icon of a paper next to Apply online text
open door next to gray writing "Visit"
Small icon next to white bg says "Give"

Web writing guide: word and phrase capitalization and use

Term and Abbreviation or Acronym

Definition or Notes

& instead of and

The word "and" is preferred in text, except in the case of a proper name: Scrooge & Marley. The ampersand is acceptable in headings (if used consistently) or to save space, as in menus.

advisor vs. adviser

Use advisor. Although adviser is also acceptable, most of our sites, such as Academic Advising, use advisor.

Adobe Reader

not Adobe Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Reader

African American, Asian American

Do not hyphenate when used as nouns. Hyphenate when used as adjectives: African-American traditions

all vs. all of

All is preferable.  Example: I hope you enjoy all the activities.


No periods, no spaces

bachelor's degree, master's degree

Write academic degrees in lowercase, except when used as titles or in lists. However, the abbreviations are capitalized. more


UMass Dartmouth does not capitalize “black” when referring to race.


Use cancellation (although cancelation is also an acceptable spelling).


One word


Example: course catalog


Avoid for naming links—use descriptive text instead.


One word


One word


Try to avoid. Replace with "for example."


No hyphen or initial caps

fall, winter, spring, summer

No need to capitalize unless used as a title: Fall Family Festival.

freshman vs. freshmen

Freshman is both a singular noun and an adjective.
NOTE: We are moving to the term first-year across many of our sites: first-year applicants, first-year students.


Preferable to "facsimile."


Try to avoid.


Initial cap

login (n.)

When referring to your assigned name. Example: "Meg's login was margaret1." Note: at UMass Dartmouth, we refer to the username and password as the UMassD Logon.

log in (v.)

When describing an action to be performed. Example: "When you log in, enter your new password."

logon (n.)

Special use: at UMass Dartmouth, we refer to the username and password as the UMassD Logon.

Massachusetts or MA

Not generally necessary after a city or town in the Commonwealth. When referencing cities in other states, omit the state’s name if it’s unnecessary: Baltimore. Break this rule to ensure clarity and accuracy: Florence, MA or Florence, Italy?


One word


The term we use to describe our region.

through vs. thru

Do not use thru. If space is an issue, such as in a table, use a hyphen or an en dash.  For example, Monday – Wednesday or M – W.

vendor vs. vender

Use vendor. Although vender is also acceptable, most of our sites use vendor.




lowercase, one word