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LFCC Communication and Style Guide

Purpose of the Guide

This guide is a tool to help the College's faculty and staff to present a unified, consistent professional message and image to the community. The guidelines have been established for College employees to use when communicating with written materials.

The goal at the College is to serve the community and to ensure that its stakeholders will have a positive experience and be able to clearly understand the information they receive from the College.

Each College faculty and staff member has the unique responsibility of creating, maintaining and promoting a positive image of the College to the community through consistent and professional written communication.

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Stylistic Guidelines

These guidelines are adopted from The Associated Press Stylebook, the reference book the Office of College Advancement uses when writing pieces of communication for public dissemination and, more importantly, materials distributed to the media. A number of the following entries are excerpted from The Associated Press Stylebook.

Please note that the following guidelines do not apply to correspondence and instructional materials such as course syllabi and handouts.

Academic degrees

In general usage, spell out the degrees in lowercase letters. For associate degree, do not use an apostrophe, but for bachelor's degree and master's degree, use an apostrophe. For a doctorate, use "doctorate in (name of field)."

When referencing the type of degree, it should be as follows: associate of applied science degree or associate of arts and sciences degree. It should not be associate in applied science degree.

  • He completed an associate of arts and sciences degree in liberal arts with a communications specialization.
  • She graduated with an associate degree in nursing.
  • Brenda Miller received a career studies certificate in interior design.
Revised: April 17, 2008

Academic divisions and offices

Capitalize division and office names. Always put the word "office of" before Cabinet-level offices. All other offices should be referenced with the word "office" following the name. When referencing divisions, use "division of" before the name.

  • Office of College Advancement
  • Office of Financial and Administrative Services
  • Office of Human Resource Management
  • Office of Learning
  • Office of the President
  • Office of Student Success
  • Office of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education
  • Division of Humanities, Mathematics and Social Sciences
  • Division of Business, Technology, Science and Health Professions
  • Admissions and Records Office
  • Business Office
  • Career Services Office
  • Counseling and Advising Office
  • Financial Aid Office
  • High School Outreach Office
  • Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Office
  • Instructional Technology Office
  • Student Life Office
  • Student Activities Office
  • Student Success Office
  • Technology Services Office
  • The Office of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education coordinated the event.
  • The staff in the Admissions and Records Office will be available for questions after the tour.
  • The Financial Aid and Business Offices will process the new employee forms.

Other units that do not use the word "office" in their name are as follows:

  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Learning Resources Center
  • Shipping and Receiving Department 
  • Student Success Cyber Center - Also referred to as the "Cyber Center" on second reference, this area in the Student Success lobby of the Middletown Campus is used by students during registration periods to apply for admission and financial aid and register for classes.
  • Student Learning Services - Formerly the Learning Assistance Center, the renamed "Student Learning Services" better defines the service, which houses the Tutor Connection, TRIO Student Support Services and the Learning Labs.
  • Testing Center
Revised: May 8, 2009

Academic organizations

Capitalize the following academic organizations on first reference and use abbreviations on second reference. Lowercase when speaking about the organization in general.

  • The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is made up of 23 colleges. The VCCS headquarters is located in Richmond, Va. The system serves thousands of students each year.
  • The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) reviewed the proposal at yesterday's meeting. The state council will announce its decision next month.
Revised: April 17, 2008

Academic programs

Capitalize program names. On second reference, lowercase the word "program."

  • Lisa Gatz is enrolled in the Associate Degree in Nursing Program. She joined the program last year.
  • The Business Administration Program at the College is expanding.
  • LFCC's Emergency Medical Technology Program recently hired a new faculty member.
Revised: April 17, 2008


When using an acronym, spell out the word on first reference with the acronym in parentheses. On second reference, you may use the acronym.

  • Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) will hold its employee luncheon in May. This event honors LFCC employees for their hard work throughout the year.

The following list documents common acronyms that LFCC uses.

  • Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology (ARC-ST)
  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Emergency medical services (EMS)
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • General educational development (GED)
  • Grade point average (GPA)
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
  • Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC)
  • Registered dental hygienist (RDH)
  • Registered nurse (RN)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV)
  • Virginia Community College System (VCCS)

Please see the SAT entry for special guidelines on how to use this acronym.

Revised: Sept. 19, 2008

Acting/interim positions

All acting/interim employees should be referenced as such in all College communications, including the Web site, news releases, e-mail signatures, business cards, etc.

The following information will assist in determining which term to use. According to the dictionary, the definition for acting means "temporarily assuming the duties or authority of another," and interim means "serving or taking place during a period between two events."

Further definitions follow and are based on a policy from another academic institution.

  • An acting employee serves while another employee is on leave or until an individual is selected to serve in the position. The former position of the acting employee is held open for his/her return. The salary of an acting employee is the person's regular salary, with the potential of being increased somewhat to take into account the increased duties of the acting position.
  • An interim employee serves while another employee is on leave or until an individual is selected to serve in the position. However, the former position of the interim employee is not held open.  The salary of an interim employee is in the salary range for whatever position they are filling in during the interim.
Revised: April 17, 2008


Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address. Spell them out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number. All similar words (alley, drive, road, terrace, etc.) always are spelled out. Capitalize them when part of a formal name without a number; lowercase when used alone.

  • The Middletown Campus is located on Skirmisher Lane.
  • The Fauquier Campus' address is 6480 College St.

When including the College's ZIP code in return addresses, it is necessary to use the nine-digit ZIP code number.

Lord Fairfax Community College
Fauquier Campus
6480 College St.
Warrenton, VA 20187-8820

Lord Fairfax Community College
Middletown Campus
173 Skirmisher Lane
Middletown, VA 22645-1745

Lord Fairfax Community College
Luray-Page County Center
334 North Hawksbill St.
Luray, VA 22835-1130

Revised: Aug. 22, 2008

Adjunct instructor

Use the term "adjunct instructor" instead of "adjunct professor."
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007


Lowercase in all uses.

