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UNF Style Guide

University communications should reflect the University's mission to provide a quality education through the use of good grammar and a consistent writing style. This style guide - as well as UNF's Visual Identity Standards - is intended to help colleges and departments communicate more effectively and in a consistent manner with members of the community, potential and current students, and parents. A well-received publication, be it printed or electronic, reflects well on the University as a whole, so even those producing interdepartmental newsletters are encouraged to use the publication and visual identity style guides. The UNF Style Guide is a supplement to The Associated Press Stylebook and addresses frequently asked questions and campus-specific style, such as building names.


Those with specific questions not covered in the UNF Style Guide are encouraged to contact the Department of Marketing and Publications at (904) 620-2125.


Academic degrees

Before throwing in a lot of academic degree abbreviations, consider the publication and its target audience. Will the target audience understand what the abbreviations mean? If mentioning degrees is needed to establish someone's credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and instead use a phrase (John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology).


Use such abbreviations as B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name — never after just a last name. When used after a name, set the academic abbreviation off by commas (Daniel Jones, Ph.D., spoke ...) Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.


Right: Dr. Pam Jones, a chemist

Wrong: Dr. Pam Jones, Ph.D.


Use an apostrophe in a "bachelor's degree," a "master's degree," but there is no possessive in "Bachelor of Arts" or "Master of Science."


Some (but not all) of the degrees awarded by UNF or commonly found among its faculty include:




Right: John Smith has a Ph.D. in astronomy.

Right: John Smith has a doctorate in astronomy.

Right: John Smith has a doctoral degree in astronomy.

Wrong: John Smith has a doctorate degree in astronomy

Wrong: John Smith has a Ph.D. degree in astronomy.

NOTE: The word "baccalaureate" means "bachelor's degree." Therefore, use of "degree" is redundant.

Wrong: Jones received a baccalaureate degree from UNF.


Florida Board of Governors

Use "Florida Board of Governors" on first reference. BOG can be used on second and subsequent references. The BOG was created by constitutional amendment in 2002 and met for the first time in January 2003. It coordinates the state university system.


Grade point average 

Do not hyphenate. Do not use periods in abbreviation and use all caps: GPA.


RSVP (please reply)

RSVP, which is an abbreviation for the French "respondez s'il vous plait," means "please reply." Use the letters in all caps without periods.



Abbreviate certain months if the date is included. Abbreviated months are Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out March, April, May, June and July.

Right: Jan. 6 is John's birthday.

Wrong: January 6 is John's birthday.

Do not abbreviate months when used alone or with a year only. Do not use a comma between the month and year.

Right: I traveled to England in January.

Wrong: I traveled to England in Jan.

Right: I traveled to England in January 1992.

Wrong: I traveled to England in January, 1992.

When using a complete date, put a comma after the year, unless it ends the sentence.

Right: He was born Jan. 1, 2001, in Jacksonville.

Wrong: He was born Jan. 1, 2001 in Jacksonville



Spell out the names of all 50 states whether they stand alone or are listed with a city, such as Providence, Rhode Island.

No state name is needed for Florida cities unless confusion would result (ex: Hollywood, Florida).

In addition, no state name is necessary for these well-known cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.

Right: The sophomore came from Colorado.

Right: The sophomore came from Boulder, Colorado.

Wrong: The sophomore came from Boulder, Colo.

Wrong: The sophomore came from Boulder, CO.

But, when listing the state in a mailing address, use the U.S. Post Office's abbreviation. (Florida's is FL.)

Right: For more information, write UNF at: 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville FL 32224

Wrong: For more information, write UNF at: 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, Fla. 32224

Wrong: For more information, write UNF at: 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32224


UNF Board of Trustees

Spell out "University of North Florida Board of Trustees" on first reference. "Board of Trustees" or "BOT" is acceptable on second and subsequent references. The "UNF" is not necessary on subsequent references or if it appears in intra-campus publications.


UNF Colleges

On first reference, spell out the name of the college in its entirety. On second reference, use only the following abbreviations for the colleges at UNF.

