The Style Guide for The City University of New York is intended to provide consistency in the presentation of material on a growing number of informational platforms. Consistency aids clarity and established style preferences save time for all who are preparing material.

Punctuation, capitalization and, at times, even grammar and spelling, are matters of editorial preference rather than rules. The University Style Guide can help establish consistency in content.

Our University style guide draws upon a diversity of CUNY college stylebooks, The Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press stylebook and Merriam Webster’s Unabridged and College edition dictionaries. For matters not covered here, those are sources that can be the authorities.

A great number of entries here are specific to the University and its colleges and schools, while others establish our style preferences for commonly used words, or are simple reminders about words often misspelled or misused. The style preferences, of course, are for communication in general and not intended to be used in academic papers.

The style guide has an alphabetical structure for entries, which can also be located through the search box.


academic awards

Capitalize all words that are part of the official title except conjunctions and prepositions of three letters or less, unless it’s the first word of an official name (e.g., He is winner of The 2008 Women’s Forum Scholarship, but she won a mathematics scholarship from the Women’s Forum in 2006).

academic degrees

B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S. and Ph.D. are expressed with periods. With most other degrees, don’t use periods, e.g., MFA, MBA. [Note: This style for academic-degree abbreviations is chosen to ensure that information distributed by the University, or sought out by others, is in forms most often used.]

academic departments

Capitalize formal references to a department: Baruch College Department of Natural Sciences, but lower case general references; the natural sciences department at Baruch. Lower case all except proper nouns/adjectives (history department, English department).

academic journals

Regular type — no parentheses or italicized fonts for the names of journals.

academic majors

Most often cited in lower case, e.g., history major, with the exception of words spelled with a capital, E.g. English major.

academic titles

For individuals, capitalize the first letter of each of the words in a title preceding the first reference (excluding prepositions under 4 letters). On subsequent references, first letters of a shortened title appearing before the name will be capitalized. Stand-alone references, e.g., will be all lower case. The Chancellor, when referring to the chancellor of CUNY, is an exception.


acronyms and abbreviations

In general, with the exception of CUNY, the first reference to an organization, institution, initiative, etc. (even those within The City University of New York) should be the full name. Thereafter, the abbreviation/acronym alone generally is sufficient.

At CUNY, pronounceable abbreviations (acronyms) do not use periods, as well as — in a difference from AP style — many unpronounceable abbreviations.

If there are numerous different abbreviations in a long story, each first reference should be followed by its common abbreviation/acronym in parentheses; in long, complex pieces, readers usually welcome a reminder occasionally of the organization’s partial name or purpose, if it isn’t widely known.

A.D. and B.C.

are used and placed after the year, e.g., 53 B.C., but at times there will be material from other sources that uses C.E. (common era) and B.C.E. (before common era). More institutions, especially academic ones, are using C.E. and B.C.E.


When a street number is part of the address, an abbreviation is used for street, avenue, and boulevard: 310 Park Ave.; without a specific number, the full word is used: on Park Avenue. We use First through Ninth for streets and avenues and figures above: 11th Avenue, 205 11th Ave.; First Avenue and 43rd Street; with a full address, East and West are abbreviated: 219 W. 41st St., but without the street or avenue number, don’t use the abbreviation: West 41st Street.

administrative titles

Preceding a name title words will have upper case initial letters, except articles and conjunctions of fewer than four letters. When following a name, or used without a name, the title will be in lower case, e.g., the vice chancellor for student affairs. Often a long title may be best suited in lower case following a name than with too many capitalized words preceding the name.

Advanced Science Research Center



has the same meaning as advisor and is preferred.

affect, effect

Affect as a verb means to influence: Will a warming earth affect storm patterns? Effect as a verb means to cause. The new administration will effect changes in the system. As a noun, effect is a result. The effect was stunning. Affect as a noun is used much less often, but has a distinct meaning in the study of psychology.


with the hyphen as noun or modifier. A hyphen is used with dual heritage, e.g., Mexican-American, Japanese-American.


