• Capitalize references to a specific body of advisers heading executive departments for a president, king, governor, institution, etc.: University Cabinet.

call up (v.), call-up (n. and adj.)


  • Capitalize when referring to the full, formal title of a major campaign: Comprehensive Capital Campaign.
  • Use campaign lowercase in generic references. The campaign was successful.  


  • Official names are AUC New Cairo and AUC Tahrir Square. Both may be referred to on a less formal note as New Cairo campus and Tahrir Square campus.

campus buildings

cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation

capital, capitol

  • Capital refers to a city where the seat of government is located. As a financial term, it describes money or property. In both instances, it is lowercase.
  • Capitol refers to the building in Washington and other buildings that house governments. Capitalize: Capitol Hill, U.S. Capitol.  


  • Try to minimize capitalization; too much capitalization complicates text and reduces readability.
  • Capitalization (capitalizing the first letter of a word) should occur in the following cases:
    • Proper nouns and their derivatives: Ahmed, Egypt, New York, French, English.
    • Proper names: Freedom Party, People's Assembly, Nile River.
    • Lowercase when used generically: the party, the parliament, the river.
    • Sentences: The first word in a sentence is always capitalized.
    • Composition: Capitalize the main words in the names of books, movies, plays, poems, songs, radio and television programs, and artwork.
    • Titles (People): Capitalize formal titles when they precede a name: AUC President Lisa Anderson spoke at the event. Lowercase when they come after the name: Lisa Anderson, AUC president, spoke at the event.
    • Lowercase terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles. The student learned a lot from coach Henry Adams.
    • Titles (Publications): Capitalize the principal words in the title of a book, magazine, report or presentation.
    • Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the) unless they are part of a proper noun.
    • In headlines, do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor) or prepositions (on, so, yet, over), except when they are the first or last word in a title, when they are the first word after a colon or when they are five letters or more (between, before, under, through).
  • Capitalize University in reference to a specific institution; otherwise, lowercase. AUC recruits top-notch faculty members; the University is committed to excellence. He studied mathematics at his home university. 

Career Center

  • Formerly Career Advising and Placement Services. Use Career Center instead. 


car pool (n.), carpool (v.)


carry-over (n. and adj.)


  • Not catalogue (also, cataloged, cataloging, cataloger, catalogist).


  • CD-ROM stands for compact disc read-only memory. It is acceptable to use CD-ROM or CD (plural CDs) on first reference.
  • CD-ROM disc is redundant.


  • Not centigrade; always capitalize. See measurements.


  • Not centre, unless it is part of an official name.


  • Lowercase the word century, spelling out numbers that are less than 10: a century ago, fifth century, 15th century. For proper names, follow the organization's practice: 20th Century Fox, Twentieth Century Fund.
  • Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: 21st-century practice.


  • Acceptable as a reference for chief executive officer. Spell out in first reference then use CEO thereafter. 


  • Stand for chief financial officer and chief operating officer respectively. Spell out on first reference, and use CFO and COO thereafter.
  • Always spell out lesser-known C-level positions like chief administrative officer or chief risk officer.

chair, endowed

  • Use the term endowed professorship lowercase, not endowed chair: an endowed professorship in comparative religion.
  • Capitalize when referring to the official name: the Abdul Latif Jameel Chair of Entrepreneurship, AGIP Professorship in Environmental Engineering.
  • Endowed professorship in, not of.

chairman, chairwoman, chair

  • Used as titles of leadership.
  • Use chair instead of chairwoman, chairman or chairperson: He served as senate chair for five years.


  • Capitalize when used with a figure; lowercase elsewhere: She turned to Channel 3. No channel will broadcast the game.


  • Always use figures: chapter 1, not chapter one. Lowercase when used with a numeral in reference to a section of a book or legal code (chapter 1, chapter 20). See numbers. 

check-in (n. and adj.), check in (v.)

checkout (n. and adj.), check out (v.)

check up (v.), checkup (n.)

child care


  • Circumlocution is a redundant way of saying something. Try not to use these redundant phrases unless in a direct quotation.

Instead of


at the conclusion of


at this point in time

now, currently, at present

during the time that


in the course of


in this day and age


afford an opportunity

allow, give a chance

are desirous of

wish, desire, want

are in receipt of


in the near future


at a later time


in order to


for the purpose of


in the event that


join together


prior to


the fact that


for the reason that


12 noon


12 midnight


beneficial aspects


by means of

by, through

come into conflict


despite the fact that


give consideration to


have a need for


in agreement with


in a timely manner

on time, soon

in close proximity


in large measure

largely, mainly

with regard to


in the absence of


make an adjustment


take action

act, do

take appropriate measures

act accordingly

make an assumption


make provision for


not in a position to


the extent to which

how much

until such time as


with the exception of

except for

with the knowledge that

knowing, aware

without further delay

now, immediately

cities and towns

  • Capitalize in all uses.


