Use Associated Press (AP) Style when writing for all university publicity and materials. These include, but are not limited to:
- Business cards and letterhead
- News releases
- News and feature stories
- Magazines, brochures and newsletters
- Posters, flyers, postcards and other mailers
- The ASU website and other digital media
This complies with the Texas Tech University System’s official writing guidelines and differs from the academic writing styles.
For your convenience, we created this abbreviated AP Style guide. The economy of space and ease of reading make AP Style ideal for university publications.
When Not To Use This Style Guide
In certain instances, however, the journalistic qualities of AP Style may not be appropriate. Correspondence may follow a different style as long as it is consistent within the document. When writing for a specific discipline or journal, it is appropriate to use that discipline’s preferred style manual.
One Final Note
Before submitting copy for publication, writers and editors should read copy for accuracy and check thoroughly for errors in spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation. Remember, spell-check options will check only for correct spelling of a word; the program does not check for proper use of a word. It is expensive to correct errors in later stages of production.
Angelo State University is a member of the Texas Tech University System, which also comprises Texas Tech University, Midwestern State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Be careful to follow the Angelo State University Writing Guidelines and use the legal names of these components:
- Texas Tech University System
- Angelo State University
- Texas Tech University
- Midwestern State University
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
First and Subsequent References
- Use the full legal name “Angelo State University” when you first refer to the university.
- You may use the name “Angelo State” or abbreviation “ASU” in later references.
- If you use “university” in place of the proper name, make it clear that it refers to Angelo State University, and “university” should be in lower-case letters.
- Use the abbreviation ASU only if the document or web page clearly refers to Angelo State University.
- Do not abbreviate the names of colleges.
Ram Page – ASU student newspaper, two words, not one.
RamPort – ASU portal, one word, capitalize the “P”
“Dr.” is an appropriate title for the holder of a doctoral degree. Degrees are not commonly used after a person’s name in text but may be used in printed and web listings, directories, bulletins or catalogs at the discretion of the editor. The person’s specialty should be stated in the first or second reference. Using the last name alone is acceptable after the first reference. For example:
- Dr. Howard Small will lecture to the class. Small is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Tulsa.
- Dr. Keith Edwards, a professor of genetics, will lecture on the Angelo State University campus tonight. Edwards will answer questions after his lecture.
Holders of honorary degrees do not receive the title.
Faculty in Healthcare Fields
You may use initials after a health professional’s full name to designate the appropriate degree and/or certification, such as Ph.D., RN, M.S.N., Ed.D., etc. The person’s title should follow on the first reference. Using the last name alone is acceptable after the first reference. For example:
- Shelly Weise, Ed.D., PT, professor of physical therapy, said the appointment reflects the excellence of the Angelo State faculty.
- The Texas Nurses Association has named Susan Wilkinson, Ph.D., RN, professor of nursing, as its Nurse of the Year.
Avoid certifications following a name, particularly if they are vague to the general public. “While Jim Smith, RN,” is acceptable for instance, “Jane Sims, FNC,” is not because the certification is not generally recognized outside the healthcare profession. However, if the certification is a pertinent part of the information, then include it by writing out the certification. For example, instead of writing Alexia Green, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, write Alexia Green, PH.D., RN, is also a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
No more than two titles should be used after a name.
Capitalize a formal title when it precedes a name, but do not capitalize when it follows a name. For example:
- President Ronnie Hawkins Jr.
- Ronnie Hawkins Jr., president
“Professor” may be used as a formal title when a person holds that distinction. When the title precedes a proper name, it is capitalized and never abbreviated. When “professor” follows a proper name, it is preceded by appropriate rank, i.e., “assistant” or “associate” and is not capitalized.
Avoid social or courtesy titles, such as “Mr., “Mrs.,” “Miss” and “Ms.” On second reference, refer to people, men and women, by their last names only.
In cases of sensitive development publications, if a courtesy title is used, always use the individual’s preference. Avoiding social titles can help lessen chances for sexism in writing. You may use courtesy titles for clarification in text referring to both spouses or to parents and their children.
“Faculty” and “staff” are collective nouns that may be used in the singular or in the plural. Whether the writer chooses singular or plural, antecedents should agree.
Avoid abbreviations in publications wherever possible. Do not abbreviate the name of a school, college, department or office.
You may abbreviate the name of a center, institute or organization if the abbreviation or acronym follows in parentheses after the first or second reference.
