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A-to-Z Writing Style Guide

 

last updated 7/1/19

A

Abbreviations

  • Never begin a sentence with a lowercase abbreviation.
  • Common abbreviations such as etc., e.g., and i.e. may be used only in parentheses. In the text write for example (e.g.); and so forth (etc.); that is (i.e.).
  • Spell out the name or phrase to be abbreviated followed by the acronym in parentheses. Thereafter, just the acronym is used.
The Modern Language Association (MLA) publishes a journal. The MLA also publishes the MLA Handbook.

Academic Associations and Agencies

  • American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
  • Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC)
  • Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
  • Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT)
  • Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE)

Academic Honors

The college awards academic honors upon the completion of degrees and certificates at three different levels.

  • Define the honor's grade point average in the first reference; for subsequent references use honor level.
  • When using a column or tabular format, list the honor level achieved after each recipient's name but the honor level definitions should be provided somewhere on the document.

CSM Honor Level

Highest Honors Cumulative
High Honors Cumulative
Honors Cumulative

Grade Point Average

3.9-4.0
3.75-3.89
3.5-3.74

Accessibility

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.

To meet the requirements of the ADA, certain college promotions and publications must include one of the following official statements. Any questions regarding meeting the needs of people with disabilities at CSM should be directed to the CSM ADA Coordinator at 301-934-7614.

Official CSM Statements

  • For use on CSM Fine Arts promotional or informative material: The Fine Arts Center is accessible to patrons with disabilities. Audio description for the visually impaired and sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired are available with a minimum two weeks advanced notice. Please contact the Box Office staff if you are interested in these services.
  • For use on all college event promotional or informative material: CSM campuses are accessible to patrons with disabilities. Audio description for the visually impaired and sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired are available with a minimum two week advanced notice. If you are interested in these services, please contact the academic support/ADA coordinator at 301-934-7614.
  • For use on all instructional program promotional or informative material: Individuals with disabilities who require special accommodations in order to participate in the college's instructional programs should notify the academic support/ADA coordinator at 301-934-7614 at least one month before the class begins. Requests made after this deadline will be considered on an individual basis and addressed whenever possible.

Inclusive Language

See "Inclusive Language."

Nondiscrimination Policy

See "Nondiscrimination Policy."

Acronyms

  • Avoid beginning a sentence with an acronym.
  • If an acronym is commonly used as a word, it does not require explanation (IQ, LSD, FBI).
  • Write the plural form of an acronym without an apostrophe (e.g. some MBAs command high salaries).

Addressing Mail

See "Mail."

Agenda

The style for an agenda includes a heading indicating the name of the organization or group that is meeting, the place, date, and time of the meeting. The heading is centered and double-spaced on the page. Spacing from the top of the page will depend on the length of the agenda.

Following the heading, list the agenda activities in the order in which they will be discussed. The major items are generally numbered and double-spaced. Subheadings are usually single-spaced.

Templates are available on the Marketing Department website on the Intranet.

Alumna / Alumnus / Alumni

Any individual who attended CSM is considered an alumna/us. Alumnus refers to an individual male, alumna refers to a female. Alumni generally refers to a group of males, (alumnae for females) but can be used to refer to a group composed of men and women.

Apostrophes

An apostrophe is not necessary to form the plural of years or the abbreviated plural.

in the 1980s or in the '80s
USPs
SAT score in the 1200s

Athletics

CSM offers intercollegiate athletics programs for men and women. The college is a charter member of the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference (JUCO), Region XX, and the National Junior College Athletic Association.

REFERENCES TO TEAM NAME

All teams regardless of sport are referred to as "the Hawks." When referencing women's sports, the term "the Lady Hawks" can be used.

MASCOT

The Hawk is the college's official mascot.

Awards and Scholarships

The first reference to any college award should be spelled out in full. In subsequent references, you can use the terms "scholarship" or "award."

The Walter E. Grove, Jr. Scholarship was awarded to Jane Smith. The scholarship was ...

B

Building Names

EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Building Reference

First Reference: Use the official title of the building with building abbreviation in parentheses if there will be subsequent references throughout the text.

Subsequent References: Use building abbreviation with the word "Building" following.

Classes will be held in the Business Classroom (BU) Building. The new signage in the BU Building will direct students to their classes.

When is a rule, not a rule? If the official name of a building includes the word "center" in subsequent references the location should be referred to as "the center" verses the abbreviation followed by the word "Building." See the example below:

Classes will be held in the Francis P. Chiaramonte, M.D. Center for Science and Technology (ST Building). New signage in the center will direct students to their classes.

Room Number Reference

  • Capitalize the "R" in the word "Room" and the "S" in "Suite" when referring to room numbers.
  • Use the college campus location, official building name, and room number.

Location Reference

  • Use the college campus location, official title of the building with building abbreviation in parentheses if there will be subsequent references throughout the text, and room number.
Located on the La Plata Campus in the Center for Business and Industry (BI Building), Chaney Enterprises Conference Room (Room 113)

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Building Reference

  • Use building abbreviation with the word "Building" following.

