Saskatchewan Polytechnic Style Guide

Last updated: December 18, 2018

The Saskatchewan Polytechnic Style Guide is for use by Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask Polytech) employees. Using these guidelines will ensure that Saskatchewan Polytechnic written communication is consistent throughout our organization and presented in a professional manner. This guide is an evolving document and we welcome suggestions for changes, updates, and/or additions.

If academic style is required, please use the APA style.

These publications are the foundation for Sask Polytech’s Style Guide:

The Communications and Marketing Department created and updates these guidelines. Please contact us with questions or additions:


For a quick reference of Saskatchewan Polytechnic employee credentials, check the list at the back of the academic calendar.

Generally, use lowercase for words such as certificate, diploma and degree when preceded by the full name of the program, e.g., Water Resources Engineering Technology diploma. Use uppercase for credential abbreviations but only for commonly known terms. Periods are used where abbreviations combine upper and lowercase unless the abbreviation begins and ends with a capital: Dip. Tech. (Water Res.); bachelor’s degree, master’s degree; bachelor of arts, BA; master of arts; MA; bachelor of science, B.Sc.; master of business administration, MBA; doctor of philosophy, PhD.

The identification of faculty and their academic credentials and professional designations requires consistent identification of official academic credentials from recognized academic institutions and professional designations from recognized professional associations. List only academic degrees, diplomas, certificates, etc. from recognized post-secondary institutions and/or recognized journeyperson credentials and recognized professional designations.

With regard to listing abbreviated credentials, journeyperson recognition and professional designations, please use the following guidelines:

  • Lowest credential first, e.g., Dip. (Civil), B.Sc., MA, PhD.
  • Professional designations should list the designation in chronological order of achievement. For example: RN, PhD; or B.Sc., M.Sc., P.Eng.
  • Periods are used where abbreviations combine uppercase and lowercase unless the abbreviation begins and ends with a capital; for example, B.Sc., Dip.Tech., PhD, BA, BSN, MBA, BSW, Dip., Cert.
  • For diploma, certificate and journeyperson credentials, list an abbreviated form of the credential; for example, Dip. (Water Res.); Cert. (Electronics); Inter-Prov. Jny. (Ref. & A/C). If there is more than one diploma, certificate or journeyperson credential, list them as follows: Dip. (Water Res., Civil); Inter-Prov. Jny. (Welder, Carp.).
  • Certifications such as WHMIS or 1A Driver’s Licence should not be listed.
  • List credentials only from programs fully completed and graduated from; academic credentials that are pending should not be listed.
  • Nursing credentials are separated from the person’s name (and from each other) with commas. There are usually no periods within the credentials (e.g., “BScN” not “B.Sc.N.”).
  • Variations to these guidelines may be made based on the style guide of other organizations. Consult with Communications.
  • Review common Saskatchewan Polytechnic acronyms.
  • Always capitalize acronyms.
  • The expanded form should be used for a first reference followed immediately by the acronym in brackets: Prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR). After that, the acronym alone can be used.
  • When an acronym is pluralized, the final “s” is lowercase: EMTs, PCBs.
  • Familiar and common abbreviations and acronyms can be used without the initial long form: CTV, CBC, RCMP.
  • These acronyms are only to be used internally at Saskatchewan Polytechnic:
    POP - Program Operating Procedures
    AE - Ministry of Advanced Education
    SAO - Saskatchewan Polytechnic Administrative Offices
The ampersand (&) is the symbol for “and.” The ampersand should not be used in the content body or in formal writing. The ampersand can be used in titles to save space on the web.
The Sask Polytech boilerplate articulates preferred wording to describe who we are and what we do. It is commonly used in news releases, but it may be used for other purposes. For the most up-to-date boilerplate, check the Media and Press page.

Classes and Courses

Use uppercase only when naming a specific course title, e.g., I am registered for Psychology 101; otherwise use lowercase, e.g.,  I am going to my psychology class.

Committees and Councils

In general reference these are not capitalized, e.g., the senior management council, Saskatchewan Polytechnic board of directors.

