Editorial Style Guide

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. Learn more about the Editorial Style Guide or download a PDF of the style guide.

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Do not capitalize names of seasons unless part of a formal title.

  • The lecture series launched last fall.
  • The band performed at Spring Weekend.



A semicolon is used to join complete sentences when a period would create too much of a pause in the train of thought.

  • He wanted to give his aunt something special; he wanted to surprise her.

Use the semicolon to set off a series of commas in a long, complex series.

  • The main offices are in Mercer County, New Jersey; Marion County, Indiana; and Broward County, Florida.


state names

Per updated AP style, the names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city or town. If using state abbreviations to reduce redundancy (e.g., R.I. for Rhode Island in a story that repeatedly references the state), do not use the ZIP code abbreviations, but rather the abbreviations shows here (the ZIP code abbreviations appear in parentheses, only for use in mailing addresses):

Ala. (AL) Kan. (KS) N.H. (NH) S.C. (SC)
Ariz. (AZ) Ky. (KY) N.J. (NJ) S.D. (SD)
Ark. (AR) La. (LA) N.Y. (NY) Tenn. (TN)
Calif. (CA) Md. (MD) N.M. (NM) Vt. (VT)
Colo. (CO) Mass. (MA) Nev. (NV) Va. (VA)
Conn. (CT) Mich. (MI) N.C. (NC) Wash. (WA)
Del. (DE) Minn. (MN) N.D. (ND) W. Va (WV)
Fla. (FL) Miss. (MS) Okla. (OK) Wis. (WI)
Ga. (GA) Mo. (MO) Ore. (OR) Wyo. (WY)
Ill. (IL) Mont. (MT) Pa. (PA)  
Ind. (IN) Neb. (NE) R.I. (RI)  

Place a comma between the city and the state name and after the state name.

  • He was traveling from Nashville, Tennessee, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In formal invitations, always spell out the name of the state.

  • The Hope Club, Providence, Rhode Island


an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math, acceptable to use on first reference. The alternative STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.