  • The president's administration voted on the proposal.
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007


The word "advisor" should always be spelled with an "o" and not an "e."

  • Correct: I have a meeting scheduled with my advisor next week.
  • Incorrect: My adviser suggested that I enroll in another science course.
Revised: Dec. 17, 2008

Affect, effect

Each is a verb and a noun. In practice, however, "affect" is almost always a verb and "effect" most often a noun.

  • He was using drugs that affected the nervous system.
  • The effect of drugs on the nervous system caused him to become agitated.
  • Her complaint had no effect on the dean.
Revised: April 17, 2008


Always use figures. If ages are expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitute for a noun, use hyphens.

  • A 60-year-old man registered for classes today.
  • Beth Brooks is 30 years old.
  • The race is for 18-year-olds.
Revised: April 17, 2008

Already, all ready

"Already" means having occurred, and "all ready" means prepared.
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007

Alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus

  • Alumna - singular, female
  • Alumnae - plural, women only
  • Alumni - plural, men only or men and women
  • Alumnus - singular, male
  • Alum - singular, male or female; appropriate in informal contexts
Revised: April 25, 2008

Ampersand (&)

Never use the ampersand in place of "and" unless it is part of a company's formal name.

  • Johnson & Johnson was the subcontractor for the project.
  • A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. is handling the sale of this new stock issue.
Revised: April 28, 2008


An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held in at least two successive years. Do not use the term "first annual." Instead, use "first" or "first ever."
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007

Anybody, any body, anyone, any one

Use one word for an indefinite reference: anyone can do it. Use two words when the emphasis is on singling out one element of a group: Any one of them can do it.
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007

Building and room names

Capitalize the proper names of buildings. Also, please note that when referencing the William H. McCoy Special Events Center, it is necessary to use the full name and include the following statement, "located inside the Alson H. Smith Jr. Technology Center." Also, please include the campus name after the building, to identify which location the event will be held at.

The following list details the correct name of buildings and rooms on LFCC's two campuses. This list should be used in all external communication. Also, please note the correct references to the two main entrances at the Middletown Campus. They are the Welcome Center entrance and the Paul Wolk Library entrance.

If it is necessary to include a common name after the formal name, please include the common name in parentheses. An example follows: Fredy and Klara Kummli Student Center (student lounge).

Middletown Campus

  • Alson H. Smith Jr. Technology Center
  • Corron Community Development Center ("the Corron" is acceptable on second reference)
  • Facilities and Operations Center 
  • Fredy and Klara Kummli Student Center
  • Paul Wolk Library
  • Science and Health Professions Building
  • Virginia Savings Bank FSB Board Room
  • William H. McCoy Special Events Center
  • William Moore Dietel Bookstore

Fauquier Campus

  • Bob G. Sowder Library
  • Paul and Sheila Wolk Hall
  • the Rose Loeb Student Center
  • the Barn


  • The event will be held in the Barn on the Fauquier Campus.
  • The Fairfax Follies will be held in the William H. McCoy Special Events Center located inside the Alson H. Smith Jr. Technology Center on the Middletown Campus.
  • The new Science and Health Professions Building will be an important addition to the Middletown Campus.
  • The job expo will be held in the Corron Community Development Center located on the Middletown Campus.

Please note: When referencing the Fauquier and Middletown Campuses' bookstores in the same sentence, refer to the entity as the LFCC Bookstores.

In similar format, when referencing both campuses' libraries in the same sentence, refer to the entity as the LFCC Libraries.

Please note: When referencing the lounge on the Middletown Campus, it should be called the employee lounge and not the faculty lounge.

Revised: March 16, 2009

Bulleted lists

Capitalize the first word of bulleted lists. Following are a variety of examples:

Communication Skills

  • Students will write and speak in organized, clear and grammatically correct English.
  • Students will listen and read analytically, understanding and interpreting written and oral English.

The Office of Student Success facilitates personal growth and development and educational success through services such as:

  • Career development
  • Counseling and academic advising
  • Financial aid (federal and state)
  • Scholarships
  • Services for students with disabilities

Increase resources to support the College's mission by:

  • Establishing an alumni association and a faculty endowment program
  • Implementing a fully integrated fundraising plan that includes annual, capital, corporate, grant writing, in-kind, planned giving and political action programs
Revised: April 25, 2008


Capitalize references to a specific body of advisers heading executive departments for a president. The capital letter distinguishes the word from the common noun meaning cupboard, which is lowercase.

  • The Cabinet met to discuss tuition increases for fall 2005 at LFCC.
  • Cynthia Bambara, vice president of student success, is a member of the Cabinet.
Revised: April 25, 2008

Campuses and College locations

When referencing the College's campuses always capitalize the word "campus" when it is used with the name of the campus; otherwise, the word should be lowercased. In addition, if both campuses are mentioned in the same sentence, list them in alphabetical order. Also, it is important to use the proper name of the College's campuses and locations. Correct usage is Fauquier Campus, Middletown Campus and Luray-Page County Center. Do not abbreviate the campuses or the Luray-Page County Center. If needed, on second reference for the Luray-Page County Center, use the word "Center," not "outreach center" or "LPCC." Furthermore, when using both campuses and the Luray-Page County Center in the same sentence, please reference them as the "three LFCC locations."

