Written Style Guide

Following University protocol, the Division of Student Affairs should write and edit according to the Associated Press style. AP tips can be found at https://www.facebook.com/apstylebook or https://www.apstylebook.com. If you would like to read a hard copy of the guide, it is available at the Library or the CommCollab Studio.

Associated Press Style

  • Money: $25, not: $25.00
  • Time: 8 a.m., not: 8:00 am or 8:00 AM (Note: Use periods, space between number and “a.m.” or “p.m.”).
  • Numbers: Spell out 0-9. Use numerals for 10+.
  • Double spaces: Use only one space between sentences.
  • Ampersands (&): Unless an ampersand is used in a department name, do not use ampersands.
  • Decades: 1990s, not: 1990’s (Note: No apostrophe is needed.)
  • Email and Online: Note no hyphen in either word
  • Commonly used tech terms: hashtag, social media, website, Internet (Note: Capitalize; proper noun), Google (Note: Capitalize; proper noun), smartphone, cellphone, download, e-book (Note: Use of hyphen)
  • E.g. vs. I.e.: Use “E.g.,” to mean “for example.” Use “I.e.,” to mean “in other words.” (Note use of periods and comma after using example.)
  • Etc.: Note period after “etc.”
  • Event: Write about an event in this order: Time, date, place.
  • Grades: A’s and B’s, not As and Bs (Note use of apostrophe to add clarification, not possession.)
  • GPA: Do not add periods to the use of “GPA.”
  • Books, songs, television shows, compositions, etc.: Use quotation marks around the titles of books, songs, television shows, computer games, poems, lectures, speeches and works of art. Do not use quotations around the names of magazine, newspapers, the Bible or books that are catalogs of reference materials.

University of California Style

  • Serial comma: Do not use the serial comma. E.g., Amy likes apples, oranges and grapes.
  • Academic years: Use accordingly: 1996–97; 1999–2000; 2000–01. Do not use: 1996–1997, 1996/97, 1996/1997, 96-97, 96/97.
  • Quarter designations: Do not capitalize quarters. E.g., winter quarter, spring quarter.
  • Majors, minors, programs: Do not capitalize. E.g., history, English literature, biotechnology, East Asian studies, biomechanical engineering.
  • Hyphenating ethnicity: African American, American Indian, Asian American, Chicano, Chicano/Latino, Mexican American. (Note: Do not hyphenate when used in noun form; hyphenate when used as an adjective.)

Divisional Style

  • Class years: frosh (not "freshman" unless "freshman is part of a program name or title; "frosh" is more inclusive), sophomore, junior, senior (Note: Not capitalized unless at the beginning of a sentence); “first-year” can be a frosh or an incoming transfer student (Note: Use hyphen)
  • University: Upon first reference, use either “University of California, Santa Barbara” (Note: Use comma.) or “UC Santa Barbara.” For sequential use, write “UCSB.”
  • Division: Always capitalize “Division” and always capitalize “Student Affairs.” (E.g., the Division of Student Affairs)
  • Academic degrees: Abbreviate accordingly: B.A., M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D., Ed.D.
  • Department titles: Capitalize formal titles when they appear before a person’s name; do not capitalize formal titles when they appear after a person’s name.
  • Percentages: Round percent to the nearest whole number. E.g., Turn 28.6% into 29%.
  • “Parents”: Use “family” instead, unless "parents" is part of a program name or title. It is more inclusive.