Style Guide for Writers

The Manchester Style a guide for consistency in punctuation and grammar, sets parameters for copy editing and writing University publications, the University website and other nonacademic materials.

Although the guide is not comprehensive, it does provide answers to questions and directives for use, particularly of terms unique to Manchester University. With intentional use, these guidelines will help tell the Manchester story in a consistent way.




Plural nouns not ending in s, add 's
• The women's philanthropy event is in May.

Plural nouns ending in s, add only the apostrophe.
• The athletes' shoes, designed in black and gold, matched the Spartan uniforms.

Singular common nouns ending in s, add 's unless the following word begins with an s.
• On a trip to Alaska, the alumni watched a walrus's calf standing on the icy shore.
• They were so close that they could see the walrus' sensitive bristles on her upper lip.

Singular proper names ending in s, use only an apostrophe.
• Students in Scott Humphries’ classes are excited about job offer possibilities.


When bulleted lists contain full sentences, capitalize the first word and add a period at the end of each sentence.

Visitors to the Green Campus Initiative website will learn:
• ITS has installed energyefficient computers.
• Physical Plant is decentralizing the heating system.
• Sodexo is spearheading food waste programs.

When bulleted lists contain single words or short phrases, do not capitalize the first word and use no punctuation at the end of bullet points.

The items that students should bring to campus include:
• a refrigerator
• paper and pencils
• an alarm clock


A colon is frequently used to introduce lists, tabulations, etc. Capitalize the first word after the colon only if it’s a proper noun or the beginning of a complete sentence.
• First-year students often bring the following items: a computer, television, refrigerator and bedding.

Note: Use one space after a colon.

COMMAS IN A SIMPLE SERIES: Do not use a comma before  conjunctions.
• She nominated Jill, Evan and Mary for the committee.

However, do use a comma before a conjunction in a complex series.
• Top athletes put in long hours of training, have strong mental attitudes, and endure tough competition.
• Manchester offers intercollegiate sports for women in softball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, cross country, track and field, and basketball.

Do not separate month and year with a comma when no date is included.
• Thelma Rohrer's class studying art appreciation planned a trip to France and Spain in January 2017.

COMMAS WITH TIMES AND DATES: Preferred format is to place the time before the date; do not use a comma to separate the time from the date. However, do use a comma after the year when used with the day and month.
• The meeting is set for 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 7, 2016, in the Administration Building.

COMMAS WITH CITIES AND STATES: Separate cities and states with a comma. Place a comma after the abbreviated state name if the sentence continues.
• The debate team traveled to Washington, D.C., for the national event.
• Manchester University has campuses in North Manchester, Ind., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Use a comma when a subject is stated in each clause.
• Manchester graduates are responsible for more than 100 patents, and many of these graduates are physicians throughout the world.

Commas always go inside the quotation marks.
• "Manchester University is a learning community grounded in appreciation for the worth of each person," said President Dave McFadden.
• Manchester students graduate with "ability and conviction," said President David McFadden.


The EN dash, created in Word with two dashes, is longer than a hyphen. It is used most commonly to indicate a break in thought. Do not space around the EN dash in text.
• He thought the best of her— polite and kindhearted.

Hyphens are typically used to connect dates, numbers and times. Do not space around the hyphen in dates, scores and times.
• Manchester crushed Bluffton 20-14 at the 2007 Homecoming.


Ellipsis points are used to indicate the deletion of one or more words. They should be treated as a word; therefore, space before the first point and after the third point.
• Among notable facts about Manchester, it was announced that students ... finish in four years, a higher percentage than 28 many Indiana universities and colleges.


Use hyphens to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two words. When in doubt, consult a dictionary.
• He recovered the ball after the fumble.
• He re-covered the hole in the ground.

The principle of using a hyphen to avoid confusion explains why no hyphen is required with –ly words.


Periods always go inside the quotation marks.
• A theologian said, " ... what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Periods are followed by single spacing between sentences.

Always use periods with U.N. or U.S. but not in abbreviations of three letters or more such as CPA or USA.

Do not use periods in initials that are abbreviations of proper names.
•The room was named in honor of MLK.


The dash, the semicolon, the question mark and the exclamation point go inside quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.
• You could hear the women's basketball team cheer, "We did it, we won!" as the final buzzer sounded.

When the writer is asking the question, the question mark belongs outside quotation marks.
• Did he say, "Classes start next week"? If the quotation itself is a question, the quotation marks go outside the question mark.
• He asked, "Do classes start next week?"