The Daily Pennsylvanian

Style Guide

134th Editorial Board (2018)

Alisa Bhakta

Copy Editors, 134th Editorial Board

This style guide is meant as a reference for grammatical choices and diction commonly encountered in Daily Pennsylvanian copy.

For all other questions, please consult the AP Stylebook, available in the Red Room.

For other style and grammar choices, the copy editors should be consulted for a decision that will be added to this guide.

Useful documents:

Sports Style Guide

Abbreviated Style Guide

Death and Illness Style Guide

Related Links Style Guide

Keyboard Shortcuts

Sept. 11 Style and Reference Guide

Other resources:


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Password: dpcopy

(Or create your own account)

Penn Directory


click on the letters below to access the specific section you’re looking for!


A (back to top)

a cappella

                No italics.


        Unless used in a quote, avoid using the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” as these are political slogans. Instead, use “anti-abortion” and “pro-abortion rights” respectively.

academically based community service (ABCS) courses

        Professors usually offer these in conjunction with the Netter Center. The classes concern community service and are usually held outside the classroom. ABCS courses can be in a variety of subjects, from history to earth and environmental science.


                Avoid in words where they do not change meaning. If it does change the meaning of the word, leave the accents. 

Check restaurants with the word “cafe” in the name; some use accents and some do not. If a business uses the accent, keep it in the name (e.g. Bon Appétit)

Use in names — Quiñones. 

Keyboard shortcuts:

´ Alt + e

˜ Alt + n

` Alt + `

Ç Alt + c

ˆ Alt + i

¨ Alt + u

according to

                With people, a real verb like said is preferred. So Provost Vincent Price said, but according to the report.


                No periods. Campus groups and administration offices with acronyms should be written out on first reference. Use abbreviations on second reference. Well-known acronyms are an exception (e.g. NASA, UNICEF, SEPTA and AIDS).

                Acronyms that are pronounced by individual letter need the definite article (the word the). Say it out loud: NASA, but the NCAA or the OSC. Other common ones are the NIH and the NEC.

                Acronyms in general may confuse the reader, especially if multiple ones are in play. A second reference like the agency for SEPTA or the disease for AIDS is often preferable.

       See also United States entry.


ad hoc

                Something aimed toward a specific goal or purpose, usually in the case of a committee. Ad hoc is usually used to refer to a committee examining an issue. Even though it is modifying “committee” most of the time, do not hyphenate it.

                e.g. University officials formed an ad hoc committee on ROTC.



                Abbreviate Street, Avenue and Road only when an exact address is given. Note here that “streets” is not capitalized when referring to more than one street.

                        He lived at 2340 P St.

He lived on 23rd Street.

                   She lived at 23rd and P streets.

                Spell out First through Ninth when used as street names, but never spell out street addresses such as 2 Bayside Ave.

Abbreviate compass directions only if the exact street address is given:

215 S. 42nd St.

North 34th Street.



                Always spelled with an o, not an e, regardless of how the organization spells it.

adjunct professor

        Don’t need to specify — just call them professors. This just means a professor who is working part time at the University and usually holds another job. If being adjunct is essential to the article, then leave it.


affect (verb — to have an effect on), effect (noun — a change that is a result of an action or other cause AND verb — to bring about)

                ex. changes that affect the University

                ex. the effect of the changes on the University

                ex. new rules effecting a standardized policy


African American

Do not use. Use "black" instead. See also the ethnicity entry.

African American Resource Center

        Reports directly to the President. Enhance the lives of African American faculty, staff and students.



Always use figures, even when less than 10. When referring to a person’s age, always use with “year old.” With “year old” as an adjective, use hyphens (10-year-old boy). Otherwise, don’t use hyphens (He is 10 years old).

Use boy or girl for people under age 13. We assume people ages 18 and older are men and women. For those in between, teen, youth and adolescent may all be appropriate.



         One word.


        No periods.



                Use with extreme caution. Always attribute the allegations to a source, never make it sound like the DP is alleging anything. Bring to the attention of a copy editor if you feel it is necessary.

                Conversely, don’t forget to use “alleged” when a fact is in question. If somebody has not yet been convicted of a crime, it’s not a fact!

Incorrect: Police apprehended the thief… (he’s not a thief if he’s not convicted!)

Incorrect: Police apprehended the alleged thief… (in certain contexts, this can seem like we’re alleging it!)

Correct: Police apprehended the man, whom they allege stole $500 from…


                As a general guideline, use “alleged” when attributing information to a person or a source that IS NOT a newspaper.  If we take information from another newspaper, that information is “reported.”

ex. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the incident reportedly occurred at 3 a.m.

ex. According to University Police, the incident allegedly occurred at 3 a.m.

Allegro Pizza

        Not Allegro’s!

AlliedBarton Security

            Contract security used by the University. Note that AlliedBarton is one word.


                Straight people who support LGBT rights. The proper noun (Allies) is a former club at Penn.



                University publication of record, published weekly. Mostly centered around faculty and staff. It should not be italicized or placed in quotation marks.

Note that it is not called The Penn Almanac, just the Almanac.



                Alum is not technically a word, but it may be used in headlines. Same with alums. Use the chart to determine what form of the (latin) word to use.











                The correct form is lowercase with periods. Same with p.m.


among, amid

                Use instead of amongst and amidst. Do not spell as “amoung” or “amung.”


among, between

                Between is used when there are two items or people in question. Between is also used when expressing the relationships of three or more items considered one pair at a time.

        Among is used when there are more than two items or people in question.

                ex. The funds were divided among the History, Chemistry and Math departments.

                ex. A debate format is being decided between NBC and the Bush, Kerry and Nader camps.


                Walter Annenberg donated a great deal of money to Penn, and many campus buildings have his name on them:

The Annenberg School for Communication, located on Walnut Street between 36th and 37th streets. This building contains classrooms.

           The Annenberg Center, located at 37th and Walnut streets. Its two main theaters are the Harold Prince Theatre and the Zellerbach Theatre. 

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania opened in 1993, but acquired a new building on 36th and Walnut streets in Fall 2009.



                About is usually just as good and always eight letters shorter.


                An acronym for Arts, Research and Culture House, so it should be all capitalized, but the ARCH or ARCH building is fine for all references. Located at 3601 Locust Walk.



        A person from Argentina.  NOT “Argentinian.”

around, about

                Use around to express physical proximity and about for everything else.

ex. Many students live around campus

ex. at about 6 p.m.


Associated Press

                A wire service with reporters around the world. On first reference, use The Associated Press. On subsequent references, use AP.


B (back to top)


Beige Block

                The section of 41st Street between Walnut and Locust streets named for the row of houses that are all painted beige.


        Her last names (Knowles or Carter) are unnecessary. Also, note the accent on the e.


Bicultural InterGreek Council

                Abbreviated as the BIG-C on second reference and spelled and capitalized as above, this group is an umbrella organization for black and Latino fraternities and sororities.


Black Student League

                A representative group for black students on campus.



                Blog is appropriate on all references. We do not format blog titles in any special way.


blue-light phones

                These are the emergency phones scattered around campus that connect directly to University Police. Note the hyphen.


Board of Trustees

            Capitalize when in reference to the University Board of Trustees.

Bon Appétit Management Company

           The company that Penn contracts to manage their dining services. Manages the dining halls. See also entry for "dining halls."

book titles

                Should be written with quotation marks. The only words that should remain lowercase are all articles and prepositions and conjunctions of fewer than four letters. These should be capitalized if they come first or last in the title.



        Not capitalized (spring break, winter break, etc.)


the Bridge: Cinema de Lux

                Former name of the movie theater on 40th and Walnut streets.


Bucks County Coffee

                A chain of coffee shops that used to have nearby establishments on Sansom Street and on 40th Street.



                One word.



                 Burglary means breaking into a building with the intent of stealing something or committing another felony (crime against property).

See theft entry.





C (back to top)


cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation

                One “l” is the preferred spelling, as is the case with “traveled.” Basically, words that can be spelled with extra “l’s” we spell with just one “l”. Simplified spelling is key here.

Counseling and Psychological Services

        Use “CAPS” on second reference.



        We do not abbreviate things in captions, even obvious things like “pre-med” or “SAT prep”.

Career Services

                The University service that works with students to help them find jobs and internships.



                Use CD on all references for compact disc. In plural instances, use CDs — no apostrophe.



                Always lowercase: “18th century.”



