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A to Z Guide

This listing of commonly used terms, names, and formatting standards is the recommended standard for all Montgomery College communications. Based on The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition), some terms and treatments are unique to Montgomery College.  If you do not find guidance here, please refer to the Chicago manual or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition).

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 


Abbreviations and Acronyms

In general, use abbreviations and acronyms only in contexts where they are clear to your readers. On first use, spell out a term, as a courtesy to readers who might not easily recognize it, with the abbreviation or acronym immediately following in parentheses, if the reference will be used more than once. When persons are referred to by initials only, no periods are needed. For all others, add spacing with initials.

  • Workforce Development & Continuing Education (WD&CE)
  • President U. S. Grant (note spacing)

Academic Courses

Capitalize specific titles of Montgomery College courses.

  • Right: AC 201, Principles of Accounting 
  • Wrong: an Accounting major, Accounting Program  

Academic Degrees

When using the abbreviation, use capital letters and omit the word “degree.” Omit the word “degree” when using an abbreviation. (no need to spell out on first reference); Note: We no longer use periods with these abbreviations (Chicago10.20). Omit the word “degree” when using an abbreviation of the degree. (see also academic titles)

  • AA, AAS, AS or associate’s degree, associate of applied science, associate of science
  • BA, BS or bachelor’s degree, bachelor’s
  • MA, MS or master of arts, master of science, master’s degree, master’s
  • EdD, PhD or doctoral degree, doctorate
  • MBA, MFA or master of business administration, master of fine arts 
  • Right: Professor Smith has a PhD in history.
  • Wrong: He also has a BA degree in history.  
  • (Plural) masters of arts, bachelors of science (Chicago, 7.7), MAs and PhDs

Academic Regulations and Standards 

Section name in College Policies and Procedures, available online at 

Academic Subjects 

Do not capitalize an academic subject unless it is the name of a language.

  • He took biology and English. 

Academic Titles

Do not use both a courtesy title for an academic degree and a degree abbreviation in the same reference

  • Either Judy E. Ackerman, PhD or Dr. Judy E. Ackerman
  • Professor Andrea Adams has a BFA in painting, and an MFA in graphic design.

 Note: The College president’s signature line includes his or her name and academic degree just below the signature line, with professional title underneath (See below).


DeRionne P. Pollard, PhD


In text, spell out Building, Center, Campus, Route, especially in running text; abbreviations are acceptable in lists, tables, and letters. Single-letter compass points accompanying street names are normally followed by a period; two-letter ones are not. Do not use a comma before them when they follow a street name.

Addresses on Campus:

  • Macklin Tower 123 (no comma needed, or “room”)
  • Humanities Bldg. 216
  • The Commons 211
  • Wrong: Room 123, Macklin Tower or 123 Macklin Tower

abbreviations: Ave., Bldg., Blvd., Ct., Dr., Hwy., Pkwy., PO Box, Rd., Rm., Sq., St., Terr. 

compass points: N., S., E., W.; NE, NW, SE, SW   



Alphabetize names, abbreviations, and acronyms literally, not according to what they stand for. Alphabetize hyphenated names by the last word, or hyphenated word in a name.

  • MacSorley, Ian; McRae, Gordon; Saint Laurent, Yves; St. Denis, Ruth
  • CJ—Criminal Justice; CM—Configuration Management; CS—Computer Science and Technologies
  • Computer Science and Technologies (CS); Configuration Management (CM); Criminal Justice (CJ)
  • Allison Bell-Smith Rinehart (alphabetize under R)
  • Allison Rinehart Bell-Smith (alphabetize under B)
  • Allison Bell Smith (alphabetize under S)

Alumna (singular, female)

Alumnae (plural, rarely used since MC is a co-educational institution)

Alumni (plural) former students who have attended or graduated from the College

Alumnus (singular, male) a person who attended or graduated from MC

Ampersand (&)

  • in bibliographies: Use & or and in publishers’ names, regardless of how the publisher uses it on the title page—but be consistent.
  • in book titles: Spell out and when listing a book title, regardless of how the original title was rendered.
  • in course names: Spell out in course names (e.g., Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry).
  • in parenthetical references, footnotes, and bibliographies: Use “&” (Johnson & Johnson).
  • in text: Spell out “and.” 

Artwork (see also, Appendix A-5)

Italicize titles of paintings, drawings, and statues.

  • Grant Wood’s American GothicRodin’s Thinker  



Black Box Theatre


Board of Directors (for MC Foundation, MC Life Sciences Park Foundation)

Board of Governors (for MC Alumni Association)

Board Office

Board of Trustees (for Montgomery College)

A current Board of Trustees list is available online at

books and periodicals

Italicize titles of books and periodicals.

