CIT Publishing Style GuideClear, consistent writing is critical to the success of all materials — brochures, newsletters, Web sites, numbered, or unnumbered publications. Achieving consistency throughout a body of work as diverse as that produced by IANR communicators can be challenging, particularly when terms specific to a field of study are not referenced in the most commonly used style manuals. This style guide was created to help fill the gaps. Here you will find topics that:
These guidelines are intended to help achieve consistency, and we urge you to follow the style presented here; however, we understand that occasionally exceptions must be made depending on audience, context, or content. Please be sure to visit with a CIT editor if you submit a manuscript in which you would like an exception made.
Your Input is Important
This guide is designed to be a work in progress. It will expand as questions about words and terms arise and will change as language and accepted usage evolves. We will update it regularly, and we welcome your input.
Other Resources We Recommend
CIT editors use The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law as their primary guide. Other resources used include:
Entries are in alphabetical order.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
abbreviations and acronyms
An abbreviation is a shortened version of a word or phrase formed by omitting letters or words (gal is an abbreviation for gallon). An acronym is a word formed from the initial letter, or letters, of each word of the term (WRAP is the acronym for the Water Resources Advisory Panel). In this guide the rules are the same for both.
Do not use abbreviations for degrees. Spell out using lowercase letters and an apostrophe: bachelors degree, masters degree. For a doctorate, use doctorate in <name of field>.
Extension publications are regularly reviewed and when revised, authorship may change to reflect new material and the need to involve current faculty/staff. It is important to recognize the work of previous authors through an acknowledgment placed at the end of the publication. The following statements may be used (or adapted).
Abbreviate and capitalize St., Ave., and Blvd. when used with a numbered address; spell out and capitalize without a number.
Road, Alley, Highway and all other similar words are always spelled out.Always use numerals for street addresses. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth: 45 Seventh Ave. Or, Seventh Avenue.
Singular vs. plural:
Use when it is part of the official name of a company, product, or other proper noun, but do not use as a replacement for and.
One word, all instances.
Use Nebraska BIT (Business Information Technology) Mobile on first reference, and BIT Mobile on second reference.
Italicize in text.
bushels per acre
Can be abbreviated as bu/ac when a specific amount is given. Do not use bu/A or bu/acres.
Use as an alternative to chairman or chairwoman unless the position is an official title.
Capitalize both words.
Retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives, and verbs that indicate occupation or status.
College of Education and Human Sciencescomma, serial
Cooperative Extension is no longer used to refer to the program at UNL; however, it may be correct when referring to programs in other states. (See: extension)
If brand names are used within a publication, a nonendorsement statement must be placed at the end of the publication. (See: nonendorsement statement)
common names, plants
A common name that denotes a general group or genus (e.g., “conifer” or “oak”) is not capitalized; however, if a particular species or plant is referred to, capitalize the first letter of all words (e.g., Pin Oak).
When Inc., Co. and Ltd. are at the end of a company's name, abbreviate and do not use a comma before or after.
When referencing extension in a county, on first reference use University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension in XYZ County. On second reference, use UNL Extension in XYZ County or extension in XYZ County.
Use capital “C” and capital “W” with no space between the words.
cubic feet (cu ft)
Spell out on first reference followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis. In technical publications targeted to an audience knowledgeable on the subject, the abbreviation can be used on first reference. Use the abbreviation in tables.
Use single quotes around cultivar names on first reference; however, do not use both single quotes and the abbreviation cv. or the word cultivar. Place punctuation outside of the single quotation marks. (E.g., Cultivars such as ‘Arvika’ and ‘Forager’ are primarily used for forage.)
Italicize in text.
The abbreviation for hundredweight can be used on second reference.
There are two types of dashes: en dash and em dash.
An em dash ( — ) may replace commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses to indicate an abrupt change of thought or to set off a series of words that would otherwise be separated by commas. In text and titles, use an em dash with one space between the text and dash. If the dash falls at the beginning of a line, adjust the spacing so that it falls at the end of the previous line.
The en dash ( – ) is a little longer than a hyphen. It can be used to indicate a range of time (2006–2009; January–June) and is the correct dash to use when writing University of Nebraska–Lincoln. However, use a hyphen, not an en dash, when indicating ranges other than time, such as amounts, quantities or distances. To form an en dash with most PCs, hold down the ALT key while typing 0150 on the numerical pad. It also can be inserted as a symbol in Word and WordPerfect.
Capitalize days of the week but dont abbreviate: The study group will meet Monday, Feb. 9, 2009.
Always spell out March, April, May, June, and July. Use abbreviations — Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. — when used with a specific date: She retired Dec. 1, 2007. Or, The lowest daytime temperature of the year occurred on Dec. 6. Dont abbreviate when used with only a year, and dont separate the two with a comma or “of”: December 2007.Within a sentence, a specific date should be followed by a comma: Second semester begins Jan. 12, 2009, and will be exciting.
