Ampersands (&)

  • Should be used for:

    • Site navigation (e.g. menu items and page titles)

    • Headings, subheadings

    • When there's limited space, for example, in a tweet

    • Department names and for organizations that utilize ‘&’ as part of their official name 
    • Clustering disciplines that are reflected in official department names (e.g. African American & African studies). When additional fields/disciplines are added to a degree program name, the additional discipline is added to the program name with ‘and’ (e.g., rhetoric and scientific & technical communication)
  • Never use ‘&’ instead of ‘and’ in paragraph text unless it’s part an official or proper name, degree program, a trademark, or brand (Turn your love of writing into a professional career with a technical writing & communication major.)

Apostrophe (') single quotation mark

  • For plurals ending with an ‘s’

  • Abbreviations (MD’s and PhD’s)

  • Letters used as words (p’s and q’s, N’s and W’s)

  • Use without "s" for nouns ending in ‘s’ sound (Professor Evans’, conscious’ sake)


  • The clause preceding the colon must be able to stand alone, it must contain a subject and predicate (Our location offers opportunities to supplement your experiences: internships at companies, exposure to arts, and engagement with nonprofits.)

  • Lowercase the first word following the colon unless it is a proper noun, the start of at least two complete sentences, or a direct question.


  • Inside quotation marks, but outside parenthesis and brackets

  • Use the serial comma (also called the Oxford comma), commas separating all parts (Miller, Edison, and Thomas)

  • Dates

    • Set off a year that follows a specific date (December 12, 1979)

    • No comma for a year that follows a month or season (spring 1979)

  • e.g., etc., i.e.


  • Use "..." as opposed to ". . ." 

Em Dash (—)

  • No spaces before or after

  • Em dashes may be used Instead of parentheses or commas to set words apart as a unique idea

  • To create an em dash for Mac: ⌥ Opt + ⇧ Shift + - (em dash)


  • To create an em dash for Windows: Alt + 0151 (em dash), using the number pad


En Dash (–)

  • No space before or after

  • Prefix before compound term/open compound (pre–health sciences advising, non–self-sustaining)

  • Range of numbers, words that describe range, or open-ended range (July–October, 1934– )

  • To create an en dash for Macs: ⌥ Opt + - (en dash)


  • To create an en dash for Windows: Alt+0150 (en dash), using the number pad


Hyphen (-)

  • No space before or after

  • Prefix before numbers and proper nouns (sub-Saharan, pre-1950)

  • Unit modifier/adjective form (Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, full-time student, real-time connections, second-quarter sophomore, three-year period, real-world experience, tenure-track faculty, academic good standing, second largest country)

  • No hyphen when the adjective is a predicate adjective: when it does not immediately precede the noun (Our designs are maroon and gold, the maroon-and-gold designs)

  • Compound terms

    • For clarity (v-shape, de-emphasize, hall-like)

    • Solid words normally do not need a hyphen (fieldwork, payroll, general public, co-, de-, non-, pro-).

Quotation Marks

  • Singles quotes/apostrophe
    • Use to show omitted letter (rock'n'roll, can't, class of '77)
    • For quotations within a quotation
    • Use without 's' for nouns ending in 's' sounds (Professor Evans' class) 
  • Double quotes
    • For direct quotes
      • Use [sic] for a quoted work misspelled or misused by the source, or for uncommon words
    • Use for a phrase used in addition to a full name (John Sargent Pillsbury, "Father of the University")
  • Block quotes
    • Do not use quotation marks for quoted words that are formatted as a block quote

Units and Quantities

  • Repeat symbol for two or more quantities (8.5” x 11” $6-$9)