Room Number Reference

  • Capitalize the "R" in the word "Room" and the "S" in "Suite" when referring to room numbers.

Location Reference

  • Use the college campus location, building abbreviation with the word "Building" following, and room number.
La Plata Campus, BI Building, Room 203

OFFICIAL NAME AND ABBREVIATION

La Plata Campus 
Administration BuildingAD
Center for Business and IndustryBI
   Francis Leo Middleton Computer LabRoom 102
   Dr. John M. Sine Conference RoomRoom 103/104
   Chaney Enterprises Conference RoomRoom 113
   Besche Oil Conference RoomRoom 124
   Southern Maryland Oil BoardroomRoom 201
   SMECO Executive Conference RoomRoom 202
   McDonough Charity School of Charles County SuiteRoom 205
   BGE - Workforce Development SuiteRoom 206
   Charles County Chamber of Commerce Conference RoomRoom 211
   John D. Mitchell ClassroomRoom 214
Bookstore BuildingBK
Business Classroom BuildingBU
   Community Bank of the Chesapeake Conference RoomRoom 202
Campus CenterCC
   Greater Waldorf Jaycees Student LoungeStudent Lounge
Campus Services BuildingCS
Community Education BuildingCE
   Reuben and Ethelmae Lilly Conference RoomConference Room (102)
   Neale Chaney Slater Lecture HallLecture Hall
   Joel Thomas Lilly LobbyLobby
   Proctor WingWing
   Lilly WingWing
St. Charles Children's Learning Center (CLC)CL
   Community Bank of the ChesapeakeLobby
   Old Line BankKindergarten Room
   Mickey Dale FoundationRoom/2 Year Old
   Baldus Real EstateBefore/After Care
   Mickey Dale FoundationRoom/3 Year Old
   Zonta of Charles CountyBefore/After Care
   Mickey Dale FoundationRoom/4 Year Old
   Tom and Verna PoseyGym
   The Facchina Group of CompaniesToddlers
   Ed and Candice KellyPlayground
   Maurice J. McDonoughToddfants
   Vince and Evie HungerfordConference Room
   Mary Duley EllingerInfants
   AOTVestibule
Fine Arts CenterFA
   Brad and Linda Gottfried TheaterTheater
   Larry Chappelear Memorial Art GalleryAtrium/Lobby
   Tony Hungerford Memorial Art GalleryArt Gallery
   Walter Grove II Memorial Student Art GalleryHallway Gallery
James C. Mitchell Center for Health TechnologyHT
Learning Resource CenterLR
   Dr. Elaine Ryan LibraryLibrary
Maintenance BuildingMT
Physical Education CenterPE
Francis P. Chiaramonte, M.D. Center for Science and TechnologyST
   Chesapeake-Potomac Healthcare AtriumAtrium
   Community Bank of the Chesapeake/Physiology LabRoom 138
   Greg and Beckey Cockerham Conference RoomRoom 145
   SMECO Engineering LabRoom 158
   PNC Biology LabRoom 223
Maryland Center for Environmental TrainingTC
Friendship HouseFriendship House
Leonardtown Campus 
Building AA
Building BB
   Community Bank of the Chesapeake Student LoungeRoom 102
Building CC
   Burch Oil CompanyFoyer
   Besche Oil Conference RoomRoom 216
   Tom and Katie Watts Computer LabRoom 314
Wellness and Aquatics CenterD
   St. Mary's Hospital-MedStar HealthFitness Studio
Prince Frederick Campus 
John E. Harms Academic Center (Building A)PFA
   Pax (anonymous donor)Atrium
   Revelation (anonymous donor)Library
   Zaca's Lounge (anonymous donor)Student Lounge
   Dominion Computer LabRoom 115
   Vernon W. Hughes Physics LabRoom 207-207c
   Verizon Advanced Technology LabRoom 221-221a
   Wyvill Social Science ClassroomRoom 225
   Community Bank of the Chesapeake Nursing LabRoom 223
Building BPFB
   Exelon Nuclear Engineering Technology LabRoom 118
Regional Hughesville Campus | Center for Trades and Energy Training 
  Community Bank of the Chesapeake LobbyLobby
  Marrick Homes Carpentry LabRoom 123
  Exelon Generation Welding LabRoom 125

C

Campuses, Centers, and Other Locations

CSM CAMPUSES 
La Plata CampusLAPL
Leonardtown CampusLEON
Prince Frederick CampusPRIN
Regional HughesvilleREGI
CSM CENTERS 
Center for Trades and Energy TrainingCTET
Center for Transportation TrainingCTRA
Waldorf Center for Higher EducationWALD

The abbreviations of LAPL, LEON, PRIN, REGI, WALD, CTET CTRA, and WALD are standard abbreviations for Colleague usage, but should not be used in sentence structure as a way to reference a college campus or training location. These abbreviations should never be used as abbreviations in external communications.

The term "campus" can be used in subsequent references when referring to the La Plata, Leonardtown, Prince Frederick, or Regional Hughesville Campus.

