• The pilgrimage to Mecca. 

half day (n.), half-day (adj.)

handheld (n.), hand-held (adj.)



hands off, hands-off

  • Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: Keep your hands off the cookies. This country follows a hands-off foreign policy.


  • Used as an adjective (hyphenated): hands-on experience.
  • May also use the word practical as a synonym.


  • One word in all uses.

hang-up (n.), hang up (v.)

hard line (n.), hard-line (adj.), hard-liner (n.)

he/she, he or she, his/her

  • Avoid the use of awkward or unpronounceable pronoun combinations:
    • his or her (not his/her).
    • him or her (not him/her).
    • he or she (not he/she).
  • However, always try to use the plural form to avoid such constructions:
    • Not preferred: Every person will choose what to study according to his or her preferences.
    • Preferred: Students will choose what to study according to their preferences.
  • Reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, ourselves, yourselves, himself, herself, itself) refer to people or things already mentioned or implied in the same sentence: I wrote the book myself. Hand in the paper to the professor yourself.

head, chair

  • Heads of academic departments at AUC are referred to as department chairs, not heads.


  • 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.
  • When using quotation marks in a headline, use single marks instead of double.
  • Use numerals for all numbers and single quotes for quotation marks.
  • Use US, UK and UN with no periods in headlines.

head-on (adj. and adv.)


  • May take a singular or a plural verb.

headscarf, headscarves


  • One word.


  • Capitalize Northern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere.

high school (n.), high school students (adj.)

  • No hyphen.



  • The headscarf worn by Muslim women. 

His/Her Excellency, Her Majesty/His Majesty

  • Capitalize when it appears in quotations or before a name as part of the formal title: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. Limit to e-vites.

historic, historical

  • A historic event is an important occurrence, one that stands out in history. Any occurrence in the past is a historical event.

historical periods

  • Capitalize Dark Ages, Bronze Age, Stone Age, Medieval.
  • But lowercase: classic, neoclassic, modern, postmodern, information age, nuclear age.

hold up (v.), holdup (n. and adj.)


  • One word. Capitalize when referring to a specific event: 2012 Alumni Homecoming. Lowercase in generic use: This year’s homecoming was different.



  • One word.

home page


  • One word in all uses.

honorary degrees

  • All references to honorary degrees should state that the degree is honorary: honorary Doctorate of Science.
  • Always capitalize Doctorate of Science and Doctorate of Humane Letters. Do not use unofficial versions. Incorrect: honorary humane letters doctorate; honorary science doctorate.
  • Do not capitalize the word honorary: honorary Doctorate of Science, honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.


  • Do not use courtesy titles or honorifics in identifying people.
    • Incorrect: Mr. Ahmed Ezz Aldin was present.
    • Correct: Ahmed Ezz Aldin was present.
  • See titles, courtesy.

honors list/class

  • Lowercase: He is on the dean’s honors list.

human resources

  • The field is human resources, but remove the s when used as a compound modifier: human resource training, except in reference to the office: human resources office.