Pam Hill

Associate Editor hill.370@osu.edu

We’ve got (editorial) style

Pam Hill

Aug 17, 2017

Let’s start by stating the obvious: The rules of English grammar do not make for stimulating conversation (nor warrant a passing thought) for many folks. And that’s understandable. After all, when so much communication has been relegated to 140 characters or less, who’s got time (or desire) to worry about proper word usage and punctuation?

At Ohio State, we know good communication still encompasses good grammar, but highly effective communication goes one step further: style. Just as the university has developed a set of brand guidelines for our visual communications — logos, colors, fonts, etc. — so too have we incorporated an editorial brand to help ensure our messaging is consistent across various platforms, from print to web to video to social media.

 That’s not to say that everyone must sound alike. Rather, our editorial guidelines provide us as communicators the groundwork for consistent messaging among many voices. There’s a lot to say about Ohio State, and countless ways of saying it. But no matter the message, the means or the audience, we’re all communicating from the same perspective: We’re Buckeyes.

That’s why we have not only adopted a basic style guide (Associated Press) for general grammar usage, but also have placed our own Ohio State stamp — or brand — on it. The guidelines that pertain directly and uniquely to university communications are there to help strengthen our language consistency and identity as Buckeyes.  

The AP Stylebook, found online at apstylebook.com/osu, is the place to start for questions regarding common style issues, such as punctuation for days, dates and months, presentation of names and titles in running text, standard English usage, preferred spellings, commas and so forth. In essence, the stylebook provides direction on the writing matters we encounter in the course of our daily work as university writers and editors.

The guide also addresses topics specific to Ohio State: the use of “The” with our university’s name, presenting “2020 Vision” in running text, ampersands and capitalization, treatment of academic departments and colleges, items related to the Wexner Medical Center and many others.

You’ll find these university-specific topics incorporated into the AP Stylebook, but we’ve also created a condensed version in a downloadable PDF (available at URLURLURL) that provides guidance for the most common nomenclature issues you may encounter as a communicator. And if your question isn’t answered in the stylebook or PDF? Contact us at style@osu.edu and we’ll be happy to answer your question one on one.

Whether your work primarily involves print content, web content or both, you want your audience to recognize it as Ohio State content. Take advantage of University Marketing resources to help you stay on track with university editorial style.

Oh, and about those 140 characters — we’ve got a style for those too. Look for the “social media exception” notes sprinkled throughout the AP Stylebook and downloadable PDF. 

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