|Home| # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ


a, an

  • Use “a” before consonant sounds and “an” before vowel sounds. <The show will commence in an hour; it will be an entertaining performance.> (AP)

academic concentration

  • Lowercase <Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in acting.> (GSU)

academic degrees, abbreviating

  • Abbreviations such as B.A., B.S. and Ph.D. should not be used in body text unless a long list of people with these degrees is given.
  • Degree abbreviations should appear only after a person’s first and last name.
  • Never precede a name with a courtesy title, such as Dr., followed by the abbreviation for which it stands, such as Ph.D.
  • See specific degree entry for more information.

academic department

  • Use complete name upon first reference.
  • AP style does not capitalize an academic department unless the university’s name precedes the complete name of the department. However, COTA style capitalizes the complete names of departments <Department of Theatre & Performance Studies, Department of Dance, School of Music, School of Art and Design>.
  • Do not capitalize variations of department names <theatre department>.
  • Only use a department’s acronym when it’s accompanied by a course number <TPS 1107>.

academic disciplines

  • Do not capitalize academic disciplines unless they are proper nouns themselves or are an official course name <He is an interdisciplinary studies major in English and music.>. (CMS)

academic majors

  • Lowercase unless it is a proper noun <He has earned a Bachelor of Science in music education as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.>. (AP and GSU)

academic minors

  • Lowercase <He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in vocal performance with a minor in dance.> (GSU)

academic program

  • Lowercase the general name of a program; capitalize the name of the program if it’s part of the complete name <She is enrolled in the music program and also participates in KSU’s Nature Bound programs. They are students in the Undergraduate Honors Program.>.

academic title

  • Capitalize academic titles when they precede a name <College of the Arts Dean Joseph Meeks will be attending the event.>.
  • Do not capitalize when the title follows the name or when a name is not referenced <Charlie Parrott, assistant professor of theatre and performance studies, is the director of the KSU Tellers. The department chairs meet on a monthly basis.>.
  • Named professorships, fellowships and chairs are always capitalized regardless of where the title appears in relation to the name, or whether a name is mentioned at all <Regents’ Professor Charles W. Hofer was the first Regents’ Professor at Kennesaw State University. One of the requirements for an American Association of University Women Fellow is for the fellow to be pursuing post-graduate work. Leonard Witt accepted the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication in 2002.>. (AP)

academic units (such as centers, chairs, colleges, departments, institutes, offices, schools)

  • Capitalize the complete name of the unit, but do not capitalize informal or incomplete references <The Institute for Global Initiatives can guide students to study abroad programs. The institute plays a large role in the campaign for global learning.>.


Access (noun)

  • The newsletter published by the Office of University Relations is capitalized and set in roman type <College of the Arts press releases often appear in Access.>.
  • See also publication titles.

acknowledgement (noun)

  • Note the second “e.” (AP)


  • Spell out the full name upon first reference (excluding well-known acronyms such as GBI, NASA, NAACP).
  • Do not include a parenthetical reference to the acronym after the full name. (AP)

*A different set of guidelines is preferred when referring to KSU. 

acts (noun)

  • Use Arabic numerals and capitalize when referring to a specific act <Act 1; Act 3, Scene 2>. But <the first act, the third act> (AP)


  • Refers to both male and females.


  • Avoid using this gender-specific word; instead use "actor."


  • Use “adviser.” (AP)

African American (noun)

  • Use the term “black,” unless the phrase is used in a quote or is part of the name of an organization.
  • Adjectival use is hyphenated. (AP)
  • See also black.


  • Always use Arabic numbers for the ages of people, animals and inanimate objects <The 2-year-old dance program; a 4-year-old child>. (AP)
  • See also numbers, cardinal.


  • Not “afterwards.” (AP)

All-Steinway School

  • Note capitalization and hyphen use.
  • Avoid following this phrase with “of music.” If the context makes it necessary, “music” is not part of the distinction and is therefore not capitalized.

Alliance Theater

  • Note the spelling of “theater.”

all right

  • Not “alright.”

allusion: an indirect reference <There was an allusion to the Greek gods in the piece.>.

