Office of Marketing and Communications

Editorial Style Guide

Capitalization

In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Overall, capital letters should be used only if they can be justified by one of the principles listed here:

Academic Degrees

Capitalize official college degrees only when referring to the specific program. (See examples.) The article (a, an or the) used in the sentence can be an important indicator for capitalization.

Example:
She earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry.
The Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology offers two tracks.

Academic Departments

Capitalize names of academic departments or University offices when they are proper nouns. However, do not capitalize the word department when it follows the name of the program. The word department should only be capitalized when it precedes the name of the program. When used in plural form (departments), it should not be capitalized. See examples below.

Examples:
The Department of Art and Design offers a number of majors.
The Art and Design department offers a number of majors.

Example 2:
The departments of Psychology and Physics are located in the science wing of the Academic Building.

This rule of lowercasing (as seen in Example 2) also works when referring to the word offices, or any other common noun when used in a plural form.

Example: lakes Erie and Ontario

Proper names of divisions of University offices or departments should be capitalized.

Academic, Business and Religious Titles

Capitalize all conferred and traditional educational, occupational, business and religious titles when used.

Examples:
Professor James Smith, Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry
James Smith, Professor of Chemistry

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps

The words Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard should be capitalized when referring to the United States armed forces, whether or not preceded by the letters U.S.

Board of Trustees

Capitalize Lewis University Board of Trustees on first reference. On second reference, the trustees or the board may be used.

Catholic, Catholicism

Both words should be capitalized when used in a religious sense, indicating the belief and membership in the Christian church headed by the Pope.

Lowercase catholic when used in the generic sense, meaning general or all-inclusive.

Cities and Towns

Capitalize them in all uses. Capitalize official titles, including separate political entities such as East St. Louis, Ill. or West Palm Beach, Fla.

Informal descriptions for the section of a city are generally lowercase, such as the west end and northern Los Angeles. Widely recognized names for the sections of a city are capitalized, such as the South Side (Chicago) and the Lower East Side (New York). Spell out names of cities (Los Angeles, not L.A.), unless in direct quotes.

City

Capitalize city as part of a proper name, such as Kansas City or New York City. Lowercase in other instances, such as a Texas city, the city government, or the city of Boston.

College, university

Capitalize when part of a proper name. University is always capitalized when referring to Lewis University.

Example: The University competes in NCAA Division II athletics.

Course Names

Capitalize a specific course name, such as Ethics in Journalism.

De La Salle

When using just the last name of John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers (whether used as a noun or an adjective), the initial letters of his name should be capitalized.

Examples:
De La Salle prayed.
Lewis University is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

When using the full name of the founder, the “de” should be lowercase (i.e., John Baptist de La Salle).

Note: Saint should always be spelled out when used in conjunction with John Baptist de La Salle’s name.

First Word After a Colon

The first word after a colon should be capitalized only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.

The Flyer

The name The Flyer should always be capitalized when referring to the University’s official mascot, Bedcheck Charlie.

The Flyer also should be capitalized and italicized when referring to the University’s student newspaper which bears the same name.

Flyers

The word Flyers should be capitalized when referring to Lewis University’s athletic teams.

Forms

Capitalize the principal words in the complete title of official University forms as well as formal procedures.

Examples:
the Application for Admission
an application

Quotation marks should not be used in conjunction with the name of the form (i.e., the “Application for Admission” form). In the examples above, the grammatical article (an or the) can be an important indicator for capitalization.

Geographical Names

Entire geographical names should be capitalized, such as the Mississippi River.

Geographical Regions

Geographical regions of the country should be capitalized, but not points on the compass.

Example: Lewis University is located in the Midwest, just 30 minutes southwest of Chicago.

See Regions, Directions under Editorial Style (A–Z) for more information.

Historical/Popular Events

Capitalize widely-recognized historical or popular events such as the Boston Tea Party or the Civil War. This rule also applies to widely-recognized epochs in geology, anthropology, archeology and history, such as the Bronze Age.

Lasallian

Capitalize the word Lasallian. Remember Lasallian is one word and should never have a capital s.

Lewis University

Always capitalize Lewis University. On second reference, Lewis or the University may be used. If the reference is to universities in general, university is not capitalized.

