Editorial Style

For BYU publications (magazines, brochures, websites, etc.), the university recommends using The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) and the Merriam-Webster dictionary. However, BYU does recommend several exceptions and clarifications to Chicago and Merriam-Webster, as noted below.

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Chicago Manual of Style


As in Chicago 10.32, BYU recommends no periods for “abbreviations that include two or more capital letters, even if the abbreviation also includes lowercase letters” (CEO, MA, PhD). However, BYU recommends two exceptions to this rule:

U.S. (United States; without the periods, the abbreviation looks like the pronoun us.)

P.S. (postscript; use periods to help with clarity; see also Chicago 10.42)

Block Quotations

Follow the guidelines for determining and indenting block quotations given in Chicago 13.22. However, BYU recommends that the first paragraph reflects the paragraph breaks of the original, being indented if it reflects the start of a paragraph in the original and flush left (no ellipses needed) if it does not. All subsequent paragraphs follow Chicago 13.22.

Capitalization in Headlines

BYU recommends using headline-style capitalization in titles and headlines, as outlined in Chicago 8.159–61, with the following exception:

Capitalize all words in titles or headlines that are five letters or longer, regardless of their grammatical function.


General Treatment

BYU recommends following Chicago’s alternative numeral rule (as outlined in 9.3) with these clarifications and modifications:

Spell out one through nine, and use numerals for 10 and above, unless context dictates otherwise.

Treat numbers consistently for the same type of item within a sentence even if one is below 9 and the other is above 10; in such cases generally use numerals, unless the context would dictate otherwise.

We have 7 cats and 12 dogs.

Following AP style, BYU recommends numerals for units (dimensions, sizes, percentages, temperature, speed, money, age). Please note the difference between dimensions and distances and between ages and time.

The 5-foot-tall girl ran five miles.

The 5-year-old boy slept for five hours.

Use numerals in headline text.

Phone Numbers

For phone numbers, divide numerals using two hyphens instead of parentheses or periods.

801-422-2222; not (801) 422-2222 or 801.422.2222


In accordance with Chicago 9.37 and in contrast to the recommendation about numbers above, spell out the hour when written with o’clock.

twelve o’clock

When written with p.m. or a.m. use the numeral.

6 p.m.

Include :00 only when other times in the surrounding text are written with minutes.

The meeting started at either 6:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.

The train arrives at 6 a.m. on Mondays and 7 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Possessive and Attributive Nouns

With the exception of visitors center, BYU recommends using possessives rather than plural attributive nouns, in accordance with 17th Chicago 7.27. There should be no apostrophe after visitors to be consistent with the name of the university’s visitors center (Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center), which does not include an apostrophe. This decision also varies from Church style, which includes the apostrophe.

State Names

Spell out state names in copy, even after a city (see Chicago 10.27). In tabular matter, credits, or other instances where space is at a premium, use postal abbreviations.

I went to Lodi, California.

Dictionary Terms

Computer Terms

BYU recommends following Chicago 7.80 for capitalization and treatment of computer terms, some of which differ from Merriam-Webster or are the variant, with the exception of webpage, which BYU recommends closing up.


BYU recommends closing some compounds that Merriam-Webster hyphenates or leaves open.

bestseller, bestselling best-seller, best-selling
email e-mail
fellowman / fellowmen (following Church Style Guide 7.2) fellow man / fellow men
fundraise, fundraiser, fundraising fund raise, fund-raiser, fund-raising
healthcare health care
mashup mash-up
mindset mind-set
startup start-up

Other Terms

BYU recommends the following capitalization and treatment, some of which differ from Merriam-Webster or are the variant.

okay OK