ANR writing style guide
Wondering when to capitalize? Do we use advisor or adviser? Looking for an appropriate word or phrase? What commonly used words are hyphenated? Is farmworker one word or two? This guide will help steer you through these and other writing perils with ease.
See acronyms entry.
Avoid abbreviations and instead spell out names of degrees, unless the text contains many individuals to be identified by their degrees. Use an apostrophe in "bachelor's degree," "master's degree," etc. Use "doctoral" when modifying the word "degree." Plurals: Ph.D.'s, master's degrees, bachelor's degrees. For the media, use "Dr." before a name only for medical doctors or dentists.
Start the names of majors with lowercase letters except those incorporating proper nouns: Jim Smith is majoring in agronomy, while Tim Smith's major is Agricultural Management and Rangeland Resources. See also capitalization.
See titles entry
On first reference, spell out names that may be unfamiliar to the audience you are addressing. Use the acronym for second reference only when meaning is clear without including the acronym in parentheses after the first reference. For Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources use ANR, not DANR. Do not use periods in acronyms: UC, ANR, USDA, CDFA. See also the UC ANR acronym directory.
Use the "er" ending (rather than "or") in all cases, except "Cooperative Extension advisor" and "farm advisor." For example: pest control adviser. See also titles.
Agricultural Experiment Station
The research arm of the university's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Capitalize as shown.
One word. Nature tourism is two words.
Use alumnus for an individual male, alumna for an individual female, alumni for a group of males, alumnae for a group of females, and alumni when referring to a group composed of men and women. An individual need not have graduated from UC to be considered an alumna or alumnus.
See diseases, insects, plants and animals entry.
The acronym for Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Do not use DANR.
Give the source (person, text, etc.) for any statement that is not a widely known fact or that is a matter of opinion and is subject to potential disagreement. The statement "the cotton season has begun" does not require attribution as long as it is true; the statement "it was the worst cotton season in history" should have attribution, because it's an opinion subject to disagreement. Use caution in choosing verbs for attribution. Forms of the verb "say" are impartial and appear objective; other verbs, however, can inadvertently influence meaning and tone. Words such as "noted," "commented," "claimed," "suggested," "charged," "denied" and "asserted" should be used with precision, not just for the sake of variety.
Always capitalized. But use lowercase initial letters for "state of" constructions, as in "the state of California," unless you are referencing a formal title, such as "the State Bar of California."
"Legislature" in all uses is capitalized, e.g., state Legislature. "President Atkinson will present the budget to the Legislature."
The initial letter should be lowercase (the Davis campus) except when part of a proper noun (Campus Telecommunications Services office).
Academic majors: Start the names of academic majors with lowercase letters except those incorporating proper nouns: Jim Smith is majoring in agronomy, while Tim Smith's major is Agricultural Management and Rangeland Resources.
Academic programs: Capitalize the word "program" only when it is part of the formal name, such as: Agricultural Issues Center.
Building names: Capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the word "building" if it is an integral part of the proper name: the Empire State Building.
Campus: The initial letter of "campus" should be lowercase in all instances: the Davis campus
Cities: Capitalize "city" if it is an integral part of the title, such as "New York City," "Kansas City," or "Boise City Hall". Otherwise, use lowercase: He was born in the city of Placerville, California."
Governmental entities: Use an initial lower case letter in all "state of" constructions and when using "state" as an adjective to indicate jurisdiction (examples: state Sen. John Doolittle, the state Department of Transportation, state funds.) The word "federal" should be lowercase, unless it is used in a formal title, such as "Federal Bureau of Investigation." Retain capitals in the formal name of a governmental body that has been shortened to delete the word of, such as "the State Department."
Multiple modifiers: When more than one proper noun modifies a generic word, the word is in lower case: The tour met at Manning and Riverbend avenues. His assignment includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
In writing photo captions or artwork captions, full sentences generally are preferable to sentence fragments. A good caption should enhance and clarify that which is not immediately apparent. Use a period to conclude all captions-even those written in headline style (as incomplete sentences).
Citations are summaries which acknowledge information gathered from other sources. Academic disciplines traditionally have idiosyncratic ways of formatting such attributions. ANR Style Guide suggests the following formats:
for acknowledging printed sources:
McElroy, W. D., Cell Physiology and Biochemistry, 3rd ed., Foundations of Modern Biology Series. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971.
for acknowledging Internet sources:
Electronic reference formats recommended by the American Psychological Association (1999, November 19). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Retrieved November 19, 1999 from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/journals/webref.html
Do not disclose a student's class year standing without his or her permission. Instead, refer to a student only as an undergraduate (or graduate student or doctoral degree student).
