word within a web address unless it actually has a hyphen; if necessary, break it after a slash or period that is part of the address; do not insert any characters or punctuation; see CMS 7.46

Ward, David

former UW chancellor who returned as interim (or “encore”) chancellor; degree years are MS’62, PhD’63; do not confuse him with David J. Ward ’65, MBA ’67, PhD ’72, a former senior vice president of academic affairs for the UW System; see also Ward, Judith

Ward, Judith

the spouse of the former chancellor is Judith Freifeld Ward ’64, a former executive associate director of UW–Madison’s Waisman Center; do not confuse her with Judith Hart Ward ’66, MS’67, the spouse of David J. Ward ’65, MBA’67, PhD’72; he is a former senior vice president of academic affairs for the UW System; see also Ward, David

WAA Travel

the name of the WAA department, but alumni travel is acceptable in generic references; its toll-free phone number is 888-WIS-ALUM (947-2586); when space and time allow, include both versions of the phone number

WAA’s contact information

650 N. Lake Street, Madison, WI 53706-1476; use the zip + 4 on all references; 608-262-2551; 888-WIS-ALUM (947-2586); including the letters in the 888 phone number is helpful when viewers/listeners don’t have much time to study the number; when space and time allow, include both versions;;; staff emails are formatted in all lowercase with a period between the first and last names (


Do not use the before it; see also Wisconsin Alumni Association® (WAA). WAA’s merger with the UW Foundation was effective on July 1, 2014. The blended organization is now called the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA). WAA and UWF also maintain their separate brand identities.


see CMS 8.116–8.117 for a discussion of the names of ships, submarines, aircraft, trains, space programs, and the class, make, and model of cars

UW System

The UW System comprises 13 four-year-term universities, 13 UW Branch campuses, UW College Courses Online, and UW Extended campuses.


stands for Uniform Resource Locator, an internet address style for addresses: e.g,, though typically shortened to, e.g.,; see also website (URL) addresses


generally, use hyphens and initial caps; however, in some design contexts, all caps and/or no hyphens may be more accommodating

UW–Madison (no the)

Use an en dash rather than a hyphen. Acceptable on second reference in external publications and in all internal communication for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Do not use the with UW–Madison: research at UW–Madison. To prevent confusion with other UW System units, do not use the UW as a substitute for UW–Madison, except when the context is clearly UW–Madison or the entity is officially named University of Wisconsin rather than University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW Hospital and Clinics, UW Credit Union). See also CMS 6.39 and 6.81 and University of Wisconsin, the; and UW, the.

University of Wisconsin–Madison, the

Use an en dash rather than a hyphen between University of Wisconsin and Madison. Spell out on first reference in external publications or publications that will be read widely off campus. UW–Madison (with an en dash, not a hyphen) is acceptable in external publications and in all internal communication for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Do not use the with UW–Madison (research at UW–Madison).

Also acceptable on second reference are the UW and the university (when the context is clearly UW–Madison). To prevent confusion with other UW System units, however, use the UW as a substitute for UW–Madison only when the context is clearly UW–Madison or the entity is officially named UW instead of University of Wisconsin–Madison, (UW Hospital and Clinics, UW Credit Union, UW Law School). Capitalize The only as a formal title in a formal reference, such as in the headline of a program; generally, though, lowercase the.

UW is acceptable when referring to athletics teams or departments that do not use UW–Madison as part of their official names (UW Health, UW Carbone Cancer Center); or as an abbreviated reference to the University of Wisconsin System as a whole (UW budget, students enrolled at UW institutions).

