Editorial Style Guide

The following list contains preferred style and terminology commonly used in Notre Dame media and publications. We encourage University departments and other entities to compile their own style sheets for their use in addressing specific audience(s).

Preferred Style, Quick Reference


Basilica of the Sacred Heart; Basilica

  • NOT: Sacred Heart Church

Campus Crossroads project

  • Corbett Family Hall (east building), Duncan Student Center (west building), and south building, home of the Department of Music and the Sacred Music at Notre Dame program

Clarke Memorial Fountain; Stonehenge (common nickname)

Eck Visitors Center; Visitors Center

  • NOT: Visitor’s Center; Visitors’ Center

Eddy Street Commons

  • NOT: Eddy St. Commons

Golden Dome; Dome; Domer

  • NOT: golden dome; dome; domer

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes; the Grotto

  • NOT: Lourdes Grotto; the grotto

Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore (on-campus location); Hammes Bookstore & Café on Eddy Street

Hesburgh Library (main library building); Hesburgh Libraries (library system at the University)

  • NOT: Hesburgh Memorial Library

Main Building

  • NOT: main building; Main building; Administration Building

Notre Dame Stadium; the stadium

Our Lady’s University

  • NOT: our lady’s university

L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac (The University of Our Lady of the Lake) exact French name at founding in 1842

Quads: DeBartolo Quad, East Quad, God Quad, Mod Quad, South Quad, North Quad, West Quad

  • General use, lowercase: The quads were quiet during spring break.

St. Joseph’s Lake; St. Mary’s Lake; the lakes

“Touchdown Jesus” (the "Word of Life" mural on the Hesburgh Library)

University of Notre Dame; the University; Notre Dame; ND

  • NOT: Notre Dame University; U of ND; the university


(general rule, academic titles are capitalized before a name, but not after)

Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame (preferred)

Executive Vice President John Affeck-Graves; the executive vice president

Provost Burish; the provost

  • NOT: John Affleck-Graves, Executive Vice President

Professor Christian Smith; Christian Smith, professor of sociology

  • In running text, Professor Smith is preferred to the abbreviated Prof. Smith.

Endowed professors/chairs (always capitalized, before or after name):

Richard Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics; the Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor and Chair of Economics Richard Jensen

Board of Trustees; board; trustees

  • NOT: board of trustees; Trustees

Advisory Council; Advisory Council members; the council

Nanovic Institute; the institute

Center for Social Concerns; the center

College of Science; the college

College of Arts and Letters; Arts and Letters; the college

Mendoza College of Business; Mendoza; the college

  • NOT: Mendoza College

School of Architecture

  • NOT: Architecture School; Architecture College

Notre Dame Law School; the Law School

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center; the center


Department of Mathematics; the department

Edmund P. Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center: the Joyce; the JACC; the Joyce Center

Guglielmino Athletics Complex; the Gug

Two-name buildings (hyphenated):

  • Breen-Phillips Hall
  • Coleman-Morse Center
  • Hayes-Healy Center
  • Raclin-Carmichael Hall
  • O'Hara-Grace Residences
  • Stinson-Remick Hall

Open (no hyphen):

  • Carole Sandner Hall
  • Hammes Mowbray Hall
  • Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore

Office of the President; the office

Notre Dame Magazine

  • NOT: Notre Dame magazine; ND Magazine

Saint Mary’s College

  • NOT: St. Mary’s College

Land O’Lakes

Basil Moreau; Blessed Moreau; Father Moreau

  • Please note: Basil Moreau was the founder of the Congregation; his name does not include C.S.C.

Brother André Bessette, C.S.C.; Saint André Bessette; Saint André; Blessed André

  • Please note: Pope Benedict XVI canonized Holy Cross’ first saint, Brother André Bessette, C.S.C., on October 17, 2010.

Rev., Father, Fr.

Use Rev. on first mention: Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; use Father or Fr. on subsequent mentions: Father Jenkins; Fr. John (not necessary to include C.S.C. after first mention)

Brother, Br.

Use Brother on first mention, Br. on subsequent mentions.

Sister, Sr.

Usage of term “nuns” is discouraged, as nuns are defined as a cloistered community. “Sisters” is the preferred term.

  • Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (preferred name of order, note “the” Holy Cross)
  • Capitalize Brothers, Congregation, Constitutions when referring to the Holy Cross order and governing documents

Placement of “Cardinal”: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Congregation of Holy Cross; abbreviation: C.S.C. (include periods, set off with commas); the Congregation


Academic Degrees (per Chicago)

  • B.A. in theology; bachelor’s degree in theology
  • master of business administration
  • MBA, MFA (no periods, three or more capped letters)
  • master of divinity; M.Div.

NOTE: Do not use Dr. unless referring to a medical doctor

alma mater (reference to school)

  • Notre Dame is my alma mater.

alma mater ( school song)

  • Lowercase: The alma mater at the University is “Notre Dame, Our Mother.”

Al Qaeda

Bible; biblical; Scripture references:

  • John 3:16 (no space around colon in chapter/verse reference, en dash used in listing a section of Scripture: John 3:16–21)

Church (capitalize when referring to the Catholic Church or universal Christian church)

Class of 2011; Class of ’11

  • Tara Hunt ’12; Charles F. Lennon Jr. ’61, ’62 M.A.

Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion (NOT: Club Naimoli in Purcell Pavilion)

coach (AP style); do not capitalize

The players gathered around coach Kelly to hear his review of the team’s previous play and his instruction on the next play.


  • The University’s 168th Commencement Ceremony is 10 a.m. Sunday, May 18, 2014.
  • Commencement Weekend; Commencement Ceremonies (first mention); commencement (lowercase, subsequent mentions); commencement speaker

Conference titles: capitalize, no quotation marks

  • Professor Jones presented a working paper at the Understanding International Conflict conference at Notre Dame’s Kroc Center.

Course Titles: capitalized, no quotation marks

  • Arts and Letters students are required to take Beginning Logic.
  • Business on the Frontlines (“Frontlines” is one word, specific to Mendoza College of Business)

Fighting Irish; Fightin’ Irish; fight song

From, until: He was an assistant professor from 1998 until 2004.

  • NOT: He was an assistant professor from 1998–2004.

Global Gateways: Beijing, Chicago, Dublin, Jerusalem, London, Rome

Junior Parents Weekend (no apostrophe)

leprechaun, cheerleaders, mascot (lowercase)

Mass (capitalize): Notre Dame students are welcome to attend any of the daily Masses offered across campus.

Notre Dame family (lowercase “family”)

Notre Dame Marching Band; Marching Band (capitalize, proper noun)

Possessive forms:

  • Jenkins’ (not Jenkins’s); Holy Cross’ (not Holy Cross’s); Pope Francis' (not Francis's)


  • NOT: Koran

Residence hall mascots (capitalize)

  • Carroll Vermin; Howard Ducks

“The Notre Dame Victory March” (AP style); The Notre Dame Victory March, (Chicago style)

Years/Decades; 2012–13 (note the en dash); the ’90s; the 1990s

  • NOT: 2012–2013; the 90’s; the 1990’s

Introduction to Style Guide

This style guide provides basic guidelines for grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues commonly encountered. It is intended as a general guide to The Chicago Manual of Style and covers matters of style specific to Notre Dame.

The English language is constantly changing, as are rules about grammar. Likewise, there are many different styles and publication guidelines (as evidenced by the bibliography included below), adding to the confusion of how to write clearly.

While you may not agree with every “rule” set forth in this guide, you may find an answer to a nagging question. If you have a question that is not addressed in this guide, please feel free to contact us at University Communications. We compiled this guide as a handy resource in dealing with matters of style specific to the University of Notre Dame not quickly covered in the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook.

In compiling this guide, we used the following sources:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 2010.
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, Basic Books, New York., N.Y., 2015.
  • Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th ed., Wiley Publishing, Cleveland, Ohio, 2010.
  • Dowling, Dave. The Wrong Word Dictionary, Marion Street Press, Inc., Oak Park, Ill., 2005.


A, B, C, D, F

When referring to a letter grade, do not use quotation marks to set the grade apart, or an apostrophe for a plural. Note: Use an en dash for a minus: A–, etc.

