A to Z Guide
Created by the Office of Communications, this guide provides the College’s preferred standards for official correspondence, reports, and messages to the community. Based on The Chicago Manual of Style, this guide includes some terms and treatments that are unique to Montgomery College. For additional guidance, please refer to the Chicago Manual or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
Click on the + symbol next to each sets of letters to see the full guide.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
In general, use abbreviations and acronyms only in contexts where they are clear to readers. On first use, spell out a term, as a courtesy to readers who might not easily recognize it, with the abbreviation or acronym immediately following in parentheses, if the reference will be used more than once.
- Workforce Development & Continuing Education (WDCE)
- JFK, FDR, LBJ
- President U. S. Grant (note spacing)
Capitalize specific titles of Montgomery College courses.
- Right: AC 201, Principles of Accounting
- Wrong: an Accounting major, Accounting Program
When using the abbreviation, use capital letters and omit the word “degree.” Omit the word “degree” when using an abbreviation. Note: We no longer use periods with these abbreviations (Chicago10.20). See also Academic Titles.
- AA, AAS, AS or associate’s degree, associate of applied science, associate of science
- BA, BS or bachelor’s degree, bachelor’s
- MA, MS or master of arts, master of science, master’s degree, master’s
- EdD, PhD or doctoral degree, doctorate
- MBA, MFA or master of business administration, master of fine arts
- Right: Professor Smith has a PhD in history.
- Wrong: He also has a BA degree in history.
- (Plural) masters of arts, bachelors of science (Chicago, 7.7), MAs and PhDs
Academic Regulations and Standards
Section name in College Policies and Procedures, available online.
Use lowercase for an academic subject unless it is the name of a language.
- He took biology and English.
When including an academic degree or credential with a person's name, omit the courtesy title (also called social title) in the same reference
- Either Sanjay Rai, PhD or Dr. Sanjay Rai
- Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard or President Pollard
Exception: President DeRionne P. Pollard, PhD (both).
In text, spell out Building, Center, Campus, Route, especially in running text; abbreviations are acceptable in lists, tables, and letters. Single-letter compass points accompanying street names are normally followed by a period; two-letter ones are not. Do not use a comma before them when they follow a street name. For campus addresses, no comma is needed between building name and room number and/or the word "room." Campus maps (available online and in the MC Catalog) show appropriate abbreviations for campus buildings.
Addresses on Campus:
- Macklin Tower 123 (no comma needed, or “room”), MT 123
- Humanities Bldg. 216, or HU 216
- The Commons 211
- Wrong: Room 123, Macklin Tower or 123 Macklin Tower
abbreviations: Ave., Bldg., Blvd., Ct., Dr., Hwy., Pkwy., PO Box, Rd., Rm., Sq., St., Terr.
compass points: N., S., E., W.; NE, NW, SE, SW
Admissions and Records, Office
the location/physical office space where admissions takes place. Formerly, Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration)
Admissions and Enrollment Management refers to the entire unit.
Advancement and Community Engagement, Office of (OACE)
advisor (formerly, adviser)
Alphabetize names, abbreviations, and acronyms literally, not according to what they stand for. Alphabetize hyphenated names by the last word, or hyphenated word in a name.
- MacSorley, Ian; McRae, Gordon; Saint Laurent, Yves; St. Denis, Ruth
- CCJS—Criminal Justice; COMM—Communications Studies; CMSC—Computer Science and Technologies
- Computer Science and Technologies (CMSC); Communications Studies (COMM); Criminal Justice (CCJS)
- Allison Bell-Smith Rinehart (alphabetize under R)
- Allison Rinehart Bell-Smith (alphabetize under B)
- Allison Bell Smith (alphabetize under S)
- alumna (singular, female)
- alumnae (plural, female, rarely used since MC is a co-educational institution)
- alumni (plural), former students who have attended or graduated from the College
- alumnus (singular, male) a person who attended or graduated from MC
- in bibliographies: Use & or and in publishers’ names, regardless of how the publisher uses it on the title page—but be consistent.
- in book titles: Spell out and when listing a book title, regardless of how the original title was rendered.
- in course names: Spell out and in course names (e.g., Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry).
- in parenthetical references, footnotes, and bibliographies: Use “&” (Johnson & Johnson).
- in text: Spell out and.
Artwork (see also, Appendix A-5)
Italicize titles of paintings, drawings, and statues.