                We capitalize these when they refer to the head of a group, as in College Republicans Chair Elizabeth Huntsman. We also capitalize them when they refer to the head of a school’s department, like Physics Undergraduate Chair Charles Kane. They aren’t capitalized when after names, as in Charles Kane, Physics undergraduate chair.

                “Chairwoman/chairman” is no longer used.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

                Attached to and affiliated with HUP, but it is not part of HUP. CHOP on second reference. Note that Pennsylvania is nowhere in this name.


        A predominantly Asian-American neighborhood in Center City.


Cira Centre

                The large glass building attached to 30th Street Station completed in 2005. A second centre is being constructed on the postal lands. Note that they prefer to spell the name as “centre.” Use the –re form when using the proper name of the building, but use “center” otherwise.

        The Cira Centre is an office building. The center also houses a ground-level cafe.



                Do not provide the state with the following American cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Harrisburg, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington. All other cities must have the state listed after it (see states entry for the appropriate abbreviations).

                The following foreign cities do not need the country with it: Athens, Beijing, Berlin, Geneva, Gibraltar, Guatemala City, Havana, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Kuwait, London, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico City, Monaco, Montreal, Moscow, Ottawa, Paris, Quebec, Rome, San Marino, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto, Vatican City.

                For cities in Canada not covered by the above rule, state the province but NOT the country. For example, use “Vancouver, B.C.,” not “Vancouver, B.C., Canada.” For other nations, use the city followed by the country.


Civic House

                Not preceded by the:

The event happened at Civic House.

Located at 3914 Locust Walk.


Class Boards

           Capitalize when referencing a specific board, but not when using the term in a general sense.

           The Junior Class Board 


Each class has a class board.

Class years

                Use “Class of ….” when referring to the class as a whole or a recruiting class for a sports team. However, it is not to be used with alumni.

                The Class of 2011 was clearly the smartest class in school history.

        Incorrect: Gabriela Coya, Class of 2014

                See also graduates entry.


College Green

                This is the plot of grass in front of College Hall and next to Van Pelt Library.


College of Arts and Sciences

                Use College on second reference. This is the undergraduate division of the School of Arts and Sciences.

College of Liberal and Professional Studies

        Penn’s adult education college, for students who are completing bachelors degrees or on post-baccalaureate programs.  LPS on second reference.


College House system

                See dormitories entry. When referring to the system, College House system is capitalized as such.



        One word.


                Use between all items in a series (Oxford comma)

        ex. The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe …

Use to join two independent clauses with a conjunction or to join a dependent clause to a following independent clause.

                ex. All stood to leave, but none was satisfied.

                ex. Because they were dissatisfied, they refused to leave the meeting.



                Make sure that this is capitalized only when it’s part of the formal name. DO NOT capitalize on a second reference of “the committee.”


Committee on Open Expression

                The committee is responsible for interpreting the guidelines through which protesters are protected in demonstrations on campus.



                Check the name of the company to see if the word company itself is in the company’s name. Sometimes it’s abbreviated Co. in the company’s name. Check on Google for the company’s official name.

        Include “, Inc.” or “, LLC” after a company’s name if that is the official name of the company.


compass headings

                North, south, east and west. These are generally not capitalized. When used as part of a regional name, however, they are.

                ex. West Coast, the South, the Eastern Seaboard, the Northeast



                Note that this is spelled with only one “t.”


compose, comprise

                Remember that the parts compose the whole and the whole comprises the parts. You compose things by putting them together. Once the parts are put together, the object comprises the parts. The parts may also constitute the whole.

                ex. Venezuela and Ecuador compose South America, while South America comprises Venezuela and Ecuador.



                Capitalize on first reference: “the Congress of Racial Equality.” Lowercase on subsequent references: “the congress…”

        When referring to the U.S. Congress, always capitalize, even on subsequent references. However, even in this case, “congressional” is not capitalized.



                Capitalize on all references when referring to a specific constitution: the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.



                Feel free to use. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Star-Ledger, The Christian Science Monitor and others use contractions. We do too.



                Restaurant and bar at 40th and Spruce streets. Replaced Billybob’s.



                Campus location is at 140 S. 36th St. Have this as an exception to the accent rule — just use a normal i.


course titles

                Specific courses are capitalized and in quotation marks, while generic areas stay lowercase:

Students in computer-science courses have been complaining. 

Students in “History and Evolution of Computer Science,” a course taught by John Doe, have been complaining.

When referring to a course by department and course number, NO quotes:  Management 104. To find out the exact name of a course, go to the online course register.


court cases

                Versus is written as v.” Court cases are NOT italicized.

               ex. Roe v. Wade, Grutter v. Bollinger


courtesy titles

                NEVER USE Mr., Dr., Mrs., Miss or Mrs. However, Rev. is OK when relevant.



                There are many different courts with different proper names. Google them to check their appropriate names.


        One word.

Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships

        CURF on second reference.

Curse words

Generally, only use in columns (sports or opinion) and in quotes. Reporters should not be using curse words ever, unless they are quoting someone. Ask an editor about the appropriateness. If the Not OK words are used in a quote, use asterisks to


Not OK


Skank  Sk*nk


Slut  Sl*t


Whore / Ho  Wh*re


Fuck  F**k


Douche → D**che


Asshole → A**hole



D (back to top)


The Daily Pennsylvanian

                The independent student newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania. On first

reference, write The Daily Pennsylvanian. Note the capitalization of “The.” On second reference, write as the DP” with a LOWERCASE “the.” The Summer Pennsylvanian and The Weekly Pennsylvanian follow the same rules.

Refer to 34th Street as 34th Street on first reference; Street on second reference.



                Use cardinal numbers. Never use th, nd, st or rd after numbers in dates. Abbreviate months as Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. only when there is an exact date. Note the usage of commas in the examples:

                 ex. She was born June 14, 1973, on a dark and stormy night.

                  ex. December 1954 was a landmark month for the University.

                ex. The motor-oil boys were sentenced on Feb. 18.

        Also see days of the week entry.



                Place the name of the city in all capital letters, followed by a comma, followed by the state or country or Canadian province, followed by an uberdash. This is used if the reporter wrote the story on location (common in sports, not so much in news).  If the date is needed, then add a comma after the state or province and include the date WITHOUT the year.  Insert the uberdash afterwards See the cities entry for important exceptions.

                ex. OTTUMWA, Iowa, Dec. 28 — Now the story starts.


David Rittenhouse Laboratory

The math and science building located at 33rd and Walnut streets. Use DRL on second reference. Though there are many laboratories within DRL, note that ‘Laboratory’ is singular.


day to day

                Hyphenated only when used as an adjective. 

The doctor said his condition would be monitored day to day, but nurses will assess his progress on a day-to-day basis.

days of the week

        Always capitalize Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

When a story refers to days that aren’t “yesterday,” “tomorrow” or the forthcoming days of the week, use the actual dates.

Incorrect: President Gutmann went to the supermarket Monday of last week.

Correct: President Gutmann went to the supermarket on Dec. 2.


dean’s list

                This honor is awarded to those who have a 3.7 grade point average over the course of one academic year. Lowercase in ALL uses.



Do not use euphemisms for death (e.g. passed away). Only use the verb "to die" in reference to death.


            On first reference, use bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, medical degree, doctorate. NOTE THE POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHE — it is not a masters degree. Do not say masters student. Say graduate student instead. Such students are in master’s programs.

On second reference, use B.A., B.S., M.A., Ph.D.

        However, MBA is always just MBA. The abbreviation is universal and the alternative is too wordy.

        Raj Rajaratnam, who received a Wharton MBA in 1983, was arrested on insider trading charges.

departments at Penn

                Official University academic or administrative departments always get capitalized, but not generic names of subjects or offices.

                The Anthropology Department

                Admissions Office, Athletics Department, Office of the Provost, Facilities and Maintenance, Office of Student Conduct


Development and Alumni Relations

        Work with alumni and on fundraising. Were in charge of the Making History campaign that finished in 2013 and culminated with Time to Shine. An office that reports directly to the President’s office.


        Use 3-D, with the hyphen and capitalized letter. Not 3D. Same goes for the other dimensions.

dining halls

           There are four dining halls:

           1920 Commons: Use on first reference. Use "Commons" on subsequent references.

           Hill House: Located in the college house.