See also CMS 6.81.


use the hyphen when it precedes a noun; no hyphen when it follows the noun; consider deleting it entirely because so many people now use cell phones

student classifications

lowercase freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior when referring to an individual student or to the class as a whole: She is a senior history major; The senior class sponsored the lecture


used in roman text, with brackets, following an incorrectly used word or phrase to indicate that it’s a mistake made by the person who’s quoted, not by the writer; frequently written as [sic]


the Thai pavilion given to Madison by WAA’s Thailand alumni chapter; located in Madison’s Olbrich Gardens; italicize it on first reference but not subsequent references; lowercase it always


French for Répondez, s’il vous plait, which means Please respond; using please with the phrase is redundant because the SVP portion already says that; do not use it as a noun; Please reply, Please respond, or Please register are good substitutes


use these forms: Olympic team, U.S. national team, UW men’s basketball team; use rowing team or crew when referring to rowers because crew team is redundant; see also crew


the Residential Network; managed by the Division of University Housing’s Information Technology Department

The Red Shirt™ (TRS)

use the ™ on at least the first reference; using the ™ on every reference is also acceptable; always include and capitalize The; a comma goes after the ™; The Red Shirt™, Ninth Edition; write out editions First through Ninth; use numerals for editions 10th and higher


use when referring to research and development work, departments, or efforts; no space before or after the ampersand


In front of the attribution line following a quotation, use an em dash and a space:

“Why wonder why when you’re green?”

                              — Kermit the Frog


use the Chicago Manual of Style for nonnews material; use the Associated Press Stylebook for news releases and Inside UW–Madison

pull quotes

put quotation marks around material if it is a quotation within the article; do not use quotation marks if the material is merely pulled text; do not use brackets for inserted material because they create clutter

political affiliations/parties

Put D, R, or I (for Independent) in parentheses, followed by a hyphen, followed by the two-letter state code in national references or the city name in state references: John Smith (D-WI), Matt Johnson (R-MA), Jack Johnson (I-Wauwatosa)

photo credits

use something like this, with colons and semicolons: Front cover (3): John Brown; inside right: Larry Holmes; inside left (2): Jeff Miller; back cover, top: Paula Abdul; back cover (left center, right center, bottom): Harry Reasoner


all caps; stands for Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence; adding program after PEOPLE is redundant

On Wisconsin magazine (OW)

“magazine” is lowercase roman; On Wisconsin magazine, originally called The Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, was first published in 1899; its name changed several times, from The Wisconsin Alumnus to just Wisconsin Alumnus to Wisconsin Alumni to On Wisconsin magazine

On, Wisconsin!

this beloved expression comes from the UW’s beloved fight song; it includes a comma because it’s a form of direct address; when it’s run into a longer sentence such as Thanks, and on, Wisconsin!, the on becomes lowercase


the name of the WAA alumni chapter in the Minocqua/Rhinelander/Eagle River area and for references to the northern region of Wisconsin; use north woods for generic references


the personalized web portal for UW–Madison and a single entry point into secure information provided by the university (My UW); it gives students access to information on grades, tuition accounts, financial aid, and housing

more than, over

use more than when something can be counted: She bought more than 20 books; in general, over refers to spatial relationships: She jumped over the chair


Spell out in running text when not used with a day of the week: February 2, 2017. Abbreviate January (Jan.), February (Feb.), August (Aug.), September (Sept.), October (Oct.), November (Nov.), and December (Dec.) when used with a day of the week: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Do not abbreviate March, April, May, June, or July. The following style is also acceptable: 28 March 2017. When writing for news releases or Inside UW–Madison, abbreviate months when used with a date, with the exception of March, April, May, June, and July, which are always spelled out.

Law School

capitalized; the Law School prefers UW Law School (not the UW Law School) or University of Wisconsin Law School (not School of Law)

La Follette

in references to Fighting Bob La Follette, 1879; Belle Case La Follette 1879, LLB 1885; their family; or any people or entities that have descended from them, put a space between La and Follette

issue names, magazine

in On Wisconsin and Badger Insider magazines, capitalize the name of the season (i.e., the name of the issue), whether the year is included or not: the Spring 2015 issue, the Fall issue

middle initials

in general, do not use a middle initial unless the person is adamant about including it or it appears in the official name of an endowment, foundation, award, scholarship, or the like.

inclusivity statements

WAA’s long version is: “The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) is open to all alumni, students, and friends of the university. WAA encourages diversity, inclusivity, and participation by all of these groups in its activities; and it does not discriminate on any basis. WAA embraces UW–Madison’s sifting and winnowing motto, which is a cherished and widely admired tradition.”