Use numerals for age in all uses: The child was 3 years old; the 3-year-old girl.

alma mater


female, singular.


female, plural.


male plural, and mixed male and female plural.


male, singular.


Lower case, with periods for a.m. and p.m.; a space between number and letters, no space between the letters, e.g., 4 a.m.


not amidst.


Do not substitute an ampersand for the word "and" in text. Use it when provided as part of the formal title of a unit (company, firm, institution, e.g., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) or event, lecture, etc.


There is no first annual. There must be at least two, in consecutive years, to be annual.


With singular formal names ending in s, e.g., Jones, we now use AP style: only an apostrophe, not Chicago style with the apostrophe and an s. So, it’s John Jones’ bicycle and no longer John Jones’s bicycle.


with the hyphen as noun or modifier.

associate degree

associate professor

Both associate professor and professor and used in the lower case.


is not abbreviated as part of a formal name; on subsequent reference in text the organization can be referred to as the association, with a lower case a.

avenues and streets

First through Ninth for Avenues and Streets, figures beginning with 10th.


B.C.E. and C.E.

The abbreviations for "before common era" and "common era" may appear in cited or quoted material, but are not used in place of B.C. and A.D. in dates.


Bachelor of Arts

bachelor’s degree

B.A., bachelor’s


not backwards.

Baruch College

beside, besides

Beside: at the side of; besides: in addition to.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The formal name uses an ampersand.


is every other month; semimonthly is twice a month.

Board of Trustees of The City University of New York

On subsequent reference, CUNY Board of Trustees, Board of Trustees, or the Board. See current list at:

Borough of Manhattan Community College

The initials BMCC may be used in subsequent references, but a general reference — the college — often works as well.

Bronx Community College


Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

Brooklyn College



for common era


But University-wide, which is one of the "-wide" modifiers that we choose to keep the hyphen.



Some guidelines: Middle initials in names are unnecessary in captions, as well as punctuation if a full sentence has not been formed. Sentence fragments are acceptable in captions.

Note: A simple reminder to double-check with the appropriate party that caption names correspond correctly to people in a photo.




Spell out the first through ninth; use numbers above ninth, 10th century. Do not use the superscript th, e.g., 10th. In Word.doc, to eliminate in superscript call up Tools, select autocorrect, select autoformat as you type, remove the check in box for: Ordinals 1st (with superscript).


for chief executive officer is suitable on first reference, but other corporate or organizational positions, e.g., chief financial officer and chief operating officer, should be spelled out, with the subsequent use of initials, CFO, COO.

Chairperson, Vice Chairperson

The titles of the two top appointed positions to the Board of Trustees are designated by state law as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. All University material follows this format when the titles appear before the names. After the names or standing alone in other instances the titles will be in lower case. For consistency, they should be used for heads of any CUNY committees, groups, etc., that are so designated. For non-CUNY organizations, use whatever designations those groups officially apply to the positions.


Capitalized when appearing before the name, and when standing alone if referring to the Chancellor of The City University of New York.

chief financial officer, CFO

The title is always spelled out on first reference, with capital letters before a name.

chief operating officer, COO

The Chief Operating Officer is always spelled out on first reference, with u&l letters before a name.

child care

Without a hyphen both as a noun and a modifier.


Lower case when standing alone, including as a reference to New York City

City Council

With initial capital letters refers to the New York City Council.

City University School of Law at Queens College

City University Law School, CUNY School of Law, CUNY Law School

citywide, statewide

-wide in most uses now is without the hyphen, e.g., campuswide, systemwide, universitywide. However, we still avoid what appear to be clunky uses, often with proper nouns, e.g, CUNYwide, Universitywide, Lehmanwide, etc.; use the hyphen, CUNY-wide, etc.

class year

From any college, John Smith ’98; when following immediately after the name, the year refers to an undergraduate degree. It does not require the full, four-digit year, but two digits need to be preceded by an apostrophe, not a single opening quote. For a master’s degree earned from a college, John Smith, M.A., ’98. It must be clear what school or college the graduate is from, either in text preceding the name, or following the name, such as John Doe, Hunter College, B.A., ’98.

