Although the plural of the Latin datum, “data” is now commonly treated as a collective noun with a singular verb: The data collected from the survey was accurate. In formal writing and the sciences, however, use “data” as plural.

dates, months and times
Dates should not include “th,” “nd,” or “rd” after the day or the month: They were married on Feb. 19 not Feb. 19th. Use “th” when referring to a century or an anniversary: He studied paintings of the 19th century. The community celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Fillius Jazz Archive.

When a month is used with a date, abbreviate all but March, April, May, June, and July: He was born on Feb. 14, 1956. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone, and do not set off with a comma: He was born in December 1943 (not December of 1943). Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14.

When using a month, date, and year, set off the year with commas: June 6, 1944, was D-Day.

Times should use a.m. or p.m. (with periods) and no zeros: 3 p.m. Do not use 12 in front of noon or midnight. Do not repeat a.m. or p.m. when giving a time range: The workshop was scheduled for 3–5 p.m. (not 3 p.m.–5 p.m.)

When indicating a span of time, print the words the reader should be reading, such as “from,” “to,” “between,” and “and”: We lived in Clinton from 1975 to 1986. He arrived at the reception between 11 p.m. and midnight. In other uses, use the en-dash: the 2013–14 academic year, the 2013–14 Annual Fund.

daylong, weeklong, monthlong, yearlong
One word; no hyphen.

dean of faculty
Not dean of the faculty. Capitalize when referring to the Dean of Faculty Office. Note that the dean’s formal title is vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty; however, dean of faculty is preferred in most cases.  Also, do not use the possessive: Dean of Faculty's Office.

Dean’s List
Capitalize. Possessive.

Use an apostrophe to indicate numerals omitted. Show plural by adding “s”: She grew up in the ’80s. The 1920s marked the height of the Swing Era.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
When necessary to identify people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, use “temporary resident status,” with details on the program included in the story for clarification. People brought into the U.S. as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. 

See “academic degrees.”

department, program chairs
See “chairs, departments and program.”

departments, programs
See “academic departments, programs.”

One word.

Use figures and spell out units of measure such as yards, feet, and inches: The basketball player is 6 feet 8 inches tall. The storm brought 9 inches of snow. The new building has 7,500 square feet of classroom space. (It is acceptable to use inch and foot marks in charts and graphs.)

directions, regions
Lowercase compass directions: The butterflies flew south to their winter habitat. Capitalize when indicating regions: The Northeast received the most snow this season.

The terms “disabilities” and “disabled” include a range of physical and mental conditions both visible and invisible. In general, refer to a disability only if relevant to the story or if the person uses the term. Example: Chris Conner ’25, who is blind, keeps the stats at every home basketball game thanks to a special computer program created by Professor Jim Smith. Not: Chris Conner ’25, who is blind, attends every home basketball game. Avoid “handicap” or “handicapped.”

Avoid using disability-related words lightly. Examples: calling a person or idea demented, psychotic, moronic, on the spectrum, etc.; saying a plan falls on deaf ears, or he turned a blind eye, or the play’s plot was schizophrenic. Words that seem innocuous to some can have offensive meanings to others. 

Distinguished Service Award
Presented by the Alumni Council; recognizes an employee who has contributed to Hamilton through distinguished job performance and through involvement in student, alumni, or other activities. Capitalize.

See “academic degrees.”

See “money.”

dorm, dormitory
See “residence hall.”

One word.

Reserved for medical professionals. See “academic degrees.”

No periods. Acceptable on first reference for digital videodisc.



effect, affect
See “affect, effect.”

1812 Leadership Circle
Hamilton’s giving society for donors to the Hamilton Fund who make gifts at the level of $2,500 or greater.

