a, an Use the article a before consonant sounds: a historic event, a one-year term, a united stand. Use the article an before vowel sounds: an energy crisis, an honorable man, an NBA record, an 1890s celebration.
abbreviations and acronyms Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that general readers would not quickly recognize. In most cases, spell out first references and use abbreviations and acronyms sparingly thereafter. Follow Associated Press style for abbreviating addresses, months and state names. See state names and days, months, years.
academic degrees Lowercase when referring to degrees in general; capitalize formal names of degrees. Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc. Examples: a history degree, Bachelor of Arts in History. Avoid abbreviations such as B.A., M.A. and Ph.D., using only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. See Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts, Master of Science.
academic departments Capitalize formal department names. Lowercase otherwise: the Department of History, history department, the Department of English.
academic titles Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as president, provost, director, professor, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase otherwise. See courtesy titles, doctor, professor and titles (people).
a cappella Two words, no italics.
adviser Not advisor.
African-American, black Use only when pertinent and follow the preference of the person or work being described when preference can be readily learned. Use African-American if the preference is not known. Examples: African-American studies, black heroes.
alma mater Lowercase in all references, except when referring specifically to the official Bucknell University song. Bucknell’s Alma Mater is titled “Dear Bucknell.”
alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. Never use the shortened alum.
among Not amongst.
ampersand (&) Use the ampersand only when it is part of a formal name or composition title. Otherwise, avoid as a replacement for and.
a.m., p.m. Lowercase, with periods. Avoid redundant phrasing such as 9 a.m. this morning (instead: 9 a.m. or 9 this morning). See time.
annual An event should not be described as annual until it has been held at least two consecutive years. First annual is impossible.
athletics Not athletic, unless used as an adjective to describe someone or something.
awards Capitalize all officially sanctioned awards, honors or decorations. Examples: Nobel Peace Prize, Stephen W. Taylor Medal, Medal of Honor.
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