Style Guide

Graduate Center Style Guide

When in doubt, please consult the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, which the GC community may access for free from the ‘C’ section of the A-Z database list. Direct online access is also available for many members of the GC community.


Use comma before “and” in a series: the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Titles capitalized before name, not after: Vice President for Student Affairs Albert Smith; Albert Smith, vice president for student affairs,

Do not capitalize “The” for institution names: Since 1961, the Graduate Center has been part of the City University of New York.

Do not use all capital letters, except for abbreviations.

When mentioning newspapers, magazines, or journals, do not italicize or capitalize “the”: a letter in the New York Times

Punctuation matches font of surrounding paragraph: An authority on Moby-Dick, the professor . . .

Degrees: Ph.D.; D.M.A., B.A., CUNY B.A./B.S. but DNS

in fall 2010 or in the fall of 2010


Spell out whole numbers from zero through one hundred and round multiples of those numbers (see examples below). Where exceptions are warranted, maintain consistency in the immediate context.

  • The nineteenth century; a nineteenth-century writer
  • A ninety-nine-year-old professor emeritus will speak at commencement.
  • She is the thirty-fourth graduate of the program.
  • They came to the Graduate Center in the eighties.
  • The company is 130 years old.
  • The organizers expect five thousand protesters at the event.
  • Final attendance was 4,893.
  • Be there at six o’clock.
  • I’ll be here until about four-thirty; but:
  • The train leaves at 4:30 p.m. (emphasis on exact time).
  • Twelfth Congressional District

If according to rule you must use numerals for one of the numbers in a given category, use them for all in that category.

A mixture of buildings—one of 103 stories, five of more than 50, and a dozen of only 3 or 4—has been suggested for the area.

Exceptions include: dates (June 24, 2011); credits (a 3-credit course); some measurements (35 miles per gallon; anything with an abbreviation, such as 440 g, 55 km); percents (25 percent); money, in large amounts (The tickets cost $1,000, but The banker asked for a five-dollar loan); chapters (chapter 5); the March 28 event, not “the March 28th event”

No apostrophe is needed when citing decades: Life changed in the 1960s.


Compounds formed with prefixes are normally closed (no hyphen), except before capitalized words or open compounds or to prevent misreading:

coauthor, coeditor, cosponsor, coworker, but co-op

midcareer, midthirties, but mid-July, mid-1990s

multiauthor, multimedia, but multi-institutional

noneligible, nonevent, nonteaching

premodern, prewar, but pre-Vietnam War

reenter, reregister, but re-creation (as distinct from recreation)


Specific terms

“adviser” in general, but Gotham Center’s board of “advisors,” and elsewhere where the term is part of an effective title
course work (noun)
Fellow: cap following (Gilleece Fellow) for civic or academic honors, but not in generic use: “which serves as a training center for pre- and postdoctoral psychology fellows.”
health-care (adjective), health care (noun)
log in (verb); log-in (noun)
Music in Midtown series
Ph.D. Program in Philosophy, Philosophy Ph.D. Program, doctoral program in philosophy
Pulitzer Prize–winning author
Pulitzer Prize winner
the South, southern, a southerner (of a country); the South, Southern, a Southerner (in American Civil War contexts)
theatre (except as theater of war, theater of operations)
UN (on second reference)
U.S. (adjective); United States (noun)
video game titles: italics
web page, but Web OK for clarity when standing alone (e.g., Web access)