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See Titles (Other) section.


Spell out the word degrees after a number.

See Numbers section.


See Academic Calendar/Terms section.


Capitalize test names such as Medical College Admission Test Examination (second reference: MCAT). Lowercase the names of general tests.

Note: SAT and ACT are both trademarked terms and no longer function as acronyms. Therefore, they no longer need to be spelled out on first reference.

  • Students who plan to go to law school must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Mary took the LSAT last year.
  • Joan has just finished her algebra and biology tests.


If the clause can be omitted without leaving the noun it modifies incomplete or without materially altering the sense of what is being said—or if it could be enclosed in parentheses—use which; otherwise, use that.

In other words, that is better used to introduce a limiting or defining clause, which to introduce a nondefining or parenthetical clause. The word which should be preceded by a comma and refers to the word directly before it.

  • The Ohio River, which flows to the Mississippi, forms in Pittsburgh.
  • The river that forms in Pittsburgh is the Ohio.

Generally speaking, which refers to things, who to persons, and that to either persons or things.

  • The man who went to the store was my uncle.
  • My old car, which I dearly loved, was relegated to the junk heap.
  • The book that you sent arrived yesterday.
  • Also:
  • The crew that worked here left last week.


Capitalize the principal words of and place quotation marks around the names of academic papers, dissertations, essays, lectures, and theses.

  • Her dissertation was titled “Reactions in the Luteal Phase.”

See Capitalization and Titles (Other) sections.


  1. Use numerals for the hours of the day. Use lowercase letters for and periods between a.m. and p.m. Also use noon and midnight, not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. Do not use :00 for time that falls on the hour (except to accommodate specific design considerations on invitations, posters, course catalogs, or similar materials).
    • 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. (not 4 PM, 4 P.M., 4:00 p.m., or 4 pm)
    • 11 in the evening (not 11:00 in the evening or 11 p.m. in the evening)
    • from 10 a.m. to noon (not from 10 a.m. to 12 noon)
  2. Use numerals for the time of day when it is followed by the contraction o’clock:
    • My appointment is at 10 o’clock.
  3. Use numerals for precise times.
    • Her plane is due in at 1:07 this afternoon.
    • I’ll be there at 9:15 in the morning.
  4. When writing about a quantity of hours, minutes, or seconds, spell out the first nine numbers (one through nine) as well as zero. Use figures for numbers greater than nine.
    • We drove for four hours and 20 minutes before we reached Washington, D.C.
  5. No comma is necessary between a time and a day or date.
    • Her paper is due by 5 p.m. July 12.


(CM 7.18)

  1. Lowercase titles of persons except when used in front of the name or when a title is one of a kind.
    • Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering, attended the center’s grand opening.
    • School of Social Work Dean Larry Davis also attended the meeting.
    • David Blair, assistant professor, and Mary March, A.W. Mellon Professor, presented papers at the conference.
    • Engineering Assistant Professor Virginia Lesner teaches at Pitt.
    • Virginia Lesner, assistant professor of engineering, teaches at Pitt. The professor says the study of engineering is her passion.
  2. Within text, do not use courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, or Esq. In addition, it is preferred that references to degrees be omitted. In an academic environment, a person’s academic title is more descriptive than a degree abbreviation. If individuals’ degrees are listed, they must be used consistently for everyone throughout. Exceptions include direct quotes or usage in certain lists, as they might appear in programs, brochures, or posters—i.e., donor lists, credentials on a poster or invitation, or addresses.
  3. When a title stands alone without a name, use lowercase letters.
    • He wanted to be governor of the state.
    • The chief executive officer of the bank was not available.
    • The chancellor was in attendance.
  4. Always include the first name and/or initials of persons the first time they appear in text. Subsequent references are to last name only.
    • Patrick Gallagher spoke before the group. Gallagher stressed the importance of education in today’s society.

TITLES (other)

  1. Book, television show, movie, radio program, and play titles are italicized, and principal words are capitalized.
    • I read Of Mice and Men for my assignment.
    • Who wrote The Grapes of Wrath?
    • He watched Wheel of Fortune every evening.
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark made millions of dollars at the box office.
    • Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was the reading assignment.
  2. Articles in magazines or newspapers are in quotation marks and principal words are capitalized; magazine and newspaper names are italicized. Also see the Magazines and Newspapers sections for proper handling of publication names.
    • She wrote “Raising Healthy Horses” in the latest issue of Equus.
    • Mary bought The New York Times at the airport.
    • George Will’s “The INS in Flux” in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was interesting.
  3. Place quotation marks around the names of academic papers, dissertations, grant proposals, and theses, and capitalize principal words.
    • Her dissertation was titled “The Impact of Foreign Films on American Audiences.”
  4. Italicize the titles of CDs and long musical and/or theatrical works such as operas and symphonies; use quotation marks for short pieces or songs included on a CD.
    • Verdi’s Don Carlos is a famous opera.
    • Some people say that “America the Beautiful” should be our national anthem.
  5. Capitalize principal words of (and do not put in quotation marks or italicize) the titles of lecture series or conferences. Titles of lectures or speeches should be capitalized and in quotation marks.
    • Mina Smith gave the lecture “Women in the Arts” at the annual Arts and Writing Lecture Series.
    • The School of Education will host the 2015 Principals’ Conference on Psychology in Education.