Style Guide

Citing books

The author's name and book/article title may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. When referring to titles of books, songs, television shows, computer games, poems, lectures, speeches and works of art, use quotation marks around the title except the Bible and books that are catalogues of reference material (almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc). Examples:

The destruction of the wicked in the flood was an act of mercy, “In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah’s time” (Ellen White, Great Controversy, 453).

In cases where the title of the book/article appears in parentheses, it should be shortened.

The destruction of the wicked in the flood was an act of mercy. Ellen White said,  “In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah’s time” (Great Controversy 453).

In "The Great Controversy" the destruction of the wicked in the flood was an act of mercy. Ellen White said, “In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah’s time” (453).

Subsequent references to the same author require only the last name. For example: (White 453).


In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using, as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter and verse. For example:

Ezekiel saw "what seemed to be four living creatures," each with faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1:5-10).

If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation.


Unless you list the website name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. If you wish to create any hyperlinks in your article, select a key word or phrase and place brackets around them with the URL in parenthesis beside it like below:

According to the [New York Times](, “A campaign of raids and arrests began almost immediately in the area.”

If the URL needs to be used, provide partial URLs like or as opposed to writing out or Writing out the name of the organization is preferred:

According to the New York Times, “A campaign of raids and arrests began almost immediately in the area.”


Short quotations (fewer than four lines) should be enclosed in double quotation marks and not offset from the rest of your article. Provide the author and specific page citation in the text. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text. For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:

According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree.

According to Foulkes's study, dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (184).

Is it possible that dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184)?


Avoid using long quotations, but when your quotation is over four lines, it should be formatted like the following example:

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:

They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)


If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text.

Jan Harold Brunvand, in an essay on urban legends, states: "some individuals [who retell urban legends] make a point of learning every rumor or tale" (78).

If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipsis marks, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:

In an essay on urban legends, Jan Harold Brunvand notes that "some individuals make a point of learning every recent rumor or tale . . . and in a short time a lively exchange of details occurs" (78).

Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless adding brackets would clarify your use of ellipses.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Some widely known abbreviations are required in certain situations, while others are acceptable but not required in some contexts. For example, Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., the Rev. and Sen. are required before a person’s full name when they occur outside a direct quotation. Please note, that medical and political titles only need to be used on first reference when they appear outside of a direct quote. For courtesy titles, use these on second reference or when specifically requested. Other acronyms and abbreviations are acceptable but not required (i.e. FBI, CIA, GOP). The context should govern such decisions.

As a general rule, though, you should avoid what the Associated Press Stylebook calls “alphabet soup.” Consult the Associated Press Stylebook for specific cases.


For numbered addresses, always use figures. Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. and directional cues when used with a numbered address. Always spell out other words such as alley, drive and road. If the street name or directional cue is used without a numbered address, it should be capitalized and spelled out. If a street name is a number, spell out First through Ninth and use figures for 10th and higher. Here are some examples of correctly formatted addresses: 101 N. Grant St., Northwestern Avenue, South Ninth Street, 102 S. 10th St., 605 Woodside Drive.


For ages, always use figures. If the age is used as an adjective or as a substitute for a noun, then it should be hyphenated. Don’t use apostrophes when describing an age range. Examples: A 21-year-old student. The student is 21 years old. The girl, 8, has a brother, 11. The contest is for 18-year-olds. He is in his 20s.

Books, periodicals, reference works, and other types of compositions

Use quotation marks around the titles of books, songs, television shows, computer games, poems, lectures, speeches and works of art. Examples: Author Porter Shreve read from his new book, “When the White House Was Ours.” They sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game.

Do not use quotations around the names of magazine, newspapers, the Bible or books that are catalogues of reference materials. Examples: The Washington Post first reported the story. He reads the Bible every morning.

Do not underline or italicize any of the above.

Dates, months, years, days of the week

For dates and years, use figures. Do not use st, nd, rd, or th with dates, and use Arabic figures. Always capitalize months. Spell out the month unless it is used with a date. When used with a date, abbreviate only the following months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.

Commas are not necessary if only a year and month are given, but commas should be used to set off a year if the date, month and year are given. Use the letter s but not an apostrophe after the figures when expressing decades or centuries. Do, however, use an apostrophe before figures expressing a decade if numerals are left out. Examples: Classes begin Aug. 25. Purdue University was founded May 6, 1869. The semester begins in January. The 1800s. The ’90s.

If you refer to an event that occurred the day prior to when the article will appear, do not use the word yesterday. Instead, use the day of the week. Capitalize days of the week, but do not abbreviate. If an event occurs more than seven days before or after the current date, use the month and a figure.


When writing about height, weight or other dimensions, use figures and spell out words such as feet, miles, etc. Examples: She is 5-foot-3. He wrote with a 2-inch pencil.


Use figures for any distances over 10. For any distances below 10, spell out the distance. Examples: My flight covered 1,113 miles. The airport runway is five miles long. 


Always use a person’s first and last name the first time they are mentioned in a story. Only use last names on second reference. Do not use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms. unless they are part of a direct quotation or are needed to differentiate between people who have the same last name.


Never begin a sentence with a figure, except for sentences that begin with a year. Examples: Two hundred freshmen attended. Five actors took the stage. 1776 was an important year.

Use roman numerals to describe wars and to show sequences for people. Examples: World War II, Pope John Paul II, Elizabeth II.

For ordinal numbers, spell out first through ninth and use figures for 10th and above when describing order in time or location. Examples: second base, 10th in a row. Some ordinal numbers, such as those indicating political or geographic order, should use figures in all cases. Examples: 3rd District Court, 9th ward.

For cardinal numbers, consult individual entries in the Associated Press Stylebook. If no usage is specified, spell out numbers below 10 and use figures for numbers 10 and above. Example: The man had five children and 11 grandchildren.

When referring to money, use numerals. For cents or amounts of $1 million or more, spell the words cents, million, billion, trillion etc. Examples: $26.52, $100,200, $8 million, 6 cents.


Use a single space after a period.

Do not use commas before a conjunction in a simple series. Example: In art class, they learned that red, yellow and blue are primary colors. His brothers are Tom, Joe, Frank and Pete. However, a comma should be used before the terminal conjunction in a complex series, if part of that series also contains a conjunction. Example: Purdue University's English Department offers doctoral majors in Literature, Second Language Studies, English Language and Linguistics, and Rhetoric and Composition. 

Commas and periods go within quotation marks. Example: “I did nothing wrong,” he said. She said, “Let’s go to the Purdue game.”