P

page numbers

  • Do not capitalize the words page and pages in running text.
  • Avoid abbreviations: p. for page, pp. for pages except in tables.
  • Use figures for references to pages of a book, tables, illustrations and figures: page 2.
  • When referring to a publication’s volume number, use volume lowercase.

paintings

  • Italicize titles of paintings and exhibitions. See composition titles.

Pan-Arab

  • Used as an adjective and is hyphenated. Capitalize both Pan and Arab, not just Arab. Having Pan-Arab satellite channels is a step forward. The Pan-Arab committee works to foster regional relations.

parentheses

part time (n.), part-time (adj.)

  • She works part time at the news agency. He is a part-time professor.

pass/fail

  • Do not capitalize. Separate with a slash, not a hyphen.
  • Do not use fail/pass.

passive voice

  • Always try to use an active, not a passive, voice. The passive voice weakens the sentence and hides the subject.
  • Passive: The decision was made as to who will be the keynote speaker.
  • Active: The committee made the decision as to who will be the keynote speaker.

payroll

PC

  • Stands for personal computer.

PDF

  • Abbreviation for Portable Document Format. Abbreviation is acceptable in all references.

peninsula

  • Capitalize when part of a formal name: Arabian Peninsula, Florida Peninsula.

people

 

  • Use people, not persons, unless writing a direct quotation.

people, peoples, persons

  • Use people as the plural of person. Avoid persons, which is largely confined to formal or legal contexts. Peoples refers to a body of people sharing a common religion, culture or language: the peoples of Asia.  

percent

  • See numbers, percentages.

periodicals

  • Capitalize and italicize titles of periodicals: Egypt Today, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs.
  • Write issues of periodicals in the following way: Spring 2012 issue of AUCToday.
  • If the word ‘the’ is not part of the formal title of the periodical, do not capitalize or italicize it: the Financial Times, but The Washington Post.
  • In first reference, include the name of the city of publication of a newspaper, even if it is not part of the official title: New York Daily News.
  • Also see capitalization.

period

PhD, PhDs

  • Use without periods. Doctorate is preferred. See doctorate.

philosophies

  • Capitalize philosophical movements of specific historical periods: Enlightenment, Renaissance, Marxist, Communist.

photocopy

  • Do not use Xerox unless referring to the brand name.

physical education

  • Avoid the abbreviation PE.

plurals

  • Generally, an ‘s’ is added at the end of words to form plurals.
  • Add an apostrophe in abbreviations: MBA’s, single letters: A’s, C’s and acronyms that end in ‘s:’ SOS’s.
  • Otherwise, acronyms: POWs, hyphenated words: hi-fis, follow-ups and numbers used as a nouns: sixes and sevens take an ‘s’ alone to form the plural.
  • Apostrophes are never used to form the plural of proper nouns.
    • Incorrect: The Michelle’s will take part.
    • Correct: The Michelles will take part.
  • No apostrophe is used to form the plural of years: 1980s.
  • See decades.

plus

  • Use only in adding units. Do not use plus as a substitute for besides, and, also, or in addition.

pm

  • Do not capitalize and do not use periods: 7 pm.
  • Avoid redundancy: 8 pm this evening.

P.O. Box

  • Use periods in the abbreviation P.O. for P.O. Box numbers.
  • See addresses.

policymaking, policymaker

political parties

  • Names of political parties, movements and alliances are capitalized, but the words party and movement are not unless they are part of the official name: Freedom and Justice party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party.
  • Do not italicize names of political parties or movements.
  • Adjectives for political parties are lowercased: the leftist Tagamu’ party.

politics

  • Politics is always singular, not plural: Politics is an ever-changing field.

possessives

  • For singular and plural nouns that do not end in ‘s’, form the possessive by adding an ‘s’: Smith’s computer, women’s celebration.
  • For singular proper nouns that end with an ‘s,’ the possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe only: Jones’ house.
  • The apostrophe is omitted with official names that have plural nouns ending in an ‘s’: Visitors Center, Founders Day, Graduate Students Association.
  • For singular common nouns ending in ‘s,’ add an ‘s’ unless the next word begins with an ‘s’: the hostess’s invitation but the hostess’ seat, witness’ stand but witness’s chair.
  • Do not italicize the apostrophe or the ‘s’ after an italicized noun: Time's editor.

postgraduate

  • Means doctoral, not master’s, studies. Use graduate for master’s.
  • No hyphen. Used as an adjective only.
    • Incorrect: She is a postgraduate in engineering.
    • Correct: She is a postgraduate student in engineering.

prefixes (co, multi, mini, pre, post, un, under, non)

  • Generally, do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word.
  • Exceptions are:
    • When the prefix precedes a proper noun: anti-Islamic.
    • When the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begin with the same vowel: pre-emptive. Exceptions to that rule are cooperate and coordinate.
    • When joining doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph.
    • Words that contain ex- (meaning former) and self- as prefixes: self-evaluation, ex-husband.
  • With the prefix quasi-, hyphenate when used as an adjective: quasi-judicial. Do not hyphenate when used as a noun compound: quasi corporation.
  • In general, consult The American Heritage Dictionary. If the word is not listed, hyphenate.

premier, premiere

  • Premier is the title of an individual who is the first minister in a national government that has a council of ministers. It is also an adjective meaning chief or foremost.
  • Premiere means a first performance.

presenter

  • Not presentor.

presidency

  • Lowercase.

president

  • Uppercase only before the name: President Lisa Anderson.
  • Lowercase when used without a name: The president announced a new policy at the University Forum.

prices

  • For tickets or admissions, list the price to the general public first, followed by that for students or staff: Public: LE 10; AUC community: LE 5.
  • See currency.

principal, principle

  • Principal can be used as a noun or adjective. As a noun, it means someone first in rank or authority: school principal. As an adjective, it means important or major. She was the principal force behind the movement. Politics is the principal problem.
  • Principle is a noun that means a basic truth, law or moral value: She fought for her principles. Their main aim was upholding the principle of equality.

printshop

  • One word.

professional diploma

  • Capitalize the official name of the diploma. Lowercase in generic use: She acquired the International Advertising Association diploma. He has a diploma in management.

professor, doctor, titles

  • Use professor, not doctor. Professor is an academic title. A doctor (in academia) is a holder of a doctorate. Not all professors have doctorates, nor are all those who have a PhD professors.
  • Professor of, not professor in.
  • Use the faculty member's exact title: assistant professor, associate professor, professor, professor of practice, associate professor of practice, instructor, lecturer.

professorship

  • Use professorship, not chair, when referring to endowed positions: the Abdulhadi H. Taher Professorship in Comparative Religion.
  • See endowed professorships.

programs, academic

  • See names, programs.

pronouns

  • 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.

prospectus

  • Prospectus is singular; prospectuses is plural.

provide

  • Add “with” when provide is used with an object: We will provide you with the needed information tomorrow.

publications, presentations, reports

  • See titles, composition.

Pulitzer Prize winner

  • But Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

pull up (v.), pullup (n.)

Pyramids

  • Capitalize Great Pyramids and Sphinx when referring to the monument by its official name; lowercase other references: pyramids of Giza, Giza pyramids.