Uiw Graphic And Web Style Guide

Spelling And Usage Guide

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Commonly Misused Terms


Use the following list as a guideline for treatment of these terms:

  • adviser preferred to advisor
  • affect: (verb) to have an influence on; effect: (noun) result
  • between when referring to a relationship of two things
  • among when referring to a relationship of three or more things
  • capital for the city, Capitol for the building
  • complement for denoting completing something
  • compliment for denoting praise or expression of courtesy      
  • coursework, not course work      
  • credit-hour (adjective), credit hour (noun)      
  • database not data base      
  • disabled not handicapped
  • doctorate is a noun, and doctoral is an adjective      
  • grade-point average, not grade point average      
  • international students, not foreign students
  • principal when referring to someone or something first in rank or authority
  • principle when referring to a fundamental truth
  • theatre when referring to the department, discipline, or a performance; theater when referring to a building; exception with proper name; e.g.: Coates Theatre       
  • workplace, not work place      
  • workstation, not work station


Avoid using a split infinitive; e.g.:

He was told to quickly process the papers. instead of He was told to process the papers quickly.


Latin Terms/Plurals

Use the following list as a guideline for treatment of  these terms:

  • alumnus is male singular, alumna is female singular         
  • alumni is male plural or generic plural, alumnae is female plural.         
  • emeritus is male singular, emerita is female singular (as in president emerita)         
  • emeriti is male or generic plural, emeritae is female plural         
  • syllabus is singular, syllabi is plural.         
  • basis is singular, bases is plural        
  • index is singular, indices is plural


Special  Capitalization

In general, only capitalize proper nouns and names.  There are some terms to be treated with exception. Use the following list as a guideline:

  • Mass not mass, and Baccalaureate Mass        
  • Commencement not commencement        
  • Mission (of UIW) not mission        
  • 125th Anniversary not 125th anniversary        
  • Catholic not catholic and Catholic Church not Catholic church


Electronic Conventions

Electronic addresses should be written in all lowercase, unless the address is case sensitive; e.g.: www.uiw.edu (not necessary to include http://);  martin@uiwtx.edu



  • online not on-line              
  • Internet not internet       
  • homepage not home page       
  • website