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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

This style guide complements the journal's submission guidelines and includes preferences for punctuation, numbers, and special word formatting. This style sheet documents house variations on the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. The journal uses Webster's Dictionary as arbiter for spelling and definitions.

Punctuation and capitalization


  • For plurals of abbreviations, use an apostrophe before the s if the abbreviation has periods or includes both lower- and uppercase letters. Otherwise, abbreviations do not require the use of a possessive apostrophe.

    I.D.'s, PhD's

    CDs, GEDs, MBAs


  • Uppercase/lowercase: In running text, the first word following a colon is always lowercase, unless it introduces a proper name, a quotation, or two or more sentences.

    Poultry plant work has represented an improved work opportunity for the newest class of workers: first white women, then Black women and men, and finally Latin American immigrants.

    Southern Spaces has a team of managing staff: Allen Tullos, the journal's senior editor, a managing editor, and a group of editorial associates.

    Edward Goetz, in his book New Deal Ruins, examines the success of public housing and notes: "The reality [is]...that in most places [public housing] worked—and still does work."

    He now follows his own advice: Be patient. Take the long view of social change.

  • Expressions: A colon is typically used after as follows, the following, and similar expressions.

    All of which begged the following question: what poison pill would Atlanta be forced to swallow simply to pay its own way?

  • Common misuses: A colon is not used after namely, for example, including, and similar expressions. Nor is it used before a series introduced by a verb or a preposition.

    The Emory Center for Digital Scholarship can offer support for a number of services, including digital pedagaogy, publishing, and long-term projects.

    Southern Spaces thanks Callaloo founder and editor Charles Henry Rowell, managing editor Jackson Brown, and Emory provost Claire Sterk for their support of this conference and series.


  • Dates: In month-day-year format, use commas before and after the year.

    He graduated on May 15, 2007, with honors.

  • No comma is needed between month and year when the day is not specified, when only the month and year are given, or when a specific day with a year is specified.

    In September 2014, Southern Spaces began redesigning the site.

    On Halloween 2004 they visited the Oakland Cemetery.

  • Examples: Use a comma after that is, namely, i.e., and e.g.

    Roll with It asks a number of questions about tourism in New Orleans, namely why jazz musicians from the city are often used as icons of "authenticity," but are rarely compensated as highly as national musicians brought in for Jazz Fest and other festivals.

  • Modifying elements: Within a sentence, a modifying or identifying element that is preceded by a comma must be followed by a comma.

    Cox Enterprises, the parent company of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Georgia Power donated $250,000 apiece.

  • Proper names: Use a comma when including a person's degree.

    Joseph Crespino, PhD, delivered a lecture last week.

  • Serial comma: In a series of three or more items joined by and, use a comma before and.

    The ECDS brings together four units: the Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC), the Electronic Data Center, the Lewis H. Beck Center for Electronic Collections, and the Emory Center for Interactive Teaching (ECIT).

Courses, fields of study, and degrees

  • Course titles: Capitalize specific course titles.

    She signed up for Introduction to American Studies.

  • Informal course references: Lowercase informal course references, informal titles, and fields of study.

    She is teaching an introductory course on food politics.

    The lecturer spent a week on the New Deal.

  • Academic degree abbreviations: Omit periods in all academic degrees.

    MBA, MA, PhD, BA, MD

  • Degrees:
    • Use an apostrophe for the abbreviated degree.

      bachelor's degree

    • There is no apostrophe for the unabbreviated degree.

      a bachelor of science degree

    • Use lowercase in running text.

      She received a master's degree in poultry studies.


  • Em dash: An em dash is the length of three hyphens and is used to set off parenthetical matter. You can create an em dash in Mac OS X by pressing Alt + Shift + - or on a PC in Windows by pressing Alt + 0 1 5 1. There is no space before or after an em dash.

    Some of the images are disturbing—and moving—like quilter Gwen Magee's Southern Heritage/Southern Shame.

  • En dash: An en dash is the length of two hyphens. You can create an en dash in Mac OS X by pressing Alt + - or on a PC in Windows by pressing Alt + 0 1 5 0.
    • Numerical range: The en dash is used to indicate a range between numbers.

