Editorial Style Guide

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(Laurie Smith-Frailey)

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See Technology Enabled Active Learning (classroom) (below).


One word.

Tech Talk

See MIT Tech Talk.

Tech, The

The Tech (in italics) is MIT’s student newspaper.

Technology & Culture Forum

The ampersand is used instead of “and.”

Technology Breakfast

Capitalize both words, since this is an established event (like Campus Visit).

Technology Enabled Active Learning (classroom), TEAL

Note that Technology Enabled is not hyphenated here.

telephone numbers

The preferred mark of separation between sections of a telephone number is the period.

  • My office telephone number is 617.258.5563.

If necessary, hyphens may be substituted, but never use parentheses around the area code.

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than, then

See Troublesome pairs.

that, which

That is the defining (restrictive) pronoun; which is nondefining or nonrestrictive. Note that nonrestrictive (which) clauses are, with few exceptions, set off by commas. See Troublesome pairs.

  • The conference table that is too large for the common room is in the storage shed.
    (This statement tells which conference table is being referenced, and is restrictive.)
  • The conference table, which is too large for the common room, is in the storage shed.
    (This statement adds a fact about the conference table in question, and is nonrestrictive.)

The Campaign for MIT; the campaign

See Campaign for MIT, The.


Not theatre (which is the British spelling).

  • Ludwig is pursuing a minor in theater arts at MIT.

their, they’re, there

See Troublesome pairs.

Third World

time line, timeline

Use time line when referring to a chronology of historical events; use timeline when referring to a timetable or plan for events to come.

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titles of people

See Titles (of people).

titles of things

See Titles (of things).


Stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language.

toll free (adv.), toll-free (adj.)

  • Call this number toll free for directions on how to roast the perfect turkey.
  • Most manufacturers provide a toll-free customer service number.


Not towards (which is, again, British). Likewise, do not add a final s to forward, backward, upward, downward, onward, etc.

  • The students were last seen heading toward the elevator in Building 10.
  • Onward and upward!


Words that are registered trademarks should always be capitalized. When in doubt, consult the dictionary.

  • He has a Cyclone fence around his yard.
    (You could substitute the more generic chain link fence).
  • She blew her nose with Kleenex.
    (You could substitute a tissue).
  • The office purchased a new Xerox machine.
    (You could substitute copier).


Do not use this clichéd expression! See Clichés.

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