• Exceptions may be made to the normal rules for abbreviations to make information fit. Make any abbreviations as clear as possible.

take off (v.), takeoff (n. and adj.)

take out (v.), takeout (n. and adj.)

take over (v.), takeover (n. and adj.)

take up (v.), takeup (n. and adj.)


task forces, committees

  • Capitalize when part of a formal name: Academic Integrity Task Force, Ad Hoc Finance Committee. See committee.
  • See committees, task forces.

tax-free (adj.)

teachers college

  • No apostrophe.

teaching assistant

  • Lowercase. Use TA without periods on second reference (plural TAs).

technical terms

  • See jargon.


  • Use a singular verb and pronoun it when referring to the team as a collective unit. The team is among the finalists. It was awarded for its achievements. However, the team name takes a plural verb: The Lions are winning the game.


tear gas

  • Two words.

telephone numbers

  • Use periods, not hyphens. Write telephone numbers as: +20.2.2797.5448 or +20.3.698.3572.  For cellphone numbers, write as: +2.012.0000.0000. For toll-free numbers, write as: 0900.444.5271.
  • For on-campus extensions, write ext. followed by a space and the four-digit number: ext. 2396.

television programs

  • Do not put the word show in quotation marks unless it is part of the official name. The word show may be dropped when it would be repetitive, such as in a list. 
  • See composition titles.


  • Use figures for all temperatures except zero: 8 degrees Celsius.
  • Use a word (not the minus sign) to indicate temperatures below zero.
    • Incorrect: Yesterday’s low was -8.
    • Correct: Yesterday’s low was 8 below zero; Yesterday’s low was minus 10.
  • Temperatures get higher or lower, nor warmer or cooler.
    • Incorrect: The temperature is expected to get warmer tomorrow.
    • Correct: The temperature is expected to rise tomorrow.
  • Follow the examples: temperature rose four degrees; temperature in the 20s (no apostrophe).



  • Generally, use the past tense in running text: She said, did, went.
  • Use present tense only when something is constant or continuous: The constitution says that freedom is the right of every citizen.


  • A prefix denoting 1 trillion units of a measure. 3 teratons = 3,000,000,000,000 tons.


  • See titles.

thanawiya amma

  • Egypt’s equivalent of a high school diploma. Lowercase and italicize.

that, which

  • Although the two words are sometimes used interchangeably, it is best to reserve which for independent clauses preceded by a comma and that for dependent clauses not preceded by a comma: All the regulations are included in the student handbook, which is given out during orientation. The AUC Press publishes books that are written by Arab and non-Arab authors.

that, which (pronouns)

  • Use that for essential clauses, important to the meaning of a sentence. Do not use commas: I remember the day that we traveled together.
  • Use which for nonessential clauses, not important to the meaning of a sentence, adding commas: The student, who graduated last year, came in first.
  • Use the conjunction that to introduce a dependent clause if the sentence sounds odd without it. When in doubt, include that instead of omitting it.
  • That usually may be omitted after any form of the verb to say: The teacher said the student's work is exemplary. The committee chair says findings will be published in a report at the end of the month.
  • That should be used when a time element is placed between the verb and the dependent clause: The teacher said Thursday that the student's work is exemplary.
  • That usually is necessary after some verbs. They include: advocate, assert, contend, declare, estimate, make clear, point out, propose and state.
  • That is required before subordinate clauses beginning with conjunctions such as after, although, because, before, in addition to, until and while: The teacher said that although the student's work is exemplary, he will not be given an award this year.


  • Capitalize when part of an official title: He is a reporter at "The Washington Post."

theatre, theater

  • Theatre refers to the discipline; theater refers to the auditorium.



  • Use thesis or thesis dissertation to refer to the scholarly paper written to earn a master’s or doctorate degree (plural: theses, dissertations).
  • Do not use dissertation alone except on second reference.

three-dimensional or 3D

  • Not 3-D or three-D.


tie, tied, tying

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

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

till, ‘til, until

  • See until.

