Writing Style Guide
Latin phrases such as ex officio or ad hoc are not italicized because they are common and found in the dictionary. If the word or phrase is not found in the dictionary, italicize the foreign word. See also foreign words and phrases.
Lists can be included within a paragraph (run-in list) or run vertically. Vertical lists are used to catch the attention of the reader quickly and are appropriate for brochures or posters. They are also used for lengthy lists or when list items contain more than one sentence.
Run-in lists are often used if the listed items are brief and are preferred over vertical lists for magazine or newsletter articles.
Example of a run-in list:
To be eligible for a writing job, you must have a bachelor’s degree in English or a similar field; have experience with Microsoft Word, InDesign and Microsoft Outlook; and have three years professional experience.
Example of a vertical list:
The Department of Computer Science boasts these cutting-edge research opportunities:
- computer and information security
- bioinformatics and computational biology
- machine learning and artificial intelligence
- visualization and multimedia
- computer architecture, and many other areas
Consistency is key. Be sure all list items are parallel in construction: If one is a fragment, make all the items fragments; if one list item begins with a verb, they should all begin with a verb.
Decide on bullets, numbers or letters to establish your list. Numbers are helpful when showing a sequence. Otherwise, bullets suffice.
Freshmen must remember these key points for a successful first year:
- Sleep well.
- Study frequently.
- Ask questions.
To be considered for financial aid, a student must
- be officially admitted to UTSA
- file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- meet deadlines set by the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Introduce vertical lists with either a complete lead-in sentence or a fragment. If a complete sentence is used, use a colon at the end. If it’s a fragment, no punctuation is used. Do not follow a verb or preposition with a colon. This rule also applies to run-in lists.
Other points made by the president were the following:
- Membership should be increased.
- Dues should be kept the same.
- Meetings should be more frequent.
By the time I’m 50, I plan to visit
Required courses include the following: ENG 201, ENG 310 and SP 120.
OR Required courses include ENG 201, ENG 310 and SP 120.
In attendance: Greene, Conolly, Sumner and Jenkins.
OR In attendance were Greene, Conolly, Sumner and Jenkins.
For more information, contact Jane Smith, Alumni Affairs.
OR For more information: Jane Smith, Alumni Affairs
If your vertical list items are complete sentences, capitalize the first word in each. Otherwise capitalization is optional, but be consistent.
If your list items are complete sentences, use punctuation at the end of each item. No end punctuation is needed after fragments or single words, but a period is placed after the last item if the list constitutes a complete sentence.
The questions I plan to ask are
- What is the name of your project?
- Why are you conducting this research?
- How does this affect the surrounding community?
Over the holidays I plan to
long term, long-term
Use a hyphen when it’s a compound modifier before a noun:
She will finish in the long term.
He has a long-term project.
long time, longtime
She has been going to school a long time.
They are longtime friends.
Hyphenate even when it follows a noun.