The active voice is usually more direct than passive voice. If the subject performs the action, the verb is in active voice.
If the subject is acted upon, the verb is in the passive voice.
When given a choice, use active voice.
Do not use in place of “and.”
The exceptions are if it is part of a company or institution’s legal name.
Ampersand (instead of AND) should only be used graphically on all KCTCS materials NOT on news releases, correspondence, etc.
Make abbreviations plural by adding “s.”
No apostrophe is needed for decades.
For a singular noun ending in “s,” form the possessive by adding "’s. ”
When using full sentences or paragraphs as list items, ensure the grammar is correct as for any sentence and list each normally.
When using single words and phrases as bulleted items, always capitalize the first letter and use no punctuation.
Use the serial comma to separate words in a list. Note: a comma is not needed before “and,” “or,” or “nor” in a list of three or more items.
If items in the series contain commas themselves, use semicolons between all items.
When following a person’s name, qualifiers such as Ph.D. and M.D. are preceded by a comma. A second comma follows the qualifier in running text.
However, qualifiers such as Jr., Sr., and III are not set off by commas.
Set off the year when using dates with commas on both sides if a day of the month precedes it.
Set off a parenthetical (nonrestrictive) expression with commas on both sides. Note that states following cities are parenthetical and require commas before and after.
Commas appear after, not before, an expression in parentheses (like this), and they always go inside quotation marks, except when a quotation mark indicates inches.
Note: In newspaper writing, incidentally, you will seldom find a serial comma, but that is not necessarily a sign it should be omitted in academic prose.
Avoid excessive use of contractions.
A participle, particularly at the beginning of a sentence, must have a noun or pronoun it can belong to or modify. The participle should be immediately followed by the noun it modifies.
The phrase driving along the road does not modify house. Recast:
Use an ellipsis (three dots, . . .) to indicate the omission of one or more words in condensing quotes and other textual material. Space before and after the ellipsis and between periods within the ellipsis. If the ellipsis occurs inside a sentence, it consists of three dots; if it occurs at the end of a sentence, follow the ellipsis with a period—a total of four dots.
Use a hyphen to avoid ambiguity and in the following situations:
COMPOUND MODIFIERS: In general, when two or more words modify a noun, use hyphens.
DO NOT hyphenate when compounds include "very" or adverbs ending in "-ly."
Most compound modifiers are NOT hyphenated when they appear after a noun. The exception to this is modifiers that follow forms of the verb "to be."
However, compounds with the prefix "well" are usually NOT hyphenated when they follow forms of "to be."
COMPOUND WORDS: Avoid hyphenating compound words whenever possible, unless hyphens are necessary to avoid confusing the reader or to avoid an awkward junction.
Certain compounds should be spelled as two words when used as adverbs or nouns (full time, part time, fund raising, off campus) but hyphenated when used as adjectives.
Use a hyphen when the base word begins with a capital letter.
Use a hyphen when referring to first-professional degrees or levels of residency.
BREAKS: If a word already contains a hyphen, do not break it at the end of a line.
Do not allow a single letter of a word to stand alone at the beginning or end of a line. NOT E-gyptian, NOT a-lone.
Italicize the title of books, plays, films, long poems, long musical compositions, works of visual art, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, and radio and television programs.
For singular nouns ending in s, use s’s to make it possessive.
Use quotation marks around the titles of short works, newspaper and magazine articles, poems, short stories, songs, episodes of television and radio programs, and chapter or subdivisions of books.
In general, use the semicolon to indicate a greater separation of thought and information than a comma can convey, but less than the separation that a period implies. Use semicolons to separate elements of a series when the items in the series are long or when individual segments contain material that also must be set off by commas.
An expression in which there is a word or phrase, esp. an adverb or adverbial phrase, between to and its accompanying verb form in an infinitive, as in to readily understand. The construction should be avoided unless the adverb bears the emphasis in the phrase.
In handwritten or typed papers, underlining represents italics, a slant typeface used in printed material.
Do not underline the Bible or the titles of books in the Bible (Genesis, not Genesis); the titles of legal documents (the Constitution, not the Constitution); or the titles of your own papers.
Underline the names of spacecraft, aircraft, ships and trains.
Underline foreign works used in an English sentence.