General Guidelines

Academic Degrees - Addresses - Capitalization - Date and Time - Departments - General Tips - Names - Numbers - Punctuation - Schools Titles and Honorifics - Web-related Tips

Academic Degrees

  • Academic degrees should be spelled out and lowercased. They should be capitalized only when using the official name of the degree: master's in journalism, but Master of Arts in journalism and mass communication
  • Lowercase the academic discipline: Bachelor ofScience in construction engineering, Master of Arts in journalism andmass communication   
  • Use an apostrophe with bachelor’s in journalism, but no apostrophe in Bachelor of Science or Master of Business Administration.
  • Do not use periods and do not leave spaces when writing abbreviations such as PhD, MSc, MA, BSc or BA.
  • The word degree should not follow the abbreviation: BA in journalism, not BA degree in journalism.


  • Spell out street and avenue with a numbered address: 420 Fifth Avenue.
  • Spell out and capitalize Street when part of a formal street name. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Teseen Street, but Teseen and Mohamed Mahmoud streets.
  • Always use figures for an address number.
  • Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names.
  • Rules for numerals apply with regard to floor numbers. Spell out one through nine; write 10 and above as figures
  • Capitalize room (Room) and apartment (Apartment). Do not use periods or the number sign #.
  • Use periods in the abbreviations P.O. for P.O. Box numbers.
  • The standard addresses for AUC are as follows:

AUC New Cairo
The American University in Cairo
AUC Avenue, P.O. Box 74
New Cairo 11835, Egypt

AUC Tahrir Square
The American University in Cairo
113 Kasr El Aini Street
P.O. Box 2511
Cairo 11511, Egypt

New York Office
420 Lexington Ave., Suite 1644
New York, NY 10170
United States


  • Minimize capitalization; too much capitalization complicates text and reduces readability.
  • Capitalization (capitalizing the first letter of a word) should occur in the cases of proper nouns and their derivatives, proper names, sentences, composition titles, titles of publications and titles that precede the name of a person. Lowercase when names are used generically, and when the terms are job descriptions rather than formal titles.
  • Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the) unless they are part of a proper noun: The American University in Cairo.
  • Do not capitalize conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor) or prepositions that are less than five letters (on, so, yet, over) except when they are the first or last word in a title or when they are the first word after a colon.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the principal words in a headline and lowercase articles and prepositions such as the, an or in except when they are the first word in a sentence: Of Steel and Spice, The Lost Game, A Look into the Future.
  • For articles, prepositions and conjunctions, capitalize words that are five letters or more: Between, Across, Through.

Date and Time

  • Use the sequence of month, day and then year, placing a comma after the day of the month. If the day of the month is not provided, do not use commas: November 6, 2012 or November 2012.
  • Days of the week should precede the date and should be followed by a comma.
  • Avoid superscript constructions such as January 15th. Write as January 15.
  • Do not abbreviate days of the week in running text.
  • In tabular format where space is limited, abbreviate the days as follows, without periods: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat. Abbreviate the months as follows, also without periods: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
  • Spell out and capitalize months in running text.
  • Write time, followed by am or pm, leaving a space and not using periods. Avoid :00 and o’clock except in quotes and invitations. Do not use the 24-hour method.
  • In a construction such as 7 – 9 pm, it is not necessary to use pm twice.
  • In running text, preferably use the from/to construction: from 7 to 9 pm, not from 7- 9 pm.


  • Capitalize when using the official name of the department and lowercase shortened, unofficial versions: Department of Chemistry, but chemistry department.

General Tips


  • On first reference, spell out the word and put the acronym in parentheses, with no periods. On second reference, write the acronym with no periods or parentheses.

The American University in Cairo

  • Use AUC on second reference.
  • Capitalize “The” in running text.

Arabic words

  • Do not italicize hajj, Ramadan and jihad. Italicize intifada.
  • Consult The American Heritage Dictionary. If the word is listed, do not italicize. If it is not listed, italicize.

award, fellowship, scholarship

  • Capitalize award, fellowship and scholarship when part of the official name; otherwise, lowercase.

chairman, chairwoman, chair

  • Used as titles of leadership.
  • Use chair instead of chairwoman, chairman or chairperson.

composition titles

  • In composition titles, capitalize the principal words, including propositions and conjunctions, made up of five letters or more. Capitalize articles and words of fewer than five letters (the, a, an) if they are the first word in the title.
  • Italicize titles of newspapers, magazines, journals, books (excluding reference works, the Bible and the Quran), movies, documentaries, TV programs, plays, poems, operas, music albums and exhibitions.
  • Put titles of articles, episodes, lectures, chapters, theses dissertations, conference papers, essays, short stories, seminars, panel discussions, songs and movements in quotation marks.
  • Titles of forms, reports, workshops, lecture series and conferences are capitalized, but not italicized or put in quotation marks.