  • Capitalize city if part of a proper name: New York City, but Cairo city.

classes, courses

  • Lowercase when referring to courses generally. He is taking management courses this semester. She studies history and geology.
  • Capitalize when referring to a specific course number or when the course name includes a proper name. Do not set off in commas. I studied Sociology 520 and English 101. I am taking Scientific Thinking this semester.

class, graduates

  • Use an apostrophe and the last two digits of the graduating year after the name, with a space and no comma between the name and the year: Ahmed Tawfik ’01.
  • When a person has earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree from AUC, put a comma between the two graduation years: Rana El Kaliouby ’98, ’00.
  • If a person has only earned a master’s from AUC, put the degree and the graduation year in parentheses: Akil Beshir (MA ’79).

Class of ___

  • Capitalize when used with a specific year: Class of 1998.

classification, student

  • State major and use freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate, postgraduate, postdoctoral, nondegree (all lowercase) to identify students. Hani Ahmed, computer science senior, is an A student.
  • For graduate students, identify with major. She is a journalism and mass communication graduate student.

clean up (v.), cleanup (n. and adj.)

clear-cut (adj.)

close-up (n. and adj.)


  • Avoid the use of trite expressions, such as acid test, crack of dawn, generous to a fault, leading-edge, on the cutting edge and the picture of health.


  • Capitalize the official name of student clubs, but do not italicize or put in quotation marks: Al Quds Club, Alashanek Ya Balady.


  • Retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status: co-author, co-chair, co-defendant, co-host, co-owner, co-partner, co-pilot, co-respondent, co-signer, co-sponsor, co-star, co-worker.
  • Do not use a hyphen for the following words: coed, coeducation, coequal, coexist, coexistence, cooperate, cooperative, coordinate, coordination, cocurricular.

collective nouns

  • Nouns that connote a unit take singular verbs. Examples of such nouns include crowd, class, family, team, group, herd, orchestra: The team is upset about the new amendment.
  • Some words that are plural in form become collective nouns and take singular verbs when the noun is regarded as a unit: The data is consistent.  


  • Capitalize when part of a proper name: Dartmouth College.

Commencement, commencement

  • Capitalize only when referring to a specific one: The 2005 Midyear Commencement witnessed the largest number of graduates in AUC’s history. In this year’s commencement, there were many engineering graduates.  

committees, task forces

  • Unless using the full, official name, do not capitalize names of committees or task forces: He is on the academic integrity task force.
  • The Task Force for Academic Integrity has been working hard to foster academic integrity at AUC.
  • Also lowercase when the reference is general or generic: The University will appoint a task force to look into the matter.

community-based learning

  • Capitalize in reference to the official name of the program at AUC; otherwise lowercase: The Community-Based Learning program helps students understand the needs of their community. He enrolled in a community-based learning course.
  • Use CBL on second reference.

company, companies

  • Use Co. or Cos. when a business uses either word at the end of its proper name: Ford Motor Co.
  • If company or companies appears alone in second reference, spell the word out. Company names should always be capitalized at the beginning of the sentence even if the proper name does not capitalize the first letter.
  • The forms for possessives: Ford Motor Co.'s profits, American Broadcasting Cos.' profits.

compared to, compared with

  • Use compared to when the intent is to assert, without the need for elaboration, that two or more items are similar: She compared her work for women's rights to Susan B. Anthony's campaign for women's suffrage.
  • Use compared with when juxtaposing two or more items to illustrate similarities and/or differences: His grade was higher compared with his friend who received a lower grade.

compose, comprise, constitute

  • Compose means to create or put together. Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace. Constitute, in the sense of form or make up, may be the best word if neither compose nor comprise seems to fit.

complement, compliment

  • Complement is the process of supplementing or completing something. Compliment denotes praise or the expression of courtesy. Also complementary and complimentary.

composition titles

  • In composition titles, capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions, made up of five letters or more. Capitalize articles and words of fewer than four letters (the, a, an) if they are the first word in the title: His book is titled The Hidden Discoveries of Pearls in the Red Sea.
  • Italicize titles of newspapers, magazines, journals, books (excluding reference works, the Bible and the Quran), volumes, movies, documentaries, TV programs, online shows, plays, poems, concerts, operas, music albums, paintings and exhibitions. Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible, the Quran and other holy books, and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications. Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as WordPerfect or Windows.
  • Put titles of articles, episodes, lectures, chapters, theses dissertations, conference papers, essays, short stories and songs in quotation marks.
  • Lecture and webinar titles are placed in quotation marks. Lecture and webinar series, however, are only capitalized. Rania Siam delivered a lecture titled “Exploring Life in the Earth’s Extreme: Environmental Genomics of the Red Sea” as part of the Provost’s Lecture series.
  • Titles of seminars, webinars, speeches, forums and panel discussions are put in quotation marks. 
  • Titles of courses, forms, reports, workshops, conferences, symposiums, summits, movements, websites and blogs are capitalized, but not italicized or put in quotation marks: She made a presentation at the 12th AUC Research Conference. 

compound modifier

  • Hyphenate compounds that precede a noun to prevent misreading: well-known singer, full-time professor,
    high-quality product, study-abroad student.
  • Do not hyphenate compounds formed with adverbs, such as very, or adverbs that end in –ly: highly priced, very well known singer.

compound words

  • May be hyphenated or written as one or two words. No rule covers all cases. Consult The American Heritage Dictionary.
  • Modern American usage is against hyphenating combinations where misunderstandings are not likely: the second story room, the living room door, the telecommunications equipment salesperson.
  • Compound words should not be hyphenated if they consist of an adverb and an adjective: rapidly disappearing, highly recommended. 

conference names

  • Capitalize the full, formal names of conferences, but do not italicize or put in quotation marks: He presented an interesting paper at the 12th AUC Research Conference. Lowercase in generic usage: She did not come to the research conference.


