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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


lady. Woman is preferable to refer to a female 18 years old or older.

Latina, Latino. Hispanic is also acceptable.

Latin plurals, terms
Singular Plural
addendum addenda
analysis analyses
colloquium colloquiums
consortium consortia
criterion criteria
curriculum curricula
datum (rare) data
emeritus, emerita emeriti
medium media
millenium millennia
phenomenon phenomena
syllabus syllabi
symposium symposia
thesis theses

lay, lie. Lie means “to recline or rest”; lay means “to put down or arrange.” Use lie if the subject of a sentence is doing the action; use lay when referring to the object of a sentence. These verbs are not interchangeable [When I got tired, I decided to lie down on the couch. She asked me to lay the papers on the desk. He laid the baby in the cradle.]

lectures, lectureships. A lecture can be held, presented, or given. Lectureships, often endowed or underwritten, and when they have a formal name, are capitalized [Reverend Eugene F. Rivers III was the speaker for the third annual W.E.B. and Shirley Graham DuBois Lecture Series in 2000.]. For proper capitalization, see titles (of original works or similar).

lecturer. The title lecturer should be treated as an occupational title rather than a formal title and thus should always be lowercased, even before a name.

less. See fewer, less.

LGBTQ. Refers to persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning.

Liberal Arts Core Curriculum. The formal title of Colgate’s general education program. Also referred to as the core.


lists. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of each new line, all other words (except for proper nouns) should be lowercased. In specific instances, the communications office publication designers might employ all capital letters or initial caps for typographical reasons at their discretion. Lists that are composed of sentences or sentence fragments should be punctuated consistently.

Colgate offers five interdisciplinary environmental studies majors:
Environmental biology
Environmental economics
Environmental geography
Environmental geology
Environmental studies

In today’s meeting, we will discuss how we will carry out the following tasks, which we outlined last week:
(1) Write up a plan for the next six months.
(2) Send a letter to the committee explaining the plan.
(3) Collect and analyze feedback.
(4) Report back to the executive committee.

Listserve. See 

computer terms.

longtime. One word when used as an adjective [She was his longtime girlfriend. We waited for a long time.].