Editorial Style Guide


  1. Reference Sources
  2. Capitalization
  3. Punctuation
  4. Numbers
  5. Vertical Lists
  6. Prefixes
  7. Abbreviations
  8. Academic Degrees
  9. Dates
  10. Times
  11. Citing References
  12. Nondiscriminatory Language
  13. Miscellany

1. Reference Sources

Fuller uses the unabridged Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its abridged version, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., as our spelling and hyphenation guide (see also

Fuller Seminary uses The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (University of Chicago Press), as its style guide (CMS 16), available at (through an annual subscription managed by the Fuller library). Fuller’s exceptions to CMS 16 are noted in the relevant sections below.

We hope the following will be helpful in some common problem areas. Since these guidelines only partially represent some of the rules covered in The Chicago Manual of Style, we encourage you to contact the IMC technical editor with any questions.

2. Capitalization

2.1 Titles

Professional, religious, and civil titles are capitalized when they precede the name, and lowercased when they follow the name:

President Richard Mouw
Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Seminary
Professor Robert Johnston
Robert K. Johnston, professor of theology and culture
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Earl Warren, former chief justice of the Supreme Court

Exceptions: Named professorships or “chairs” are always capitalized:

James Bradley, the Geoffrey W. Bromiley Professor of Church History

When appearing in printed program listings, at the close of letters, or in other display positions, it is appropriate to capitalize titles:

Speaker.............................Evelyne Reisacher
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies
and Intercultural Relations

2.2 Organization, Regional Campus, Department, and Program Names

Complete official names of institutions, divisions, conferences, organizations, departments, and programs (and sometimes their short forms) are capitalized. Generic terms such as seminary or company are usually lowercased:

Fuller Theological Seminary; Fuller Seminary; the seminary
Board of Trustees; the board; the trustees
Faculty Senate; the senate; the senate members
Department of Marriage and Family
  but marriage and family ministries; marriage and family students
Fuller Seminary California Coast, Fuller Northwest, Fuller Northern California – Menlo Park
  but the regional campus in Irvine

The full legal names of regional campuses include “Theological Seminary,” e.g., Fuller Theological Seminary Northwest. The legal “doing business as” names (DBAs) include “Seminary,” e.g., Fuller Seminary Northwest. Communication for external audiences should use the full legal name or the DBA on first mention, and subsequent mentions in that communication may use the short form (e.g., Fuller Northwest). The short form may also be used internally and on website pages with logos and headers that clearly identify the RC as part of Fuller Theological Seminary.

2.3 Place Names

Names of well-known regions, political divisions, and popular names of areas, structures, and buildings—as well as all proper nouns—are capitalized:

David Allan Hubbard Library; the Catalyst; Arol Burns Mall; Barker Commons; the Refectory; Payton Hall; Travis Auditorium; the Garth; Southern California; the Southland; Skid Row; the Pacific Coast; the Bible Belt; the Promised Land

When used generically, however, such terms should not be capitalized:

the library; the mall; the auditorium; the coast 

3.4 Ethnic, Linguistic, and National Groups

The names of ethnic, linguistic, and national groups are capitalized, but designations based only on color or local usage are lowercased:

Nordic; Caucasian; but white
African American; but black
Hispanic; Asian; European; but mestizo; mulatto; Australian aborigine

In some contexts discussing race issues, Black and White may both be capitalized.
Note: There is no hyphen in African American, Asian American, etc.

2.5 Historical, Cultural, and Economic Periods

To avoid ambiguity, many traditional names of periods and historical events are capitalized:

Middle Ages; Age of Reason; the Enlightenment; the Reformation; Great Depression; Prohibition

But descriptive designations and terms for more contemporary periods are lowercased:

ancient Egypt; medieval era; the colonial period; imperial Rome; the information age; the baby boom

2.6 Holidays and Holy Days

The names of religious holidays and seasons are capitalized:

Christmas Eve; Ash Wednesday; Passion Week; Passover; Good Friday; Hanukkah

2.7 Seasons and Days of the Week

Days of the week are capitalized, but the seasons are not capitalized:

Sunday; Wednesday; Friday; fall; winter; spring; summer

But capitalize academic quarters:

Fall Quarter; Spring Quarter; Fall 2013

2.8 Names and Terms for God

All names for God and the Trinity are capitalized:

the Almighty; the Holy Spirit; the Lamb of God; the Logos; the Savior; the Word

2.9 Pronouns Referring to God

Fuller’s style is not to capitalize pronouns referring to God:

Jesus called his disciples one by one.
God the Father demonstrates his universal power in the world.