WAA’s short version is: “The Wisconsin Alumni Association encourages diversity, inclusivity, nondiscrimination, and participation by all alumni, students, and friends in its activities.”

The university also has a statement of nondiscrimination.

Fulbright scholar

common usage has frequently shortened the name to just Fulbright, but the fellowship program’s official name is Fulbright-Hays; there are several types of Fulbrights and various specific names for them, but they are mostly fellowships, so the generic word grant (but not scholarship) typically works when referring to them; the generic word scholar can refer to a recipient

Flamingle, the

although The is in the official name of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s weekly enewsletter, use lowercase roman type for “the;” see CMS 8.70


capitalize when used in reference to a specific, named fellowship: He was recently named a Fulbright Fellow; in most cases, however, it will be lowercase: Jacob Hoke, a new fellow of the American Academy of Metallurgy; lowercase on all subsequent references

email addresses

use roman type with no brackets or parentheses; put a period after the address if it falls at the end of a sentence; break it at the @ sign or a period if it’s necessary to carry it to the next line


Put a space between the word and the ellipsis points: word#…#word; word#…; or complete sentence.#…#complete sentence. See also CMS 13.50 – 13.58.

Editor’s Note

used in articles and after letters to the editor to give further explanations; put the words Editor’s Note: (with a colon) in italics; use roman type for the rest of the text, with no parentheses or brackets around the note

degree years

Use only on the first reference within an article; do not include letters before a bachelor’s degree; do not use periods with the degree abbreviation; do not use a space between the degree and two-digit class year; use a close single quote (apostrophe) to precede the year (it’s ’, not ‘); use a comma to separate each degree: Jim Hoyt ’65, MS’67, PhD’70.

If someone did not — or has not yet — graduated from UW–Madison, use an x before the year that s/he would have graduated or will graduate: rock star Steve Miller x’67. There is no space between the x and the year; include the apostrophe with the year; with advanced degrees, the x goes between the degree and the year: MDx’61, DVMx’75, PhDx’54, MAx’90.

Write out degree years occurring in the 19th century as, e.g., John Bluephie 1880, MS1883, PhD1885. Write out degree years occurring in the 20th century between (and including) 1900 and the current degree year as, e.g., Jane Brownstone 1900, MA1902, PhD1905; but Lowell Evan Noland PhD’24. When a new graduation year dawns, add 19 to the corresponding 20th-century year in a rolling, 100-year fashion.

See also names and degrees for the treatment of couples’ names.


examples are the nineties, the 1980s and 1990s, the 1980s and ’90s; for the first decade of a century use, e.g., years 2000–2009, not 2000s or ’00s; for the second decade of a century use, e.g., second decade or 2010s; see also CMS 9.33


use a comma after a date that includes the year: Students must submit an application by March 3, 2019, to be eligible for the program; do not use a comma with a month and year if there is no date included: fall 2019, March 2020; see also CMS 6.38

en dashes

An en dash connects numbers and sometimes words: 2010–14, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., UW–Madison. It also shows a range in numbers and words: 20–25 people, Monday–Friday. Use an en dash with open compound modifiers: pre–School of Pharmacy course. When connecting years with from, also use the word to, not an en dash: from 1980 to 1986, not from 1980–1986. For news releases or Inside UW–Madison, use a hyphen to connect years: 1980-86. Do not put spaces on either side. See also CMS 6.78–6.84.

em dashes

An em dash sets off an amplifying or explanatory element, separates a subject or series of subjects, or indicates a sudden break in thought or sentence structure: We will fly to Paris — if I get a raise. Put a space before and after the em dash, which is an exception to Chicago style. Do not use a pair of hyphens to create an em dash. See also en dashes, hyphens, and CMS 6.85–6.92.

