Style and Writing Conventions
Associated Press Style
All written communication should follow the Associated Press Style. The Associated Press sets guidelines for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and language use with a focus on consistency and clarity. To consult the full AP Stylebook, please contact the Harold L. Drimmer Library. One important exception to note is the college’s stance on the oxford comma – whereas the Associated Press prefers to omit the comma before the conjunction and last item in a series, the college’s style is to include this comma. For more commonly referenced topics please refer to the writing conventions below.
Email is written without a hyphen.
Send me an email.
Email is the best way to correspond.
Website is written as one word.
Please visit the college’s website for more information on how to apply for admission.
Academic Arts Theatre is spelled with a “re.”
The show is playing at the Academic Arts Theatre.
Use the American spelling for the word “catalog.”
Search through the Course Catalog.
Online is written without a hyphen.
Register for classes online.
Online registration begins soon.
Prealgebra and precalculus are written without hyphens.
Students can take prealgebra and precalculus classes.
Prerequisite and corequisite are written without hyphens.
Placement test results may fulfill the required educational prerequisite requirements.
Students may be required to take concurrent corequisite courses.
Non-credit is to be hyphenated at all times. If non-credit appears at the beginning of the sentence only the N should be capitalized.
Non-credit courses are offered by the Division of Workforce Development and Education.
Financial aid cannot be applied to non-credit courses.
Nonprofit is never to be hyphenated.
Since its founding in 1969, Westchester Community College Foundation (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization) has raised funds to meet college and student needs not covered by public funds.
Capitalize titles only when they appear before a person’s name.
We should ask Dean Bloom for his opinion.
Dr. Morest, the provost and vice president of Student Affairs, has already shared her opinion.
Do not capitalize the web, website, web presence, web address, web page, or other similar terms.
Visit our website.
We’re on the web.
We have a sizable web presence.
Do not capitalize internet and intranet.
Our intranet site is not accessible on the internet.
Do not capitalize “c” when referring to the institution as “the college.”
The college would like to thank you for your support.
Capitalize seasons only when referring to specific college semesters.
This course will be offered during our Spring 2018 Semester. It was also offered in Fall 2017 and Summer 2017. But it is not always offered in the summer and fall, nor is it offered during all spring semesters.
Only capitalize the names of programs when referring to a specific program offered by the college.
The college offers many degree programs, but I have selected to enter the Nursing Program. I’ve heard that it’s a cut above other nursing programs.
Only capitalize degree titles when stating the specific name of the degree. Do not regularly
capitalize the words “degree” or “certificate.”
Students can work toward a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or a certificate. You can go for your bachelor’s or associate’s, and then go on to achieve a master’s or doctorate. Students can achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree, an Associate in Science degree, or a Computer Programming certificate.
Do not capitalize the names of academic fields of study, except for languages such as English,
This semester I am taking math, physics, English, and history.
Use commas after all items in lists containing more than two items.
I am taking math, physics, economics, and history.
Use apostrophes properly to indicate the possessive form of a word.
For singular common nouns ending in S: The boss’s office is on the second floor.
For plural common nouns not ending in S: The men’s room is closed.
For plural common nouns ending in S: The students’ hands were raised.
For proper nouns not ending in S: Most of Andrea’s classes are web-based.
For proper nouns ending in S: Charles’s first semester at Westchester Community College will be this fall.
“It’s” should only be used in place of “it is.”
You will know when it’s time to start.
To abbreviate a year, use an apostrophe and the last 2 digits of the year.
She graduated with the class of ’15.
Punctuation should be placed within the quotation mark when a sentence ends in a quote.
The security guard said, “The building is closed.”
References to Online Resources
The “http://” can be omitted from web addresses. If the web address begins differently, the url should not be altered.
Visit www.sunywcc.edu/admissions for more information.
Visit https://mywcc.sunywcc.edu/ to register for fall classes.
Whenever possible, avoid ending sentences with a web or email address. Readers might mistakenly include the punctuation when attempting to use the address.
Visit www.sunywcc.edu for more information.
Use the term “visit” as the action verb, not “go to” or “click on.”
Visit www.sunywcc.edu for more information.
To guide a reader through a website’s navigation structure, use the following technique:
Dates and Numbers
When writing specific dates that include the day of the week, use the following structure and punctuation:
Capitalize days of the week and spell them out completely, unless the text is part of a table. To abbreviate the days of the week for use in a table, do not use periods and follow these examples:
Capitalize the names of months. When a month is used with a specific date, use these abbreviations only:
If a month is not included in the list above, it should not be abbreviated (even when used to denote a specific date).
Jan. 15, 2018, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
March 1, 2018, is the priority deadline to apply for a scholarship.
When a month is used with a year or on its own, use the complete name of the month.
This program was first offered in September 2017.
Month on its own:
There were four lectures held in February for this class.
Once again, the exception to the abbreviation rule is when dates are featured as part of a table. To abbreviate the names of months for use in a table, do not use periods and follow these examples:
When using ordinal numbers, use the written out version of the number.
Writing and Research is the first class you should take for this program.
Writing and Research is the 1st class you should take for this program.
Other Commonly Referenced Writing Conventions
Use quotes around the letter grades and always capitalize the grade.
To pass, students must achieve a grade of “C” or higher.
Use dashes to separate phone numbers and always include the area code.
Please call 914-606-1234 for more information.