For Whom the Bell TollsNewsweek, The Washington Post 



Capitalize “campus” when preceded by the specific location: use lowercase for plural or generic references.

  • The dignitaries toured the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.
  • Students from all three campuses will participate.

campus’s (singular possessive), campuses’ (plural possessive)

(Chicago 7.15)

campus offices, buildings, and departments

On first reference, capitalize the name of the academic subject, building, or department when it appears as an official name and is followed by the word “department,” “office,” or “building.” On second reference, without using the full title, use lowercase. (Chicago 8.1)

  • Cooperative Education and Internship Program; the program (on second reference)
  • Learning Center; the center (on second reference)
  • Humanities Building
  • The Commons 122 (don’t use “Room” and/or building abbreviation “CM” in text)
  • Information Sciences Pavilion
  • Office of Institutional Advancement or Advancement Office; Office of the President
  • Music Department; the department (on second reference)
  • The Art Department at Rockville has a student show every year. 

capitalization: board, foundation, and institute

Capitalize “board,” “foundation,” and “institute” when used as proper names, but use lowercase for generic or plural references.(Chicago 8.18) An exception to this rule is the use of College when referencing Montgomery College on second or subsequent references.

  • Right: Montgomery College Board of Trustees, Montgomery College Foundation, the Macklin Business Institute 
  • Right: Submit copies to the Board Office. 
  • Right: The board will consider the proposal at the next meeting. The foundation will meet in November. The institute will accept applications in the spring semester. 
  • Wrong: The Board will meet on May 1. The Foundation is soliciting input.  

catalog (not catalogue), Montgomery College Catalog


Designator for “credit by examination; CE–R means exam is given on Rockville Campus.

Center for Professional Organization & Development, The

centuries, decades, years

Spell out in lowercase letters. Decades may be spelled out or expressed in numerals. No apostrophe is needed between the year and the s. Use numerals if decades are identified by their century. Informally, the full number of a particular year is sometimes abbreviated. (Chicago 9.34)

  • the nineteenth century; the sixties and seventies
  • the 1880s and 1890s (not the 1880s and '90s); the class of ’90;
  • He was in the class of ’57. (informal, note direction of apostrophe)


Use lowercase.

  • He received a certificate in technical writing.

 co-chair (not co-chairperson)


 collective nouns and their verbs (e.g., faculty)

When the subject is a collective noun conveying the idea of unity or multitude, the verb is singular. When the subject is a collective noun conveying the idea of plurality, the verb is plural.  (Chicago 5.131)

  • The committee is meeting on April 1. (unity, singular verb)
  • The English faculty are debating the issue among themselves. (plurality, plural verb)

College, collegewide

Capitalize “college” only when referring to Montgomery College. The term collegewide remains lowercase, one word in text (no hyphen), except in a headline or title.

  • The College’s enrollment was up this year.
  • The president will send a collegewide memo.

compounds (in titles) 

Generally, capitalize both parts of the compound in titles Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor). (Chicago 8.15)

  • Medium-Sized T-shirts
  • Setting Up Your E-mail Account
  • A Two-Thirds Reduction
  • Anti-intellectual Activities (exception because the first element is merely a prefix or combining form that could not stand by itself as a word (anti, pre, etc.)


In text, use serial comma between the last item in a list, before “and” or “or.” (Chicago 6.18)

  • Right: A, B, and C
  • Wrong: Students, faculty and staff  

Communication Arts Technologies (formerly, the VCT curriculum)


The whole comprises the parts; the parts compose the whole (not comprised of).

  • Right: A zoo comprises mammals, reptiles, and birds.
  • Right: Montgomery College is composed of students, faculty, and staff at three campuses. 
  • Wrong: The committee is comprised of faculty, students, and staff. 


Although not incorrect, avoid using “congressman” or “congresswoman” (the term “congressman”  indicates either a senator or representative); instead use “representative” or “senator” followed by a last name (when applicable) as an introduction. (Chicago 8.21)

  • the representative; Chris Van Hollen, representative from Maryland (less preferable, but not incorrect: congressman from Maryland); or Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD);the senator; the senator from Maryland; US senator Barbara Mikulski; Senator Mikulski, Democrat from Maryland (or D-MD)
  • Rarely: the congressman; the congresswoman 

co-op, cooperative

Cooperative Education & Internship Program

corequisite (Webster’s 11th)





Use lowercase, except when used in a heading or title.