- Grant Wood’s American Gothic; Rodin’s Thinker
Black Box Theatre
board, the board
only capitalize when used as a proper name, e.g., Montgomery College Board of Trustees; otherwise, "The board will consider the proposal."
board of directors
in reference to the Montgomery College Foundation and the Hercules Pinkney Life Sciences Park at Montgomery College; only capitalize when using the board's full name, e.g., the Montgomery College Board of Directors.
board of governors (for MC Alumni Association)
the same rules apply for capitalization as those described under "board" and "board of directors"
Board of Trustees (for Montgomery College)
in reference to Montgomery College volunteer leadership. For a Board of Trustees list, visit our Leadership page.
books and periodicals
Italicize titles of books and periodicals.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Newsweek, The Washington Post
Capitalize “campus” when preceded by the specific location: use lowercase for plural or generic references.
- Artwalk takes place annually at the Rockville Campus each spring.
- Students at all three campuses ride the shuttle for free.
campus’s (singular possessive), campuses’ (plural possessive) (Chicago 7.15)
Campus offices, buildings, and departments
On first reference, capitalize the name of the academic subject, building, or department when it appears as an official name and is followed by the word “department,” “office,” or “building.” On second reference, without using the full title, use lowercase (Chicago 8.1).
- Cooperative Education and Internship Program; the program (on second reference)
- Learning Center; the center (on second reference)
- Humanities Building
- The Commons 122 (don’t use “Room” and/or building abbreviation “CM” in text)
- Office of Student Life
- Music Department; the department (on second reference)
- The Art Department at Rockville has a student show every year
Capitalization: board, foundation, and institute
Capitalize “board,” “foundation,” and “institute” when used as proper names, but use lowercase for generic or plural references. (Chicago 8.18). An exception to this rule is the use of College when referencing Montgomery College on second or subsequent references.
- Right: Montgomery College Board of Trustees, Montgomery College Foundation, the Macklin Business Institute
- Right: Submit copies to the Board Office.
- Right: The board will consider the proposal at the next meeting. The foundation will meet in November. The institute will accept applications in the spring semester.
- Wrong: The Board will meet on May 1. The Foundation is soliciting input.
catalog (not catalogue), Montgomery College Catalog
Designator for “credit by examination; CE–G indicates the exam is given at the Germantown Campus; CE–R indicates the exam is given at the Rockville Campus; CE–T indicates the exam is given at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.
Center for Professional Organization & Development, The
centuries, decades, years
Spell out in lowercase letters. Decades may be spelled out or expressed in numerals. No apostrophe is needed between the year and the s. Use numerals if decades are identified by their century. Informally, the full number of a particular year is sometimes abbreviated. (Chicago 9.34)
- the nineteenth century; the sixties and seventies
- the 1880s and 1890s (not the 1880s and '90s); the class of ’90;
- He was in the class of ’07. (informal, note direction of apostrophe)
- He received a certificate in technical writing.
denotes services provided at the College's Center for Early Education
co-chair (not co-chairperson)
Collective nouns and their verbs (e.g., faculty, committee)
When the subject is a collective noun conveying the idea of unity or multitude, the verb is singular. When the subject is a collective noun conveying the idea of plurality, the verb is plural. (Chicago 5.131)
- The committee is meeting on April 1. (unity, singular verb)
- The English faculty are debating the issue among themselves. (plurality, plural verb)
Capitalize “college” only when referring to Montgomery College. This is an exception to the rule using lowercase for second and other subsequent references. The term collegewide remains lowercase, one word in text (no hyphen), except in a headline or title.
- The College’s enrollment was up this year.
- The president will send a collegewide memo.
In text, use serial comma between the last item in a list, before “and” or “or.” (Chicago 6.18)
- Right: A, B, and C
- Wrong: students, faculty and staff
Compounds (in titles)
Generally, capitalize both parts of the compound in titles Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor). (Chicago 8.15)
- Medium-Sized T-shirts
- A Two-Thirds Reduction
- Anti-intellectual Activities (exception because the first element is merely a prefix or combining form that could not stand by itself as a word (anti, pre, etc.)
Communication Arts Technologies (the new and correct program name is Media Arts & Technologies. It was formerly called 'the VCT curriculum')
The whole comprises the parts; the parts compose the whole (not comprised of).
- Right: A zoo comprises mammals, reptiles, and birds.
- Right: Montgomery College is composed of students, faculty, and staff at three campuses and satellite locations.
- Wrong: The committee is comprised of faculty, students, and staff.
