Director of Communications
Claire Fletcher

Mauro Gomez

Communications Associate
Ashleigh Teel

Episcopal High School Style Guide

The EHS Communications Department refers to the Associated Press Stylebook for general questions regarding writing style and punctuation. We also refer to A Pocket Style Manual and Webster's New World College Dictionary. Listed below you will find exceptions, as well as frequently "asked about" words, grammar, and punctuation answers. This online style guide is designed to evolve and expand each year; please contact EHS Director of Communications Claire Fletcher at with your comments or suggestions.



academic courses- Capitalize the main words in titles of specific courses, but not names used in a general sense.

She signed up for Chemistry I.
The chemistry book is open.

Capitalize all nouns and adjectives referring to languages, countries and nationalities.

He signed up for an English course.

academic departments, programs-Capitalize formal names of departments and programs, but not general names.

Episcopal High School's Department of Theatre presents Our Town.
George Brock works in the theatre department of Episcopal High School.

The EHS acting program is renowned.
The National Merit Scholar Program has selected five students.

academic degrees-Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no apostrophe in Bachelor of Science or Master of Art.

academic honors-Summa cum laude, cum laude, etc., receive no special punctuation or type style in running text. (No italics needed.)

academic titles, personal titles-Capitalize titles before names, not after.

Rice University Professor of Geology Andre Droxler will address the students.
Andre Droxler, professor of geology at Rice, will address the students.
Mayor Annise Parker announced plans to run again.
Annise Parker, mayor of Houston, announced her plans.

acknowledgement, acknowledgment- Most common use of acknowledgement is the British spelling with the e. Both are correct.

ACT-Write without periods

advisor, advisory- Use "or" spelling.

affect, effect-
Affect as a verb, means to influence:

The loss against Second Baptist will affect their standings.

Effect, as a verb, means to cause:

The coach will effect many changes on the baseball team.

Effect, as a noun, means result:

The effect of the play's humor was laughter.
The effect of the quarterback's injury was devastating.

ages-Use numbers for people and animals, but spell out ages for inanimate objects.

The girl is 5 years old.
The 5-year-old girl hated broccoli.
The teacher, 35, has a daughter 4 months old.
The teacher is in his 20s.
The Breakthrough Program is at least five years old.

al-Qaida- Preferred AP spelling for the terrorist group.

alumni, alumna, alumnus-Alumnus is the single, masculine form. For references to women, use alumna (singular) or alumnae (plural). Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. The abbreviated version of alum/s is also appropriate.

anxious vs. eager-Eager is used when a person is excited, or looking forward to something. Anxious is used when nervous.

She was anxious to receive her test score, since she hadn't studied.
She was eager to receive her test score, since she felt confident about her preparation.

apostrophes- EHS Style is to avoid apostrophes when a word is used primarily in a descriptive, not possessive, sense.

Correct: girls basketball, boys volleyball, Dads Club, Parents Association, Founders Day, Grandparents Day

Make abbreviations plural by adding "s." No apostrophe needed. Can be used with certain fonts for clarification.

M.B.A.s R.N.s IDs

For a singular noun ending in "s" form the possessive by adding "'s."

EHS's new buildings.

assure, ensure, insure-Assure means affirm or hearten; ensure means guarantee; and insure is used for references to insurance.

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benefiting, benefited- One t is correct.

Board of Trustees-Capitalize first reference when referring to EHS's Board of Trustees. When referring to other boards and trustees, capitalize in first reference following original form. Do not capitalize board of trustees when used alone or in second reference.

Larry West has joined the EHS Board of Trustees.
The board member sent her thanks.

bulleted lists (see Lists)

bused, busing – One "s" is correct.

button-down - Hyphenate adjective or noun referring to uniform shirts.

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capitalization- Follow AP Style, but there are exceptions. Capitalize formal references to the School, Chapel, Head of School, Campus Master Plan. A general rule is that official names are capitalized; unofficial, informal, shortened, or generic names aren't. This rule applies to names of schools, buildings, departments.

The Office of Advancement
The advancement office

Chapel- Use caps when referring to our EHS Chapel building, or the daily worship and gathering.

Citywide- One word is correct.

colons- Capitalize the word after a colon if it is a proper noun or starts a complete sentence.

He promised this: Not one child will be left behind.

commas- Unlike the AP Stylebook, we will use commas in a series.
Use the serial comma (the final comma before "and," "or," or "nor") in a list of three or more items.

blue, white, and pink flags

If items in the series contain commas themselves, use semicolons between all items.