      The reference can be found on pages 34–36.

    • Date range: The en dash also indicates a range between dates.

      The weekend of May 10–12

    • If the word from precedes the first element, use the word to, and not the en dash.

      She worked as a professional blogger from August 1998 to May 2005.

    • Compound adjectives: Use an en dash instead of a hyphen in compound adjectives when one of the elements is an open compound.

      The post–World War II era

      a business school–law school connection

    • University names: Sometimes an en dash is used to link the name of a university with a city name.

      the University of Wisconsin–Madison

  • Hyphens: Hyphens are used in compound words, compound names, and in telephone numbers, as well as to separate letters if a word is spelled out.

    full-time, Professor Lloyd-Jones, 404-727-1234; s-o-u-t-h-e-r-n

    • Adverbs ending in -ly: No hyphen is used between an adverb ending in -ly and an adjective or participle.

      The Black Mountain salamander is a rarely seen species.

      I found the flying squirrel highly amusing.

    • Compound adjectives following a noun: Compound adjectives that follow a noun are not hyphenated.

      The two applicants were well qualified.

    • Compound adjectives preceding a noun: Compound adjectives that precede a noun are hyphenated, unless the expression includes another modifier.

      a little-known fact, a well-qualified applicant, off-campus housing

      a surprisingly little known fact, an exceptionally well qualified applicant

    • Fractions: Use hyphens when fractions are spelled out.

      seven-eighths, three-elevenths

    • Half compounds: When part of a compound is used, a space follows the hyphen.

      a three- or four-credit course

    • Percentages: Hyphenate percentages when used as modifiers.

      a 25-percent discount; a 50-percent reduction

Ellipsis points

  • An ellipsis indicates an omission within a quoted sentence or between quoted sentences. Include a space before the first dot, between each dot, and after the last dot.
  • If the first word after an ellipsis begins a new sentence, capitalize the first letter of the word. There is no need to bracket the letter if it was originally lowercase.

    As Berry’s saying goes . . . Whoever takes on the coal companies must accept heartbreak as a working condition.

  • Additional punctuation: If fidelity to the original or ease of reading calls for additional punctuation (a comma, colon, semicolon, question mark, or exclamation point), place the additional punctuation either before or after the ellipsis, depending on where the omission occurs. When the additional punctuation precedes the ellipsis, there is no space between the punctuation mark and the preceding word.

    How do we train future union leaders? . . . We create global solidarity movements.

    How do we assure women workers are sufficiently prepared, mentored . . . ? We assign them union advisors.

  • Periods, if used, always precede an ellipsis, and there is no space between the period and the preceding word. Use a period followed by three dots only when grammatically complete sentences both precede and follow the ellipsis (even then, the period is not necessary; the three-dot method is fine).

    He did not understand our motives. . . . We sought to address systematic oppression, not to target individuals.

  • Ellipsis points before and after quotations: Do not use an ellipsis before the first word of a quotation, even if the beginning of the original sentence has been omitted. Do not use an ellipsis after the last word of a quotation, even if the end of the original sentence has been omitted, except for effect or because the sentence as quoted is deliberately incomplete.

Inside punctuation

  • Verify business names, as many contain unusual orthography.


    Avenue A | Razorfish

Nouns ending in s

  • An apostrophe followed by s should be used for possessive singular nouns.

    Harris's hamburger; Charles's puppy


  • Do not use a period in state abbreviations or US.

    GA, AL, FL, DC

Plural letters

  • Form the plural of lowercase letters with an apostrophe and an s. The s is unitalicized even when the letter is italic.

    x's and y's

  • Form the plural of single uppercase letters without an apostrophe.

    two Bs and a C–

Plural numbers

  • Do not use an apostrophe for plural numbers.

    airship crashes of the 1920s

    temperatures in the high 20s

Quotation marks and question formatting

  • Formatting quotes: Southern Spaces prefers straight quotation marks (" ") instead of curly, or smart, quotation marks (“ ”). Microsoft Word often creates smart quotes, but these can be turned off by going to Format → Autoformat → Options and unchecking "Straight quotes with smart quotes."
  • Integrating quotes into text
    • Commas and periods go inside quotation marks.