Olivia was relieved to see that her final exam score raised her grade to an A in English class, meaning she had earned all As for the fall semester.

a / an

Use "a" before heroic, historian (in front of a consonant or words beginning with a pronounced h); a one-year fellowship (before a "w" sound); a united voice (before a "you" sound). "A" comes before words with a consonant sound, including v, h, w, no matter how the word is spelled (a eulogy, a historic event, a quality product).

"An" comes before words with a vowel sound (an ND graduate, an ROTC unit, an X-ray report, an hour late).

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Abbreviate Rev., Hon., and Prof. when used before a first and last name or last name alone. When the appears before a title (for a formal invitation or program), however, the title is spelled out. Spell out Father when used before a first or last name, avoiding the use of Fr. or Br.

  • the Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
  • Father John Jenkins; Father Jenkins; Father John
  • Prof. Howard Hanks; Prof. Hanks

Note: Select a single title when listing Father Jenkins: Rev. Jenkins, President Jenkins, NOT President Father Jenkins or President Rev. Jenkins. Avoid awkward or confusing phrasing by rewriting the sentence.

The first reference to a priest should give his full title: Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. Thereafter, he may be referred to as Father John or Father Jenkins. In running text, there are always commas before and after the religious designation (C.S.C., S.J.) unless it falls at the end of the sentence.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., became the 17th president of the University of Notre Dame in September 2005.

academic degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Science
  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


The word "academy" is rarely capitalized. According to Webster's, here are the word's usages:

  • a school usually above the elementary level, especially a private school
  • a high school or college in which special subjects or skills are taught
  • higher education (the definition most often applicable at Notre Dame)

Capitalized when referring to the education founded by Plato or the philosophical doctrines associated with Plato's Academy. Capitalized when referring to a body of established opinion to advance art, science, or literature.

acknowledgment (no 'e' between 'g' and 'm')


Acronyms are generally capitalized and written without periods or spaces.

  • ACE, ACT, ESTEEM, GPA, MBA (familiar acronyms used at Notre Dame)

At first mention in running text, the acronym is placed in parentheses after the full name, and then may be used throughout the rest of the document.

The Office of Information Technologies (OIT) provides computer support and education for the Notre Dame community. OIT offers training, maintains a robust website, and provides one-on-one appointments.

advisor (preferred spelling; AP prefers adviser)

Advisory Council

  • When referring to an advisory council for a college or school at the University of Notre Dame, capitalize Advisory Council. Subsequent use in a shortened form, however, is lowercased: the council.

affect, effect

  • affect means to influence: Your test scores will affect your overall GPA.
  • affect, when used as a noun, suggests emotion; Joe exhibited a peaceful affect.
  • effect, as a verb, means to cause: The manager will effect positive change in the office.
  • effect, as a noun, means result: The relocation's effect was positive.

affirmative action (generic term); Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer

African American, African-American

Chicago leaves this term open for both noun and adjective form. Hyphenation of proper nouns is often debated. The general rule is that this term is hyphenated only when used as a modifier, although common practice is to eliminate hyphens in proper nouns. Be sure to maintain consistency in your writing.

  • He is an African American.
  • He studies African-American literature.
  • At Notre Dame, the program of African-American Studies is now referred to as Africana Studies.

afterward (not afterwards)

aid, aide

  • aid is assistance: The recently accepted student was relieved to see the college's financial aid offer.
  • aide is a person who offers assistance: The politician's aide was capable and disciplined.

a.k.a. (lowercase; known as)

All-Class Mass, All-Class Picnic

Hyphenate All-Class, and capitalize each word, as it is the proper name of a reunion event.


  • Do not capitalize class unless referring to a proper name:
  • Our class Mass will be at 5:00 p.m. at the Grotto.
  • Our class dinner will be in the Oak Room.
  • We’ll have a class tent next to our dorm.
  • The Class of 2012 prepared for Reunion by placing the schedule on its Facebook page.

all right (two words)

All-American (hyphenated)

alma mater (lowercase)

alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni

  • Alumna refers to one female graduate.
  • Alumnae refers to graduates of an all-women’s school (Saint Mary’s College, for instance) or to groups of female graduates only.
  • Alumnus refers to one male graduate.
  • Alumni refers to male graduates and to mixed groups of male and female graduates.

The word alumni is not capitalized, even when following Notre Dame.
Names of alumni should be italicized and include the class year on first reference.
There is no comma between the name and the class year:

  • Chuck Lennon ’61, ’62 M.A.

For Holy Cross priests who are also alumni, the class year is placed after the C.S.C. designation.

  • Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., ’76, ’78 M.A. (note the comma following C.S.C.)

Alzheimer's disease (note the apostrophe)

American Indian, Indian, Native American

American Indian refers to historically indigenous people of North America, although tribal names are often used instead. Depending on the circumstances, this identification is probably a better choice than Native American since many natives are often of other backgrounds. On a similar note, treat the term Asian American likewise. Asian is preferred to Oriental.

amid (not amidst)

and, &

And is preferable to an ampersand, which should be used only when the name of a company, group, or composition specifically calls for it, as in AT&T. Use of ampersands in headlines, posters, or Web content is acceptable. Do not include a comma before an ampersand.


Use apostrophes when:

referring to a degree (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree)
making possessives of nouns already ending in s (Williams’s reputation, Burns’s poems).

For Notre Dame usage, however, certain exceptions exist: Omit the s for the possessive form of Jesus, Jenkins (Jesus’ life, President Jenkins’ tenure), partly in order to conform to the Associated Press style likely to be used in the media.

See also Chicago 7.16-7.18.

Apostrophes are not necessary between the final number and the s in making the plurals of figures (early 1990s, the late ’80s). Also, single or multiple letters functioning as words or numbers form a plural by adding only an s, as long as the meaning is clear.

  • CEOs, the three Rs, CDs
  • She earned two Cs this semester.

But, abbreviations with periods require an apostrophe and s: Ph.D.'s, M.A.'s, J.D.'s (See Chicago 7.14)

as well as

The terms not only and but also are almost always used in tandem with each other.

  • The colonies not only won the war but also gained their independence.

Make sure that these elements go in front of the words they modify. It is a common mistake to place only and not only in front of a verb even if these words do not modify that verb.

  • WRONG: We will not only learn about the past but also about the future.
  • RIGHT: We will learn not only about the past but also about the future.
  • WRONG: You only need to tell me once.
  • RIGHT: You need to tell me only once.

Asian American Alumni of ND

Capitalize Asian American Alumni of ND.

assure, ensure, insure

Assure means to promise something or to remove doubt.

  • The driver assured me that the bus would arrive on schedule.

Ensure means to make certain something will happen.

  • Generous alumni donations ensure that there are enough scholarships for incoming students.

Insure means to purchase insurance.

  • After a professional appraisal, the family heirloom was insured for its current market value.


Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

award (capitalization of)

  • Emmy award
  • Trophy Award
  • Laetare Medal

awhile, a while

  • awhile (for a while) adverb: Brittany decided to stay awhile.
  • a while (noun): After moving around the state during the summer, Nick settled into his hometown for a while.

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baby boomer (lowercase, no hyphen)


In running text, baccalaureate is not capitalized.

  • B.A.; bachelor of arts; bachelor's degree; B.A.'s


Band is capitalized only when preceded by Notre Dame or when referring to the Band of the Fighting Irish.

  • The Notre Dame Band played at the pep rally. The Notre Dame Marching Band is the oldest collegiate band in the nation.
  • As a student at Notre Dame, I was a proud member of the band.


Capitalize when referring to the sacrament.

  • Family members and close friends traveled from Texas to attend the baby's Baptism at the Basilica.
  • As a new hire, she learned the department's inner workings through a baptism of fire.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart

  • Basilica of the Sacred Heart; the Basilica

benefit, benefited, benefiting (preference is to use one "t")

Bible, biblical

Capitalize Bible, but not biblical.

  • New Testament, Old Testament, Gospel

Bible verses

Use the following form to punctuate Bible chapters and verses:

  • Matthew 8:32–33 (note use of colon, en dash, and spacing after colon)
  • 2 Samuel 7:18


Capitalize this adjective when used to describe people, cultures and communities: Black people, Black publications

Use the term only when it's relevant to your content. Do not use it as a noun.

Black Alumni of Notre Dame

Capitalize and spell out on first reference. Afterwards, it can be abbreviated BAND.