The event will take place at the Prince Frederick Campus. The campus will host a variety of events.

The CSM Center for Trades and Energy Training opened in September. The center provides...

When is a rule, not a rule? Campus abbreviations are used in the schedule of classes and within schedules-at-a-glance found in certain publications. In all instances a key is always included.

OTHER LOCATIONS

  • La Plata Campus Larry Chappalear Memorial Art Gallery (Use official name when referring to the gallery for first time and "the gallery" in subsequent references.)
  • La Plata Campus Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery (Use official name when referring to the gallery for first time and "the gallery" in subsequent references.)
  • Walter Grove II Memorial Art Gallery (Use official name when referring to the gallery for first time and "the gallery" in subsequent references.)
  • The WorkForce Center at the College of Southern Maryland (Use official name when referring to the center for first time and "the center" in subsequent references.) 

Certificates

Spell out and capitalize the name of a certificate if it is the official name.

Tom Davis received his Accounting-Basic Certificate at CSM.

College Name

Official Institutional Name: College of Southern Maryland
Abbreviation:
CSM

The first reference to the institution should be spelled out followed by the acronym. The CSM acronym should be used in subsequent references in the text.

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) began its fall semester last week. CSM plans to provide students with...

Colons

Use colons to introduce a long series or list, especially in course description information.

Topics covered will be: healthcare, childcare, daycare, and geriatric care.

Only capitalize the topics if the given list of items is of an official nature. Semicolons are then needed for separation.

Discussions will take place on the following course titles: How to Provide Healthcare; Childcare 101; When Adults Require Daycare; and Geriatric Care for Alzheimer's Patients

Commas

Use a comma in a series.

red, white, and blue
faculty, students, or parents

Use a comma after introductory works, phrases, or subordinate clauses.

Because of the location of the building, parking may be limited.

Use a comma to set off an appositive.

Dr. Smith, our new dean, advocates changes in tenure policies.

Use a comma in names before Jr., Sr., Esq. but not before Roman numerals.

George Anderson, Esq.
John Adams, Jr.
Allan Hicks III

When is a rule not a rule? Please note the following exception to the CSM Writing Style Guide. Media releases are written in AP Style by the CSM Community Relations Department per industry standards and do not follow the same comma in a series rule as noted above.

Commencement

Capitalize the "C" in Commencement when discussing the formal ceremony; lowercase it in generic usage

The College of Southern Maryland's 50th Spring Commencement will occur in the Physical Education Center (PE Building). The college holds commencements twice a year.

Course Disciplines

Use the designated abbreviations for course disciplines as noted in the college catalog or schedule of classes.

When disciplines are used to reflect credit or continuing education course titles, use the discipline and then the number, with a hyphen dividing the two.

ACC-1020

Capitalize all complete and official names of college courses. No italicization or quotations needed. But use the discipline abbreviations when referring to the course title.

Introduction to Biology OR BIO-1010

CSM Foundation

Capitalize in formal titles, use lowercase for general references.

The Foundation Board of Directors will meet on Tuesday.
The foundation will be seeking volunteers for its annual golf outing.

CSM Scholars Program

The College of Southern Maryland Scholars Program is a selective admission program for students who are seeking exciting opportunities and academic challenges.

  • Use CSM Scholars or the College of Southern Maryland Scholars Program when referring to this program.

D

Dashes

Parenthetical elements can be enclosed in parentheses or set off by commas or long dashes with no space before or after the long dash. The use of dashes or parentheses is preferable if the parenthetical element contains commas. Note: To create a dash in typed material, use two hyphens with no space before or after.

Dashes emphasize the parenthetical element.

Three types of reports--feasibility studies, proposals, and progress reports--will be studied in the next month.

Use a dash to add explanation or illustrate a point after an independent clause.

The candidate had all the necessary qualifications--adequate training, relevant experience, and excellent recommendations.

Degrees

  • Use all lowercase when referring to the informal degree name
  • When using an informal reference to a degree, use the possessive form.
Joe Smith received his associate's degree from CSM.
  • Use first letter uppercase when the actual name of the degree is included.
Joe Smith earned an Associate of Arts in Arts and Humanities.
  • Omit periods from abbreviations of academic degrees
  • When listing academic credentials list the person's legal name, degree, year of graduation and institution.
John Faculty, PhD, 1967 Stanford, MA 1959, Reed College


INFORMAL DEGREE NAME AND ABBREVIATION

associate of artsAA
associate of applied scienceAAS
associate of arts in teachingAAT
associate of scienceAS
associate of science in engineeringASE
bachelor of artsBA
bachelor of scienceBS
certified public accountantCPA
master of artsMA
doctor of medicineMD
doctor of philosophyPhD
practical nursePN
registered nurseRN

Departments and Offices

EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Capitalize "department" and "office" only when used as part of an official title. Note the Box Office is the official name of a CSM office and should have a capital "B" and "O".

The English, Communication, and Languages Division has many offices.
Inquiries should be made to the Office of the President.
You can get your tickets at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Box Office for today's concert.