  • When a conjunction (and, but, for) links two clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a comma before the conjunction in most cases: He arrived on time, but the teacher was already there.
  • Use a comma if the subject of each clause is expressly stated: He finished his assignment, and he went out with his friends.
  • Do not use a comma when the subject of the two clauses is the same and is not repeated in the second clause: He finished his assignment and went out with his friends.
  • The comma can be dropped if two clauses with expressly stated subjects are short: He ate and off he went.
  • Use a semicolon when the coordinating conjunction is not present: The assignment was due last week; the student turned it in today.

contact tracing (n., adj.)

  • No hyphen in any use, including when used as a modifier: The state's contact tracing efforts.

control, controlled, controlling

copy editor

  • Also copy editing, copy edit.

copyright (n., v. and adj.)

Core Curriculum

  • Capitalize.

coronavirus, COVID-19

  • COVID-19 is a disease; coronavirus is the type of virus that causes the disease.
  • Referring to simply the coronavirus is acceptable on first reference in stories about the current pandemic. While the phrasing incorrectly implies there is only one coronavirus, the meaning is clear in this context.
  • The term coronavirus is generally acceptable in references to the pandemic: coronavirus cases, coronavirus variants.
  • Use the term COVID-19 when referring specifically to the disease: COVID-19 treatments, COVID-19 patients, COVID-19 deaths, recovering from COVID-19.
  • The shortened form COVID is acceptable if necessary for space in headlines, and in direct quotations and proper names.
  • Omitting the is acceptable in headlines and in uses such as: He said coronavirus concerns are increasing.


  • Capitalize when part of a proper name: AUC’s Student Council; Provost Council.


  • Not counsellor. Capitalize title before name: Counselor Ashraf Hatem.


  • The rules in prefixes apply, but in general, no hyphen: counteract, counterproposal, countercharge, counterspy, counterfoil.         

course level

  • Hyphenate: a 200-level course, a junior-level course. Do not hyphenate: courses at the 400 level, courses at the graduate level.

course load

  • Course load should be written as two words, lowercase, and refers to the number of credit hours permissible for students to take per semester: He is taking an overload of 18 credit hours this semester. She has a heavy course load this semester.

course numbers and titles

  • When referring to a specific class or course title, capitalize and do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks: Sociology 201, Advanced Media Writing.

course work  

  • Not coursework.

courtesy titles

  • Do not use courtesy titles or honorifics. Do not use Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss except in direct quotations. Refer to both men and women by first and last name on first reference and by last name on second reference.
  • When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name (brothers and sisters), use the first name on second reference.
  • The term Dr. is reserved for medical doctors or dentists.
  • Even though it is an occupational title, coach in sports may be used as a courtesy title on second reference: He met coach Ahmed Salah.

credit hours

  • May write as credit hours or credits. Do not write hours alone to mean credit hours.
  • Always use numerals: 3 credit hours. In tables of lists when limited space is available, it may be abbreviated to: 3 cr. hr. 

criterion (singular), criteria (plural)

crisis (singular), crises (plural)

cross-examine (v.), cross-examination (n.)

cue, queue

  • Cue (n.) is a word, phrase or action in a play that serves as a signal for the next actor to speak or act. Cue could also mean hint.
  • Queue (n.) means a line of persons or vehicles. Queue (v.) means to line up in a queue.

cum laude

  • Lowercase cum laude (honors), magna cum laude (high honors), summa cum laude (highest honors). Do not italicize.
  • See degrees with distinction. 


  • Give currency amounts in figures, leaving no space between the sign and the figure in the case of dollars: $2 and leaving a space in the case of Egyptian pounds: EGP 10. Do not write as two dollars or 10 Egyptian pounds.
  • Write numbers of four or more digits as figures and put commas: $10,000, EGP 5,790.
  • For numbers in the millions, resort to decimals, writing up to two decimal places: $1.45 million or even better: more than $1.4 million.
  • In tables, it is preferable to include .00, especially if the figures include cents or piasters: $2.00, EGP 10.50.

cut off (v.), cutoff (n. and adj.)


  • Acceptable in all references for curriculum vitae, which is the full name for the listing of one’s academic and professional experience. Lowercase and use without periods.
  • Curriculum vitae is singular, and curricula vitae is plural. 
  • Also see résumé.