Co. and Inc.

The abbreviations are used in company names in the first reference and are NOT preceded by a comma: XYZ Inc. not XYZ, Inc.

College of Staten Island

Subsequent references, CSI.


We do not use the serial (or Oxford) comma before the last in a series of items. We follow AP style, using the comma only when it is necessary to avoid confusion or misinterpretation (see punctuation).

Commencement and Convocation

Both enjoy an upper case initial C when referring to the specific event of a specific institution, e.g., Lehman College has scheduled its 2012 Commencement for XXXX.

committee names

Use capitals for first letters of each word (exemptions are always prepositions and articles of 3 letters or less).

Committee on Faculty, Staff and Administration

Or CFSA, is one of six standing committees of the Board of Trustees.

Community Colleges

offering associate degrees:

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Bronx Community College
  • Hostos Community College
  • Kingsborough Community College
  • LaGuardia Community College
  • New Community College
  • Queensborough Community College

company names

No comma before the Co. or Inc. of a company name, and for companies that use both Co. and Inc., use the first and drop the second. XYZ Company, Inc. becomes XYZ Co.

composition titles

Book titles are in italics in most print publications; Most other compositions, movies, plays, poems, speeches, lectures, songs, albums, works of art, titles of panel discussions, etc., are enclosed in quotation marks; Some works listed by AP stand alone without quotation marks. For example, the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications.

Academic and scientific journals also stand alone without quotation marks.

In headlines: Book titles and other composition titles are enclosed in single, not double, quotation marks.

compound modifiers

Hyphenate most compound modifiers. Exceptions: compound modifiers formed with "ly" adverbs: easily opened packages; many well-established modifiers do not need a hyphen: high school team, child care center, day care center.


Used in the transitive: The center comprises six separate work places É NOT The center is comprised of É. Often these are easier choices: The Center consists of É The Center is composed of … The Center includes É even though such uses are not as definitive. For instance, the Center comprises six É means that’s it for work places, no more, no less. But the Center "includes" may mean all that follows and no more, or all that follows and other unlisted items.

convince, persuade

You are convinced of something, persuaded to do something and you convince another to believe and persuade another to do.


(See Commencement and Convocation).

co-op vs. coop

Hyphenate the human organizations/apartment buildings to differentiate them from the barnyard accommodations.


courtesy titles

Do not use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Use a person’s full name on first reference and surname on subsequent references. For promotional material, advertisements, brochures, flyers, invitations, etc., such titles can be used when needed.


Both CUNY and the University are subsequent references for The City University of New York, but CUNY can often be used as a first reference.

CUNY Baccalaureate

CUNY Baccalaureate degree

CUNY Campaign for Charitable Voluntary Giving

CUNY Central Administration



Neither CUNY first nor CUNYFirst

CUNY Graduate School and University Center

Cuny Graduate Center, the Graduate Center

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

CUNY School of Journalism, CUNY Journalism School

CUNY Online Baccalaureate Degree

CUNY School of Law

CUNY Law School

CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College

CUNY School of Public Health



With dashes in text, use a space before and a space after the dash. (To create a dash on a Mac keyboard, simultaneously press option-shift-hyphen).


Almost always a plural noun (the data were gathered) but on occasion, as a collective noun it can be singular. An AP example: The data is sound. Information expressed as a unit.


Months standing alone are spelled out: January, February, etc., October 2009, December 1943. With a specific date, the abbreviations Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. are used, while March, April, May, June and July are not abbreviated: Jan. 2, Oct. 10, etc., and with a specific date and year: Jan. 3, 2014, March 5, 1968, etc.; January; Feb. 3; April 3, 2014, In text, a comma follows the year in a full date, unless it is ends the sentence.

day care

is used without a hyphen both as a noun and compound modifier.


