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Palm Beach State will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024, in observance of Memorial Day.

Writing Style Guide

The Office of Communications & Public Affairs (OCPA) adheres to the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the writing style guide used by most media outlets. We have developed this list of commonly used terms or phrases to help you as you develop copy for flyers and other College marketing or public relations materials. We deviate from AP style only in a very few instances. Please contact OCPA if you have a style question or need other assistance.

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abbreviations and acronyms - In the first reference, write out the full name, then abbreviate. Do not use abbreviations and acronyms when writing for an audience that is unfamiliar with the text.
Example: She works in the Student Learning Center. The SLC labs are equipped to serve thousands of students.

academic degrees - The phrase associate degree refers to all two-year degrees. At Palm Beach State, that includes the Associate in Arts (A.A.) and Associate in Science (A.S.) degrees. Note that "in" is the proper preposition to use.  Also, use periods in abbreviations: A.A., A.S.

The term bachelor's degree should contain an apostrophe. The same is true of a master's degree. However, there is no possessive in associate degree. The preposition for the bachelor's degree is different from an associate degree: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S), Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) and Master of Science (M.S.). Bachelor's or master's is also acceptable.

The term doctoral degree or doctorate includes a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) The word "degree" is not used after "doctorate" but is used after "doctoral." A person who holds such a degree is either referred to on the first reference as a doctor before the name or Ph.D. or Ed.D. after the name.

academic departments/offices - Capitalize the name of a department and the words department, college, office and school only when they appear as part of the official division name (Department of Biology, biology department).

academic and professional titles - Titles are not capitalized unless they precede the person's name.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Charles Wolf attended the conference.
Charles Wolf, vice president of academic affairs, attended the conference.
Assistant Professor Donald Morin addressed the committee.
Donald Morin, assistant professor, was recognized.

Faculty members at the College are addressed as Professor on first reference; do not abbreviate it. Use only last names on second and succeeding references. If the professor has a doctoral degree, use Dr. preceding the name instead of Professor, but you can say he/she is a professor.

Example:  Dr. Magdala Ray, professor of Introduction to the College Experience at Palm Beach State College, is a 2013 recipient of the Stewart Distinguished Teaching Award. Ray has implemented several initiatives in the classroom to help students enhance their critical thinking skills.

For the College president, use Ava L. Parker, president of Palm Beach State College, or Palm Beach State President Ava L. Parker, J.D. On second reference, Parker said....

Admissions Office - No apostrophe.

Admissions Committee - Use s on admissions.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae - Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to groups of men and women.

campus - Do not capitalize when referring to Palm Beach State College's four campuses. She works on the Palm Beach Gardens campus.

child care - Two words, no hyphen

classes, courses - Lowercase when referring to courses and classes (I took a fine arts class and a business class). Uppercase if referring to the specific name of a class or when the class uses a proper noun or numeral (I took College Composition, French and Architectural Drafting 2253).

classroom - One word.

coach - Capitalize only when used without a qualifying term before the name of the person who directs an athletic team. (Coach Kyle Forbes, head coach Kyle Forbes, the coach said).

collective nouns - faculty and staff can be used in singular and plural senses.

college locations - Palm Beach State College is one institution, and our communications reinforce and promote that. When it is necessary to refer to a specific location, the following wording format is preferred: Palm Beach State College at Belle Glade. However, Palm Beach State College Boca Raton campus also can be used (campus is not capitalized).

College Wide Student Counseling Center - This service, housed at the Lake Worth campus, is available to students at all campuses.

commas in a series - Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: She plays softball, basketball and volleyball. Commas can be used for clarity in a complex series of phrases: Athletes are eligible to compete if they maintain satisfactory academic progress grades, keep themselves physically and mentally fit, and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.

committees, task forces - Capitalize names of specific committees and task forces (The Marketing Advisory Committee met last week), and lowercase second references (the marketing committee selected the new logo and slogan).

curriculum - Curricula or curriculums in plural form.

degrees - Capitalize the names of degrees, but do not capitalize the names of specific fields of study.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University.
He received a master's degree in management.

email - Acceptable in all references for electronic mail. Note: The Associated Press Stylebook has dropped the hyphen for this "e" term, but not others (see below).

e-book - Use a hyphen with this term and other e-terms, including e-business, e-commerce.

emeritus - This word often is added to formal titles to denote those individuals who have retired but retain their rank or title. When used, place emeritus after the formal title, in keeping with the general practice of academic institutions (Professor Emeritus Ellen Cohen or Ellen Cohen, professor emeritus of history).

Emigrate - One who leaves a country emigrates from it. The same principle holds for emigrants.

entitled - Use it to mean a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled.
Example: She was entitled to have a trial by jury. The paper is titled "How to Make Dreams Come True."

faculty - Lowercase unless part of name or title.

full-time - Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. He works full time. She has a full-time job.

GPA - Grade point average should be written out for external materials, but abbreviation is OK for internal use.

governor - Capitalize and abbreviate when used as a formal title before one or more names in regular text both inside and outside of quotations.

Examples: Gov. Rick Scott called a press conference today. "I am confident that Gov. Rick Scott will meet with us to address this matter,'' said John Doe, a resident of West Palm Beach. The governor signed the bill yesterday.

health care - two words,  no hyphen

Immigrate - One who comes into a country immigrates. The same principle holds for immigrant.

legislature - Capitalize when preceded by the name of a state. Retain capitalization when the state name is dropped but the reference is specifically to that state's legislature. Lowercase legislature when used generically.

Examples: The Florida Legislature plans to hold a special session. Anytime the legislature in any state holds a special session there must be important business to discuss.

more than versus over - Over generally refers to spatial relationships. The plane flew over the city.  More than is preferred with numerals. Their salaries went up more than $20 a week.

Palm Beach State College - Use Palm Beach State College in the first reference, and PBSC after that. The phrase "the College" also can be used as a second reference and should be capitalized since it refers back to a capitalized title (Palm Beach State College).
Example: Palm Beach State College is a multi-campus institution, and the College enrolls 48,000 students each year.

Palm Beach County - Capitalize when part of a proper name. Lowercase plural combinations: Palm Beach and Dade counties.

part-time - Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. He works part time. He has a part-time job.

percentages - Use numerals when referring to percentages.
Example: Palm Beach State College is expecting a 3 percent increase in revenue.

staff - Refers to all employees who are not faculty members or administrators.

student classifications - Do not capitalize freshman or sophomore. The plural of freshman is freshmen.

Theater, theatre -  Use theatre when it is part of the proper name of a venue, such as the Duncan Theatre, or to refer to the PBSC academic offerings: theatre arts, theatre faculty, theatre classes. Use theater only if it is part of a proper name: The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

weights - Use figures and do not abbreviate pounds or ounces. The baby girl weighed 7 pounds. She was a 7-pound baby.

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