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Style Guide

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The Moraine Park Technical College style guide is a general resource for consistency in writing across all College communications.

A style guide is a tool to help Moraine Park communicators. It’s a list of choices that have been made to ensure consistency. Consistent style helps solidify the College’s brand identity.

The style guide outlines specific rules and usages followed by the writers and editors of the College Marketing and Communications team. Moraine Park defers to the Associated Press Stylebook when conflicting information exists.

For visual branding information and resources, view our branding guide below.

a.m., p.m.
Always lowercase with periods (not A.M. except in all-caps line). When you have an exact time "on the hour" you can just say 2 p.m.
Associated of Applied Science Degree. Formerly AD (associate degree). Do not use periods.
academic degrees
Moraine Park uses abbreviations to describe the academic degrees a person holds: B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Also see bachelor's degree and master's degree.)
Associate Degree Nursing.
Always use figures. Hyphenate only when the age is used as an adjective before a noun or as a replacement for a noun: The 3-year-old girl. The competition is for 10-year-olds. Examples: John Doe, 6, was found in the park. The child is 4 years old. 
(n.) assistance, (v.) to help
(n.) a person who helps
Usually hyphenated as a prefix: all-American, all-conference, all-staff, all-star, all-out, all-inclusive.
Not alright.
Singular. When referring to a woman who has attended a school. Use alumnae as the plural of “alumna.”
Plural. To refer to a group of men and women who have attended a college.
Singular. When referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumni as the plural of “alumnus.”
among, between
Use among when referring to more than two people or things. Use between to refer to only two people or things.
(&) Avoid unless part of an official name. Use and instead.
Do not use unless it refers to an event that has happened at least two years in a row. Never use the term first annual.
Use an apostrophe before years in dates only if the century is abbreviated. Do not use an apostrophe between the year and the letter s.
i.e., '90s; 1990s not 1990's

Do not use an apostrophe, and use a small s with plural all-capitalized abbreviations.
as well as
Avoid overusing as well as in place of and; the phrase as well as has the sense of "too" or "also" rather than simply "and."
associate degree
Do not capitalize academic degrees as general terms of classification.
assure, ensure, insure
Use assure to give confidence or inform positively:
She assured him that the decision was a wise one.
Use ensure to mean guarantee or make certain:
Steps were taken to ensure the document's accuracy.
Use insure for references to the characteristics of insurance:
The policy will insure your home.
B.A., B.S.
Abbreviations of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. Always use periods.
bachelor’s degree
Do not capitalize academic degrees used as general terms of classification. Always use 's.
Refers to twice each year. Semiannual may also be used.
Refers to once every two years. Example: biennial budget.
BLD (Blended)
Capitalize when the complete proper name of the board is used (Moraine Park District Board, State Board of WTCS), but lowercase when alone (the board met to discuss...).
Beaver Dam Campus - Fond du Lac Campus - West Bend Campus (Campus is capitalized)

Capitalize names of buildings, campuses, divisions, office and specific course titles within the College. Do not capitalize the word “program.” Do not capitalize references to occupations.

Moraine Park-Fond du Lac; O-Building; Accounting program; Accounting student; accounting career; Beginning Accounting class.

Capitalize titles of persons preceding and used as part of their names. Do not capitalize titles of persons that are set off by commas before or after a name.

President Bonnie Baerwald Bonnie Baerwald, the president Baerwald, president of Moraine Park Technical College . . .; The president of Moraine Park, Bonnie Baerwald

Capitalize room when it is part of a formal name or when it is followed by a number.

the Board Room; Room E-123

Capitalize titles of books, magazines, periodicals, articles, chapters, essays, lectures and movies.

Capitalize every word in titles of programs, plays, workshops, etc. Capitalize all words with four or more letters.

Also capitalize words with fewer than four letters except:

a, an, and, as, at, but, by, for, if, in, nor, of, off, on, or, out, the, to, up

Capitalize the first and last word of a title.

“A Home to Be Proud Of”

Note that other small but important words are capitalized in titles of programs, plays, workshops, etc.

are, be, do, has, he, her, his, is, it, its, my, she, you

Do not capitalize titles used without names.

The student activities coordinator . . .

Capitalize office only when it is part of an official name. It is appropriate to capitalize the word “office” when it is the actual name of a unit within the writer’s own organization. Therefore, capitalization of Registrar’s Office, Employment Services Office, Financial Aid Office, etc.,is correct since these are units within the Moraine Park organization.

Further information is available from the Financial Aid Office.

Terms such as advertising department, manufacturing division, personnel office, etc., are not capitalized when they refer to some other organization unless the writer has reason to give these terms special importance or distinction.

The advertising department of Mercury Marine will unveil its fall campaign today.

Do not capitalize technical diplomas.

technical diploma program, technical diploma in child care.

