April 2011 Archives


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.


We should still list degrees for expert guide headings, etc. Capitalize abbreviations of degrees and use periods; do not capitalize spelled-out degree names.


  • M.P.H.

  • M.D.

  • master's degree

  • doctorate

College/Department/Division/Association Names

Capitalize if using the official and full name.


  • School of Nursing

  • Paquette is chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine

Do not capitalize if shortened or non-official name.


  • nursing school

  • Paquette is a professor in family medicine.


Spell out numbers up to nine. Use figures for 10 and up.


  • five years

  • fourth quarter

  • 500 patients

  • 50th anniversary

Treat numbers consistently in the same sentence if they are referring to the same category of items. Spell out numbers when it is the first word of a sentence.


  • Of 25 yearly happy hours, 22 were held on campus and 3 were held off campus.

  • Sixty people came to the party.

Percentages: spell out the word "percent" and use the figure, unless it is at the beginning of the sentence.


  • Eighty percent of the team likes beer.

  • The researchers found 7 percent of study participants experienced side effects.

Over versus More Than

"Over" means "physically above." "More than" is a way to describe value when using numerals. Use "more than" when we're talking about any given value.


  • Paquette performed more than 5,000 robotic surgeries last year.

  • More than 50 patients attended Paquette's obstetrics seminar.

  • Hanson is over his allotted time off, and is now on suspension.

Said versus Says

"Said" should be used, as our expert "said" their quote in the past. It's about past versus present tense. We're essentially reporting on something that has already happened.


  • "Robotic surgery will take us to the next level," said Dr. Justin Paquette.

  • "Urology isn't a field for the faint of heart, "said Paquette.

Doctor References

First Reference of a Doctor
For the web, let's shift away from credentials, as many of our experts have two or more degrees. When combined with long department names or clinics, it becomes awkward.


  • Dr. Justin Paquette is a world-renowned surgeon in the Cardiology Clinic.

Second Reference of a Doctor
Simply use the doctor's last name.


  • Paquette has been cited for numerous conflicts of interest in his brief tenure.

The Serial Comma

Let's move on without it. It's becoming less and less common.


  • Robotic surgery is used for gynecologic, thoracic and urologic procedures.

  • Her research focus is primarily bone marrow failure, metabolic disorders and novel gene therapy.

*Note - at times a serial comma can help avoid ambiguity - and in this case they are acceptable.


  • The Paquette building houses urology, obstetrics and gynecology, and cardiology. (Without the serial comma, the list looks awkward.)

  • The lab houses Dr. Paquette, a nurse, and a psychiatrist. (Without the serial comma, the occupants could be mistaken as one person, who is a nurse and a psychiatrist. The serial comma establishes a list of three lab occupants.)

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.