  • A group of high school seniors will be visiting the Middletown Campus tomorrow. Please make them feel welcome when you see them on campus.
  • The president is on the Fauquier Campus today.
  • Parking lot improvements will be made to the Fauquier and Middletown Campuses later this year.
  • The Luray-Page County Center is scheduled to open in fall 2005. The Center will serve the community through increased course offerings.
  • Class schedules are available at the three LFCC locations: Fauquier Campus, Luray-Page County Center and Middletown Campus.

Please note that the datelines for news releases should be as follows: MIDDLETOWN, Va. - for the Middletown Campus and WARRENTON, Va. - for the Fauquier Campus. The datelines reference the city locations for each campus.

Revised: Nov. 4, 2008

Campuswide, collegewide

These terms are one word. Also citywide, countywide, statewide, nationwide, universitywide and worldwide. But: World Wide Web.

  • The initiative will be implemented collegewide.
  • Posters about the recycling project have been distributed campuswide.
Revised: Oct. 6, 2008


Capitalize as a formal title if used before the person's name. Lowercase in all other cases. Avoid gender specific nouns such as chairman or chairwoman

  • College Board Chair Lee Smith addressed the group.
  • Mark Smith is chair of the committee.
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007

Classes, courses

Lowercase when referring to courses and classes. Uppercase if referring to the specific name of a class or if the class uses a proper noun or numeral.

  • I took a fine arts class and a business class.
  • I took Psychology 200 and Spanish 100.
Revised: April 25, 2008


This is one word.

Revised: Aug. 22, 2007

Clean up, cleanup

Use "cleanup" — one word — as a noun or adjective, but "clean up" as a verb.

Revised: April 25, 2008

College Board

Capitalize the term College Board in all references.

  • The College Board meeting is scheduled for June 9.
  • The Lord Fairfax Community College Board will make the final decision.
  • The LFCC Board voted on that matter last week.
  • There are 10 College Board members on the committee.

Please note: It is incorrect and redundant to write "LFCC College Board," because the last "C" in "LFCC" already stands for "College."  Therefore, "LFCC Board" is the correct usage.

Revised: April 18, 2008

College name

The name of the College is "Lord Fairfax Community College." To avoid repetition, when the College's name is used repeatedly in text, after the first full reference, "LFCC" or "the College" may be used. "LF" or "Lord Fairfax" should not be used. Capitalize the word "college" in all references made to Lord Fairfax Community College and lowercase elsewhere.

  • The College will be closed July 4, 2005.
  • Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is working in conjunction with another college to explore the option of distance education. LFCC is excited about this new venture.

Please note: LFCC is a place, not a person. Avoid using words such as "we" and "us" when referring to the College. Use "it," "its," etc. For example, "Call LFCC at 800-906-LFCC or visit its Web site at"

Revised: April 25, 2008

Comma (,)

The following guidelines treat some of the most frequent questions about the use of commas. For detailed guidance, consult the punctuation section in the AP Stylebook. Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series

  • The flag is red, white and blue.
  • He would nominate Tom, Dick or Harry.
Revised: Aug. 22, 2007


When referencing the College's graduation ceremonies, always capitalize the word "commencement."

  • Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) will hold its 2007 Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 11, 2007, and Saturday, May 12, 2007.
Revised: April 18, 2008


Do not abbreviate. Capitalize when part of a formal name.

  • The College Advancement Policy Committee met today.
Revised: Aug. 24, 2007

Composition titles

Apply these guidelines to article titles, book titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television program titles and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
    • William C. Dean, superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, will address graduates in his speech "Your Inheritance, Your Options."
    • Dave Smith is reading "The 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising" for his marketing class.
  • Capitalize an article  a, an, the  or words of fewer than four letters only if it is the first or last word in the title.
    • Have you read "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren?
  • Put quotations marks around the names of the aforementioned types of works. Exceptions include the Bible; books that are primarily catalogs of reference material, such as almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks; and journals.
    • The LFCC Catalog is published every two years.
    • The printed LFCC Summer 2006 Semester Schedule of Classes was available in April.
    • The Virginia Community College Policy Manual is sitting on my desk.
Revised: April 25, 2008

Computer-aided drafting

Include a hyphen when referencing computer-aided drafting (CAD). On second reference it is appropriate to use the abbreviation CAD.

Revised: Aug. 24, 2007

Course work

When referencing "course work" for a class, use two words. Do not join them into one word.

  • He will complete his course work next year.
Revised: Aug. 24, 2007

Curriculum, Curricula and Curricular

The word "curriculum" is a singular noun, "curricula" is a plural noun and "curricular" is an adjective. Examples of each word and the proper usage are as follows:

  • Students enrolled in the information systems technology curriculum are prepared for numerous computer-related jobs upon graduation.
  • He is enrolled in both the emergency medical technician and nursing curricula.
  • The deans are meeting to discuss enrollment strategies for three curricular programs.
Revised: April 25, 2008


A long dash () is used to draw attention to an abrupt break or pause in a sentence. The keying of two hyphens in Microsoft Word will create a correct long dash when the next word in the sentence is keyed. Two hyphens alone are not an acceptable substitute in word processing. There should be spaces before and after the long dash.

  • The College reserves the right to change with or without notice  the information, requirements and procedures announced in this publication.
Revised: April 25, 2008


A comma follows the day of the month and the year in sentence form.

  • Graduation exercises were held on May 13, 2005, at Lord Fairfax Community College's Middletown Campus.

Expressions of month and year (with no day) within a sentence may be written without commas.

  • The schedule will be available in June 2000 for the following academic year.

Do not use 1st, 2nd, etc., with dates:

  • Correct: The student picnic is scheduled for Oct. 11, 2005.
  • Incorrect: The student picnic is scheduled for the 11th of October.

When referencing periods of years, use an "s" without an apostrophe.

  • He worked for LFCC from 1980 to 1986. He worked for the College in the 1980s.