Brooks College of Health — BCH

Coggin College of Business — CCB

College of Arts and Sciences — COAS

College of Computing, Engineering and Construction — CCEC

College of Education and Human Services — COEHS

Hicks Honors College — HHC


Academic departments and offices

Capitalize the name of the department and the words "department," "office," etc., such as "Department of Natural Sciences," "Office of Research and Sponsored Programs" and "Small Business Development Center." When not used as a proper name, the words "department" and "office," etc. should not be capitalized.

Right: The University consists of six academic colleges.

Right: The Office of Human Resources

Right: The department boasts the most professors with doctorates.

Right: The History Department is in the College of Arts and Sciences.


Alumni Association 

The formal title is "University of North Florida Alumni Association" on first reference. It can be referred to as the "Alumni Association" on second reference. 


Board of Trustees

Capitalize "Board of Trustees" and "Trustee" as a title on first reference when referring to the UNF Board of Trustees; lowercase second and subsequent references. (Note: Members of the UNF Foundation Board are referred to as board members, not trustees.)

Right: The UNF Board of Trustees met in February.

Right: Last year, Trustee James Jones participated in the commencement ceremony.

Right: James Jones is a member of the UNF Board of Trustees.

Right: James Jones, a member of the UNF Board of Trustees, presented the award.


Campus buildings/facilities


Use the entire official name of campus facilities on first reference within a section. On second and subsequent references within the same section, shorten the name. A list of campus facilities is presented below. Do not use building, hall, center, etc., interchangeably.


NOTE: Identify campus facilities by name, rather than by building number. Identification of campus facilities by numbers is used on the UNF marquee and on signs where space is limited. It is allowable to use the building number in parentheses or following a comma.


Right: The meeting is at 1 p.m. in J.J. Daniel Hall (Building 1).

Right: The meeting is at 1 p.m. in J.J. Daniel Hall, Building 1.

Wrong: The meeting is in Building 1.

Wrong: The meeting is in Building 10 (Honors Hall).




NOTE: Student residences on campus include Osprey Crossings, Osprey Fountains, Osprey Hall, Osprey Landing and Osprey Village. Student residences should never be referred to as "dorms" or "dormitories."


NOTE: The Student Union has naming conventions within its own building: Student Union Ballrooms, Student Union Auditorium, Student Union Game Room, Student Union Graduate Lounge, Student Union meeting rooms, North Star Board Room at the Student Union, Osprey Plaza at the Student Union and Coxwell Amphitheater at the Student Union.


Classes and courses

Use lowercase when referring to courses and classes. In general, uppercase when referring to the specific name of a class or if the class name includes a proper noun or numeral. There should be no quotation marks around course names.

Right: As a freshman, John enrolled in a psychology course and a history course.

Right: As a freshman, John enrolled in Psychology II and U.S. History to 1877.

Right: This is the first year UNF offered Discover the U.S. on the Rails.

Wrong: This is the first year UNF offered "Discover the U.S. on the Rails."


Coed, Co-op

Do not hyphenate "coeducational" but do hyphenate "co-op" as the abbreviated form of "cooperative." Use "Co-op" for a shortened reference to the Cooperative Education Program. Do not use coed to refer to a person.

Right: Osprey Hall is a coed residence hall.

Right: She participated in the University of North Florida's Co-op Education Program.



Capitalize names of specific committees and lowercase committee on second references.

Right: The Student Appeals Committee met Thursday.

Right: The appeals committee met Thursday.


Courtesy and professional titles

Refer to both men and women by first and last names. Do not use the courtesy titles Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. except in direct quotations or where needed to distinguish among people of the same last name. Reserve courtesy titles primarily for addresses and letter salutations.

Courtesy titles also may be used when preferred in formal documents. Second and subsequent references generally use last names only.

"Vice president" has no hyphen. Titles, such as CPA, CEO and CIO should be written in full caps without periods. Position titles such as "dean," "director" or "professor" should be capitalized only when immediately preceding a name. Lowercase a title after a name or when the title does not immediately precede the name. The title "Dr." may be used when the person holds an earned doctoral degree, either a Ph.D., Ed.D., D.B.A., M.D., etc. A juris doctor (J.D.) is not considered a doctoral degree.