2.10 Names for Scripture

Names for the Bible and its divisions are capitalized:

the Epistles; God’s Word; the Scripture; the Law; the Gospels

But gospel (when referring to the good news) is lowercased:

The Apostle Paul was called to preach the gospel.

Also lowercase a reference to individual verses of the Bible:

One of the most famous scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16.

Adjectives derived from the sacred writings are lowercased:

biblical; scriptural; talmudic; apocryphal

2.11 Theological Concepts and Biblical Events

Specific biblical events and concepts of major theological importance are traditionally capitalized, but lowercased when used generically (CMS 16 §8.107):

the Creation; but Most religions have creation myths.
the Crucifixion; but The practice of crucifixion began in the sixth century BC.
the Incarnation; but Rama is depicted as an incarnation of Vishnu.
the Fall; the Diaspora; the Second Coming; the Great Commission

Check Merriam-Webster’s capitalization of such terms. For example, it specifies that Incarnation is capitalized when referring to Christ but otherwise lowercase. When following SBL style, consult “Appendix A: Capitalization and Spelling Examples.”

Standard theological terms are preferably lowercase:

the kingdom of God; the atonement; salvation; original sin

2.12 The Word Church

Capitalize Church in the name of a church or denomination or as a shortened form for the Catholic Church (or other denomination, e.g., in denominational materials):

the First Presbyterian Church; the Church of the Open Door; the Church’s liturgy since Vatican II

In most other usages, church should now be lowercase, including when referring to the universal body of Christ; context usually makes the meaning of the word clear. Church should always be lowercase in reference to a portion of the universal church, when used generically of a church or denomination, or when referring to a church building:

the early church; mission of the church; the church’s message through the ages
the Western church; the African church; the Apostolic church
the local church; the Baptist church; the new pews in their church

Note: A theological author may still choose to differentiate between the universal Church and any church of a given place or time by capitalizing the former, if this is intentional and consistent throughout the work.

2.13 Denominational and Theological Distinctions

Titles of denominations are always capitalized:

Baptists; Methodists; Episcopalians; Presbyterians; Mennonites

Capitalize theological distinctions when they are derived from a proper noun (whether a person or named event); otherwise, lowercase them in most instances:

Protestant; Calvinist; Arminian; Wesleyan; Lutheran; Pentecostal; Franciscan
  but charismatic; fundamentalist; liberal; evangelical; conservative; universalist

In some contexts or disciplines, a church tradition or movement may be lowercase when used generically but capitalized when referring to a specific movement:

pietism; but Spener’s role in the Pietist movement
new forms of gnosticism; but second-century Gnostic documents
evangelical churches, evangelicalism; but Some writers at Fuller prefer to treat Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Liberal as titles.

2.14 Titles of Works

In referencing the titles of books, lectures, journals, reports, programs, etc., the following types of words are lowercased:

coordinate conjunctions (and, or, but, etc.)
articles (a, the, an, etc.)
the word as
the word to used with infinitives

For example:

The Use of the Bible in Theology
Coping with Stress When It’s Hard to Do It All

Do not capitalize prepositions unless they are stressed (or at beginning or end of a title or subtitle) or they are used adverbially or adjectivally:

Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down (adverbial)
Voting For and Against the Bond Issue (true prepositions that are stressed)

Short pronouns and verbs are capitalized:

How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All Wrong?

Note: The first and last words of titles and subtitles are always capitalized.
Note: A colon (not a period) separates titles from subtitles.

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3. Punctuation

3.1 Quotation Marks with Other Punctuation

Periods and commas are placed within quotation marks, whether the quotes refer to a word, a phrase, or to the entire sentence:

Nancy was annoyed by his “excessive directions.” “I’m afraid,” said Allen, “that I have no explanation.”