Repeat only the final two digits of the second number when writing inclusive years.

  • Student enrollment increased during 2001-02 and 2002-03.

Use the word "through" to separate a timeframe. In listings, such as the "Important Dates" section of the class schedule, a hyphen may be used to indicate a timeframe.

  • Spring registration is from May 15 through 30, 2006.

Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate the following months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone or with a year (with no day).

  • Registration for the spring 2005 semester will be held in November and December.
  • Nov. 5 is the first day for registration for the spring 2005 semester.
  • Commencement will take place on May 13, 2005.
  • Final grades are due Dec. 14, 2005.
  • He joined the College as an adjunct instructor in January 2005.

When months are listed in a tabular format, please use three letters without periods: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec.

Revised: July 30, 2008

Days of the week

Capitalize them. Do not abbreviate, except when needed in a tabular format: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat (three letters, without periods, to facilitate tabular composition).

Revised: Aug. 24, 2007

Dean's and president's list

Lowercase in all uses.

  • Bethany Lee, a Winchester resident, is on the dean's list. Her brother, Edwin, is on the president's list.
Revised: Aug. 24, 2007


Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc., to indicate depth, height, length and width. Hyphenate adjectival forms before nouns.

  • He is 5 feet 6 inches tall.
  • The 5-foot-6-inch man signed up for the basketball team along with his 7-footer friend.
  • The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high.
  • The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet. Or, the 9-by-12 foot rug.
  • The storm left 5 inches of snow.
Use an apostrophe to indicate feet and quotation marks to indicate inches — 5'6" — only in very technical contexts.
Revised: April 25, 2008

Directions and regions

In general, lowercase "north," "south," "northeast," "southwest," "eastern" and "western" when they indicate compass direction. Capitalize these words when they designate regions.

  • We are traveling north for the weekend.
  • A handful of LFCC students commute from Northern Virginia to attend classes at the College.

When discussing what regions the College serves, the Fauquier Campus serves the Piedmont region, the Middletown Campus serves the Northern Shenandoah Valley region and the Luray-Page County Center serves the Shenandoah Valley region.

Revised: Aug. 24, 2007

Dollar amounts

Use a dollar sign followed by a numeral. Omit the decimal and zeros in expressing whole dollar amounts, even if they appear with mixed dollar amounts. Amounts of money less than $1 are expressed in figures combined with the word cents unless they are used in conjunction with related amounts of $1 of more.

  • Tuition and fees at the College cost $78.80 for one credit hour.
  • The total cost of the trip is $250 per person. Lodging totals $220.50, and food totals $29.50.
  • The cost of constructing the new building is $5.3 million.
  • The cost of a postage stamp increased from 35 cents to 37 cents.
Revised: April 25, 2008


The "e" in e-mail is not capitalized unless it's the first word of a sentence.

  • My e-mail didn't go through.
  • E-mail is a great tool.
Revised: Aug. 28, 2007

Educational Foundation

Capitalize and use the following complete phrase on first reference: "LFCC Educational Foundation Inc." On second reference use "Foundation."  "Inc." should never precede the word "Board."

Correct usages follow:

  • The LFCC Educational Foundation Board met today.
  • The Lord Fairfax Community College Educational Foundation Inc. established a new scholarship today.
  • The LFCC Educational Foundation Inc. raised $1 million last year.
  • The LFCC Educational Foundation Board members are meeting with key individuals to request support for the Foundation's scholarship program.

Incorrect usages follow:

  • The LFCC Educational Foundation Inc. Board met today.
  • The Lord Fairfax Community College Educational Foundation established a new scholarship today.
Revised: April 18, 2008


An ellipsis indicates the omission of one or more words from quoted material. Use three dots (...) preceded and followed by a space to indicate material that is missing between words. If the words that precede an ellipsis are a complete sentence, whether in the original work or the revised version, place a period at the end of the sentence followed by a space and an ellipsis. 

  • I had planned to attend the event. ... However, another appointment has been scheduled that I must handle immediately.
  • She drove ... to get to my house.
Revised: May 19, 2009

Entitled, titled

"Entitled" means one has the right to do or to have something: She is entitled to the inheritance. Use "titled" to introduce the name of a publication, musical composition, seminar, etc.

Revised: Aug. 28, 2007

Every day, everyday

  • Every day (two words) is an adverb. Example: She goes to work every day.
  • Everyday (one word) is an adjective. Example: He wears everyday shoes.
Revised: April 25, 2008

Full-time equivalent

On first reference, spell out the whole phrase. On second reference, the abbreviation FTE may be used. Full-time equivalent can refer to students as well as faculty.

  • For fall 2000, LFCC had a total of 5,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) students. This number increased to 5,110 FTEs in spring 2001.
  • The survey will determine the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty at the College.

A full-time equivalent student is a term used to identify the "typical" student for budget purposes.  It's defined as one student taking 15 student credit hours a semester. For example, LFCC had 40,934 student credit hours in fall 2003, which resulted in 2,729 FTEs (40,934/15=2,728.93 rounded up). 

There are also annualized FTEs, but this phrase isn't used as much as just FTEs. The formula for annualized FTEs is as follows: summer FTEs + fall FTEs + spring FTEs/2.  Or, if you add the three semesters of student credit hours and divide the total by 30 credit hours, you will also get annualized FTEs.

Revised: April 25, 2008

Fundraising, fundraiser

One word in all cases.

  • Fundraising is difficult.
  • They planned a fundraising campaign.
  • A fundraiser was hired.
Revised: April 18, 2008

General Educational Development (GED)

On first reference spell out general educational development (GED) test. Then on second reference use the abbreviation.