The letters she wrote are dated August 7, 2007; May 12, 2010; and January 4, 2013.

When following a person's name, qualifiers such as Ph.D. and M.D. are preceded by a comma. A second comma follows the qualifier in running text.

Mary Newton, Ph.D.
The opening remarks by Mary Newton, Ph.D., set the tone for the conference.

However, qualifiers such as Jr., Sr., and III are not set off by commas. This is AP Style.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Bob Jones III

Set off the year when using dates with commas on both sides if a day of the month precedes it.

January 29, 2014, is the deadline.
January 2014 is the deadline.

Set off a parenthetical (nonrestrictive) expressions with commas on both sides. Note that states following cities are parenthetical and require commas before and after.

The study, it was believed, had been falsified.
The members of the class, generally speaking, were happy to be there.
They visited Austin, Texas, on their last trip.
The new Head of School, Ned Smith, spoke to the students.
Mary's husband, Al, made dinner.

But: Head of School Ned Smith spoke to the students. (no comma)

Commas appear after, not before, an expression in parentheses (such as this), and they always go inside quotation marks, except when a quotation mark indicates inches.

cosponsor- One word

course work- Two words.

curricula, curriculum- Curriculum is singular. Curricula and curriculums are plural.

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dates-Spell out months and days of the week; use numerals for years. Use no punctuation if listing just the month and the year, but set the year off with commas if using the day of the month.

May 2013
a February 5, 2014, deadline
Join us Friday, October 12, for a celebration.

Please do not use ordinal numbers to write dates.

Correct: December 1, 2013
Incorrect: December 1st, 2013

decades-May be referred to in the following ways:

the 1990s
the '90s
the nineties

degrees- See Titles, degrees

department names- Capitalize the full, formal names of departments, but lowercase shortened or informal versions.

The Department of Mathematics
The math department
The mathematics faculty

dependant (person), dependent (adjective)

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EHS Onstage

ellipsis- Use a three-dot sequence to indicate that something has been left out of a sentence or a passage. Leave a space before and after each dot. If a sentence ends (or is cut off) right before the ellipsis, leave in the punctuation that would have ended the sentence. Please refer to AP Style Guide for more information on the ellipsis, spacing, and punctuation.

The English class…is required for all students.
The students explained: When in Rome … .

email- Do not use a hyphen to write email. No capitalization needed unless at the start of a sentence. Hyphenate e-book, e-commerce, and e-business. See tech terms for additional examples. These rules are evolving each year.

essential, nonessential clauses and phrases-Same as restrictive, nonrestrictive clauses. There is a detailed discussion of this in the AP Stylebook. Basically, essential clauses and phrases cannot be eliminated without changing the meaning of a sentence. Nonessential clauses and phrases can be eliminated without changing the meaning. Essential clauses and phrases do not need to be set off with commas, nonessential clauses and phrases do.

Students who do not do their homework should be punished.
Students, who do not complete their homework, should be punished.

They ate dinner with their daughter Ann.
They ate dinner with their oldest daughter, Ann.
They ate dinner with their daughter Ann and her husband, Joe.

ethnic terms-Do not hyphenate when used as nouns. Writers may need to hyphenate for clarity in some instances when used as a compound adjective.

African American
Native American
Asian American

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fewer, less- Fewer refers to items that can be counted; less refers to general amounts.

Fewer students are taking French.
Try to eat less sugar.

Four Pillars - Use caps when referring to our school mission.

freshman, freshmen - Freshmen is plural for many students, but use singular as an adjective in "freshman year," "freshman class," "freshman parents."

fulltime, full time-One word when used as an adjective; two words when used an adverb.

fundraiser, fundraising- one word

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grade point average, GPA- Use grade point average spelled out with no hyphens or abbreviated as GPA, no periods.

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hyphens- Limit hyphens, but use them to avoid ambiguity, especially when sentences have compound adjectives. If a compound adjective is commonly used, such as "high school student," a hyphen is not necessary.

Correct: first-floor classes, new middle-school students, state-level review

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in, into-"In" indicates location;

The teacher worked in the room.

"Into" indicates motion:

The teacher walked into the room.

It’s, its- The contraction of “it is” uses an apostrophe. The possessive pronoun does not.