  • Right: The landscape technology program is offered on the Germantown Campus.
  • Right: Many nursing courses have prerequisites. 
  • Wrong: He is a Theatre major.  

currency  (see numbers)




Avoid use of superscript. For formal invitations, write out numeric date (see Chicago)

Right: August 23 or the twenty-third of August

Wrong: August 23rd   

day care

days of the week


(See academic degrees)

Department of Veterans Affairs, (DVA) 


Spell out the official department name on first reference.

  • Right: Biology Department, Biology Dept. (Note: capitalize both terms when used in combination)
  • Wrong: The Biology professor attended the conference in March.  



Use lowercase.

  • behavioral and social sciences distribution

doctoral degree (or PhD), doctorate

(see also abbreviations)



exempli gratia (literally, “for example”) (see also, i.e.)

Always put a comma after using in text.

elective (lowercase e)

emerita (feminine), emeritus (masculine), emeriti (plural, masc. or both genders), emeritae (plural, feminine)

an honorary designation, does not simply mean “retired” (Chicago 8.27)

  • the professor emerita
  • Professor Emeritus Day, Professors Emeriti Day and Kehnemouyi

English as a Second Language

e-mail (hyphen)

entry level (noun), entry-level (adjective)

equivalent semester hours or ESH

etc., et cetera

Literally, “and other things.” Avoid using “etc.” in formal writing. Also, do not use it at the end of a list introduced by “such as” and “for example.”

ex-president, preferable form is “former president...”

(no hyphen)



Use lowercase, except when used in a heading or title.

  • federal Pell Grantfederal Perkins Loan  


Use less for amounts or mass nouns (e.g., less water). Use fewer for countable things (e.g., fewer students, miles, ideas. (Chicago 5.220)

“One easy guideline is to use less with singular nouns (less money) and fewer with plural nouns (fewer dollars).” --Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition 

  • Fewer accidents (a smaller number) were reported than was expected.
  • Less effort (a smaller degree) was put forth by the organizers, and thus fewer people (a smaller number) attended. 
  • less than five years ago
  • fewer than 60 people


First Year Experience

foundation—as in, mathematics foundation 


Hyphenate all fractions.

  • one-third, three-fifthssix-tenths  

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

freelance, freelancer

full-time (adj.), full time (adv.)

  • a full-time worker, working full time

fund-raiser, fund-raising (n.)

  • We attended the fund-raiser for student scholarships. 
  • Fund-raising is an Alumni Association effort.

FY99, FY00  (no spaces)


general education program/requirement

General Equivalency Diploma (GED)

GPA grade point average (without punctuation)

grade points, grade point average

Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education (GITE)


headlines and subtitles

Capitalize the first and last words, all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions. Do not capitalize articles (the, a, an), coordinate conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor), or prepositions—unless they are the first or last words of the title or subtitle. Use lowercase for the “to” in infinitives.

  • Luncheon Honors, Introduces Scholarship Donors and Recipients
  • Macklin Business Institute Students Earn Regional Honors in Business Competition

health care

hearing impaired

A generic term that includes both hard of hearing and deaf

  • hearing-impaired student (adj.) 

he or she, his or her

Use “or” (he or she), instead of he/she, his/her. Changing nouns to their plural form and using “their” is preferable.


ID (no periods)


id est (“that is”). Always follow with a comma.


international students on student visas

(also referred to as F-1/M-1)

Internet, the net

intranet (My MC)

ITI , Information Technology Institute

Spell out on first reference with (ITI) in parentheses

IT (information technology)

Spell out on first reference with shortened form in parentheses (IT) for subsequent references. 



Learning Center Program

Lifelong Learning Institute


For generic locations that precede a name or stand alone, use lowercase (when the full campus name is not required). For specific locations, generally use capitalization.

  • cafeteria, bookstore, library, countycommonwealth of Virginia
  • Right: Maryland Statestate of Maryland 
  • Wrong: State of Maryland  


Maryland State

MB (megabyte)

Use the abbreviation only as a measurement with numerals; do not use in straight text without a numeral.