When is a rule not a rule? Not all CSM departments and office use "department" or "office" as part of their official name. See the example below:

Please stop by the Library to speak with the supervisor.

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

First Reference: Use the official title of the division, department, or office with the abbreviation in parentheses if there will be subsequent references throughout the text. Abbreviation can be used alone, but a key needs to be provided.

Subsequent References:
Use division, department, or office abbreviation.

Please note that the official abbreviation for a department or office may not be the same as the official Mail Code. For official Mail Codes please see the telephone directory or Mail, Distribution, and Fulfillment Services Intranet page.

OFFICIAL NAME AND ABBREVIATION

Adult and Community EducationCED
   Adult EducationAED
   Personal Enrichment ProgramsPEP
   Wellness, Fitness and AquaticsWFA
Auxiliary ServicesAUX
   Children's Learning CenterCLC
   Food ServicesFSV
   College StoreSTO
Budget DepartmentBUD
Campus OperationsOPS
   Scheduling and Conference ServicesSCH
Charles County Mediation CenterMED
Continuing Education and Workforce Development OperationsCEO
Controller, Financial ServiceFIS
   Student Account Services (formerly Bursar's Office)BUR
Development
DEV
Diversity and Inclusion
DIV
Entrepreneur and Innovation InstituteEII
General Counsel OfficeGCO
Government Relations and Public Information OfficeCOM
Human Resources and Payroll
HRD
Information Management TeamIMT
MarketingMAR
   Creative ServicesCRE
   Mail and Distribution ServicesMAI
   Web ServicesWEB
Maryland Center for Environmental TrainingCET
Office of Strategic PartnershipsOSP
   Nonprofit InstituteNPI
Physical PlantFCL
Planning, Institutional Effectiveness, and ResearchPIR
Procurement/Contracts
PRO
Public Safety and Preparedness
PSD
Risk Management and ComplianceRMC
Small Business Development CenterSBD
Student AccessSTR
   AdmissionsAOD
Student AffairsSTA
Student EngagementSTE
Student Life and Athletics
STL
Student SuccessSTS
   Advising, Career, and Transfer ServicesACS
   Financial AssistanceFAD
   Registrar's OfficeREG
Workforce Development
WFD
   Allied CareersAED
   Business and Information TechnologyBIT
   WorkForce CenterCCT
   HealthcareHTH
   Center for Trades and Energy TrainingTET
   Center for Transportation TrainingTRA

Divisions

EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Capitalize the official name of the division. Note the word "division" is only capitalized when it is part of the official title.

Sharon Smith, dean of the Division of Academic Affairs, won't ...
The academic division Business, Technology, and Public Service is responsible for ...

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

First Reference: Use the official title of the division, department, or office with the abbreviation in parentheses if there will be subsequent references throughout the text. Abbreviations can be used alone, but a key needs to be provided.

Subsequent References:
Use division, department, or office abbreviation.

OFFICIAL NAME AND ABBREVIATION

Office of the PresidentPRE
ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS
Division of Advocacy and Community EngagementADV
Division of Continuing Education and Workforce DevelopmentCWD
Division of Academic AffairsDAA
Division of Financial ServicesDFS
Division of Human Resources and Organizational DevelopmentHRO
Division of Operations and PlanningOPP
Division of Student Equity and SuccessSES
ACADEMIC DIVISIONS
Academic AffairsDAA
   Learning Support Services (Testing Center, Learning Support Coordinators)LSS
Arts, Humanities, Social Science, and EducationAHS
Business, Technology, and Public ServiceBTP
English, Communication, and LanguagesECL
Health SciencesHEA
Learning, Technology, and ResourcesLTR
   Distance Learning and Faculty DevelopmentDLF
   LibraryLIB
MathematicsMTH
Science and EngineeringSCI

E

E-Communication

  • Use the "e-" in all references and do not capitalize (unless the word begins a sentence or is part of a design heading hierarchy).
  • Regardless of your audience, all e-mail should be composed as if it is an official correspondence from the college.
  • Messages should include a 'signature block' including name, title, e-mail address, and telephone number.
  • Be conscious about the usage of the "Reply All" function when responding to an e-mail, as it is rare that all recipients need to be included in your reply.

Writing is changing. While traditional print content will always exist, college materials should be developed with an understanding of how reading habits, content, and media choices have changed. Our audiences use e-mail, the Internet, social media, apps, and other electronic tools and mediums as their media outlets of choice.

E-mail

All e-mail should be composed as if it is an official correspondence from the college, regardless of your audience.

  • The word "e-mail" should be hyphenated with a lower case "e."
  • The proper style for e-mail addresses should be all lowercase.
wendyc@csmd.edu
  • Review your message in HTML and plain text modes for readability.

Tips for E-Mail:

  • Always include a "signature block" including at least your name, CSM title, e-mail address, and telephone number.
  • Use "Reply All" function wisely and only when necessary.
  • Bold key words.
  • Subject lines: Use your call to action statement.
  • Avoid words or phrases that are considered SPAM: "free," "special," "limited time offer," "check this out," etc.
  • Avoid using all capital letters.
  • Use "High Priority" red flag status only when appropriate.

