General Guidelines

Please refer to the most recent addition of the Associate Press (AP) Stylebook for general style. All exceptions to AP style and general “rules of thumb” that are commonly used when writing are noted in this guide.

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  • Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St. only with a numbered address:
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
  • Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number:
    Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name:
    Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues
  • Spell out streets using First through Ninth, use figures for 10th and above:
  • Fifth Avenue
  • 12th Street

Alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae

Any student who completed at least 12 units at Vanguard University is categorized as an alumnus/alumna.

  • Alumnus is a man who attended VU.
  • Alumni refers to a group of men, or a group of men and women.
  • Alumna is a woman who attended VU.
  • Alumnae refers to a group of women who attended VU.
  • Do not use “alum” except if necessary in a quote.

Alumni – Graduation Years

All alumni are to be noted with the year they graduated and the degree they earned if they earned any other degree besides a bachelor’s. Maiden names are to be included for married female graduates if the graduate’s name had not yet changed at the time of graduation from Vanguard. If an alumnus did not graduate VU, denote the years of attendance. Alumni names with years are always bolded within body copy upon first reference. When listing married couples, the female always goes first. Examples:

  • Bob Smith ‘00
  • Bob Smith MTS ’00
  • Bob Smith ’00, MTS ’03
  • Judy and Bob Smith ’00 for a wife that did not graduate
  • Judy ‘03 and Bob Smith ’00 for a wife that did graduate with her married name
  • Judy (Lee ’03) Smith
  • Judy (Lee ’99, MTS ’03) Smith
  • Judy (Lee ’03) and Bob Smith ‘00
  • Judy (Lee ’00, MTS 03) and Bob Smith ’99, MA ‘03
  • Bob Smith 1999-2002 for a non-graduate


Indicates possessive, contraction, or missing letters/numbers. Use for plural of single letters only; do not use to pluralize numbers or acronyms.

  • He got all A’s. She bought CDs, DVDs, and books.
  • In class year listings, note direction of apostrophe: Class of ’12


Short for application. A program that runs inside another service. Many cell phones allow applications to be downloaded to expand their functions. App is acceptable on second reference.

Assemblies of God

Information provided from The General Council of the Assemblies of God General Secretary Policy Handbook

  • The corporate name, reserved for use when referring to the legal entity is: The General Council of the Assemblies of God.
  • “The” is part of the official name and should always be capitalized.
  • Each session of the corporation is referred to as a General Council.
  • The entire constituency, and popular term by which the church is known, is Assemblies of God.


Assemblies of God is a collective term and takes a singular verb form:

  • The Assemblies of God is a growing church.
  • The Assemblies of God has many missionaries.

Notice the use of Assemblies of God when referring to several churches but not to the organization as a whole:

  • The Assemblies of God Churches are sponsoring a revival.
  • The Assemblies of God of Springfield have worked jointly.

When the term Assemblies of God describes an individual or a church, it should always be used in the plural:
An Assemblies of God church
An Assemblies of God minister
The only time “Assembly of God” is used in the singular is when the words are part of the individual church name or serve as a substitute for the word church. It is correct to say: Calvary Assembly of God; First Assembly of God; or the Assembly of God. Since the word Assembly is synonymous with Church, it is redundant and incorrect to say Assembly of God Church. A church in the organization is an Assemblies of God church.
The correct abbreviation for Assemblies of God is AG. This should be used only when absolutely necessary. In any event, the first reference to Assemblies of God in an article or other printed materials should be spelled out in full. Then the abbreviation AG may be used for subsequent reference.

Board of Trustees

Capitalize. Lowercase trustees, board, and regents on second reference


Buildings on the Vanguard campus that have a title should be referred to by their full title and capitalized on first reference: the Heath Academic Center, the Scott Academic Center, Needham Chapel. Refer to the building in shorthand (the Heath building) on
subsequent references. Buildings that do not have a title and should not be capitalized include: the gym, the bookstore, the psychology building, the natural sciences building, etc.

  • the “Pit” is the correct way to denote the nickname for the gym.
  • the Cove is the correct way to denote the student center.