MC logo

(For use and images, visit: www.mcinfonet/crtvsvc/GraphicStandards.pdf)

Montgomery College

(See also, About Our Name)

Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, The







numbers (currency, fractions, phone, Roman numerals)

In text, spell out numbers one through nine; but use numerals for 10 and above. But, spell out a number at the beginning of a sentence, or recast the sentence. Letters used in ordinal numbers should not appear in superscript. Hyphenate all fractions. Use hyphens (not parentheses) in phone numbers. (Chicago 9.6)

  • Two students completed the exam early.
  • 80 percent, 80 percent increase (no hyphen)
  • one million; about 50 thousand; exactly 50,218
  • 18-year-olds; an 18-year-old student
  • 35mm camera, 16mm film
  • 123rd (not 123rd)
  • 50th anniversary or fiftieth anniversary
  • 240-567-7000
  • $5 (not $5.00); $1 million
  • Roman Numerals: I,II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XX, XXX, XL, L (50), LX, LXX, LXXX, XC, C (100), CC, CCC, CD, D (500), DC, DCC, DCCC, CM, M (1,000)


Office of Admissions and Records

formerly Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration

Office of Safety and Security


off-site (compound modifier)

on-site (compound modifier)


part-time (adj.), part time (adv.)

  • a part-time worker
  • He works part time.

Paul Peck Humanities Institute

Paul Peck Institute for American Culture and Civic Engagement

PC, PCs (plural)

phone numbers

Use hyphens throughout (not parentheses or periods).

  • 240-567-5000

plays (see Titles)


An apostrophe is never used to form the plural of a family name. Capital letters used as words, abbreviations that contain no interior periods, and numerals used as nouns form the plural by adding s. (Chicago 7.6–7.16)

  • masters of artsbachelors of science (Chicago, 7.7)
  • MAs and PhDs, URLs (abbreviation with no interior periods) (Chicago 7.14)
  • Afghans and Pakistanis
  • the Joneses (Chicago 7.8)
  • threes and fours (no apostrophe needed)
  • thank-yous, dos and don’ts (Chicago 7.13, 7.29)
  • ifs and buts, maybes, the three Rs (Chicago 7.14)
  • the 1900s (numeral used as a noun)


(see also, Titles)

Enclose poem titles (short, not epic) in quotation marks, roman type. For long poetic works, use italics.

  • “Casey at the Bat”
  • Paradise Lost

Policies and Procedures

available online at )


Add an apostrophe and an s to most singular nouns to form the possessive, and only an apostrophe for plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals that do not end in s). If the noun ends in s, x, or z, add an apostrophe and an s. (Chicago 7.15–7.22) Omitting the s for words ending in s is not recommended (Chicago 7.21) because it disregards pronunciation.

  • The Rockville Campus’s buildings 
  • The Williamses’ new house  (Chicago 7.16)
  • FDR’s legacy, 2010’s heaviest snowstorm (Chicago 7.16)
  • the United States’ mission (Chicago 7.19)



Do not hyphenate words beginning with pre, except: pre-dentistry, pre-engineering, pre-medicine, pre-medical technology, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, and similar words.



Do not hyphenate prefixes, generally, but hyphenate when the adjacent letters are duplicated, or the prefix stands alone and when necessary to avoid confusion with other words. When in doubt, it is never wrong to keep a hyphen to avoid misleading or puzzling forms (e.g., re-cover versus recover, un-ionized versus unionized). See also, Chicago 7.85 for “Hyphenation guide for compounds and words formed with prefixes.”

  • semi-independent, ultra- and subsonic vibrations
  • non-nativeanti-intellectual 

Note: When the second element consists of more than one word, use an en dash, not a hyphen:

  • pre–World War I (Chicago 6.80)




Use lowercase when the phrase follows the individual’s name, except when used in a document heading—but capitalize when title directly precedes the name.

  • Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard. 


quality point average

quality points


readmission (no hyphen)



No hyphen; this is an exception to the guidance for other prefixes.

Roman numerals 

I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XX, XXX, XL, L (50), LX, LXX, LXXX, XC, C (100), CC, CCC, CD, D (500), DC, DCC, DCCC, CM, M (1000)


No need to use periods or the word “please” with RSVP; it is included in the translation.


Safety and Security Office

School of Art and Design at Montgomery College,

occasionally, School of Art+Design (SA+D) when name is used as a logo.


Use lowercase for the four seasons. (Chicago 8.87)


Most words formed with self are hyphenated (e.g., self-made), whether preceding or following a noun; exceptions include selfless and unselfconscious (without “un,” it’s self-conscious)

Smithsonian Institution

(not Institute)

South Campus Instructional Building

(not Instruction)


In text, use one space between sentences.


start-up (noun)

a fledgling business enterprise (Webster’s 11th)

state names 

Capitalize state names, but lowercase the word state if it precedes the proper noun.

state of Maryland, but Maryland State

(Chicago 8.50)


Student Code of Conduct, but the code 

Student Development (DS) courses

Student Insider’s Guide 

formerly, Montgomery College Student Handbook

student with learning disabilities

not learning disabled student 


summer session

not summer term




restrictive, use without commas.