courtesy titles

in general, do not use Dr., Mrs., Mr., or Ms; a written-out courtesy title that helps to put a person’s role in context (President Kennedy, Chancellor Mnookin, Dean Wilcots, Professor Jenkins) may be used on first reference

court cases

italicize the names of legal cases, including the abbreviation v. (for versus): Bloomfield Village Drain Dist. v. Keefe, Miranda v. Arizona; a case name may be shortened in subsequent discussion: the Miranda case or simply Miranda; see also versus and CMS 8.82


words that stand for a group of things can mean the group as a whole (and thus take a singular verb) or the individual members of the group (and thus, a plural verb); the presence of the before the word often indicates that it’s singular: The couple lives in apartment 9A; when a comes before the word, and especially when of comes after it, it’s probably plural: A couple of professors live in apartment 9A


uppercase when referring to the U.S. Congress (or just Congress), which comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives; see also CMS 8.61

comprehensive campaign

use lowercase to refer to a multiyear campaign with campus audiences when not using its proper name; refer to it only by its proper name to noncampus audiences; use campaign on second reference; the proper name of the fourth comprehensive campaign in university history, which took place from 2015-21, was All Ways Forward, which uses initial caps, roman type, and no quotation marks


our dictionary advocates spellings such as copresident, cofounder, coeditor, coauthor, and codirector with no hyphens; see the dictionary for the few exceptions that use hyphens


use this list to determine whether to include a state or country name after the city name; if it’s on this list, the city name may stand alone

International cities:

Barcelona, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, and Tokyo; but do use the country with Seoul, South Korea

U.S. cities:

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Madison (except if it’s Madison in a state other than Wisconsin), Manhattan, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, New Orleans, New York City (when identified this way, but not just New York for the city), Omaha, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Twin Cities, and Tucson; but do use the state with Kansas City (Missouri or Kansas), Portland (Oregon or Maine), and Saint Louis (Missouri)


in On Wisconsin and Badger Insider, do not use graduation years in photo captions unless the individuals’ names do not appear elsewhere in a story; if one or some people are mentioned in an article that accompanies the photo, and one or others are not, use graduation years for all of the people listed in the photo caption; do not use boldface with names and graduation years in captions; see also photo references/identification


Use graduation year(s) if the writer is a graduate; use birth/former name(s) unless the writer does not wish to include it/them. If a writer has more than one byline within a section of a publication, use the full name and graduation year(s) (if applicable) on the first reference and initials with no graduation year(s) on subsequent references. This does not apply to photo credits.

bulleted information

Regardless of the style chosen for a document — complete sentences or not, end punctuation or not, an initial cap on the first word of each bulleted item or not, and the like — remain consistent throughout that particular document. If a second sentence is added to an item — which drives end punctuation on the first sentence — then all items in the bulleted list should have end punctuation.


capitalize official names of campus facilities; on second reference, lowercase if a proper name is not used: the Mosse Humanities Building, the building, construction on Vilas; the word building may be used to prevent confusion with the academic department of the same name, but do not capitalize building in these cases: the Law School, the Law School building; in most cases, building names can stand alone: Grainger Hall, Nancy Nicholas Hall

names and degrees

To clarify how to use birth/former names, married names, and degrees with couples, here are some examples. Badger Insider’s Badger Pride section, however, does not follow this convention:

  • John Wilson ’56
  • Mabel Smith Wilson ’57
  • John Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith Wilson ’57
  • John Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith-Wilson ’57
  • John Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith ’57
  • John Smith-Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith-Wilson ’57
  • John Wilson and Mabel Smith Wilson ’57
  • John Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith Wilson (or just Mabel Wilson, because she doesn’t have a grad year, and thus, we’d probably leave out the birth/former name)
  • John Wilson ’56, JD’58, PhD’60 and Mabel Smith Wilson ’57, MA’59, DVM’62

The Badger Pride list in Badger Insider uses the following more condensed format which doesn’t include birth/former names. (The In Memoriam listings in Badger Insider do include birth/former names.)

