Top Editorial Tips

These tips do not replace Seattle Children’s full Editorial Style and Usage Guidelines. They cover common areas of confusion regarding usage and highlight the few instances where Seattle Children’s style differs from the AP Stylebook.

Acronyms: Write out full name on first reference, place acronym in parentheses, and use acronym on subsequent reference.


Researchers received $58 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2010. The amount of funding from the NIH increased 50% in recent years.


  • Headlines: Use title case (usage note: headlines should sum up a story’s key point)
  • Subheads: Use sentence case
  • Sidebars: Use title case
  • Job titles: Capitalize formal titles used directly before someone’s name (e.g., “President John F. Kennedy”).
  • Web-specific guidelines: See the Editorial Style Guide for headers

Don’t capitalize:

  • Short forms of organizational names

   Example: Meet me at the research institute

  • Names of generic drugs (only brand-name drugs get capitalized)
  • Names of most conditions or diseases (caps are needed only when a proper name is involved)

Commas (serial comma): No comma needed after the element in a series that comes before the conjunction.

Example: We are expecting cold temperatures, snow and freezing rain.

Fonts: Use Arial or Georgia if you don’t have Gotham.

Healthcare: One word for all uses.

Names for hospital:

  • Use Seattle Children’s on first reference (or Seattle Children’s Hospital if you don’t think the readers will understand what organization you are talking about).
  • Use Seattle Children’s or the hospital (lowercase) on second reference for external audiences; Children’s or the hospital for internal audiences.

Names for research institute:

  • Use Seattle Children’s Research Institute on first reference.
  • Use “the research institute” or “the institute” on second reference.
  • Don’t use SCRI.

Numerals: Write out numbers from zero through nine. Use numerals for numbers 10 and above. Same rule applies for “ordinal” numbers, such as first, second, 10th, etc.

Exception: Ages are always expressed in numerals.

Percentages: Seattle Children’s style is to use the percentage sign (%) on all uses for readability.

Referring to a business or entity:

  •  Generally, businesses, and other organizations are considered singular, thus should take an “it.”
    • Even though “Starbucks said they would give everyone a free latte today” may sound right, the grammatically correct sentence is “Starbucks said it would give everyone a free latte today.”
    • Or you can write around the situation (e.g. “Starbucks is offering everyone a free latte today.”)
  • However: as a style and tone of voice choice for Seattle Children’s, we refer to our institution as though it were a collection of individuals rather than a singular corporate entity.
    • We use the plural first person pronoun when referring to ourselves. We do this in the spirit of keeping the people who make up this organization top of mind and to make our content sound less formal and more accessible.


Seattle Children’s is more than 100 years old. We provide excellent patient care and conduct ground-breaking research.

    • Writing around the situation when possible is always a good option.

Spaces: Only one space between sentences, not two as was common before computers replaced typewriters.

Example: One sentence ends. Another begins.

Time of day:

  • Use figures except for noon and midnight.
  • Hours between midnight and noon take a.m.; hours between noon and midnight take p.m. Put a space between the numeric time and the letters, which are lowercase and each takes a period.
  • Use the word “to,” not a hyphen or dash, to designate a time range. See examples in the Editorial Style Guide.

Reference Tools

Seattle Children’s Editorial Style and Usage Guidelines

AP Stylebook

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Grammar Girl