Board of Trustees, trustee

Capitalize Board of Trustees when in reference to Notre Dame’s administrative body. Subsequent use in a shortened form, however, is lowercased: the board, the trustees.

Br., Brother

The first reference to a religious brother should include his full title: Br. John A. Edwards, C.S.C. Thereafter, he may be referred to as Brother Edwards or Brother John. Note that there are always commas before and after the order designation (unless it is the end of a sentence) and that Brother is abbreviated (Br.) only when using the full title.


bulletin (generic); Undergraduate Bulletin of Information



As a general rule, lowercase is preferred in modern language usage over capitalization.

Capitalize all educational, occupational, and business titles when used specifically in front of the name, unless a comma follows the title. Titles usually are not capitalized when they follow the name.

  • Thomas G. Burish was the provost of the University in 2004.
  • They welcomed Provost Thomas G. Burish.
  • They invited the University’s provost, Thomas G. Burish, to their meeting.

Capitalize University in running text when referring to the University of Notre Dame.

Lowercase the names of academic subjects in running text, unless it is a proper noun such as English, French, etc. However, capitalize a subject when it is the title of a specific class.

  • She thoroughly enjoys the discussions in her THEO 425 seminar class.
  • She is a double major, studying biology and philosophy.

Lowercase the when it appears as part of an organization's name unless it is a part of the name and the preferred style (The Ohio State University, for example). The is not capitalized before the University of Notre Dame. The is lowercased and set in roman when it precedes a newspaper title, even when it appears on the masthead. (She is a longtime subscriber to the New York Times.)

  • First Year of Studies (FYS); first-year students

academic degrees: B.A., bachelor's degree, bachelor of arts degree

  • M.A., master's degree, master of arts degree
  • Ph.D., doctorate, doctoral degree
  • M.A., MBA, J.D.

Titles are normally lowercased when they appear after a person's name. They are capitalized when they are listed before a name.

  • The committee and Provost Burish met for two hours to discuss the University's hiring policies.

Capitalize names of races, religious, and tribal groups; color designations are lowercased.

  • Catholics, Lutherans, Latinos; white, black

Lowercase the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall


For consistency and quick identification in photo captions, list subjects from left to right, using each person’s full name and title, and include “left to right” or “from left,” for clarity, in the caption.


Write Roger Cardinal Mahony vs. Cardinal Roger Mahony.

cell phone, smartphone

centered on, NOT centered around

centers and institutes

The Center for Education and, thereafter, the center (same for institute). 


Chair has come to replace chairman, chairwoman, and chairperson, although all of these terms are still acceptable. Use the terminology that the chairholder’s organization, or the chairholder, prefers.

  • He is the chair of the Department of Engineering.
  • He is the John Doe Chair of Engineering.

Note that a department chair may be different from the holder of an endowed chair, such as the John Doe Chair of Philosophy.

check in (verb); check-in (noun)

  • We will check in at 3:00 p.m.
  • Check-in begins at 4:00 p.m. in the main ballroom.

chief justice (lowercase unless part of a formal title)


Capitalize when referring to the Catholic Church as an institution.


Capitalize the word Class in reference to a graduating class. (Note the single closing quotation mark before the year.)

  • Reggie is a member of the Class of ’99.

Class groups such as freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate are not capitalized when in reference to the year in which a course is taken or to the student’s classification.

  • The senior class is organizing graduation activities.
  • Kelly is a graduate student.
  • Many of the sophomores are taking history classes.
  • John White ’83, ’85 M.A.

With regard to reunion: the above rules apply; in addition, capitalize only when used in conjunction with the proper name of an event.

  • I will see you at the All-Class Mass on Saturday.
  • Our class Mass will be at 5:00 p.m. at the Grotto.
  • Our class dinner will be in the Oak Room.
  • Our class dinner, "A Night to Remember," will be in the Oak Room.
  • The Class of 1960 Dinner is at 8:00 p.m.
  • We'll have a class tent next to our dorm.

classical, medieval

Written in lowercase: classical Latin; See also Chicago 8.78.


Close up on most cases, such as coexist, cooperate, coauthor, coworker. (This rule differs from AP.)


Use the College of Engineering or Engineering. On second reference, the college may be used.

College of Arts and Letters; the college

college of business

Mendoza College of Business is the correct name.

colleges, more than one

More than one college: the College of Engineering and the College of Science is written as the colleges of engineering and science. (Notice the shift to lowercase.)


Capitalize the first word following a colon only if that is the beginning of a complete sentence.

  • The driver had two possibilities: to swerve or to slam on his brakes.
  • The driver had a revelation: He had to swerve to miss the bus.

When using a colon, be sure that the words that come before it form an independent clause.

A colon should not be used after at or such as, between the verb and the rest of the sentence, or between a preposition and its object. This rule includes situations in which a list follows these elements.

Items following a colon are not automatically separated by semicolons. The rules for dividing items in a series by commas should be followed.


Use a comma before the words and and or that come before the final item in a series. Marketing Communications prefers the use of serial commas to enhance clarity of content.

  • The music festival will include performances by the University Choir, the Glee Club, and the orchestra.

Place a comma after a digit signifying thousands, except when the reference is to a year: 1,150 students or the year 2005.

Certain words that introduce an explanation or a list of examples and don’t begin a sentence, such as to wit, namely, i.e., e.g., and viz., should be immediately preceded and followed by a comma.

  • They welcomed the featured guests, that is, the winners of yesterday’s election.

When writing a date consisting of day, month, and year, place a comma after the day and the year.

  • July 4, 1776, is the date the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Commas are not used, however, when only the month and day, or only the month and year, are written.

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed in July 1776.
  • Americans greet July 4 with spectacular fireworks.

Commas surround abbreviations in titles of people:

  • Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., was the 15th president of the University.
  • Professor John Jacobs, Ph.D., is my neighbor.

However, commas are not used before Jr., Sr., II, III, and the like at the end of a person’s name. See Chicago Manual of Style 6.47.

  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Thurston Howell III

Commas are used in designating cities and states in running text.

  • David is from Flint, Michigan, and is a pitcher for the Notre Dame baseball team.

Commas are not needed in compound elements that are not independent clauses.

  • The Spirit of Notre Dame campaign raised funds for undergraduate scholarships as well as the University's endowment.

Use commas between two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.

  • Army amassed more total yards during the game, but Notre Dame put more points on the scoreboard.

Place commas on both sides of nonrestrictive appositives (those that could be omitted without sacrificing the meaning of, or vital information from, the sentence).

  • Marcy Wade, chair, opened the meeting at 2:45 p.m.

Note: Omitting commas before and after nonrestrictive appositives can change the meaning of a sentence:

  • Marcy Wade and her husband Bill went shopping (suggests that Marcy has more than one husband).
  • Marcy Wade and her husband, Bill, went shopping (properly limits the meaning to Marcy’s one and only husband).


  • Marcy Wade and husband Bill went shopping (correct without a comma).

Pay attention to the difference created in the meaning of phrases by either adding or omitting a comma. As with appositives, all nonrestrictive phrases should be set off by commas.

  • Students work with department faculty who are skilled artists and designers (means that only certain department faculty members hold these skills).
  • Students work with department faculty, who are skilled artists and designers (means that all of the department’s faculty members are so skilled).


Capitalize Commencement when in reference to a specific Notre Dame graduation ceremony.

  • He spoke at Notre Dame’s 165th Commencement.
  • Where is Notre Dame’s commencement usually held?

complement, compliment

Complement refers to making something complete.

  • The state-of-the-art laboratories at Jordan Hall complement Notre Dame's commitment to excellence in undergraduate science education.

A compliment is an admiring remark.

  • The office manager complimented a coworker's contribution to the updated website.

conferences and presentations

Titles of conferences are set in roman, not italicized or placed in quotation marks.

Titles of presentations (lectures, talks) are set in quotation marks.

  • Professor Jones presented a paper, "Green Technology for Today's University," at the annual Sustainability on Campus conference held at Michigan State University in August.

Congregation of Holy Cross

Capitalize Congregation of Holy Cross, its abbreviated form, C.S.C., and the word "Congregation" when referring to Notre Dame's founding religious order. Capitalize the word "Constitutions" when referencing the religious order's documents.

