University grammar

Spelling and grammar are one of the most basic yet overlooked features for a student publication, especially in the hectic run-up to intro week.

Here are a few common examples and some clarification.

Is it freshers, fresher’s, freshers’ – and do you capitalise it?

  • When you’re talking about the actual people, they are the freshers as they are plural.
  • When you’re talking about the first week, it’s freshers’ week as it’s a plural noun.
  • Some universities call events Freshers’ Fayre or similar and is fine if you’re using title case (Where You Capitalise The First Letter Of A Line) but not when you’re using regular sentence case.

What is the union of students called?

  • It’s the students’ union. But that’s if the word is on its own. Never use students union, student union or student’s union.
  • If combined with a place to make a proper noun it’s Atlantis University Students’ Union.
    Similarly if you’re referring to the university, it’s lower-case but if you’re referring to Atlantis University, it’s capitalised.

How do you describe a union officer?

  • Each publication should have a house style, but typically it would be Joe Bloggs, students’ union president / Joe Bloggs, Atlantis University Students’ Union president or Joe Bloggs, AUSU president.
  • Roles should not normally be capitalised.

How do I refer to my students’ union that has an acronym?

  • Take Southampton University Students’ Union for example, who use SUSU as an acronym. You would write it all capitalised because you can’t say it as one word.
  • If Students’ Union Rosegate Elementary used the acronym (SURE), you would capitalise the first letter and the use lower-case: Sure.

Getting it right will take an extra few seconds but boosts the professional image of your publication. It would be a bit embarrassing to misspell freshers’ week on the front page!

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