Use all capital letters and no periods. Can be used a verb as well as a noun. To avoid redundancy, do not use "please" before RSVP in the verb form; the term is an abbreviation of the French expression repondez s'il vous plait, which means "please reply."

schools, colleges, departments

Do not capitalize the words colleges and departments when referring to more than one individual school or department.

colleges of Science and Education and Allied Studies
departments of English and geography

Do not capitalize the word college or department in a second reference, unless it is standing as an entity in formal writing and there is no potential for confusion between multiple colleges.

On first reference: Use the full name of a college or department.

The College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences is the largest of the University's colleges.
The college was founded in ...
BUT: Support for the College is an investment in our students.

When alphabetizing college and department names, organize them by their discipline and not by the "College of" or "Department of" part of the name. Thus, the College of Education and Allied Studies would be listed between the College of Business and Economics and College of Science.


See entry for dates.

serial comma

Use of the comma preceding "and" in a list of three or more items in text is standard in American grammar. Most books, magazines, textbooks, and literary publications include the serial comma, also referred to as the "Harvard" or "Oxford" comma for its common inclusion in academic presses.

Exception: News releases and the CSUEB news site follow AP style and omit the serial comma.

In lists, the serial comma ensures clarity and avoids confusion. In the famous following example, the lack of the concluding comma makes the meaning unclear:
"This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God."
Instead of referring clearly to three separate entities, it can be read as a thank you to a single entity ("my parents"), with the comma setting off a non-essential descriptive apposition (defining the parents as Ayn Rand and God).

Inclusion of the comma delineates discrete elements.
He thanked his friends, his lawyer, and his dog.
The terminal comma in this sentence makes it clearer that three separate entities are being named, rather than implying that the speaker's only friends are his lawyer and his dog.

split infinitives

In modern American grammar, it is acceptable to split an infinitive verb with a phrase (generally an adverb) or qualifier if the construction sounds more natural or when the interjection is emphasized.

To boldly go; to never harm another

Always avoid splitting infinitives when the construction would impair clarity.

state names

Do not abbreviate names of states when following names of cities and towns, except in footnotes and class notes. When abbreviating, use two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviations in capital letters instead of AP abbreviations.

Hayward, California; Bend, Oregon; Seattle, WA

Exception: Cal State East Bay Magazine and news stories follow AP guidelines for state abbreviations and dateline cities, and does not include the state name for locations of the CSUEB campuses.

Hayward; Bend, Ore.; Seattle

Always abbreviate the District of Columbia to Washington, D.C. Surround with commas where necessary in running text.

Students traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with the senator.


This term is hyphenated, unlike campuswide. It is the preferred term when referring to things that span all California State University campuses/locations.

that, which

In describing objects, use that for essential clauses that affect the structure and meaning of the sentence. Use which for nonessential clauses, which are informative but not necessary to the meaning. Which, like all nonessential clauses, requires a comma; that does not.

I just bought the book that my mother recommended.
The book, which was released last week, is already a best-seller.

For people, use who (or whom as appropriate) instead of that or which.


The abbreviations a.m. and p.m. following a numerical time should be set in lowercase type with periods. Generally, numerical times are preferable to "o'clock" (an exception to Chicago).

titles, academic and professional

Capitalize and spell out fully before names; lowercase after, and do not abbreviate in running text.

I am studying chemistry with Assistant Professor John Doe
John Doe, assistant professor of chemistry

If the formal or informal name of an office, department, or college is part of the title, capitalization rules apply:

Michael Leung is dean of the College of Science
Mary Lew, chair of the history department

For other titles (e.g., military, foreign, nobility) consult the Chicago manual.

See entries for Dr., department names, Mr./Mrs./Ms., president, professor

titles, composition

Use italics for all titles of books, plays, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, albums, or works of art; capitalize words longer than three letters.

Set the titles of songs, TV episodes, and individual articles within periodicals or academic journals in quotation marks.

Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing
"Drive My Car" on the Beatles' Rubber Soul
"Storybook season" in Cal State East Bay Magazine

Do not underline titles (excepting academic work following MLA guidelines).

Exception: News releases follow AP style, using quotation marks for compositions.


The word University should be capitalized in instances where it stands in for the longer phrase California State University, East Bay and lowercase when referring to another school or a university environment in general. Note that capitalized references are always preceded by the word "the." 

Several famous athletes have graduated from the University.
Cal State East Bay is a state university.
Cal State East Bay is one of the prominent universities in the region.

Exception: News releases follow AP style and do not capitalize university except in the full formal name.


When referring to Cal State East Bay, capitalize and hyphenate in all uses.


This acronym stands for "uniform resource locator." It is acceptable in text on first reference and preferred to "Web address." In printed materials, URLs should be set in plain type, not underlined or italicized. Do not print the http:// portion of a URL or concluding slashes, but do include all other punctuation required to make a page display properly.

In Web copy, descriptive link text is preferred to uncoded URLs:
Read more on the CLASS Web site
NOT:

In print, avoid breaking over multiple lines of text. If a URL cannot be listed on one line, do not break with a hyphen; rather, break after a period or slash, or rework the paragraph.


Use periods when abbreviating United States. The abbreviated form may be used as a noun for headlines but is preferably used only as an adjective.

vice president, vice provost, vice chair

These titles are never hyphenated. Title capitalization rules apply: capitalize before a name, lowercase otherwise.


Web, which is considered a proper noun, should be used with a capital W in all constructions. It is typically used as a separate adjective, but can be used as a noun in more informal writing.
Web page, Web site, Web strategy, on the Web

This usage is evolving, however, and some common phrases are better understood when written as a single word.
Weblog, Webmaster

Web site, titles of

Because titles of sites and the URLs do not always match, it is preferable to use the title of a Web site in running text and provide the URL in parentheses immediately following.

The Chronicle of Higher Education (
The online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle (
Cal State East Bay's Web site (


Always use numbers for years. Express a range of dates with "from... to" or an en dash, but do not use dashes with "from."
2003-05, from 2003 to 2005; not from 2003-05

Use full four digits for years, unless the first two digits are the same for the start and end years of a range:
1985; 1990–95; 1999–2001

For decades, use numerals and do not use apostrophes to pluralize, but do use them to stand in for missing numerals:
the 1980s, not the 1980's; the '80s, not the eighties.

Note the direction of the apostrophe in two-digit years, facing away from the numbers; this frequently needs to be typeset specially and will not autoformat.

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