Constitution of United States (capitalize)


Shifting between first, second, and third person when addressing the same subject is a common problem. If referring to students as they, for example, do not refer to them elsewhere as you.

Within a related section of text in a document, be consistent in listing cities with the names of their states, provinces, and/or countries. If one place name needs to be accompanied by its state, province, or country, then list all places in that same section with their state, province, or country, no matter how well known. On the other hand, if all of the places are well known so as not to require such clarifiers, then do not use any.

For consistency and ease of identification in photo captions, list subjects from left to right, using each person’s full name and title, if any, and include the obligatory “left to right” or “from left” instruction in the caption.

convince, persuade

A person is convinced about something, but is persuaded to do something.

  • Carla is convinced that her teacher doesn’t like her.
  • Ray’s friends persuaded him to join the club.


In general use, “the coronavirus” is preferred in our house style in reference to the virus and the disease it causes. COVID-19 and/or SARS-CoV-2 may be used in research stories and in other contexts where the distinction is relevant.


When referring to an advisory council for a college or school at Notre Dame, capitalize Advisory Council: Law Advisory Council, Engineering Advisory Council. Subsequent use in a shortened form, however, is lowercased: the council

country names

Country names are not generally abbreviated.

  • U.S.—adjective (the U.S. Department of State)
  • United States—noun (living in the United States)

course, subject

Capitalize a specific course or subject name, such as ACCT 10350, Federal Taxation.

Names of college studies, fields of study, options, curricula, or subjects are not capitalized, except names of languages, unless a specific course name is noted.

  • Jane is studying architecture and Spanish.
  • Students must take courses in theology and mathematics.
  • He is majoring in political science and biochemistry.

Abbreviate the departmental name of a course when it is followed by the course number. For proper abbreviations, check the Bulletin of Information on the website of the Office of the Registrar.

  • In addition, the student should take MA 30320.

coursework (one word)

credit hour, 3 credit hour class (no hyphens)

cum laude (set in roman, no italics)

curriculum, curricula

curriculum vita, CV (no periods), curricula vitae (plural)

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Spaces are not included on either side of a dash, whether used in text or tabular matter.

Use an em dash (—) to set off parenthetical matter that calls for emphasis; to show an interruption in speech; to occasionally set off appositives; and to prepare for restatements, lists, or a change in thought. An em-dash is the length of two hyphens.

  • Baseball—which traces its origin to a British sport—is today considered the American pastime.

The new band combines traditional rock instruments—guitars, bass, and drums—with a flügelhorn and bagpipes.

Use an en dash (–), slightly longer than a hyphen, within sets of numerals (such as date ranges) or letters, and to separate multiple compound modifiers that are made up of multiple proper nouns or hyphenated words.

  • the NFL–AFL merger
  • open Monday–Friday (but not: open from Monday–Friday)
  • April 1–13, 2008; 2010–13
  • the former West Germany–East Germany border


When writing a date consisting of day, month, and year, place a comma after the day and the year.

  • July 4, 1776, is the date the Declaration of Independence was signed.

In running text, names of months are abbreviated: The advisory board will meet on Tuesday, October 10.

Commas are not used, however, when only the month and day, or only the month and year, are written.

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed in July 1776.
  • Americans greet July 4 with spectacular fireworks.

daylight saving time (not plural, savings)


(generic term, lowercase); Dean Galvin (capitalized with specific person when placed before a name, lowercased when after: Mary Galvin, dean of the College of Science)

  • The dean met with a large group of prospective students to discuss the college's undergraduate programs.

Dean's List (capitalize)


List as 2012–13 (not 2012-2013); the '90s; the 1990s

decision making (two words, no hyphen, as a noun) decision-making process (hyphenated when an adjective)


Academic degrees should be spelled out on first reference within text material, and abbreviated thereafter in all text and tabular material, except when part of a person’s name/title.

  • bachelor of arts degree
  • bachelor’s / master’s degree
  • Sid Johnson ’76, ’79 M.A., ’82 Ph.D.

Capitalize letter abbreviations of academic degrees.

  • B.A.
  • MSA
  • MBA
  • Ph.D.

Note that periods are omitted when there are three or more consecutive capital letters.

Degree abbreviations also should be used in construction including a graduate’s name, graduating year, and multiple degrees (B.A. usually is not noted.)

  • Sid Johnson ’76, ’79 M.A., ’82 Ph.D.

Generally, names of degrees are lowercased in running text:

  • He has a bachelor of arts in communication.
  • He has a bachelor’s (or bachelor’s degree) in communication.

but, in listing names along with titles and degrees:

  • John Doe, Bachelor of Arts in Communication (or John Doe, B.A. in Communication)

Department, Office

Capitalize when part of a complete title.

  • Department of Physics, Office of Undergraduate Admissions


  • The department celebrated the end of the school year with a luncheon.

Depression (the Great), capitalize

diocese (lowercase unless used with a full, proper name, then capitalize)

  • The diocese supported the local high school's food drive.
  • The Diocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend enjoys a strong relationship with the University.


Dr. is used to refer to a doctor of medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. It is not used to refer to people who hold a doctor’s degree but don’t practice in one of these fields, including professors.

  • Professor Jones teaches English.
  • Dr. Jones is a well-known obstetrician.

dormitory, dorm (acceptable, but "residence hall" is preferred)

due to, because of

Due to is an adjective phrase that usually follows a form of the verb to be. It is often used incorrectly as a preposition in place of because of.

  • The chairman retired because of an ongoing, prolonged illness.
  • The chairman’s retirement was due to an ongoing, prolonged illness.
  • BUT NOT: The chairman retired due to an ongoing, prolonged illness.

Thus, common phrases such as Due to circumstances beyond our control . . . and Due to inclement weather . . . are incorrect and should be phrased in these or similar ways:

  • Because of circumstances beyond our control . . .
  • Circumstances beyond our control have caused . . .



usually lowercased unless used as the proper name of the planet.

  • Sam would move heaven and earth to be at the party.
  • Does life exist on Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn—or are we alone here on Earth?


Capitalize if referring to a specific geographic location, but not a compass direction. Do not spell out in street addresses: 200 W. Elm Street, for example.

  • She moved from South Chicago to the East Coast in 2001.
  • Eric ran 10 miles east of his house, all the way to Elkhart and back.


e-book, e-reader

e.g. (for example) always followed by a comma

electronic content terms

As language and terminology evolves for Web use, the following list includes commonly used terms and University Communications' preferred usage:

  • blog (verb and noun)
  • CMS (content management system)
  • email (one word, no hyphen)
  • homepage (one word)
  • html
  • Internet (proper noun)
  • log in (verb)
  • login (noun)
  • log on (verb)
  • logon (noun)
  • online (one word, no hyphen)
  • SEO
  • toolbar (one word)
  • URL
  • username (one word)
  • Web, website, webpage, webinar

Notre Dame's main website is nd.edu (no need to include www. in the address).

When determining if www. is needed in listing a website, check it to see if the site is accessible without this designation. Avoid including it if possible as it is cumbersome. Web addresses do not need to be italicized but can be bolded or placed in color to attract attention or to clarify.

When including a URL in running copy, aim to avoid placing it at a line break; rewrite the sentence if necessary. If a Web address is at the end of a sentence include a period or other ending punctuation as necessary.


Ellipsis points are used to show omission within a quotation. However, it is not necessary to place the points at the beginning or end of a quotation, even if an omission is being made at one of those places.

  • UNNECESSARY: It was Jefferson who stated, “That government which governs least, governs best . . .”
  • BETTER: It was Jefferson who stated, “That government which governs least, governs best.”
  • UNNECESSARY: Jefferson believed that the government “. . . which governs least, governs best.”
  • BETTER: Jefferson believed that the government “which governs least, governs best.”

Use ellipsis points in sets of three. Leave a space between each point, as well as between the words on either side of them.

  • I pledge allegiance to the flag . . . with liberty and justice for all.

If the end of a sentence is retained before the ellipsis points, include the period at the end of the sentence, leave a space, and then introduce the ellipsis points. If a new sentence begins after the ellipsis points, make sure to capitalize the first letter of that sentence.

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. . . . When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

Ellipses should be used sparingly.