Building Names and Campus Locations

Balboa Hall
Business Services
Campus Safety
Catalina Hall
Financial Aid
Fine Arts Offices
Forrest Room
Graduate Psychology
Heath Academic Center
Human Resources
Huntington Hall
Information Technology
Laguna Hall
Lyceum Theatre
Maintenance/Central Plant
Music Studios
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Offices
Needham Chapel
Newport Hall
Laguna Hall
Lyceum Theater
Maintenance/Central Plant
Music Studios
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Offices
Needham Chapel
Newport Hall
Newport Mesa Church
NMC Dome
Nursing Annex
O. Cope Budge Library
Psychology Offices
Scott Academic Center
Scott Annex/Mailroom
Smith Hall
Social Sciences Offices
The Café
The Cove/Bookstore
Theatre Modular
Veterans Courtyard of Honor


  • Capitalize all proper names.
  • Capitalize Bible, but do not italicize.
  • Lower case: scripture, kingdom of God, heaven, hell, the devil, satan, and general religious reference should be lower case.
  • Capitalize pronouns when referring to God, Jesus, etc.
  • Capitalize references to religious/Christian nouns when referring to them using a definite article and used as a specific title. Examples: the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Kingdom, the Good Shepherd, the Last Supper, the Scriptures, the Church when referring to the entire Body of Christ, the Body of Christ, etc. Exception: the devil.


  • Omit the comma after the last item in a list of three or more things.
  • Insert after the year in a date.

Copyrighted and Trademarked Names

  • Do not use the symbols to denote copyrights and trademarked names.


Use Arabic figures (without -st, -th, etc.):

  • May 3
  • Always spell out days of the week, unless necessary in a grid or tabular format.
  • Capitalize the names of months.

    When a phrase lists only a month and year, do not separate the year with commas:

    • The alumni reunion in October 2010 was a huge success.

    When a phrase refers to day, month and year, set off year with commas:

    • January 2012 was a cold month.
    • Feb. 14, 2013, was the target date.

    Always include the year when the date is in another calendar year; do not use the year if the date or
    dates are in the same year as the publication. Set off day of the week with comma:
    The event was scheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2013.
    First century, 11th century. Always use numbers for years:

    • the 1980s (no apostrophe) or the ’80s (note apostrophe faces away from the year)
    • not “the eighties”


    Means for example and is always followed by a comma. Not to be confused with i.e., the abbreviation for the Latin id est or that is, which is also always followed by a comma.


    • All writing guidelines above are the same for email
    • Please do not use any email stationary (e.g., background color or graphics).
    • Only use Arial or Futura font in black
    • Response emails can be in black or navy

    Please use the current email signature until otherwise noted.

    Director of Food Services
    T 714.966.5459 F 714.966.6733

    Exclamation Point

    Avoid overuse. Only use one exclamation point per sentence. Do not use a comma or period after the exclamation mark, even for quoted material.


    Abbreviation for the Latin id est or that is and is always followed by a comma. Not to be confused with e.g., which means for example and is also always followed by a comma.


    When writing a letter, indent the first line of each paragraph.


    Books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, poems, plays, films, visual artwork, comic strips, software, web sites, albums. Also, specific ships, trains, aircraft, spacecraft, foreign words used in an English sentence. No italics/quotes for the Bible, software, websites.


    Use numerals for ages and all other numbers above 99. Spell out ninety-nine and below.


    Punctuation generally goes outside the closing parenthesis (as shown in this sentence). Do not capitalize or include a period inside a parenthetical statement unless it is an entire sentence, standing alone. (This is an example.)

    Phone Numbers

    • Phone numbers should be formatted as (e.g. 714.556.3610) Use periods, not dashes.

    Quotation Marks

    Use quotation marks for song titles, directly quoted speech or text; The period and the comma always go within the quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark, and exclamation point go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

    Question Marks

    Use at the end of a sentence that’s a question. Question marks go inside quotation marks when used in quoted material:

    • “What does that mean?” he asked.
    • “Will you sing “Amazing Grace?”

    Social Media Style Guide


    • Before beginning the process of developing social media tools, visit and fill out the social media content owner form, agreeing to terms of Vanguard University.
    • Consider how your social media presences not only tie back to your web presence but help extend it. Do you use consistent branding, colors, tone, images, graphics, etc.? Does the content you share via social media match what is on your website?