  • Simon passed the general educational development (GED) test in June. Now that he has received a GED credential, Simon will enroll in some college courses.
Revised: April 25, 2008

Good, well

"Good" is an adjective that means something is as it should be or is better than average.

  • The soup smells good.
  • The music sounds good.

When used as an adjective, "well" means suitable, proper or healthy. When used as an adverb, "well" means in a satisfactory manner or skillfully.

  • A machine that runs well.
  • He did well on his entrance exam.
Revised: April 18, 2008

Grade point average

Spell out on first reference and then use GPA after that.

  • He earned a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) in biology his first year and a 4.0 GPA in biology his second year.
Revised: Aug. 28, 2007


Use letter grade with no quotation marks.

  • She received an A in the course.
  • There is a W on his transcript.
  • She earned three Bs and two Cs.
Revised: Aug. 28, 2007

Hyphenated terms

It is preferred to hyphenate compound adjectives before a noun. When the compound appears after the noun, the hyphen is not used. Compounds with the word self are always hyphenated.

Please note: The term "high quality" should be hyphenated when used as a modifier, such as high-quality instruction, high-quality faculty, high-quality facilities, etc.

  • Two-year college, four-year college
  • Mid-semester
  • Part-time students, full-time students, I work full time
  • In-class essay, the students wrote the essay in class
  • Per-credit-hour basis
  • One-year appointment, multi-year appointment
  • Long-range goals, short-range goals

Words that are formed with prefixes, such as pre-, post-, semi-, non-, un-, are spelled as one word unless they precede a capitalized second element.

  • Noncredit courses, postsecondary education, semiprofessional workers, preprofessional education, un-American

Words that are formed with prefixes such as co- and pro- retain the hyphen.

  • Co-requisite, co-author, co-chairman, pro-labor, pro-business
Revised: Nov. 21, 2008


IMing is short for "instant messaging," a term to describe a form of online chatting. Used as a noun, "IM," stands for instant message.

  • IMing during class is unacceptable.
  • I sent you an IM at 9 a.m.
Revised: Aug. 28, 2007

Internet and intranet

Always capitalize the word "Internet." When referencing a specific Web site in a written document, include the Internet address. Lowercase the word "intranet" in all references. The address for the LFCC intranet is

  • According to the Virginia Community College System's Web site (, the enrollment gap between male and female students is widening.
  • The LFCC intranet contains a wealth of information.
Revised: April 25, 2008

Junior, senior

Abbreviate as "Jr." and "Sr." only with full names of persons. Do not precede by a comma.

  • John P. Straightmore Jr. will address the students at the Horticulture Club meeting.
  • Mark E. Douglas Sr. is a new member of the Middletown Campus' Phi Theta Kappa chapter.
Revised: Aug. 28, 2007


Capitalize when preceded by the names of a state. Retain capitalization when the state name is dropped but the reference is specifically to that state's legislature. The same rules apply when making reference to the general assembly. If using the word "assembly" only, it should be lowercase.

  • A group of LFCC administrators, faculty and students visited the Virginia General Assembly.
Revised: Sept. 5, 2007

Like, as

Use "like" as a preposition to compare nouns and pronouns. Like requires an object: He blocks like a pro.

The conjunction "as" is the correct word to introduce clauses: Jim blocks the linebacker as he should.

Revised: April 25, 2008

Like, such as

"Like" means similar to but not including. While "like" is used in everyday speech to list examples, "such as" is preferred: Vegetables such as carrots, lettuce and cucumbers are part of a healthy diet.

Revised: April 25, 2008

Magazine names

Capitalize the name but do not place it in quotes or italicize it. Lowercase "magazine" unless it is part of the publication's formal title.

  • The LFCC library subscribes to Harper's Magazine and Time magazine.
Revised: Sept. 13, 2007

Mission statement and strategic plan

When using the phrases "mission statement" and "strategic plan," both phrases should be lowercased.

  • LFCC adopted a new mission statement in 2007.
  • LFCC's strategic plan was revised at last month's College Board meeting.
Revised: April 18, 2008


When using the plural form of the word "money," add an "ies" to form the word "monies." Do not just add an "s:"

  • The monies will be invested in a savings account.
Revised: April 25, 2008


LFCC maintains a link to the VCCS Student Information System (SIS) on its Web site. This portal is termed "MY LFCC" in all instances. The previous name was LFCC SMART Web.

  • LFCC students may visit MY LFCC on the College's Web site to register for classes.
Revised: April 18, 2008

Names of people

For news releases or materials distributed to the media, on first reference, use the individual's full name. Leave out middle initial unless he or she prefers to use it or if it is used in a formal context. In subsequent sentences, use last names only.

For print ads, profiles and publications of a more personal nature, the individual's first name may be used on second reference.

In addition, following is the formal usage of a specific employee name:

  • Cynthia Bambara
Revised: April 18, 2008

Newspaper names

Capitalize "the" in a newspaper's name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Do not put the names in quotation marks or italicize them.

  • An article about an LFCC graduate was printed in the Northern Virginia Daily last month.
Revised: April 25, 2008


Do not use a hyphen when using the word "noncredit." When referencing the courses offered through the Office of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education, use the term "professional development" instead of "noncredit."

  • Valerie Thomson's employer requested that she update her computer skills. So, she enrolled in a professional development course offered through the Office of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education at LFCC.
Revised: April 18, 2008


Do not use a hyphen when using the word "nonprofit."

  • Diane Jones volunteers at a nonprofit organization.
Revised: April 18, 2008


Spell out zero through nine; use numerals for 10 and greater. Numbers should be spelled out in the beginning of a sentence. Use a comma with numerals of 1,000 and above to separate every three digits. Use numerals when referring to academic credit and page numbers.

