March 1, 2007


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1. PERIODS AND ELLIPSES: When indicating deleted words within a sentence, use three periods (ellipsis); at the end of a sentence, use four. There should be a space before and after the ellipsis: “The time has come … for us to reason together. …”


a. Do not use a comma between a name and “Jr.,” “Sr.,” “III,” “IV”: James Lamb Jr. and former Cornell president Hunter R. Rawlings III.
b. Do not use a comma with a class year: Alison Thomas ’02, Jordan Erenrich grad.
c. Use a comma to identify a professor’s academic department: Prof. Edgar Rosenberg, comparative literature.
d. Use a comma if the professor has a specific title: Kenneth A. McClane ’73, the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Literature.
e. Do not use a comma before the last item in a series: “I like apples, oranges, pears and bananas,” Rawlings said. If the series is long and confusing, use semicolons: In attendance were Prof. Frederick Ahl, classics; Prof. Hunter R. Rawlings III, classics; President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes and Susan H. Murphy ’73, vice president for student and academic services.
f. Do not use a comma before “Inc.” or “Ltd.”
g. When separating two parts of a sentence connected with conjunctions like “and” or “but,” use a comma only when both parts are independent clauses (that is, both have a subject and predicate). Examples: I went to class, and we had lunch; I went to class and had lunch.
h. Use a comma after dates or places in certain situations: … the Montgomery, Ala., native said; The June 19, 2003, date is set in stone.
i. Use a comma when reporting a sports score: Cornell beat Clarkson, 5-1, in the first game of the series.


a. Use a hyphen with fractions: seven-eighths.
b. Do not use a hyphen in “nationwide,” “fundraiser,” “cooperate,” “coeducation,” “coordinate,” “antiwar.”
c. Use a hyphen with ages only as an adjective or noun: the nine-year-old building, the nine-year-old, he is nine years old.
d. Use a hyphen with compound adjectives: well-known person, five-year plan. But: recently formed committee (no hyphen because “recently” ends in “–ly”).

4. DASHES: To make a dash in QuarkXPress, type Option + Shift + – all at once. Dashes should be spaced on both sides. They are used to make a sentence more readable than commas or parentheses can: The President’s statement — far from a pithy piece of discourse — lasted for more than 90 minutes of primetime television last night.

5. BULLETS: Never use bullets unless it seems absolutely necessary.

6. ITALICS VS. QUOTES: Never italicize magazines or newspapers. Books, films, videos, TV shows, plays, music albums, musicals, etc. are italicized; poems, songs, TV episodes, etc. are enclosed in quotes. In general, full, singular works of art are italicized while individual works are in quotes. Never underline or bold a title. Never italicize or enclose in quotes computer software (except computer and video games, which are italicized), website names (except: The Onion’s website), band names, concerts or other events. Examples: The Wizard of Oz, The Catcher in the Rye, Cats, Hamlet, The Odyssey (epic poems are italicized), The X-Files, Bob Marley’s Legend; “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “Brown-Eyed Girl,” Windows XP, etc. These rules apply to every section, including DAZE.


a. Smart (curvy) quotes only! These are automatic when typing in QuarkXPress but not automatic when copying and pasting stories from e-mail, U-Wire or the AP. The story must be reformatted to include them.
b. Use single quotation marks in headlines.
c. For quotes within quotes, use single quotes within quotation marks: “I have recently adopted the ‘Peter Principle,’” he said. No space between the single and double quotation marks. For further quotes within quotes, alternate single and double quotation marks.

8. APOSTROPHES: Use apostrophes to denote missing figures: The woman said she remembered a similar incident in the early ’30s. Use also with lowercase letters as in mind your p’s and q’s but not in he learned the ABCs.

9. PARENTHESES: Use brackets, not parentheses, to enclose words added to a quotation: “When I went to pick up [my car], I saw it had exploded,” she said. IMPORTANT NOTE: AP stories, because of the way they are sent over the wires, use round parentheses within quotes instead. These must be changed to square brackets!