    Facebook Guidelines

    Profile Picture

    Use the Vanguard University dimensional logo flame, cropped to 200 pixels wide (no height constraint).

    Timeline Cover Photo

    The first thing visitors to your timeline see, the cover photo should be engaging, easy to read, and sized 851 x 315 pixels. Please select a pre-formatted image from our VU-themed cover photos, by contacting

    Vanity URL

    This can never be changed, so choose carefully. Establish a consistent naming convention, for example:

    Page name

    No character limit. Begin with “Vanguard University” (e.g. Vanguard University Department of English)

    Page Type

    Under “Update Info” then “Basic Information,” select “Companies & Organizations” under categories, and “University” as sub-category.
    Underneath that, in the Official Page category, select “Vanguard University of Southern California” fanpage

    About section of fanpage

    URL and short department description (e.g. FOR MORE: The Department of Music prepares students to effectively communicate the aesthetic qualities of music from various styles and cultures to a diverse population.)

    Description section of fanpage

    Brief description of your department/institute

    Mission section of fanpage

    Should be the mission of Vanguard University (e.g. The mission of Vanguard University is to equip each student for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.)


    Here are a few examples of well-branded social media accounts at Vanguard University:
    Vanguard University:
    Vanguard University Theatre Department:

    Twitter Guidelines


    YouTube Guidelines


    MailChimp Guidelines

    Standard branded Vanguard University MailChimp template should always be used in enewsletters to outside constituents. Contact for template.

    States and Cities

    • Use city name only when referring to a city in the state of California, except when the city might be easily confused with a city in another state and for the city of Paradise, Calif.
    • Use AP style for state abbreviations in Class Notes, On Campus, and alumni sidebars.
    • Use long-form magazine reading style for states in feature stories.


    • Capitalize “World Wide Web.”
    • Capitalize “Internet,” do not capitalize the definite article “the” when used before it.
    • Do not capitalize e-mail
    • website (do not capitalize unless part of a proper name), web page, webcam, webcast, webmaster
    • Capitalize the names of websites (e.g. “Yahoo!”, “Google” and “”). Exceptions would be if the actual name of the site begins with a lowercase letter (e.g. “iTunes”, “eBay”). Do not capitalize URLs (e.g. “”, “”) or underline them.
    • cell phone

    Theatre vs. Theater

    Use this spelling in all instances, unless talking about a Lyceum theater.
    Theatre is the program, theater is the building.


    Use periods with a.m. and p.m.

    • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    When using two times from the same time period do not repeat a.m. or p.m.

    • 3-3:45 p.m. not 3 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

    Titles – General

    • Do not capitalize titles of alumni.
    • Lowercase all job titles.


    Academic Degrees for Invitations and Social Correspondence

    Do not use academic suffixes. Use Dr., Ms., Mrs., etc. before names of alumni or professors.

    • Dear Dr. Carol Taylor not Dear Dr. Carol Taylor, PhD or Dear Carol Taylor, PhD
    • Dear Mrs. Linda Collins not Dear Mrs. Linda Collins, MBA
    • If the individual is a reverend and a doctor, list as Reverend Doctor Michael Smith
    • If the married couple are both doctors, list as Doctors Jonathan and Jennifer Anderson
    • For military titles, please visit:

    Departments & Offices

    Do not capitalize department and office titles (the biology department; the office of alumni relations).


    Do not capitalize unless a proper name (i.e. Spanish major, psychology major).


    • Spell out “Assemblies of God”. Do not use A/G or AG. If an abbreviation is absolutely necessary, A/G is preferred.


    Capitalize (the School of Communication and the Arts).


    Capitalize when referring to Vanguard University. Example: The University will be launching a campaign to recruit more mimes in the fall. Lowercase in all other references.


    One word. Use uppercase when saying Vanguard University Viewbook 2013. Lowercase on second reference.

    Writing a letter

    • All guidelines are the same for writing a letter
    • Use only Vanguard University letterhead or digital letterhead
    • Only use approved Vanguard fonts in black (see Brand Guidelines for fonts)

    Year of Graduation/Degree earned

    • Use no periods in BA, MA, PhD, etc.
    • Examples of listing alumni years and titles are listed under the section “alumni” above.

    For any additional Style Guide questions please email