It’s time to celebrate SPC success.
The field lost its grass during the drought.

Ivy League-Capitalize this term when referring to the list of schools that includes Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

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Jr., Sr., II, III- No comma before Jr., etc.

Joe E. Smith Jr.
Joe E. Smith III

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kidnap, kidnapped, kidnapping, kidnapper


Knight/s- Capitalize when referring to EHS teams and mascot.

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letter grades - For clarity, use a capital letter with an apostrophe.

Wilcox was a star pitcher who made straight A's in college.

like, as- Use "like" as a preposition to compare nouns and pronouns. It requires an object:

The football player blocks like a pro.

The conjunction "as" is the correct word to introduce clauses:

Jim blocks the linebacker as he should.

lists- When listing student and faculty, list them in alphabetical order, unless they are listed by class or title, etc. Donor lists should be alphabetized, too.

Vertical lists are set off from the body text-so they catch the reader's attention. A vertical list is also the best way to organize lists with items that are lengthy or contain two or more sentences.

Vertical lists may be bulleted or enumerated.

In a bulleted list, the bullet takes the place of punctuation (such as commas or semicolons) between items in a list. Don't use any punctuation at the ends of bulleted items that are not sentences. There is no need for a concluding period at the end of a bulleted list, even when that list continues a sentence--that lone period will look lost down there.

The benefits of a Dads Club membership include:

• special invitations to all EHS sporting events
• a Dads Club T-shirt
• friendships and service opportunities

Join now to experience all the rewards of the Dads Club membership.

When your bulleted items are sentences, capitalize the first letter of each and use appropriate end punctuation. When they consist of single words or phrases, lowercase is best.

To help make your high school experience a pleasant and successful one, keep these suggestions in mind:

• Register for classes.
• Attend classes.
• Read the required books.
• Follow the rules for behavior.

Keep bulleted lists consistent. If some of the items in a list are sentences, make all of them sentences. If some items begin with verbs, begin all items with verbs. In short publications, such as brochures, try to structure all your lists the same way--either in sentences or not. In longer works, some variance is acceptable.

It is usually best to indent your bulleted list from the surrounding copy. Consider the density of the surrounding copy and whether your list might get lost, even with the bullets.

In an enumerated vertical list, each item is preceded by a number or letter followed by a period. Use enumerated lists when you'll want to refer back to specific items (e.g., "as in item 15 above"). Numbers (as opposed to letters) are best used when sequential order is important, because that's what numbers imply to readers.

Following are some guidelines for punctuation of numbered lists:

  1. Align letters or numbers vertically along the periods that follow them (usually called decimal alignment or decimal tab), and align the text one space to the right. Second and subsequent lines of text should be aligned under the first letter of the first line of text (hanging indent).
  2. Reserve the (1), (2), (3) or (a), (b), (c) format for run-in lists.

A run-in list (one not broken out in vertical style) should suffice if your list is short or if the items within the list are short. Run-in lists take up less space than vertical lists, but they're harder to read.

If you plan to refer back to specific items in the list, enumerate the items with letters or numbers. Otherwise, simply separate the items with commas or semicolons.

Enumerate the items in a run-in list with numbers or letters enclosed in parentheses. There is no period or other punctuation enclosed within the parentheses, and there is no space between the number or letter and parentheses. Put one space between the closing parenthesis and the word that follows.

Use commas or semicolons to separate enumerated items exactly as you would if there were no (1), (2), (3), or (a), (b), (c).

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months- Months are not abbreviated in running text. See Dates.

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noon- Do not use "12 noon."

numbers- Refer to AP Style Guide. Spell out numbers through nine. Use numerals for 10 or more. Spell out numbers when they begin a sentence. In running text, when referring to dollar amounts in millions, use the numeral and million, rather than zeros;

The Auction raised $1 million (not $1,000,000).

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online- Write as one word.

ordinals- Write out first through ninth. Use numerals for 10th or higher.

over, more than- "Over" is preferred when referring to spatial relationships:

The bird flew over the campus.
"More than" is preferred with numerals:
EHS raised more than $140,000 at the golf tournament.

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Percent - Spell out percent, use % when space is needed or for tables and lists, poster graphics. Use numerals in front of percent, unless beginning a sentence.

Forty percent of the students signed up to run.
Nearly 40 percent of the students signed up to run.

phone numbers- In EHS publications, write phone numbers as: 713-662-1111.

photo captions- Photo captions will be written most frequently in italics. In large groups, we will identify people from left to right, and from first row to back rows.

