Brewer Communications Style Guidelines
We respect the style guidelines created by organizations for their publications, and use ours only secondarily to an organization’s guidelines. Where style guidelines have not been set, Brewer Communications refers to these style guidelines for proofing and editorial purposes.
In general, we follow AP style, with the following illuminations, exceptions*, additions and clarifications:
No comma in series before a conjunction.
All caps copy is replaced by upper/lowercase copy, perhaps bolded.
Use full sentences, active verbs.
Spell out numbers zero through ten. All numbers above ten are in numerals.
Numbers beginning a sentence are avoided, and a sentence will be reconstructed to avoid the problem where possible.
Ordinal numbers first through tenth are also spelled out. Higher ordinals (i.e., 13th) use numerals. Exceptions to this may exist in specific copy, such as referring to ninth through twelfth grades, or 9th through 12th grades.
Use ordinal numbers when referring to grades, not cardinal numbers: i.e., fifth grade, not Grade 5.
Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) are preferred to Roman numerals (I, II, III).
Outline copy alternates between alpha numbering and numeric numbering, uppercase alpha precedes lowercase alpha. Roman numerals are avoided unless there are too many levels.
Compounded modifiers, two words that taken together are an adjective, are hyphenated (red-haired boy). Modifiers that end in –ly are adverbs, so do not get hyphenated (specially skilled teacher). See examples:
First graders at St. Peter
The first grade went to a play.
The ten-year-old girl will become a fifth grader.
She is a second-grade teacher. She teaches second grade.
He is specially trained in youth ministry. He is a specially trained youth minister.
Abbreviations and symbols
An ampersand “&” is replaced with “and” in copy.
A hyphen “-” is replaced with “through” in copy as suggested by content.
A double hyphen “--” is treated as an “em”-dash in copy—as shown with no spaces on either side. In web text spaces are added to facilitate word wrapping in text paragraphs. Occasionally fonts or context suggest that the “em”-dash is replaced with an “en” dash–as shown here.
A “%” is replaced with “percent” in copy. In graphs and charts, % usually works better as a visual.
Use of “etc.” is poor writing—if there are not other specific examples, rewrite the sentence.
Double-spacing between sentences is replaced with a single space.
A bachelor’s degree
A master’s degree
A doctoral degree
Use abbreviations only after a full name, only if needed, and only if the degree is not specified in the copy:
Richard Hillert has a doctorate in Music.
Richard Hillert, D.Mus., wrote music for the concert.
Dr. Hillert wrote music for the concert.
Dr. Hillert’s degree is in Music.
The department is capitalized. He teaches in the Music department. She is a math teacher.
Do not use Dr. as a title before the names of individuals who hold only honorary degrees:
Mr. Schalk was given an honorary doctorate from Concordia University Nebraska.
Dates and Times
10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. is preferred.
In some uses, such as timetables or schedules, it may be important to use :00 for consistent spacing.
10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
November 19, 2016
November 2008 (not November, 2016)
Spell out months when possible.
Avoid ordinal numbers in dates (“The play is May 21.” instead of “The play is May 21st.”)
Long abbreviations are preferred in copy (Minn., Wis.) when they refer to a city. State names cannot be abbreviated in copy without a city designation.
“They went to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and California this summer” not “They went to Penn., W. Va. and Calif. this summer.”
but “They went to Pittsburgh, Penn., Charleston, W. Va., and San Francisco, Calif., this summer.”
and not “They went to Pittsburgh, PA, Charleston, WV, and San Francisco, CA, this summer.”
Some uses may request spelling out all state names, but those words become unnecessarily long:
“They went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charleston, West Virginia; and San Francisco, California this summer.”
(Abbreviations also help the comma series punctuation problems as well.)
Zip code abbreviations are acceptable in lists and when providing a full address with a zip code (“Send to 105 Second St., Minneapolis, MN 55044.”) but not in copy.
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
When spelled out, the “hyphen” is an “en”-dash.
When abbreviated, LCMS contains no hyphen.
When scripture is quoted in copy, the selection ends with a period, endquotes, followed by a space and then Chapter:verse reference in parenthesis, NOT followed by an additional period, i.e.: “For God so loved the world.” (John 3:16) There is no need for an additional period to follow the citation, as it is not a sentence. It also looks better visually than “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16).
If a bible version reference is needed, it is set in small caps (John 3:16 NRSV)
Default bible versions: ELCA generally uses NRSV. LCMS/LEA generally uses NIV or ESV. Exceptions abound.
Capping the Sacraments and others
Use the following guidelines for capping words within a sentence:
Baptism (as noun); baptize (as verb)
Bible, Bible study
Kingdom of God
the word of God
Don’t cap kindergarten.
Cap position title (She is Associate Professor of...)
Zip code is an acronym, but Zip is not capped throughout.
These uses are based on their web site home pages:
Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, IL
Concordia University, St. Paul, St. Paul, MN
Concordia University Texas, Austin, TX
Concordia University Irvine, Irvine, CA
Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, WI
Concordia College-New York, Bronxville, NY
Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, NE
Concordia College Alabama, Selma, AL
Concordia University Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Concordia University Portland, Portland, OR
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., is not part of the LCMS system, it is an ELCA institution. It should be differentiated from any other Concordia by use of the city, but the city is not part of the college’s name (unlike most ofl the LCMS Concordias).
The non-existent pronoun “he/she” is replaced when possible with no pronoun, or rewritten to include “each”. Use of a plural pronoun when referring to a singular person is avoided (i.e., “When a communicant takes the wine, he/she holds the chalice.” is better written as:
“When communicants take the wine, they hold the chalice.” (pluralized)
“When a communicant takes the wine, each holds the chalice.” (each)
In ELCA publications, a male pronoun is avoided for reference to God. It is acceptable for reference to Jesus, however “he” is not capped.
In LCMS/LEA publications, a male pronoun is acceptable for reference to God and to Jesus, and “He” is often but not always capped.
In both churches, in references to the LORD in Old Testament literature where the original text would have said YHWH, LORD is written using small caps.
In ELCA publications, a pastor may be male or female, so pronoun use should not eliminate either gender from content. Pastor’s title is “the Rev.”
In LCMS/LEA publications, a male pronoun is correct for reference to all clergy. Pastor’s title is “Rev.” or “Pastor”.
web site is now not capped and often written as two words
internet is not specially capped.
World Wide Web is currently still capped.
Web references may be italicized (ELCA), set in blue (LEA), or otherwise called out of text. A period is placed at the end of every sentence, even when the sentence ends with a url.
If the URL includes www., the http:// is omitted. If a url does not include www., the http:// stays. However, any copy that is intended to be used as an actual link, such as in a website or email, must have the http:// part or the link won’t work.
URLs are divided only before or after the /.
For instance, www.brewer-com.com/staff/takingroot cannot be divided anywhere except at the /, otherwise the reader may not know that takingroot is one word and not hyphenated, or that brewer-com is hyphenated.
Online (as noun and verb); on-line (as adjective).
The index is online. She went online to find it. She used the on-line index.
Email (not email or E-mail)
Fax (not FAX)
Zip code (not ZIP code)
Style Guidelines for Convocation, Convention, Course offerings:
Use first-word caps
Use colon rather than hyphens or …
avoid ! on course titles unless really needed
Avoid use of etc.
No ampersands &
Full sentences, active verbs
Cap position title (She is Associate Professor of...)
No titles (Dr.) since lots of them have them but don’t list
Use of professional designation after name in some cases