  • He had four books on his desk.
  • She planted 12 bulbs in her garden.
  • Fifteen students signed up for the race.
  • Over 5,000 students attended LFCC last fall.
  • The student earned 2.5 hours of credit.
  • See page 4 and then print pages 2-10.

When using ordinal numbers, spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location. Starting with 10th use figures. The only exception is when the numbers are used for geographic, military and political designations.

  • He was the first student to register for classes.
  • She was the 20th student to finish the test.
Revised: April 18, 2008

OK, OK'd, OK'ing, OKs

Do not use okay.
Revised: April 18, 2008

On campus, on-campus

"On-campus" is a unit modifier: Students live in on-campus housing. "On campus" shows adverbial location: She has a job on campus.
Revised: April 18, 2008


Use "online" in all references for the computer connection, rather than "on-line." In addition, use the word "online" when referring to distance learning and Web-based courses. An example is "He registered for an online course."
Revised: April 18, 2008

Page numbers

Use figures and capitalize "page" when used with a figure. When a letter is appended to the figure, capitalize it, but do not use a hyphen.

  • The information you are requesting is on Page 3.
  • The table is located on Page 10A.
Revised: April 25, 2008


One word. Do not use the percent sign (%) unless in tabular material.

  • She collected 60 percent of the votes to win the election.
  • The College experienced a 10-percent increase in students.
Revised: April 18, 2008


Never abbreviate. Lowercase before a name. Do not continue in second reference unless part of a quotation.

  • Elizabeth Wilson will meet with professor Phyllis Armstrong to discuss her grade for the fall semester. Armstrong teaches English at the College.
Revised: April 18, 2008

Quotation marks

The period and comma ALWAYS go inside the quotation marks. The dash, the semicolon, the question mark and the exclamation point go inside the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only.
Revised: April 18, 2008

Racial origins

Capitalize all racial origins such as African-American, Asian, Black, Caucasian, Hispanic and White. Use African-American only in quotations or the names of organizations or if individuals describe themselves so.
Revised: April 25, 2008


When referring to the "reaffirmation of accreditation" review conducted every 10 years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), do not use a hyphen in the word "reaffirmation."
Revised: April 18, 2008

Room Numbers

The word "room" should be capitalized when used with a figure.

  • The meeting will be held in Room 132 on the Middletown Campus.
  • My chemistry class meets in Room 249 in the Science and Health Professions Building every Monday at 10 a.m.
Revised: March 16, 2009


Do not use the word "please" before the acronym "RSVP."
Revised: April 18, 2008


Use only the initials in referring to the previously designated Scholastic Aptitude Test or the Scholastic Assessment Test.
Revised: April 18, 2008


The names of seasons are not capitalized.

  • LFCC's fall classes begin on Aug. 25.
  • Your application for admission for the fall 2005 semester is being processed.
Revised: April 18, 2008

State names

Spell out state names when they stand alone. Use the following state abbreviations when they follow a city, county, town, village or military base. Please note that the following eight states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Utah.

  • Ala.
  • Ariz.
  • Ark.
  • Calif.
  • Colo.
  • Conn.
  • Del.
  • Fla.
  • Ga.
  • Ill.
  • Ind.
  • Kan.
  • Ky.
  • La.
  • Md.
  • Mass.
  • Mich.
  • Minn.
  • Miss.
  • Mo.
  • Mont.
  • Neb.
  • Nev.
  • N.H.
  • N.J.
  • N.M.
  • N.Y.
  • N.C.
  • N.D.
  • Okla.
  • Ore.
  • Pa.
  • R.I.
  • S.C.
  • S.D.
  • Tenn.
  • Vt.
  • Va.
  • Wash.
  • W.Va.
  • Wis.
  • Wyo.

Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations only with full addresses, including ZIP code.

Revised: Nov. 24, 2008

State, federal

Lowercase the word "state" when used as follows: the state of Maryland, the states of West Virginia and Virginia. Although Virginia is legally a commonwealth, this distinction is only necessary in formal uses, and the word "commonwealth" should be lowercase. Example: The commonwealth of Virginia filed a lawsuit.

Capitalize the word "federal" as part of corporate or governmental bodies that use the word as part of their formal names. Example: Federal Communications Commission

Lowercase the words "federal" and "state" when used as adjectives: our state universities, federal loans,  state grants.

When referring to the College's relationship to the state, the term "state assisted" should be used as opposed to "state supported."

Revised: April 28, 2008

Student clubs and organizations

The following entries are the official names of the student clubs and organizations at the College.

  • Ambassadors - Fauquier and Middletown Campuses
  • Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship - Fauquier Campus
  • Fine and Performing Arts Club - Middletown Campus
  • Forensics - Middletown Campus
  • Freshman Class - Middletown Campus
  • FUEL Ministry Club - Middletown Campus
  • Future Farmers of America - Middletown Campus
  • Student Alliance for Diversity Awareness/Acceptance - Middletown Campus
  • History Club - Middletown Campus
  • Phi Beta Lambda - Middletown Campus
  • Phi Theta Kappa - Fauquier and Middletown Campuses
  • Project International Education - Middletown Campus
  • Rotoract Club - Middletown Campus
  • Scientific Society - Middletown Campus
  • Sophomore Class - Middletown Campus
  • Student American Dental Hygienists' Association - Middletown Campus
  • Student Government Association (SGA) - Fauquier and Middletown Campuses
Revised: April 18, 2008

Telephone and fax numbers

Telephone and fax numbers are expressed in figures. When the area code is included, separate the area code from the telephone and fax number with a hyphen; do not use parentheses. Do not use a slash or period as a separator.         