Colons and semicolons are placed outside quotation marks:

Ray assumed everyone had seen “Fantasia”;
Marian had three objections to the “Spring Festival”:

Exclamation points and question marks are placed inside quotes when part of the quoted matter; otherwise, they should be placed outside:

Jan cried, “I think this is an earthquake!”
Why did Peter reply, “I know him not”?

3.2 Possessives

Possessives of singular nouns—including proper nouns and words that end in s or an unpronounced s—are formed by adding an apostrophe and an s (’s). CMS 16 has eliminated the many past exceptions in which only an apostrophe was added.

Descartes’s dreams; Groothuis’s main idea; Camus’s novels

Fuller style, however, continues to make two exceptions.

The biblical names Jesus and Moses traditionally use only an apostrophe:

Jesus’ teaching; Moses’ leadership

Ancient names ending in the “eez” sound use only an apostrophe:

(the two Greek tailors) Euripides’ and Eumenides’

3.3 Correct Use of Ellipses

Ellipsis points are used to indicate deleted or missing words or phrases in a quotation. When the missing words are within a sentence, three ellipses (periods separated by spaces) are used:

“In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was God.”

When the missing matter follows a complete sentence, a period followed by three ellipses are used:

“In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him.”

When not to use ellipsis points: In general, ellipsis points are seldom used at the beginning or end of a quoted passage. (Unless the quotation is the opening or closing sentence of a work, it is understood that something precedes and follows the passage.) Ellipsis points are unnecessary before or after an obviously incomplete sentence. Ellipsis points are not used before or after a block quotation.

3.4 Punctuation with Series or Lists

In a series consisting of three or more elements, the elements are separated by commas. Fuller uses the serial comma: When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma is also used before the conjunction:

The president, provost, and deans were in conference.
We have a choice of copper, silver, or gold.

Note the difference between

“This book is dedicated to my parents, Mother Teresa and the Pope.” and
“This book is dedicated to my parents, Mother Teresa, and the Pope.”

When the elements in a series are long or complex—or involve internal punctuation—they should be separated by semicolons:

The membership of the international commission was as follows: France, 2; Germany, 5; Great Britain, 1; Italy, 3; the United States, 7.

3.5 Hyphens and Dashes

The hyphen is the shortest of three possible horizontal lines used in text: i.e., - – —. It is used in hyphenated words such as post-Christian and sometimes in ranges of numbers. (In more exacting contexts, the medium length en-dash is used with ranges of numbers to mean “through,” as in page numbers, 657–59; times, 10:00–10:15 am; or amounts, 60–75 students.)

The punctuation mark called a dash (or em-dash) is the longest of the three characters, and is used to set off parenthetical information that amplifies or explains. There should be no spaces on either side of the hyphen, the en-dash, or the em-dash.

three former deans—Woodberry, Pierson, and McConnell—participated
not three former deans — Woodberry . . .; three former deans - Woodberry . . . ; three former deans - Woodberry . . .
1990-1995 or 1990–1995, not 1990 - 1995 or 1990 – 1995

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4. Numbers

4.1 General Principles

In ordinary textual matter, Fuller Seminary editorial style spells out numbers from one to ten and uses figures for numbers above ten:

The property is offered on a 99-year lease.
There were only seven women and five men in class.

Multiples of hundred or thousand are usually spelled out:

Her term paper summarized two thousand years of Christianity.
There were one hundred people at the meeting.

Extremely large numbers may use figures, followed by million, billion, etc.:

The Solar System is considered to be 4.5 billion years of age.
By the 1300s, the British population had reached 2.3 million.

Common, nonscientific fractions should be spelled out:

Two-thirds of the people stayed home.
Nearly one-half of the students are women.

4.2 Technical or Scientific Usage

Mathematical, statistical, or technical matter, as well as physical measurements such as distances, lengths, areas, volumes, and so forth, are expressed in figures, whether whole numbers or fractions:

45 miles; 125 pounds; 6 meters; 12 units; 750 pages

Quantities consisting of whole numbers and fractions should use figures:

The card we chose measures 6 by 7½ inches.