You may use abbreviations in news releases, catalogs and bulletins as long as the abbreviations are understood by the general public or listed in parenthesis after the first or second reference.
Names of States
In press releases and most other text, use the following style when state names follow a city name:
Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviation when providing a full mailing address in text or in a press release.
Use the abbreviations “Ave.,” “Blvd.” and “St.” only with a numbered address. Spell out when part of the formal name of the street.
- 1620 University Ave.
- 2602 W. Avenue N
- University Avenue
Always completely spell out similar street names, such as “alley,” “drive,” “road,” “circle,” etc. Capitalize when part of a formal street name and lowercase when used alone or with more than one street name.
- 2602 Dena Drive
- Dena Drive
- intersection of Dena and Varsity drives
Abbreviate compass points used to indicate direction in a numbered address. Do not abbreviate if the number is omitted.
- 222 E. 42nd St.
- 2025 S. Johnson St.
- East 42nd Street
- South Johnson Street
Use periods in the abbreviation P.O. for post office box numbers.
Spell out the names of months in text material when they stand alone.
Use these abbreviations when providing a date, as in Jan. 13.
Use “Co.,” “Cos.,” “Corp.” or “Inc.” for businesses that use “Company,” “Companies,” “Corporation” or “Incorporated” after their names.
Spell out the word if it falls within a business name, for example, “Aluminum Company of America.”
Time of Day
- For times, use “a.m.” and “p.m.” with the hour.
- Use “noon” instead of “12 p.m.”
- Use “midnight” instead of “12 a.m.”
- Do not use “12 noon” or “12 midnight” as these terms are redundant.
Use lower case for professional titles unless they immediately precede a name. When a person is identified strictly by title on second or subsequent references, the title is not capitalized. For example,
- Ronnie Hawkins, president, spoke Friday.
- President Ronnie Hawkins awarded staff excellence awards Monday.
- The president spoke to the Belles after the team’s win.
Capitalize academic degrees as follows:
- MBA, M.S., M.A., M.S.N., B.S., B.A.
- Include the periods except for MBA.
- Use these abbreviations only after a complete name. Do not use with only a last name.
- In news releases, limit designations to only two degrees.
Do not capitalize generic terms for degrees, for example: “doctoral degree” or “doctorate,” “master’s degree,” “bachelor’s degree.” If you are using the formal name of a degree, it is capitalized, for example: he earned a Master of Science degree from Angelo State University.
Avoid capitalizing an academic subject when it is used as a general field of study. Capitalize academic subjects when they are part of the official title of a university entity, when they are the name of a language, and when they are the official title of a course or a short title that includes the course number. For example:
- “The College of Science and Engineering offers programs in agriculture, biology, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, engineering, geoscience, mathematics and physics.”
- She majored in physics and minored in Russian.
- Department of Physics and Geosciences
- Department of English
- Gender Studies Program
- He teaches Sociology 3350.
Buildings, Rooms and Room Numbers
Capitalize “building” if it is an integral part of the building’s name. Do not abbreviate.
- Mayer Administration Building
- Vincent Building
Capitalize the names of specially designated rooms. Capitalize the word “room” when used in conjunction with a room number.
- Nasworthy Suite
- Tucker Room
- Rassman Building, Room 205
When promoting an event, the preferred order to refer to the details is time, date and place. For example:
- The barbecue will be at noon Oct. 20 at the Super Slab.
Other University-Related Uses
Capitalize “institute,” “center,” “program,” “division” or “office” when it is part of the formal name, but not when used alone or informally. For example:
- The Center for Cyber Intelligence, Innovation, and Security Studies is a sponsor.
- The center is named for former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
It is appropriate to refer to a center, institute, program, division or office by the appropriate designation, in lower case letters, on subsequent references. For example:
- The Management, Instruction and Research Center received a major grant today. The center will use the money for a new project.
Avoid capitalizing such words as “freshman,” “senior” or “graduate” when the words refer to a stage of study or the classification of a student rather than to the group. For example:
- She was a freshman, majoring in agricultural communications.
AP style does not require capital letters when referring to a website, but references to the World Wide Web still require capitalization.
- the web
Avoid capitalizing the words “city,” “government,” “federal” or “state.” For example:
- United States government
- federal government
- the state legislature
- Texas Legislature
- the state of Texas, unless referring to the state government, then State is capitalized
- the city of San Angelo, unless referring to the city government, then City is capitalized
Capitalize the formal names of federal or state agencies. For example:
- U.S. Department of Defense
- Texas Department of Agriculture
Seasons and Location
Use lower case for seasons. For example:
- Transfer students may begin studies in the spring, summer or fall.