  • John ’56 and Mabel ’57 Wilson
  • John Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith-Wilson ’57
  • John ’56 and Mabel ’57 Smith-Wilson
  • John and Mabel ’57 Wilson
  • John ’56 and Mabel Wilson
  • John ’56, JD’58, PhD’60 and Mabel ’57, MA’59, DVM’62 Wilson
  • John Wilson ’56 and Mabel Smith ’57

If a last name is hyphenated, use the first name of the hyphenated pair for alphabetical-order purposes. If there are three names (one first and two that appear to be last names), but the second two are not hyphenated, use the third name (i.e., the second last name) for alphabetical-order purposes.

UW Marching Band, UW Varsity Band

the university’s best-known band is called the UW Marching Band in the fall (when it marches) and the UW Varsity Band in the spring (when it plays indoor concerts); use marching band on second reference when discussing the UW Marching Band


Use the registered mark; write the phrase in all caps; including the is acceptable. Sometimes context calls for usage such as the Purdue BADGER HUDDLE®. Never say just HUDDLES, but BADGER HUDDLE® tailgates is acceptable. Use the initial-capped (but not all-capped) Huddle on subsequent references to a BADGER HUDDLE®. Periods and commas go after the ®. The word huddle is lowercase when referring to a literal football huddle or a gathering that’s figuratively called a huddle.


with a final e in reference to the Badgers’ football rivalry with Minnesota for Paul Bunyan’s Axe

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.

names in appositive form

Use commas when there is only one such person because it’s redundant information; do not use commas when there is more than one such person; see also CMS 5.23. An example: Mary’s husband, John, and her son Greg went with her. In this example, Mary has only one husband, so his name is set off with commas: John is a “restatement” of husband. Mary has more than one son, so the commas with Greg are eliminated to show which son is being referred to specifically, from among the other possibilities. If she had only one son, his name would also be set off by commas.

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)

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

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.

Martin and Florence Below Alumni Center, the

WAA’s headquarters building at 650 N. Lake Street is currently called the Martin and Florence Below (pronounced BEE-loh) Alumni Center; subsequent references are the Below Alumni Center, the alumni center, or the center; as of the renovation that was completed in 2017, the building now includes One Alumni Place, which opens on to Alumni Park


always hyphenated; all is always lowercase unless it refers to the Associated Press–chosen All-American football or basketball team.


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

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.

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

The legal name of the building at 330 N. Orchard Street; it houses the private Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR), the public Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), and programming staff of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF); to avoid confusion between the building (Institutes) and one of the research entities (Institute), the building is informally called the Discovery Building.

headlines, subheads

See the lists below as guides to using lowercase or uppercase when these words appear in headlines and subheads. CMS 8.59 is recapped below; CMS 8.160 gives examples; CMS 8.161 discusses hyphenated compounds in headline-style titles. The cover of On Wisconsin follows sentence-style capitalization rather than headline style. For headlines in news releases and Inside UW–Madison, capitalize only the first word, proper names, and proper nouns.


  • articles (a, an, the)
  • prepositions, regardless of length, except when they’re used adverbially or adjectivally, when they’re stressed, or when they make up part of a Latin expression used adverbially or adjectivally: De Facto, In Vitro, etc.
  • the coordinating conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so 
  • to and as 
  • the part of a proper name that would be lowercased in text: de, von
  • the second part of a species name, even if it’s the last word


  • the first and last words in headlines and subheads, regardless of length
  • all other major words: nouns, pronouns, verbs (including Is, Are), adverbs, adjectives
  • some conjunctions


In general, hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid confusion or to form a single idea from two or more words: much-needed clothing (clothing is badly needed) versus much needed clothing (the clothing is abundant and needed). Do not use them in pairs to create an em dash.

Hyphenate compound modifiers preceding a noun: well-run establishment, ill-fitting garment, full-time job, smoke-free restaurant. A compound modifier following the noun it describes does not require a hyphen, but it is not incorrect to use one: The restaurant is smoke free. When a modifier that would be hyphenated before a noun occurs instead after a form of the verb to be, the hyphen is usually retained to avoid confusion: The man is well-known, The woman is quick-witted.