           Kings Court English House: Also located in the college house

           Falk Dining Commons in Steinhardt Hall: The kosher dining hall in Hillel.

           Express options are available at the Cafe at McClelland or Hill Express.

           See also Bon Appetit Management Company

Dining Dollars

        A set amount of money included in certain dining plans. They can be spent in Houston Market, under Commons, at ABP, and some other locations. The term should always be capitalized.

district attorney

                On second reference, use DA. Capitalize when used as a formal title.


Division of Public Safety

                Includes the University Police, Victim Support and Special Services. NOT the “Department” of Public Safety.


doctor, Dr.

                Never used as a title.


dollars and cents

                See money entry.



Use “the Quad” on all references. Unless essential to the story, there is no need to refer to individual Quad dormitories (i.e. Riepe, Ware, and Fisher-Hassenfeld).

The high rises are referred to as Harnwell College House, Rodin College House and Harrison College House. On second reference, Harnwell, Rodin and Harrison suffice. The old names are “High Rise East,” “High Rise North,” and “High Rise South.” We do not use these terms.

Du Bois College House on first reference, Du Bois on second reference.

Kings Court English College House on all references

New College House on first reference, NCH on second reference.

Hill College House on first reference, Hill on second reference.

Sansom East and Sansom West on all references. One is primarily graduate housing, the other is used mainly for high-rise overflow.

Gregory College House is made up of Van Pelt Manor and Class of 1925.

Stouffer College House is comprised of Stouffer Hall and Mayer Hall.

double major 

        not hyphenated.


E (back to top)


early decision

        Early decision is a program the Office of Admissions uses to admit about half of the class by December; applicants submit their applications by Nov. 1. Once admitted early decision, the student is committed to Penn.

        Not hyphenated ever.

        Capitalize when using “early decision” as a noun, e.g., Students admitted through the Early Decision Program

Use lowercase when using it as an adjective, e.g., The student applied early decision or early decision applications.

Can use ED on second reference.

East Coast

           Capitalize. See "compass headings."

effect, affect

                See affect entry.


Eisenlohr Hall

                Home of the University president, this white-columned mansion is located at 3812 Walnut St.


Einstein Bros Bagels

                Located in Houston Hall.


elicit, illicit

                Elicit means to evoke or to draw forth, while illicit refers to shady, illegal behavior. More importantly, “elicit” is a verb while “illicit” is an adjective.



                Check to make sure they are typed right. Three consecutive periods don’t make an ellipsis. Ellipses are created using alt-semicolon.

Put periods before ellipses if quote fragments are actually full sentences. Ellipses have spaces both before and after them.



                Note that there is NO hyphen.



                Capitalized before a name as part of an official title indicating a person is retaining his former title in retirement. Emerita is the feminine construction. The plural form is emeriti.

                ex. Professor Emeritus Walter Wales


ensure, insure

                Use ensure in all cases, unless insuring a house or car.



                Use black for African American, white for white, Latino for Hispanic, Native American for Native American (try to be as specific as possible, however — Navajo is the person is Navajo, for example) and Asian American for Asian American. Native American and Asian American are only hyphenated when used as adjectives, like an Asian-American interest group.

Avoid “African American” and “Hispanic.”

                See also race entry.


European Union

                EU on second reference. Note the lack of periods.

Event observers

        When referring to the program, use “Event Observer program.” When referring to the individuals, use “event observers.” Do not use EOs, even in headlines.

Executive Vice President

        Craig Carnaroli is currently in this position. The EVP reports to the President’s office and is in charge of the non-academic aspects of the University, crime and real estate for example.


F (back to top)



           The .com is not necessary as part of the name.

Facebook application

        note the lowercase “a”

        Students designed the Facebook application “Gutmannville” to give students a creative outlet for their obsession with the president.

Facilities and Real Estate Services

                The agency responsible for maintaining most of Penn’s property. Note that they are NOT responsible for the College House system: That is the domain of Housing and Conference Services.



                Can be a singular or plural noun depending on whether the faculty members are acting individually or as a group — just be consistent with its use in the article.

                The faculty approves the president’s decision.

                The faculty argue among themselves.


Faculty Club

                Restaurant/lounge/bar at 36th and Walnut streets on the second floor of the Inn at Penn.


Faculty Senate

                The faculty’s main governing organization, the full senate currently holds one meeting a year. All faculty members of the rank assistant professor or higher are invited. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee makes most faculty decisions.

Faith Fund

        Created by an $8,000 grant to PRISM from the Office of the Chaplain, this organization distributes money to interfaith groups.  Reporters usually call it the “Faith Fund Board”, but until the group establishes its own online presence we’re calling it the Faith Fund (note lower case “the”).


Feb Club

                Two words. Note the capitalization.



                The more severe criminal category, contrasted with the misdemeanor level. What constitutes a felony depends on whether the crime is a state or a federal one and varies from state to state. It’s ALWAYS necessary to check if the crime referred to in the story as a felony is actually defined that way by the court in question.

Fels Institute of Government

        Graduate program in public policy and public management.


female, male

                Used as adjectives. Man and woman are used as nouns

                Amy Gutmann is the University’s first female president.

Amy Gutmann is the first woman appointed president of the University.


fewer vs. less

                “Fewer” refers to a countable number of things: I’ve seen fewer movies than she.  “Less refers to intangible things: She is less tired than I.  However, “less” is also used with exact factual, numerical and statistical expressions: That article needs to be less than twenty inches.


first-generation, low-income

        On second reference, FGLI is acceptable, but do not use FGLI in headlines, subheads or captions. If just referring to first-generation, or low-income individually, do not abbreviate.


        One word when used as an adverb: He observed the fire firsthand.

        Use first-hand if it is used as an adjective (observe the hyphen): The book has many

first-hand accounts of the Holocaust.

applies also to “secondhand” vs. “second-hand”

fiscal year

                This term is often used with University budgetary affairs. Always lowercase. Fiscal years for different organizations, governments, etc. are highly variable, so it’s important to check how the organization in question defines their fiscal year. FY can be used on second reference with the year after it: In FY 2012...



                A small advertisement of the sort handed out on Locust Walk. As a verb, it means “to distribute flyers” and retains the “y”: The group flyered the Walk.


food court

                Located at 34th and Walnut streets. The official name is the Moravian Cafes, but that is confusing to students. Call it the food court.


foreign words

                Words that are borrowed from a foreign language but are used commonly in English have no special treatment. Words taken directly from a foreign language with no common English usage should be placed in quotation marks on first reference and an explanation of the meaning should be given.

                Ex: fiance, resume. Fruhstuck, hijos

                Also see the accents entry.



                Spell out things like one-half, one-third, three-fourths, etc. Note the hyphens.


Franklin Field

                The oldest double-decked stadium in the country. Home to the University’s football, field hockey, track and lacrosse teams. Located at the corner of 33rd and South streets.


fraternities, sororities

                Frats is an acceptable abbreviation in headlines only. The Greek letters of specific fraternities or sororities should be capitalized and spelled in full on first reference in the format “the X Y Z fraternity/sorority.” On later references, the initials transliterated from Greek or the common abbreviation or nickname may be used.

Ex: Members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority hosted a charity event. Tri Delt members hope to raise $1,000 for the organization.


Fraternity/Sorority Advisory Board

                FSAB on second reference, this is a disciplinary board with jurisdiction over the fraternity/sorority system.


Fresh Grocer

                The 24-hour supermarket is located at 40th and Walnut streets. Do not call it FroGro in the paper.



                Plural is freshmen. Adjective is “freshman.” Frosh is allowed only in headlines.

                a freshman dorm

         About 1400 freshmen attended the event.

“Freshman 15”: note the quotation marks


fundraiser, fundraising

                One word. This is an exception to AP style.


Furness Building

                This big red building contains the Fisher Fine Arts Library as well as a small art gallery.


G (back to top)



           The Google chat feature. Good for all references.


        One word.


                Use this as opposed to homosexual. Only use queer when it’s part of the group’s name. Use gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender as necessary.


General Requirement

                The general requirements for the Class of 2010 and later comprise two categories:

Seven sector requirements: The seven-sector curriculum that must be satisfied by students in the College of Arts and Sciences, regardless of major. The sectors are: Society, History and Tradition, Arts and Letters, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Living World, the Physical World, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics.  Capitalize as such.

Six Foundational Approaches. The Foundational Approaches are: Writing, Foreign Language, Cross Cultural Analysis, Quantitative Data Analysis, Formal Reasoning Analysis and Cultural Diversity in the United States.