Right: Kevin Jones, Ph.D.

Wrong: Mr. Jones, Ph.D.

Wrong: Dr. John Thomas, Ph.D.

Right: Dean Mary Smith of the College of Arts and Sciences

Right: Dr. Mary Smith, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Right: Dr. Thomas Johnson

Right: Thomas Johnson, Ph.D., spoke at commencement.

Right: Dr. Joseph Jones, vice president for student affairs

Right: Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph Jones

Right: Thomas Smith, CPA 

Right: Elizabeth Green, superintendent of schools

Right: Duval County Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Green

Right: football Coach Jim Harkema

Right Jim Harkema, football coach

NOTE: The preferred style is to use "Dr." only on first reference. In photo cutlines, the preferred style is to include first and last names only, omitting courtesy and professional titles.



Write the word "email" without a hyphen.

Lowercase the "e" in "email" unless it is the first word of a sentence or part of a title that uses uppercase letters.



UNF's official celebration is capitalized, as is “Homecoming Dinner.”



Lowercase and italicize cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.


Majors, programs

Do not capitalize majors, programs, specializations or concentrations of study when they are not part of a designated degree. The exception is a language, i.e., English, French, Spanish, etc.

Right: He received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Right: His major was criminal justice.

Right: His program was criminal justice.

Right: Her program was French.

NOTE: UNF's academic terms "program" and "major" are interchangeable.


President's office

Capitalize when referring to UNF's President's Office.



Capitalize names of races (Caucasian, Hispanic), but do not capitalize black and white when used to refer to races. Black is the preferred term unless someone has a preference for African-American.


Regional designations

Use capitals when referring to North Florida or Northeast Florida as a region. Use lowercase when referring to northern Florida in geography.

Right: UNF lies in the heart of Northeast Florida.

Right: Summer theater entertains northern Florida and its neighbors.



Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter, as well as all derived words, such as springtime. Capitalize only when part of a formal name.

Right: fall semester, fall term

Right: Spring Musicfest 

Right: Winter Olympics

Right: We had a dry summer.

Right: Fall Commencement Ceremony

Right: UNF opened in fall 1972.


State, federal

Lowercase "state" in all references. Use capital letters for "state" or "federal" as part of corporate or governmental bodies that use the word as part of their formal names. Lowercase "federal" when used as an adjective to distinguish something from a state, county, city, town or private entity. Except in legal documents, the term "state of Florida" is inappropriate; use Florida.

Right: Florida is a peninsula.

Wrong: The State of Florida is a peninsula.

Right: our state universities

Right: the federal loan program

Right: our state grants

Right: Federal Emergency Management Agency


Student classifications

Do not capitalize "freshman," "sophomore," "junior" or "senior." The plural use of "freshman" is "freshmen."

Right: He is a senior marketing major.

Right: Three freshman students attended Springfest.

Right: The freshman class attended the lecture.

Right: Three freshmen attended Springfest.

Wrong: The freshman class attended the lecture.


Time of day

Lowercase "a.m." and "p.m." Use "midnight" in lieu of 12 a.m. and "noon" in lieu of 12 p.m. Times on the hour should be presented without ":00." However, times between the hours should be presented with the minute connotation. Do not use "o'clock" unless it is for a more formal occasion, such as an invitation.

Right: The appointment is scheduled for noon.

Wrong: The appointment is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Wrong: The appointment is scheduled for 12 noon.

Right: The appointment is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

Right: The appointment is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Wrong: The appointment is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

Wrong: The presentation is scheduled for 8 o'clock in the evening.

Wrong: The presentation is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the evening.

Right: The event runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Right: The event runs from 8 to 11 a.m.


UNF Foundation

Use the precise title, "the University of North Florida Foundation Inc.," on first reference within a section. It can be referred to as the "UNF Foundation" on second reference. When referring to its board, capitalize "board" when used with the proper name but lowercase it when it stands alone.

