Writing for the Website

In order to maintain a consistent and professional website, the university follows Pacific University Brand Standards and AP style. Following a strict style guide provides continuity across the site despite the different contributors writing for the website.

In general, when crafting copy, it is important to remember that many of our audiences overlap. For the sake of our readers, we advocate using a clear, consistent, contemporary style of writing in all non-academic documents. You can find a full description of our editorial standards online.

In addition to following writing style, it is also important to make sure webpages and content are formatted correctly and that content is optimized for search.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use lasting language to keep content current. Instead of writing "Opened last month" or "Opened recently," say "Opened in Fall 2014"
  • Turn on the SCAYT spell checker (It is the button with ABC and a checkmark on it. Sometimes, spellchecker does not recognize these common words:
    • email (not Email or e-mail. other electronic abbreviations usually retain the hyphen. “e-newsletter”)
    • website (one word, lowercase — not Web site)
    • webpage (single word, lower-case)
    • Hawai'i (with an 'okina, a symbol that looks like a backwards apostrophe, a resident is a “person from Hawai'i” or “Hawai‘i resident,” not necessarily “Hawaiian”)
    • pdf (lowercase, no period in front)
  • Never include a full website URL to create a link and avoid using "click here" or link language. Instead, describe the link. If the link is removed, the sentence should still make sense.

Places, Departments, and Academic Degrees

  • The words university, center, office, department, etc., are lowercase when not used as part of the official title, such as Pacific University
  • Use complete titles of university, department, offices, etc., on first reference, and don’t be afraid to reuse later in page
  • Arts & Sciences is the shortened form of College of Arts and Sciences; capitalize and use an ampersand (&)
  • Hillsboro Campus, with both words capitalized replaces "Health Professions Campus," the former name
  • Academic departments are capitalized. Academic subjects, majors and minors are not. It depends on use:
    • She is studying biology
    • He is a professor of biology
    • He works in the Biology Department
  • Degree abbreviations do not use periods: PhD, not Ph.D. A complete list  of degree abbreviations is available under the university’s editorial standards.

Times and Dates

  • Format times as 6 a.m. (not 6am or 6 am or 6:00 AM or six am)
  • Use the word to instead of a dash to indicate hours (Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., not 8-8 or 8:00 a.m-8:00 p.m.)
  • Dash between words is okay: Monday-Thursday
  • Never use 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. Use noon and midnight instead (8 p.m. to midnight).
  • Write out the full name of the days of the week instead of abbreviating.

Punctuation Style

  • In a simple list, do not put a comma before the conjunction in the list. In a complex list, in which individual items contain a conjunction OR are phrases, use the comma.
    • No Comma: My grocery list includes milk, butter and bread.
    • Comma: My grocery list includes peanut butter, ice cream, and macaroni and cheese.
  • There should be a single space after an ellipsis or dash
  • Use long dashes (shift + option + -) to denote a pause or aside in a sentence, not a short dash (-) or two short dashes (--).
    • Ex. The agenda today — webpages, stories, photos and events — is very full.
    • Ex. 503-352-3006
  • In a bulleted list, there is no period after the end of the item or sentence, unless the individual bullet includes more than one complete sentence.