        Always format as such when referring to Google’s social network platform.

government titles

                Use Gov., Govs., Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. to refer to governors, representatives and senators. Spell out all other titles, such as “delegate.” Do not use titles on second reference when using the person’s name. But congressman, congresswoman, senator, etc. may be used on second reference without the person’s name. Use U.S. or state before a title as necessary to avoid confusion.

                For party affiliation of representatives and senators, put in D or R in parentheses (no period) with the person’s state or city, depending whether it’s in reference to the national or state body.

                Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

        U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was elected in 2010, beating out Connecticut state Rep. Rachel Easterbrook (R-Hartford).


        Acceptable on all references.


                Letter grades should be capitalized, and pluses and minuses should be made with a dash. Plurals should be made with an apostrophe. She got an A, but he got a B-minus. When referring to grades in plural, use: the teacher gave out 37 A’s and 12 A-minuses.


Graduate and Professional Student Assembly

                On second reference, use GAPSA. Notice that ‘Student’ is singular. GAPSA is the main graduate student government organization.


Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania

                GET-UP on second reference.


graduate associate

                This is the graduate equivalent of a residential advisor. GA on second reference, never on first reference.


Graduate School of Fine Arts

                See School of Design.


Graduate School of Education

                The school is located next to Walnut just past 37th Street. On second reference, use GSE.


Graduate Student Center

                3615 Locust Walk



                Never use Class of in reference. Say “Frank Brown, 1987 Wharton graduate” or “Lily James, 1965 College graduate.”


Greek Alumni Council

            A group of Greek alumni that formulates policies and discusses insurance issues. GAC on second reference.



                This word, when lowercase, refers to people who are in fraternities and sororities.

        The greek students attended the talk by the Greek President. (PLEASE never write this sentence in the DP).


Greenfield Intercultural Center

                Use GIC on second reference.


Guidelines on Open Expression

                Capitalize as such, but Open Expression guidelines is fine.


H (back to top)



        Cookie eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim. This is the preferred spelling.

Hamilton Court

                Popular off-campus housing located at 39th and Chestnut streets. HamCo on second reference.


Hamilton Village

                This is the area bounded by 38th and 40th streets and Spruce and Walnut streets. An old reference to the high rises and immediate surroundings.


health care

   Two words. “Pre-existing condition” is hyphenated. Never healthcare


                See measurement entry.


high rise

                Lowercase when referring to the building type.

                See dormitories entry.      

high rise field

Lowercase all references.   

high school students

        No hyphen. This is a recent change.


his, her

                When unsure of gender, stay away from assuming his or her. Make the noun plural and change to their or leave a note for the copy editors. Use the plural if an individual does not want to associate with his or her.



                Use “Latino” instead.

See also the ethnicity entry.



                Takes an “a” because of the hard consonant sound.

        Commencement was a historic occasion.


home schooling

        When used as a noun, write home school or home schooling. When used as a verb, write home-school (“The Herons chose to home-school Cady”). Hyphenate when used as an adjective (“Cady Heron was home-schooled”). Hyphenate when referring to someone who is home-schooled (“Cady Heron is a home-schooler”).


                Use gay and lesbian instead as necessary.


        Write as one word when used as a noun or modifier (“Dan participates in hookups.” “Rachel is a part of the hookup culture.”)

Two words when used as a verb (“Ben hooked up with that crazy chick last night.”)


hors d’oeuvres

                No italics.


House of Representatives

                Always capitalize when referring to the specific body.


Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

                HUP on second reference and in headlines. It is distinct from the School of Medicine, but the two share resources and personnel. Both HUP and the School of Medicine are included in the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which is the Health System on second reference and in headlines.

Huntsman Hall

        Home of the Wharton School.  Use “HUNTSMAN” in the “events” box.


Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business

                Dual-degree program between Wharton and the College. Huntsman Program is fine for second reference.


Hutchinson Gymnasium

                Hutch on second reference. Tucked in between the Palestra and Franklin Field.



                Use to join words that collectively modify another word. The idea is to tie the words in a compound modifier closely to each other. Some sets of words may go closely enough together on their own merit that the hyphen is not justified, at the editor’s discretion (e.g. high school).  As a rule, proper nouns that are capitalized also do not take hyphens.

                A half-baked idea 


a natural gas pipeline.

Do not hyphenate when an adverb precedes other modifying words:

                Freshly baked bread

Common prefixes:

“non” does not take a hyphen in any case: nonprofit vs. non-profit. However a hyphen may be used if “non” is placed before a word it usually does not modify (e.g., non-date)

“re” is not hyphenated unless followed by an “e”: reinvigorate has no hyphen, but re-emerge and re-examine do. Same for “pre.”

“anti” is not hyphenated unless followed by a vowel.

                See the AP style guide for more complete guidelines.


I (back to top)


illicit, elicit

                See elicit, illicit.

illegal immigration

From AP Style:

        “illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal or illegals.

Use undocumented, unauthorized, out-of-status, or describe the action, not the person.

Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.

Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?

People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.”


        Do not use as a synonym for “effect.” Reserve for a physical impact (e.g. “the impact of the blast”).



                Used to add information to stories. Bullet points in info-boxes DO NOT have punctuation at the end.



                Use only in reference to people from India or of descent from people from India. Not meant for Native Americans. Use Native Americans instead.


Information Systems and Computing

                This is the all-inclusive group for academic and administrative computing including AirPennNet and computer support services. Use ISC on second reference.



                Use only to insure a house or a car.

See ensure.


        Can be used in columns.  In news, spell out “investment banking.”


Interfraternity Council

                The IFC, on second reference and in headlines, is the student organization composed of fraternity-elected members that determines fraternity policies and interacts with the administration.



                When used before a title before a name, should be capitalized. For example, Interim President Claire Fagin. Not hyphenated.


International House

                Not preceded by the:

The Office of International Programs can be found at International House.

3701 Chestnut St.



            Do not capitalize.



                When referring to intersections, “streets” is not capitalized. Also, events occur at intersections, not on intersections.

                Ex: The theft occurred at 40th and Walnut streets.


Iron Gate Theatre

                Note the “theatre.”


Irvine Auditorium

                34th and Spruce streets.

Islamic State group

        Per AP Style, on first reference use “the Islamic State group” and “IS” on second reference. If Daesh, ISIS or ISIL are used in quotes, don’t remove them from the quotation, but clarify that these are alternate names for IS.



        We do not use italics, ever. AP Style (as well as The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, etc.) does not use italics. Here is a reference guide for things that you might be used to putting in italics:

These go in quotation marks:

•        Books (except for the Bible and books that are primary catalogs of reference material, e.g., catalogs, almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.)

•        Movies

•        Articles

•        Song/Album titles

•        TV/radio shows

•        Play titles

•        Poem titles

•        Titles of lectures, speeches and works of art (EXCEPT sculptures)

•        Computer game titles

These do not go in quotation marks or italics:

•        Newspaper names

•        Magazine names

•        Blog names

•        Website names

•        Software names (e.g., Microsoft, InDesign)

•          Sculptures


J (back to top)


        The Jewish LGBT-QIA community at Penn.


                The terms prison and jail are distinct. A jail generally serves as a temporary holding cell for persons not yet convicted who have not been released on bail or their own recognizance. Persons convicted of a misdemeanor or a civil offense may also serve time in jail.

                A prison confines people serving time for a felony conviction.

Japan Student Association

        Not Japanese Student Association, as is popularly believed.

Jay Z

        No hyphen.


Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology

            Dual-degree program between Wharton and the Engineering School. Management and Technology Program is fine for second reference.


Jewish holidays

                Our standard spellings are Chanukah, Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot and Yom Kippur. If relevant, the three main Jewish denominations are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.



                See AP Stylebook for rules relating to this. There are several different levels of judges, so make sure to check these.


jump start

        Two words, no hyphen.

junior, senior

                Only use these, as well as numerals (John Thompson III) if they are relevant to the story or form an integral part of a well-known person’s name. Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of persons. DO NOT use commas: Cal Ripken Jr.

K (back to top)

Kelly Writers House

                That little house at 3805 Locust Walk that hosts poetry readings, jazz nights, etc. On first reference, use Kelly Writers House. On second reference, Writers House can be used. Notice that there’s no apostrophe.