NOTE: In publications, place no comma between "Foundation" and "Inc." and abbreviate Incorporated to "Inc." This rule applies to all corporations using "Inc."

Right: I am a member of the University of North Florida Foundation Inc.

Right: I am on the UNF Foundation Board. The board helps to raise money for the University.

Wrong: Members of the UNF Foundation Board, Inc. attended the event.


University of North Florida

Capitalize formal institutional names in all references. "UNF" is the preferred designation when referring to the University of North Florida on second and subsequent references within a section. However, if an interchangeable word or an alternative to "UNF" on second and subsequent references within a section is necessary, "University" is acceptable. Capitalize "University" when referring specifically to the University of North Florida. Lowercase "university" when referring to other institutions. Some institutions of higher education use "The" in official designations. UNF is not obligated to honor the style guidelines of other institutions. UNF style is to use a lowercase "the" in all references.

Right: UNF opened its doors to students in 1972.

Right: The University of North Florida is one of 11 public institutions of higher education in Florida. The University has six colleges.

Right: John will attend the University of West Florida.

Right: Sarah is a junior at the University of North Florida.

Wrong: John will attend The University of West Florida.

Wrong: John's University is in New Mexico.


World Wide Web

Three words, no hyphens and always uppercase first letters. On second reference, use "web."

NOTE: "Home page" is two words and should not be capitalized; internet should not be capitalized.

ALSO: website, webcam, webcast, webfeed, webmaster, webpage, but web address and web browser. 

Right: Visit the center's web page at

Right: UNF's new home page is 

Composition Titles


Use quotation marks around the titles of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category also includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications. Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as Excel or Word.  

Right: He has the latest copy of Webster's New World Dictionary.
Right: She reads the Bible each evening.
Right: “Gone with the Wind”
Right: Encyclopedia Britannica
Wrong: Every year I purchase a new copy of "The Farmer's Almanac."
Wrong: “Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language”



In the case of magazine names, do not use quotation marks and do not italicize. Uppercase the name of the magazine but lowercase "magazine" unless it is a part of the publication's formal title.

Right: Rebecca enjoys Harper's Magazine more than Time magazine.
Wrong: "Jacksonville Magazine" featured an article about the University of North Florida.



Capitalize "the" in a newspaper or magazine's name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Lowercase "the" before newspaper names when several papers are mentioned, some of which use "the" as part of the name and some of which do not.

Right: The story appeared in the New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Florida Times-Union.
Right: He reads The Wall Street Journal every morning.


Where location is needed but is not part of the official name, use parentheses.

Right: The Huntsville (Alabama) Times
Wrong: The Huntsville, Alabama, Times



Include quotation marks around titles of articles and features in periodicals and newspapers, chapter titles, and part titles, titles of short stories, essays and individual selections in books.


Right: Dr. Rebecca A. Marcon published "Reply to Lonigan" in the Spring 2003 issue of Early Childhood Research and Practice.
Right: Dr. Mary Baron published "Let Your Poem Breathe" in the March 2001 issue of The Writer.


Days, months, years

Do not use the word "on" with dates when its absence would not lead to confusion. Also, do not use the phrase "held on." When referring to a sequence of dates, use a hyphen instead of the word "to." Whenever it does not cause confusion, drop the year in dates.

Right: The program will end Dec. 15, 2010.

Right: The program will end in December 2010. (No comma if the month is followed by the current year.)

Right: The program will end in December.

Wrong: The program will end on December 15, 2010.

Right: Apply here May 7-9, from 8 to 10 a.m.

Right: Apply here May 7-9, 8 to 10 a.m.

Wrong: Apply here May 7 to 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Right: The workshop will be Monday, Aug. 8.

Wrong: The workshop will be held on Monday, Aug. 8.



Decades, centuries

Use an "s" without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries. Use an apostrophe for class years when shortening the graduation year.

Right: UNF was founded in the 1960s.

Wrong: He went to college in the 1980's.

Right: She grew up in the '70s.


First through ninth, etc.

Spell out numerical designations first through ninth; use numerals with appropriate letter suffixes for 10th and above. Do not use "st," "the," etc., with dates.