Collective nouns such as "class," "committee" and "team" take singular verbs and pronouns: "The class is graduating on time," "The committee was late in coming to a conclusion," "The team works together well."
When the material following a colon consists of one or more complete sentences, or if it is a quotation, it should begin with a capital letter. When a sentence fragment follows a colon, start it with a lower case initial letter. The most frequent use of a colon is at the end of a complete sentence to introduce a list. UC nutrition professionals have three favorite meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, a colon should not separate main sentence elements, such as a verb and a direct object, even if the direct object is a list.
Do not use a comma before "and" in a series: Farm advisors publish articles, speak with the media and visit farms. Use a comma if the elements of a series are long and/or if an element requires its own conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast. Commas always go inside closed quote marks.
Important words capitalized, placed within quotation marks: "Introduction to Integrated Pest Management."
cross section, n; cross-section, v.
Denotes a sudden break in thought that causes an abrupt change in sentence structure: Will he -- can he -- get the audience's attention?
Data (the plural of datum) takes a plural verb: Data were collected.
Generally, do not name the day of the week. If needed, when using the name of a day, set the date within commas: On Wednesday, Oct. 5, she will appear. Use cardinal numbers (not "Oct. 5th").
Two words when used as a noun, hyphenated as a compound adjective (decision-making powers)
See each UC campus's General Catalog for official names of departments:
UC Los Angeles
UC San Diego
UC San Francisco
UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Cruz
Use the term "disabled" instead of "handicapped." The phrase "people with disabilities" is preferable to "the disabled." Don't write "afflicted with" or "is a victim of." Instead, write "He has muscular dystrophy." Don't write "wheelchair-bound" or "confined to a wheelchair." Instead, write "She uses a wheelchair."
Diseases, insects, plants and animals
Use common name whenever possible, all lower case except proper nouns. For example, hull rot disease of almonds, Pierce’s disease, red imported fire ant. If there is no common name, use the scientific name. Latin names should be italicized, first word capitalized, subsequent words lower case. For example, Prunus dulcis, Escherichia coli. Subsequent references, abbreviate the first word with one letter, P. dulcis, E. coli.
An optical storage medium, round and made of nonmagnetic material: compact disc, laserdisc, digital versatile disc
A small flat portable piece of plastic embedded with magnetic material, a floppy disk; "diskette" is interchangeable with "disk." Also, "disk harrow."
When referring to the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, use an uppercase D. The acronym for Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is ANR. Also, "the Division."
Douglas is always uppercase. No hyphen.
Means "for example." (Do not confuse with "i.e.," which means "that is." It is followed by a comma.) "We bought all the ANR logo items available, e.g., t-shirts, tote bags and pens.").
Hyphenated, even as a noun
Use three dots (no spaces between them but a space on each side) to signify that something has been left out of a direct quote or that the writer is jumping from one topic to another. If used after a whole sentence, put the period first, followed by a space, then the three dots, space and then the next sentence.
No hyphen. Use a hyphen for other 'e' words: e-commerce, e-waste, e-reader.
Avoid mentioning ethnic identity. When necessary, it is best to ask the person or group how they wish to be identified.
Do not hyphenate or italicize. Used as an adjective or adverb: He is an ex officio member of the committee.
exclamation point (!)
Use very sparingly, almost never.
extension education and outreach
No comma - extension includes education and outreach
Do not use a hyphen when "extra" means "outside of" unless the prefix is followed by a word beginning with "a": "extralegal," "extraterrestrial," but "extra-alimentary."
Acceptable substitute for the noun "facsimile" (the electronic transmission of printed matter). Do not use capital letters. The acceptable verb form is to send a fax.
