MPCE Style Guidelines
Museum of the Peace Corps Experience follows current editions of Chicago Manual of Style and Webster’s dictionary. CMOS is available online at chicagomanualofstyle.org.
- Include http:// or in a web address only if required.
- Avoid gender restrictions. (Ex. use “chair” instead of “chairman”)
- Use a single space after a period, question mark, or exclamation point (avoid these!)
- Use a space to separate points in an ellipsis. (Ex. “Park the car . . . in the garage.”)
- Use a comma before “and” in a list of items. (Ex. red, white, and blue)
- No comma before Jr., Sr., III, Inc., Ltd., etc. (Ex. John Smith Jr.)
- EN and EM dashes:
- EN dash separates range of dates, times, pages, or items. (Ex. 1976–78, May–July)
- No space before or after EN or EM dashes.
- “The” in newspaper or journal title is roman and lowercased.
(Ex. the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker)
- Don’t hyphenate closed compounds, except where meaning is ambiguous.
- (Ex. “health care legislation,” “real estate agent. But “old-school method”)
- Don’t hyphenate African American
- Single and double quotes:
- Use curly, not straight style (Ex. “this” vs. “this”—and “quote’s” vs. “quote’s”)
- Only periods and commas go inside double quotes.
- Possessives with names ending in “s”:
Add apostrophe and “s” after name. (Ex. Peace Corps’s, James’s, United States’s)
- Capitalize Black, White, Brown when used to describe skin color.
- Cap a title before a person’s name only when it’s used as part of the name and not modified. (Ex. President Joe Biden, but US president Joe Biden)
- Lower-case a title that follows a name (Ex. Joe Biden, president of the United States, . . . )
- Lower-case a stand-alone title. (Ex. The president spoke.)
- Lower-case “former” or “then” before a title and don’t hyphenate.
- (Ex. “former president Barack Obama,” “then vice president Joe Biden”)
- Courtesy titles
Don’t use Mr., Ms., Miss, Mrs., or Dr. (unless an MD) For first reference, use person’s first and last name; use last name only for subsequent references.
- Titles of works
- Italicize titles of books, plays, films, newspapers, exhibits, and art works; no quote marks.
- Song titles should be roman with quote marks.
- Use bullets except when the sequence or hierarchy of items matters.
- Use bullets for list of two or more items; don’t use a bullet for one item.
- Use a colon after lead-in to a list only if it is a complete sentence. (Ex. “Register using the following steps:”); if it’s not a sentence, don’t use any punctuation. (Ex. “To register”)
- Items in a list should be all sentences or all fragments; don’t mix.
- If bulleted items are sentences, capitalize the first word and use a period. If items are fragments, don’t cap the first word or use a period or other punctuation.
- Spell out whole numbers one through nine. (Ex. “one” and “first”)
- Large numbers: (Ex. 9,000 people, but five million people)
- Use “122nd” and “123rd,” not superscript 122nd or 123rd.
- Dates and times
- April 4, 2018, not April 4th, 2018
- Centuries and decades
- Spell out the century. (Ex. twenty-first century)
- Use digits for decades. (Ex. 1900s, 1920s, the ’20s)
- Use “1590–1610” or “from 1590 to 1610,” not from 1590–1610
- Spell out state names.
- No periods in (Washington), DC.
- When a state name follows a city name or DC, use a comma after each. (Ex. “Washington, DC, is the nation’s capital.” Or, “Annapolis, Maryland, is the state capital.”)