Editorial Style Guide

Stacey Himmelberger

Q - T



Acronym for resident assistant; no periods. Plural: RAs or resident assistants.

Red Book, The
Annual publication of general information for members of the faculty. “The” is part of the title and should be capitalized and italicized.

Lowercase compass directions north, south, east and west (including northern, southern, eastern and western) when not part of a proper name. Capitalize in reference to a proper name or region: the Northeast, but not northeastern; the West Coast, but not western Ohio.

Central New York and Upstate New York are considered “widely known sections” per AP style and are capitalized.

residence hall
Not dormitory or dorm. However, in certain cases where alumni are recalling their Hamilton experiences, dorm or dorm room are acceptable.

Two accents.

reunion, Reunion Weekend, Reunions ’14 
Capitalize Reunion Weekend and Reunions ’14 when referring to the event. Lowercase all others: We celebrated our 35th reunion. He served as reunion planning chair. We returned to the Hill for Reunion Weekend. He volunteered on the reunion gift committee.

Capitalize. No periods. Since RSVP means “please reply,” avoid the redundant “Please RSVP”



A “sabbatical” is a leave from normal employment duties, so “sabbatical leave” is redundant.

See “Hamilton graphic identity.”

Lowercase spring, summer, winter, fall. Exceptions are part of a formal name: Alternative Spring Break.

secondly, thirdly
Do not use — there’s no “firstly.” Use first, second, third.

Lowercase: fall semester, spring semester.

Use semiannually instead of biannually to mean twice a year. This avoids confusion since biennially means every other year.

Senior Fellow, Senior Fellowship

Senior Gift
Capitalize when referring to the College’s Senior Gift Campaign.

Senior Program

senior thesis, senior project
Lowercase these components of the Senior Program.

song titles
Use quotation marks. See “composition titles.”

Spectator, The
Hamilton student newspaper. “The” is part of the title and should be capitalized and italicized.

sports teams
Students participate on sports teams at three levels: varsity, club and intramural. Names of teams are lowercase: He is the starting running back on Hamilton’s football team. (No need to add “men’s” since there is only one football team.) The  women’s squash team won the championship.

Varsity Men’s Teams Varsity Women’s Teams
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Crew
Crew Cross Country
Cross Country Field Hockey
Football Golf
Golf Ice Hockey
Ice Hockey Indoor Track
Indoor Track Lacrosse
Lacrosse Outdoor Track

Outdoor Track

Swimming and Diving


Swimming and Diving

spring break
Lowercase except in the case of the program Alternative Spring Break.

state abbreviations
Use state abbreviations (not postal abbreviations) in prose, except in the rare instance where a complete address is published with a zip code. Do not abbreviate states when not accompanied by a city: He was born in New Jersey. He was born in Freehold, N.J. Following are state abbreviations to be used in text; postal abbreviations are in parentheses:

Ala. (AL) Kan. (KS) Nev. (NV) R.I. (RI)
Ariz. (AZ) Ky. (KY) N.H. (NH) S.C. (SC)
Ark. (AR) La. (LA) N.J. (NJ) S.D. (SD)
Calif. (CA) Md. (MD) N.M. (NM) Tenn. (TN)
Colo. (CO) Mass. (MA) N.Y. (NY) Vt. (VT)
Conn. (CT) Mich. (MI) N.C. (NC) Va. (VA)
Del. (DE) Minn. (MN) N.D. (ND) Wash. (WA)
Fla. (FL) Miss. (MS) Okla. (OK) W.Va. (WV)
Ga. (GA) Mo. (MO) Ore. (OR) Wis. (WI)
Ill. (IL) Mont. (MT) Pa. (PA) Wyo. (WY)
Ind. (IN) Neb. (NE)    

Do not abbreviate: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

study abroad, study-abroad programs
Use hyphen only when using as a compound modifier. Also off-campus study program.




telephone numbers
See “phone numbers.”

that, which
In general, use “which” when a clause could be omitted without leaving the noun it modifies incomplete or without altering the meaning. Precede with a comma: The paper, which George wrote, outlined his summer research project. Use “that” when a clause is limiting or defining. Do not use a comma: George wrote a paper that outlined his summer research project. Not: George wrote a paper, which outlined his summer research project.

“The” in building names
Use of “the” preceding official names of campus buildings is in most cases unnecessary (with the exception of The Little Pub): He lived in Dunham Residence Hall. The students grabbed lunch at Howard Diner. Matriculation is held in Kirkland Cottage.

On second reference, or in the case of buildings without official names, use of “the” helps with readability: They gathered in the Chapel to hear a lecture. The basketball game will take place in the field house. His lab was in the Science Center.

Not theater, except Minor Theater.

See “dates, months and times.”


before a name Capitalize titles of Hamilton employees. Do not set off by commas: Professor of Music Sam Pellman gave a lecture.

after a name Lowercase after an individual’s name and set off by commas: Sam Pellman, professor of music, gave a lecture.

This rule applies to academic titles (Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics Anne Feltovich; Lecturer in Music Rick Montalbano; Teaching Fellow in East Asian Languages and Literatures Shuang Wu) and other Hamilton titles: Master Mechanic Ray Barretta was promoted. Master Mechanic Ray Barretta was promoted. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Steve Sadove ’73 addressed alumni. Steve Sadove ’73, chairman of the Board of Trustees, addressed alumni.

standing alone without a name Lowercase: The president gave a speech.

Capitalization rules differ for endowed chairholders. See “faculty chairs.”

For guidelines on titles of books, magazines, articles, etc., see “composition titles.”

Not towards.

See “Board of Trustees.”