The word email is not capitalized unless it is the first word of a sentence. Email is not hyphenated.

emcee (master of ceremonies is preferred)

emeritus, emerita, emeriti

entitled, titled

Entitled can mean to give a title to, but it is better known for its meaning as to give a right to. There is no comma between titled and the title.

  • The article is titled “101 Ways to Study for Finals.”
  • His writing of the book entitled him to 50 free copies.



Etc. should be used sparingly, and not in conjunction with such as, which signals that the list of items following is only a partial list, or with and as in and etc.


Capitalize when referring to the sacrament.

euro (lowercase)

everyday, every day

Everyday means common or ordinary. Every day means occurring daily.

  • Losing an hour in traffic has become an everyday occurrence in the lives of L.A. residents.
  • On average, L.A. drivers lose an hour of their lives every day in gridlock.

extracurricular (one word)

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farther, further

  • farther refers to a physical distance: Stephanie ran farther into the woods by taking the steeper trail.
  • further refers to time or degree: The professor will look further into the mystery of the disease.


The first reference to a priest should give his full title: Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. Thereafter, he may be referred to as Father John or Father Jenkins. Note that in running text, there is always a comma after the religious designation (C.S.C., S.J.) unless it falls at the end of the sentence.

fax, facsimile

Fax is an abbreviation of facsimile, not an acronym, and should be written in lowercase except at the beginning of a sentence.

federal government

Federal government is not capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence.


fieldwork (one word)

first annual

Something cannot be annual until it has been conducted for two successive years. In place of first annual, mention that the event is scheduled to become annual or write first or inaugural.

first-class mail (hyphenated)

firsthand (one word)

First Year of Studies

But: first-year student

flier, flyer, frequent flyer

  • flier—pamphlet (often used to promote an event)
  • flyer—passenger in an airplane

follow up (verb); follow-up (noun)

foreign words

If foreign words are necessary and not translatable, italicize them only if they are not in Webster’s. Be sure to include appropriate accent marks and other language symbols.

Fort, Ft.

Spell out Fort when it is part of a name—Fort Wayne, Fort Worth.

Frisbee (capitalize)

from, until; from, to (not from 2002–10)

full-time (adjective) full time (adverb)

fundraiser, fundraising

Acceptable with or without the hyphen. Be consistent in usage.


gender, sex

Gender should be limited to discussion of the social and psychological distinctions between men and women. In all other cases, sex can be used to differentiate between men and women when there is no chance of misinterpretation.

Golden Dome

Capitalize Golden Dome or when referring to the dome atop the Main Building. Likewise, capitalize the word Dome when used alone.

Gospel, gospel

Lowercased when referring to the genre of music. Capitalized when referring to the Gospel of the Bible. See Chicago 8.105.

Grade point average (GPA), no hyphen

Graduate-level (adjective)

  • He enrolled in four graduate-level courses as a senior.

groundbreaking (one word)


hands-on (hyphenated)

hardworking (one word)

health care (two words, no hyphen)

high school students (no hyphen)

hip-hop (hyphenated)

Hispanic, Latino/Latina

Hispanic refers to those whose ethnic origin is in a Spanish-speaking country. Latino/Latina refers to people of Latin American descent living in the United States. These terms also include those of Brazilian background, where Portuguese is spoken.


If both a hyphenated and nonhyphenated spelling of a word are acceptable, use the nonhyphenated spelling. If Chicago does not provide an answer, consult a dictionary. Guidelines for hyphenating compound words and words with prefixes and suffixes are given in Chicago, Section 7.85.

Adverbs ending in -ly don’t take a hyphen to connect them to the word they describe.

  • His publicly traded shares
  • a highly anticipated news conference

The words vice president and vice chair are not hyphenated.

Use a hyphen between prefixes and proper nouns, such as in un-American or non-Catholic.

Compound modifiers (a string of words that works together to modify another word) should all be hyphenated.

  • the 17-year-old girl
  • the basketball player was 6-foot-11
  • the 2,340-square-foot laboratory allows for new research equipment

If the modifiers come after the word they modify and/or act as nouns, however, they usually are not hyphenated.

  • The class counts for three credit hours.
  • The club is geared toward African Americans.

Dollar figures of $1 million or more are not hyphenated when used as a modifier.

  • the $3.7 million gift
  • the $10M gift
  • not the $3.7-million gift


ID, ID card, but ndID


According to Webster's, i.e. comes from the Latin id est, which means "that is." It is used to introduce something that explains a preceding statement more fully or precisely.

Example: Please take the medication for the time prescribed (i.e., three to five days).


Prefer not use impact as a verb (consider affect or influence instead).



Capitalize Institute only when used in connection with another part of the name, but lowercase when used alone.


Always capitalize Internet, as it is still considered a proper noun.

iPad, iPhone, iPod

irregardless (not a word, a double negative; use regardless)


Italicize the names of publications (e.g., magazines, books, reports) and movie and CD titles. Titles of websites are not set in italics, but names of blogs are. Blog entries are set in quotation marks.

In reference to the University’s magazine, write Notre Dame Magazine.

A foreign word or phrase is not italicized if it can be found in Webster’s.

its, it's

Its means belonging to it.

  • The department held its Christmas party at a nearby coffee shop.

It’s means it is.

  • "Notre Dame is the whole package. It's an inspiring spiritual, intellectual, and social place for four remarkable years of your life," said Michelle Fry, freshman.



There is no comma between the last name and Jr., Sr., III, etc.


kickoff, kick off

No hyphen when used to designate a starting point.

  • Saturday's kickoff will be at noon.
  • The game will kick off at noon.


lakes (capitalize when part of a proper name)

St. Mary's and St. Joseph's Lakes; the two lakes on campus are found near the Grotto

law school (generic term), but Notre Dame Law School; Law School (referring to ND Law School)

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

level (hyphenate when part of a compound: undergraduate-level or graduate-level courses)

(Hesburgh) Libraries

like, such as

Like should not be used as a synonym for such as, which directly points to examples from a topic being discussed. Like should be used instead to refer to a certain general type of person, place, thing, idea, or event. To put it another way, think of like as meaning “similar to” and such as as meaning “including these examples.”

People like Governor Raymond serve as good role models for the young.
Campaigning encompasses numerous duties, such as raising money, giving speeches, and kissing babies.


In making lists of faculty, Trustees, or other groups, the honorifics (Mr., Ms., Miss, Dr., Prof.) are generally omitted.

Dr. is not to be used in any event unless the person holds a medical degree.

If degrees are listed, generally anything lower than a doctorate is omitted, depending on the intended use of the information.

In creating numbered or bulleted lists, use one form consistently throughout a document. In other words, don’t switch between bulleted lists to numbered lists and vice versa.

Items in a list usually don’t require ending punctuation, unless each item is a complete sentence. Maintaining consistency should be the primary concern. If one item in a list contains internal commas and ending punctuation, be sure to place semicolons at the end of each item.

Use double parentheses when numbering items in a list.

  • (a), (b), (1), (2)

login, log in; logon, log on

  • login (noun)
  • log in (verb)
  • logon, although not in Webster’s, is used as a noun.
  • log on is a verb.

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M.A.; Master of Arts; Master of Arts degree; master's; master's degrees; M.A.s

Master of Arts program (lowercase 'p')

mailing addresses (format)

Investment Office
Eddy Street Commons at Notre Dame
1251 Eddy Street, Suite 400
South Bend, IN 46617-1403

Note: By holding down the shift key while hitting a return(soft return), you can keep the lines together. 

Main Building

Capitalize Main Building when referring to the administration building.


Capitalize Mass when referring to the sacrament.

MBA (no periods necessary)


Written in lowercase: medieval Latin; See also Chicago 8.78.

mic (shortened form of microphone)

Middle Ages (capped)

middle class (lowercase)

Midwest, Midwestern


monthlong (daylong, weeklong, yearlong), no hyphen


Abbreviate the names of months in datelines and ordinary text when followed by a numerical date, except for the months of March, April, May, June, and July, which are never abbreviated.

Moreau, Basil

  • Blessed Basil Moreau, on first reference, to make the link with current Congregation members. Thereafter, Blessed Moreau or Father Moreau.

He is the founder of the Congregation, so his name does not include C.S.C. 


national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner"

9/11 (shortened reference to September 11, 2001)

ndID, NetID

  • An ndID is the nine-digit number issued by Notre Dame to students, faculty, and staff.
  • A NetID, allows students, faculty, and staff access to services such as email, campus networks, shared file systems, and the insideND portal.