Extension numbers, preceded by the abbreviation "ext.," follow telephone numbers. If an extension number concludes a sentence, use a single comma to separate it from the telephone number. However, if an extension number appears in the middle of a sentence, use commas before and after.

When using toll-free numbers, do not use a "1" before the number. When using LFCC's toll-free number, please list it as follows: 800-906-LFCC.

  • You may reach our representative at 868-5940.
  • Please fax the report to me at 540-868-3837.
  • Call the College's toll-free number, 800-906-LFCC.
  • You may reach me at 540-868-2483, ext. 227.
  • We were requested to call 213-347-0551, ext. 375, within an hour.
Revised: April 28, 2008

Time of day

Use a colon to separate hour from minutes. The colon and minutes are not necessary for even-hour times. Use numbers unless in the case of formal invitations, when spelling out the time is appropriate.

  • The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. (not 11:00 or 11:00 a.m.)
  • The event will end at 3:30 p.m.
  • The class runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (In text, use the word "to" to separate time ranges. In listings, use a hyphen, i.e., 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

Please note that the words "noon" and "midnight" should be used in all instances, instead of 12 a.m., 12 p.m., 12 noon or 12 midnight.

  • We are meeting for lunch at noon. 
  • The contest deadline is Aug. 7, 2005, at midnight.

Lowercase with periods, a.m. and p.m. Incorrect usage is AM, PM, A.M. or P.M. Avoid redundancies such as "8 p.m. tonight." If your seminar is from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening, write "10 a.m. to 6 p.m." rather than 10-6. Most people won't show up at 10 p.m., but it always helps to be clear.

Revised: April 28, 2008

Titles of people

Capitalize formal titles before a name or names. Use mainly in formal programs, memos and letters:
  • Vice President Margaret Bartow
  • Vice President Linnie Carter

Capitalize formal titles after a name or names when used in formal programs or invitations:

  • Margaret Bartow, Vice President of Learning
  • Linnie Carter, Vice President of College Advancement

Lowercase formal titles after a name or names:

  • Cynthia Bambara, vice president of student success
  • Curtis Morgan, associate professor of history

Lowercase titles standing alone and the title "professor" (see the professor entry for more information):

  • The president, the president of LFCC
  • The dean, dean of learning
  • The professor, professor Joe Whitehorne

The formal titles of the dean and vice president positions at LFCC are as follows:

  • Campus administrator for Fauquier
  • Dean of learning for humanities, mathematics and social sciences
  • Dean of learning for business, technology, science and health professions
  • Vice president of college advancement
  • Vice president of financial and administrative services
  • Vice president of learning
  • Associate vice president of learning
  • Vice president of student success
  • Assistant vice president of workforce solutions and continuing education

Abbreviate most civil, religious, medical and military titles. On second reference, simply use the individual's last name with the title:

  • Rev. Paul Phillips
  • Dr. Tom Timmons
  • Maj. Gen. Frank Collins
  • U.S. Sen. Earl Stephens, Delegate Lillian Waters, state Sen. John Wallburg

Courtesy titles such as Mr., Ms. and Mrs. should only be used in letters, memos or formal programs. The only exception to this rule when writing for publications or news releases is when it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name.

The courtesy title Dr. may be used on first reference before the names of individuals who hold other types of doctoral degrees. However, because the public frequently identifies Dr. only with physicians, care should be taken to assure that the individual's specialty is stated in first or second reference.

When addressing a couple that are both doctors, the address section of the letter should be as follows: Dr. Justin Jackson and Dr. Serena Jackson. The correct salutation would be Dear Drs. Jackson.

When referencing two titles for one individual, make sure each title is followed by the correct department or organization.

  • Linnie Carter, vice president of college advancement at Lord Fairfax Community College and executive director of the Lord Fairfax Community College Educational Foundation Inc., spoke at the all-campus meeting about College publications and fundraising.

Courtesy titles should also be used when addressing legislative representatives. Adhere to the following guidelines. For a complete list of Virginia protocol and etiquette when addressing government entities, visit

State Senator

  • Address - The Honorable John/Jane Frank
  • Salutation - Dear Senator Frank
  • Conversation - Senator Frank

Member of the House of Delegates

  • Address - The Honorable John/Jane Gregory
  • Salutation - Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss Gregory
  • Conversation - Mr./Mrs./Miss Gregory

For more information and varying guidelines for use of titles in letter form, please see the "faxes, letters and memos" section under the "Communication Guidelines" heading.

Revised: July 1, 2008


According to the International Trademark Association, "a trademark is any word (Poison), name (Giorgio Armani), symbol or device (the Pillsbury Doughboy), slogan (Got Milk?), package design (Coca-Cola bottle) or combination of these that serves to identify and distinguishes a specific product from others in the market place or in trade. Even a sound (NBC chimes), color combination, smell or hologram can be a trademark under some circumstances."

To distinguish trademarks from surrounding text, the trademark should appear in capital letters, thus setting it apart from the generic name of the product. Also, according to the International Trademark Association, "never use a trademark as a noun. Use the trademark only as a brand name in combination with the common or generic name for a specific product. Always use a trademark as an adjective modifying a noun." In addition, a trademark should not be used as a verb.

Correct: The Microsoft PowerPoint presentation is on my computer.
Incorrect: Microsoft PowerPoint's slides can be set to view automatically.

Correct: I will make a photocopy of your paperwork on the Xerox copier.
Incorrect: I will Xerox your paperwork.

Following are additional resources regarding the use of trademarks, including a searchable trademark database and guidelines for using Microsoft trademarks:

Revised: April 28, 2008


When referencing tuition, only list the base rate, excluding the applicable fees. An appropriate way to reference tuition is as follows:

  • Tuition for Virginia residents is $81.65 per credit hour, not including applicable fees.

