The intent of this Editorial Style Guide is to serve as an effective resource for communicators across the Brown campus to establish consistency in editorial style for websites, print publications, social media and more. Our foremost goals are clarity and consistency, and our interest is in preparing materials for a broad, general — and not necessarily Brown-affiliated — audience, from prospective students to journalists to alumni and more.
Generally speaking, these style guidelines are written for use in narrative copy — complete sentences and paragraphs as you’d employ in a news story, annual report or descriptive web copy. There can and should be exceptions made for other uses, however. Formal invitations may invite the need for more liberal capitalization, for example.
For narrative copy, our starting point is the Associated Press Stylebook. Unless we establish local Brown style
to the contrary, AP style will always be correct. Because academic communities pose style questions not addressed by the Associated Press, we use the Chicago Manual of Style as a secondary guide. Web versions of both of these guides are available at no cost to the Brown community:
For issues not covered in these style guidelines, refer to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
For ease of use by communicators across the Brown campus, the Office of University Communications maintains both a web-based version of the Editorial Style Guide and a print-ready PDF version that can be downloaded and produced as a hard-copy reference. Updates to the web version are made on an ongoing basis; updates to the print-ready version will be made two times per year, in January and July.