F

Formal Letter

When writing a letter to an elected official, the inside address should begin with "The Honorable," which is capitalized:

The Honorable John Q. Public
President of the Senate

The salutation should include the legislator's proper title:

Dear Senator Public

Templates are available on the Marketing Department website on the Intranet.

H

Honor Society

Students earning honors are eligible for membership in Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

  • Spell out Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society the first reference; for subsequent references use Phi Theta Kappa or PTK.

Hyphens

Some words are always hyphenated, like e-mail. However, some words are only hyphenated when they precede a noun and are used as an adjective.

Joe Davis lives on campus.
Joe Davis is looking for on-campus housing.

Susan Smith takes classes full time.
Susan Smith is a full-time student.

Adjunct faculty teach part time.
Some faculty members teach on a part-time basis.

There is no need for a hyphen after a word that ends in "ly."

The college is a highly respected institution.

The following words should always be hyphenated:

  • e-blast
  • e-communication
  • e-mail
  • co-op (abbreviation for cooperative when referring to cooperative education)
  • cross-country

Many tend to use the following words in a hyphenated manner, especially the word "online." Online is always to be used as one word.

The following words are generally used as two words:
  • home page
  • log off
  • log in (verb); login (noun)
  • web page
The following words are generally used as one word:
  • bookstore
  • cybersecurity
  • database
  • daycare
  • fundraising
  • healthcare
  • interoffice
  • lowercase
  • microcomputer
  • multicampus
  • nonprofit
  • nonresident
  • online
  • voicemail
  • webmaster
  • website
  • workforce

Some words are used as one word when used as a noun, but two words when used as a verb.

Log in to my.CSMD to register.
Use your login ID for all registrations.

While the use of hyphens and hyphenated words is falling out of favor in some circles, in professional publications traditional hyphenation guidelines should be observed.

Use a hyphen to link words such as compound words and adjectives.

a nine-year-old girl
full-time faculty

Omit the hyphen if the compound adjective follows the noun.

She is nine years old.
They work full time.

If you are questioning the correct spelling or usage of a word please refer to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language Fourth Edition.

I

Inclusive Language

Every attempt should be made to when writing text representing the college's business, programs, and services to use inclusive language. Inclusive language does not make assumption regarding age, gender, race, or ethnicity. Inclusive text is avoid stereotyping people and is sensitive to issues.

AGE

Avoid making assumptions about age-related abilities and career goals. Remember that our students can be five years old or over age 70.

DISABILITY

Use "person first" language. Use the terms accessible parking and accessible elevator, not handicap parking and handicap elevator.

She uses a wheelchair; students who are blind; individuals with a disability.

DIVERSITY

Diversity is not just about ethnicity; it includes sex, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and stereotypes. As a college that values and encourages diversity, it is important to communicate in a manner that is inclusive and treats all individuals and groups as equals.

  • Avoid euphemisms
  • Avoid "politically incorrect" terminology.

RACE AND ETHNICITY

Do not assume ethnicity. Hyphens are not necessary. Common race and ethnicity terms found on the college's admissions application and registration forms are white, black or African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander.

There are new race/ethnicity guidelines for students to follow when filling out an admission
application, credit registration form, or continuing education registration form.

SEX AND GENDER

Use plurals whenever possible so that both genders are included. If the singular must be used, use both pronouns (he/she), joined by a conjunction, or rewrite the sentence to be non-gender specific. The pronoun their is plural and therefore is not a substitute for he/she. It should be used only in reference to a group of people.

If a student will be late, he or she needs to inform his or her professor immediately.
Students who anticipate being late need to inform the class professor immediately.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY

Gender identity and expression are different than sexual orientation. The external appearance of gender may or may not differ from a person's biological gender and sexual orientation.

STEREOTYPES

Do not make assumptions when writing about a person or a group. Not every engineer is a man, nor is every nurse a woman.

Italics

  • Italics are used to emphasize a keyword or phrase the first time it appears in your text. The next time the term or phrase is used it should be in plain text.
  • Capitalize and italicize all complete and official names of college publications and e-Communication. Always remember to research if the word "The" is part of the official title of published works or organizations.
Discover Magazine
The Friday Report
HawkTalk
Connections Literary Magazine
  • For words and letters that are referred to as words or letters.
The term American Indian is inclusive of more than 500 federally recognized ethnic communities.
  • For non-English words or terms used in your text. This practice excludes those words that have become incorporated in the English language, such as laissez-faire, or arroyo.
  • Italics are now used everywhere in place of underlining for publication titles, words, etc.
  • For the term "my.CSMD" (student portal), "my" is always italicized.

L

Logo

For CSM logo use guidelines, click here. 

For logo downloads, visit the toolkit page.

