A-Z Online Style Guide

For the most part, The Fletcher School website follows punctuation, capitalization and usage guidelines outlined in the Associated Press Stylebook Online, which is available to the entire Fletcher community through the Ginn Library (password required).

Fletcher-specific style guidelines are included in the A-Z guide below.

DATES: Always use Arabic figures. Do not include st, nd, rd, or th as in December 21st November 3rd January 2nd or August 4th: Classes start August 25, 2012.


·      When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone: January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8.


·      When including a day of the week with the date, use a comma after the day and after the date: The reception will be Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. April 14, 1987, was the target date.


·      When a phrase refers to a date without the year, do not use a comma with the date: The reception will be Sept. 14 in Cabot 205.     


·      When referring to just the month and the year do not use a comma: The program began in August 2009.


·      When writing a span of dates, do not combine a preposition with a hyphen:


o   Winter break will be from February 4-11   Wrong    

o   Winter break will be February 4-11  Correct

o   OR Winter break will be from February 4 through February 11. Correct


DAYS – Do not abbreviate days of the week unless in a tabular format. When writing a day and date, use a comma after the day and after the date: The lecture will be held Tuesday, March 20, in Mugar 200.                                                                                                                                                              Do not set off days or dates with commas when they stand alone: The lecture will be held March 20 in Mugar 200.                                                                                                                      

For publications on a website, include the date, not just the day, so the information remains timely and clear.



DEAN – Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. Lowercase in all other uses: Dean Stephen Bosworth; Stephen Bosworth, dean of The Fletcher School.


DECADES – Use figures to indicate decades of history.  When abbreviating, precede with an apostrophe: ‘20s, ‘80s, 1950s


DECISION MAKER (n.) decision making (n.) decision-making (adj.)


DEGREES – See academic degrees. Do not punctuate abbreviations. MALD, MIB, MA, GMAP, LLM, PhD.


DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICES, ADMINISTRATIVE – Capitalize the full, formal name of the university’s and School’s administrative divisions, offices and departments: Office of Career Services, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.  On second reference the “department” or “office” may be dropped: Career Services; Admissions and Financial Aid.  Lowercase other forms: Fletcher admissions office.


DIMENSIONS – Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc.: He is 5 feet 6 inches tall; the 12-by-13 table.


DIRECTIONS AND REGIONS – In general, lowercase north, south, east, northwest, etc. when they refer to compass directions. Capitalize when they designate regions: They plan to move west to be closer to their kids; He is the currently the best player in the Northeast.


DISABLED, DISABILITY – Preferred terms, rather than handicapped. Use language that describes what the person has, not who the person is: Instead of writing “she is autistic” write “she has autism.”

Avoid: victim of, suffers from, afflicted by, wheelchair-bound, etc.


DISC, DISK – Use the disc spelling for phonograph records and related terms (disc jockey), optical and laser based devices (blu-ray disc), and for disc brake. Use disk for computer-related references and medical references, such as a slipped disk.


DOCTORAL, DOCTORATE – To describe the doctor of philosophy degree, use doctoral degree or doctorate. Use the adjective doctoral for such uses as doctoral candidates. People with PhD’s are not referred to as Dr.


DORM – Use residence hall instead of dorm: Blakeley residence hall


DOWNLOAD – One word


DR. – May be used as a title before the name of a medical doctor on first reference. Do not continue to use the title with subsequent references.