Decade of Science

The title has no quotation marks


No apostrophe: 1930s, and ’30s is preceded by an apostrophe.


Capitalize the formal name of a specific department: the Department of Psychology is moving its offices but lower case department names in informal uses: A psychology department professor before tuning to mathematics É Lowercase everything except proper nouns/adjectives (e.g., the history department, the English department) or when the department is part of the formal name and cited in the complete form (e.g., Baruch College Department of Natural Sciences, but the department of natural sciences at Baruch).


is preferred to such wording as passed away; quoted material is the exception.

Distinguished Professor

is capitalized either before or after a name when it refers to the special CUNY University post.

doctor, Dr.

The professional title or abbreviation Dr. is commonly used before the name of a medical doctor or dentist. Many style guides, including the AP’s, had long suggested that it be used only for those in the medical professions. That position has softened and its use before those holding a doctorate has become acceptable as long as it is evident what the degree relates to, e.g., historian, sociologist, etc.

It is not our preference to use Dr. before the names of any and all holders of doctorate degrees, but it does not need to be removed, for instance, in formal CUNY invitations, in congratulatory advertisements, etc. And, at times, there may be a strong preference for its use in text. In such a case, it should be used in the first reference, reverting to the last name thereafter.


or Ph.D. can be used.



Means, for example, while i.e., means that is; both are preceded and followed by commas.


Election Day


The use of ellipses to denote that some of the quoted material at that place has been deleted is allowed; extreme care must be taken to avoid any possibility that the meaning of the quote or its tone could then be interpreted in a different way. Ellipses appear with a space after the last character of text and a space before the next character of text that appears.



female, singular.


female, plural.


male or mixed male and female, plural.


male, singular.

emigrate, immigrate

You emigrate from a country and the word is used when the concentration is on that country; when the focus is on the new country, immigrate is used.

ensure, insure

Ensure means to make sure of while insure is guaranteeing against loss, as you do with an insurance policy.

entitled and titled

Are not interchangeable. He was entitled to the promotion. The book was titled Gone With the Wind. Often simply the title of the work will suffice, especially when it is a book title in italics or enclosed in quotation marks.


A lesson from Chancellor Goldstein, who always correctly employs this universally misused pair. The rule: people can correctly envision themselves or someone else doing something (She/He envisions a career as a professor, and I envision the same for myself). For all other situations, use envisage (I/We/They envisage a new system of education for the city).

Equal Opportunity Employer


et al.

At the end of a list of names when more than one person has been omitted, preceded by a comma.


Preceded by a comma and used at the end of a list when two or more items have been omitted.




The word will be treated as a plural noun in references to the University, without adding the word "members" to follow. There may be occasions when the collective sense is so distinct that a singular verb may seem more appropriate. In that case, be flexible.


Seasons are not capitalized except as part of formal titles and specific CUNY semester designations: Spring 2012

farther, further

Farther for physical distance and further for an extension of time or degree.

fewer, less

Fewer is used with specific items or people that can be counted (There were fewer than 20 applicants for the job) while less is used with bulk (A&P sold less flour last year).

film titles

Enclose in quotation marks.

Financial Aid Form


first name, last name

Use first names in subsequent references for children through age 17, last names for adults age 18 and above. If more than one child has the same first name, or more than one adult has the same last name, use their full names. If that doesn’t clarify who’s who, add some other distinguishing bit of information (Girl Scout Chris Jones, football quarterback Chris Jones).

first-year student

Preferred by some to freshman when referring to a specific individual, but freshmen and freshman continued to be used as a class designation.

follow-up, follow up

Noun and adjective; follow up as verb form

forgo, forego

To do without: forgo. To go before: forego.


Not forwards

Founding Dean, Founding President

Both Founding uses are capitalized when referring to CUNY titles.