Use a capital letter for the architectural style and for corporate or governmental agencies that use the word as part of their formal names: Federal Trade Commission, Federal Express. Use initial lowercase letter when used as an adjective to distinguish something from state, county, city, town or private entities: federal assistance, federal court, the federal government, a federal judge.
foreign words and phrases
Use italics on first reference for all but the most familiar, and follow, if necessary, with an English definition of the word in parenthesis or the translation of the phrase within quotes: "La Lotería de Manejo Seguro" (Safe Driving Lottery). Some familiar foreign words (bon voyage, hors d'oeuvres) may be used without explanation. (See also Spanish words)
The official names (as approved by The Regents) are:
Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley Foundation
Davis: Cal Aggie Foundation
Irvine: The UCI Foundation
Los Angeles: The UCLA Foundation
Riverside: UC Riverside Foundation
San Diego: U.C. San Diego Foundation
San Francisco: University of California, San Francisco Foundation
Santa Barbara: The UCSB Foundation
Santa Cruz: U.C. Santa Cruz Foundation
For fractions and percentages, the verb agrees with the noun following the "of": Three-quarters of the apple was eaten. Three-quarters of the employees are at a seminar today.
Avoid gender-specific terms and titles such as chairman, foreman, mankind; instead, use chair, supervisor, humanity. Use the same standards for men and women when deciding whether to include specific mention of personal appearance or marital and family situation. Don't refer to cars, boats, aircraft or other inanimate objects as feminine.
Capitalize the full proper names of governmental agencies, departments and offices, but use an initial lower case letter for modifiers: The California State University, the State Lands Commission; but, the state Office of Emergency Services, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Always followed by "from": He graduated from UC Davis.
Use as one word in all forms: groundbreaking ceremony.
See disabilities entry
Use sentence case. (Only the first word and proper nouns with initial capital letter.)
Two words. When used as a compound adjective (health care provider), do not hyphenate it.
Use the hyphen to link words with prefixes (pre-season application), to link the elements of compound modifiers (entry-level job), or to link words or word fragments at line breaks. Also use hyphens in telephone numbers (987-9000). When in doubt, consult the dictionary as to whether a word is hyphenated. Use a hyphen to indicate continuing or inclusive numbers, such as dates, times or reference numbers: 1968-1972, May-June 1973, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., pages 38-45.
Means "that is." Do not confuse with e.g., which means "for example." Usually followed by a comma.
in regard to
Not "in regards to."
See diseases, insects, plants and animals entry.
Always initial capped
Its is the possessive form of it. It's is the contraction for "it is."
Write the Latin names of plants, pathogens, etc., and titles of publications in italics: Joe Smith's article on Phytophthora ramorum appears in the January 2002 issue of California Agriculture magazine.
Hyphenate only when used as a modifier: "lower-division courses"
Use staff-hours, working hours
Use people, humanity, human beings, human race
Use synthetic, artificial
The approved names of the University's campuses are:
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley - Clark Kerr Campus
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Francisco - Laurel Heights
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Cruz
College and University names: Capitalize "college" and "university" and other similar terms when part of a formal name, but use initial lower case letters otherwise: Fresno City College, Texas A & M University, the university, the academy, the institute. Exceptions: all University of California campuses may use the abbreviation UC on first reference; always refer to the Los Angeles campus as UCLA. Second and subsequent references to other institutions may incorporate abbreviated forms.
Individual persons: Nicknames should be placed within quotation marks. A nickname should be used in place of a person's name only when it is the way the individual prefers to be known (Tiger Woods). Do not insert a space between two initials: W.R. "Reg" Gomes. Do not use courtesy titles Mr., Mrs., Miss and Ms., except in obituaries, which may include: Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, Dr. or Professor (do not abbreviate).
The world of cyberspace; capitalize to distinguish from any old computer network, sweep net, etc.
Do not capitalize "laureate"
Non-discrimination statements in English and Spanish for publications and for employment announcements are on the ANR Affirmative Action Web page.
In general, spell out zero through nine (and first through ninth) and give numerals for 10 and above. Fractions should be spelled out (two-thirds). If paired with a whole number, use the decimal system (2.25). Percentages, measurements, GPAs and ages should always be represented by numerals .
order, family, genus, species, variety
Use common name whenever possible. Orders, families and other terms above the genus level are written with an initial capital and not italic. For example, “a species in the Cucurbitacea family.” The genus and species are italicized, with the first word capitalized. The first word is abbreviated with one letter on subsequent references. For example, “Sequoia sempervirens” or “S. sempervirens.” Variety names are upper case and not italic. For example, Elegant Lady peach, Gold Nugget mandarin and Gala apple.
Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a complete sentence (such as this fragment). (An independent parenthetical sentence such as this one takes a period before the closing parenthesis.) When a phrase placed in parentheses (this one is an example) might normally qualify as a complete sentence but is dependent on the surrounding material, do not capitalize the first word or end with a period.
Not "per cent." Use the symbol (%) in text and in numerical charts. "Percent" takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an "of" construction, as in "He said 50% of the farmers were seated at the start of the presentation." Use a singular verb when a singular word follows an "of" construction, as in "He said 50% was a failing grade," and "Almost 50% of the class was sleeping." Spell out percent when used without a number.
Always belongs inside quotation marks
See disabilities entry
See diseases, insects, plants and animals entry
Most words: add "s": blossoms, lygus bugs
Letters: add "'s" (apostrophe s): She got 4 B's on her report card.
Words ending in ch, s, sh, ss, x and z: add "es": grasses ("monarchs" is the exception)
Words ending in "is": change to "es", as in thesis to theses and basis to bases
Words ending in y: if "y" is preceded by a consonant or "qu," change "y" to "i" and add "es": army to armies, soliloquy to soliloquies; otherwise, use "s": donkey to donkeys
Words ending in o: If "o" is preceded by a consonant, most plurals require "es": hero to heroes (except "pianos").
Words ending in f: In general, change "f" to "v" and add "es: leaf to leaves (except "roofs")
Compound words: Words combined with no spaces in between just take an "s": "cupful" to "cupfuls". In cases where there is either a space or a hyphen between a compound word, the plural is built on the significant word: attorney general to attorneys general, mother-in-law to mothers-in-law, deputy chief of staff to deputy chiefs of staff
Proper names: Ending in "es" or "z" add "es": Jones to Joneses. Ending in "y" add "s" even if preceded by a consonant: Kennedy to Kennedys. Otherwise, just add "s".
Singular nouns not ending in "s": add 's: "the grower's cotton"
singular nouns ending in "s": add 's unless the next word begins with an "s": "the lygus's devastation," "the chlorosis' spread," "the campus's budget"
Singular proper names ending in "s": use only an apostrophe: "Achilles' heel"
Plural nouns not ending in "s": add 's: "women's rights"
plural nouns ending in "s": add only an apostrophe: "states' rights," "campuses' budgets"
Nouns plural in form, singular in meaning: add only an apostrophe: "citrus' decline," "General Motors' profits"
Pronouns: whether singular or plural, possessive pronouns do not use an apostrophe: "your agenda," "The horse threw its rider," "The farm advisor wondered whose farm was sprayed."
Each one word
This word means "soon," e.g., "We expect to have the pest under control presently." It should not be used to mean "currently."
"Principal" is a school official or a something that is first in rank: "The principal put the students on detention," "'It's the economy, stupid' was the principal campaign slogan of the 1990 Presidential election." "Principle" is a fundamental truth: "Evolution has been the principle theory in biology since the late 1800s." Note: Principal Officers of The Regents include the President, the General Counsel, the Secretary of The Regents, and the Treasurer.
Avoid "prior to." Use "before."
Goes inside the quotes when it is part of a question that is being quoted: He remarked, "Whose life is it anyway?" Goes outside the quotes if not part of the quoted material: Why did he say, "Your budget is sufficient"?
Capitalize as a formal title before one or more names, or when referring to the organizational body by formal name: Regent Roy T. Brophy, Regents Roy T. Brophy and Ralph Carmona, the University of California Board of Regents, the UC Board of Regents, The Regents of the University of California. "The Board of Regents met at UC Davis."
Use lowercase, even when naming an issue of a publication: the fall 2002 issue of UC Plant Protection Quarterly
Always goes outside closed quote marks: The gadfly said, "He's wrong"; I say, "He's right."