Avoid using the abbreviation d.
Use numerals, and if shortened, use an apostrophe to indicate numerals that are left out: The 90s were a period of economic growth.
Do not hyphenate.
Preferred over the academic major.
degrees (See: academic degrees or temperatures.)
dimensions (Also see: distances)
Use numerals in all instances and spell out inches, feet, and yards within text to indicate depth, height, length, and width.
See nonendorsement statement or legal documents, samples.
Use for computer-related references.
Use numerals in all cases: He walks 4 miles every day.
Not possessive. No apostrophe.
diversified agricultural studiesdressed hog
Full name is E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Use DuPont (with a capital D) for most purposes. Be sure to check for trademarks on individual products. (See: trademark)
One word and do not hyphenate.
E. coli O157:H7
Italicize E. coli.
Capitalize both words.
East Campus University Bookstoreelements
Ensure means to guarantee. Insure refers to insurance.
Do not hyphenate. (This is an exception to AP style.)
extension (Also see: county extension)
Extensions full name is University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. Use the full name on first reference. Thereafter, UNL Extension or extension may be used. Do not preface with Cooperative when referring to Nebraskas extension program; however, cooperative extension may be correct when referring to programs in other states.
Do not use a hypen when extra means “outside of” unless its followed by a word beginning with “a” or a capitalized word.
Use these forms: 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 86°F. This is an exception to AP Style which does not use the degree symbol.
family names, scientific
Scientific family names start with a capital letter and are not italicized (E.g., Quercus palustri belong to the Fagaceae family.)
Use Arabic numerals for figure numbers: Figure 2.
flat iron steak
fluid ounce (fl oz)
Spell out on first reference followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis.
In text, spell out amounts less than one, using hyphens between the words: two-thirds vote or seven-sixteenths, etc. Use numerals for precise amounts larger than one.
Use the abbreviation gal in text when the unit is preceded by a number; the same abbreviation is used for the singular and plural forms. The abbreviation is not followed by a period unless it ends a sentence.
Gamma Sigma Delta Teaching Award of Merit
Avoid using the abbreviation hr.
HE Forms (now commonly known as community lessons) are used by extension educators and extension clubs. A new series is published each year in the fall. The lessons consist of two pieces — the leaders guide and the participants guide.
Use for he is but not for he has.
In text, capitalize and do not abbreviate highway when referring to specific U.S. or state routes. If you are certain your audience will understand which highway youre referring to, you do not need to specify whether it is a U.S. or state highway. Example: To cross Lincoln east to west, follow Highway 2.
Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence
Insure refers to insurance. Ensure means to guarantee.
Two words, not ladybugs or ladybeetles.
Use the abbreviation lb in text when the unit is preceded by a number; the same abbreviation is used for the singular and plural forms. The abbreviation is not followed by a period unless it ends a sentence.
No hyphen, even if used as compound modifier: Price estimates include lean hog nationwide averages.
Use fewer when referring to items that can be counted; use less when referring to quantity, value, degree, or amount: Bill has fewer chickens than Bob; he has less space for them.
legal documents, samples
When a sample legal document, such as a lease or contract, is included in a publication, always place the following disclaimer at the end of the publication. (This statement was drafted by NU legal counsel.)
lists, within running text
Use parentheses to enclose numbers within running text. Example: You will qualify for admission if you are (1) a high school graduate, (2) meet test requirements, and (3) have completed the college preparatory subject requirements.
Introduce items in a vertical list with numbers only when the order matters; otherwise, use bullets. If items are numbered, a period follows each number, and each entry begins with a capital letter, whether or not the entry forms a complete sentence:
L.K. Crowe Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Adviser
Low Impact Development
No hyphen. LID on second reference.
The term degree program is preferred by CASNR.
Italicize media titles.
Only use a hyphen when a capitalized word (mid-January) or a numeral (mid-40s) follows.
Capitalize the names of months in all uses.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Spell out on first reference followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. NRCS can be used on second reference.
Natural Resource District (NRD)
Spell out on first reference and follow with the abbreviation in parentheses. NRD can be used on second reference.
Use one of the following styles to reference an extension publication within text:
Nebraska East Unionno-till
In general a hyphen is not used after the prefix non unless the base word is a proper noun or begins with the letter “n.” Exceptions may be made when using a hyphen will prevent confusion.
Use the following statement when brand names are used in a publication:
nonpoint source pollution
Spell out one through nine; use numerals for 10 and above. An exception may be made when numbers above and below nine appear in the same sentence and refer to the same thing. Example: There are 9 graduate students researching poultry, 28 researching swine and 41 researching beef cattle.
Spell out number and hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
One word, do not hyphenate.
