Editorial Style & Grammar

The UA Little Rock Office of Communications and Marketing follows the AP Stylebook for press releases, publications, the website, and more. The stylebook guides spelling, language, punctuation, and word usage. Any exceptions or house rules that depart from AP style are noted in some sections below.

General Rules

  • Do not include http:// or www. in a URL when it’s clear that it’s a web address.
  • The possessive of Arkansas is Arkansas’s. This is a departure from AP style.
  • Use only one space between an ending period and the first letter of a new sentence. In other words, avoid double spaces.
  • On first reference, always use the full name of a person, place, program, department or event. Avoid using acronyms that aren’t commonly known by the general public. Instead, on second reference, use a shortened version of the name. Example: The Office of Communications and Marketing could be shortened to the communications office rather than OCM.
  • Telephone numbers should have dashes, not parentheses or periods: 501-916-3397.
  • When necessary, make a distinction between first-time entering freshman and freshman. First-time student is also acceptable.
  • Lowercase fall, winter, spring, and summer unless referring to a formal name. Examples: The spring semester begins in January. Many vendors will attend the Fall Career Fair.
  • Use international students, not foreign students.
  • Use residence hall, not dorm or dormitory.

The University Name

  • The official name of the university is the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
  • In most cases, use the full formal name on first reference. You may use UA Little Rock (no periods) or the university (lowercase u) on second and subsequent references. UA Little Rock is acceptable on first reference for internal or central Arkansas audiences, although news releases should spell out University of Arkansas at Little Rock on first reference. (This also applies to colleges, departments, institutes, centers, programs, etc.)

The following are not acceptable:
University of Arkansas @ Little Rock
University of Arkansas – Little Rock
U.A. Little Rock
UA-Little Rock
UA: Little Rock

Common Words

The following list includes the correct use of commonly misspelled or stylized words.

  • email, home page, web page, website, internet, NetID, online
  • advisor – not adviser (a deviation from AP style to reflect the spelling used in higher education)
  • alumna – feminine single form
  • alumnae – feminine plural form
  • alumnus – male or gender-neutral singular
  • alumni – masculine or mixed-gender plural
  • capital refers to cities that are seats of government, such as Little Rock, and when used in a financial context.
  • Capitol refers to the building. Example: The legislators met in the Capitol.
  • catalog – not catalogue
  • coursework – not course work
  • fieldwork – not field work
  • fundraising/fundraiser – not fund raising or fund-raiser
  • toward – not towards
  • work-study – not workstudy
  • yearlong – not year long

More Editorial Style

The following style sections are grouped in alphabetical order. Note: Commas are in the Quotes and Commas section.

Academics and Degrees


Do not capitalize majors, programs, or concentrations unless they are a “brand name” or a standalone proper noun. Example: She was a history major, but she studied Spanish and traveled abroad through the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program.

Capitalize the formal names of courses. Example: After enrolling in Designing with New Technologies, he wanted to take more art classes.
For faculty who have earned an advanced degree (Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.), you may use the formal title Dr. or Drs. before the full name of an individual(s), except:
a) in news releases sent to media
b) When there is a bulleted or similar list naming many individuals
In such instances, an academic abbreviation is used after the full name and set off by a comma. Example: John Snow, Ph.D.


Capitalize the formal names of academic degrees: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy.

For general reference, use lowercase and appropriate possessive apostrophe: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, associate degree, and doctorate or doctoral degree.

In lists and other forms of communication when the full name or general reference might be cumbersome, you may use the abbreviations of formal degrees, but the full name or general reference is preferred. The word degree should follow the degree abbreviation. This is a UA Little Rock house rule that deviates from AP style.

  • B.S. degree
  • B.A. degree
  • J.D. degree
  • M.A. degree
  • Ph.D. degree
  • MBA degree

If included, the field of study should be lowercase, unless it is a proper noun:

  • Lowercase: Bachelor of Science degree in nursing
  • Uppercase: B.A. degree in English or bachelor’s degree in English

Dates and Time

Date and Time

Use figures only for the days of the month, omitting st, nd, rd or th:

  • Correct: May 1
  • Incorrect: May 1st

When the month, day, and year are included, place a comma between the date and the year. However, it’s generally not necessary to include the year. When using a specific date that includes a day, month, and year, place a comma after the year if the year isn’t the end of a sentence.

Example: Spring Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 13, 2023.

Do not abbreviate or use a comma if the month stands alone or with the year only.

Example: The December 2023 Commencement will be live-streamed on ualr.edu.

Month Abbreviations

If the day is included, abbreviate the following months:

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.

If the day is not included, spell out the month. Never abbreviate the shorter months: March, April, May, June, and July.


For time, use a.m. or p.m. and figures only. Use noon or midnight rather than 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. Example: 8:30 a.m., 7 p.m., noon, and midnight.

If the beginning and ending time are both in the a.m. or p.m., use the time stamp only after the second figure. Example: 7 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., noon to 3 p.m.

When used in copy, include the time, day, and date in that respective order, spelling out the weekday. Examples: … at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in the …  OR  from 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the …



AP style uses title case for headlines so all words are capitalized except for certain short words, such as articles except articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but,. . .), and (short) prepositions (in, on, for, up,. . .). Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are only capitalized if they start the title or have four or more letters.



full time/full-time or part time/part-time
Only hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: She attends college full time; She is a full-time student.

on campus/on-campus or off campus/off-campus
Only hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: Joe Smith lives on campus; Joe is reviewing his on-campus housing options.

log in/login or log out/logout
Do not hyphenate when used as a noun or modifier. Separate when used as a verb.

Example: Your login attempt has failed; Log in to BOSS to update your personal information.



Spell numbers one through nine (except in a headline) and general numbers (dozens, a thousand); use numerals for 10 and above, and for ages. If a number is the first word of a sentence, spell it out. Example: The organization’s founders included four faculty members and 21 students, but the group recruited hundreds more. Fifty first-time entering freshmen joined the organization.

Use the percent sign (%) when paired with a numeral with no space. Example: The assignment was 5% of the final grade.

For very large sums of money, use figures with a dollar sign; spell out million or billion. Example: UA Little Rock received a $2.7 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education to expand its Reading Recovery program.

People and Titles

People and Titles

Capitalize a job title only when it is immediately before a person’s name. If the title follows the name, don’t capitalize it. Examples: Student Life Coordinator Jill Smith organized the event. Jill Smith, student life coordinator, has been at the university for five years. Examples: Associate Professor of Journalism Bob Woodward led a panel discussion. Bob Woodward, an associate journalism professor, led a discussion.

Quotes and Commas

Quotes and Commas

Place commas inside quotation marks for direct quotes. Example: “A new season is beginning today,” the chancellor said. “Little Rock is now poised to serve as a national model for improving educational and developmental outcomes.”

UA Little Rock style uses the serial comma. (This is an exception to AP Style.) When using commas in a series, a comma is placed before the “and.” Example: The chancellor welcomed faculty, staff, and students to the event.

Names followed by Jr., Sr., or a Roman numeral do not have a comma after the last name. Examples: Martin Luther King Jr., Waldo Aloysius Johnston III.