- The spring semester begins Wednesday.
Capitalize “west” and other compass points when referring to a region: For example:
- In architecture and lifestyle, Angelo State University reflects the American West.
- The people of West Texas were determined to have their own university.
Use lower case for compass points when indicating a direction. For example:
- Many students travel west to the recreation areas of New Mexico.
Racial and Ethnic
Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races and tribes. For example:
- African American
- Chinese Eskimo
- Latin American
- Native American
Spell out numbers one through nine and first through ninth. Use figures for numbers 10 and greater. Also use figures to refer to a numerical ranking, a unit of scientific measurement, a percentage or a unit of money. For example:
- No. 1
- 45 kg
- $5 million
- 7 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit
Treat numbers consistently within a category. For example:
- “Angelo State awarded 352 bachelor’s degrees, 57 master’s degrees and 2 honorary degrees.”
Always use figures for an address number.
- 1310 Cherrywood Terrace
Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names. Use figures with two letters for 10th and above.
- 1435 Fifth Ave.
- First Street
Hyphens should be used between numbers. Parentheses should not be used around area codes or for international numbers.
If extension numbers are given, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension.
- 325-942-2385, ext. 504.
Starting a Sentence
Always spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence. A better approach is to rewrite the sentence to avoid using a number at the beginning. For example:
- INSTEAD OF: One hundred and eighty five marketing majors are included in Angelo State University’s total enrollment of 6,000.
- TRY: Of Angelo State’s total enrollment of 6,000 students, 185 are marketing majors.
Percentages, Fractions, Large Numbers
Use numerals for percentages and the percent symbol. For example:
Spell out fractions in text material. Hyphenate fractions when they are used as adjectives or adverbs. For example:
- The book is three-fourths complete.
However, use figures to express mixed numbers. Include a space between the whole number and the fraction. For example:
- 2 3/4
- 5 3/8
Use a comma in numerals of 1,000 and above except for temperatures, years, street addresses, broadcast frequencies, room numbers, serial numbers and telephone numbers.
- 3818 degrees Celsius
- 2000 B.C.
Use hyphens, not parentheses or periods, to separate area code, prefix and the last four digits. Example: 325-942-2555
A comma is not required before “and” or “or” in a series of three or more items unless it improves clarity. For example:
- Required courses include English, history and economics.
- Women’s sports now include basketball, softball, golf, track and soccer.
- Will you take your tests on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday?
- The departments of Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Physical Therapy will have representatives at the job fair.
Commas and Multiple Adjectives
Use a comma to separate two or more adjectives equal in rank preceding a noun. For example:
- The summer was a long, hot season. (equal)
- She wore a cheap wool coat. (unequal)
Commas in Dates
Use commas in full dates, but not between month and year or season and year. A comma also should follow the year when used with a month and day in the middle of a sentence. For example:
- The building was completed in July 2004.
- He was on sabbatical during summer 2001.
- Nov. 22, 1963
- June 6, 1944, was D-Day.
Commas in Names
Associated Press style eliminates a comma after a name and before “Jr.” or “Sr.” or a name and a numeral. For example:
- John D. Rockefeller III
In addition, eliminate a comma before Inc. or Ltd., even if it is included in a company’s formal name. For example:
- AT&T Inc.
- BHP Billiton Ltd.
Semicolons in a Series
Use semicolons for clarity in long lists. The semicolon is used before “and” or “or” in a series.
- The Norris-Vincent College of Business includes the Departments of Accounting, Economics and Finance; Aerospace Studies; Computer Science; and Management and Marketing.
Hyphenate compound words used as adjectives, but not those that include an adverb ending in –ly. For example:
- ASU’s student-athlete participation in community events has always been a priority.
- Students need high-tech skills.
Apostrophe for Possession
Use the apostrophe to indicate possession. Note, however, that “its” is a possessive pronoun that lacks an apostrophe. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.”
Apostrophe for Plurals
When words designate a word, do not use ’s (apostrophe s) to indicate plural. For example:
- No ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts.’
Plurals of figures add an s not an ’s (apostrophe s). For example:
- low 20s
For plurals of single letters, use ’s: For example:
- Mind your p’s and q’s
- Three R’s
- Four A’s and a B
For plurals of multiple letters, including acronyms, add s. For example:
Enclose composition titles in quotation marks rather than italicizing, according to Associated Press style. Composition titles are: the names of books, movies, operas, plays, poems, songs, television programs, lectures, speeches, works of art, etc.