King of Prussia Mall

        One of the largest malls in America located about a half hour drive outside Philadelphia. Note the capitalization.

Kitchen Gia

        Formerly known as Gia Pronto


L (back to top)


Lambda Alliance

Penn's umbrella organization for LGBT groups.


                Use instead of Hispanic or Latin American. If requested, use Latinx. See ethnicity.

lay, lie

Lay is the action word, which takes a direct object. Its forms are laid, laid, laying.

                 I laid the book on the shelf.

Lie means to recline horizontally. The other verb forms are lay, lain and lying.

                The pillows were lying scattered throughout the room.

Lie, as in to tell a falsehood, is conjugated lied, lied, lying.


Lea School

        Use on first reference to the Henry C. Lea School. Lea is acceptable on subsequent references and in headlines. Located at 47th and Locust.


                Staff members who teach but are not professors, such as most writing seminar instructors. There is no need to capitalize this, as it is an unofficial title.



                Preferred synonym for a gay woman. Should be lowercase and used when essential to the story.


LGBT Center

                Located at 39th and Spruce streets, this building provides a home base for all those who have alternative sexual preferences. It was built in the old Carriage House.

           Do not use commas — it is not a list.


        As opposed to just LGBT.



                See fewer vs. less.



                There is no need to capitalize this, because it is an unofficial title.


like, as

                Use “like” as a preposition to compare nouns and pronouns. “As” should be used to introduce clauses.

                ex. Haley edits like a professional. Mer edits copy as a qualified person should.


The Line

                A Penn tradition where students stay up all night in the Palestra to buy their basketball season tickets. “The” is capitalized.



                One word. A listserv is an email list that sends messages out to multiple members. Plural is listservs.


Locust Walk

                Any stretch of Locust between 36th Street and 40th Street is “Locust Walk,” not “Locust Street.” Use Locust on second reference.


        hyphenated if used as an adjective: long-term goals

        long term two words, not hyphenated if not used as an adjective: Looking ahead in the

long term

also see: short-term vs. short term 


        A person or thing vital to an enterprise or organization; not linchpin.

        ex. Lucien Wang is a lynchpin to the Daily Pennsylvanian copy department.


M (back to top)


Mad Mex

                Mexican restaurant at 3401 Walnut Street.


magazine names

                Capitalize. Do NOT italicize. The word magazine should be capitalized only if it is part of the formal title on the masthead. Definitely Google this and find the magazine’s Website to check.

                Harper’s Magazine


                Time magazine



                Though departments are capitalized, majors are not.

                He is a biology major who works in a lab in the Biology Department.

if relevant, see “double major.”           


The Mask and Wig Club

                This all-male musical comedy troupe claims to be the nation’s oldest. Mask and Wig on second reference.


        Jewish ritual bread eaten during Passover.  Preferred spelling and usage to “matzoh”, “matzoh bread”.

        Todd ate matzah during Passover, leaving more pizza for the other editors.



Follow the following guidelines:

        5 feet 10 inches tall,

        a 5-foot-10 man,

        a 9-by-12 foot rug, 

        prefer: he is 5-foot-10


        four feet tall,

        a strapping six-footer,

        a five-inch snowfall

For usage in sports, see the sports style guide.



                The word is plural: The news media are pounding down our door. The singular is medium.


Medical School

                See Perelman School of Medicine. First reference is Perelman School of Medicine.


Mellon Bank building

                Located at the corner of 36th and Walnut streets, the College and various other University entities have offices here. The building was originally the home of the West Philadelphia Title and Trust Co. — but everyone calls it the Mellon Bank building.


middle names, middle initials

                Do not use unless the person is unrecognizable without the middle name/initial.

        E.g. Michael B. Jordan is the actor while Michael Jordan is the basketball player. They are different people.



                Either midnight or 12 a.m. will suffice. NOT 12 midnight.



                Never write out dollar, except in casual reference: Dollars are flowing overseas. Use the dollar sign. Write out cents.

                $7.50; $5,000; $450,000; 75 cents; $1.5 million.



                Always capitalize. March through July inclusive are always spelled out. If an exact date is given, Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. are the acceptable abbreviations.

        See the dates entry.



                Movie titles should be capitalized and placed in quotation marks.


Museum exhibits

        Titles should be in quotation marks.


                Muslim is the preferred term to describe followers of Islam. The term Black Muslim is offensive to members of the Nation of Islam, so just use “followers of the Nation of Islam” or “Muslims.”


N (back to top)


             Refer to people by last name only after the first reference. If two people have the same last name, use their first name if ambiguous, and then just the last name.

           Keep middle names and initials out unless the person would be unrecognizable without it. Generally, the only time you would EVER use a middle name is if you’re talking about a celebrity who is known by such a name.

                James Earl Jones

                Michael Eric Dyson


National Endowment for the Humanities

                This organization supports humanities-oriented projects and studies. The NEH is used on second reference.


National Institutes of Health

                An agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, the principal biomedical research arm of the federal government. The NIH is used on second reference.


        note hyphen, and spelled with a “w.”

Netter Center for Community Partnerships

        The “Barbara and Edward Netter Center . . .” is unnecessary on all references.

        Reports to the Office of Government and Community Affairs.

New member ____(noun)

        An exception to the compound modifier hyphenation rule.

        New member education,


         new-member education.


New Bolton Center

                The School of Veterinary Medicine’s suburban center for large-animal research. It is located in Kennett Square, Pa.


Newman Center

                The University’s Catholic student organization and center at 3720 Chestnut St.


newspaper names

                Never italicize. For most newspapers, including The Daily Pennsylvanian, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times, capitalize ‘The.’ Check the paper’s masthead to find out for sure; some papers don’t have “the” as part of the official title, such as the Philadelphia Daily News. On second reference, use the DP, the Inquirer, the Times and the AP. Blog titles are not italicized.

                See also italics entry.

New Student Orientation

        NSO is used on second reference and in headlines.


Nominations & Elections Committee

                The NEC is used on second reference and in headlines for this autonomous panel that supervises undergraduate elections. Note the ampersand.



                No hyphen. Same rule applies to nonconference (typically in sports) and other common negations: noncompetitive, noncooperative.



                Spell out numbers one through nine and use figures for numbers 10 and higher.  Apply this rule to both cardinal and ordinal forms: First Amendment, 15th Amendment.



When the number is the first word in a sentence, it is spelled out.

Always use figures in addresses, but use the nine-and-under rule for streets.

                        7 Stevens Ave., 7 Ninth St., 117 S. 51st St.

Use figures in decimals and percentages or in a series:

                6.5 magnitude, 3.5 laps, 5 percent interest, readings of 6.21, 0.12 and 0.04

Use figures in decisions, rulings, scores and votes.

                a 5-4 decision, ruled 5 to 4, defeated the amendment by a vote of 5 to 4

Except in casual reference, use figures with millions (and billions), even in the case of 1 million. In headlines, a capital M is fine ($20M).

Spell out numbers in casual usage:

A thousand times no! Thanks a million.

Zero is spelled out always.

When talking about ranking, use No.

        Penn was ranked the No. 1 party school by Playboy.


See also money.


O (back to top)



        Use on-campus recruiting for first reference, OCR is for references after that.

Off-campus fraternities and sororities

        Since these are not officially recognized by the University, the spelling of their names can be very inconsistent. The following are the seven off-campus Greek organizations named by the University: OZ, APES, the Owl Society (On second reference use Owls), THEOS, the Tabard Society (On second reference use Tabard), Phi and OAX.

Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs

        Reports directly to the President’s office. Name is pretty self explanatory.

Office of General Counsel

        The University’s legal advisors; represents the University in legal matters. Address all legal action against the University, undertakes all legal actions on behalf of the University.

Office of Government and Community Affairs

        The University's chief local, state, and national lobbyist. Report to the President’s office. Has offices in Harrisburg and Washington D.C.

Office Fraternity/Sorority Life

        OFSL on second reference.

                This is the administrative office that coordinates all Greek activities. The person running the office has the title of director.

Office of Student Conduct

The core of the University’s judicial system. Use the OSC on second reference.


Office of Student Affairs

            OSA on second reference. It has administrative responsibility for student activities, programs, student centers and Penn Student Agencies. Always capitalize it.

Office of University Communications

        Can use University Communications on second reference.

        Steve MacCarthy is currently the Vice President. The spokesoffice for the University, they handle all public relations for the University. They like to read the DP and will contact us about things that are wrong. Reports directly to the President.