Compounds formed by an adverb ending in -ly plus an adjective or participle are not hyphenated before or after a noun: fashionably dressed. See also em dashes, en dashes, and CMS 6.76–6.77.


use numerals with periods rather than numerals with parentheses; be consistent about capitalizing the first word of a new line or not; use a colon to introduce a list or series: The menu lists three kinds of dessert: pie, cake, and pudding; use a colon after an introductory statement that contains the words as follows or the following; use a colon or period after other statements introducing lists


use Madison to refer to the city, not the UW–Madison campus; referring to the Madison campus is acceptable when it’s clear that the UW System is the subject


do not capitalize majors, programs, specializations, or concentrations of study when they are not part of an official department name or title, but proper nouns are capitalized: She received a bachelor’s degree in history; She majored in economics; He majored in English and French; view a list of undergraduate majors


compound words using this prefix are closed when the second word is not a proper noun or a figure: midweek, midterm, midsummer, but mid-January, mid-1960s


the rules of prefixes apply, but in general, do not use a hyphen with non: noncredit, nondegree, nondiscrimination, nonsexist, nonprofit, nontraditional


representing some departures from Chicago style (which covers numbers in Chapter 9):

  • spell out zero through nine
  • use numerals for 10 and higher
  • use numerals with thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands (4,000; 50,019; 100,000; 807,996)
  • with round numbers greater than one million (million, billion, trillion), write out the words for one million (or billion, etc.) through nine million; use the numeral and word for numbers that begin with 10 and higher (10 million, 64 billion, 835 trillion)
  • for large, round fractions using decimal points, use a numeral and spell out million, etc. (2.3 million, 4.5 billion, 8.7 trillion)
  • the same rules apply to ordinals (second, 21st, 127th) that apply to cardinals (two, 21, 127); do not superscript ordinals
  • page numbers are always numerals, including 1 through 9, no matter where they appear
  • in course catalogs, use numerals for credits (1 credit, 24 credits, a 2-credit course)
  • spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence (Twenty-five students are enrolled. Three credits of history must be completed by the senior year.)
  • do not hyphenate number as part of a compound adjective (number one city, number two ranked team) or as a predicate adjective (We are number one in the league.)


use numerals and spell out the word percent: 1 percent, 3 percent, 89 percent; do not hyphenate the numeral and percent when they function as a compound adjective: 4 percent jump; the symbol % is acceptable in lists, tables, and charts, but not in running text except in scientific, mathematical, and highly technical contexts; see also CMS 9.18


Most compound words using this prefix do not take a hyphen; with some, however, a hyphen is added to indicate that something is happening again: recover (to improve) vs. re-cover (cover again), recreate (to enjoy leisure) vs. re-create (to create again); the admissions office uses re-entry student; see also prefixes

recommended references

The Chicago Manual of Style. 17th edition; The Associated Press Stylebook, 2014; Merriam–Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition; Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, fourth edition


  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; the college; CALS
  • Wisconsin School of Business; UW–Madison’s business school; the school
  • School of Education; the school; SoE
  • College of Engineering; the college
  • Graduate School, the school
  • School of Human Ecology; the school; SoHE
  • The Information School; iSchool@UW–Madison; the iSchool (formerly School of Library and Information Studies)
  • The International Division, the division
  • School of Journalism and Mass Communication; the school
  • Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; the La Follette School; the school
  • University of Wisconsin Law School; UW Law School (not the UW Law School); the school
  • College of Letters & Science; the college; L&S
  • Mead Witter School of Music; the music school; the school
  • School of Medicine and Public Health; the school; SMPH
  • School of Nursing; the nursing school; the school; SoN
  • School of Pharmacy; the pharmacy school; the school
  • School of Social Work; the school
  • School of Veterinary Medicine; the school; SVM