  • See also illusion.

alma mater

  • Do not italicize.


  • Avoid this construction and use the gender-specific or group-specific suffix.
  • See alumna, alumni and alumnus.

alumna, alumnae

  • “Alumna” refers to one woman.
  • “Alumnae” refers to more than one woman.

alumni: a group of men or a group of men and women.

  • When mentioning alumni in publications, majors and graduation years appear in parentheses after the first mention of their name <Perry Bennett (art, 2006)>. 
  • Graduation information for alumni with more than degree from KSU is separated by a semicolon <Iadonnasanova Owens Williamson (art, 2004; art education, 2007)>.
  • For alumni who attended KSU but did not graduate, do not include a graduation year in the parentheses <John Doe (art)>.
  • Double majors are separated by “and” <Jane Doe (art and theatre and performance studies, 2005)>

*Alumni who began pursing a degree in theatre at KSU before 1996 are listed as “theater” majors <Jody Reynard (theater, 1998)>. Students who began their theatre degrees after 1996 are “theatre and performance studies” majors <Lauren Tatum (theatre and performance studies, 2007)>.

alumni association

  • Capitalize as part of a complete name, but lowercase informal or incomplete references <The Kennesaw State University Alumni Association encourages students to keep in touch after they graduate. The association offers many benefits to alumni.>.


  • Refers to one man.

American Art Collection: complete name of a portion of KSU’s permanent collection of art.

  • Use complete name upon first reference; subsequent reference is “the collection.”

American Indian

  • Use this term instead of “Native American.” (AP)
  • See also Native American.

a.m., p.m.

  • Note lowercase with periods.
  • A space is inserted between the numeral and the a.m. or p.m. designation <8 p.m.>. (AP)


  • Ampersands should not be used in body text. Ampersands may be used in headlines if space is limited.
  • Do not change the name of a building, place, company or organization by replacing “and” with an ampersand. (AP)

Anna F. Henriquez Atrium: atrium of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Family Performance Center

  • Use full name upon first reference; subsequent reference is “Henriquez Atrium.”


  • Note compound word. (MW)

Art Gallery, Sturgis Library: complete name for the art gallery located on the lower level of the Horace W. Sturgis Library.

  • Note comma and spacing.

Art Gallery, Wilson Building

  • Use complete name upon first reference; subsequent reference is “the gallery.”

article titles  

  • Titles of articles appearing in magazines, journals, books and other publications should be capitalized and enclosed in quotations <Cheryl Anderson Brown wrote “Expanding the Tradition of Excellence: The Bailey Performance Center and All-Steinway Announcement,” which appeared in the winter 2007 edition of Flourish, the College of the Arts magazine.>.

artist-in-residence (noun and adj.)

  • Hyphenate in all forms <Jennifer Larmore was an artist-in-residence at KSU in 2008. Her artist-in-residence schedule is posted online.>. (AP)


Arts District, Kennesaw State University: complete name of the arts district at KSU.

  • Do not capitalize “arts district” when it’s not part of a complete name <The Kennesaw State University Arts District is easily accessible from Frey Road. Those three blocks have such a high concentration of galleries that that section of the street is considered an arts district.>.

Asian (noun and adj.): acceptable descriptor of people of Asian descent.

  • Use as noun or adjective.
  • The use of “Asian American” is unnecessary unless context requires it <Although she was born in Korea, she is now a citizen of the United States and considers herself an Asian American.>.  
  • See also Oriental.

associate degree

  • Note lack of capitalization and lack of apostrophe “s.”

award-winning (adj.)

  • Note hyphen.
  • When the phrase appears in conjunction with the name of the award, capitalize “Award” <She is a Grammy Award-winning artist.>. (CMS 8.89)

awards (noun)

  • Capitalize the complete name of an award, including the word “award” if it is part of the complete name <He won the Best Picture award at the Academy Awards.>.
  • Do not use quotation marks, italics or underlining.
  • See also award-winning.

advance registration

  • Not “advanced.”

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The College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University supports, defends and promotes academic freedom in artistic expression, as outlined by the American Association of University Professors, and diversity of all kinds as outlined by the university's Human Relations Position Statement.

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