        In charge of Penn News Today and Penn’s social media presence.

Official Unofficial Penn Squirrel Catching Club

        Use “the meme group” on subsequent references.



                Both letters are capitalized, and there are no periods. Never use “okay.” As a verb, OK’d, OK’ing, OKs.


on-campus, off-campus

                Hyphenated as adjectives, not hyphenated as locations. He lives on campus but parks at an off-campus garage.



                A person responsible for the resolution of disputes within the University that do not fall under the auspices of the judicial system.


online, offline

Two words when used in a transitive phrase.

One word when used as an normal adjective.          

They took the server off line but the page was still online.


over, more than

                Use over for physical relation and more than for amounts: He threw the ball over the fence, but More than 100 people attended.


        One word, not two (over represented). See underrepresented, as well.



P (back to top)

Pan-Asian American Community House

        Use “PAACH” on second reference and in headlines.



                The nation’s most historic gymnasium, located on 235 South 33rd St. next to Franklin Field.


Panhellenic Council

                The student organization that sets policies for sororities. Panhel is used on second reference.


party titles

                On first reference, just follow a name by a politician’s party abbreviated and his state in parentheses. The whole identifier should be enclosed in parentheses: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) voted against the resolution. Democrats and Republicans are indicated by D and R respectively, no period. For proper state abbreviations, see states. State senators and representatives get a city instead of a state behind their names.

See government titles for more information.


        Not “pass/fail”


Penn Alexander School

                Use on all references for the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School.


Penn Band

                Penn’s marching band, that appears at almost all football and basketball games as well as other functions. On first reference, use Penn Band (both words capitalized). On future references, “band” will suffice.


Penn Book Center

            This is bookstore that is at 34th and Sansom streets. It’s much smaller than the official Penn Bookstore.


Penn Bookstore

                This is the University’s official bookstore at 36th and Walnut streets.



                One word.


Penn College Republicans and Penn Democrats

                Use these as the names for the main political groups on campus. The Penn is added to distinguish the campus chapters from their national organizations.  Penn Dems and College Republicans on second reference.

Penn Dining

All references. 

Penn Gastronomy Club

        A club on campus that brings together foodies, often with restaurant outings and yummy food events. Use “PGC” on second reference.

Penn Hillel

        Use for both the organization and the building. Hillel on second reference.

Penn Integrates Knowledge

                Amy Gutmann’s program designed to promote interdisciplinary education. It is capitalized. PIK on second reference.


Penn InTouch

                The online service providing students with their transcripts, course schedules and financial information, among other functions. ‘InTouch’ is one word.

 Penn Law School

           Use Penn Law on second reference. Located at 35th and Sansom streets.


Penn Live

                The new Penn e-mail system.

Penn Medicine

           The term used to describe the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS; it includes the hospitals, clinics, etc.) and the Perelman School of Medicine. It is ‘Penn Med’ on second reference. Note that ‘Penn Med’ is DIFFERENT from the Medical School.

        Reports to the President’s office, along with the Provost and the Executive Vice President.

Penn Museum

                    Acceptable on all references.

Penn Political Coalition

Created at the beginning of 2012, it is an umbrella group for 10 member groups and meant to be a resource and point of contact for all politically-active groups and students, regardless of political affiliation. Members include Penn for Palestine, Penn Democrats, College Republicans. On second reference, use PoCo.

Penn Police Department

        Part of the Division of Public Safety, they are an incorporated police department. They cover the Penn Patrol zone, which goes from 30th Street to 43rd Street (east to west) and Market Street to Baltimore Avenue (north to south).

Penn Praxis

                A School of Design initiative of which Harris Steinberg is executive director.


Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

            Part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center is located at 39th and Market. Referred to as 'Penn Presbyterian' on second reference.

Penn Sargam / Penn Sangam

        Penn Sargam is a group devoted to Indian classical music.

        Penn Sangam is an Asian-American discussion group.

Penn Student Agencies

                This nonprofit organization managed by students sells food and coffee in Williams Hall.


Pennsylvania Gazette

                Use Pennsylvania Gazette on first reference and the Gazette on second reference. This is the University’s alumni magazine.

Pennsylvania Punch Bowl

        Use the Pennsylvanian Punch Bowl on first reference and the Punch Bowl on second reference.

Penn Tower

                The building is now largely office space for HUP officials and programs. Located at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard.


Penn Women’s Center

                A resource center for women, with a paid director and staff. Use Penn Women’s Center on first reference and Women’s Center on second reference. It is located on Locust Walk at 37th Street.



                One word, always written out. Figures should always be used, even when using numbers less than 10. NEVER use percent signs in stories.


Perelman Quadrangle

                The area enclosed by Williams Hall, Logan Hall, College Hall, Houston Hall and Irvine Auditorium. It is named for multimillion-dollar donor Ron Perelman.


Performing Arts Council

                On second reference, use PAC. PAC is the umbrella organization for arts groups on campus.



                Our fine city. When referring to the city government, City of Philadelphia and City of Brotherly Love are appropriate. Philly is never an appropriate way to refer to the city; Phila. is appropriate in headlines.



                Titles should be capitalized and placed in quotation marks.



                The correct form is lowercase with periods.


police departments

                Use the Philadelphia Police Department on first reference. Philadelphia Police on second reference.

“Penn Police” is good on all references to refer to the University of Pennsylvania Police Department. When used in this context, do not use “the.”

ex: Zack was arrested by Penn Police for trespassing at 4015 Walnut St.


police officers

                This designation is just easier to use and does not entangle any sexes.



                A specific name of a policy should be capitalized. For example: the Code of Academic Integrity. A general policy, such as the University’s harassment policy, is not capitalized. When in doubt, Google.


political titles

                On second references, the titles of all city, state, federal and University officials are lowercase: President Bush announced the plan. According to the president, the plan will win the war on terrorism.


Poor Richard’s Record

                The University of Pennsylvania yearbook.


                Words ending in ‘s’ should be made possessive by adding an apostrophe only: Aeneas’ ship sailed away from Dido’s Carthage in the middle of the night.


postal lands

                Common name and second reference for the U.S. Postal Service property to the east of campus. The 24-acre plot, which lies between Locust and Market streets, was purchased in March 2004 for $50.6 million. It transferred to the University in August, 2007. Became Penn Park.



        Refers to those who do research after completing their doctoral degree (Ph.D.). Note there is no hyphen. Example: postdoctoral students. On second reference (of postdoctoral students), it is postdocs (also not hyphenated).


                These are mini-courses offered by professor and staff interested in a cross-curricular topic. The word is not capitalized.

Students attended a preceptorial called “The Chemistry of Taste” run by professor Ponzy Lu.

The program is run by SCUE, and the courses are not for credit.



                The addition of a prefix to a word seldom results in hyphenation, except in the case of co-. The exception is when a repeated vowel would result: re-elect, but reorganize. See the AP guide’s section on prefixes and its entries for individual prefixes.



                Use to describe students intending to apply to medical school and related terms: pre-med students, a pre-med curriculum.


premier, premiere

                Premier is the best of something. Premiere is the first showing of something.


        Programs in Religion, Interfaith and Spirituality Matters. Penn’s interfaith umbrella group. Spell out on first reference.



                See jail entry.



                Prof is acceptable in headlines, without a period. It is not capitalized. In articles, physics professor Phillip Nelson and Phillip Nelson, physics professor are both correct usages.

        “Assistant professor” refers to an un-tenured position. Once a professor earns tenure, he or she becomes an associate professor.  In the DP, we do not use the term “associate professor”--once you get tenure, you’re just a professor.  Assistant professors, however, should be referred to as such.


professor titles

                Just use professor: either Penn professor or Department professor. Do not capitalize professor if it is used alone, as it is not a formal title so much as a job, like plumber.

                History professor Warren Breckman

                Warren Breckman, History professor

                Visiting professor Chris Peterson

                Penn professor Ponzy Lu

        Art History professor David Brownlee (even though he works in the “Department of the History of Art”)



The –er ending is preferred.

Pottruck Health and Fitness Center

        Use “Pottruck” on second reference.


        Currently Vincent Price; his office reports directly to the President’s office. In charge of the academic side of the University and academic and research budgets.


Q (back to top)



                Used in reference to the dorms. See also dormitories entry.


question and answer

        not question-and-answer (no hyphens), used as an adjective, e.g., question and answer session. Use Q&A on second reference or in headlines.