      "The photographs portray wet clothing," she said. "Immigrants who cross the river must change into dry clothes on the northern side."

    • Colons and semicolons come after closing quotation marks.

      He quoted from "Historicizing Immigration, Race, and Place in the South": "We place southern studies alongside studies of immigration to the South."

    • Use a comma when identifying a speaker.

      A woman at the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride asks, "What color is an immigrant?"

    • Use a colon after formal introductory phrases such as thus or the following, or for quotations longer than a sentence.

      As for necessary skills, he listed the following: "persistence, honesty, and the ability to work with a team."

    • Punctuation belonging to the quoted material (with the exception of colons or semicolons) goes inside quotation marks. Punctuation that does not belong to the quoted material goes outside the marks.

      She asked a fellow student, "What is the difference between these two courses?"

      Why did she say, "Mobility is a principal point of departure for Sakakeeny's understanding of brass bands within contemporary New Orleans,"?


  • Use only one space between sentences in an article.


Dates and time

  • When writing out dates and time, Southern Spaces prefers the following format:

    October 31, 2014, at 1:10 p.m.

Number formatting

  • Use only the digits necessary for sums of money.


Numerical styles

  • Never start a sentence with a numeral. Spell out the number, or restructure the sentence.

    One hundred arrests took place during a sit-in on Freedom Plaza.

When to use numerals

  • When numbers above and below ten occur together in the same category, for consistency's sake they should be written as numerals.

    The program includes 6 professors and 120 students.

  • For clarity, when two numbers fall together, spell out one and use a numeral for the other.

    Students must take three 4-week immersive language courses.

  • Use numerals for percentages, but spell out percent. In tables and charts, the symbol % is preferred.

    They had close to 100 percent participation.

  • In lists, charts, and graphics, numerals are usually used.

    number of international unions 8; total number of women: 79

When to spell out numbers

  • Spell out numbers from one through one hundred and approximate numbers.

    It is an eight-week water ban.

    There were six council members and about two hundred citizens at the meeting.

  • Whole numbers that appear before hundred or thousand are spelled out.

    They released two thousand doves into the air.

Special word formatting

Electronic media

  • Capitalization:
    • Web page, web address, web design, and e-mail are all lowercased, except when beginning a sentence.
    • Capitalize Web and Internet only when used as proper nouns.

      Find us on the Web at

      the Internet; the Net

    • Capitalize websites in headline-style without quotation marks. However, enclose titled sections or pages of websites in quotation marks.

      Google Maps

      "Google Maps Help Center"

  • Punctuation:
    • Do not italicize email addresses or URLs.

      To see the new website, visit

    • Hyphens: Words like online and website are not hyphenated.

Institutions and companies

  • When cited in full, use initial caps for an organization's name. Generic terms such as school and company are generally lowercased when used alone, except in proper names.

    Emory University

    He bought steamed pork buns from the college’s farmers’ market.

    the College of Arts and Sciences


  • Academic, professional, and civil titles: Those titles preceding a name are capitalized (in this case, the title functions as part of the person's name), but titles following a name or used in place of a name are normally lowercased. Official titles are capitalized.

    Dr. Bahri, associate professor of English, published a new book.

    In this session, Co-Director Dr. Tullos discusses the new approach.

    She was Professor Emerita of Esperanto.

  • Corporate and organizational titles: Capitalize the abbreviated form of the title, but leave the full title lowercase.

    the chief executive officer; the CEO

    He was chairman and CEO of the Jackson Lumber Company. He was the youngest chief executive officer in the company's history.

  • Named professorships: Named or chaired professorships are capitalized when using the specific name of the professorship.

    Natasha Trethewey, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing, remarked on the success of the conference.

    Natasha Trethewey, chaired professor of English and Creative Writing, remarked on the success of the conference.

  • Positions: Do not capitalize job descriptions.

