Editorial Style Guide

Not finding what you need?
Have a question?
Want to offer a suggestion?

or 617.258.5563
(Laurie Smith-Frailey)

[ R ]

re-create (v.), recreate (v.)

The verb recreate means to breathe new life into, to refresh, or to take recreation. When what you mean is to create anew, however, you must use a hyphen for clarity: re-create. See also reelect, reenroll, reestablish.

real life (n. phrase); real-life (adj.)

Refers to the practical world as opposed to the academic.

  • “In real life, there is no partial credit.”— Christine Ortiz ’04
  • When faced with a real-life emergency, the young EMT trainee panicked.

real world (n. phrase); real-world (adj.)

Resist the temptation to use quotation marks around these words. See also real life; real-life (above).

reelect, reenroll, reestablish, etc.

In general, do not hyphenate after “re.” One exception is re-create (see above).

residence hall

Not dorm; never dormitory. See dorm, dormitory.


rise, raise

See Troublesome pairs.

ROTC; Reserve Officers’ Training Corps


The preferred abbreviation is Rte.


No periods. And (please), no “RSVP, please.” It’s redundant! RSVP—the abbreviation for répondez s’il vous plaît—is French for please reply.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology
E-mail comdor-editguide@mit.edu