Use the abbreviation oz in text only when the unit is preceded by a number; the same abbreviation is used for the singular and plural forms. The abbreviation is not followed by a period unless it ends a sentence. Ounce may be used if it seems to better fit the context.
A hyphen is seldom used. Refer to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Capitalize page when used with a number: The glossary begins on Page 56.
One word, capitalized. May also use Nebraska Panhandle.
Always use numerals: Less than 3 percent of students use public transportation on weekends.
Spell out percent in text: Usage will increase from 15 to 25 percent over the next five years.The percentage sign (%) may be used in tables and charts but not in headings, descriptions, or notes. Exceptions can be made when space is an issue.
phone numbers (See: telephone numbers)
Plants may be identified by their scientific name and/or common name.
Italicize when referenced in text.
Follow Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Hyphenate if not listed there.
This is an exception to Merriam-Webster style.
Power of Red™
Use the trademark symbol (™) when the phrase is used in a headline. The symbol is not used when the phrase is used in text.
PowerPoint is a registered trademark and should be written as shown.
Use the abbreviation lb in text only when the unit is preceded by a number; the same abbreviation is used for the singular and plural forms of the unit. The abbreviation is not followed by a period unless it ends a sentence. Pound may be used if it seems to better fit the context.
Lowercase when used in front of name.
Do not italicize or place within quotation marks.
Commas and periods come before a closing quotation mark. Colons and semicolons go outside.
Always use numerals for both whole numbers and fractions. Do not use abbreviations. Spell out teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, etc.
Use the registration symbol (®) on first reference. Roundup is not hyphenated.
RR stands for Roundup Ready®. Spell out Roundup Ready, using the registration mark, on first occurrence and follow with the abbreviation in parenthesis.
One word, capitalized.
School of Natural Resources
Use full name on first occurrence; SNR is acceptable on second reference
Scotts Bluff County is two words. The city of Scottsbluff is one word.
One word, not hyphenated.
Do not italicize the names of species or varieties or the corresponding abbreviations (sp. or spp. for species and var. for variety). In text, never use the abbreviations as a substitute for the words they represent.
square foot/feet (sq ft)
Spell out on first reference and follow with abbreviation in parenthesis. In technical publications meant for an audience knowledgeable on the subject, the abbreviation can be used on first reference. Use the abbreviation in tables.
NebGuides follow a standardized style, and although there is leeway in other numbered publications, most follow the NebGuide style for subheads.
Level one subheads are centered and bold. Second level subheads are flush left and bold. Level three are bold, followed by a period, and set in the paragraph.
Level One Subhead
Level Two Subhead
Level Three Subhead. Text immediately follows a level three subhead.
Spell out when state names stand alone. Use capitalized two-letter postal abbreviations only in complete mailing addresses. Use the following AP abbreviations when used with the name of a city in text:
Style rules are modified for tables because of the limited space available. Common abbreviations indicating distance, dimension, and measurements are acceptable, as are abbreviations for common elements. Be careful to ensure that the meaning of less common abbreviations are clear from the table title and/or table headings.
Enclose the area code in parentheses and use one space to separate it from the rest of the number: (402) 555-1234. Toll-free numbers follow the same style: (800) 555-1234.
Italicize titles of television programs.
Use figures for all except zero. Use a word, not a minus sign, to indicate temperatures below zero: On Tuesday the temperature is expected to fall to zero overnight, and by Wednesday evening it could fall to minus 15.
Use figures along with a.m. or p.m. (lowercase with periods) except with noon and midnight.
Brand names that appear in publications should carry the appropriate trademark symbol, either ® or ™ , on first reference within the text and also on first reference within a table.
Can be abbreviated on first reference. Use periods when abbreviating.
The University of Nebraska is comprised of five campuses: University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL), University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA). Spell out the full name on first reference, with the abbreviation in parenthesis. The abbreviation may be used on subsequent references.
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Spell out the full name on first reference, with the abbreviation in parentheses. Use an en dash (not a hyphen) between Nebraska and Lincoln.
Italicize URLs. When a URL comes at the end of a sentence, use normal end punctuation. A URL that is too long to fit on a line may be divided after a slash.
USDA is widely understood to stand for U.S. Department of Agriculture. The full name does not have to be used on first reference.
Utilize indicates that some unexpected use was found for an object or procedure; otherwise use is preferred.
Use the vice chancellors full title: NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources John Owens. The title may be lowercased when it follows his name.
Lowercase vitamin, use a capital letter and/or a figure for the type: vitamin A, vitamin B12.
Use figures with the abbreviations lb or oz. The abbreviations are not followed by a period unless they end a sentence. Each abbreviation may be spelled out if it seems to better fit the context.
One word, not capitalized.
One word, not capitalized.
Not web page or webpage.
Not web site or website.
Avoid using the abbreviation y.