Capitalize the following academic degree:

Associate of Applied Science degree,

Associate of Applied Science degree in accounting

Do not capitalize seasons (fall 2008) and semesters.

fall semester

Do not capitalize the names of generic college publications.

catalog, calendar, course schedule

Do not capitalize compass directions, but do capitalize words that designate geographic regions.

Examples: N.ern Wisconsin; N.west Wisconsin; the Midwest; N. Country; the N.land; East Coast

Also note the following patterns:

The Moraine Park District Board; the board; the Moraine Park District; the district; the district board; Moraine Park Technical College; the College; Beaver Dam Campus; the three campuses; the Moraine Park Alumni Association; the alumni association; the Moraine Park Foundation; the foundation.

certificate programs
chair, chairperson
Mary Moore, conference chair; committee chairpersons were named by the president; Chairperson Mary Moore; Frank Smith is committee chair.
No hyphen when used as a prefix: cochaired, cosponsored, coworkers, coed, coeducation, cooperative, coordinator.
Co., Corp.
Preferably spell out Company and Corporation; however, abbreviate Inc. and Ltd.
The word "college" should be capitalized when used either alone or with the word "the." (Moraine Park Technical College, the College). Don't capitalize when used with "this" or "our."
College Name
Full name, first reference: Moraine Park Technical College. Preferred second reference: Moraine Park. Third reference and beyond: Moraine Park, MPTC and the College may be used interchangeably. Preferred abbreviation: MPTC.
MPTC primary color standards
For Moraine Park publications such as brochures, annual reports, student catalogs and flyers, do not use the comma before "and/or" in a series.   You can graduate knowing you will be in demand by hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and medical research organizations.
Compliance Statement
Compliance Statement
computer-aided design (CAD)
criterion, criteria
Use the sequence month-day-year. In a sentence, the year is set off by commas: Sept. 20, 1995.  Use format: date-time-place. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. All other months should always be completely spelled out. In the day is not given, no commas are needed: She bought her first car in Sept. 1995. In invitations, flyers and similar announcements, always give the day of the week before the date. The year is not necessary in many such publications, particularly if the name of the event includes it. For dates, use 1, 2, 3, 4, not 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Write "Reservations are due July 27," not "Reservations are due July 27th." Spell out days: Tuesday, not Tues.
Days of the Week and Months
Do not abbreviate days of the week in running text. Where space is limited, as in tables or outlines, abbreviate days as follows: Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat. Abbreviate months as follows: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. The College uses the following abbreviations for days of the week: M (Monday), T (Tuesday), W (Wednesday), R (Thursday), F (Friday), S (Saturday) and U (Sunday).
Capitalize when the complete proper name is used (Moraine Park District Board), lowercase (Moraine Park district).
doctoral, doctorate
(for example) Always use periods and a comma after; always lowercase. Put a semicolon before and a comma after if it is linked between two independent clauses.
Email addresses
jsmith@morainepark.edu Avoid breaking email and web addresses. If the address will not fit on a line, don't add a hyphen or other punctuation. Break before existing punctuation , such as periods, hyphens, slashes, double slashes, "at" symbols and titles: Contact the director via email at jsmith@morainepark.edu or by phone at 920-555-5555.
ethnic background categories
For the optional ethnicity portion of applications to college programs, use the following categories:
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Asian
  • Black/Non-Hispanic
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • White/Non-Hispanic
Always capitalize the abbreviation.
Financial Aid Office
Health Care
Health Care (two words)
Hyphenate according to syllables when breaking words; do not leave a single letter on a line, and do not leave a final two-letter syllable. Do not hyphenate words that end with "ly." Do not hyphenate the first line or second to last line of brochures, catalogs, flyers.
(that is) Always use periods and make it lowercase. It always has a comma after it.
F. J. Smith (use space) but F.J.S. (no space with initials only)
Capitalize as a formal title before a name. Instructor John Smith is teaching that class. Lowercase in all other cases: John Doe is the instructor of Culinary Arts.
Not capitalized.
Use Ltd.; do not set off with commas.
M.S., M.S.Ed.
master’s degree
Master of Arts in Journalism, Master of Science in Biology.
Only put a hyphen after mid if it is followed by a number or a capitalized word; midsemester, midterm, midwest, midwestern; but mid-1990s, mid-September, etc.
Moraine Park Technical College website
morainepark.edu (always lowercase letters.)
more than, over
Use more than to discuss numbers: The United Way raised more than $50,000. Use over to discuss spatial relationships: A plane flew over the building.
(miles per gallon)
No hyphen generally when used as a prefix: multicampus, multipurpose, etc. Exceptions: words beginning with i: multi-institutional
No hyphen generally as a prefix: noncredit, nondegree, etc. Exceptions: non- with a proper adjective or a capitalized word like non-high-school graduate, non-Germanic, etc.
