The University of Colorado recognizes the importance of grammatical consistency and accuracy throughout its web presence and in print publications. The university uses Associate Press Style in all publications, however there are rules not covered in AP that pertain specifically to the university.

To present a consistent and high-quality standard of writing that appropriately reflects the university’s standard of excellence, this guide addresses university-related style issues, common errors and common style.

The system style guide, published by University Relations in the Office of the President, is intended to serve as an editorial guideline for language use pertaining to the university and its constituents.

AP Style changes for 2017

  • ‘They’ is OK as a singular pronoun in limited cases, but it’s better to rework the sentence.
  • Gender issues: OK to use cisgender (gender corresponds with birth sex), gender nonconforming (noun), gender-nonconforming (adj) and intersex (a person born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male).
  • Under addiction: Addiction to drugs or alcohol is considered a disease, so avoid words such as abuse, program, alcoholic, user and abuser.
  • Cocktail should not be used to refer to a mixture of drugs for an execution. 

AP Style changes for 2016

  • Internet is now lower case (internet)
  • Web is lowercase in all instances such as webpage, webfeed
  • Voicemail is one word
  • If negligence is involved, use collision or crash vs. accident
  • Use chickpea instead of Garbanzo bean
  • Japanese whisky loses the ‘e’ (was whiskey)
  • Media is now a singular noun
  • Cross-dresser, not transvestite
  • ‘Spree’ is for shopping, not shooting
  • Climate change is more scientifically correct than global warming

AP Style changes for 2014

Spell the name of the state out entirely in content, datelines not needing a state remain the same. 

  • Example: Colorado vs. Colo.
  • Example: Denver (no state afterward); Grand Junction, Colorado

A comma continues to follow the state when in the middle of a sentence:

  • Example: The Aurora, Colorado, native is attending UCCS.

"Over" is now allowable in content referring to a numeral or amount of time. Previously, it was relegated to spacial references, as in being physically above something.

  • Example: The Ludlow Massacre occurred over 100 years ago.

AP Style changes for 2013

“Underway” is now one word,

The AP has prohibited use of the phrase “illegal immigrant” or “illegal” to describe a person, citing use of the word illegal as limited to an action, not a person. Such people are now referred to as "undocumented workers" or "undocumented immigrants."

Refer to people as “diagnosed with schizophrenia” instead of “schizophrenics.”

New words: Swag, chichi, dumpster and froufrou (swag and dumpster are OK by us; we prefer you stay away from words such as chichi and dumpster)

For questions or to make changes, please contact the Office of University Relations.