4.3 The Importance of Consistency

It is important to be consistent within a paragraph or series of paragraphs. If, according to the rules, figures must be used for a certain category of items, then use figures for all numbers of items in that category:

Only three offices were built before 2000, but fifteen new buildings were erected since.
One 103-story office building towers above apartment buildings only 3 or 4 stories high.

4.4 Sentences Beginning with Numbers

Sentences may not begin with figures. Spell out the number or rephrase the sentence:

Twenty-five percent of the city’s population were elderly.
The population of the elderly in the city totaled 25 percent.

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5. Vertical Lists

When formatting any of the three basic types of vertical lists, note that the punctuation to use depends on whether the introductory text is a complete sentence and on whether the items listed are each a complete sentence.

5.1 A Series of Items in a vertical list (e.g., a “grocery list”) introduced by a complete grammatical sentence and a colon requires no closing punctuation:

Check the printed hard copy for these common errors:
   •  correct spelling of names
   •  correctly spelled words used incorrectly
   •  consistent forms of titles in contents, headers, first page of chapter
   •  page numbers in contents and actual pages

5.2 A Single Sentence formatted as a vertical list (using bullets or letters in place of the commas in a run-in sentence) uses semicolons and a final period:

Fuller Seminary assumes a commitment to
   •  an evangelical fervor;
   •  the practice of evangelism;
   •  a constant engagement with Scripture;
   •  responsible Christian community;
   •  godly living and Christlikeness; and
   •  confidence in the unity of God’s truth.

5.3 A Series of Complete Thoughts in a lengthy list of independent statements uses periods after each statement:

In her “Working Preacher” article, Gordon lists ways to practice good vocal care:
  1.  Make it a priority and daily commitment to care for your voice.
  2.  Practice good breathing techniques, that is, diaphragmatic breathing.
  3.  Rest your body; rest your voice: rest your stress.
  4.  Hydrate: drink more water and fewer caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  5.  Do not clear your throat excessively.

5.4 Use of the Colon before Lists:

A colon should only be used following a complete sentence (as in the first and third examples above). When the items in the list are grammatically necessary to complete the sentence, do not use a colon:

Christian culture, in addition to doctrine, has accumulated prayer forms, music, rituals, worship styles, organizational structures, jargon, and so forth. (Not Christian culture has accumulated: prayer forms, music. . . .)

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6. Prefixes

6.1 General Rules

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary lists most words formed by combining with a prefix as “closed,” that is, without a hyphen:


coeditor; coauthor


infrastructure; infrared


interracial; intercultural


intramural; intrapersonal


microwave; microfilm


midtown; midwinter


minibus; miniseries


mismanagement; mislocate


multifaceted; multidenominational


nonbeliever; nonprofit


postmodern; postmillennialism


preconviction; preconference


progovernment; proseminar


reedit; reexamine


semiconscious; semitropical; but semi-independent


subdiscipline; subcultural


superachiever; superpower


unchurched; unaccredited

Note that compound word lists can be found under each of the above prefix definitions in Merriam-Webster (see, e.g., “non-” or “un-”).

6.2 The Few Exceptions

Exceptions to the general rule are as follows:

compounds in which the second element is a proper noun:

non-Christian; anti-Semitic

compounds that would be misread without the hyphen:

re-cover; un-ionized; re-create

compounds in which the second element consists of more than one word:

non-English-speaking; pre-Civil War

some compounds in which the last letter of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the following word:

anti-intellectual; co-op

compounds formed with self- and quasi-, which are always hyphenated:

self-interest; self-respect; quasi-military

(See also CMS 16 §7.85. Check Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to see if the compound word is listed in the prefix list before applying the above rules.)

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7. Abbreviations

7.1 States

Names of states should be spelled out. If it is necessary to abbreviate in text, use the traditional standard abbreviation, followed by a period (and set off by commas), not the capitalized two-letter postal codes.













In footnotes and bibliographies, CMS 16 now recommends using the two-letter postal codes (with no periods) for publication information.

