Writing Style Guide
In general, avoid using abbreviations in running text (including the ampersand) except when they are part of official names. Spell out acronyms on first reference. If speaking to an audience outside the UTSA community, acronyms should be avoided. To aid understanding, the abbreviation may be listed in parentheses following the first reference; however, do not list UTSA in brackets following The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Avoid overusing abbreviations/acronyms Use generic terms on second reference:
The Institute for Cyber Security was founded in 2007. The institute provides world-leading research with real-world impact, including development of commercializable technologies and services.
Abbreviations of degrees, time expressions and countries’ names take periods without spaces:
M.B.A., M.F.A., B.A., B.S., Ph.D. a.m., p.m., B.C., A.D., U.K., U.S. (USA is an exception)
Abbreviations of degrees, time expressions and countries’ names take periods, with no space between the elements:
M.F.A., B.A., B.S., Ph.D.
a.m., p.m., B.C., A.D.
U.K., U.S. (USA is an exception)
Use periods and no space when an individual uses initials instead of a first name:
Professor L.J. Shrum, G.V.S. Raju
Acronyms and initialisms for job titles and names of organizations, centers, buildings, forms, tests and assorted other objects are generally spelled without periods:
UTSA, USAA, NASA, FBI, UN, EU
SAT, TAKS, TOEFL
Acronyms are made plural without apostrophes, unless the last letter of the acronym is an s, in which case an apostrophe is needed:
GREs, SATs, DVDs, SOS’s
Abbreviations having more than one period generally take an apostrophe to indicate the plural:
Abbreviations of Places
In general, abbreviations of places take periods. If it’s not a place, leave the periods out.
AACOG, USAA, UTSA
Abbreviations of titles
The terms governor, senator and representative should be abbreviated before a name:
Gov. Rick Perry
state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte
state Rep. Joaquín Castro
accent marks (diacritical marks)
Words in other languages, and a few adopted into English, sometimes have special marks above or beneath certain letters that provide help in pronunciation or meaning.
On a MacIntosh OS, the option key can be used to create many accent and punctuation marks used in Spanish and other Romance languages:
- á, é, í
- è, à, ù
- ñ, Ñ
- ü, Ü
- Option + e, the letter
- Option + `, the letter
- Option + n, the letter
- Option + i, the letter
- Option + u, the letter
- Option +corC
- Option + shift + ?
- Option + !
For PC users, use these keystrokes in Microsoft Word for Windows:
- ü, ä, ö
- Ctrl+ ',A
- Ctrl+ ',E
- Ctrl+ ',I
- Ctrl+ ',O
- Ctrl+ ',U
- Ctrl+ ',Shift+E
- Ctrl + Shift + ~, N
- Ctrl + Shift + ~, Shift + N
- Alt + Ctrl + Shift + ?
- Alt + Ctrl + Shift + !
- Ctrl+Shift+:,U. A, O
When accenting personal names, follow the preference of the individual, if known, even though this could result in different spellings of the same last name.
For UTSA mailing addresses, list the department above the name of the university. Use two-letter Postal Service abbreviations only with ZIP codes. See states for nonpostal abbreviations.
The Graduate School
The University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249-1644
College of Public Policy
The University of Texas at San Antonio
501 West Durango Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78207-4415
The preferred spelling is adviser, per AP, Chicago and Webster’s 11th.
Use AFB instead of spelling out Air Force Base for a facility in the U.S.
For American Facilities located overseas, use Air Base
Bagram Air Base
Do not abbreviate except in headlines.
Popular nickname for San Antonio, but avoid in copy.
The Alamo Colleges
Do not use former acronym ACCD. The system includes five colleges: San Antonio College, St. Philip’s College, Palo Alto College, Northeast Lakeview College and Northwest Vista College.
Lowercase dome is acceptable on second reference and headlines.
Do not use in reference to a human being. Use immigrant instead.
In alphabetizing personal names, an initial comes before any name beginning with the same letter:
A. Tiffany Smith
Alphabetize acronyms letter by letter. Numbers are listed before letters and should be ordered chronologically. Accented letters should be alphabetized as though unaccented.
For individuals and organizations that share a name, alphabetize the individuals first:
Tom C. Frost
For individuals with compound family names, alphabetize them according to the last name; hyphenated names should be treated as one word and alphabetized according to first part.
Patricia Torres Hernandez (alphabetized under H)
Patricia Torres-Hernandez (alphabetized under T)
Personal names containing particles such as de la, di, la, von, van, and saint should be alphabetized as one name:
Jean Claude Van Damme, listed under V for Van Damme.
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae
Alumnus is the singular, masculine form; for references to women, use alumna (singular) or alumnae (plural). Alumni serves as the plural for a group of men only or of men and women.
In some uses, alumnus is not gender specific. For example, the UTSA Alumni Association does not change the name of its Alumnus of the Year Award based on the gender of the recipient.
Alicia C. Treviño was named 2004 Alumnus of the Year.
Anyone who attended The University of Texas at San Antonio is an alumnus or an alumna, even if he or she left without earning a degree.
Both terms are acceptable for those in the U.S. (AP) Follow the person's preference.
Always capitalize and use only when a distinction must be made between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white people.
Use & only in official names:
AT&T, Fulbright & Jaworski
NOT the Department of English, Classics & Philosophy
About is preferred.
In most cases, use athletics:
UTSA Athletics Feasibility Study, Department of Athletics, Director of Athletics, athletics director
Use instead of oriental when referring to people.
Use when referring to the corporate entity. Always verify correct organization.
This the charitable organization affiliated with AT&T. Always verify correct organization.
Capitalize only as part of the name of the award.