NGO (nongovernmental organization)

No. (use to indicate rank or position, especially in sportswriting)

The Notre Dame women's basketball team is ranked No. 2 nationally, and No. 1 in ACC rankings.


no hyphen

nonprofit, not-for-profit

noon (preferable to 12:00 p.m., NOT 12 noon)

not only, but also

The terms not only and but also are almost always used in tandem with each other.

  • The colonies not only won the war but also gained their independence.

Make sure that these elements go in front of the words they modify. It is a common mistake to place only and not only in front of a verb even if these words do not modify that verb.

  • WRONG: We will not only learn about the past but also about the future.
  • RIGHT: We will learn not only about the past but also about the future.
  • WRONG: You only need to tell me once.
  • RIGHT: You need to tell me only once.

Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame, never Notre Dame University.

After a first mention of the full name (University of Notre Dame), Notre Dame may be used in a publication. The initials ND may also be used, when appropriate.

Notre Dame ID, NDid

Correct way to reference Notre Dame employees' identification numbers, avoiding the awkward or confusing NDID.

Notre Dame Magazine

Italicize all three words in the magazine's name.

numbers, numerals

For print, use figures for numbers 10 and larger, including ordinal numbers (22nd, 34th, and so on). Exceptions: Use numerals, even when the number is less than 10, to indicate age, quantities containing both whole numbers and decimals or fractions, statistics, voting results, sports scores, percentages, amounts of money, times of day, days of the month (when used after the name of the month, as in February 5), latitude and longitude, degrees of temperature, dimensions, measurements, proportions, distances, and numbers that are part of titles. Note: For Web, use numerals for all numbers for faster scanning.

  • There are 26 teams in the old league but only eight in the new one.
  • 4:35 p.m., 5:00 a.m. (Note the periods in a.m. and p.m.)
  • $3.00, $5.95, 75 cents
  • Longitude 67° 03’ 06” W
  • The temperature fell to 12 degrees below zero.
  • We live 7 miles from Mishawaka.
  • The tree stood 5 feet high.
  • The proposal was defeated, 25 votes to 3.
  • Notre Dame won the game, 9-7.

room numbers

  • Capitalize the word room in reference to a room followed by a number.
    • We are meeting in Room 502.

In month-day combinations, ordinals are not used.

  • Sept. 17 instead of Sept. 17th

However, in other contexts, such as in using a number to denote the repeating occurrences of a regularly occurring event, ordinals are used.

  • 23rd anniversary

For spans of years. Note that for 1999–2000, or for any span of years in which three or more numbers will change, the entire number for both years should be written out.

  • 1861–65 but: 1999–2000 (not 1999–00)

Using the figure ’99–’00 (or 99–00) in tabular matter is acceptable if the meaning is clear and consistency within the tabular matter is maintained.

  • . . . 97–98, 98–99, 99–00, 00–01, 01–02 . . .

In text material, the entire year at both ends of the span can be written out completely (1994–1995, 2002–2003), but it is not necessary. We prefer the shortened version: 2010-11, etc.

In all these date ranges, the dates are separated by an en dash.

Spell out figures to begin a sentence or begin the sentence with another word. Numbers that are less than 100 or that, as a subunit of a number greater than 100, could stand by themselves as less than 100 should be hyphenated.

  • Forty-two students showed up for the new course.
  • One hundred sixty-seven
  • The year 2005 will be known as the World Year of Physics.

Don’t use figures without balancing the accompanying words from and to in denoting a time span from one year to the next, or from one time on the clock to the next. The words are not always necessary, depending on the structure of the phrase, but if one is used, both should be used. It is a common mistake to use the from and let a dash (or a hyphen) substitute for the to.

  • from 1935 to 1972 . . . NOT: From 1935–1972 . . .
  • The orientation takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • NOT: The orientation takes place from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

If two numbers less than 10 fall in proximity to each other and both work to explain a single thing or occurrence, one of the numerals can be written as a figure to avoid confusion.

  • Students must write five 3-page papers.

For numbers in the millions and beyond, spell out the word million, billion, etc., unless it is necessary to give an exact figure.

  • The University raised $33.8 million in the 1984–85 academic year.

Be consistent in superscript usage throughout your content:

  • Notre Dame celebrated its 167th Commencement in 2012.


  • Notre Dame celebrated its 167th Commencement in 2012.


off-campus (adjective) or off campus (adverb)

  • She lives in off-campus housing this year, and pays rent with her job at a University department off campus.

Office of

Keep the capitals for shortened versions of the official titles:

  • Admissions Office or Admissions (for the Office of Admissions)
  • Human Resources (for the Office of Human Resources)


on (unnecessary before a date or day of the week)

  • The conference will be May 29 (not: The conference will be on May 29).


Not on-line or on line

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In running text, spell out page and pages.

Abbreviate page to p. (for one page) or pp. (for more than one page) only in footnotes and bibliographical material.


Express parallel ideas in a parallel manner.

  • WRONG: He was an expert in eating, drinking, sleeping, and how to win an argument.
  • RIGHT: He was an expert in eating, drinking, sleeping, and knowing how to win an argument.
  • WRONG: Students will study physics, learn certain mechanical functions, and various Internet applications.
  • RIGHT: Students will study physics, learn certain mechanical functions, and master various Internet applications.
  • WRONG: The bed is designed to support your back while improving your sleep.
  • RIGHT: The bed is designed to support your back and improve your sleep.
  • RIGHT: The bed supports your back while it improves your sleep.

If a preposition has more than one object following it, do not repeat the preposition before every object unless it is necessary for clarity. Never repeat the preposition using one before the first and last object if you do not use it before the ones in between.

  • WRONG: The distribution of food, water, and of economic relief . . .
  • RIGHT: The distribution of food, water, and economic relief . . .
  • OPTIONAL: The distribution of food for the hungry, of water for the thirsty, and of economic relief for all who are disadvantaged
    . . .

Observe parallelism throughout the items in a list:

  • RIGHT: The class has three objectives: (1) to help people lose weight, (2) to encourage fitness, and (3) to promote better health.
  • WRONG: The class has three objectives: (1) to help people lose weight, (2) to encourage fitness, and (3) promoting better health.

papal, papacy (lowercase)

peacebuilder, peacebuilding

Although not in Webster’s as one word, in deference to current usage, Notre Dame prefers the term as one word.

percent, %

Spell it out except in headlines, tabular, or other special material. Note: Web style dictates the use of the % sign for ease of reading.


In Web and print, use only one space after any punctuation.

In reference to the time of day, use the abbreviations a.m. and p.m., with periods between the letters. In text material, they should be written in lowercase letters or small caps.

Place periods between the letters of academic degrees (M.A., Ph.D.) and abbreviations of religious orders (C.S.C., S.J.). Note that, for academic degrees, periods are omitted when there are three or more consecutive capital letters (MBA, MNA).

There are no periods when abbreviating Notre Dame to ND or when referring to an ID in reference to a piece of identification.

There are no periods in acronyms unless the entity that the acronym represents specifically uses periods. Use this same principle in making subsequent references to famous people who are popularly known by their initials.



Substitute people.

phone numbers

When including University phone numbers for an internal audience, it is acceptable to list phone numbers without the area code and Notre Dame prefix 631. For example: 1-5000. For wider audiences, please include area code and prefix: (574) 631-5000.



PIN stands for personal identification number. It is redundant to write PIN number.

plurals and possessives of last names and other proper nouns

Proper nouns, like common nouns, take an s or es to form their plural forms. To form possessives from the plural forms, add an apostrophe.

  • The Gish family, in the plural, would be known as the Gishes (not the Gish’s). Something belonging to the Gish family would be expressed as the Gishes’ (the Gishes' home).
  • The Lammes family, in the plural, would be known as the Lammeses (not the Lammes or the Lammes’). Something belonging to the Lammes family would be expressed as the Lammeses’ (the Lammeses' minivan).

Note the Notre Dame exception for Jenkins. Because of print media’s widespread use of AP style, we use that style for the possessive of this name.

  • Something belonging to President Jenkins would be expressed as Jenkins’ (Jenkins' office).
  • Something belonging to Jesus would be expressed as Jesus’ (Jesus' words).

