University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh
Writing Style Manual



See Centers, Institutes, Laboratories section.


(Also see Alumnus, Alumni section.)

  1. Do not italicize Latin terms such as emeritus, alumnus, curriculum vitae (CV), pro bono, or ad hoc when they appear in text.
  2. Emeritus is a term used for a person who has retired from an office or position or who has completed a term of service and has retained the last title held. The plural is emeriti. These terms should be used for both males and females.

    • Louise Smith, professor emeritus of archaeology, gave a guest lecture last week.
    • Professors Emeriti Thomas Brown, Michael Gray, and Hugh McFadden attended the anniversary gala.
  3. The terms résumé, curriculum vitae, vita, and CV may be used interchangeably. Note that the preferred spelling of résumé uses two accents that lean to the right.
  4. Be aware of the plural forms of some Latin terms. The word data is plural (the singular is datum), as are media (the singular is medium) and the Greek term criteria (the singular is criterion). The plurals of curriculum and symposium are curricula and symposia, but stadiums and gymnasiums are commonly accepted plural spellings of stadium and gymnasium. Refer to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, for the preferred spellings of plural Latin and Greek terms.


Capitalize principal words of (and do not put in quotation marks or italicize) the titles of lecture series or conferences. Titles of speeches or lectures should be capitalized and placed within quotation marks. (See Capitalization and Titles (Other) sections.)

  • Mina Smith gave the lecture “Women in the Arts” at the annual Arts and Writing Lecture Series.

LISTS (vertical, numbered, bulleted)

  1. Commas and periods are not ordinarily used following items in a vertical list. (CM15 6.127; CM14 5.61, 5.10)

    • The following metals were excluded from the regulation:
    •    magnesium
  2. If the vertically listed items are phrases, especially long phrases, that grammatically complete the sentence, commas may, but need not, be used. If commas are used, the last item is followed by a period.

    • The charges brought against the driver included
        • leaving the scene of an accident involving injury,
        • driving with a suspended license, and
        • driving while intoxicated.
  3. In a vertical list that (1) completes a sentence and (2) has commas within bulleted or enumerated items (owing to a series or a clause), use semicolons between items and a period at the end.

    • After careful investigation, the committee was convinced that
      1. the organization’s lawyer, Watson, had consulted no one before making the decision;
      2. neither the chair, the president, nor the secretary of the organization had contacted Watson; and
      3. the president was as surprised as anyone by what had happened.
  4. If one or more items in a vertical list are complete sentences, end each of the listed items with a period.
  5. Use a period without a parenthesis after each numeral or letter used to enumerate items in a vertical list. (Numerals or letters enumerating items in a list within a paragraph should be enclosed in parentheses and should not be followed by a period. See CM15 6.126 or CM14 5.9 and 5.126.)

    • 1. red
      2. orange
      3. yellow
    • a. the Bay of Pigs
      b. the Berlin airlift
    • Jan should be sure to bring (1) water bottles, (2) snacks, and (3) a safety-conscious attitude on the trip.
  6. CM tends to lowercase the first word on a line of a vertical, enumerated, or bulleted list. There are cases and styles, however, where capital letters are used after a numbered or bulleted item. The goal is to be consistent within a document. When there is a proper noun that begins one or more lines of a vertical, enumerated, or bulleted list, it is best to start each line of every list in that document with a capital letter. Again, consistency is the key.