Pillars- Capitalize when referring to the EHS Four Pillars of academics, arts, athletics, and religion. Academics, arts, and athletics are used in plural form: Arts Pillar not Art Pillar

playwright- A person who writes plays.

playwriting- The art of writing plays.

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quotation marks - Periods and commas belong inside quotation marks, even when the quotation ends a sentence or consists of a single word. Semicolons and colons always fall outside quotation marks; if the quoted passage ends with a colon or semicolon, drop it. Question marks and exclamation points should be placed inside the quotation marks only if part of the quoted matter.
Use single quotation marks for a quotation within a quotation:
Carolyn said, "She wanted to 'be at peace' with her decision."

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Scholastic Aptitude Test, SAT- Does not need periods if abbreviating.

School- Capitalize when formally referring to Episcopal High School. Use lower case when referring to the building, or in a generic sense.

school year – Two words when used as a noun.

schoolwork- One word when used as a noun.

seasons-Lowercase fall, winter, spring, summer when referring to seasons and academic periods unless using in a title or formal name.

semicolons-Use semicolons to clarify a series.

semifinalist, semifinals

song titles-AP rules for composition titles advise using quotation marks around names of songs.

spell-checker, spell-check

spelling- When there's more than one way to spell a word, choose the first choice listed in Webster's dictionary.

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tech terms: (also check Web words)

theatre- EHS department prefers "-re" spelling for all uses.

time-Use numerals in all cases except quotes. EHS uses zeros for on-the-hour times. Use periods and lowercase for a.m. and p.m. For clarity use noon and midnight for 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.

titles-At EHS, we will try to be consistent with the rules below.

Capitalize and set in italics the titles of the following:

collections of poetry
long poems
magazines and other periodicals
motion pictures
operas, oratorios, motets, tone poems, and other long musical compositions
paintings, drawings, statues, and other works of art
plays, regardless of length
television and radio series, including miniseries

Capitalize (but don't italicize) the titles of the following:

book series
untitled musical compositions (e.g., Symphony in B Major); sharp and flat are lowercased (e.g., Symphony in E-flat Major)
computer software, languages, and hardware

Capitalize and enclose in quotation marks the titles of the following:

articles and parts of books
short poems
short stories
television and radio programs that are not continuing series and individual episodes within a series

Thornton Wilder's first award-winning play, Our Town, is a classic.
The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" is my favorite song from Abbey Road.

Professional titles are capitalized when they precede a personal name. Titles following are lower case.

top 10- Does not need to be capitalized unless at the start of a sentence or used as an article title.

Correct: The senior is looking at top 10 colleges; Top Ten Colleges (article)

toward, towards- Use toward.

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United States- Spell out first reference to United States when used as a noun. U.S. may be used as an adjective.

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Varsity - Use lower case, unless part of a formal name:

The varsity team won the SPC tournament.
The EHS Girls Varsity Basketball team won the SPC tournament.

Versus - Spell out or use vs.

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Web words - webcast, webcam, webmaster, website, web page, Web, the Web, World Wide Web,

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Xerox- Needs to be capitalized, because it is a brand. Use photocopy as a generic term.

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year- When writing student or alumni names, include the class year when appropriate.
John Doe '08

yearlong- Spell as one word.
year-round- Spell with hyphen.

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zigzag- Spell as one word.

zip code- Unlike AP Style Guide, we will lowercase "zip."

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EHS News Archives
Pillars Magazine Online

Graphic Resources

Please download the appropriate file format and color for your project. If you have questions about the files, colors*, or correct usage, please contact the Communications Department.
*EHS blue is PMS 294.

EHS Letterhead
( Word Template )

Primary EHS Logo
( Color EPS | Gray EPS )
( Color JPEG | Gray JPEG )

Alternate EHS Logo
( Color EPS | Gray EPS )
( Color JPEG | Gray JPEG )

EHS Shield Icon
( Color EPS | Gray EPS )
( Color JPEG | Gray JPEG )

Knight Head Icon
( Color EPS | Gray EPS )
( Color JPEG | Gray JPEG )

Knights Shield Logo
( Color EPS )
( Color JPEG )

EHS has several basic identity elements: the primary and alternate logo, shield icon, knight head icon, and knights shield logo. These elements are trademarks and as such, property of Episcopal High School