System campuses

use an en dash except as noted below; uppercase System with UW System institutions, which comprise four-year campuses, 13 UW Branch campuses, UW College Courses Online, and UW Extended campus; see also CMS 6.81

Four-year campuses

  • UW–Eau Claire
  • UW–Green Bay
  • UW–La Crosse
  • UW–Madison
  • UW–Milwaukee
  • UW Oshkosh
  • UW–Platteville
  • UW–Stevens Point
  • UW–Stout
  • UW–Superior
  • UW-Whitewater

UW Branch campuses

  • University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire–Barron County
  • University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus
  • University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Marinette Campus
  • University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus
  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee at Washington County
  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee at Waukesha
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fond du Lac
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities
  • University of Wisconsin–Platteville Baraboo Sauk County
  • University of Wisconsin–Platteville Richland
  • University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point at Marshfield
  • University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point at Wausau
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at Rock County
  • University of Wisconsin Colleges Online


Use the present tense when reporting ongoing work, current affairs, and impromptu remarks of speakers; use past tense to report remarks made in speeches, votes, actions of committees, and other one-time past events: Brower says the work will be complete by summer. The chancellor told the Faculty Senate in her address last week that the budget would pass.

that and which

Use that for essential clauses; use which for nonessential (parenthetical) clauses: General Education Requirements, which include courses in mathematics, must be satisfied; Credits that must be completed before the senior year fall into two categories.

theatre, theater

Use theater, not theatre, except when theatre is used in a formal title: University Theatre, Department of Theatre and Drama, Hemsley Theatre, Mitchell Theatre; but Wisconsin Union Theater and Theater Gallery. Hemsley and Mitchell Theatres are in Vilas Hall. Theater Gallery is in Memorial Union.


  • use figures (8 p.m., 4 a.m.) except for noon (12 p.m.) and midnight (12 a.m.)
  • use a colon to separate hours from minutes
  • use lowercase, periods, and no space between the letters for a.m. and p.m.
  • do not include a colon or minutes if the time is exactly on the hour (11 a.m., but 3:30 p.m.)
  • avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. in the morning
  • with time ranges, use the words from and to, not from and an en dash (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., not from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
  • with time ranges without the word from, use an en dash with no spaces (Monday–Friday, 2–4 p.m.); if both times are a.m. or p.m., include the a.m. or p.m. with the later time only (8 to 11:30 a.m., 1:30–5 p.m., but 9 a.m.–2 p.m.)
  • when preparing copy for news releases or Inside UW–Madison, use a hyphen, not an en dash or the word to (from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.)
  • see also CMS 9.38, 9.39, and 10.41

time zones

lowercase central standard time, eastern time zone, mountain daylight time, and the like except references to Pacific: Pacific daylight time; capitalize abbreviations: CDT, EST; see also CMS 8.90

titles of people

in general, capitalize titles only when they are formal titles that appear directly before a name: Chancellor Jane Doe, Professor John Doe; but the chancellor, the professor; do not confuse titles with occupation descriptions: movie star Bette Davis, astronaut John Glenn; capitalize titles that precede names and refer to more than one person with the same title: Professors Jane Doe and John Smith; see also CMS 8.19–8.33 (especially CMS 8.28 about academic titles); see also academic titles

titles of works

see CMS 8.156–8.201 and follow the guidelines below, which include specific CMS references; when preparing copy for news releases or Inside UW–Madison, refer to the Associated Press Stylebook

italicize (and use initial caps) for these titles

  • albums: 8.197
  • annual reports: 8.186
  • art exhibits: 8.201
  • art pieces/art works: 8.198
  • blogs (blog names versus individual blog posts): 8.192
  • books: 8.168
  • brochures: 8.186
  • cartoons (printed): 8.200
  • CDs: 8.197
  • choreographed dance works
  • comic strips/comics series: 8.200
  • concerts
  • dance works with titles
  • documentaries (films): 8.189
  • drawings: 8.198
  • DVDs: 8.197
  • epic/long poems (vs. short poems): 8.181
  • films: 8.189
  • long musical compositions: 8.195
  • magazines: 8.171
  • movies: 8.189
  • newsletters
  • newspapers: 8.170

