University of Montana Style Guide

Style Guide Index:



page numbers Use figures and capitalize "page" when used with figures: Page 5.

parentheses See Appendix A.

Park-N-Ride UM's free shuttle service is known as UDASH. Do not use Park-N-Ride.

passer-by, passers-by

Paxson Gallery Located in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.

The Payne Family Native American Center Capitalize "The." On second reference either the Payne Center or the Native American center

PEAS Farm A six-acre farm in the Rattlesnake Valley managed by UM's Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society. "PEAS" or "PEAS Farm" is acceptable on first reference; however, do not use the redundant "PEAS Program."

percent Use the % sign when paired with a numeral, with no space, in most cases (a change in 2019)1%. The poll found 78% of Montanans did not know the name of the state's highest natural point. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. 

Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center Spell out on first reference. Use " PAR/TV Center" or "the center" on second reference.

person, persons, people Use "person" when referring to an individual: One person arrived on time. Use "people" for more than one person. Avoid "persons" except when it's in a direct quote or a title: the Bureau of Missing Persons.

persuade, convince You are persuaded to do something but convinced that something is so. Right: He persuaded me to finish the job. He convinced me that I should balance the checkbook. Wrong: He persuaded me that I was the right person for the job. He convinced me to go to the store.

Phi Delta Theta men's fraternity originally chartered at UM in 1921 and recolonized in 2011.

Phyllis Washington Park Amphitheater Located near the Prescott House on the east side of campus against Mount Sentinel.

Phyllis J. Washington Education Center The former Education Building. On second reference, "the Washington Education Center" or "the education center". The job fair is sponsored by the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education. It will be held Tuesday, May 2, in the Phyllis J. Washington Education Center. 

Phyllis J. Washington College of Education Do not use Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, as the human science departments were moved to the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences in 2019. 


police Officers who work for the University of Montana Police Departmart or the City of Missoula Police Department. Do not use "cops."


possessives: plural

Add an apostrophe and "s" to plural nouns not ending in "s": people's, children's. Add only an apostrophe to plural nouns ending in "s": dogs' food.

possessives: singular

Add an apostrophe and "s" to singular nouns not ending in "s": boy's friend, Karl Marx's book, Professor Kia's class.

Add an apostrophe and "s" to singular common nouns ending in "s" unless the next word begins with "s": the hostess's dress, the hostess' swimming pool.

Use only an apostrophe with singular proper names ending in "s": Dickens' book, Jesus' teachings.

Use only an apostrophe with words that don't end in "s" but that end in an "s" sound and are followed by a word beginning with "s": for appearance' sake, for conscience' sake. When such words are followed by a word not beginning with "s," use an apostrophe and "s."

possessives: some tricky cases

Use a possessive form after the last word if ownership is joint (John and Georgia's chess game) and after both words if the objects are individually owned (Phil's and Ken's garages).

Use the possessive in cases like the following where the focus is on the activity, not the person: John's constantly playing Xbox drives me bonkers. Dad doesn't approve of my betting on horses.

In cases where the focus is on the person rather than the activity, don't use the possessive: I noticed the man playing racquetball.

post- Hyphenate if not listed in Webster's. Examples of unhyphenated words: postdoctoral, postgraduate, postwar. But hyphenate others: post-secondary, post-mortem, post-baccalaureate.


prefixes In general, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel: re-elect. Some exceptions: cooperate, coordinate.

Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized: mid-America.

Use a hyphen to link doubled prefixes: sub-subparagraph.


president Capitalize only as a formal title before one or more names: President Seth Bodnar, Presidents Clinton and Bush. Lowercase otherwise: The president made his presentation to the Legislature last week. Don't abbreviate.

President's Advisory Council

Presidents Day Holiday in February. No apostrophe is an exception to Webster's New World College Dictionary

President's Lecture Series

President's Office

Presidents Room Located in Brantly Hall, this room contains photos of UM presidents.

preventive (adj.), preventative (n.) He practices preventive medicine. She takes echinacea as a cold preventative.

programs See departments, offices, programs, schools entry.

proved, proven Use "proved" as a verb: The vaccine, which has been proved to kill mice, is now available for humans. Use "proven" as an adjective: It's a proven product.

Public Safety, Office of Do not use. Renamed the University of Montana Police Department effective August 2014.

punctuation See Appendix A.