Right: the first semester, the second vice president

Right: the 10th sample, our 50th anniversary

Right: Submit applications by Oct. 14.

Wrong: Submit applications by Oct. 14th.



Use the dollar sign and numbers. Do not use a decimal and two zeros.


Right: $15

Right: $15.25

Wrong: $15.00

For dollar amounts beyond thousands, use the dollar sign, number and appropriate word.

Right: The grant was $14 million.

Wrong: The grant was $14,000,000.

Right: The budget was $82.6 million.

Wrong: The budget was $82,600,000.

For amounts less than $1, use a numeral with "cents."

Right: Savings amount to 3 cents an hour.



Generally, spell out whole numbers one through nine; use figures for 10 and above. 


Figures are used for such things as dimensions, percentages, ages, distances and computer storage capacities. Also use figures when dealing with millions (i.e. $4 million; 7 million people). Spell out grade levels below 10. Check the AP Stylebook for exceptions. Spell out numbers when used at the beginning of sentences.

Right: nine secretaries

Right: 16 buildings

Right: 4 inches

Right: He teaches ninth grade but will teach 10th grade next year.

Right: She has a daughter, Susan, 2.

Right: Twenty students registered for the class.

Right: 8 megabytes, a 128-megabyte memory

Right: He had 4 cents in his pocket.

NOTE: Numerical increments should be typed as 2-1/2, 7-3/4. Fractions below 1 should be spelled out with a hyphen between the words: one-half, two-thirds.



In tables, write percentages with the numeral and "%" symbol. Otherwise, use percent (one word). Spell out "percent" except in scientific, technical and statistical copy. Percentages should always be numerals unless at the start of a sentence, even if the number is a single-digit number (one through nine).

Right: Seventy percent responded favorably.

Right: More than 90 percent of the class earned A's, and only 2 percent failed.


Telephone numbers

If a publication is strictly for use on campus, omit the area code and exchange prefix, using only the extension. Do not capitalize "ext." If including more than one extension, use "or" between the extension numbers.

Right: ext. 2140

Right: ext. 2140 or 2141

If the publication will be sent off campus, include the area code in parentheses with a space between the parentheses and exchange.

Right: (904) 620-2140

Right: (904) 620-2140 or 2141

Plurals and Possessives

General guidelines

Follow these guidelines in forming and using plural words:

For most words, add an “s” to pluralize. This includes figures and years.

Right: the early 1920s 

Right: several YMCAs 

Right: CPAs, CODs and IOUs

Right: in twos and threes

Right: size 7s 

Right: Temperatures will be in the low 20s.

Right: She knows her ABCs.

Right: I gave him five IOUs.

Right: They both have Ph.D.s and M.A.s.

There are a few exceptions, including the plural forms of single letters. Form plurals of the following by adding an "apostrophe and s."


Right: S's, A's and I's

Right: x's and y's 

Right: Mind your p’s and q’s.

In general, add an “es” to pluralize words ending in “ch,” “s,” “sh,” “ss,” “x” and “z."

Right: churches

Right: lenses

Right: parishes

Right: buzzes

(Monarchs is an exception)

Words ending in “y”: If a “y” is preceded by a consonant or “qu,” change the “y” to an “i” and add “es.” Otherwise, just add an “s.”

Right: armies

Right: cities

Right: navies

Right: soliloquies

Right: donkeys

Right: monkeys

Words ending in “o”: If the “o” is preceded by a consonant, most plurals require “es.” One exception to this rule includes “pianos.”

Right: buffaloes

Right: dominoes

Right: echoes

Right: potatoes

Wrong: pianoes 


Plural possessives

For words ending in "s" that are not proper nouns, use only the apostrophe if the following word begins in "s."

Right: Class' syllabus

Right: Class's work

Wrong: Class's syllabus

Pluralizing compound words

To pluralize compound words that are written solid, add an "s" at the end. For those that involve separate words or words linked by a hyphen, make the most significant word plural.

