View Table of Contents »


Avoid gender-specific terms (he/she or his/her) by using plural pronouns (they or their) and verbs in text. Also now in common usage are chair instead of chairman, server instead of waiter or waitress, and actor for both men and women.

  • Do this:
  • The children brought their snacks from home.
  • Rather than:
  • Each child brought his or her snack from home.

The word their is becoming more established and accepted as both a singular and a plural pronoun, mostly to make writing nonsexist. Most professional writers, however, reserve their as a plural pronoun and rewrite copy to avoid using it as a singular pronoun. As an institution of higher education, the University of Pittsburgh follows professional writing standards and continues to use the word their only as a plural pronoun.


See Capitalization section.


Capitalize letter grades, and use an apostrophe before the s to make them plural.

  • “Getting all A’s on a report card is best,” she said, “but a few B’s and C’s aren’t awful.”


Capitalize principal words of and put in quotation marks the titles of grant proposals.

  • Nicole Ansani earned one of four research grants from the Drug Information Association for her proposal, titled “Provision of Drug Information to Patients with Diabetes Using an Interactive Forum.”


Use the term Greek(s) when referencing Pitt’s fraternities/sororities.
(Also see Special Events section.)

  • At Pitt, many students pledge Greek organizations.