In addition, an appropriate way to reference the comparison of tuition rates between LFCC and four-year institutions in Virginia is as follows:

  • LFCC tuition and fees are approximately one-third the cost of attending a four-year college or university in Virginia.

If documentation is needed, please use the following statement, "Statistical comparisons are based upon the latest tuition and fees report published by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)."

Revised: May 27, 2008

United States

Use the abbreviated form for the United States as an adjective, but the full name when used as a noun.

  • The U.S. policy is under scrutiny.
  • The United States is joining the cause.
Revised: April 18, 2008


When using the word "veterans" in reference to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Administration, veterans benefits, veterans affairs officer or similar verbiage, the word does not contain an apostrophe; it is simply plural.

  • Veterans who have served in the military may be eligible for educational assistance through the Veterans Administration.
  • The veterans affairs officer should be contacted to assist with usage of veterans benefits.
Revised: Sept. 19, 2008

Web, Web site, Web page and webmaster

Web is capitalized. Web site and Web page are both capitalized and two words. Webmaster is one word and lowercase, unless used as an official title before a person's name. For Web addresses, http:// needs to precede the address.

Revised: April 28, 2008

World Wide Web

Capitalize all three words, "World Wide Web." On second reference it is acceptable to reference it as "the Web."
Revised: April 18, 2008

Social Media Guidelines

Following are a few guidelines to keep in mind when creating and using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with LFCC internal and external stakeholders. These guidelines apply to official sites (College units, clubs, etc.) 

  • Employee postings should be consistent with the College's core values and adhere to the standards of professional conduct.
  • Notify the LFCC Webmaster of new College-related pages and extend administrator rights to the Webmaster. Send e-mail to and .
  • Do not correct inaccurate information publicly on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Instead, send the person who posted the inaccurate information a private e-mail message and ask him or her to correct the information.
  • Use the full name of the College when naming Facebook pages. Instead of using "LFCC Forensic Team," for example, use "Lord Fairfax Community College Forensics Team."
  • Use the appropriate format of the LFCC logo.
  • Be sure to secure the appropriate signed photograph release forms before using images in social media.
  • Add the appropriate disclaimers about possible uses of photographs in printed materials such as special event invitations. Please see the disclaimer used in the Commencement program.

Faxes, letters and memos

Faxes, letters and memoranda are essential tools in written communication, both internal and external. It is extremely important for the College to have a unified image with these written pieces.

For consistency, a universal fax cover sheet and memo have been created for College use. They are located on the intranet. For letters, official College stationery and envelopes should be used. Letterhead may be ordered from the Shipping and Receiving Department.

When addressing letters and memoranda, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Letters of a formal nature should list the individual's courtesy title (Dr., Mr., Ms. or Mrs.), job title (capitalize in the address and signature area) and proper name. It is preferred not to list degree abbreviations, such as B.A., M.A., Ph.D., etc.
  • In the use of internal memoranda, it is customary to list the addressee(s) without courtesy and job titles. When external memoranda are written, the courtesy and job titles of the addressee(s) should be used.
Revised: April 29, 2008


The Office of College Advancement handles the design and approves all plaques for use at LFCC.
Revised: April 28, 2008

Required accreditation statement

The College catalog and any other communication pieces that document the College's accreditation status should contain the following statement.

"Lord Fairfax Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College."

Revised: April 28, 2008

Required nondiscrimination statements

Certain College publications are to contain statements as directed by law or policy. College publications shall bear a nondiscrimination statement. It is important to note that the term "nondiscrimination" should be used instead of the phrase "affirmative action." The two statements that follow have been adopted for specific uses.

Abbreviated statement to appear in all publications:

  • Lord Fairfax Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability in its programs or activities.

Full statement to appear in the class schedule, catalog and annual report and on the Web site:

  • Lord Fairfax Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability in its programs or activities. For more information, please contact Karen Foreman, human resource manager, at or 540-868-7109.

College publications should also include LFCC's 800 number, specific office telephone numbers and the College's Web site address. The TTY 711 - a text telephone service offered through Virginia Relay, enabling telephone conversations between standard voice telephone users and people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind or speech-impaired - should be included as needed.

The Americans with Disabilities Act statement should be placed in the front section of the course schedules and other pertinent College documents, as deemed necessary. It is as follows: "If you have any physical or medical condition that requires special assistance in order to take advantage of the services at Lord Fairfax Community College, please contact the vice president of student success at 540-868-7000."

When referring to disabilities, please use the terms "disability services" or "students with disabilities" instead of the phrase "special needs."
Revised: April 28, 2008

Logo Usage

The logo distinguishes Lord Fairfax Community College from competing institutions, including their programs and services. All College publications, literature and promotional items should include the logo, and special attention should be given to safeguarding LFCC's brand identity.

All logo usage should be requested from Aaron Riddle, print and Web communication manager. For detailed information about logo usage, please reference the Visual Identity Standards guidelines.

E-mail Confidentiality Notice

LFCC employees who use e-mail should include the following disclaimer adopted and approved by VCCS Governance:  

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information or otherwise be protected by law. Any access, use, disclosure or distribution of this e-mail message by anyone other than the intended recipient(s) is unauthorized and prohibited. If you are not an intended recipient (or an agent acting on an intended recipient's behalf), please contact the sender by reply e-mail and immediately destroy all copies of the original message. Virus scanning is recommended on all e-mail attachments.

Linking to the full notice is also acceptable:

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: (VCCS Electronic Communications Standard, approved 6/17/09).

No other language should be used without an official review by VCCS System Office Legal Services Office and Information Technology Services.


LFCC provides a positive, caring and dynamic learning environment that
inspires student success, values diversity and promotes community vitality.