Right: cupfuls

Right: handfuls

Right: tablespoonfuls

Right: attorneys general

Right: daughters-in-law

Right: presidents-elect

Right: sergeants major

Right: assistant attorneys general

Wrong: mother-in-laws


Preferred plurals


Right Wrong
memoranda memorandums
symposia symposiums
colloquia colloquiums
millennia millenniums
data datums
media mediums
criteria criterions
people persons
vitae vitas 


Proper nouns

Add an “es” to most names ending in “es,” “s” or “z.”

Right: Charleses 

Right: Joneses

Right: Williamses 

Right: Gonzalezes 

Add an “s” to most proper names ending in “y,” even if preceded by a consonant. Exceptions include “Alleghenies” and “Rockies.”

Right: the Duffys 

Right: the Kennedys 

Right: the two Kansas Citys 

For others, just add an “s.”

Right: the Carters

Right: the McCoys 

Wrong: the Smith’s

Here's a sampling of proper nouns on campus:

Brooks College of Health

Coggin College of Business

College of Arts and Sciences

College of Education and Human Services

College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

Fine Arts Center

University Green, the Green

Lazzara Performance Hall

Punctuation Basics

Cities and states

Use a comma after the city and after the state or country.


Right: Alexandria, Virginia, is my hometown.
Right: The conference is in Brussels, Belgium, next year.


Day and date

Use commas to separate the year from the day and after the year. Do not use suffixes with dates.


Right: July 1, 1960, is our anniversary.
Right: We were married July 1, 1960.
Wrong: We were married July 1st, 1960.
Right: We were married in June 1960 in Florida.

Wrong: We were married in June 1960, in Florida.


Introductory phrases

Short introductory phrases such as "Last year" and "In 1989" do not always require commas. When in doubt, leave it out.


Right: Last year 400 freshmen were admitted to UNF.
Wrong: Last year, the campus was much smaller.


Jr., Sr., III

The designations “Jr.,” “Sr.” and “III” should not be preceded or followed by commas.


Right: John Jones Jr. went to the party.
Wrong: John Jones, Jr., went to the party
Right: John Jones III went to the party.
Wrong: John Jones, III went to the party.



Place the period inside the parentheses when the matter enclosed is an independent sentence forming no part of the preceding sentence. Otherwise, place it outside.


Right: The office is in Founders Hall, Building 2 (on the first floor).


Punctuation with quotations

Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks. Exclamation points and question marks go inside the quotation marks when they are part of the quoted matter; otherwise, they go outside.


Right: Gomer Pyle said, "Golly, Sergeant!" when he heard the news.
Right: What did Martin Luther King Jr. mean when he said, "I have a dream"?


In running quotations, closing quotation marks should be omitted at the end of paragraphs, but each new paragraph should begin with open quotation marks.


Semicolons and colons

Semicolons and colons should be placed outside quotation marks or parentheses. When quoting material ending with one of these punctuation marks, the colon or semicolon is dropped.


Right: Joseph Jackson said the plan needed "a few minor adjustments"; however, he did not reject it entirely.



Do not use a comma before the last item in a series unless it is needed for clarity.


Right: She chose the colors red, white and blue.

Wrong: She chose the colors red, white, and blue.



Only one space is needed between sentences. Be consistent with spacing.



If a website address is included in text and cannot fit on one line, manually break the address after a punctuation mark or between actual words in the address and continue on the next line of text. Make sure that a hyphen is not placed where the address breaks.


Right: The office often makes use of the advice listed at www.bestadvice/office/practices.htm.

Wrong: the office often makes use of the advice listed at wwwbestadvice- /office/practices.htm.


NOTE: A period is still needed after a website address to close the sentence. If "www" is part of the address, the "http://" does not need to be included. If "www" is not part of the address, include the http://.




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 the plural "alums" and "alumni" to refer to more than one graduate. To reference a single graduate, use "alumna" – feminine singular and "alumnus - masculine singular. For plural references, you may also use "alumnae" – feminine plural 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.  

Right: Email is a convenient way to communicate.

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


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.


Right: The program was offered to students with disabilities.

Wrong: The program was offered to disabled students.


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 attended the event.
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 and 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

website, webpage, the web
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.