Use an ellipsis to represent an omission within text, usually quoted material. Treat as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and a space on each side: “The test of a great athlete ... is how well she plays under pressure.”

email, ebooks
No hyphen.

emeritus, emerita, emeriti
An honor earned upon retirement from the faculty (emeritus for a man; emerita for a woman; emeriti for a group). Use after the title and capitalize: Professor of Anthropology Emeritus Doug Raybeck. After the name, lowercase: Jean D’Costa, the Leavenworth Professor of English emerita. No commas.

endowed professorships
Some professors hold endowed professorships or other honorific titles: Stephen Harper Kirner Professor of Computer Science Stuart Hirshfield; Kevin W. Kennedy Professor of Art Katharine Kuharic. These titles are capitalized before and after the chairholder’s name. When using the title after a name, add “the” for clarity: Stuart Hirshfield, the Stephen Harper Kirner Professor of Computer Science, published an article. Because new chairholders are named each year, consult the Red Book for current chairholders.

In some cases, it is necessary to identify professors by both an endowed professorship and their title.  In these cases, capitalize both the proper name of the endowed position and the other title: Alan Cafruny, the Henry Platt Bristol Chair of International Affairs and Professor of Government.

For guidelines on identifying a faculty member as chair of a Hamilton department or program, see “chairs, departments and programs.”

ensure, insure
Use ensure to mean “guarantee”: Use these guidelines to ensure accuracy in your writing. Use insure only when referring to insurance: The policy insures his life.

Use it to mean “a right to do or have.” Do not use to mean “titled”: The book is titled Gone with the Wind. He was entitled to a raise.

et al.
The Latin abbreviation meaning “and others.” No period following “et.”

Exploration Adventure
Hamilton pre-orientation program. Capitalize.  Sometimes known as XA on second reference.

One word.


facilities and buildings
See Campus Buildings & Facilities for a list of formal and second-reference names.

When used alone, treat as a singular noun: The faculty is taking a vote. When referring to a person who is a member of the faculty, use “faculty member” or “professor” (if appropriate). See “professor.”

fall break

Capitalize when referring to the Hamilton event held each fall.

Consider the broader audience when referencing family relationships. Not all individuals, especially students, have parents. Use “family” or “families” when possible.  Example: The football players invited their families to the tailgate reception. Not: The football players invited their parents to the tailgate reception.

Family Weekend
Capitalize. Not Parents Weekend.

farther, further
Farther refers to physical distance. Further refers to an extension of time or degree: The walk from the village to campus was farther than they expected. Further research is necessary to prove his hypothesis.

Lowercase, except when starting a sentence. Do not use all caps.

Student-run event held each February. One word. Note capitalization.

fewer, less
Fewer refers to individual items, less to bulk or quantity: Fewer than 10 students received internships. She had less than $50 in her wallet. Here, $50 is considered a singular lump sum; however: She had fewer than 50 $1 bills in her wallet.

fiancé, fiancée
Fiancé is a man, fiancée a woman.

film, movie titles
Italicize. See “composition titles.”

One word.

first-year student
Not freshman. Exceptions are in sports references, where freshman is acceptable, and in certain cases where alumni are recalling their College experiences. First-years is never accepted as a noun.

Not forwards.

Spell out amounts less than 1 in text, using hyphens: two-thirds, one-third, four-fifths. Use figures for amounts greater than 1, converting to decimals when practical.

free agent
Lowercase: He served as a Hamilton Annual Fund free agent.

full-time, part-time
Hyphenate adjective or adverb: She enjoyed her full-time position. He worked part-time in the library.

fundraiser, fundraising
One word.

further, farther
See “farther, further.”


gay, lesbian
Use “gay” to describe people attracted to the same sex, although “lesbian” is the more common term for women. Do not use “homosexual.” Refer to someone’s sexual orientation only when pertinent to a story. “Gays” is acceptable as a plural noun, but do not use the singular “gay” as a noun.

gender-neutral pronouns
See “they, them, their.”

Acronym for Graduates of the Last Decade. On second reference, when referring to programming, the acronym can stand alone: GOLD initiatives for this year include achieving 65 percent Hamilton Fund participation. The GOLD Group is acceptable on second reference, but avoid GOLD alumni since this is redundant.

grandparent names
See “parent names.”

Capitalize; no single quote marks: He earned an A in biology and two Bs (not B’s) in his computer science courses.

graduation honors
See “honors.”

Not grey (except greyhound).

Great Names Series
The formal name of the series is the Sacerdote Great Names Series at Hamilton.  On second reference, it is acceptable to omit “at Hamilton.”


Stacey Himmelberger

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