Although not incorrect, avoid using “congressman” or “congresswoman” (the term “congressman” indicates either a senator or representative); instead use “representative” or “senator” followed by a last name (when applicable) as an introduction. (Chicago 8.21)
- the representative; Jamie Raskin, our District 8 representative (less preferable, but not incorrect: Congressman Raskin from Maryland); or Rep. Raskin (D-MD); the senator; the senator from Maryland; US Senator Chris Van Hollen Jr.; Senator Ben Cardin
- Rarely: the congressman; the congresswoman
Cooperative Education & Internship Program
corequisite (per Webster’s 11th)
The Montgomery County Council uses the term councilmember (one word, and not councilman or councilwoman). In general, follow the style that the organization uses, and if it is not indicated use council member (two words). In the case of the Montgomery County Council:
- The announcement was made by Councilmember March Erlich.
- The announcement was made by March Erlich, council member.
Currency (see numbers)
Use lowercase for MC curricula, except when used in a heading or title.
- Right: The landscape technology program is offered on the Germantown Campus.
- Right: Many nursing courses have prerequisites.
- Wrong: He is a Theatre major.
Avoid use of superscript. For formal invitations, write out the numeric date.
- Right: August 23 or the Twenty-third of August
- Wrong: August 23rd, August 23rd
degree (See Academic Degrees)
Spell out the official department name on first reference.
- Right: Biology Department, Biology Dept. (Note: capitalize both terms when used in combination)
- Wrong: The Biology professor attended the conference in March.
Refers to the General Education distribution requirements noted in the College Catalog. Use lowercase.
- behavioral and social sciences distribution
doctoral degree (or PhD), doctorate
(see also Abbreviations)
exempli gratia (literally, “for example”) (see also, i.e.)
Use with a comma: "e.g.,"
emerita (feminine), emeritus (masculine), emeriti (plural, masc. or both genders), emeritae (plural, feminine)
an honorary designation, does not simply mean “retired” (Chicago 8.27)
- the professor emerita
- Professor Emeritus Smith, Professors Emeriti Smith and Rooney
English as a Second Language, ESL
email (no hyphen)
entry level (noun), entry-level (adjective)
equivalent semester hours or ESH
etc., et cetera
Literally, “and other things.” Avoid using “etc.” in formal writing. Also, do not use it at the end of a list introduced by “such as” and “for example.”
ex-president, preferable form is “former president...” (See also Emerita)
Use lowercase, except when used in a heading or title.
- federal Pell Grant, federal Perkins Loan
Use less for amounts or mass nouns (e.g., less water). Use fewer for countable things (e.g., fewer students, miles, ideas. (Chicago 5.220)
“One easy guideline is to use less with singular nouns (less money) and fewer with plural nouns (fewer dollars).” --Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition
- Fewer accidents (a smaller number) were reported than was expected.
- Less effort (a smaller degree) was put forth by the organizers, and thus fewer people (a smaller number) attended.
- less than five years ago
- fewer than 60 people
First Year Experience (no hyphen)
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
full-time (adj.), full time (adv.)
- a full-time worker, working full time
fund-raiser, fund-raising (n.)
- We attended the fund-raiser for student scholarships.
- Fund-raising is an Alumni Association effort.
FY99, FY00 (no spaces), FY2000 is OK in informal correspondence.
General Education program, general education requirement
General Equivalency Diploma (GED)
GPA (no periods)
grade points, grade point average
Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education (GITE)
Headlines and Subtitles
Capitalize the first and last words, all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions. Do not capitalize articles (the, a, an), coordinate conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor), or prepositions—unless they are the first or last words of the title or subtitle. Use lowercase for the “to” in infinitives.
- Luncheon Honors, Introduces Scholarship Donors and Recipients
- Macklin Business Institute Students Earn Regional Honors in Business Competition
Spell out when used with "the." Abbreviate to Hon. when it appears without "the." (The same applied to the Reverend, Rev.).
ID (no periods, e.g., MC ID)
id est (“that is”). Always follow with a comma.
only capitalize this term when it is used as a proper noun (e.g., the Macklin Business Institute)
international students on student visas (also referred to as F-1/M-1)
For generic locations that precede a name or stand alone, use lowercase (when the full campus name is not required). For specific locations, generally use capitalization.
cafeteria, bookstore, library, county, commonwealth of Virginia
- Right: Maryland State, state of Maryland
- Wrong: State of Maryland
Maryland State (also, state of Maryland)
Media Arts & Technologies
formerly, Communication Arts Technologies and/or the VCT curriculum
(See also, About Our Name)
Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, The
MyMC (one word)
Numbers (currency, fractions, phone, Roman numerals)
In text, spell out numbers one through nine; but use numerals for 10 and above. But, spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence, or recast the sentence. Letters used in ordinal numbers should not appear in superscript. Hyphenate all fractions. Use hyphens (not parentheses) in phone numbers. (Chicago 9.6)
- Two students completed the exam early.