M

Mail

Addressing Mail

  • Use complete delivery address.
  • Use complete CSM return address including the college's PO Box.
  • The PO Box should always follow the street address.
  • Do not use punctuation - except for the hyphen in the zip code.
  • Use all capital letters

Regardless of campus, for mailing purposes addresses should begin with the campus, followed by College of Southern Maryland on the next line, the name of the division, department, office, or recipient (using abbreviations when applicable), the college's legal street address, followed by the post office box number, city and state, and the nine-digit zip code (if available).

<CAMPUS>
COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN MARYLAND
<DIVISION/DEPARTMENT OR OFFICE>
COLLEGE'S LEGAL STREET ADDRESS
PO BOX 910
CITY, STATE NINE-DIGIT ZIP CODE

Save Mail and Distribution Services time and be sure to always included a departmental abbreviation in the return address, so that undeliverable mail may be returned to the appropriate area of the college. For more information contact the Mail and Printing Services Coordinator at ext. 7763.

CSM Legal Street Addresses

Campus addresses are to appear in publications and web materials in sentence or stacked form as:

La Plata Campus
College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Road
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910

Leonardtown Campus
College of Southern Maryland
22950 Hollywood Road
Leonardtown, MD 20650-4700

Prince Frederick Campus
College of Southern Maryland
115 J.W. Williams Road
Prince Frederick, MD 20678

Regional Hughesville Campus
College of Southern Maryland
6170 Hughesville Station Place
Hughesville, MD 20637

Waldorf Center for Higher Education
College of Southern Maryland
3261 Old Washington Road, Suite 1020
Waldorf, MD 20602-3223

CSM Center for Transportation Training
5825 Radio Station Road
La Plata, MD 20646

Notes: La Plata is two words therefore it should always contain a space between "La" and "Plata."

When following the logo as a return address on printed material use the college's legal street address, followed by the post office box number, city, state, and the nine-digit zip code. See "Mail - Addressing Mail" section for information on usage of the address when addressing mail.

Meeting Minutes

The minutes of a meeting are the official record of all important matters discussed at the meeting. Templates are available on the Marketing Department website on the Intranet.

Memo

An interoffice memo is used for written correspondence within and between the offices of the college. The chosen college memo style is the FULL BLOCK MEMO. Templates are available on the Marketing Department website on the Intranet.

Minisession

  • Always written as one word
  • Used to describe academic terms lasting approximately half of a full spring or fall semester.

my.CSMD

  • For the college portal, my.CSMD, "my" is always lower case and italicized. "CSMD" is always capitalized.
  • Always use a period between "my" and "CSMD."
  • Avoid using the term "my.CSMD" as the first word in a sentence.

myLearning

  • For the college course portal, "myLearning," "my" is always lower case and not italicized. The "L" is always capitalized.
  • Do not use a period between "my" and "Learning."
  • Avoid using the term "myLearning" as the first word in a sentence.

N

Names and Titles

Capitalize academic, civil, religious, and professional titles when they immediately precede a personal name, but lowercase when the title follows a personal name in text.

Vice President Daniel Jones
Dean Vandalay

In text, when used as an appositive (enclosed in commas), titles following a person's name, or standing alone in place of a name, should be not be capitalized.

Capitalize the name of the division, department, or office referenced, though, if it is the official name of the department.

Joseph Jones, president of the college, will be...
Sharon Smith, dean of the Division of Academic Affairs, won't...
Jack Rhoades, Human Resources and Payroll director, is...
Judith Becker, professor of biology, plans to...

Capitalize titles following a person's name when used in a list or in addresses.

The following people have contributed:
  • Joseph Jones, President of Ventura College
  • Sharon Smith, Dean of Arts and Sciences

Only capitalize the topics if the given list of items is of an official nature. Semicolons are then needed for separation.

Discussions will take place on the following course titles: How to Provide Healthcare; Childcare 101; When Adults Require Daycare; and Geriatric Care for Alzheimer's Patients.

Nondiscrimination Policy

The following nondiscrimination policy is to be used in all documentation pertaining to the promotion of CSM's academic or continuing education programs or course offerings.

Official CSM Statement

The College of Southern Maryland does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, or marital status in its programs or activities. The academic support/ADA coordinator, Disability Support Services, La Plata Campus, Learning Resource Center (LR Building), Room 123, 301-934-7614 has been designated to handle inquiries regarding discrimination on the basis of disabilities. The Executive Director for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, La Plata Campus, Campus Center (CC Building), Room 208A, 301-934-7658 has been designated to handle inquiries regarding discrimination.

Numbers

Inclusive Range of Numbers

  • MLA style drops digits in numbers above 99 according to specific rules. This is the process of omitting a range of inclusive numbers. When writing numbers through 99, give the full digits.
For example, write 42 - 48, not 42 - 8.
  • Page numbers above 99 require only the last two digits of the second number as long as the result is unambiguous. Leading zeros are not dropped in MLA practice. Write pages 1123 - 24 not 1123 - 1124; write pages 2000 - 04 not 2000 - 4 nor 2000 - 2004. Write pages 112 - 35 and pages 102 - 21, but write pages 102 - 08 not 102 - 8 or 102 - 108.
Write pages 1,584 - 621 not pages 1,582 - 1,621.
  • Omit dates only when they fall within the same century.
Write the years 1865 - 917 not 865 - 917.