7.2 Books of the Bible

If it is necessary to abbreviate references to scriptural passages, use the following standard abbreviations:

















1 Samuel

1 Sam.

2 Samuel

2 Sam.

1 Kings

1 Kings

2 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

1 Chron.

2 Chronicles

2 Chron.










Ps. (plural Pss.)





Song of Solomon

Song of Sol.













































1 Corinthians

1 Cor.

2 Corinthians

2 Cor.









1 Thessalonians

1 Thess.

2 Thessalonians

2 Thess.

1 Timothy

1 Tim.

2 Timothy

2 Tim.









1 Peter

1 Pet.

2 Peter

2 Pet.

1 John

1 John

2 John

2 John

3 John

3 John





Note: The School of Theology Biblical Division follows the Society of Biblical Literature Handbook of Style, which gives academic abbreviations without a period. If using shorter abbreviations without periods, follow the SBL list (rather than the CMS short forms). Whichever list you use, be consistent!

7.3 Organizations, Institutions, Agencies

Abbreviations of organizations, institutions, colleges, companies, and agencies are set in all caps with no periods. Always spell out the name at least once before using the abbreviation. (If still in doubt, spell it out.)


Take care to capitalize and punctuate the name of an organization, website, or new technology the way it is shown in the entity’s own materials:

iTunes; Yahoo! News; InteLex Corporation; Points-A-Cross

At Fuller, abbreviations for the three schools (SOT, SIS, SOP) may be used only in internal publications and correspondence. They should not be used in material for publication outside the seminary unless previously noted.

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8. Academic Degrees

8.1 General Rules

When academic degrees are referred to in general terms, such as doctorate, doctor’s or master’s degree, master of arts, etc., they are not capitalized:

Ruth received her master of arts degree last year.
Clinical psychologists must have a doctorate in psychology.

The names of specific academic degrees and honors should be capitalized, whether abbreviated or written in full:

The lecture was conducted by Alexis Abernethy, PhD.
The MDiv degree stands for Master of Divinity.
The Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies requires a minimum of 96 quarter units.

8.2 Academic Titles

For the correct titles and academic degrees of Fuller faculty, always refer to the updated online listing found at

8.3 Abbreviations

Abbreviations of all academic degrees no longer use periods:

MA; MDiv; DMin; ThM; PhD; PsyD; MS; DMiss

8.4 Degrees Following a Name

When degrees follow a name, only the terminal degree is given, unless the person has terminal degrees in different fields:

Glen Stassen, PhD; Faye Johnson, MD, PhD; James Welch, MBA, JD

If all of a person’s degrees are given, list them in chronological order:

Alumna Ailene Hollings (MDiv ’89; DMin ’01); Trustee Clarence Newsome, BA, MDiv, PhD

8.5 Plurals with Degrees

In forming plurals with any abbreviations that do not use periods, do not add an apostrophe with the s:

MAs; PhDs

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9. Dates

9.1 The Year Alone

Year numbers are always expressed in figures, whatever their magnitude (unless they begin a sentence):

Octavian was born in 63 BC, became emperor in 27 BC, and died in AD 14.

AD precedes a date, while BC, BCE, and CE all follow the year.
Note that AD and BC no longer use periods.

In informal contexts, the full year may be abbreviated. Take care to use an apostrophe before the year, not an opening single quote:

the class of ’95; the spirit of ’76, not ‘95 or ‘76

9.2 Day, Month, and Year

Whenever the day, month, and year is used, the year is set off by commas:

Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to December 7, 1941, as “a day that will live in infamy.”

When only the month and year is used, no internal punctuation is necessary:

The events of August 1945 were decisive in ending World War II.

Although the day of the month is pronounced as an ordinal, the standard practice is to write it as a cardinal number or spell it out:

Commencement this year will be on June 12.
Commencement will be on the twelfth of June.
Incorrect: Commencement will be on June 12th.