- 80 percent, 80 percent increase (no hyphen)
- one million; about 50 thousand; exactly 50,218
- 18-year-olds; an 18-year-old student
- 35mm camera, 16mm film
- 123rd (not 123rd)
- 50th anniversary or fiftieth anniversary
- $5 (not $5.00); $1 million
- Roman Numerals: I,II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XX, XXX, XL, L (50), LX, LXX, LXXX, XC, C (100), CC, CCC, CD, D (500), DC, DCC, DCCC, CM, M (1,000)
Office of Admissions and Records
formerly Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration
Office of Safety and Security
off-site (compound modifier)
on-site (compound modifier)
part-time (adj.), part time (adv.)
- a part-time worker
- He works part time.
Paul Peck Humanities Institute
Paul Peck Institute for American Culture and Civic Engagement
PC, PCs (plural)
Use hyphens throughout (not parentheses or periods).
Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology at Montgomery College (PIC MC), formerly Hercules Pinkney Life Sciences Park
plays (see Titles)
An apostrophe is never used to form the plural of a family name. Capital letters used as words, abbreviations that contain no interior periods, and numerals used as nouns form the plural by adding s. (Chicago 7.6–7.16)
- masters of arts, bachelors of science (Chicago, 7.7)
- MAs and PhDs, URLs (abbreviation with no interior periods) (Chicago 7.14)
- Afghans and Pakistanis
- the Joneses (Chicago 7.8)
- threes and fours (no apostrophe needed)
- thank-yous, dos and don’ts (Chicago 7.13, 7.29)
- ifs and buts, maybes, the three Rs (Chicago 7.14)
- the 1900s (numeral used as a noun)
Poems (see also, Titles)
Enclose poem titles (short, not epic) in quotation marks, roman type. For long poetic works, use italics.
- “Casey at the Bat”
- Paradise Lost
Policies and Procedures, Official College
The College's official Policies and Procedures are available online. P&P is acceptable in informal written correspondence.
Add an apostrophe and an s to most singular nouns to form the possessive, and only an apostrophe for plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals that do not end in s). If the noun ends in s, x, or z, add an apostrophe and an s. (Chicago 7.15–7.22) Omitting the s for words ending in s is not recommended (Chicago 7.21) because it disregards pronunciation.
- The Rockville Campus’s buildings
- The Williamses’ new house (Chicago 7.16)
- FDR’s legacy, 2010’s heaviest snowstorm (Chicago 7.16)
- the United States’ mission (Chicago 7.19)
Do not hyphenate words beginning with pre, except: pre-dentistry, pre-engineering, pre-medicine, pre-medical technology, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, and similar words.
Do not hyphenate prefixes, generally, but hyphenate when the adjacent letters are duplicated, or the prefix stands alone and when necessary to avoid confusion with other words. When in doubt, it is never wrong to keep a hyphen to avoid misleading or puzzling forms (e.g., re-cover versus recover, un-ionized versus unionized). See also, Chicago 7.85 for “Hyphenation guide for compounds and words formed with prefixes.”
- semi-independent, ultra- and subsonic vibrations
- non-native, anti-intellectual
Note: When the second element consists of more than one word, use an en dash, not a hyphen:
- pre–World War I (Chicago 6.80)
president of the College
In text, use lowercase president when the phrase follows the president’s name—but capitalize when title directly precedes the name.
- Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard spoke at the conference.
- Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, president, introduced the keynote speaker.
quality point average
readmission (no hyphen)
No hyphen; this is an exception to the guidance for other prefixes.
No periods. Omit “please” with RSVP; it is inherent in the translation of Répondez s'il vous plaît.
School of Art and Design at Montgomery College
occasionally, School of Art+Design (SA+D), when name is used as a logo.
Use lowercase for the four seasons. (Chicago 8.87)
South Campus Instructional Building
In text, use one space between sentences.
Capitalize state names, but lowercase the word "state" if it precedes the proper noun.
state of Maryland, but Maryland State (Chicago 8.50)
Student Code of Conduct, but the code (on second reference)
Student Development (DS) courses
Student Insider’s Guide
formerly, Montgomery College Student Handbook
student with learning disabilities
not learning disabled student
not summer term
restrictive, use without commas.
