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Michigan Tech


Punctuation following ital., bold face, etc., should be the same. [italicize and boldface to show them, with punctuation, too.]


a là

(accent under ~, upper left-hand corner of keyboard) use for résumé (option-E)


In words showing joint possession or in compound (hyphenated) words, only the last word takes the possessive form.

secretary-treasurer's report;
Jones and Company's product;
John and Becky's child

When two or more persons possess something individually, each of their names takes the possessive form.

the buyer's and the seller's signatures;
the dean's and the professors' offices

Use an apostrophe to denote a contraction or omission of letters.

it is becomes it's;
1978 becomes (the Class of) '78

Use the apostrophe to form the plural of lower-case letters and symbols. It’s not necessary for capital letters and numbers, including years.

p's and q's; but As and Bs (grades);
IOUs; during the 1990s

campus’s architecture


No apostrophe.

Articles and Chapters

Use quotation marks.

"In the Warmth of the Dome."



  • Use a colon if the introductory statement is an independent clause, but
  • “The fellows are
    • experts in their fields
    • in demand across the nation
    • full of important information”
  • In this example, you could also use commas, “and,” and a period at the end.

For more on lists, see Chicago, pp. 344–348.


Include the comma before "including" and "as well as"
But, do not use "as well as" when "and" would suffice.

Macomb, Mich., (comma as an appositive)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010, (same)

Acme Co. Inc. (no comma)
et al (no periods, no comma if after one word)

In 1979, the world continued to spin on it axis.
Case by case basis on how to use this comma in introductory phrases (length, need for a pause, etc.)

no comma before Inc.
but , PC , MD , PhD

Double Spaces

Avoid double spaces after the period.


Use three after a period and in the middle of a sentence with spaces before and after:

We had to show the way. . . . That was the end of the conversation.
The meeting was just okay . . . the bitterness faded slowly.

The beginning . . . is the end.

. . . or at the end of a sentence. . . . (spaces in between)

En dash

Use an en dash (–), when possible, or hyphen (-) for inclusive page references (unless preceded by the word from, in which case to must be used).

pp. 1–21; but: from page 1 to 21

Use an en dash, when possible, or hyphen in dates extending over two successive calendar years. Do not use spaces on either side of the en dash.

1998–99; 2002–04, but: 1999–2000

Use an en dash between inclusive numbers.

3–11; 85–6; 113–6, 100–5, 1,002–8; 321–5; 455–501; note the 0 remains in years: 1905–06 and for clarity in page numbers (above).

Use an en dash to link cities to universities with more than one campus.

University of Wisconsin–Madison;
University of Minnesota–Duluth

Em dash

Use an em dash, also referred to as the dash, to precede a reference to an author following a direct quotation. Do not use spaces on either side of the em dash.

"I am simply a human being, more or less."—Saul Bellow, Herzog (1964)

Use em dashes to set off clauses that are logically and structurally independent, also for amplifying or explaining.

Tonight's program—a program that has won national acclaim—is underwritten…

He had a plan to win the game—a plan he hoped would work.

et al

et al no period


Hyphenated compounds in titles—

Capitalize only the first element in hyphenated titles of works unless the second element is a proper noun or adjective.

Death-defying Feats by Nineteenth-century Tightrope Walkers

An All-American Girl: How a Non-English-speaking Immigrant Made Good

Do not capitalize second element if modifying the first element or both elements constitute a single word.

twentieth-century literature;
English-speaking people;
first-year student

When used as an adjective in a title, the number following the hyphen is lowercase.

Twenty-third Conference on Sludge;
Twenty-first Century Literature

Note—Although modern practice tends toward deleting traditional hyphens (reestablish, toolmaker), they should be retained where they are used in the original title. Only capitalization and punctuation may be altered in a title.

Do not hyphenate vice president.

Do not hyphenate cross country.

Hyphenate adjectival phrases formed of two or more words preceding the nouns modified where ambiguity might result.

  • well-known woman; first-class act;
  • joint-stock company;
  • matter-of-course attitude; solid-state circuit;
  • land-use legislation;
  • cross-cultural education;
  • steady-state research; decision-making body
  • full-semester course

Use a hyphen when the meaning varies with the absence of a hyphen.

Re-cover and recover;
re-create and recreation, etc.

Hyphenate when the first vowel of the added word would suggest mispronunciation.

pro-ally; demi-equitant; ante-urban

Do not hyphenate adjectives formed of two proper names having their own fixed meaning.

Old Testament times; New York subways

5 percent solution, $122 million contract: no hyphens

more effective plan: no hyphen. Only use when necessary for clarity: more-rigorous academics (tougher) vs. more rigorous academics (more of them).

90 percent refund

No hyphen.


One word.

Birth date

Two words.


No hyphen needed. University-wide is one of the few -wide compounds that needs a hyphen.

Center for Pre-College Outreach, but precollege programs

class work

Coedited, Coauthor

No hyphen.


usage: men’s, women’s and co-rec softball rules (instead of co-recreation)




No hyphen.


Hyphenate as an adjective. Open as a noun.

Similarly: critical-thinking pattern and cutting-edge design; but It required critical thinking and his design was cutting edge.




One word, no hyphen.

firsthand one word

Full time (n)

Full-time (adj. or adv.)

Job Site

Two words.

but long-term

-ly words, other adverb/adjective combinations

Do not hyphenate combinations of adverb and adjective or adverb and participle unless ambiguity would result.

highly developed areas;

the fallen tree blocked the road.

man-made (adj.)


No hyphen.

Non words

Compounds of non ordinarily do not require a hyphen, except when used with a proper noun. Consult Merriam-Webster's; if the compound does not appear there, use a hyphen.


non-civil engineering;

but: nondegree-seeking student;

nonmajor; noncredit; Nonemergency


No hyphen.

On-site (hyphen, adj. or adv.)


Minnesota Duluth
Alaska Anchorage
Alaska Fairbanks
but, Nebraska-Omaha
Michigan-Ann Arbor



Do not hyphenate prefixes when joined to roots except in a combination with words beginning with their terminal vowel or sometimes when used with a w or a y.

Biweekly; coauthor; coeducation; cocurricular
preprofessional; prelegal;
but: postwar; coworker

When in doubt, consult Merriam-Webster's latest edition.




Hyphenate as an adjective. Leave open as a noun.


No hyphen.


Two accents (option-e) on the vita-like document; none on resuming the chase.

safe house

Self- words

Hyphenate when self forms the first element of a compound.

self-conscious; self-denial


Not hyphenated.


spring break, no caps

start-up as a noun or modifier
start up as a verb

Ultrahigh-performance editors, but Their achievement scores were ultrahigh.

Serial Comma

Michigan Tech uses the serial comma, the second comma in this example:

The Huskies defeated Northern, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

take out (v)
takeout (n)
take-out (adj.)

Weeklong (one word)

Year-end, year-round, but yearlong


PO Box in forms; PO box in text


no / at the end of URLs