9.3 Centuries and Decades

References to centuries and decades are spelled out (in lowercase) when a number would be spelled out (i.e., one–ten; when beginning a sentence) and use figures with numbers above ten (following the style for numbers and being consistent within a paragraph). The “th” or “st” with figures should not be superscript, and references to decades have no apostrophe between the figures and the s:

second-century Gnosticism; the fourth century
the 20th century; 18th-century Romanticism; the 60s and 70s
comparing the 2nd century and the 21st century

If decades are identified by their century, figures are used:

the 1880s and 1890s (or ’80s and ’90s—not the 1880s and ’90s)

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10. Times

10.1 In Textual Matter

Times of day in even, half-, and quarter-hours are usually spelled out in text:

He left the office at a quarter to four.
The dinner was scheduled for seven o’clock.

Figures are used, however, when the exact time is being emphasized:

The lecture will begin promptly at 2:35 pm.
Post your original contribution each Thursday by 9:00 pm (PDT).

Note: Specify, e.g., Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) or Pacific Standard Time (PST) when readers may be in different time zones.

10.2 In Display Position

Figures are always used with am and pm. There should be a space between the numerals and the abbreviation. CMS uses periods with a.m./p.m. or A.M./P.M. However, Fuller in-house materials generally omit the periods, and lowercased abbreviations are preferred, in lieu of small caps:

11:30 am; 4:00 pm; 12:00 noon

In informal display contexts with no quarter- or half-hours, the ciphers (00s) may be dropped:

11 am; 1 pm; 8 pm

When spanning two time periods, write out through whenever possible:

March 5 through May 3

In textual matter where “from” precedes the time period, use the word “to” rather than a hyphen or dash:

The lecture will take place Monday, March 5, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in Travis Auditorium.
not The lecture will take place Monday, March 5, from 1:00–3:00 pm in Travis Auditorium.

Never use the formal o’clock with am or pm or figures:

eight o’clock; three o’clock

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11. Citing References

11.1 Print Publications

Follow the style for notes and bibliographies explained in detail in CMS 16 or that of the SBL Handbook of Style (similar to CMS but with certain differences), or the APA parenthetical references style in the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Whichever style is used, follow it consistently.

11.2 Electronic and Internet Sources

When taking information from a website or a downloaded document, citations should include all the same information as a traditional source:

author name or organization;

title of specific document or webpage (in quotation marks);

name of website, online news source, etc. (title case, not italics);

date of document or webpage copyright, posting, or latest revision (if the date is for a traditional print publication, provide that publication information: journal title, volume, and year or book title, publisher, and year);

full URL or DOI, separated with commas (but omit comma if preceded or followed by parentheses. URLs that do not fit on a line should only be broken after a colon or double slash (//) or before a slash, period, comma, hyphen, underscore, ampersand, or question mark);

accessed date is only needed (a) if no copyright, posting, or revision date can be found, (b) if it is a pre-publication article in the process of review, or (c) in some scientific disciplines that require it.


Alston, William P. “Religion, History of Philosophy of.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by E. Craig, 8:238–48. London; New York: Routledge, 1998. Available at

Lawrence, Miles B., and Hugh B. Cobb. “Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Jeanne, 13–28 September 2004” (revised 7 January 2005). National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center,

27. From George Whitefield’s sermon, “The Potter and the Clay,” from The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield (London: 1771–1772); 59 of Whitefield’s published sermons are available on the website of the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (CRTA),

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12. Nondiscriminatory Language

In all written content, papers, and published matter, Fuller Seminary follows the guidelines found in the “Statement on Nondiscriminatory Language” available at

For helpful examples of ways to revise sentences so that they are gender neutral, see CMS 16 §5.225: “Nine techniques for achieving gender neutrality.”

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13. Miscellany

13.1 Forms of Address

Correct forms of address and salutations can be found in the supplementary material of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, including how to address all levels of academic, ecclesiastical, diplomatic, military, and governmental officials.

13.2 Proper Names

Notable persons (living and dead), countries, regions, and areas of the world, together with brief identifications, are listed in the supplementary material in the back of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, under “Biographical Names” and “Geographical Names.” Also refer to Merriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionary or Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, or to an up-to-date atlas.

13.3 Spaces after Periods

Do not use double spaces after periods and colons; use the find/replace function to replace two spaces with one space.

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