Editorial Style and Usage Guide

The following style guide is an attempt to standardize usage for written materials produced by members of the office of university relations and its communication partners at the colleges, schools and divisions of the University of Arkansas. The lion’s share of that writing is posted to the university’s website, where the reading audience ranges from schoolchildren to alumni to international students considering the university for graduate studies. So the writing that explains and promotes the university's mission needs to be familiar and readily understood.

For most written work, writers and editors should use the Associated Press Stylebook as a primary guide for written work. The Associated Press uses Webster’s New World College Dictionary, published by Wiley, as its primary dictionary. For questions not addressed by the Associated Press Stylebook, consult the Chicago Manual of Style.

Although this guide contains some exceptions to the Associated Press Stylebook, the style guidelines here are not meant to supplant the Associated Press Stylebook but rather to augment it with guides specific to the University of Arkansas and academe.

This guide is not intended for students or professors to use when writing academic papers, and it does not try to include field-specific guidelines. On the contrary, the intent of this guide is to provide ways to avoid the technical jargon that is necessary within most academic disciplines.

Criteria for design of publication also have an enormous effect on how readers perceive headlines, captions and other ornamental text. Editors should not feel chained to these guidelines when design is paramount.

In any case, writers and editors should ask themselves whether a particular phrase or usage will be understood by the readers for whom the writing is intended. Let clarity and cogency be the primary guides.

The editors