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Editorial, Graphics & Publishing ServicesEditorial Help Desk → Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are common and frequent questions that customers such have asked.

Q. Is afterschool one word, two words, or hyphenated?
A. The adjective is hyphenated—after-school, otherwise use two words.

Q. Do we capitalize the word white as we do in African American, Asian American, and Hispanic?
A. Yes, we capitalize White.

Q. How do we write web site?
A. website.

Q. What is the correct way to use em dash and en dash?
A. Em dash-Use to separate an explanatory clause from the rest of the sentence.
Use to separate a word or words from a phrase that summarizes or explains those words.
En dash-It is equivalent to the word to. It is used to separate letters and numbers, especially when a range or time span is given. Note: There should be no spaces before or after em and en dashes.

Q. Would you recommend the Gregg Manual, as a good grammar and style guide?
A. If you do mostly correspondence, you should have the MCPS Correspondence Manual and the Gregg Manual. For reports and other long documents, use the standard reference for educational writing-the American Psychological Association Manual of Style.

Q. Do we capitalize the word unit in an office name?
A. No, use the name as listed.

Q. Do we capitalize Internet?
A. Yes we do.

Q. What is the correct way of writing first-come, first-serve?
A. First-come, first-served.

Q. Do we say students’ achievements or students’ achievement?
A. Students’ achievements. Plural possessive should be followed by a plural noun.

Q. Is rollout a noun or a modifier?
A. It can be both.

Q. Can we use a space after each bulleted item?
A. Yes, as long as it is consistently done throughout the document.

Q. What is the correct way to write nonvested?
A. Non-vested.

Q. Should we capitalize “awards” in the Marian Greeenblatt Excellence awards?
A. No, use lowercase “a.”

Q. Do we say, “The SSE were pilot tested” or should it be was?
A. The correct sentence should read: The SSEs were pilot tested.

Q. Do we write Class of 2020 or class of 2020?
A. Class of 2020.

Q. How do you handle lists with just one bullet and no lead-in sentence?
A. Make the one bullet a simple sentence; and put “and” between the 2-bullet list. Ideally, a bulleted list should consist of no less than 3 items.

Q. Do we say or write, “Legislature process or legislative process?”
A. Legislative Process.

Q. How do we refer to attachments that are part of another attachment?
A. Call it a section of the attachment.

Q. What is the preferred way to write the name of an MCPS form?
A. The most common style is as follows: MCPS Form XXX: This is a Test.

Q. How do you write the name of a Web link in a document that is not an instructional manual?
A. Put the name of the link in italics.

Q. Can we use “So” at the beginning of a sentence?
A. It depends on how formal the document is. In a more formal document, you would use something like “Therefore” instead.

Q. Do we say, “Teachers in Grades 1–5” or “teachers of Grades 1–5?”
A. Teachers of.

Q. What is the politically correct way to note a female master of ceremonies?
A. Mistress of ceremonies.

Q. How do we abbreviate the word prekindergarten?
A. pre-K.

Q. Is zero tolerance hyphenated?
A. Here is the correct usage: "We have a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying." Here zero-tolerance is an adjective (use hyphenation). Or, "We have zero tolerance for bullying. Here, zero tolerance is a noun (use no hyphenation).

Q. When should the A and S in Associate Superintendent be capitalized in a document?
A. In the To and From lines of a memo, use Associate Superintendent, followed by the person's name. In this case, it is a title, like you would see on a business card. However, when used in text, it should read as EITHER "Today, Associate Superintendent Zoe Blake visited our office." OR "Zoe Blake, associate superintendent, Office of Wellness, visited our office today."

Q. How can I get new business cards for the staff in my office?
A. Contact the EGPS Customer Service department to order stationery, business cards, notepads, and postcards for your school or office.
Email Scott Scates at, 240-740-6529, or
Marina Ortiz-Munoz at, 240-740-6530.


Email Donna M. Marks.