F – when referring to a grade, is not set off with quotation marks or any other special punctuation. It stands on its own. For plurals, no apostrophe is used except in the case of letters that might otherwise be confusing (Bs is correct; A’s is correct so as not to be confused with the word As, for example).
faculty – see collective nouns.
fall/autumn – lowercase (fall semester).
family – see collective nouns.
Family Weekend – The name of the annual fall campus event that was formerly called Parents Weekend.
farther/further – the two words are often used interchangeably, but farther generally refers to physical distance, while further is more metaphorical, referring to an extent of time or degree. When you’re looking for a word to mean “in addition” or “moreover,” however, further is the correct choice.
fax – all lowercase. It is an abbreviated form of facsimile (not an acronym, thus the lowercase letters), but doesn’t take a period.
fieldwork – one word, no hyphen.
fireman – use firefighter instead.
foreman – use supervisor instead.
Founding Fathers – change to founders, but only if used in a generic way (Bowdoin’s founders). When referring to the participants in the 1787 Constitutional Convention, use Founding Fathers.
freshman – avoid the use of this word; use first-year student whenever possible.
fundraising, fundraiser – as a noun, each is spelled as one word, no hyphen. As an adjective (a fundraising event), Bowdoin style prefers one word, no hyphen, though fund-raising is also correct.
further/farther – the two words are often used interchangeably, but farther generally refers to physical distance, while further is more metaphorical, referring to an extent of time or degree. When you’re looking for a word to mean “in addition” or “moreover,” however, further is the correct choice.
government – see collective nouns.
governor – Governor Paul LePage or Gov. Paul LePage; Governor LePage; the governor; Paul LePage, governor of Maine; the Honorable Paul LePage. As a courtesy and in recognition of their high elected offices, former elected officials may still be addressed with their titles: Gov. Angus King; Governor King; the Honorable Angus King.
grade point average – may be abbreviated GPA, which, in the plural, is GPAs.
grades – Grades include A, A–, B+, B, B–, C+, C, C–, D, F, and Credit. All letter grades are written uppercase with no punctuation. The minus sign is an en dash (so called because it is as wide as the lowercase n; type option-hyphen to make an en dash). (See listings for A, B, C, D, and F for more information.)
graduate – Definitions include: (transitive verb) to grant a degree, to mark gradations, to arrange or classify; (intransitive) to become a graduate of, to graduate from. A person graduates from (becomes a graduate of) Bowdoin. Don’t use the phrase: He graduated Bowdoin. The dictionary marks this as colloquial usage, but in fact, Bowdoin graduated him, not the other way around.
handicap accessible – or simply accessible
he/she – Avoid the use of he or him as a generic (sexist) pronoun, but don’t resort to s/he or him/her. The easiest way to write around he/she issues is to make the subject of the sentence plural, which enables you to use the non-sexist they/their/them when switching to a pronoun (All students who hand in their applications...). It is also perfectly acceptable to refer to he and she/him and her in sentences; it just makes them longer (Each student who hands in his or her application...).
You must be careful never to confuse a singular subject with a plural pronoun, even if your worthy intentions are to avoid being sexist (Incorrect: Each student who hands in their application….).
health care – two words, no hyphen (in this instance, Bowdoin follows the Associated Press style guide; this is a change from past years, when Bowdoin would spell it as one word).
high school – does not take a hyphen when used as an adjective
Hispanic – usually a Spanish-speaking person of Latin American origin who lives in the United States.
historic – as an adjective, preceded by “a” not “an.” It was a historic event. See a/an listing for more information.
honor code – capitalize the proper name: the Academic Honor Code (see Social Code).
hyphenation – hyphenate compound adjectives that precede nouns; do not hyphenate compound adjectives that follow nouns; do not hyphenate well-established compound modifiers; do not hyphenate after an adverb ending in ly.
ibid. – abbreviation of ibidem, Latin for “in the same place.” It is used to cite the book, page, etc., cited just before the current reference.
idem – Latin, means “the same as mentioned.” Not an abbreviation, so doesn’t take a period.
i.e. – in roman type (not italics) and always followed by a comma. Abbreviation of id est, which means “that is” or “more specifically.” In using i.e., you’re essentially restating something you’ve just said. Not to be confused with e.g., which introduces one or more examples.
imperative verbs – such phrases as “drop off,” “pick up,” and “sign in,” when used as instructions, are imperative verbs and should not be hyphenated (Drop off your registration card at the Office of the Registrar). Used to describe a location where an activity takes place, the words are hyphenated (There is a drop-off box for Federal Express shipments outside the Copy Center).
independent study – does not take a hyphen when preceding a noun (independent study projects)
indicia – postal permit signifying that postage has been paid. (Though this is actually the plural form [the singular is indicium], it is used in the singular.) Specific regulations govern the use of postal indicias. To include a printed indicia on your mailing piece, please consult Bowdoin’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs and/or the Mail Center.
insure – to take out insurance on something; to contract to be paid or to pay money in the case of loss. Although it comes from the same middle English root as ensure, the two words are not to be used synonymously.
international/foreign – In references to people, use international rather than foreign, which can have a pejorative connotation.
Internet – capitalized; also, the Net.
invitations – Styles used on formal invitations are frequently discussed due to strong personal preferences. Here are some preferred Bowdoin Style guidelines for invitation copy:
Punctuation: a hot topic of debate. Do you end complete sentences with a period? Or do you include no periods at the end of lines? Bowdoin Style prefers ending complete sentences with periods. However, what is most important is to be consistent on each invitation. If you punctuate any line with a period, you must punctuate all complete sentences with a period. Otherwise, do not use the period at the end of any sentences.
Dates do include commas. Tuesday, March 1, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. includes a comma after the day, the date, and the year. If the day/date/time were listed without the year, you do not need to include the comma after the date: Tuesday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m.
Times: Use the complete format, such as 1:00 p.m. (not 1 p.m.). Connect times with an en dash with no spaces around the dash: 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. (note p.m. is used with both times). Use "noon" or "midnight" instead of 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.
RSVP: Do not use periods. Do not preface with "please," since that is redundant—RSVP is the abbrevation for the French phrase "repondez, s'il vous plait," which translates to "reply, please."
italics – foreign terms, including Latin terms, that have not yet been incorporated into everyday use are italicized. Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, is our authority for determining which words pass muster.
its/it’s – its is the possessive pronoun (along with his and hers). It’s is only ever a contraction for the words “it is.” (The College has set its course. It’s going to be a fine day.) Its’ is never correct.
J-Board/Judicial Board – either is acceptable.
Jr. and Sr. – It is not necessary to set off by commas in names, and the Chicago Manual's, the Associated Press's, and Bowdoin's preferred style is to eliminate the commas. John Smith Jr. is correct and preferred style. While it is not incorrect to use the commas (John Smith, Jr.), Bowdoin editors will remove them for stylistic consistency. Other generational suffixes (II or III, for example) are never set off by commas. Note: If one chooses to use commas in one's personal writing, be aware that a comma is usually required following the Jr. or Sr. as well as before it (John Smith, Jr., is the president of the company.)