General Information Tips

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What is the correct date format?


Even though we see this all the time, especially in advertisements, the following is INCORRECT: May 9th

It should always be "May 9," even though we generally pronounce it "ninth."

How do I write clock times?

Clock Time

The following rules apply:

8 p.m. (not 8:00 p.m.)
4 o'clock in the morning (or 4 a.m.) but NOT 4 o'clock a.m.
9:00 in the morning (not 9 in the morning)

Do I have to spell out acronyms?


The following acronyms are appropriate for use on all occasions. It is not necessary to spell out on first reference.

CARE (Cooperative for American Relief to Everywhere)
OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)
ZIP (Code) (Zone Improvement Plan)
PIN (personal identification number)
ATM (automated teller machine)
SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving)
NASDAQ (National Association of Security Dealers Automated Quotations)
SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
ESOP (employee stock ownership plan)

How do I punctuate adjacent numbers?

Adjacent Numbers

When two numbers come together and both are in figures or both are in words, separate them with a comma.

In 2001, 35 of us will graduate.
Although we started with fifty, fifteen dropped out.
On May 6, 24 cars will be auctioned.

What abbreviations need periods?


Academic Degrees: Use periods but no spaces (M.D.)

All-Caps abbr.: Generally require no periods (NCAA, NAACP, NASA)

Geographic: Usually require periods but no spaces (U.S.A., U.S.S.R, K.C., L.A.)

How should I list numbers in my manuscript?

Showing Numbers in Manuscripts

Numbers from one to ten are usually spelled out. Numbers higher than ten can be represented as numerals.

How do I format telephone numbers?

Telephone Numbers

Insert a hyphen after the first three digits.

When using the area code, use a hyphen (with no space on either side) between the two elements.

The "1-" does not always need to be included.
Ex: Please call me at 1-800-545-5474.
But: My number is 800-545-7547.
("1-" is not part of the number; it's just something you have to dial.)

How do I avoid masculine bias?

Replacing Traditional Masculine Bias

Generic: Replacement:
layman layperson
businessman business owner, business people
congressman member of Congress, representative
mankind people, humanity, the human race, human beings, humans
man-hours worker-hours
manpower work force, human resources, staff
salesman salesperson, sales representative, sales staff, sales force
foreman supervisor
policeman police officer
mailman mail carrier
workmen workers

How do I divide words?

Word Division

Don't set off a one-letter syllable at the beginning or end of a word.

amaze (not a-maze)
lucky (not lucky-y)

How do I divide words?

Word Division

Divide words only between syllables. If you're unsure of the syllabication of a word, look it up in the dictionary.

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