When using Spanish words in print make sure the accent marks are correct. Words can take on a completely different meaning without the correct marks. Uppercase letters also use written accents. The tilde (~) over the "n" is not an accent; it is a distinct letter. Without it, the word is misspelled. Many Spanish names include accent marks. It is customary in Spanish-speaking countries for people to use both their father's name and mother's maiden name and sometimes a double first name, e.g., Juan José Martínez Sánchez. Codes to create Spanish characters on the computer:
(for upper case vowels, press Shift after "Option + e")
|á||Option + e, a||ú||Option + e, u|
|é||Option + e, e||ñ||Option + n, n|
|í||Option + e, i||¿||Option + Shift + /|
|ó||Option + e, o||¡||Option + 1|
(type numbers using numeric key pad with "num lock" activated)
|á||Alt + 160||Á||Alt + 0193|
|é||Alt + 130||É||Alt + 144|
|í||Alt + 161||Í||Alt + 0205|
|ó||Alt + 162||Ó||Alt + 0211|
|ú||Alt + 163||Ú||Alt + 0218|
|ñ||Alt + 164||Ñ||Alt + 165|
|¿||Alt + 168||¡||Alt + 173|
Use an initial lowercase letter in all "state of" constructions, and when using "state" as an adjective to indicate jurisdiction (examples: state Sen. John Doolittle, the state Department of Transportation, state funds.) Capitalize "state" when part of a formal name: State Farm Insurance, the State and Consumer Services Agency.
Always spell out state names when they stand alone. When used in conjunction with the name of a city or town, however, abbreviate states. (Exception: Never abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah in text.) For the other states, do not use two-letter, uppercase postal codes. State abbreviations are as follows:
One word, capitalized or not depending on whether it refers to the corporate entity (Systemwide Administration) or to activities across the system (number of courses offered systemwide).
Do not use the numeral "1" before area codes. Proper form is: (530) 752-1930 or (559) 555-1212, Ext. 11.
In general, use tense consistently throughout a text. However, tenses may be intermingled as appropriate to context, i.e., to distinguish terminated from continuing action: "She said 'I disagree with the theory put forth by Professor Plum,' but she continues to encourage students to present new ideas."
"That" is the preferred pronoun to introduce an essential clause. "Which" is the only acceptable pronoun to introduce a non-essential clause. An essential clause is one that cannot be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence. In the sentence: "Presentations that require slides are held in the multi-purpose room," the phrase "that require slides" is essential to the meaning and, if omitted, would change the meaning and understanding of the sentence. In the sentence: "This year's specialty crops field day, which lasted two hours, was held in Yolo County," the material within the commas is not essential and serves only to provide additional information about it. A non-essential clause must be set off by commas.
Always use figures, except use "midnight" and "noon" (rather than "12 a.m." and "12 p.m.") to avoid confusion. Use lowercase type and periods, but no spaces, with "a.m." and "p.m."
In general, capitalize formal or courtesy titles (president, chancellor, professor, senator) before names of individuals, and use lower-case initial letters for formal titles following names of individuals. Use lowercase for descriptive or occupational titles - farm advisor, specialist, teacher, attorney, history professor, department chair - in all cases. Use italics for publication titles: California Agriculture journal.
When possible, use generic equivalents, but if a trademarked name is used for emphasis or effect, capitalize it. Observe the capitalization schemes of individual trademarks or service marks, but be aware that ordinarily capitalization of only the first letter of a brand name is necessary. Trademarks are proper names that identify the products of a business; service marks perform the same function for services. Trademark names should be accompanied by generic terms to fully describe the product: Admire systemic insecticide. In writing, a trademarked name should not be used as a verb. ("I photocopied this" instead of "I Xeroxed this") Do not pluralize trademarks. (He used three Kleenex tissues, not He used three Kleenexes.) However, some trademarks are registered in the plural and should always be used that way even if the common noun following them is singular (a Baggies plastic bag). Symbols signifying a trademark (TM), a service mark (SM) or a registration with the U.S. Patent Office (®) are primarily for the use of the owner to indicate rights; use of the symbols is not required in journalistic publications.
Try to do something, not try and do something.
One of a kind; therefore by definition something can never be "fairly unique" or "one of the most unique ... "
University of California
Capitalize "U" and "C" on first reference; "the university" on subsequent references.
(Uniform resource locator) Try to arrange a sentence so that the URL or e-mail address is at the end, and be sure to add a period. If you must break a URL between two lines of text, don't break it at a hyphen (because hyphens are often integral pieces of a URL address), but you may break it right before a punctuation mark or after a protocol tag (/slash).
One word, lowercase. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, Web page and Web feed.
See the that, which entry
Lower case. For example, chardonnay, merlot, zinfandel
World Wide Web
Three words, or WWW. "Web" by itself is upper case: Put the information on the Web. "Webmaster" is one word.
A trademarked name. Use "photocopy" instead.
Spans of decades or centuries should use figures without apostrophes: The 1890s, the 1900s. Years are the lone exception to the rule a sentence should not begin with a numeral: 1776 was a historic year.