  • Faculty members is preferred to faculty.


  • Capitalize and italicize titles of periodicals.
  • Write issues of periodicals in the following way: Spring 2012 issue of AUCToday.

staff, staff members

  • Staff (singular) refers to a group. Staff members (plural) refers to individuals.
  • Staff members is preferred to staff.

United States, USA, U.S.

  • Spell out United States and use as a noun.
  • USA could be used on second reference without periods, preceded by the word ‘the.’
  • Use U.S. as an adjective: U.S. Navy.


  • Capitalize when referring to AUC.

years, academic

  • Incorrect: 2012/13, 2012/2013, 12 - 13, 12/13, 98-99, 98/99.
  • Correct: 1998 - 1999 academic year, 2012 - 2013 academic year.



  • Capitalize campus buildings that have a formal, given name, or that are named for somebody. Capitalize all words in the name including the word building or center: Dr. and Mrs. Elias Hebeka Building.
  • Capitalize building, center, hall or campus only when they are part of the official name: Abdul Latif Jameel Hall.
  • Capitalize places on campus that carry a formal, given name: Bartlett Plaza.


  • Do not abbreviate co. or cos. in running text. Spell out instead.
  • Delete Inc., Ltd. in running text.
  • Follow the company’s style in writing its official name, even if it does not conform to the style guide’s rules.


  • Use official campus names: AUC New Cairo, AUC Tahrir Square.
  • On second reference, campuses may be referred to as New Cairo campus or Tahrir Square campus.


  • Capitalize when referring to the official names of any of AUC’s libraries:


    • AUC Library (use the library on second reference)
    • Main Library
    • Rare Books and Special Collections Library (use rare books library or RBSCL on second reference).
    • Lowercase library in generic use.


  • Capitalize office only when part of the official name, lowercase when using shortened or unofficial forms: Office of Communications, but communications office.
  • Do not use office abbreviations in running text; use only in tabular format where space is limited.

Proper nouns

  • Proper nouns refer to the names of people or specific places and things. Capitalize in all cases.


  • Always spell out numbers when they mark the beginning of sentences. Exceptions to this rule are with calendar years.
  • Spell out numbers less than 10; use figures for 10 and above.


  • Always write in figures, unless the age marks the beginning of a sentence or headline.

Chapters of a Book

  • For chapters of a book, acts or scenes in a play, page numbers, tables, appendices, figures and illustrations, always use a figure and lowercase.

Grade Point Average

  • Always express in figures and write up to at least one decimal place.
  • The abbreviation GPA must follow the figures if they are not described in the rest of the sentence.


  • Use figures in headlines, even for 1–9.


  • With physical quantities, follow the rules for numbers: Spell out numbers that are less than 10; write 10 and above as figures


  • Give currency amounts in figures, leaving no space between the sign and the figure in the case of dollars, and leaving a space in the case of Egyptian pounds: $20, LE 5.
  • Do not write as two dollars or 10 Egyptian pounds.
  • Do not put periods in LE.

Pages of a Book

  • Use figures for references to pages of a book, tables, illustrations and figures.


  • Should always be expressed in figures.
  • Spell out percent in running text, and use the % sign in statistical copy, tables and headlines.



  • Spell out "and."
  • Do not use the ampersand except when it is part of a proper name: P&G.

exclamation point (!) 

  • Used to indicate surprise or strong emotion. Use sparingly.
  • Place the exclamation mark inside quotation marks when it is part of the quoted material. Do not use a comma or period after the quotation mark.

question mark (?)

  • Avoid overuse.
  • A question mark is used at the end of a direct question and is commonly placed inside quotation marks. Do not use a comma or period after the question mark.
  • Do not use question marks at the end of indirect questions.


  • School of Business
  • School of Continuing Education (SCE)
  • School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP)
  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS)
  • School of Sciences and Engineering (SSE)
  • Avoid shortened, unofficial versions. Use abbreviations on second reference.

Titles and Honorifics

Before a Name

  • Capitalize the formal title when it precedes the person’s name. Do not set off by commas: AUC President Lisa Anderson.

After a Name

  • Lowercase and set off with commas when the title comes after the name: Lisa Anderson, AUC president, attended the event.

Generic Titles

  • Do not capitalize: coach Henry Adams.


  • When referring to a specific class or course title, capitalize and do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks.


  • Do not use courtesy titles or honorifics.
  • Refer to both men and women by first and last name on first reference and by last name on second reference.
  • The term Dr. is only reserved for medical doctors.
  • Do not use Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss except in direct quotations.


  • Capitalize king, queen, prince and princess when they precede a name. Lowercase when they stand alone.

Web-Related Tips

  • web, website, webpage, webfeed
  • When writing website addresses, remove http:// if the URL begins with www.
  • Keep website links as short as possible.
  • Lowercase all words in website links.
  • Use email and evite, not e-mail and e-vite.