                Quotations should not leave out words in the middle without ellipses. Quotations should be placed in the proper context. When something about them looks funny, just alert the copy editor. No changes should be made in the text of quotes. Punctuation changes may be made to clarify the quote.



                This is the preferred spelling.


R (back to top)


Acceptable on all references. 


                This is an extremely sensitive area. In crime stories, we only identify the race of an alleged criminal if we are providing specific information on a criminal-at-large: Police described the mugger as a Latino male, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, wearing dark trousers and a Mickey Mouse hat.

                Never insert the race of a suspect if that is the only detail known. Never write Police arrested a black male last night after he allegedly stole a toilet seat from Amy Gutmann’s office.

                In many stories, race is not essential and should be left out.

                If you ever have ANY concerns about whether to include race information, let an editor know!

See also ethnicity.

Rave Motion Pictures

        Movie theater at 40th and Walnut, formerly known as the Bridge.  Use “the Rave” on second reference.


radio/TV station call letters

                Capitalize radio and television call letters. For instance, WXPN and KYW should be used. Include dial designations as well: 88.5 FM or 730 AM. For the more anal, WXPN-88.5 FM is acceptable.

                Exception: UTV13 is the official title of Penn’s television station. Use UTV13 on all references.


rear-view mirror

                    Note the hyphen.


                This word means to conclusively disprove something and should never be used in the sense of to respond to a charge or an allegation.


religious titles

                Most Protestant ministers are called Rev. so-and-so on first reference. Catholic priests are Father (use the abbreviation “Fr.”) so-and-so and Lutherans are Pastor so-and-so. Rabbi is the only term for the spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation. Last names are appropriate on second reference. These are only capitalized when used as titles before names.



                See allegedly

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

                ROTC is acceptable on all references.


residential advisor

                On second reference and in headlines, use RA or RAs with no periods.



                Note the proper spelling



                See theft entry.

Rosengarten reserve

        Van Pelt’s basement area, open 24/7. Note that in the DP this refers both to the Rosengarten Reserve Room and the study center, which Penn Libraries calls the Goldenstein Undergraduate Study Center.


note that it is one word, if used as a noun or a modifier. roundtable discussion, NOT round table or round-table.

S (back to top)



                This is the preferred verb to use when conveying the words of someone. Its merit is that it is completely value-neutral. Added is the next best word. Explained often carries a positive slant and asserted has a negative connotation of doubt.



                Generally abbreviate in proper names, but might be spelled out on first reference to a place or a school ­— it depends on the specific place. Check the place/school’s website.

                Saint Joseph’s University (however, this one is St. Joe’s on second reference)

                St. John’s University


         Spell the Japanese alcoholic drink with an i to avoid confusion with the word sake.

SAT Reasoning Test

        This is the official name, preferred to “SAT” alone.


Saxbys Coffee

           Campus location is on 40th and Locust streets.

School of Arts and Sciences

                Use SAS on second reference.


School of Dental Medicine

                Use Dental School on second reference.


School of Design

                Formerly called the Graduate School of Fine Arts, the school changed its name to University of Pennsylvania School of Design. It is commonly referred to as PennDesign.


School of Engineering and Applied Science

                Use the Engineering School on second reference and in headlines. SEAS may be appropriate for headlines. Note that ‘Science’ is NOT plural. Students in this school are Engineering students.


School of Law

            See "Law School."

Perelman School of Medicine

                Use Medical School on second reference. Its students are Medical students.


School of Nursing

                Use Nursing School on second reference.


School of Social Policy & Practice

                Formerly called the School of Social Work. Note the ampersand - that is how they want to be referred to. Known as SP2 on second reference.


School of Veterinary Medicine

                Use full name on first reference. Penn Vet is used on second reference.


Schuylkill River

                Note the proper spelling.


Schuylkill River Development Corporation

                A group seeking to revitalize the area around the Schuylkill River.



                ALL LOWERCASE — fall, winter, spring, summer.



                Do not capitalize as a title unless it is an official corporate position: Secretary of the University Barbara Stevens but secretary Gloria Patton, an assistant to Stevens.



                Semester should not be capitalized, whether referring to spring semester or fall semester. A lower-case term is interchangeable with semester: fall term, spring term.


Senate Executive Committee

                See Faculty Senate Executive Committee entry.



                Use on all references for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, an agency that runs public transit in Philadelphia and the four adjacent Pennsylvania counties. Among its services are the Market-Frankford Line and the Broad Street Line trains, which may be called the Blue Line and the Orange Line, respectively.



                Possibly the only circumstance in DP style where something that has a number above 10 is spelled out and a number below 10 isn’t. The oft-robbed convenience store has two locations near the University — one at 38th and Chestnut streets and the other at 42nd and Walnut streets.


        (sic) is used to show quoted material or person's words includes a misspelling, incorrect grammar or odd usage. Note the parentheses, never use brackets.

Sigma Lambda Upsilon

Address as Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. on first reference.

Singh Center for Nanotechnology

        “Singh Center” on second reference. Located at 32nd and Walnut streets.


Skirkanich Hall

                Engineering building located 210 S. 33rd St.



        hyphenated if used as an adjective: short-term memory

        short term two words, not hyphenated if not used as an adjective: Looking ahead in the

short term

also see: long-term vs. long term

Smokey Joe’s

                Located on South 40th Street. Smokes’ is used on second reference. Note the apostrophe.


Social Planning and Events Committee

                SPEC on second reference.

Social Planning and Events Committee to Represent Undergraduate Minorities

SPEC-TRUM on second reference.


Southwest Detective Division

                A Philadelphia Police unit whose boundaries encompass the University.


Special Services

                Part of the Division of Public Safety.


Sports Shop at Penn (The)

                Renamed from the Penn Running Store in 2005. It is located in Pottruck. It is NOT, as is commonly believed, known as the Nike Store, although it is an official supplier of Nike products.

Spring Fling

        Penn’s annual festival held by SPEC.


St. Agatha-St.James Parish

        A Catholic church located at 39th and Chestnut. Can also use St. Agatha-St. James Church. Do not use St. Agatha & James.

Steinberg-Dietrich Hall

                The Wharton building that has offices and classrooms located at 3620 Locust Walk. Note that it isn’t Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall.  Use STEINBERG-DIETRICH in “events”.



        Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Stiteler Hall

                Note the correct spelling. Located at 208 S. 37th St.


Strikes Bowling Lounge

                Located at 4040 Locust St.


Student Activities Council

                Use SAC on second reference and in headlines. SAC is responsible for spending all the tuition money that goes toward student activities. It recognizes groups and approves the amount of money they receive.


Student Committee on Undergraduate Education

                SCUE on second reference. It is one of the University’s student government branches.


Student Health Service

                Note that service is singular. Located at 3535 Market.

Social Security

                Both words are capitalized when referring to the actual U.S. government program. In reference to something more general, like the French social security program, no caps are necessary.



                We no longer use spokeswoman/spokeman. Also never say "director of public affairs," "media consultant," etc.



        One word.


                Abbreviate the names of most states when used after the names of towns, cities, counties and physical locations such as a national park. Use the following abbreviations: Ala., Ariz., Calif., Colo., Conn., D.C., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Mass., Md., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., N.C., N.D., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Va., Vt., Wash., Wis., W. Va., Wyo.

                Do not abbreviate the names of these states: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Utah.

                “Washington” may be used for “D.C.”


state system schools

                Use at to give the location of a state school and to differentiate one branch from the others: the University of California at Berkeley. There is no need to do this for the main campus in a system that has one central school with satellite campuses elsewhere: Penn State University, not Penn State University at State College.            



                See addresses entry.


student titles

Form for undergraduates: School year Name.

                College junior John Smith or John Smith, a College junior

If a student is dual-degree, use this order for referring to their schools: College, Nursing, Wharton, Engineering.

        College and Engineering senior Jon Doe

        Nursing and Wharton freshman Jane Smith

Note: The student’s year is never capitalized.


Form for graduate (i.e. working toward a Ph.D.) students: year department graduate student Name.

                first-year history graduate student Pamela Poste

                third-year Wharton MBA student Susannah Coxe

           Jim Jones, a physics doctoral candidate

           second-year history Ph.D. candidate Lee Brown

                   Note: The words “graduate student” are never capitalized

Form for masters students: year department masters student name

        also ok to say “candidate” - candidate for a master’s in sociology Julia Kim

        Note: the actual degree is called a “Master” — e.g., Julia Kim received a Master of

Sociology from the University in 2010.