    Kasim Reed is the mayor of Atlanta.

  • Titles used in apposition: When a title is in apposition to a person's name (usually indicated by beginning the title with "the"), use lowercase.

    the then secretary of state Colin Powell

    Secretary of State Colin Powell


  • a.m./p.m.: Both a.m. and p.m. are lowercased and written with periods.
  • Centuries: Particular centuries are lowercased and spelled out.

    twenty-first century

  • Seasons: Seasons are lowercased, except when used as a publication date.

    A new course will be offered in the spring.

    Her article is forthcoming in the Winter 2015 edition of Signs.

Titles of works

  • Titles should retain their original orthography and punctuation.
  • Italicization:
    • Book titles: Check the book cover or the title on the publisher's website for exact wording and capitalization. Italicize the title.

      The Signifying Eye: Seeing Faulkner's Art (University of Georgia Press, 2013).

    • Journals and newspapers: Follow the exact punctuation of the published journal or newspaper title. Italicize the title.

      U.S. News & World Report

    • In running text, do not capitalize or italicize the initial "the" of a journal, newspaper, or institution, even if part of the official title.

      She reads the New York Times every morning.

  • Quotation marks: Enclose article, chapter, and story titles in quotation marks.

    He published his story "Dust to Return" in the magazine Lockjaw.

  • Headline style: When citing article titles, capitalize in headline-style, regardless of the style used in the original publication.

    "Digital Technology Digs Up Battle of Atlanta"

US states and territories

  • United States: Spell out United States when it appears in running text as a noun. Reserve the abbreviation US when it is used adjectivally.

    US Supreme Court

    He is a resident of the United States.

  • States: In running text, the names of US states and territories should be spelled out both when standing alone and following the name of a city.

    She was from Fort Mill, South Carolina.

  • Exceptions: Use the abbreviation DC in running text rather than District of Columbia. State names can be abbreviated when they appear in tables and bibliographies.

House style preferences

Avoid the following: passive voice, excessive jargon, descriptive adverbs and adjectives, outdated content, nostalgia, clichés, essentialist readings of populations, places, or identities, and discipline-specific formulas for articles.

Civil rights movement: Southern Spaces does not capitalize "civil rights movement."

Identifiers related to race, cultural identity, or ethnicity: Southern Spaces capitalizes racial and ethnic identifiers (e.g. Latinx, Asian American, Native American, African American); racial and ethnic groups are designated by proper nouns and are capitalized as such. We also capitalize Black and Brown, in accordance with Associated Press guidelines, "in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa," and among people who identify as Brown. For detailed guidance on terms for specific groups and unbiased language, please reference the examples provided by the APA Style Guide.

Indigenous and Aboriginal: Southern Spaces capitalizes Indigenous and Aboriginal. In accordance with APA guidelines, "capitalize 'Indigenous People' or 'Aboriginal People' when referring to a specific group (e.g., the Indigenous Peoples of Canada), but use lowercase for 'people' when describing persons who are Indigenous or Aboriginal (e.g., 'the authors were all Indigenous people but belonged to different nations')."

We aim to hold space and acknowledge as many forms of gender identities as possible. That includes using appropriate pronouns and affirming non-binary identities. We also use the terms transgender or trans-ness when referring to non-cisgender people.

Region, regional: Southern Spaces prefers to reserve the terms region and regional for smaller geographical units within the area commonly understood as "the South." The nineteenth-century term for a large geographic division within the United States, "section," may be used to refer to the entire South. The easiest way to avoid "the region" or "regional" to refer to the South as a whole is to simply use "the South" or "southern" whenever possible.

South: Southern Spaces prefers writing that treats "the South" as an imagined geography that has had important political and historical consequences but that rarely exhibits cultural homogeneity. Discussions of "the South" on Southern Spaces should attempt to recognize its constructed nature as well as regional and local variations within the section.

Subregion, sub-region: Southern Spaces does not designate any part of the country as a subregion. Therefore, submissions should refrain from the use of this term.

US, American: Southern Spaces prefers US rather than American for political and historical contexts.