Writing Style Guide
The two most commonly used dashes are the em dash and the en dash.
the em dash looks like this: —
(option + shift + -)
the en dash looks like this: –
(option + -)
the hyphen looks like this: -
To use them properly, remember that dashes separate, but hyphens join (see also hyphens).
Em dashes are frequently used to set off parenthetical phrases, especially long or complex ones where something stronger than a comma is called for. If the phrase comes at the end of a sentence, only one dash is needed to set it off—like this. If it is inserted into the middle of the sentence—like this—you need dashes on both sides:
- The building—one of our oldest—will be reroofed.
- The building—one of our oldest, will be reroofed.
En dashes are used to represent a range between figures or words:
11 a.m.–noon, 1994–96, pages 3–12
En dashes are also used to indicate the minus sign in a grade:
Also, en dashes are used in place of hyphens in open compounds:
San Antonio–based, Pulitzer Prize–winning, post–World War II
Use numerals for years; use no punctuation if listing only the month and year, but set the year off with commas if also using the day of the month (see months):
May 1990; a Feb. 1, 1996, deadline
Decades may be referred to in any of the following ways but should be consistent within a single publication:
- the 1990s, the ’90s, the nineties
- the 1990’s
Two words in all instances.
days of the week
Capitalize and do not abbreviate.
degree programs at UTSA
For an updated list of academic degrees, please refer to the current undergraduate and graduate catalogs, which are available in print and on the UTSA Web site at www.utsa.edu/ucat.
Lowercase names of academic degrees, including formal names, in running text except when referring to proper nouns. Note bachelor’s and master’s end in ’s, but other generic words for degrees do not:
an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a doctoral degree or a doctorate
She earned a bachelor of music degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music.
He is pursuing a master of science degree in chemistry.
However, formal names of degrees may be capitalized in list format. Capitalization in names of degrees should match the registrar’s official degree list:
Bachelor of Arts
Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy
Use periods when abbreviating degrees.:
B.A., B.F.A., M.A., Ph.D., Ed.D.
Pluralize abbreviations of degrees with an ’s:
Do not capitalize subject areas when referring to them in text:
He is an American studies major.
All students in bicultural-bilingual studies must take 3 credit hours in sociology.
In running text, minor should not be capitalized:
He plans to pursue a minor in art history.
List alumni graduation year and degrees after the name in publications where appropriate. For undergraduate degrees, do not desginate the degree plan:
Joe Smith ’85
Joe Smith M.B.A.’85
Joe Smith ’85, M.B.A. ’88
List the degree before the year, and do not use a comma between the name and year.
Use disc when referring to a compact disc, or CD. Use disk when referring to a floppy disk. (Hint: Discs that are circles end in the letter c.)
Check UTSA’s Web site for updated information on the names and locations of academic departments/divisions.
Doctoral degree and doctorate are interchangeable, but are not synonymous with Ph.D; UTSA also offers a doctor of education degree, an Ed.D. Do not use doctorate degree.