time of day

  • Write time, followed by am or pm, leaving a space and not using periods: 11 am.
  • Avoid :00 and o’clock except in quotes and invitations.
  • Do not use the 24-hour method: 14:20, 00:00.
  • To avoid confusion, use noon and midnight rather than 12 pm and 12 am.
  • Avoid redundancy:
    • Noon, not 12 noon.
    • 3 am, not 3 am in the morning.
    • an afternoon nap, not an afternoon nap at 4 pm.
  • 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: The play will be performed from 8 to 10 pm.
  • If you use from, you must use to; do not combine two forms:
    • Incorrect: from 1998 – 2003.
    • Correct: from 1998 to 2003.
  • If you are listing more than one time, give the minutes for all of them if you are going to use it for any:
    • Incorrect: 2:30 am, 4 pm and 8 pm.
    • Correct: 2:30 am, 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

time zones

  • Capitalize the full name: Eastern Standard Time, Eastern Daylight Time, Central Standard Time. Lowercase everything but the region in shortened forms: the Eastern time zone, Eastern time.

titled, entitled

  • Entitled means to have a right to something: People are entitled to fair treatment.
  • Titled refers to the names of books, movies, plays, songs or lectures. The professor will give a lecture titled “Water Issues in the Middle East.”


before a name
  • Capitalize the formal title when it precedes the person’s name. Do not set off by commas: Professor Salima Ikram.

after a name

  • Lowercase and set off with commas when the title comes after the name: Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology, delivered a lecture on recent findings in the Kharga Oasis.


  • Do not capitalize: The president will meet the dean tomorrow.


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


  • 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.
  • 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 only reserved for medical doctors.
  • Do not use Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss except in direct quotations.


  • Capitalize military ranks when they precede a name: Lieutenant John Jones, Army Sergeant General Paul William.
  • On second reference, refer only to the person’s last name; do not continue using the title before the name.
  • Do not use abbreviations for military ranks (Lt. Gen.; Col.) in running text.


  • Capitalize king, queen, prince and princess when they precede a name: Queen Rania Al Abdulla.
  • Lowercase when they stand alone: The queen went on a world tour, the queen mother.
  • Always capitalize when the title becomes an alternate for the name: Charles, Prince of Wales, is heir to the throne; Duke of Wellington.
  • Consult The Associated Press Stylebook for a complete list of nobility titles.

reference works

  • These include almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks.
  • Capitalize but do not italicize or put in quotation marks: American Heritage Dictionary; The World Book Encyclopedia.


  • Lowercase and spell out titles when they are set off from a name by commas: The president, Lisa Anderson, gave the welcome speech.
  • A formal title generally is one that denotes a scope of authority, professional activity or academic activity: President Lisa Anderson, Vice President for Planning and Administration Brian MacDougall.
  • Lowercase titles that serve as occupational descriptions: astronaut Neil Armstrong, movie star Khaled Abol Naga.
  • Do not use abbreviated titles such as Sen., Gov., Lt.
  • Past and future titles: A formal title that an individual formerly held, is about to hold or holds temporarily is capitalized if used before the person's name, without capitalizing the qualifying word: former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, deposed King Constantine, interim President Thomas Bartlett.
  • Long titles: Separate a long title from a name by a construction that requires a comma: Mary Robinson, first female president of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, spoke on campus. Or: Ireland's first female president and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mary Robinson, spoke on campus.


  • Stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. TOEFL is acceptable in all references. Also TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test), TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) and TOEFL CBT (Computer-based Test).

touch screen (n.), touch-screen (adj.)


  • A generic term for a push-button telephone dialing service.


  • Not towards.
  • Also, forward, backward, afterward, upward, earthward.

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

trade off (v.), trade-off (n. and adj.)


  • Use generic terms instead of registered trademarks:
    • photocopy, not Xerox.
    • table tennis, not Ping-Pong.
    • tissue, not Kleenex.
  • When usage of trademarks is necessary, capitalize the names of registered trademarks.
  • Do not use trademark symbols in running text.


  • Generally, no hyphen except when the prefix precedes a proper noun: transcontinental, trans-Atlantic.
  • See Prefixes.

travel, traveled, traveling, traveler


  • Not travelog.


  • Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. See titles.


  • See Board of Trustees.

try out (v.), tryout (n.)


  • Capitalize the T.


  • Use czar.

tsunami (s.), tsunamis (pl.)

tune up (v.), tuneup (n. and adj.)


  • Acceptable as an abbreviated form of television, as a noun or adjective.


  • Acceptable in all references.

twin towers

  • The two tallest buildings in the World Trade Center that were destroyed in the 9/11 attack. Lowercase north tower and south tower.



  • Capitalize typhoon when it is part of the name that weather forecasters assign to a storm: Typhoon Tilda.