Do not use quotation marks, bold font or italics casually and only rarely for emphasis. Commas, periods, question marks, bold font, underline or italics and exclamation points always go within quotation marks.
Avoid exclamation marks for emphasis. Use them only sparingly for emotion or a strong feeling.
The following words have more than one spelling. These are preferred versions:
For publications, the names of companies and corporations that support Angelo State programs should be spelled and punctuated as they appear on their letterhead or corporate statements. For example:
- E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. Inc.
Avoid redundancies. For example:
- INSTEAD OF: most unique.
- USE: unique
Avoid passive voice. For example:
- INSTEAD OF: The increase in salaries was approved by the regents.
- TRY: The regents approved the increase in salaries.
Avoid beginning sentences with “There are” and “It is.”
In formal writing, avoid first person (I, we) and second person (you).
In less formal documents, first and second person sometimes may be used to create a more personal tone.
The word “alumni” is plural and should be used when referring to multiple men or a group of men and women who have attended a school or university. The singular form of the word is “alumnus” when referring to a man and “alumna” when referring to a woman. If referring to a group of women, use the plural form “alumnae.”
Locations in Texas
When referring to a city within Texas, it is unnecessary to list the state after the city unless it is important for clarification. Cities outside the state of Texas should be followed by the state name unless the city is so well known as to be identifiable in its own right: Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis, Minneapolis, etc.
- The residents of Athens, Texas, claim their town as the birthplace of the hamburger.
- The conference will be held at the University of North Texas in Denton.
- The Rams and Belles will be traveling to Durant, Okla., next weekend.
- ASU students traveled to New Orleans last week to join in the relief efforts.
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Language
It is recommended that letterhead and publications, where appropriate, from Angelo State University should include some form of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action statement.
At a minimum, letterhead should use: “Equal Opportunity Employer.”
Re-read copy carefully to avoid racist, sexist or insensitive implications.
“Handicapped,” “disabled” and “impaired” should be used carefully and only when clearly pertinent and appropriate for your material. Keep in mind the following meanings and choices:
- Disabled is a term describing an individual’s ability to do something independently.
- Impaired implies difficulties in handling certain tasks.
- Handicapped should be avoided to describe a disability. The best way to describe disabled individuals is “persons with disabilities.”
Writers of Angelo State publications should avoid suggestions that programs and aspects of general university life are limited to or directed at a specific gender.
Do not use “he” when the intent is “he or she” or “she or he.” For example:
- INSTEAD OF: A student applying for financial aid should file his application for admission by Jan. 1.
- TRY: Students applying for financial aid should file their applications for admission by Jan. 1.
- INSTEAD OF: The student must have an overall grade-point-average of at least 3.0 to satisfy the requirements of his school.
- TRY: A 3.0 grade-point-average is required to satisfy the requirements of the school.
Though “he or she” or “he/she” may be used occasionally, careful attention to writing will avoid awkward language and the over-use of these terms.
In some cases, the male and female references can be alternated. In other cases, no gender-specific word need be used at all.
Proper Gender Use
When reference to a specific gender is necessary, “men” and “women” generally are the preferred titles. For example:
- Angelo State University men may belong to several Greek and service organizations.
- Angelo State University women have built an enviable reputation on the basketball court.
- Sigma Theta Tau is the international honor society for nursing. Membership is open to men and women, by invitation, based on high academic achievement.
Sometimes “male” and “female” may be appropriate. For example:
- Male students can be housed in any residence hall except Carr Hall.
- Numbers of female faculty are increasing.
“Boys” and “girls” properly refer to children.
“Alumnus” (“alumni” in the plural) refers to a man who has attended a college or university. “Alumna” (“alumnae” in the plural) refers to a woman who has attended a school. “Alumni” is the correct Latin plural for use when referring to both men and women who have attended a school.
Be conversational when writing for the university website. Exceptions are academic descriptions or prescribed accreditation language. It is all right to use “you” and “our” to strike a friendly tone.
Write short sentences and paragraphs. Readers engage with websites differently than with print. They quickly scan in an “F” pattern across a computer screen or down the screen of a mobile device.
Our prospective students are likely to scan for information they need and then click on a link for further information. They may stop reading right away if we bog them down with words.
Does your head swim at the thought of learning another style guide? Call our office and we’ll be glad to answer any of your style questions.