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Editorial Style and Usage Guide

This guide is the established editorial style for e-mail announcements, the Colgate Scene, colgate.edu pages and stories, brochures, newsletters, letters, and more.

Have a suggestion for the style guide? Contact Rebecca Downing at rdowning@colgate.edu

For answers to common questions, see our Quick Tips

NOTE: All entries, in bold type, indicate lower case or capitalization as appropriate

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             Punctuation - Helpful references - Proofreading tips


I, me. I is used as the subject of a sentence; me is used as the object [It is I. Joe and I raced last week. Between you and me, Joe is the better swimmer. It is he who won. It bothered Joe more than it bothered Kelly or me. You can call either Joe or me if you have questions.].

ID. No periods necessary.

i.e. Means “that is” or “namely”; not to be confused with e.g. (which means “for example”). Usually followed by a comma and best confined to lists, parenthetical matter, and bullets; in text, substituting that is or namely is preferable.

Indian. See ethnic and racial designations.

Institute for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. (PPE on second reference)

imply, infer. To infer means “to deduce”; to imply means “to suggest” [One may infer from the report that all is well. Silence implies consent.].

information superhighway, Internet. See 

computer terms.

initials. See abbreviations and acronyms, or individuals under names

in regard to. Not “in regards to.”

insure. See assure, ensure, insure. These words are not interchangeable.

international student. Preferable to foreign student.

irregardless. Not a word (both the prefix ir- and the suffix -less are negative). The correct word is regardless.

italics. Italicize non-English words as well as the names of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, plays, movies, and works of art (see 

titles (of original works or similar) for more). Italicize the names of ships but not the abbreviations preceding such names: USS Midway. For proper use of punctuation in italics, see special formatting in punctuation section.

its, it’s. Like other possessive pronouns (his, our, their), its has no apostrophe. It’s is the contraction of it is.

-ize. Avoid neologisms such as finalize, prioritize, utilize, or ghettoize, which are generally ungainly and often superfluous. Rephrase instead [RIGHT: We will develop a final list. WRONG: We will finalize the list. RIGHT: I’ll work on the most important things first. WRONG: The team will prioritize their tasks. RIGHT: Look for efficient ways to use (not utilize) electric lighting fixtures throughout the room.].