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UNF Style Guide Usage

A, an

Use "a" before words that start with a consonant other than an unsounded "h"; use "a" before words that start with a vowel if the vowel sound is "yew" or "yur" as in European or university. 


"An" goes before words that start with the vowels “a, e, i, o” and “u” and also before words that start with unsounded "h," as in "hourglass and honor."


An institution must be accurate in reporting to the public its status and relationship with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In catalogs, brochures and advertisements, a member institution describes its relationship with the commission only according with the following statement:


The University of North Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of North Florida.


Individual contact to the Commission on Colleges about the University of North Florida accreditation status should occur only if there is evidence that appears to support significant noncompliance with a requirement or standard.


The use of the logo or seal of the Southern Association in any publication or document is prohibited.


Acronyms can save space in publications, but if the reader doesn't understand the acronym, the message is lost. In general, use the full name on first reference and the acronym on second reference, unless the acronym is well known beyond the campus (for example, GPA or CEO).


UNF publications may use "alums" and "alumni" to refer to its graduates, whether male or female. The Latin forms are "alumna" – feminine singular; "alumnae" – feminine plural; "alumnus" – masculine singular; and "alumni" – masculine plural, or to describe a group consisting of both genders.


Identify past and current students by their class years with an apostrophe before the year. Some publications may prefer to use the degree earned, for example, M.Ed. '82. Set off the class year, or degree and class year by parentheses.


Right: Sam Smith ('79) is an opera star.
Right: Sam Smith, (B.F.A. '79), is an opera star.


If a person has more than one degree, place a comma or forward slash (/) between the degrees/class years.


Right: John Jones ('78, '82) is an accountant.
Right: John Jones (B.B. '78, M.B.A. '82) is an accountant.
Right: John Jones ('78/'82) is an accountant.


Use degree abbreviations only when the intended audience is likely to understand what they mean.


As a rule, spell out "and." Do not use the ampersand (&) except in company names as specified (Johnson & Johnson). One exception to this rule is when use of "and" may require additional lines in tight typeset copy. In such cases, the ampersand may be used.


Right: He graduated from UNF’s College of Education and Human Services.

Between, among

Use "between" to show a relationship between two objects. Use "among" when more than two objects are involved.


Use "email" in all instances without the hyphen. At the beginning of a sentence, the e should be capitalized.


Right: The University of North Florida uses Outlook to send email. 

Wrong: The University of North Florida uses Outlook to send e-mail. 

Right: Email is a convenient way to communicate.

Ensure, insure

"Insure" means to establish a contract for insurance of some type; "ensure" means to guarantee.

Entitled, titled

"Entitled" means someone has the right to something, as in, "She is entitled to the inheritance." The word should not be used to refer to things such as the title of a book or piece of art.


Right: The article is titled "Think Before You Speak."
Wrong: Osprey Productions presented a movie entitled "The Day After Tomorrow."
Right: He is entitled to know the truth about his mother.

Issues regarding disabilities

When dealing with issues regarding disabilities, care should be taken not to define a person by his/her disability or to treat the person as a victim. Don't use phrases such as "afflicted with," "confined to a wheelchair," "disabled student," and "victim of." "Disabled" is preferred to "handicapped." When referring to a person with a disability, put the person first and the disability second.


Wrong: The disabled student will participate in the project.
Right: The student, who is disabled, will participate in the project, so a wheelchair-accessible room is requested.


When referring to parking, use the phrase "disability parking."


Right: Disability parking is located directly in front of the building.

Wrong: You will find handicapped-accessible parking in front of the building.

More than, over

"More" denotes amounts. "Over" denotes position or spatial relationships. The preferred usage is "more than," unless several sentences become too repetitive.


Right: More than 100 people were in attendance.
Right: The plane flew over the campus.

On campus, on-campus

Use "on-campus" as an adjective, when modifying another word. Use "on campus" to show location.


Right: John lives in on-campus housing.
Right: John lives on campus.
Wrong: The building was the first to be built on-campus.

Part-time, part time, full-time, full time

"Part-time" and "full-time" are hyphenated when used as an adjective, when modifying another word. It's "full time" and "part time" when used as nouns.


Right: She has a full-time job.
Right: She works part time.
Right: Raising children is a full-time career.
Wrong: Full time employment is hard to find.

Photo usage, captions

Captions/cutlines generally should be written in the present tense. If a photo is used where the people are identifiable, a model release form is needed unless the photo was taken at a public news event and is to be used in a news publication. Model releases are needed for photos used for promotional purposes in publications or on the web. When more than one person needs to be identified in a caption, make clear who each individual is.


Right: Joe Smith (from left), Jane Williams and Bob Jones attend the ceremony.
Right: Jane Smith, sitting, and Sarah Jackson enjoy the food.
Right: Jane Smith (sitting) and Sarah Jackson enjoy the food.
Right: Joel Clarke (second from left) is among more than 20 Belizean students earning degrees at UNF.

Sexist language

Sexist language should be avoided. Avoid words and usage that reinforce sexist stereotypes (i.e. fireman, mailman). Do not use "he" as an all-inclusive pronoun. "He" or "she" can be used but other solutions are preferable. Possible solutions include changing the subject to plural or changing the singular third-person reference (he/she) to second person (you) or alternating between "he" and "she" in the copy.

Student classification

Use "freshman" when referring to an individual or when the word is used as an adjective, to modify another word. 

"Freshmen" is plural for freshman.


Right: The freshman (one person) went on a picnic.
Right: The freshman class went on a picnic.
Right: The freshmen (more than one person) went on a picnic.

Spelling and hyphenation

Following are some examples of preferred UNF style:


advisor, not adviser
aesthetics, not esthetics
archaeology, not archeology
audiovisual, not audio-visual
Bachelor of Science in Health is the degree; Department of Health Science is the organization
bilingual, not bi-lingual
campuswide, not campus-wide
catalog, not catalogue
chairman, chairwoman (the position is "chair"; use "chairperson" when it is the formal title)
coeducational, not co-educational (co-ed is acceptable except when used to refer to a person, but not preferred)
cooperative, not co-operative (co-op is acceptable, but not preferred)
coordinate, not co-ordinate
coursework, not course work
day care, not daycare or day-care
email, not e-mail (Email at the start of a sentence)
extracurricular, not extra-curricular
fundraiser, one word in all cases 

fundraising, one word in all cases

healthcare (noun and adjective; this is an exception to AP style which is two words)
ID, not id or I.D.
intercollegiate, not inter-collegiate

multipurpose, not multi-purpose
newly renovated (never hyphenate a word when preceded by an adverb that ends in "ly")
nonprofit or not-for-profit, not non-profit
ongoing, not on-going

online, not on-line
paraprofessional, not para-professional
percent, not per cent
preregistration, not pre-registration

preschool, not pre-school

RSVP, not R.S.V.P.


T-shirt, not t-shirt
TV, not tv or T.V.
universitywide, not university-wide
weeklong, not week-long
yearlong, not year-long
year-round, not year round or yearround 

Toward, towards

One takes action toward something, not towards it.


Right: He’s working toward his degree in nursing.
Wrong: She’s building up hours towards her accounting degree.