Compositions such as Reports and Guides

  • Use uppercase for the first letter of all principal words in the title. Principal words are nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs and the first and last words of the title, as well as prepositions and conjunctions of four letters or more, e.g., Operating and Capital Plan.
  • In titles, capitalize the first word following a colon, e.g., Your Future: The Sky’s the Limit!

Credentials – Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees

Department, Division, Office, Program and School Names

  • These words are capitalized only when they are part of the formal title (i.e., a proper noun): Academic and Research Division, Communications and Marketing Department, Integrated Resource Management program. The word “program” is not capitalized although it is preceded by a proper noun; capitalize it only if it is part of the official name, e.g., Aviation program, but Centennial Summer Student Employment Program.
  • Divisions, departments, programs and offices are capitalized when used in reference to the role of a specific person: Paula Jones, dean of Business.
  • Disciplines are not capitalized in general references, e.g., John is studying psychology and accounting.
  • The word school in the name of Saskatchewan Polytechnic schools are an official component of the name and should be capitalized. When possible, Saskatchewan Polytechnic should precede the school name, e.g. Saskatchewan Polytechnic School of Business and Saskatchewan Polytechnic School of Construction. 
  • The Saskatchewan Polytechnic Library locations are collectively described as singular.
  • The Saskatchewan Polytechnic Bookstores are collectively described as plural.


If an event has a proper name, such as “Saskatchewan Polytechnic Business and Industry Dinners,” capitalize first letters of all principal words. If an event is part of a more general reference, then use lowercase, e.g., Media is always welcome at Saskatchewan Polytechnic events such as open houses and business and industry dinners.

Government Offices or Ministries and Institutions

Capitalize provincial and federal government bodies when part of the formal name, e.g., Ministry of Finance, Saskatchewan Learning.

Headings and Sub-headings for Minutes, Agendas, Lists, etc.

Use uppercase for the first letter of the principal words.

Internet Terms

  • Capitalize specific proper names, e.g., Internet, World Wide Web.
  • General terms should be lowercase and as follows: the web, web page, website, email, online.

Names of Organizations (Commercial, Government and Non-profit)

Names of organizations are proper nouns, e.g., Pronto Airlines, National Film Board of Canada, the Arthritis Society.

Proper Nouns

A proper noun identifies a specific person, place or thing and begins with a capital letter, e.g., Elder, the Banff Centre, the Great Depression.  All other nouns are common nouns and should begin in lowercase.

Publications such as Newspapers

Lowercase “the” when it precedes names of newspapers, institutions, companies, associations, etc., e.g., the Moose Jaw Times Herald, the Diabetes Association, the University of Regina.

Titles for Specific Persons

  • Capitalize formal titles (those that could be used with the surname alone) that are used as part of proper names and when they directly precede the name of the individual: Mayor Wendy Thompson; President Michael Wong; Dean Nora O’Malley. Note this exception: When a person has a very long title, put the title after the name and set it off with a comma in order to avoid “front-end loading” and too much capitalization. A title set off from a name by commas is lowercased: Kevin Doherty, parks, culture and sport minister.
  • Do not capitalize occupations, professions or job titles used in general reference, e.g., Elaine Howard will serve as acting dean until December; The finance minister will make an announcement later today.
  • A title or role description by itself or following the name of an individual is not capitalized, e.g., James Brown, mayor of Saskatoon; Jane Smith, president of Saskatchewan Polytechnic; the vice-president.
  • When the division is included in the title, leave the division capitalized, e.g., Arnold Boldt, associate vice-president, Academic and Research Division.
  • Organizational roles are capitalized if they are part of an address/signature on a letter whether preceding or following the name, e.g., Sincerely, Frances Mills, Controller.
  • In written salutations, words such as faculty, staff and students are capitalized, e.g., Dear Students and Staff.
 Find out more information about the Sask Polytech copyright office and policy.

Wherever possible, in running text calendar dates should be written out in day-month-date-year format with elements separated by commas as follows: Tuesday, January 8, 2015. Note however, e.g., Renovations will be complete in August 2015. 


In tables and charts, abbreviations can be used without the period: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat.


