In general, avoid using the symbol in text and titles. Acceptable to use in established proper names, including course titles and building names.
Examples: The Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, Information Systems & Technology, School of Optometry & Vision Science.
The @ symbol is commonly used for social media, collaboration tools (such as Slack and Mattermost) and in email addresses. To avoid confusion, avoid using in titles and text when possible.
Only capitalize the first word after the colon when it begins a complete sentence. Avoid use in headings and subheadings.
- The use of the Oxford Comma (also known as a serial or seatbelt comma) is not standard or recommended.
If you choose to use the Oxford Comma, make sure to be consistent throughout publication.
Note: The Oxford Comma is used in academic calendars to reduce ambiguity.
- Put commas between the elements of a series but not before the final “and” or “or” unless that avoids confusion (e.g., men, women, children and pets).
- Use comma or dash but not both.
- Put commas inside closing quotation marks.
In non-academic writing, contractions are acceptable and may help to make the writing more accessible to a general audience. Reported speech should always retain its contractions. For example, “I’ve” or “Don’t.”
Some contractions, such as ones with “who,” are inelegant and should not be used. The context should determine whether contractions are appropriate and which contractions are acceptable.
For international students, contractions can be used in the same way as they are for a domestic audience.
Contractions are not used in the acknowledgment or offer letters from the deans, directors, or department heads.
There are two types of dashes: the em dash and the en dash. Their names relate to the width of the dash: an em dash is as wide as a capital M, and an en dash is as wide as a capital N. Use dashes sparingly.
- We use the em dash, which is longer than the en dash, in place of a colon, semicolon, or comma
for emphasis — it creates an abrupt break in the sentence. Example: Complete the feedback survey today — it’s fast and easy.
- Use an em dash — like this — with a space at each end.
- Do not confuse an em dash with the shorter en dash, which is not normally used in body text.
- On a PC, an em dash can be made with this key stroke combination: CTRL+ALT+<hyphen on the number pad>.
- On a Mac, an em dash can be made with this key stroke combination: ALT+SHIFT+hyphen.
- Use em dashes to set off mid-sentence lists punctuated by commas.
- The presenter will provide an overview of global challenges — trade, climate change,
immigration and poverty — before the workshop portion of conference begins.
An en dash is generally used to indicate a range of inclusive numbers, but for date ranges, use “to” to separate the numerical range. An exception to this rule can be made when displaying a range of numbers or dates in a table format (e.g., 2018-2019).Note: En dashes are used in designed material. An em dash will be converted to an en dash when placed in design layout to maximize space.
- An ellipsis … three periods or special character … has a space at each end.
- When condensing a written text, put other required punctuation before the ellipsis. An ellipsis at the end of a sentence will have four periods, with no space between the first period and the last word. We must try harder, … produce more, … lower our expectations. …
- In HTML, the … character can be used. There are keyboard commands for creating an ellipsis in other software.
Quotations and quotes
- Use double quotation marks. Single marks are for quotations within quotations.
- When quoting from speech, use an ellipsis within the quote, but not at the beginning or end, to indicate that a substantial part of the quotation has been left out.
- When necessary for clarity or grammatical correctness, add or replace a word or phrase within the quote by enclosing it in square brackets.
- Capitalize the first word of a quote when it is a complete sentence; not when it is partial.
- When a quote continues in a second paragraph, drop the closing quotation marks at the end of the first paragraph and begin the second paragraph with new opening quotation marks.
- Make sure the pronouns in a sentence with a partial quotation still make sense.
- Use a slash mark to seperate alternative or to replace per in measurement (e.g., 80 km/h)