Editorial Style

A consistent, persistent approach to Ohio State's brand image requires aligning around one copy style.

To that end, all marketers and communicators at The Ohio State University must use Associated Press style for content we produce. AP style provides guidelines for grammar and punctuation, and is the primary style used in print and online publications around the country.

About our name (Use "The" and don't abbreviate)

Ohio State's name is one of our most valuable assets. It is also most frequently misused in two ways:

  • Abbreviating to OSU
  • Misusing the "The"

Our editorial style is simple: We are The Ohio State University on first reference, Ohio State on second.

We are not "OSU" because the Ohio State name has greater awareness and familiarity than OSU. Geography is a factor, too: - There are multiple OSUs out there, and the web doesn't stop with Ohio's boundaries.

In copy: First mention: The Ohio State University 
The Ohio State University [unit/program name]
Second mention: Ohio State or the university
Ohio State's [unit/program name]
Subsequent mentions: [unit/program name]

Equally important: If you're using the word "University," you need a capitalized "The." (Never refer to "Ohio State University," "the Ohio State University," or "THE Ohio State University.")

That is why it is important always to spell out Ohio State versus using shorthand for our name as OSU - whether in naming or copy. In social media, "OSU" is acceptable in hashtags used to engage audiences of current students and alumni (e.g., #new2OSU) but should not be used in hashtags designed to influence external audiences and should never be used in handle names.

Editorial Style Guide

The online AP Stylebook (apstylebook.com/osu) provides communicators direction on nomenclature, capitalization and other topics writers and editors encounter in the course of their work. It also clarifies instances in which Ohio State’s internal rules break from standard AP style.

Ohio State’s online stylebook is available only to users working within the Columbus campus IP range (this includes those using osuwireless). The stylebook permits 10 simultaneous users, so please exit the page if you are not using it.

The online AP Stylebook can answer most questions communicators may have about style and usage, but any questions not addressed can be submitted to style@osu.edu.

Editorial resources

Resources for content producers

  • Quick-reference editorial style guide
  • For full editorial style guide, visit apstylebook.com/osu.

Need resources to help your content sing? Join University Marketing Content Community of Practice.

Download style guide
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