  • For months used with a specific date, abbreviate only month names: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. (spell out all others).
  • Spell out when the month stands alone or appears with a year, e.g., January 2013.
  • For charts and tables, use the abbreviation without the period. 


  • Use lowercase “s” to pluralize decades, e.g., the 1980s.
  • For informal reference to a decade, use an apostrophe prior to the final two digits, e.g., spirit of ’76; throughout the ‘50s.
  • The academic year at Sask Polytech is July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next year.
  • When writing multiple years, use the following format: 2017-18

Use firstname.lastname convention in lowercase for all Saskatchewan Polytechnic emails. Use
  • The abbreviation e.g. means “for example” and i.e. means “that is”; both should be followed by a comma.
  • Use “in regard to” not “regards.”
  • Use “toward” not “towards.”
  • Use of “more than” rather than “over”: “More than” is preferred with numerals, e.g., He made more than $100 in sales; More than 60 applicants responded to the ad. “Over” is preferred with spatial relationships:  She jumped over the hole.
  • “Titled” and “entitled”:
    In referring to a named work, either “titled” or ”entitled” is acceptable, e.g., The book was entitled The Great Gatsby or The book was titled The Great Gatsby.
  • "Than" and "then":
    “Than” is used in comparisons when you are talking about a noun being more, less, etc. in relation to another noun: We have more books than magazines at the library. “Then” is used to indicate time in a series of events: First the student enrolled, then she attended classes. 
  • “That” and “which”:
    Use “that” without commas to precede clauses essential to the meaning of sentences, e.g., I remember the day that I started working at InkHouse. Use “which” and commas for non-essential (could be removed without affecting meaning) clauses: The company, which already has won many awards, is now developing a niche product.
  • ”Who” and “whom”:
    “Who” is the pronoun used for references to people (not to an institution or university), and it is generally the grammatical subject of sentences, clauses, or phrases, e.g., Who is coming to the party? The man who received the tickets was my friend. “Whom” is used when someone is the object of a verb or preposition, e.g., With whom do you wish to speak? The girl to whom the car was given already owned a truck.
  • ”Fewer” and “less”:
    Use “fewer” to refer to objects that can be counted, e.g., There are fewer students using the cafeteria; I have fewer dollars than you do. Use “less” when referring to general amounts or concepts that cannot be counted, e.g., She has less interest in coffee than I do; I have less money than you do. 
  • Embedded or contextual links help users find more information about a topic. They are contained in the body of text as opposed to being listed at the end of an article. Readers scan for links. Too many embedded links, however, distract the reader from your main message. When you see that there may be too many contextual links creeping into the copy, you may need to rethink your approach. Perhaps you need to add a list of related links or more details about your subject. This is not to say that you should over-explain or include more information than necessary. Simply, do not require your reader to link to information that could just as easily be provided on the page they are viewing.

    Before: Our quarterly newsletter, ABC, now has a new look. Click here for more information.
    After: Find out more about the new look of ABC, our quarterly newsletter.
  • Avoid unnecessary external links as it directs the user away from
  • Do not make titles hyperlinks.
  • When linking to an email address, ensure the email address is in display.

    Before: Joe Smith's email
  • Bulleted lists make information easy to absorb at a glance. Use numbered lists when the order of the items matters. Avoid having too many items in any one list; seven is usually the maximum. One level of nested (secondary) bullets is okay, but avoid multiple levels of bullets.
  • Readers appreciate lists because:
    • they promote rapid skimming;
    • they highlight information quickly; and
    • they identify the most important information.
  • Each element in a bulleted list should follow the same grammatical structure. If your list demonstrates a process, make it numbered and start each step with a verb to motivate users and call them to action.
  • There are three basic types of lists:

1.  An informal list, containing only a few words and no verb phrase. Punctuation and capitalization in short bulleted items of a few words can be eliminated. 

For example:

Duties include:

  • planning
  • organizing
  • cleaning up 

2.  Lists that combine to form one long sentence, with bulleted items separated by semicolons and with a concluding period. For example:

You may wish to participate if you have self-identified as:

  • a person of Aboriginal ancestry;
  • a member of a visible minority group;
  • a person with a disability; and/or
  • a female in a non-traditional or managerial position. 