Consult Chicago 7.197-7.21 for further discussion.


Capitalize when using as a formal title before a name; lowercase in all other uses.

  • He was the pope in 2013. He spoke to Pope Francis on Monday.
  • papal; papacy


  • doctoral; postdoc
  • postgame; postseason (no hyphen)


  • pregame; preseason

Most instances, closed: preempt, preeminent, preexist


Notre Dame does not use a hyphen in this adjective.

  • Notre Dame is the preeminent Catholic educational institution in the United States.


No hyphen

  • Department of Preprofessional Studies


Capitalize when the title is listed before the name (past or present presidents). Lowercase when the title follow the name. Examples: President Ford or President Emeritus Hesburgh, but president of his alumni club.

prior to, before

Before is almost always the better alternative.

problem-solving (adjective); problem solving (noun)

professor, endowed professorships

Capitalize names of endowed professorships. Note that the is to be used before the title.

  • the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology

Do not abbreviate Professor in running text. Abbreviations are acceptable in captions or tabular content when space is limited.

On second reference, the last name may be used alone: 

  • Jones was the speaker.


Usually lowercased

  • MBA program; ESTEEM program


Capitalize when used specifically in front of the name, unless the title is followed by a comma.

  • The committee welcomed Provost Thomas G. Burish.
  • The committee invited the University’s provost, Thomas G. Burish, to its meeting.
  • Thomas G. Burish was the provost in 2004.



question and answer


Not capitalized unless it is used in conjunction with a specific quad:

  • Come to God Quad.
  • Meet me on the quad.

quotation marks

Set quotation marks outside periods and commas and inside colons and semicolons. They also should be placed inside exclamation points and question marks that are not part of the quotation.

  • “Ask what you can do for your country.”
  • Barry exclaimed that “it was a long trip”; was it really over?
  • “What’s the matter?” she asked.
  • Do you understand the statement “I think; therefore, I am”?
  • Now I know the meaning of “Life is just a bowl of cherries”!

Use single quotation marks for quotations printed within other quotations.

  • Brett said, “I remember when my mother told me, 'Wash behind your ears.’”

If several paragraphs are to be quoted successively, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph and at the end of the last paragraph only. Intermediate paragraphs are not closed with quotation marks.
In printing interviews verbatim, with a speaker’s comments preceded by that speaker’s name, quotation marks are not necessary.

  • Jones: When will the committee meet?
  • Smith: On the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.


re-elect; re-examine; re-admit


On first reference, refer to reunion by its proper name: Reunion 2015.

Also, "reunion" is capitalized when referring to the present reunion and when referring to a specific milestone reunion:

  • Reunion 2010 was one to remember
  • Please register for Reunion online.
  • The Class of 19805 will celebrate its 30-Year Reunion.
  • It is our 5-Year Reunion.
  • I invite you back to Reunion June 3-6.
  • Hope to see you at Reunion!
  • Reunion Headquarters

Also capitalize when referring to a group specific to reunion:

  • The Reunion Choir will sing. (preferable to Alumni Choir)
  • The Reunion Committee met on Tuesday.
  • Reunion Mass

However, lowercase when referring to reunion in general:

  • She began to think about attending her Notre Dame reunion.
  • When it's time, I will go back for my fifth reunion.
  • There will be many reunion activities to enjoy.

reunion events

Capitalize the following:

  • 50-Year Club
  • 50-Year Club Induction
  • Notre Dame Golf Course
  • Notre Dame Perspectives
  • refreshment tent
  • Sunburst Races
  • Town Hall meeting
  • Warren Golf Course

Do not capitalize the following:

  • class celebrations
  • golf tournaments
  • open houses
  • seminars (unless listing the official title of a seminar)
  • tours

Reunion Giving

Capitalize as it is a proper name of a recognized activity.

reunion packages

Capitalize name of package, but not the word package.

  • Friday-Only package
  • Saturday-Only package
  • Full-Weekend package

reunion weekend

This is not a proper name. Do not refer to event as "reunion weekend," as it officially begins the Thursday prior.

However, "weekend" language is fine in reunion materials:

  • e.g., weekend activities, weekend fun, a weekend to remember, etc. 

Rosary (prayers); rosary (string of beads for praying)

RSVP (no periods)



Capitalize the sacraments—Baptism, Eucharist—as well as the word Bible, in reference to either the Old Testament or New Testament. Church should be capitalized when in reference to any Catholic Mass or to the Catholic Church as an institution (as in "the Church has issued a decree"). The word biblical is lowercased. Scripture is capitalized when referring to books of the Bible.

Saint, St.

Abbreviate for names of cities and in reference to saints, except when spelled out by the entity using the title: St. Louis, but Saint Mary’s College.

Saint Mary's College

Do not shorten to SMC, St. Mary's, or Saint Mary's.

  • Saint Mary's Lake


screen saver


Capitalize when referring to books of the Bible.

  • The literature class will also have assigned readings from Scripture.


Lowercase (fall, winter, spring, summer)


always hyphenated: self-aware, self-conscious, self-serve


Use semicolons to separate all items in a series if there is internal punctuation within one or more of the items in the series. The length of an item alone does not warrant its use.

Board members include George Andrews, Boston, president; Jamie Hamilton, Chicago, vice president; and Carol Green, Detroit, treasurer.

Use a semicolon to take the place of a coordinating conjunction in joining two independent clauses.

  • The board’s first item of business was to approve its annual budget; doing so would not be a simple task.

Use a semicolon before a conjunctive adverb (such as however, furthermore, and therefore) that connects two independent clauses. The adverb is followed by a comma.

  • The company ran over budget last year; therefore, it would have to find ways to cut costs for the year.

Note: Conjunctive adverbs don’t always divide independent clauses. In these alternative cases, they typically are set off by commas.

  • It seemed, however, that the sides could reach an agreement.

Sister, Sr.

The first reference to a nun should give her full title: Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P. Thereafter, she may be referred to as Sister Mary or Sister Thomas. Note that in running text, there is always a comma after the religious designation (C.S.C., S.J.) unless it falls at the end of the sentence.


Olympic-size pool (not sized)


Type only one space between sentences, after a colon, or between a state name and zip code. Use only a single space, always and everywhere, in text material.

  • The professor gave a quiz today. Next week, a paper is due on the same subject. After that, he will give a final exam.
  • The course covers three areas of study: philosophy, politics, and economics.
  • Notre Dame, IN 46556

There are no spaces between multiple initials in a person’s name.

  • W.E.B. DuBois, G.K. Chesterton, B.J. Hunnicutt

There are no spaces around either side of a dash or a slash in text material.

  • Republican/Democrat dialogue
  • The debate—contentious from the beginning—turned into a riot.

start-up (use a hyphen for both adjective or noun)


Abbreviate the names of states following the names of cities and towns in text and tabular matter. Use two-letter post office abbreviations when states are included in a mailing address. Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah are not abbreviated.

  • Notre Dame, Ind. (for tables and text); please note, AP spells out state names in running text
  • Notre Dame, IN (for addresses)

state of Indiana (lowercase state); city of South Bend (lowercase city, unless referring to official status/entity)

State Abbreviations List

street names

In general, Avenue, Boulevard, and Court are not abbreviated, except when used in headlines, mailing addresses, and tabular or other special materials.

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T-shirt (capitalize)

telephone numbers

Pay attention to consistency when writing telephone numbers in text material. Always separate area codes with parentheses. Do not use periods in place of parentheses or hyphens. Do not use "1" in front of long distance numbers.

  • Call (574) 631-6000
  • Call toll-free 800-435-4322


minus 10 degrees, or 10 below zero (NOT -10)

Ten Commandments (not 10 Commandments)

that, which

Which can be used to introduce a clause containing nonessential or essential information, but that can be used only for essential information. Some writers use which to cover the functions of both relative pronouns, but this sometimes creates difficulty in understanding whether the information being given is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

A good set of rules to follow: If that can be substituted for which without changing the meaning of the sentence, use that. If the information following which is necessary in understanding the sentence, use that. If the information can be omitted from the sentence without affecting its meaning and in most cases can be set off by commas, use which.

  • The retreat, which is located on 20 acres, was surrounded by towering trees and bordered by a shimmering lake.
  • The retreat that I attended took place last July.