Spell out numbers 1 through 10; use figures for numbers above 10. Use a comma with numerals of 1,000 and above (except dates – 2021). Exceptions to the rules: ages, numbers with percent signs and dollar signs, votes, scores, temperatures, odds, decimals, TV channels, department numbers, course numbers, section numbers, room numbers, street addresses, dimensions, page numbers. Use the same style to express related number above and below 10. If any of the numbers are above 10, put them all in figures.
off campus/off-campus, on campus/on-campus
Standard hyphenation rules apply to these terms: when used as a modifier, either term must be hyphenated. When campus is used as a noun, drop the hyphen. At UA, on-campus housing is plentiful and convenient. Students who live on campus also find it affordable.  That building is located just off campus on Queen City Ave.
off of
Don't use "off of," use just "off."
Capitalize office only when it is part of an official name: Registrar's Office Business Office
on site
Two words.
ordinal numbers
Numbers used to indicate order (first, second, 10th, 25th, etc.). Spell out first through ninth: fourth grade, first base. Use figures starting with 10th.
Not P.M. except in all-cap line: 8 p.m.
part-time/part time
Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier. She works part time. She has a part-time job.
Pell grants
Not PELL grants.
One word, always spelled out except in tables, business forms and statistical data or technical materials.
For percentages, always use figures unless the number begins a sentence. Use percent instead of the symbol, %, except in places where space is limited. The College has a 4 percent increase in enrollment. She received a 90 percent on her test.
Periods should only be used with complete thoughts or sentences, and they belong inside quotation marks.
phone numbers
Preferred usage: 920-922-8611 1-800-472-4554, Ext. 5555.
Capitalize president only as a formal title before a name: President Bonnie Baerwald. Use lowercase in all other cases. Bonnie Baerwald, president of Moraine Park...
Main or major (adj.); school administrator, chief person involved, or capital sum (n.): the principal rivers in America; high school principal; my principal insists on privacy; principal vs. interest.
Do not capitalize the word program after typing the name of one (e.g., Accounting program).
quotation marks
Periods and commas belong inside quotation marks, even when the quotation ends a sentence or consists of a single word. Semicolons and colons always fall outside quotation marks; if the quoted passage ends with a colon or semicolon, drop it. Question marks and exclamation points should be placed inside the quotation marks only if it is part of the quoted matter. Use single quotation marks for a quotation within a quotation. Gary said, "She wanted to 'be happy' with her choices."
Should not have periods in it. Do not use "Please" prior to RSVP; it means "please respond."
Capitalize only those words that are part of the full official name of the scholarship. Example: Lillian Lloyd Marx Memorial Scholarship.
Do not capitalize.
Do not capitalize the common names of semesters, terms, academic sessions or periods.
Mainly used to separate independent clauses. Use the semicolon to separate items in a series when they are long and complex or when at least one of them involves other punctuation.
setup/set up
setup (n.) a carriage of the body. Set up (v.) To raise and to place.
sign-up/sign up
sign-up (n. adj.), sign up (v.) The sign-up date...; please sign up by Tuesday.
Social Security number, SSN
Avoid SS# and the redundant SSN#.
Use instructor instead for postsecondary purposes.
that and which
Use that to introduce a restrictive clause, which to introduce a nonrestrictive clause. How to choose? Consider whether the meaning of the sentence would be changed if the clause were removed. Restrictive: Steinbeck wrote the book that made me want to move out west. Nonrestrictive: The Scarlett Letter, which I read in high school, has been made into a movie. Use a comma or pair of commas to set off a nonrestrictive clause: Of Mice and Men, which is banned in many school districts, is considered an American classic. If that appears earlier in the sentence, it is acceptable to use which in place of that to introduce a restrictive clause–but use no comma. Is that the Steinbeck book which made you want to move out west?
that and who
Use that for objects, who for people. Incorrect: He is the man that married my sister. Correct: He is the man who married my sister.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Never write 12 noon or 12 midnight–this is redundant. Only use a colon when separating hours from minutes: 3 p.m., 7:30 a.m. Omit :00 when listing times. Always include a.m. or p.m. with the time. Avoid using o'clock when referring to time. 7 a.m.–4 p.m.; 7–9 p.m.; 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m., 9:20 a.m.–12 p.m. (use an endash between times and not a hyphen)
Articles, press releases, promotional materials and the like—it is only necessary to use a trademark symbol with the first instance of the mark, or with the most prominent placement of the mark.
tune-up/tune up
tune-up (n.), tune up (v) The car needs a tune-up; the shop will tune up the engine.
Capitalize when the complete proper name is used (University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh), but lowercase alone.
University of Wisconsin System
The system: University of Wisconsin–Madison, etc. (Note: Use one hyphen and no spaces.)
veterans’ tribute
One word.
One word.
worker’s compensation
Not workman's compensation.
Add s without an apostrophe when indicating century or decade: Examples: '80s, 1900s, 1990s; also use the following forms: '94, 1998-99.
yours not your's
ZIP Codes
No comma precedes ZIP codes with a state designation: Shell Lake, WI 54971.