Spell out amounts under one in text: four-fifths, seven-eighths, using hyphens between words.

full time, part time; full-time, part-time, full-timer, part-timer;

Hyphenated when used as a compound modifier, a full-time job, a part-time job. No hyphen when not: She worked full time.

fundraiser, fundraising


See father, further



General Education Development tests, the equivalency of a high school diploma, used as a modifier, GED diploma or GED certificate.

Goldwater Scholar

grade point average

GPA, no periods

Graduate School and University Center

A single entity taking a singular verb. In events listings it can be shortened to the Graduate Center.


The text style we have is a foundation for graphics arts, but greater flexibility in its application is needed to meet the demands of other formats. Guidelines that strengthen and speed the communication of information in an article, for instance, don’t necessarily serve the same goal, if applied to the editorial content of an advertisement, a brochure, a flyer, chart or graph, or even a picture caption or text blurb for a video.

What remains necessary for clarity and understanding is consistency, not only within any single element, but also for multiple elements that are related or connected, for instance, within an advertising campaign. The Associated Press Stylebook, and our City University of New York Style Guide, provide quick answers to common questions about the University’s preferences.

Here are just a few examples of how art and graphics work may adapt:

  • Addresses - Because of the demands of space or for visual effect, graphics/art may choose to use abbreviations when the style guidelines call for a word to be spelled out, or the opposite: Ave. Blvd., or Jan., Feb., etc., are often called for but the full names can be a better choice in some graphics.
  • dates - In text, days of the week are never abbreviated, but Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat. and Sun. can be used, not only in charts and graphs where space rules, but in other presentations as well.
  • headlines - Design choices may deviate from our basic style, e.g., all lower case words can be used.
  • numbers - Any of the numbers spelled out in text, one though nine, can be used as numerals in graphic/visual presentations; percent can be expressed as %. Telephone numbers carry hyphens, 212-356-1234, but advertisements, invitations, etc., often choose periods instead; 212.356.1234
  • time - With time elements such as a.m. and p.m., AM, PM; A.M., P.M. or am, pm may be used instead, but, as always, there should be consistency. In formal invitations, o’clock is often used with the hour instead of a.m. or p.m.
  • state abbreviations - Two-letter postal codes can be used in most cases.
  • titles - Courtesy titles, Mr., Ms. and occasionally Mrs., can be used in many promotional items, as well as Dr. for a doctorate. NYS or NYC are also often used in promotional material as modifiers before Assembly Member or Council Member.


not grey.

Great Recession

The recession that began in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Guaranteed Student Loan Program

is now the Stafford Loan Program.

Guggenheim Fellow



One word both as an adjective and a noun.


Generally capitalize the first letter of each word except articles, prepositions and conjunctions of less than four letters — a, an, and, of, the, to — and also cap the first letter in those words when they begin a line (as a rule, they shouldn’t end a line).

  • Decks/dropheads - are treated like sentences, whether they have a verb or not; capitalize the first word and proper names. But don’t put a period at the end unless more than one sentence is used.

health care

Two words except in formal names, such as our own program at York College.

Healthcare Management Certificate

The formal title for a certificate offered from York College, but the words health care in other general uses appear as two words as a noun or a modifier.


One who is, or whose ancestors were, from a Spanish-speaking country. The usage choice depends upon a person’s or people’s preference.


It’s "a" historic event. Use the article "a" before consonant sounds that exist in common American usage - e.g., a house, a hospital, a history book. Use the article "an" before American vowel sounds e.g., an hour, an heir. A few words, notably herb, swing both ways.

historic or historical

Historic is something of significance in history, while historical is something in history.

Hostos Community College

hourlong, hourslong

Hunter College



for that is, e.g. for example; both are followed by a comma in common text.


Without periods for abbreviation of identification.


As part of a company name, it is abbreviated and appears without a comma before it: XYZ Inc. Not XYZ Incorporated or XYZ, Inc. It does not matter if the company uses a comma before the Inc. or not. We do not. Exceptions: In promotional materials, advertisements, invitations, etc., names are spelled as the party chooses.


