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American College Test

A.D., B.C.

A.D. appears before the year; use small caps for print pieces.

  • The Battle of Hastings took place in A.D. 1066.

B.C. appears after the year.

  • We knew the document was a fake when we saw that it was dated 334 B.C.


CAPITAL is an acronym for the Center for Advanced Partnerships in Technology and Leadership, an off-campus classroom site in Beaverton.


Do not abbreviate names of cities:

  • Los Angeles (not LA)
  • Chicago (not Chi.)
  • San Francisco (not San Fran or SF)

There are some exceptions:

  • St. Louis
  • St. Helens


In Portland street addresses, abbreviate north, northeast, northwest, south southeast, and southwest when a numbered address is used; otherwise spell out. Do not use periods.

  • The parade route begins on Northeast Broadway, continues on Southwest Front, and ends on Northwest 14th Street.
  • The house is at 1234 SW Viking Way.


Ext. is acceptable when used with a telephone number.

  • You may reach the department by calling 1-800-547-8887, ext. 5555.


Follow the company’s usage, if known. Otherwise abbreviate and use commas before and after:

  • Shasta Outdoor Products, Inc., was founded in 1975.


Some initials can be reasonably assumed to be understood by most audiences. Among them are CIA, FBI, GOP, ABC, NBC, CBS, IBM, and CNN.

The names of colleges and universities should be spelled out on first reference. Initials (e.g., PSU, UO, OSU) can be used on subsequent references.

Place the initials of an office or a program in parentheses after the full name only if the unit is referred to by initials on second reference.


Do not abbreviate names of months.


  • Months may be abbreviated where space is limited, such as in calendars.

PO (as in PO Box 751)

Do not use periods. Post Office is occasionally spelled out in formal contexts such as in return addresses on invitations.


Do not use periods. Generally, spell out Portland State University on first reference. Use Portland State, PSU, or the University on subsequent references.

  • Portland State University offers programs on the undergraduate and graduate levels. PSU is known for its outstanding faculty and its location in the heart of metropolitan Portland.


Use periods. Do not add please; it is redundant.


No periods. SAT no longer stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test so it’s no longer appropriate to spell out.


Do not abbreviate names of states except in calendars or listings in which space is at a premium. In those cases, use AP Style rather than U.S. Postal Service abbreviations:

  • Ala.
  • Ariz.
  • Ark.
  • Calif.
  • Colo.
  • Conn.
  • D.C.
  • Del.
  • Fla.
  • Ga.
  • Ill.
  • Ind.
  • Kan.
  • Ky.
  • La.
  • Md.
  • Mass.
  • Mich.
  • Minn.
  • 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.

The following are not abbreviated:

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Ohio
  • Utah
  • Texas


  • Use Postal Service abbreviations in outgoing mail or standard mail (third-class) return addresses. Postal Service abbreviations can be found at

street names

Spell out avenue, street, circle, drive, etc.

  • Lincoln Hall is located at 1620 SW Park Avenue.
  • Laurel lives on Northeast Multnomah Street.

See also Correspondence.


Do not use :00, except in invitations. Use a.m. and p.m. (note periods and lowercase).

  • We expect Jean to arrive at 1 p.m.

Do not use hyphens in text to express inclusive times:

  • Right: The store is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wrong: The store is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Do not unnecessarily repeat a.m. and p.m.:

  • Right: The lecture is scheduled from 8 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Wrong: The lecture is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.


Abbreviate the following titles when used before a full name outside direct quotations:

  • Gov. 
  • Lt. Gov.
  • Rep.
  • Prof.
  • Rev.
  • Sen.

Spell out all when they are used before a name in direct quotations.


  • Spell out titles in formal contexts, such as invitations and citations. Spell out Reverend and Honorable when preceded by “the.”


When abbreviating years, use an apostrophe ( ’ ) to replace the first two numbers of the year. Do not use an opening single quotation mark ( ‘ ):

  • Right: Jen was born in ’96 during an ice storm.
  • Wrong: Diane graduated in ‘82 with a degree in English.

See also Punctuation and Symbols

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