3.       Lists of items that are each at least one independent sentence or that can be treated like a full sentence. For example:

 The requirements for selection are:

  • Submit a nomination form.
  • Include a statement of intent.
  • Have the support of your program head/supervisor. This is required due to the time commitment required. 
  • Spell out numbers one to nine and use numerals for 10 and above. Spell out all numbers beginning sentences, e.g., One hundred women joined the march.
  • It is acceptable to use M capitalized following a numeral to indicate million, e.g., The project received $2M in funding.
  • Use numerals instead of word for ranges, i.e., 10-11 p.m.
  • Use 1,400, not 1400.

Academic Schools

School of Business
School of Construction
School of Health Sciences
School of Hospitality and Tourism
School of Human Services and Community Safety
School of Information and Communications Technology
School of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing
School of Natural Resources and Built Environment
School of Nursing
School of Transportation

Campus Names

  • When a campus is identified whether in text (i.e., in correspondence, titles of print materials, media releases, etc.) or verbally (telephone answering, media interviews, etc.), both Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the campus name must be used.
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic is part of the official name of each campus. Correct format includes a comma between Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the campus name.
  • Capitalize the word campus when it is part of a proper name, e.g., Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus, vs. our Saskatoon campus.
  • To refer to all educational locations in a city collectively, use: Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Moose Jaw Campus; Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Prince Albert Campus; Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Regina Campus; Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus.

Refer to the campus page for official names and mailing addresses.


Applied Research
Communications and Marketing
Donor and Alumni Relations
Institutional Research and Analysis
Instructional and Leadership Development Centre (ILDC)
International Projects
Learner Pathways
Learning Technologies


Academic and Research
Business Development
Facilities Management
Financial Services
Human Resources
Indigenous Strategy
Information Technology Services
Student Services


  • Use program names as they appear on the website. (Here's the A to Z listing.)
  • Never capitalize the word “program” when used following an official program name.
  • Never capitalize the words “certificate” and “diploma” when it is not part of the official program name, e.g., Early Childhood Education diploma program.


  • SaskPolytech Preview: Viewbook published yearly by SaskPolytech Student Recruitment.
  • Sask Polytech Annual Report: Report published yearly by Strategy and Advancement.
  • Sask Polytech Multi-year Business Plan: Planning document published by Strategy and Advancement.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic Full and Legal Name

  • The legal name refers to the institution’s name in full: Saskatchewan Polytechnic. It should be used when possible within the province and always used outside Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic is always the first component of an official campus name.
  • Always use Saskatchewan Polytechnic in the first instance of an official reference, e.g. Saskatchewan Polytechnic Administrative Offices or Saskatchewan Polytechnic board of directors, is used in-text. Thereafter, the name can be omitted and simply Administrative Offices and board of directors may be used.
  • For all inquiries where legal proof is required to show the name change from SIAST to Saskatchewan Polytechnic, please provide the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Act in a pdf form.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic Short Version

  • The Sask Polytech shortened version should only be used within Saskatchewan, where it is well-known and understood.
  • The abbreviation is Sask Polytech with a space. It is used without the space in the URL and in social media account names.
  • All attachments for external distribution should be in Adobe Portable Document Format or PDF.
  • Convert PDFs to HTML (Web) format where possible instead of forcing the user to download a file.
  • PDFs must have a Sask Polytech logo and conform to design standards.
  • Inform the user of PDF links by including (pdf) at the end of the hyperlink.
  • Have the PDF open in a new window so the user does not lose navigation on the website.

The word per cent (or the symbol %) accompanies a specific number.

The more general word percentage is used without a number.

Use the per cent symbol (%) in research reports, scientific and statistical copy, lists, and copy that includes numerous percentage figures.