online versions of any of these; add the URL if helpful

  • oratorios: 8.194
  • operas: 8.194
  • paintings: 8.198
  • pamphlets: 8.186
  • periodicals: 8.168
  • photographs (individual images): 8.198
  • plays: 8.183
  • podcast series: 8.189
  • poems (epic/long): 8.181
  • published works
  • radio series (not one-time programs or individual episodes): 8.189
  • reports: 8.186
  • statues: 8.198
  • symphonies and other long instrumental compositions: 8.195
  • television series (not one-time programs or individual episodes): 8.189
  • tone poems: 8.194
  • video games: 8.190

use roman type, initial caps, and quotation marks for these titles

  • blog posts (individual blog posts versus blog names): 8.192
  • chapters (book chapters and parts): 8.177
  • clickable buttons on a website
  • dissertations: 8.188
  • essays: 8.177
  • fables: 8.185
  • fairy tales: 8.185
  • folktales: 8.185
  • lectures (individual lectures, not lecture series): 8.87
  • magazine articles: 8.177
  • manuscripts: 8.188
  • newspaper articles: 8.177
  • nursery rhymes: 8.185
  • podcast episodes or one-time programs (not continuing series): 8.189

online versions of any of these; add the URL if helpful

  • poems (short versus epic/long): 8.181
  • presentations
  • prom themes
  • radio episodes or one-time programs (not continuing series): 8.189
  • short musical compositions: 8.194
  • short poems (vs. epic/long poems): 8.181
  • short stories: 8.177
  • songs: 8.194
  • speeches: 8.87
  • television episodes or one-time programs (not continuing series): 8.189
  • theses: 8.188
  • unpublished works: 8.188
  • YouTube videos
  • websites’ titled sections, pages, special features: 8.191

use roman type, most likely capitalized, with no quotation marks, for these titles

  • artworks of antiquity: 8.198
  • awards (middle initials are acceptable if they’re named after people): 8.83
  • book series and editions: 8.176
  • campaigns
  • catalogs
  • classes: 8.86
  • conferences
  • courses: 8.86
  • exhibitions and large-scale fairs (versus art exhibits): 8.201
  • film series (an event series, not the films themselves)
  • forms: 8.187
  • forums
  • games (board, card, children’s, active are typically lowercase; brand-named are uppercase): 8.190
  • large-scale fairs and exhibitions (versus art exhibits): 8.201
  • lecture series (not individual lectures): 8.87
  • magazine columns and departments: 8.177
  • newspaper columns and departments: 8.177

online versions of any of these; add the URL if helpful

  • panel discussions
  • prizes (middle initials are acceptable if they’re named after people): 8.83
  • seminar-type programs
  • symposia
  • websites: 8.191
  • workshops
  • works of antiquity: 8.198

On Wisconsin and Badger Insider magazines

  • On Wisconsin magazine
  • Badger Insider magazine
  • department titles are roman, with no quotation marks
  • feature article titles are roman, with quotation marks

Wisconsin Idea

This refers to former UW president Charles Van Hise’s declaration that “I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every home [some sources say family] in the state”; that is, he wanted the work of the university to extend to the boundaries of the state and beyond. Today this is viewed as global reach and influence. Lowercase the in the Wisconsin Idea. There is some debate as to when Van Hise made this declaration: some sources say 1904; others say 1905. Cite a date at your own risk.

Wisconsin Union

This refers to the organization that manages Memorial Union, Union South, and Union activities. Use Memorial Union or Union South to refer to the physical buildings. The Wisconsin Union (organization) prefers that people use Union only when referring to activities sponsored by the Wisconsin Union — not to specific locations — but students and alumni often use Union to refer to Memorial Union. The Wisconsin Union is a private entity that’s separate from UW–Madison, so do not use UW–Madison Union or UW Union.