In quoted material, stay as true as possible to the original words, including colloquialisms even if they are counter to this style guide. Do omit or amend minor grammatical errors. Place clarifying text in brackets to indicate that the speaker did not actually say a word that was implied:

"When I heard she [the senator] would be at the meeting, I was hyperventilating," said the organizer.


General Web style

Throughout the CSUEB Web site, the style is to capitalize all navigation elements, headlines, page titles, and major links. All other page content should follow overall editorial style guidelines and the Web writing tips below.

Headlines, calls to action, and links: Use Initial Capitalization for Each Word
Navigation or continuation: Use Initial Capitals
Button/icon links: Use Initial Capitals

Capitalization exceptions: Articles and prepositions (a, an, the, for, to, etc.) are not capitalized. Most three letter words are not capitalized, although there are several exceptions for shorter words that play a key role in the headline.

President Introduces a New Program

Because "new" is an important element to the story, contributing to the newsworthiness, it should be capitalized. This is frequently a judgment call; consult the Office of University Communications for more guidance.

News site (AP) style

All content on the University's News and Events site follow AP style for headlines, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns. Through RSS feeds and other automatically populated content areas, these headlines will appear on other pages within the site, so the style exception for headlines may be noticeable in certain areas. This also affects calls to action and continuation links within the news site, although all navigation items are still capitalized for consistency.

News article headlines: First word capitalized, the rest lowercase
News article continuation: Read more (cap R, no period)
Navigation items (i.e., right-hand column): Initial Capitals

Web writing tips

When writing for the Web, it is best to keep content as concise as possible. Follow the news guidelines of inverted pyramid style, which dictates that the most important information is contained in the first paragraph, and then in descending order of importance. This places the most important content at the top of the page.

As with news writing, keep paragraphs short. If there is a compelling reason for long content (a list of requirements or a feature story), do not break into multiple pages. Web readers will scroll, but they tend to scan pages more than they read closely; bulleted lists and subheads are good ways to draw attention to critical content.

In writing links, be as descriptive as possible; a link is an invitation to readers as well as a promise for those seeking information. Links should always be more than one word and provide a good idea of what users will see when they click. Avoid using only "click here" – the instruction is understood now, and the words do not distinguish this link from any other on the page (there are also certain ADA compliance issues with the term).

Always double-check formatting of special characters and punctuation; certain artifacts from word processing programs can cause errors in HTML and render these characters unreadable or delete them entirely. If necessary, re-enter special characters (em-dashes, ellipses, apostrophes) in the CMS editor.


  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

  • The Associated Press Stylebook (generally for news writing only)

  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition

  • Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition

  • American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Note: Refer to other dictionaries for words not found in Webster's. If there is a conflict, defer to Webster's, the preferred dictionary of the Chicago Manual of Style.


If following a style guideline will in any way impair clarity or introduce ambiguity, use common sense instead of the rule. Style, unlike grammar and (most of the time) spelling, is fluid, and subject to change based on common usage patterns, regional variations, or the whims of editors.

Common sense choices will often be required when dealing with data-heavy stories, quotes, and ethnic or racial terminology. Once you have established a style or term in a document or story, use it consistently throughout to avoid confusion.

This guide is not comprehensive; neither is the Chicago Manual of Style or any other style guide, and there will be many occasions where no entry exists for a term, especially those specific to Cal State East Bay. In these cases, choose the capitalization, abbreviation, spelling, or punctuation that seems most appropriate and use it consistently going forward.

Please contact Jay Colombatto or any member of the Office of University Communications if you'd like to discuss style and sense in more detail.

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