  • There is no space between the symbol and the number.
  • Use one format throughout the document.
  • When using the symbol with numbers less than one, put a zero before the decimal point; e.g., 0.1%.
  • Use Canada Post’s two-letter abbreviations for province names:

AB          Alberta
BC           British Columbia
MB         Manitoba
NB          New Brunswick
NL           Newfoundland and Labrador
NT          Northwest Territories
NS          Nova Scotia
NU         Nunavut
ON         Ontario
PE           PrinceEdwardIsland
QC          Quebec
SK           Saskatchewan
YT           Yukon 



  • Use a colon before a concluding summary in a sentence.

Example: The memorandum is consistent with Sask Polytech’s new direction in agricultural programming: to focus on custom solutions that capture emerging opportunities.

  • Capitalize the first letter following the colon if the concluding summary is an independent clause; that is, if it contains both a subject and a verb.

Example: The memorandum is consistent with Sask Polytech’s new direction in agricultural programming: We will focus on custom solutions that capture emerging opportunities.


  • A comma is often used to develop a sequence within a sentence or to separate items in a list. In Sask Polytech convention, a comma generally is not required before the conjunction (and, but, or) at the end of a list.

Example: New online students are advised to go through the online login demonstration, run their browser tune-up and become familiar with the set-up of their online courses.

  • A comma is used between independent clauses joined by a conjunction (and, but, yet, etc.).

Example:  Our Internet site is 467-4278, and our intranet site is mySaskPolytech.

  • A comma is used after introductory clauses.

Example: As a major employer of Sask Polytech graduates, SaskPower recognizes the importance of providing students with access to the technology they will use in the workplace.

  • A comma can be used to separate non-restrictive elements (could be removed without changing meaning) from the rest of the sentence.

Example: The online students’ welcome letter, which comes from the director of Learning Technologies, helps introduce students to what they can expect from their online experiences.

  • Do not use a comma to separate a restrictive element.

Example: Students not on work placements network with SaskPower personnel to discuss career options. (“Not on work placements” is a restrictive element, i.e., it restricts participation to those not on work placements and is necessary for correct meaning.)

  • A comma is used to introduce a quotation of a complete sentence.

Example: The announcement on mySaskPolytech read, “Donation creates state-of-the-art lab.”

Compound Word

A compound word is made up of two or more existing words. Consult the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.


The hyphen is a punctuation mark used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word.

  • Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving to form a single adjective before a noun.

Example: Our school uses state-of-the-art technology.

  • When using hyphens for successive compound adjectives, if the second part of the first adjective is omitted, the hyphen is retained and followed by a space.

Example: Students can choose either one- or two-hour tours.

  • Use hyphens in adjective phrases that include whole numbers or fractions.

Example:The 12th-grade student didn’t notice he was on a one-way street.

  • Hyphens are not required after a word ending in ly.


  • Between sentences, key just one space after a period.

Quotation Mark

  • A question mark is used primarily to indicate direct speech or a quotation.
  • Do not use quotation marks in an attempt to emphasize a word, e.g., Enrol “today”!
  • Quotation marks can set off a significant word or phrase, a word used ironically or an unfamiliar term on first reference. Do not use around routine words or phrases.
  • Periods and commas always go inside closing quotation marks; colons and semicolons go outside. Question marks and exclamation marks go inside the quotation marks when they are part of the quoted matter, but outside when they apply to the entire sentence.
  • Quotation marks are placed around cited words or phrases.
  • A quote set within a quote is put in single quotation marks. A quotation within a quotation that also ends the sentence is as follows: Deirdre commented, “Mother is always saying to me, ‘Sit up straight.’”
  • Use single quotation marks in a headline. 


  • Use semicolons between independent clauses that are not separated by a conjunction.

Example: The faculty is excited about working with the new equipment; it has sparked the students’ enthusiasm and motivation to learn.

  • When using RSVP on an invitation, do not follow with the word “please” as it is included in the expression, i.e., Réspondez, s’il vous plaît = Answer, please.
  • Make sure instructions are clear and correct:

Example: RSVP to John at 306-555-1234 by Friday, April 19, 2017.


If the word you are looking for is not included in the list below, consult Canadian Press Caps and Spelling first, then the Oxford Canadian Dictionary second.

