University of Montana Style Guide

Style Guide Index:



Campus Court Businesses located on the ground floor of the University Center.

Campus Dining Official name of UM's food service unit. Change effective December 2019. Do not use UM Dining or Dining Services.

campuswide one word, no hyphen.

cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation

capitalization Avoid unnecessary capitals. For many words and phrases, check specific listings in this guide. If that fails, check the dictionary and use lowercase if the dictionary lists it as acceptable.

carillon Lowercase the type of bells located in Main Hall's clock tower.

Castles Center in the Law Building

catalog, cataloged Not "catalogue."

Cat-Griz game Do not use. UM refers to the game as Griz-Cat. See Griz-Cat entry.

Center for Ethics at the University of Montana Formerly the Practical Ethics Center.

Chairman, chairwoman, chair Capitalize a formal title before a name. Do not use chairperson. Board of Regents Chairman Clayton Christian approved the motion at the Nov. 22 meeting. Don Simmons was chair of UM's Department of Music.  

chapter Capitalize when used with a numeral in referring to sections of a book or when part of a formal name: Chapter 2, Montana Chapter of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Lowercase when the word stands alone.

children Reserve "kids" for informal usage. See infantboygirl and youth entries.

China Preferred word for routine references to the mainland. Use the "People's Republic of China" only in direct quotations or if necessary to distinguish the mainland from Taiwan.

cities and towns Capitalize. For local and in-state publications, Montana cities and towns stand alone. In general, those out of state should appear with state names: I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for four years. However, the following cities stand on their own:

Las Vegas 
Los Angeles 
New Orleans 
New York 
Oklahoma City 
St. Louis 
Salt Lake City 
San Antonio 
San Diego 
San Francisco 
Washington, D.C.

Clark Fork River

cleanup, clean up Use "cleanup" to name or describe, "clean up" to show action: He supervised the cleanup. The cleanup operation cost millions. He was told to clean up the mess.

co- Keep the hyphen when forming nouns, verbs and adjectives indicating job or status: co-author, co-chair, co-worker. Don't use a hyphen in other cases: coed, coeducation, cooperate, coexist.

coach Lowercase in all uses, as a job description, not a formal title: football coach Don Read.

College of Business formerly the School of Business Administration. Name change approved by Board of Regents in November 2017.

College of Education First reference: the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education. Second reference: College of Education or the education college. "and Health Sciences" was dropped from the college name in 2019 after HHP and speech pathology departments were moved to the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences. 

College of Forestry and Conservation First reference: W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. Second reference: College of Forestry and Conservation. Renamed in November 2016 after a $24 million gift from the Franke family.

College of Health formerly the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences. Name change approved by the Board of Regents in March 2020.

College of Humanities and Sciences formerly the College of Arts and Sciences. Name change approved by the Board of Regents in January 2014.

College of the Arts and Media Formerly the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Name change effective June 19. Schools within the College of Arts and Media are: the School of Theatre and Dance; the School of Visual and Media Arts; the School of Music; and the School of Journalism. The people who head these departments are directors, not chairs.

colon See Appendix A.

comma See Appendix A.

Commencement Capitalize this annual UM event and the specific event at other schools: UM began holding a Fall Commencement Ceremony in 2018. UM will hold its Spring Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday, May 4. Hellgate High School's Commencement is on Saturday, June 4. Lowercase in other uses: Most schools have commencement exercises in June.

commissioner Do not abbreviate. Capitalize when used as a formal title in front of a person's name.

commit, committed, commitment

committee Do not abbreviate. Capitalize when part of a formal name. The Digital Accessibility Committee meets once per month. Find a list of UM committees here

Community Medical Center

company, corporation Abbreviate as Co. or Corp. at the end of a business's title: Bakke Tire Co. Exceptions are theatrical organizations: the Montana Transport Dance Company. For plurals, use Cos. and Corps.: American Broadcasting Cos. Possessives: Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.'s (American Broadcasting Cos.') profits.

compared to, compared with Use "compared to" when asserting a similarity between two or more essentially different things: She compared his head to a billiard ball.

Use "compared with" to assert similarities or differences between two or more things: The state's largest public university enrolls 13,558 students, compared with its second-largest public university, which enrolls 12,003 students.

comparison of adjectives With two people or things, in general add the suffix -er to the base form: David is the older of the two boys.With more than two people or things, in general add the suffix -est to the base form: John is the tallest of their three children.

compose, comprise, constitute "Compose" means create or put together: He composed a ballad. The company is composed of six departments.

"Comprise" means contain, include all. Use only in the active voice: The company comprises six departments. Wrong: The company is comprised of six departments.

"Constitute," meaning form or make up, may be used when neither "compose" nor "comprise" seems quite right: Twenty-one nations constitute the alliance.

composition titles Apply these guidelines to the names of books, poems, plays, movies, operas, songs, TV shows, works of art and lectures:

Capitalize the main words, including prepositions and conjunctions with at least four letters: "A River Runs Through It."

Capitalize "a," "an" and "the" or words with fewer than four letters if they're the first or last words in a title.

Put quotes around the titles of books, poems, plays, movies, operas, songs, TV shows, works of art and lectures. Exceptions: the Bible and reference books such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and almanacs. See magazine names, newsletter names and newspaper names entries.

Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as WordPerfect or Windows; apps; or around names of video, online or analog versions of games: FarmVille, Pokemon Go, The Legend of Zelda, Monopoly.
Do not use quotation marks for sculptures: The Thinker, Michelangelo's Pieta.
concert tour titles in quotes. lowercase the word tour and leave outside quotations. Paul McCartney brought his "Out There" tour to UM in 2017.

concerted Means mutually arranged or done together. Right: The committees made a concerted effort to secure funding for the project.Wrong: I made a concerted effort to get my work done.

congressional lower case unless part of a formal name. congressional salaries, the Congressional Record

connote, denote "Connote" means to suggest something beyond the obvious meaning: "Mother" connotes "love and caring." "Denote" means to indicate or refer to something explicitly: "Mother" denotes "female parent."

continual, continuous "Continual" refers to steady repetition: Their divorce has led to continual litigation. "Continuous" means uninterrupted: All she saw ahead was a continuous line of cars.

contractions Contractions make for informal, conversational-sounding copy and are acceptable for most audiences. In general, if you use contractions somewhere in a piece of writing, use them throughout. Avoid purely colloquial contractions like "what'll."

controversial issue Avoid this overused, redundant expression. For example: They'll debate the issue of abortion. The class will discuss the controversy over abortion.

convince See persuade, convince entry.

corporation See company, corporation entry above.

couple When you mean two individuals, use plural verbs and pronouns: The couple were divorced last year but plan to share their house indefinitely. But when you refer to two people as one unit, use a singular verb: Each couple was given a party favor.

couple of The "of" is necessary: A couple of apples were rotten.

course titles Capitalize, but don't use quotation marks: Mathematics 101, The Psychology of Sport. See section entry.

coursework one word.

courtesy titles In general, use first and last names for men and women: Jeannette Rankin, Harold C. Urey. Don't use "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Miss" or "Ms." unless in direct quotations: " My parents prefer to be called Mr. and Mrs. Frank Nielsen."

CPA Use "certified public accountant" on first reference.

CutBank UM's literary journal. Published twice a year.

CyberBear UM's online registration system. In addition to registration, hold information, enrollment verification and unofficial transcripts, CyberBear also contains each student's address information, financial aid and payment information, and information on housing, meal plans and parking.