Middle initials in individuals’ names are used, if provided, but they are not required.

in order to vs. to

In order to is a common redundancy; the word "to" should suffice in most cases.

Institutes and centers at CUNY campus, see:

international students

Not foreign students


Upper case initial letter.


Lower case initial letter.



Information Technology


Use sparingly, but when it seems necessary use italics, not capitals, to emphasize a word in text. (Book titles appear in italics).

its, it’s

Its is the possessive (Its lack of color was disturbing) and it’s is the contraction of it and is (It’s time to go).


John Jay College of Criminal Justice

John Jay College, John Jay in subsequent references.


Academic and scientific journals stand alone without the quotation marks that are used with a number of other compositions.



Abbreviate with a name; no comma before Jr. or Sr. in a name: John Smith Jr.



Kingsborough Community College




Labor Day

LaGuardia Community College


The names of languages and dialects are capitalized.



One who is, or whose ancestors were, from a Spanish-speaking country. The usage choice depends upon the person’s or people’s preference. Latina is the feminine form of Latino.


Use quotation marks around the titles of lectures or talks at events.

Lehman College

less, fewer

Fewer for individual items, less for bulk or quantity: Fewer than 10 applicants came to the office.


Webster’s, Merriam Webster’s and the AP stylebook all prefer the hyphenated adjective to single word.

Lower East Side




Master of Arts


A medical doctor

Macaulay Honors College

On subsequent reference, the Honors College

magazine and newspaper titles

Not enclosed in quotations marks.

major, minor

major concentration


Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The holiday

Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration

master’s degree

Or master’s.


Capitalize before a name; cite full name in first reference, e.g., Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; and title and surname in subsequent references, Mayor Bloomberg.


Master of Business Administration

Medgar Evers College

Metropolitan Transit Authority



Master of Fine Arts


Not 12 p.m. or 12 midnight

Midtown Manhattan

Also Midtown with capital when it’s clear it refers to Midtown Manhattan.




For adherents of Islam.



Use the full name of an individual on first reference, last name on subsequent references; for children through the age 17, first names on subsequent reference. If more than one child or more than one adult have the same name, full names will be used.

National Institutes of Health

Plural Institutes; within the agency there are singular institutes, e.g., National Institute on Drug Abuse.

National Science Foundation




The newspaper.


Use a capitalized The for newspapers that include it as part of a preferred name, e.g., The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post.

New York, N.Y., NY

See state names section for proper use of abbreviations.

New York City College of Technology

City Tech, not NYCCT in subsequent references.

New York City Council

New York City Council Member, New York City Councilman, Councilwoman; upper case before a name, lower case standing alone. In advertising or promotional material for space reasons, City Councilor or NYC Councilor can be used.

New York Simulation Center for Health Sciences

New York State Assembly

New York State Assembly Member

New York State Board of Regents

On subsequent reference, State Board of Regents, Board of Regents, the Board.

New York Stock Exchange



Not 12 a.m. or 12 noon.


In text, generally spell out zero through nine and use figures thereafter. Exceptions are money ($1, $9), fractions (3/12), percent (2 percent), ages (he was 5 years old, the 5-year-old) organization names that break style (Twentieth Century Fund) and quoted material ("It’s 100 times fasterÉ" don’t change it to "a hundred times." Numbers in charts and other graphics typically are written as figures. Use a comma in numbers more than three digits, e.g., 1,240.

New Community College

New Community College, NCC


occur, occurred

off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway



Not Okay

onetime, one-time

Onetime is the former; one-time is once.



Use capitals in the full names of institutions and organizations.




Pell Grant(s)


In text, always use the word, not the % symbol. And always use figures (2 percent, 9.5 percent); for amounts less than 1 percent, start with a zero (0.6 percent)


Presidents and Deans

Current listing on the web:

professor, associate professor

Use it in the lower case before a name and don’t abbreviate. Don’t continue using the word or words in subsequent references, unless part of a quote. Thus: John Jones, a Brooklyn College history professor, participated in the panel discussion with professor Jane Doe and associate professor Neil Redfeld. Jones, Doe and Redfeld also answered questions from the audience.