Exception: To avoid immediately repeating that in certain constructions, it is acceptable to use which in place of one occurrence of that.

  • That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

they, he, she, he/she

Although the generic he is perfectly grammatical, many today view it as being sexist. Be aware of the sensitivities of your audience in choosing generic, third-person pronouns. For example:

  • The customer might not be aware that he can request this service.

If you believe this sentence could cause offense, you first should consider recasting the sentence in the plural:

Customers might not be aware that they can request this service.

Avoid using clumsy he or she and his or her constructions. When they must be used, use them sparingly. Never use awkward expressions such as he/she, his/her, s/he, he (she), or his (her). Don’t alternate between generic he sentences and generic she sentences as a way of achieving balance.

Another alternative to the generic he and the cumbersome he or she is to switch to the second-person pronoun:

  • You might not be aware that you can request this service.

Third World (capitalize)


three Rs


Times of the day should be expressed in numerical terms of hours and minutes, with a colon separating the hours from the minutes and a designation of whether the time is in the morning or the evening, using a.m. and p.m., in lowercased letters or small caps. Leave a space between the time and the a.m. or p.m., and make sure to use periods in the a.m. and p.m.

  • 8:00 a.m., not 8 a.m. or 8 am or 8am
  • 3:52 p.m., not 3:52 pm or 3:52pm

Exception: *Neither of the 12 o’clock times during the day can accurately be expressed as being “a.m.” or “p.m.” The terms refer to either before midday (ante meridiem) or after midday (post meridiem) At midday, 12 o’clock should be written as noon, not 12:00 p.m. At night, it should be written as midnight, not 12:00 a.m.

When referring to a time span between two points on the clock, it is not necessary to repeat a.m. or p.m. for both times, if they both occur together in the a.m. or p.m. hours. If the time span crosses from a.m. into p.m. or vice versa, however, designate each time with the appropriate mark.

  • 9:30–11:00 a.m., not 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m., not 10:30–3:00 p.m.

Please note that Notre Dame is on Eastern Time, usually designated with (EST) in parentheses, as necessary.

References to historical eras should not be mixed. C.E. ("common era") and B.C.E. ("before the common era") should be used in tandem, as should the more traditional B.C. ("before Christ") and A.D. (anno domini or "the year of our Lord"). If using the B.C./A.D. designations, remember that B.C. comes after the year it designates and A.D. comes before it.

  • 565 B.C.
  • A.D. 565
  • but: the fifth century A.D.

Titles (publications / compositions / events)

Enclose titles of short songs, short poems, articles, chapters, single-occurrence radio and television programs, and divisions of a publication, as well as names of websites (the information found on the page or in the title bar, not the Web address itself), in quotation marks. Thesis and dissertation titles are set in quotation marks.

  • "Talk of the Town," in last week’s National Review
  • Miles Davis’s "So What," from Kind of Blue
  • Chapter 7, "How to Campaign for Office"
  • "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
  • The WLS-AM special "Chicago on a Budget"
  • Jack’s blog, My Thoughts on Presidential Elections; Jack's entry from May 18, "Musings on Mitt"

Titles of books, pamphlets, collections, periodicals, newspapers, long poems that have been published separately, plays, works of art, ongoing radio and television series, and long musical compositions, including operas, oratorios, and motets, should be italicized.

  • Animal Farm
  • The Thinker
  • Carmina Burana
  • M*A*S*H
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Leaves of Grass

Capitalize all words except for articles (a, an, the) and conjunctions and prepositions of fewer than five letters, in the titles of books, plays, lectures, musical compositions, and the like. Exception: Capitalize any article, conjunction, or preposition that appears at the beginning of a title or sentence or as the final word of that title or sentence.

  • Colleges and Universities as Citizens is now on sale in the bookstore.
  • "What I Live For" was the speaker’s best-known lecture.

In hyphenated elements within titles, the subsequent elements are capitalized as well, following the exceptions listed above.

  • He advertised in the Guide to Foreign-Language Translators.
  • I have published a book titled Follow-Ups and Foul-Ups.

For a more detailed discussion on this topic, refer to sections 8.172–8.173 of Chicago.

Names of blogs are set in italics; blog entry titles are placed in quotation marks.

titles (rank)

Assistant and associate are not abbreviated or capitalized when used as a generic title not immediately preceding the name of the person holding the title.

  • Mary Mullen, assistant director of Campus Ministry
  • Tony Edison, associate professor of mathematics

Capitalize all educational, occupational, and business titles when used specifically in front of the name, unless a comma follows the title. Titles usually are not capitalized when they follow the name.

  • Thomas G. Burish was the provost of the University in 2004.
  • The Notre Dame community welcomed Provost Thomas G. Burish.
  • They invited the University’s provost, Thomas G. Burish, to their meeting.

Second references to professors, deans, and administrators may be by last name only. When using a shortened form for a religious or judicial leader, the title should be included:

  • John Doe, dean of the College of Engineering—secondary reference can be Doe
  • Dave Brown, professor of English—secondary reference can be Brown
  • Blessed Basil Moreau—secondary reference is Blessed Basil Moreau or Father Moreau
  • Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.—secondary reference can be Father Jenkins or President Jenkins
  • Rev. Hugh R. Page—secondary reference can be Rev. Page
  • Hon. Doug Davis—secondary reference can be Judge Davis
  • John Cardinal Smith—secondary reference is Cardinal Smith

titles (religious)

Abbreviate Rev., Hon., and Prof. when used before a first and last name or last name alone. However, note that when the appears before the title, the title is spelled out. Spell out Father when used before a first name alone.

  • Rev. John Smith, or Rev. Smith
  • Father John Smith, or Father Smith
  • Prof. Howard Hughes, or Prof. Hughes
  • the Reverend Joseph Jones (used for formal invitations)
  • Father John
  • the Honorable Judge Judy Jones

The first reference to a priest should give his full title. For C.S.C., always use periods between the letters. Use commas before and after C.S.C. Always include C.S.C. on first reference of a Holy Cross priest.

  • Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

Thereafter, he may be referred to as Father John or Father Jenkins. Note that in running text, there is always a comma after the religious designation (C.S.C., S.J.) unless it falls at the end of the sentence.


In British English, towards is acceptable. American English leaves off the s.


Capitalize Trustee in reference to any member of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees, past or present.



Twitter, tweet, tweeted


United Kingdom (UK)

United Nations (UN General Assembly)

U.S., United States

  • U.S.—adjective (the U.S. Department of State)
  • United States—noun (living in the United States)

under way

It is spelled as two words: under way.


Capitalize the word University, when in direct reference to the University of Notre Dame, even when the words of Notre Dame are not included in the text.



user ID



versus (avoid the abbreviation vs., especially in running text; in titles of legal cases, use v.)

Veterans Day (no apostrophe)

vice president (open, no hypen)

Visitors Center (official name Eck Visitors Center, no apostrophe in visitors)

vita, vitae

voicemail, voice message (two words)



World Wide Web, web, web page, website

Web and email addresses

In most instances, it is no longer necessary to include http:// or www. in web addresses. However, to be sure, check that the address links without the prefix. Some http addresses are secure, and thus require https://.

Use periods at the end of sentences that end with a web address or an email address, just as you would punctuate any other sentence. Concluding slashes on web addresses should be omitted.

You can view the author’s works at monsternovella.com/~magnumopus. His email address is greatwriter@monsternovella.com.

If you are concerned that the ending period will cause confusion among readers, simply recast the sentence so that the address does not fall at the end. Long web and email addresses can be broken over successive lines, but not at random. Never introduce hyphens (to break up a word across two lines, for example) where there are none in the address; rather, make breaks at punctuation marks in the address. Slashes can stay at the end of the line; others, such as tildes, "at" signs, and especially periods, should begin the next line of text.



web master

Do not capitalize unless it is an official title preceding a name.

web page

Do not capitalize.


One word; not capitalized

who's, whose

Whose is possessive: Whose keys are these?

Who’s is a contraction of who is, who was, or who has: Who’s been sleeping in my bed?


World Wide Web

Web or World Wide Web, Web page, but website.

  • Find us on the Web at uc.nd.edu, our helpful, creative website.

worldview, World View

  • The view of the world is worldview. The Notre Dame President’s film series is World View.