Editorial style guide - A

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A world top 100 university

No hyphen needed.

A Level

Not hyphenated. Use an upper case L.


Don't use them. Write the word in full.

Abbreviated terms commonly used within the University may not be understood outside it, especially by prospective international students.

February not Feb.
Tuesday not Tues.
Professor not Prof.

Mr Mrs Dr (note that there is no full stop)

See also acronyms and initials


Use accents on foreign words, unless the word has been anglicised, for example cafe, fiance.

Précis Exposé (to distinguish from expose)


When giving directions, always include information about disabled access.

See equal opportunities

acronyms and initials

When you introduce an acronym, write the title in full, followed by the acronym in brackets. After that, you can use the acronym on its own.

The School of East Asian Studies (SEAS) offers four-year language-based courses in Japanese, Korean and Chinese. SEAS undergraduates can choose...

When an acronym is better known than what it stands for you can make an exception: BBC, NATO.

If you are writing for the web, acronyms should be written in full with the short version in brackets the first time they are used on each web page.

See also abbreviations


Where possible, addresses should be arranged vertically in documents, publications and on University stationery and web pages.

Building numbers that cover a range (196–198) should be separated by an en-dash with no spaces. See en-dash.

If the address is in a city or major town, do not include the county.

If you are writing for an international audience, the country should follow the town or city and postcode on a new line. In the case of University addresses, always use United Kingdom, rather than England.

The University of Sheffield
Western Bank
S10 2TN
United Kingdom

For department addresses, put the department name before the University:

Department of Journalism Studies
The University of Sheffield
18-22 Regent Street
S1 3NJ

Some important details:

  • no full stops at the end of addresses
  • no comma between the number and the street name
  • do not abbreviate Road, Street or Avenue
  • the postcode should be on the last line

Avoid making an address part of a sentence or paragraph of text. If you have to do this, use commas where the lines would normally break but don't use punctuation between post town/city and postcode:

School of Health and Related Research, Regent Court, The University of Sheffield, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield S1 4DA


The Latin term alumni means former students.

Alumni is the plural form:

The University has many alumni around the world in positions of importance

Alumnus is the male singular form:

The ABC singer Martin Fry is an alumnus of the University of Sheffield

Alumna is the female singular form:

The gold medallist Jessica Ennis is an alumna of the University of Sheffield

Alumnae is the female plural form:

Distinguished Writers Hilary Mantel and Joanne Harris are both alumnae of the University of Sheffield

If you have a mixture of men and women they are described as alumni, a bit like the use of mankind to describe men and women.

Some of the above variations aren't used very often. 'Graduates' is another way you can refer to former students.

ampersand (&)

Don't use ampersands in your writing. We sometimes use ampersands in the vertical arrangement of titles and department names for design purposes, but that's different. Get in touch with the Marketing team for details.


Try to avoid. Use one or the other or rewrite the sentence. Alternatively, rewrite the sentence. The same applies to his/her.


Apostrophes are used to denote possession or omissions in words and phrases.


Where an object or objects belong to one person or thing, the apostrophe goes before the s:

The University's halls of residence

Where an object or objects belong to more than one person or thing, then the apostrophe goes after the s:

The graduates' certificates will be kept in departmental offices

The same applies to singular nouns ending in s:

The class's teacher was absent

Plurals of common nouns ending in s don't need an extra s after the apostrophe:

The classes' timetables were confused

When you use plural nouns that don't end in s – children, women, sheep – the apostrophe goes before the s:

The women's minibus runs until 11pm

See also it's or its


Apostrophes are also used to show that letters are missed out of a word or phrase, usually to make it easier to pronounce.

I'll – I will
they're – they are

See also Contractions

Where not to use apostrophes

Never use an apostrophe to form a plural with numbers and letters:

1990s not 1990's
Three As at A Level, not three A's at A Level
CDs not CD's

Never use an apostrophe when its is used in the possessive sense:

The University is easy to get to: its main buildings are near the tram stop.

Arts Tower

Lectures take place in the Arts Tower.


Try to avoid using asterisks. Whatever you have to say should be made clear in your writing. There should be no need for footnotes or small print.

*Should not be used for other purposes, for instance to denote an omission or to present bullet points.