Snow that falls in the summer is rare.; see also, which (Chicago 6.22)


when referring to College majors and productions


a.m. and p.m. (with periods) with one space between the numeral and the abbreviation. Use an en-dash for time ranges. In text, avoid using the dash for a time range; instead, use “from” and “to.”

  • 2 p.m.
  • 3–5 p.m.
  • 9 a.m.–noon (not 12 p.m. or 12 noon)
  • 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.* (Chicago 9.39)
  • Office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.



 title, professional

Capitalize a person’s professional title when it precedes the name; use lowercase when it follows the name, regardless of rank or executive level. (Chicago 8.18) (see also Titles) 

  • Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard will be the keynote speaker.
  • President and CEO John Smith will attend the conference.
  • Barack Obama is the first African American president of the United States.
  • DeRionne P. Pollard, president, will visit the campus on Tuesday.
  • Wrong: Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard 

Exception: In promotional or other formal contexts (e.g., a displayed list of donors in an annual report or honored guests at commencement), titles are usually capitalized when following a personal name (Chicago 8.19, 8.21)


(preferable in American English, not towards, the British English preference). The simpler form (without s) is also preferred for other direction terms: upward, downward, forward, backward, and afterward. (Chicago 5.220)


TV channels and broadcast networks

Set broadcast networks and TV channels in roman type.

  • the Discovery Channel
  • MCTV Channel 10
  • WAMU


United States

When used as a noun, spell out; when using as an adjective, abbreviate US. (Chicago 10.33)

University of Maryland

not University of Maryland, College Park

The university prefers to omit “College Park” from its official name unless referencing a physical address of the campus on first reference. The preferred second reference is Maryland, the university, or the flagship; Terrapins or Terps in athletic references. If an abbreviation is needed in headlines, UM is appropriate, but not UMCP. (see also

Wrong: UMCP

Right: UM 

University of Maryland, Baltimore

Of the 13 public institutions across the state comprising the University System of Maryland, only the Baltimore location is authorized to refer to itself as the University of Maryland.

Universities at Shady Grove, USG 

“The” is not part of the official name.

University System of Maryland

(first reference), on subsequent references, either University System, USM, or the System 

(Note: “The” is not part of the official name.)

see also

upper-division (adj.)

US (adj.)

Abbreviated (no periods) when used as an adjective, but spell out United States when used as a noun. It is not necessary to space between the letters when referring to our country, but add the spaces when using a person’s initials, as in “President U. S. Grant.” Chicago Manual of Style recommends all initials given with a name be followed by a period. When persons are referred to by initials only, no periods are used (e.g., JFK, FDR, LBJ). (Chicago 10.33)

Note: In publications using traditional state abbreviations, use periods to abbreviate United States and its states and territories: U.S., N.Y., Ill. Note, however, that Chicago recommends using the two-letter postal codes (and therefore US) wherever abbreviations are used; see Chicago 10.28.



spell out; not vs.

Veterans Affairs Office

referring to the MC Office

veterans benefits

(no apostrophe)

vice president and provost

visa (passport endorsement), VISA (credit card trademark)

Visual, Performing, and Communications Arts (not Communication)

voicemail (noun)



Washington, DC

(Chicago 6.46 and 10.30) For additional examples of state abbreviations, see Chicago Manual of Style.

web, World Wide Web, the web, web-based, web-related (adjectives), web page, website (one word, lowercase) 

websites, URLs, and e-mail addresses

Set websites in roman. In Internet addresses, no space follows a period (also known as a dot).

If it is necessary to break a URL or an e-mail address at the end of a printed line, the period should appear on the new line, never at the end of the line above (Chicago 6.17). No hyphen should be added to denote a line break. The break should be made between elements, after a colon, a slash (/), a double slash (//), or the symbol @ but before a period or any other punctuation or symbols. To avoid confusion, a URL that contains a hyphen should never be broken at the hyphen.


Who is the nominative form. Use who whenever he, she, they, I, or we could be substituted in the who clause. Whom is the objective form. Use whom whenever him, her, them, me, or us could be substituted as the object of the verb or as the object of a preposition in the whom clause. If in doubt, mentally rearrange the clause.


(nonrestrictive) Use which with commas.

Snow, which normally falls in the winter, is pretty at first. (Chicago 6.22) (see also, that)

Women’s Studies Program  


Workforce Development & Continuing Education

or WD&CE, with ampersand




World Wide Web



see centuries, decades, years


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