THE "TO" OR A "-"?

When expressing a range of numerals in text do not use a dash unless the numbers reflect an inclusive range of dates, write "to" instead.

The IQ range of the first group was 86 to 112.
The years of the Great Depression, 1930 - 40, tested America severely.

Phone Numbers

EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION

  • Telephone numbers should be written with a hyphen. No parentheses or "." should be used.

301-934-2251

Use direct dial numbers for external publications when an individual is the contact. For a department or program contact, provide the direct dial number and the automated attendant number for each county along with the appropriate extension.

CSM Foundation
Calvert County | 443-550-6199, ext. 7649
Charles County | 301-934-7649 or 301-870-2309, ext. 7649
St. Mary's County | 240-725-5499, ext. 7649
  • Use "ext." rather than "Ext.", "x," or "extension."
  • Publications for persons who may be contacting the college from the Washington, DC area should use 301-870-3008.
  • The college's 800 number, 1-800-933-9177, is for individuals who may be contacting the college from outside of Southern Maryland, but is not widely used, distributed, or placed routinely in published matter.
  • Be sure to confirm phone numbers (including extensions) prior to publication.

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Use extension designations rather than the entire phone number.

  • Use "ext." Do not capitalize the "e."
  • Be sure to confirm extensions prior to publication.

Time

Use numerals for time of day when using "a.m." or "p.m." (such as calendar listings) Always use lowercase "a.m." or "p.m."; it is preferred that the ":00" be removed when referring to times of day. Also, remove the first "a.m." or "p.m." when giving an event or class time frame, if the beginning and ending time both fall in either the "a.m." or "p.m." of the day.

The event will take place 5 - 6:30 p.m.

When is a rule not a rule? Within a formal invitation it is acceptable to include the ":00" when referring to the event time. For formal invitations the above rules for "a.m." and "p.m." usage still apply.

When to Hyphenate Numbers

  • For compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.
  • For compound words with a number as the first element.
21-year-old student
  • For written form of fractions.
Three-fourths of CSM students love pizza.

When to Spell Out Numbers

  • When starting a sentence with a number or a date, write them out.
Five girls and 125 boys tried out for the varsity soccer team.
  • Spell out the numbers zero through nine in ordinary text; use numerals for 10 or more.
The girl is three years old, but the boy is 10 years old.
  • Spell out the number and the term for the symbols. Do not mix numbers that are spelled out with symbols
Write: 45%, or forty-five percent; $20 or twenty dollars.

Seventy percent of the state's high schools graduates attend CSM.
  • Spell out the numbers with measures in your text (but not in references) when you can do so in three words or less, twenty-five percent, twenty-five dollars, fifty pounds.
  • Spell out the time of day in text material, but in instances with "a.m." or "p.m." (such as calendar listings) always use numerals. Always use lowercase a.m. or p.m.; It is preferred that the ":00" be removed when referring to times of day. Also, remove the first "a.m." or "p.m." when giving an event or class time frame, if the beginning and ending time both fall in either the "a.m." or "p.m." of the day.
When is a rule not a rule? Within a formal invitation it is acceptable to include the ":00" when referring to the event time. For formal invitations the above rules for "a.m." and "p.m." usage still apply.

When to Use Numerals

  • Use numerals for numbers 10 and higher.
  • Use numerals for phone numbers. Separate numbers with hyphen. Do not use parentheses for area code.
301-934-7600
  • Use numerals with symbols and abbreviations (e.g., %, $, ¢, ft., lbs., p.m., ed. vol.) when these appear frequently in your text or are used in references. Otherwise write out numbers with measures in your text (but not in references) when you can do so in three words or less, twenty-five percent, twenty-five dollars, fifty pounds.
25%, $25, 50 lbs., 3rd ed.
  • Use numerals for time of day when using "a.m." or "p.m." (such as calendar listings) Always use lowercase "a.m." or "p.m."; It is preferred that the ":00" be removed when referring to times of day. Also, remove the first "a.m." or "p.m." when giving an event or class time frame, if the beginning and ending time both fall in either the "a.m." or "p.m." of the day.
The event will take place 5 - 6:30 p.m.

When is a rule not a rule? Within a formal invitation it is acceptable to include the ":00" when referring to the event time. For formal invitations the above rules for "a.m." and "p.m." usage still apply.

P

Phone Numbers

See "Numbers."

Plagiarism

Whether it is committed by a student or a member of the faculty or staff, plagiarism is one of the biggest challenges we face as an academic institution. Plagiarism is the submission of someone else's ideas or words as your own. When you use someone else's words, phrases, or sentences without acknowledging the author, you are committing plagiarism. Plagiarism undermines your work and credibility.

To avoid plagiarism, it is important to follow citation and fair use guidelines and copyright laws. For more information, visit www.copyright.gov.

Publication Titles

Capitalize and italicize all complete and official names of college publications and e-communications. Always remember to research if the word "The" is part of the official title of published works or organizations.

