Serial Comma

The AHC Public Relations team follows the AP Style Guide with respect to serial commas. We don't use serial commas, which are also sometimes called Oxford or Harvard commas.


  • The School of Public Health, Medical School and College of Veterinary Medicine all have extraordinary communicators.

However, like the AP we will - at times - use a serial comma to resolve ambiguity.


  • The meal consisted of soup, salad, and macaroni and cheese.


  • I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.


Only capitalize the first word of a headline on a web page. This is AP Style. Capitalize formal nouns within.


  • Paquette brought down by the Minnesota Daily, claims entrapment.

Titles of Works

Use quotation marks: articles, book chapters, short stories, poems, speeches, conference titles, official exhibits.


  • Paquette recently authored "My Affinity for Tee-shirt Time," a complete look at the "shirt before the shirt."

Use italics: books, magazines, pamphlets, conference proceedings, movies, CDs, works of art.


  • Paquette's recent "My Affinity for Tee-shirt Time," appears in this month's Newsweek, on newsstands Dec. 5th.


Use figures for all dates.


  • Frank's party was on Dec. 5, 2007.

*Note - at times ordinals (e.g. 15th) are appropriate when you've expressly noted which year you are discussing.


  • Later this year, on Nov. 5th, Paquette will hold his seminar on reconstructive surgery.

Spell out numbers unless referring to a specific time; always use figures with specific a.m. and p.m. times.


  • Our meeting lasted until after five.

  • The program begins at 8:30 a.m.


Use the word cents with amounts less than a dollar. Use the $ and the figure for amounts more than a dollar. Do not use zeros if the amount with even dollar amounts, unless part of a series.


  • Mini Medical School costs $60.

  • Student tickets are $2.50.

  • The price ranges from $25.50 to $50.00.

  • The researchers earned a $5 million grant.


Use semicolons when you have two related sentences you want to connect without the use of a conjunction.


  • Megan sent the invitations; Emily compiled the final guest list.


Don't capitalize "the" in the middle of sentences as part of an entity name.


  • Paquette has been removed from his post at the University of Minnesota.

  • Accused of sleeping at his desk, Paquette is no longer head of the Department of Family Medicine.


Capitalize words that are political divisions, geographic regions; do not capitalize words that only indicate direction.


  • Greater Minnesota

  • south Minneapolis

  • Hennepin County

  • the Jersey Shore


University is always capitalized when referring to the University of Minnesota, even if the full name is not used.


  • Megan is an outstanding student at the University.


Generally speaking, when an official title comes right before the name, it is capitalized; when it follows the name, it is not capitalized. Our experts will often try to change this, - but don't let them.


  • Assistant Professor Justin Paquette is the host.

  • Justin Paquette is assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

If the person holds an endowed chair, or is a Regents Professor, the title is capitalized, no matter where it falls in the sentence.


  • David Sutherland holds the John S. Najarian Surgical Chair in Clinical Transplantation.

Do not capitalize titles that are in place of proper names.


  • The president spoke at Coffman Union.

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