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Do not refer to the Pittsburgh campus as the main campus or the Oakland campus. This campus may be referred to as the Pittsburgh campus or the Pittsburgh campus in Oakland. There are also four regional campuses:

  • University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
    (subsequent references: Pitt–Bradford or UPB)
  • University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
    (subsequent references: Pitt–Greensburg or UPG)
  • University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
    (subsequent references: Pitt–Johnstown or UPJ)
  • University of Pittsburgh at Titusville
    (subsequent references: Pitt–Titusville or UPT)

Do not refer to these as branch campuses.

On subsequent references to the regional campuses, en dashes (see Dashes section) are used to link the city name to the name of the University. (CM15 6.86)


Cannot is preferred. Do not use can not.


Do not capitalize the words capital campaign unless those words are part of the official title of the campaign.

  • Pitt’s capital campaign, Building Our Future Together, funded many student scholarships.
  • The Building Our Future Together capital campaign was a multiyear endeavor.


(Also see Departments, Offices, Programs, Schools section.)

  1. Capitalize the first letter of elements of hyphenated compounds only if they are proper nouns or adjectives.
    • Arab-Israeli negotiations
    • post-World War II economy
    • Spanish-speaking people
    • an A-frame house
  2. Capitalize the first letter of nouns and adjectives designating parts of the world or regions of a country or those used as part of a street name. (CM15 8.47, 8.49–51; CM14 7.36, 7.39)
    • The situation in the Middle East is always in flux.
    • The Western Hemisphere contains many industrialized countries.
    • The South seceded from the Union during the Civil War.
    • He settled in the West.
    • He lived on South Marigold Street.
    • Jane lived on the East Coast, Mary on the West Coast.
    • Coal and steel were two important businesses in Western Pennsylvania.
    • He lived on the South Side.

    Also capitalize the first letter of each word in regional terms that are considered cultural entities as much as geographic locations. (CM 8.50)

    • Many Pitt students come from Southwestern Pennsylvania.
  3. Lowercase when reference is to a simple direction.
    • She drove north for several miles.
    • The town was east of the Mississippi River.
  4. Do not capitalize the names of the seasons (CM15 8.94; CM14 7.74) within text.
    • Her book is due out in the spring.
    • Applications are due in fall 2008.
  5. Capitalize the first letter of each principal word in full names of legislative, executive, and administrative bodies on first reference.
    • The U.S. Supreme Court debated the case yesterday.
    • The Federal Reserve Board helps to determine fiscal policy.
  6. Capitalize corporate, professional, and governmental titles when they immediately precede a person’s name.
    • President Roosevelt
    • Queen Elizabeth
    • Senator Dianne Feinstein
    • Professor White
  7. Lowercase nonspecific noun and adjective references.
    • We sat in on the congressional hearings.
    • The TVA is a federal agency.
    • He wants to be governor of Pennsylvania.
    • The president was elected yesterday.
  8. Capitalize political organizations and their members.
    • The article said Democrats were criticizing the Republican Party.
  9. Lowercase nouns and adjectives designating political and economic systems and their proponents unless derived from a proper noun.
    • The country’s ideas of democracy originated in Greece.
    • Americans have a strong feeling of nationalism.
    • Some countries, however, lean toward Marxism.
  10. Capitalize numerical designations of historical time periods when they are part of a proper name.
    • The Third Reich ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945.

    But, lowercase the following. Also, do not superscript th.

    • Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century.
    • The Venerable Bede died in the 8th century.
  11. Capitalize nouns used with numbers or letters to designate major reference headings.
    • I believe Volume V of the magazine came out in June.
    • See Table 3 for more information.
    • See Chapter 7 for more details.
    • But:
    • the third chapter
  12. Lowercase nouns designating minor reference headings.
    • She turned to page 101 for more information.
    • The war was described in paragraph six.
  13. Capitalize and italicize genus names in biological terminology, but lowercase species names. (See CM15 8.128 and CM 7.102–4.)
    • The domestic dog is included in the genus Canis.
    • A common fruit fly is Drosophila melanogaster.
  14. Capitalize terms that identify geological eras, periods, epochs, and strata; also capitalize the word age in names such as Age of Fishes.
    • The class studied the Mesozoic era.
    • The Quaternary period will be studied in the spring.
    • All the students wanted to learn more about the Age of Reptiles.
  15. Capitalize and italicize titles of books, long poems, magazines, newspapers, plays, movies, pamphlets, CDs, long musical compositions, radio and TV programs, and works of art. (Note: Deciding whether to capitalize conjunctions, prepositions, and articles in titles can be difficult. See CM15 8.167 and CM14 7.127.)
    • The Lives of a Cell was reviewed by the professor yesterday.
    • Shakespeare’s Othello will be presented next week.
    • Gainsborough’s Blue Boy will be part of the exhibition.
    • The New York Times ran the story yesterday.
  16. Capitalize and put quotation marks around the titles of short poems, short stories, essays, lectures, dissertations, book chapters, articles, grant proposals, and songs.
    • Robert Frost’s “Dust of Snow” is a beautiful poem.
    • The third chapter of Treasure Island is titled “The Black Spot.”
    • Her article, “Computers and the New Age,” was reviewed last month.
  17. Capitalize common titles of book sections when they refer to a section in the same book.
    • See the Appendix for further information.
    • But:
    • Smith said her husband wrote the introduction to her book.
  18. Capitalize nouns and adjectives designating philosophical, literary, musical, and artistic movements, styles, and schools if they are derived from proper nouns. (See CM15 8.85 and CM14 7.68 and 7.69.)
    • Chopin was a composer of the Romantic period.
    • But:
    • Irving Berlin was a composer of romantic songs.
  19. Capitalize acronyms and do not use periods. With the exception of UPMC, RSVP, CD, SAT, ACT, and ID (such as ID badge), abbreviations are usually written out on first reference with the acronym following in parentheses.
    • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)


On first reference, use Carnegie Mellon University. On subsequent references, use Carnegie Mellon. Do not use CMU.


Both the C and L in Cathedral of Learning should always be capitalized. In subsequent references Cathedral may be used, but the C should be capitalized. The reason for this is that the building is not actually a cathedral.

  • The Cathedral of Learning is one of the tallest academic buildings in the world. The Cathedral houses the beautiful Nationality Rooms.
  • Heinz Memorial Chapel is a remarkable architectural achievement. The chapel is a favorite wedding spot for Pitt alumni.


This abbreviation for compact disc does not need to be spelled out on first reference. Titles of CDs are italicized; names of songs on a CD are in quotation marks.

(Also see CM15 8.202–5, CM 7.149–53, Capitalization, Titles (Other), and Musical Compositions and Terms sections.)

  • “Piano Man” was her favorite song on Billy Joel’s CD Greatest Hits.


See AD/CE and Dates, Years sections.


(Also see the Departments, Offices, Programs, Schools section.)

Capitalize the full name on first reference. See examples for subsequent references.

  • John C. Mascaro Learning Center
    (subsequent references: Mascaro Learning Center or the center)
  • Institute for Higher Education Management
    (subsequent references: the institute)
  • Heinz Nutrition Laboratory
    (subsequent references: the laboratory)
  • McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
    (subsequent references: McGowan Institute or the institute)

A list of official names at the University of Pittsburgh is available online in the Writing Style Guide.


Sums of dollars and cents are transcribed in numerical figures, whether below 10 or not. (See Numbers section.)

$5 (not $5.00), $35, 54 cents, $.54


(Also see Dates section.)

Do not capitalize the c in century, and do not superscript th after the number. Always use a numeral, even when the number is less than 10.

  • Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century.
  • The professor said to read the chapter about 18th-century art.
  • The Venerable Bede died in the 8th century.


All of the following are correct:

  • University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  • Chancellor Gallagher
  • Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  • Patrick Gallagher, chancellor, University of Pittsburgh
  • Patrick Gallagher, Pitt’s chancellor

When the title stands alone without the name or follows the name, use lower case, as in the University chancellor or the chancellor.

CHAPTERS (of books)

See Capitalization and Numbers sections.


Capitalize the c in city when it is a part of an official name of a municipality, committee, or event. Lowercase the word city when making general references.

  • The city of Pittsburgh is a great place to live.
  • I ran in the 2005 Richard S. Caligiuri City of Pittsburgh Great Race.
  • The City of Pittsburgh levies taxes on its residents.


For information on writing the names/titles of classes, see Courses, Classes, Majors section. Capitalize the word class when it is used with a year. Otherwise, it is lowercased.

  • He graduated as a member of the Class of 1970.
  • He was treasurer of the class for several years.


A collective noun takes a singular verb when it refers to the collection as a whole and a plural verb when it refers to the members of the collection as separate persons or things.

  • The faculty is deliberating its decision.
  • The faculty have all gone home.