Discover College of Southern Maryland Magazine
The Friday Report
HawkTalk
Connections Literary Magazine
The Washington Post

Punctuation

See "Apostrophes," "Colons," "Commas," "Dashes," "Hyphens," "Parentheses," and "Quotation Marks."

S

Semesters

  • Do not capitalize seasons of the year when used to indicate an academic period, i.e., fall semester, spring semester, or summer session.
  • Capitalize seasons only when used in a heading or when it is part of a formal program name.
Spring Semester 2019
At CSM, spring semester enrollment is now 8,000 students.

Southern Maryland

Southern Maryland should be capitalized and written in full. DO NOT use SoMD, somd. or other abbreviations in external or internal publications.

States, Countries, and Other Locations

With the exception of tabular and columnar matter and addresses, spell out state names within a sentence format.

The La Plata Campus is located in La Plata, Maryland.

When abbreviating states, use the two-letter, capitalized, abbreviation approved by the U.S. Postal Service, with no periods. Visit https://pe.usps.com/text/pub28/28apb.htm for a complete listing.

US or USA should always be capitalized with no periods, unless the abbreviation is a recognized part of an official title.

The U.S. Postal Service delivers mail throughout the US.
  • Spell out the names of countries, states, counties, provinces, territories, bodies of water, mountains, in the text.
  • In text, DO NOT abbreviate the names of countries other than the USSR.
  • Most prefixes to places, such as Fort, North, Port, South, are spelled out in the text; as are suffixes such as Peak or Fork. Write: North Platte, Fort Collins, Port Huron, South Bend, Long's Peak.
  • Southern Maryland should be capitalized and written in full. DO NOT use SoMD, somd. or other abbreviations in external or internal publications.

T

Time

See "Numbers."

Titles

  • When writing initials, the traditional format is still preferred to put a period and a single space after each.
J. S. Bach, C. S. Lewis.
  • Abbreviate the following titles when preceding personal names: Dr., Mrs., Rev., Hon., St.
  • Reverend and honorable are not abbreviated when preceded by the word "the":
Rev. Henry L. Brown or the Reverend Henry L. Brown
Hon. Frank R. Hawkins or the Honorable Frank R. Hawkins
  • Abbreviate Esq., Sr., and Jr., following the name.
  • The title for all women, regardless of marital status, is Ms., unless the writer knows the addressee's preference is Miss or Mrs.
  • Abbreviate degrees when used following a name, but spell out the first reference in text.
  • When writing to the home address, use the title in front of the name
Office Address
Susan Williams, PhD
Thomas Johnson, MD
Mr. John Smith, Attorney at Law
John Smith, Esq.
Home Address
Dr. Susan Williams
Dr. Thomas Johnson
Mr. John Smith
  • Use a comma in names before Jr., Sr., Esq. but not before Roman numerals.

George Anderson, Esq.
John Adams, Jr.
Allan Hicks III

Titles of Organizations and Offices

Always remember to research if the word "The" is part of the official title of organizations.

The Center for Business and Industry (BI Building)


Capitalize words such as association, center, college, department, division, foundation, office, etc., when used as part of the official title. Do not capitalize these words when they stand alone:

College of Southern Maryland
The college offers many degree opportunities.
St. Charles Children's Learning Center
The center is located at . . .
College of Southern Maryland Foundation
The foundation provides scholarship opportunities to...
Board of Trustees
The board recommends...

Capitalize words such as division, department, association, office, etc., only when used in a title:

The English, Communication, and Languages Division has many offices.

Use lowercase "O" in the word Office if not an official name of one of CSM's offices:

Inquiries should be made to the Office of the President.
Please visit the Financial Assistance office.

Capitalize the "R" in the word Room and the "S" in Suite when referring to room numbers.

Trademarks

Capitalize trademarked names. In most writing situations, you do not need to use the symbols ® and ™. Always check the organization's website to determine the guidelines for its trademark.

Coca-Cola
Cannon
Kleenex
Kodak
SHRM™
SMART Board™

Training Centers

See "Mail."

U

URLs

Care should be taken when incorporating college URLs as some include capital letters, underscores, spaces, etc. CSM-specific guidelines specify that at the end of the URL, when referring to the specific landing page site, capitalize the first letter of each word even if there are no spaces between the words.

As a general rule no http:// is required as it is implied and most browsers will automatically insert it. Always test the URL, though, when removing the http://. Do not add punctuation to the web address as web addresses are not allowed to end with a period or comma. If the URL is at the end of a sentence, however a period should be used.

www.csmd.edu/StudentLife

If a web address will not fit on a single line, either move the address to the following line of text or break the address after a forward slash.

W

Web-hybrid

Always use as two words separated by a hyphen.

World Wide Web (WWW)

The terms Internet and Intranet should always be capitalized.

World Wide Web should be used in sentence structure when referencing this technology term in the first reference, followed by (WWW) in parentheses. Subsequent references can be "WWW."

When using terms such as "the web" or "web page," the term "web" is not capitalized and stands alone as one word. The term "website" is one word.