Example: Students choose a university for many reasons.

Mission

Capitalize the word Mission when referring to Lewis University’s Mission statement.

Example 1: The Mission defines and animates the common life and character of Lewis University.

Example 2: The University has a mission to help every qualified student who can benefit from a Lewis education to meet the costs of attending college.

Example l is specific to Lewis’ Mission statement. Example 2 is not, talking of a mission. Here the article (a or the) can be an important indicator for capitalization.

Nouns, Months, Days of the Week

Proper nouns, months and days of the week should be capitalized, but not the seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall).

Proper Names

The words association, building, center, club, conference, department, division, hall, office, senate, street, etc. should be capitalized when used as part of an official title. On second reference, do not capitalize these words when used alone to refer to that specific group or place.

Example: The Caterpillar Gallery is located in the Oremus Fine Arts Center. The gallery has been the exhibit site of many student art shows.

Races and Nationalities

Capitalize names of all races and nationalities, such as Caucasian, Nigerian, Irish and Japanese.

Room

The word room when used to designate a particular room should be capitalized. When a room number is combined with a letter (whether placed before or after the number), a hyphen should not be used to separate the letter from the room number.

Example: Your class is located in Room A133.

Standard Time

Capitalize Eastern Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time, etc., but lowercase standard time when used alone.

Time Zones

See Time Zones under Editorial Style (A–Z) .

Titles of Books, Plays, Lectures, etc.

Capitalize all words, except articles, conjunctions and prepositions, in the titles of books, plays, lectures, musical composition, etc., including A and The if at the beginning of the title.

Example: “The Star-Spangled Banner

Words Derived from a Proper Noun

Words that are derived from a proper noun and still depend on it for their meaning, such as Americans, Christianity and Marxism, should be capitalized.

Words that are derived from a proper noun, but no longer depend on the noun for their meaning should not be capitalized, such as french fries.

Do Not Capitalize

Century
Do not capitalize the word century, such as the 18th century.

Classes of Students
Do not capitalize classes of students in a college or high school, and the words freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate.

Example: The senior class donated a special gift.

Common Noun Elements
Common noun elements should only be capitalized when part of an official title.

Example: The Department of Art and Design offers a number of majors.

Common Noun Elements (When Plural)
Do not capitalize common noun elements in all plural uses, including the words offices, schools and departments.

Example: The departments of Psychology and Chemistry are located in this building.

Other examples are the Democratic and Republican parties, lakes Erie and Ontario, Main and Elm streets.

Common Noun Elements (More Examples)
Words such as honors, baccalaureate, master’s degree, federal, government and state should not be capitalized unless used as part of an official name or title.

“de” in John Baptist de La Salle
When using the full name of the founder of the Christian Brothers, the “de” should be lowercase (i.e., John Baptist de La Salle).

When using just the founder’s last name (whether as a noun or an adjective), the initial letters of his name should be capitalized.

Examples:
De La Salle prayed.
Lewis University is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

Note: Saint should always be spelled out when used in conjunction with John Baptist de La Salle’s name.

Names of Fields, Curricula and Majors
Names of fields of study, options, curricula, major areas, except names of languages, should not be capitalized unless referring to a specific course or department.

Example: He is studying philosophy and English.

Organizational Elements
Do not capitalize internal elements of an organization when they have names that are widely and generically used, such as faculty and staff.

Seasons
Seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall and winter and derivatives such as springtime should not be capitalized unless part of a formal name, such as the Winter Olympics. See Semester under Editorial Style (A–Z) for more information.

Time
Lowercase abbreviations such as a.m. or p.m.

Unofficial Titles
Do not capitalize unofficial titles/occupational descriptions before a person’s name, such as astronaut John Glenn, civil rights activist Mahatma Gandhi, or faculty member Joseph Andrews.

Lowercase all common noun elements used in conjunction with a proper noun to form an unofficial title.

Example: The Art and Design department offers a number of majors.

Common noun elements should only be capitalized when part of an official title.

Example: The Department of Art and Design offers a number of majors.

Words Derived from a Proper Name
Do not capitalize words that are derived from a proper name, but no longer depend on it for their meaning, such as french fries and venetian blinds.