         Avoid using the term “committed suicide” unless it is used in a quote. Instead, use “died by suicide.”

Supreme Court

                Capitalize and indicate whether U.S. or state, as necessary. Justice is used as the title of the judges on these courts. The court on second reference.

T (back to top)


teaching assistant

                TA is used on second reference and in headlines.


teenager, teen, teenage

                All forms are correct.



                See TV, TV shows.



                Use figures for all except zero. For temperatures below zero, use the phrase “degrees below zero.” For example: It was 30 degrees below zero yesterday, but it is 30 degrees today.



                Tenure is an agreement between a university and professors that guarantees the professors employment until they retire. Tenure was originally established to give faculty members the freedom to research and publish whatever they wish, without having to fear political entanglements. Tenure decisions in the School of Arts and Sciences are typically made in the seventh year of a professor’s career. A faculty member becomes an associate professor, or occasionally a full professor, in that year.

              See the professors entry



                Use the American spelling—theater—unless in a proper name:

The Zellerbach Theatre is the main theater in the Annenberg Center.


Theatre Arts

                We stick with this spelling for this major/program.



                This is mostly relevant for the crime log. Burglary means breaking into a building with the intent of stealing something or committing another felony (crime against property). Robbery means the use or threat of violence on a person in order to commit theft (crime against person). Theft is the taking of property that does not belong to you (also crime against property).



                Correct examples: 9 a.m., 3:30 p.m.

                For months and especially years, a more accurate time should be used, such as January of last year or last January. Never say 5 a.m. in the morning or 8 p.m. at night. Pick one or the other.

                In the crime box, every time should be amended to add “about” before an exact time.



                When a title comes after a name, it is not capitalized. When a title comes before a name, it is sometimes capitalized. Official titles like president, police chief and director should be capitalized before a name, but more generic titles like spokesman, coach and manager should not be. Consult a Copy Editor if you are unsure.


           Use in print. Do not use online. See also "yesterday”, “tomorrow”


        Use in print. Do not use online.


                A term that describes those who identify with the gender not typically associated with the sex they had at birth. Can use “trans” on second reference. It is ok to say She is a transgender woman or She is a trans woman. However, do NOT say She is a trans.


On first mention, write “President Donald Trump.” Only mention that he is a 1968 Wharton graduate if it is pertinent to the article and if so, mention this towards the end. 


                There are 50-60 trustees who have legal responsibility for the University. They meet three times a year to decide broad policy issues and approve large expenditures of money. Ten committees meeting throughout the year do most of the work, and an Executive Committee is empowered to make decisions on behalf of the full board. When individuals sue the University, they file their suits against the trustees and not the University.

                On first reference, refer to this group as the University Board of Trustees. On second reference, Board of Trustees. Trustees capitalized is appropriate as a title, as a reference for the entire group, and in headlines.

        Can also be “the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Inc.”



                The T is uppercase. Note the hyphen.



                Interchangeable with television. No periods, always uppercase.

See call letters entry.


TV shows

                Capitalized and placed in quotation marks.

See also italics.


        140-character posts made on the Twitter website.  Note the lowercase “t”.


        Unhyphenated. Those between 20 and 29 years old.

U (back to top)



                One of the DP’s favorite punctuation marks. It’s used to set off series or lists that require commas, or for information that is considered too tangential for commas. Use the Copy Editors’ discretion.


        Penn’s black heritage group. This is NOT an acronym, but it is spelled with capital letters (it is a Swahili word).


Undergraduate Assembly

                A body of students is elected to this student government branch. Use UA on second reference and in headlines. It is made up of 25 upperclassmen and 8 freshmen. The head of the UA is its president. Other positions in the UA are vice president, secretary, treasurer, speaker, and speaker pro tempore.



        One word, not two (under represented). See overrepresented, as well.


                Always specify the name of the union and the local. So it’s Local 115 of the Teamsters Union, not just Local 115. On second reference, the union, the local, etc. are acceptable.

United Kingdom

            Follow form for United States.


United Minorities Council

            On second reference and in headlines, use UMC. The UMC is an umbrella organization that unites and works with a spectrum of different minority organizations. Members include: Black Student League, Chinese Students Association (CSA), South Asia Society, Korean Student Association, Caribbean Students Association, Six Directions, Penn Vietnamese Club, La Asociacion Cultural de Estudiantes Latinos Americanos.


United Nations

                Follow form for United States.


United States

                Always spell out United States on first reference. Also, always spell out as a noun. Use the abbreviation U.S. as a modifier on second reference only (or in headlines).



                We use University (capitalized) to refer to Penn.

                The University’s new policy…

                Drexel, a university located near Penn …


University Archives and Records Center

        An office that reports directly to the President. Hold the University’s records.

University City District

                UCD on second reference.


University Council

                University Council is the main venue for debate and discussion about campus educational issues. It serves as an advisory body to the president. There are 81 members of the council, representing administrators, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates. Measures approved by a Council vote become policy if approved by the president.

Use University Council on first reference and can use Council on second reference.

Never use UC.


University Square

                This is the new, cool name for the retail area that surrounds Penn Bookstore around 36th and Walnut streets.



        One word, not two words (up front).


        it is hyphenated.


                 The University’s student-run pseudo-television station. Use UTV13 on all references. This is an exception to the usual style for television stations. UTV is acceptable in headlines.



                For the tagline, identify the name of the college paper from which the article comes. U-WIRE follows the dateline in parentheses (U-WIRE) on the first line.


V (back to top)


vanity capitalization

        Ignore vanity capitalization in media titles. For example, Rihanna’s “Anti” NOT “anti.” “Seven” not “7even.” “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar not “HUMBLE.”


                Use VCR on all references.



                vs. in sports stories


vice president

                Should NOT be hyphenated.


W (back to top)



                This is the only correct spelling and capitalization.



        one word, unhyphenated.


                ALWAYS ONE WORD! Refer to them as such. Addresses are NOT bold or italicized and should omit any “http://www.”

For some websites, including but not limited to Facebook, MySpace, Google, eBay and YouTube, the .com is unnecessary on any reference.

For less-popular sites, the .com is necessary on first reference and unnecessary on second reference. Copy editors should use their discretion when deciding if the site is popular enough to omit the .com.


Weiss Tech House

        “The Weiss Tech House is a student-run hub of technological innovation at the University of Pennsylvania that encourages and supports students in the creation, development and commercialization of innovative technologies.”

West Coast

           Capitalize. See "compass headings."

Wharton School

                Refer to the business school simply as the Wharton School. On second reference and in headlines, use Wharton.


Wharton Women

                Use on all references for Wharton Women in Business, an organization for female MBA students.


which, that

                That tends to restrict the reader’s thought and direct it the way you want it to go. Which is non-restrictive, introducing a bit of subsidiary information. The use of both requires correct placement of commas for the description to make sense and not sound awkward. Bottom line: use “that” whenever possible. Sometimes it won’t come out right with “that,” so use “which.”



                Do not capitalize. See also race and ethnicity.


who, whom

                Who should be used when someone is the subject of the sentence. Whom should be used when someone is the object of a verb or preposition: Who is going tonight? To whom are you speaking?



        Capitalized, hyphenated. Do not use wifi or wi-fi.

Williams Hall

        Use Williams on second reference.

Women’s Center

                See Penn Women’s Center.


Writers House

                See Kelly Writers House.


World Wide Web

                Capitalize as such on first reference when used. Use the Web on second reference.


Wynn Commons

                The open area in Perelman Quadrangle where small concerts and tented events are often held.



                WXPN (88.5 FM) is a public radio station owned by the University. They recently opened a new studio/restaurant/performance venue, World Cafe Live, past 33rd and Walnut streets. Report directly to the President’s office.


Y (back to top)



                Always use figures, even to start a sentence. When talking about a decade, use ’60s or 1960s and NOT sixties. Note the closed quote before ’60s, which will show up as an open quote when initially typed using smart quotes.


           NEVER use in the printed DP or online.  See note at "today.”

Adapted from the 126th Editorial Board Style Guide


Zachary Kowalski and Eillie Anzilotti

William Korchek  and Heidi Scherz

Alyssa Schwenk and Mara Wishingrad