Words To Live (and Die) By

In higher education we frequently use words such as “online,” “student-athlete” and “on campus.” In the interest of clarity and a respectable website, we’d like to share a sample of frequently misspelled or misused words. Please see the expanded list at the University Relations, Web Services, Style Guide page.


  • academic degrees – bachelor’s and master’s degrees (possessive), and doctorate (all not capitalized), Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, Doctor of Psychology (capitalized, not possessive), B.A., Ph.D., M.S., Ed. D. We do not use the prefix of Dr. for faculty with Ph.D.s (Denise Smith, Ph.D., not Dr. Denise Smith).
  • adviser (not advisor)
  • campus-wide (adj. hyphenated before a noun), campus wide (other uses)
  • classes – The names of classes such as Economics I, Organic Chemistry II and Criminological Theory are capitalized because they are proper nouns. Academic subjects are not capitalized: physics, music, etc.
  • department – The word department is not capitalized unless it is part of a proper noun: Department of Physical Therapy.
  • email (one word, no hyphen)
  • everyday (adj.), every day (other uses)
  • Internet (capitalized noun)
  • full/part-time (adj. hyphenated before a noun), full/part time (two words other uses)
  • North, South and East Campuses are capitalized.
  • regard – In the phrase in regard to, the word regard is not plural. In the phrase, send my regards, the word regard is plural.
  • subjects – Subjects, except languages, are not capitalized. So math, history, and chemistry are not capitalized, but English, Spanish and French are.
  • university (not capitalized, except when part of a name: University of Massachusetts Lowell)
  • website (one word)

State abbreviations with their postal code (only) abbreviations in parentheses:

Ala. (AL) Md. (MD) N.D. (ND)
Ariz. (AZ) Mass. (MA) Okla. (OK)
Ark. (AR) Mich. (MI) Ore. (OR)
Calif. (CA) Minn. (MN) Pa. (PA)
Colo. (CO) Miss. (MS) R.I. (RI)
Conn. (CT) Mo. (MO) S.C. (SC)
Del. (DE) Mont. (MT) S.D. (SD)
Fla. (FL) Neb. (NE) Tenn. (TN)
Ga. (GA) Nev. (NV) Vt. (VT)
Ill. (IL) N.H. (NH) Va. (VA)
Ind. (IN) N.J. (NJ) Wash. (WA)
Kan. (KS) N.M. (NM) W.Va. (WV)
Ky. (KY) N.Y. (NY) Wis. (WI)
La. (LA) N.C. (NC) Wyo. (WY)


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