(CM15 6.63–9; CM14 5.97–104)

  1. The first word following a colon is usually lowercased, except when what follows is a quotation, a title, or a complete sentence. Also, uppercase after a colon in a brief heading or introductory term.
    • He had only one pleasure: eating.
    • When asked, the publisher said: “This book will become a bestseller.”
  2. Capitalize the first word following a colon in a title.
    • Mary Smith: An Annotated Bibliography
  3. A colon is placed outside quotation marks and parentheses.
    • There were three reasons she liked the article “A New Millennium”: its organization, its flow, and its ending.
    • The following is from the World Dictionary (published in 1985): Language evolves from older forms into newer ones.
  4. Use one space after a colon.


  1. Use a comma between the elements in a series of three or more.
    • Students deal with books, tests, and grades.
    • The colors red, white, and blue are symbolic of the United States.
  2. Do not separate a name from a suffix (Jr., Sr., or a numeral) with a comma. Be consistent.
    • Mark L. Conley Jr. will speak to the group.
    • William P. Frederick III
  3. Any word, phrase, or clause that is not essential to the meaning of a sentence is called nonrestrictive. Set off nonrestrictive elements by a pair of commas.
    • George Washington, the first president of the United States, lived at Mount Vernon.
    • The Ohio River, which flows to the Mississippi, forms in Pittsburgh.
    • His wife, Vicky, is an expert seamstress.
  4. Restrictive words, phrases, or clauses are necessary to the meaning of a sentence and are not set off by commas.
    • Shakespeare’s play Othello was presented at the theater. (The name of the play is essential to the meaning.)
    • People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
  5. Do not use a comma between two adjectives when the first modifies the combination of the second adjective plus the word or phrase it modifies.
    • a cheap fur coat
    • a modern three-story building


See Appendix 1.


See Special Events section.


Pennsylvania is legally a commonwealth, not a state. Capitalize the C in the phrase Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Lowercase commonwealth when the word stands alone.

  • Many students who attend Pitt are residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Many students live in the commonwealth.


Use official company names, and follow the company’s lead regarding punctuation and the use of the word and or an ampersand. Be consistent.


(CM 7.157)

  1. Terms:
    Use blog, CD, database, Ethernet, FTP, home page, Internet, intranet, mainframe, online, offline, user name, podcast, Web, webcast, webmaster, Web site, World Wide Web.

  2. E-mail:
    Use e-mail within copy; in a list, such as on a poster, use Phone, Fax, E-mail.

  3. Breaking Web sites on two or more lines:
    Use good judgment in continuing Web site addresses onto another line within copy. Generally, try to break after a slash. Breaking a URL after a dot (leaving what looks like a period at the end of a line) may cause confusion for the reader. It would be better to place the dot at the beginning of the next line. Using a hyphen to break a word at the end of a line is not a good idea because some URLs contain hyphens as part of the address. Instead, put the entire word on the next line.

  4. Web addresses at the end of sentences:
    Use a period after a Web address that ends a sentence.

  5. Web addresses in text:
    When referencing complete Web site addresses, there is no need to underline, italicize, or boldface them. Also avoid using angle brackets around URLs. (CM15 6.110)

  6. Pitt e-mail addresses:
    Delete the + sign in Pitt e-mail addresses. It is unnecessary and sometimes prevents e-mail coming from outside the University from reaching its intended destination.

  7. Using http:
    Http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is no longer necessary when printing Web site addresses to start them with http. In addition, not all URLs start with www, and some addresses will not work if www is added. Before including a Web address, verify that the URL works as written and then publish it accordingly. If necessary, consult the office, department, or unit responsible for the Web site and find out the appropriate address.


  8. Login/log in:
    Logon and login can be nouns or adjectives, but log off, log on, and log in are verbs. Use your login name to log on, but be sure to log off when you are done with the network.


Capitalize principal words of (and do not put in quotation marks or italicize) the titles of conferences. Titles of individual lectures or presentations at a conference are capitalized and in quotation marks.

  • Mina Smith gave the lecture “Women in the Arts” at the annual Arts and Writing Conference.
  • The School of Education will host the 2015 Principals’ Conference on Psychology in Education.


Capitalize a subject of study when used as the name of a specific course. Otherwise, do not capitalize names of fields of study, major areas, or major subjects, except those words that are proper nouns (names of languages, geographic locations, etc.).

  • I have to take Economics 204 to graduate, but I won’t need any more economics courses after that.
  • She will take Anthropology 780: Cultural Anthropology next term.
  • Each student must meet requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
  • Mary is studying biology now, but her first major was English literature.