It is occasionally useful to include a pronunciation guide to help readers with uncommon names, especially when the name is used more than once in a feature article, for instance. For instance, Vincent Xue (pronounced "sue") and Lei Xie (lay she-ah). In such cases, it’s best to ask the person how the name is pronounced.

Public Safety

Replaces Campus Security


The University follows standard punctuation guidelines. Some reminders and preferences follow:

  • apostrophe - Singular proper names ending with "s" take only an apostrophe, not an apostrophe s, for the possessive, e.g., Sam Jones’ home.
  • colons - Capitalize the first letter of the first word of a full sentence after a colon; lower case the first word of a fragment.
  • comma - Do not use the serial comma before the conjunction in a list of items, e.g., The day was cold, windy and wet. But a comma is used if there is a possibility of a misunderstanding of meaning.
  • dash - CUNY style requires a space before — and after — a dash. Some word programs do not insert a dash, which must then be done separately.
  • period - One space, not two, between the end of one sentence and the beginning of the next.
  • quotation marks - In headlines, single quotation marks are used to enclose material that would have standard double quotes in text, e.g., composition titles.


Queensborough Community College


Queens College

Part of our University, but Queen’s College belongs to Oxford and Queens’ College is part of Cambridge.





A member of the New York State Board of Regents

Research Foundation of CUNY

A private, not-for-profit, educational corporation engaged in post-award administration of private and government-sponsored programs at CUNY. The RF is governed by its own Board of Directors.

Rhodes Scholar


When it is used in text to identify the place spell it out and use an upper case R in Room, e.g., Room 104.


said or says

The nature of the material dictates the choice. The best guideline: There should be consistency within an article, avoiding the back and forth of past and present. A news item or announcement will most often use "said" for attribution, while a feature story in a CUNY magazine such as Salute to Scholars, may be better served by present-tense attribution. At CUNY, we can have multiple choices dealing with the same information. A news story, for instance, would use "said," when quoting someone, but a promo blurb for a video of the individual making the statement would use the present tense.


  • CUNY School of Law
  • CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
  • CUNY School of Professional Studies
  • CUNY School of Public Health
  • CUNY Graduate School and University Center
  • Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education
  • Macaulay Honors College


Lower case winter, spring, summer and fall (and autumn).


Spring 2012, Fall 2013; seasons are capitalized when referring to a specific semester and no "of" is needed between season and year.

Senior Colleges

  • Baruch College
  • Brooklyn College
  • The City College of New York
  • College of Staten Island
  • Hunter College
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Lehman College
  • Macaulay Honors College
  • Medgar Evers College
  • New York City College of Technology
  • Queens College
  • York College

sentence spacing

One space, not two, between sentences.

September 11, 2001

9/11 is acceptable in first references to the events of that day in the U.S. in 2001.


Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education


State names are spelled out when standing alone in text and abbreviated when used with the name of a city, town or county. Standard abbreviations for the states should be used in copy, not postal codes. There are occasions, often when dealing with the background of faculty, students, guest speakers, etc., that the abbreviations are necessary. The postal code letters are used in addresses:

  • Alabama, Ala., AL
  • Alaska, (none) AK
  • Arizona, Ariz., AZ
  • Arkansas, Ark., AR
  • California, Calif., CA
  • Colorado, Colo., CO
  • Connecticut, Conn. CT
  • Delaware, Del., DE
  • Florida, Fla., FL
  • Georgia, Ga., GA
  • Hawaii, (none) HI
  • Idaho,, (none) ID
  • Illinois, Ill., IL
  • Indiana, Ind., IN
  • Iowa, (none) IA
  • Kansas, Kan., KS
  • Kentucky, Ky., KY
  • Louisiana, La., LA
  • Maine, (none) ME
  • Maryland, Md., MD
  • Massachusetts, Mass., MA
  • Michigan, Mich., MI
  • Minnesota, Minn., MN
  • Mississippi, Miss., MS
  • Missouri, Mo., MO
  • Montana, Mont., MT
  • Nebraska, Neb., NE
  • Nevada, Nev., NV
  • New Hampshire, N.H., NH
  • New Jersey, N.J., NJ
  • New Mexico, N.M., NM
  • New York, N.Y., NY
  • North Carolina, N.C., NC
  • North Dakota, N.D., ND
  • Ohio, (none) OH
  • Oklahoma, Okla., OK
  • Oregon, Ore., OR
  • Pennsylvania, Pa., PA
  • Rhode Island, R.I., RI
  • South Carolina, S.C., SC
  • South Dakota, S.D., SD
  • Tennessee, Tenn., TN
  • Texas, (none) TX
  • Utah, (none) UT
  • Vermont, Vt., VT
  • Virginia, Va., VA
  • Washington, Wash., WA
  • West Virginia, W.Va., WV
  • Wisconsin, Wis., WI
  • Wyoming, Wyo., W,


avoid both sub- and superscripts for st, th, rd, nd. The preference is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th with the same size font size as the number.



State University of New York


telephone numbers

No parentheses for area codes; hyphens, not periods, separate the numbers: 212-864-4321.

that and which

That introduces essential clauses, which for nonessential clauses. The guideline is: If you can drop the clause and the sentence still makes sense, use which, if not use that. That and which refer to inanimate objects or to animals that have not been personalized with a name.


The general spelling ends with "er," but there are many formal names within the CUNY community of colleges and schools that are spelled theatre.

the Bronx

Preceded by the article in copy, but it is omitted in graphs, charts, etc.

The City College of New York

City College of New York, City College. In announcements or other formal uses, the article with an upper case T can precede City, e.g., The City College of New York. But in subsequent references, and in many other uses, the article is unnecessary or can be used with a lower case T: the City College of New York, City College of New York, City College, or CCNY.

The City University of New York

In first reference the full name is used with capital T in The. In subsequent references, use the University with a lower case t for the article and a capital U on University or the abbreviation CUNY. Either one may be used in subsequent reference. [Also see CUNY entry]

The New York Daily News

Subsequent reference: the Daily News.

The New York Post

Subsequent reference: the Post.

The New York Times

Subsequent reference: the Times.


not towards. The same with other -ward words such as forward, backward, upward and downward.

Truman Scholar




as well as tweet as noun and verb, and tweeted


U.S. Supreme Court

underrated, underground

Usually, no hyphen.

undocumented alien

Undocumented suggests there may be no illegality involved, which may not be the case, but illegal alien declares illegality and that, too, can be erroneous. When writing about illegal situations we should use the word illegal, but in situations of uncertainty, undocumented should suffice.

United Nations

U.N., but UN in headlines

United States

Is spelled out as a noun, abbreviated U.S. as a modifier. U.S. with periods in headlines, too.


Always with a capital when referring to The City University of New York, lower case the "u" when referring to other universities after the first mention.

University Faculty Senate

Upper East Side

in Manhattan

Upper West Side

referring to the geographic area in Manhattan.


as a modifier; used with periods in headlines, unlike UN.


versus, vs., v.

Versus in text, vs. in headlines, v. in court cases

Veterans Day

No apostrophe

Vice Chair

No hyphen; lower case after a name or standing alone.

Vice Chairperson

No hyphen; lower case after a name or standing alone.

vice president

No hyphen; Vice President before a name.


Wall Street

Washington, D.C.

Washington in subsequent reference, or in first reference when it’s clear the reference is to the nation’s capital.





West Side

West Side Highway

In Manhattan.


workday, workforce, workout, workplace, workweek


Hyphenated when before what it modifies, two words when after.

World Wide Web



Noun, verb and adjective.





York College



zero, zeros

ZIP code

ZIP in upper case, code in lower.