$2 million; $2-million project


affect (v.); effect (n.)

alumna (singular female graduate)
alumnae (plural female graduates)
alumnus (singlular male graduate)
alumni  (either plural male graduates or group of graduates comprising both sexes)



antennas (found on televisions etc.); antennae (found on an insect)

award-winning (adj.)


bioplastic (one word not bio plastic)


brand name (n.); brand-name (adj.)

built-in (adj.)

campus’ (plural possessive)

campus’s (singular possessive)

centre (not center)


child care (two words)






counsel, counselling, counselled, counsellor


credentialing, credentialed

Criminal Record Check (capitalize when used in program prerequisites or requirements)

curriculum (singular); curricula (plural)

datum (singular); data (plural)

Day 1 (It’s been the best program since Day 1.)

daycare (one word)

decision making (n.); decision-making (adj.)


degree-granting institution

drop-in (adj.)



emeritas (feminine form), emeritus (masculine form)

enrol, enrolled, enrolling, enrolment

entry-level job

fast-track (v.), fast track (n.)

first-come, first-served basis


first-year student

follow up (v.); follow-up (n.)

front line (n.); front-line (adj.), i.e., front-line workers

full-load equivalent

 full-time classes available full time


GED® (always has the registered trademark symbol following it)


Grade 12 (singular); grades 7 and 8 (plural); grades 9 to 11 (plural)

grey  (not gray)

hands-on (adj.)

head-on (adj.)

head start

health care (n.), health-care (adj.)

high level of proficiency

high school (not high-school)

high-demand admission process; high-demand skills


high-tech training

home page

home study

honour, honourable, honorary

internationally recognized


Internet (capitalized)

intranet (not capitalized)

job ready “students are job ready“;  job-ready “job-ready students”

journeyperson (not journeyman)

judgment (not judgement)



leading-edge technology


licence (n.); license (v.)

 life-changing (adj.)



log in (v.), login (n., adj.)

long-term care

lowercase (n., v.)


mail out (v.), mailout (n.)



Millenials (caps)


myriad (n., adj.)

nationally recognized, nationally accredited


note taking (v.)

on campus (n. and prep.); on-campus (adj.)

on hand


on-site (adj.)


one to two years

overrepresent (one word)

part-time (adj., adv.); part-timer

per cent (two words)


post-degree (adj.)

post-secondary (adj.)

practice (n.), practise (v.) (Nurses practise a variety of health care practices.)

practicum (singular); practicums (plural)

prerequisite (n., adj.)



real-life learning, real-life approach

real-world training



ribbon cutting (n.); ribbon-cutting (adj.)


short order

short-term (adj.) (short-term investment); short term (n.) (in the short term)


sold-out (adj.)

stepping stone

storyteller, storytelling (one word)

subject-matter expert


theirs, its (possessive pronouns) (not their’s or it’s) but “it’s” for contraction of it is (It’s going to rain today)


toward (not towards)


Ukraine (not “the Ukraine”)

undergrads (one word)




uppercase (n., v.)



wastewater (one word)

web page

website (one word, not capitalized)

well-being (n.) i.e., a happy state

well-known (adj.)

well-rounded (adj.)

wide range of student services

wide-ranging (adj.) i.e., wide-ranging skills


work site

work term

workday (one word)




work-ready, workplace-ready (adj.)

World Wide Web (capitalized)

  • All phone numbers should be listed as 10 digits without brackets around the area code and with hyphens, i.e., 306-653-3793.
  • Whenever possible, include the toll-free number, i.e., 1-866-467-4278.
  • Time is written in figures; however, use noon or midnight, not 12 noon or 12 midnight.
  • Write 9 a.m., not 9:00 a.m.
  • Use a.m. and p.m., not in the morning, afternoon or evening, e.g., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 6:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 10–11 a.m.
  • Italicize titles of works including books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, movies, songs, album titles, plays, radio and television programs and computer games.

This is the official translation of Saskatchewan Polytechnic in:


  • Within text or explanations of our organization:
    • Full form: École polytechnique de la Saskatchewan
    • Abbreviated form: La Polytechnique Saskatchewan
  • For website or document title purposes:
    • Polytechnique Saskatchewan is acceptable