Snow that falls in spring is rare.; see also, which (Chicago 6.22)
when referring to College majors and productions
a.m. and p.m. (with periods) with one space between the numeral and the abbreviation. Use an en-dash for time ranges. In text, avoid using the dash for a time range; instead, use “from” and “to.”
- 2 p.m.
- 3–5 p.m.
- 9 a.m.–noon (not 12 p.m. or 12 noon)
- 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.* (Chicago 9.39)
- Office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Capitalize a person’s professional title when it precedes the name; use lowercase when it follows the name, regardless of rank or executive level. (Chicago 8.18) (see also Titles)
- Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard will be the keynote speaker.
- President and CEO John Smith will attend the conference.
- Barack Obama was the first African American president of the United States.
- DeRionne P. Pollard, president, will meet with the board on Tuesday.
- Wrong: Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard
Exception: In promotional or other formal contexts (e.g., a displayed list of donors in an annual report or honored guests at commencement), titles are usually capitalized when following a personal name (Chicago 8.19, 8.21)
(preferable in American English, not towards, the British English preference). The simpler form (without s) is also preferred for other direction terms: upward, downward, forward, backward, and afterward. (Chicago 5.220)
TV channels and broadcast networks
Set broadcast networks and TV channels in roman type, not italics.
- the Discovery Channel
- MCTV Channel 10
When used as a noun, spell out; when using as an adjective, abbreviate US (with no periods). (Chicago 10.33)
University of Maryland
not University of Maryland, College Park
The university prefers to omit “College Park” from its official name unless referencing a physical address of the campus on first reference. The preferred second reference is Maryland, the university, or the flagship; Terrapins or Terps in athletic references. If an abbreviation is needed in headlines, UM is appropriate, but not UMCP. (see also the UM Branding Guidelines.)
- Right: UM
- Wrong: UMCP
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Of the 13 public institutions across the state comprising the University System of Maryland, only the Baltimore location is authorized to refer to itself as the University of Maryland.
Universities at Shady Grove, USG
“The” is not part of the official name.
University System of Maryland
(first reference), on subsequent references, either University System, USM, or the System
(Note: “The” is not part of the official name.)
see also the UM Editorial Style Guide.
Abbreviated (no periods) when used as an adjective, but spell out United States when used as a noun. It is not necessary to space between the letters when referring to our country, but add the spaces when using a person’s initials, as in “President U. S. Grant.” Chicago Manual of Style recommends all initials given with a name be followed by a period. When persons are referred to by initials only, no periods are used (e.g., JFK, FDR, LBJ). (Chicago 10.33)
Note: In publications using traditional state abbreviations, use periods to abbreviate United States and its states and territories: U.S., N.Y., Ill. Note, however, that Chicago recommends using the two-letter postal codes (and therefore US) wherever abbreviations are used; see Chicago 10.28.
Veterans Affairs Office
(no apostrophes, refers to the MC Office, not the US government office)
vice president and provost
visa (passport endorsement), VISA (credit card trademark)
Visual, Performing, and Communications Arts (not Communication)
(Chicago 6.46 and 10.30) For additional examples of state abbreviations, see Chicago Manual of Style.
web, website (one word, lowercase)
websites, URLs, and email addresses (formatting)
Set websites in roman. With Internet addresses (URLs), no space follows a period (also known as a dot).
If it is necessary to break a URL or an email address at the end of a printed line, the period should appear on the new line, never at the end of the line above (Chicago 6.17). No hyphen should be added to denote a line break. The break should be made between elements, after a colon, a slash (/), a double slash (//), or the symbol @ but before a period or any other punctuation or symbols. To avoid confusion, a URL that contains a hyphen should never be broken at the hyphen. Note: "www" is no longer required for Montgomery College online addresses, e.g., simply montgomerycollege.edu
Who is the nominative form. Use who whenever he, she, they, I, or we could be substituted in the who clause. Whom is the objective form. Use whom whenever him, her, them, me, or us could be substituted as the object of the verb or as the object of a preposition in the whom clause. If in doubt, mentally rearrange the clause.
(nonrestrictive) Use which with commas.
- Snow, which normally falls in the winter, is pretty at first. (Chicago 6.22) (see also, that)
Women’s Studies Program
Workforce Development & Continuing Education
see centuries, decades, years
Creative Services9221 Corporate Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850