This style guide is for the benefit of WisDOT employees
and contractors who need to prepare department information
for publication either in print or on the web. The purpose
is to give the department's public information products a
consistent, uniform look and style. It is not intended for
use with technical materials. If you have a question that
this style guide doesn't answer, first check your dictionary
and then contact OPA staff at (608) 266-3581. Please note
that in some cases, rules for web documents differ from
those for print documents.
With this edition of the style guide we have reorganized
the contents into several categories: abbreviations,
capitalization, numbers, punctuation, and spelling and word
usage. In addition, at the end of the guide you will find an
alphabetical list, with definitions, of over 130 pairs of
"words often confused," such as affect and effect, biannual
and biennial, and capital and capitol.
WisDOT employees only: For more grammar and writing tips, go to
the dotnet and click on DOT Bulletin (under the "News"
heading in the middle of the page); then click on "Previous
writing and grammar tips" in the middle of the OPA page.
This will take you to a an archive of more than 150 WisDOT
weekly writing tips.
Titles before a full name outside direct quotations:
Lt. Gov., Ms.
Co., Corp. after the name of a corporate entity,
Jr., Sr. after a person's name.
A.D., B.C., a.m., p.m. (only when used with
States in certain cases. See state names.
Organizations and government agencies that are
widely recognized by their initials: GOP, CIA, FBI.
Spell out words unless:
The phrase forms an acronym that is well known to
all of the document's readers.
It is an extremely long set of words that needs to
be repeated many times.
The term is better known by its acronym than by its
spelled out words (PGA, IRS, FBI).
In the case of a long acronym, an alternative for second
and later references is to use a generic noun rather than
the acronym. For example, after spelling out the American
Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, some
of the following references might call it, "the
organization," or "the association," rather than AASHTO.
Spell the state when you only give city and state:
She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
You may abbreviate the state with the full address:
4802 Sheboygan Ave., Madison, WI
Spell the street when you aren't stating an address:
He lives on Sunny Street.
You may abbreviate the street when giving the
address: he lives at 1901 Sunny St.
Abbreviate Ave. Blvd., St. only with a numbered
Use P.O. Box.
Use this acronym (American travel by track) in all
references to the National Railroad Passenger Corp. Do not
use all caps (AMTRAK).
Always spell out the word in text (rather than using the
ampersand symbol "&"), unless the symbol is specifically
part of a name (Madison Gas & Electric). It may be used in
tables if space is limited.
Use lower case when spelling out degrees; upper case when
abbreviating: bachelor of arts, master's degree. Abbreviate
only after a full name, set off by commas: Bill Jones,
Ph.D., M.A., B.A.
Do not capitalize college degrees used as general terms
of classification. However, capitalize a degree used after a
Abbreviate Co. or Cos. when a firm uses it at the end of
its name. Spell out and lowercase company or companies
whenever they stand alone.
Abbreviate corporation as Corp. when a company or
government agency uses the word at the end of its name.
Spell out and lowercase corporation whenever it stands
U.S. DOT, WisDOT, or Wisconsin DOT (not WIDOT or WDOT)
Spell at least on first reference divisions and offices
in the department. Abbreviate on subsequent references:
Division of Business Management
Division of Motor Vehicles
Division of State Patrol
Division of Transportation
Division of Transportation System
Office of General Council
Office of Public Affairs
Office of Policy, Budget and Finance
Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as part of a
corporate name. It usually is not needed, but when it is
used, do not set off with commas: J.C. Penny Co. Inc.
announced ... See company names.
You may abbreviate these months — Jan., Feb., Aug.,
Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. — when used with dates: Oct.
Don't abbreviate: March April, May, June, or July,
unless you have a chart or table where space is limited
(Mar., Apr., May, Jun, Jul.)
Always spell out the month when it is only month and
year: January 2005 (no comma).
Do not follow an organization's full name with an acronym
or abbreviation. If the acronym would not be clear on second
reference, do not use it. Names not commonly before the
public should not be reduced to acronyms solely to save a
It's OK to use just the call letters: radio station
WIBA-FM, television station WISC. "TV" is acceptable as an
adjective or in such cases as cable TV, but generally spell
out television when used in text.
Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when they stand
alone in text. The names of eight states are never
abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas
and Utah. Wisconsin can be abbreviated as Wis. to fit in a
table or tabular material. Be consistent within documents.
The two-letter abbreviations (WI) should be used in mailing
Main Street; 609 Main St., Main and Locust streets.
Spell out the name when it stands alone in text. It may
be abbreviated as Wis. to fit in a table or tabular
material. WI should only be used in mailing addresses.
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Spell out Wisconsin Department of Transportation or state
Department of Transportation in the first reference. Use
WisDOT, Wisconsin DOT or the department in second and
subsequent references. In most cases, do not precede WisDOT
with "the." (For example, do not write "The WisDOT announced
today that..." But it is correct to write, "The WisDOT policy
on viewing media web sites has changed.")
WisDOT uses a 'down' style. If the word isn't at the
beginning of a sentence, or it isn't a proper name, it
shouldn't be capitalized. When in doubt, use lower case.
Additional information follows.
Capitalize the word "airport" only as part of a proper
name: General Mitchell International Airport. The first name
of an individual and the word international can be deleted
from the formal airport name while the remainder is
capitalized: Mitchell Airport. Always identify the location
of the community: Dane County Regional Airport, Madison.
Assembly and Senate
Capitalize when part of a proper name and if the state
name is dropped but the reference is specific.
The Wisconsin Assembly
The state Senate
board of directors
Always lowercase. The WisDOT board of directors.
Capitalize principal words including the first "A" or
"The" if it is the first or last word in the title.
Capitalize the word bridge when part of a proper name:
Lloyd Spriggle Memorial Bridge. Lowercase when describing
the location: the bridge over the Mississippi River, or the
Prairie du Chien bridge (when used to designate a location).
When used generically, do not capitalize. But when it is
part of a name, capitalize: Verona Bypass.
Capitalize city if part of a proper name, an integral
part of an official name, or a regularly used nickname:
Kansas City, New York City, Windy City. Lowercase elsewhere:
a Wisconsin city; the city government; and all "city of"
phrases: the city of Appleton.
Capitalize when part of a proper name: the Madison City
Council. Retain capitalization if the reference is to a
specific council but the context does not require the city
name: Madison (AP) – The City Council . . . Lowercase in
other uses: the council, the Superior and Green Bay city
college and high school classes
Do not capitalize: freshman; sophomore; junior; senior.
But Class of '96; John Smith, '72.
Capitalize Congress when referring to both the U.S.
Senate and House of Representatives, not just one house. Use
figures and capitalize district when naming a specific
district: the 2nd Congressional District.
Capitalize only when part of a proper name: Bayfield
County; but Bayfield and Dane counties; the county.
Capitalize when it is part of a proper name. Lower case
whenever it stands alone. Do not abbreviate in any usage. A
phrase such as "the department" is preferable on second
directions and regions
Generally lower case north, south, etc., when they
indicate compass direction; capitalize when they designate
region or are part of a proper name. He drove north. Rail
would serve southeastern Wisconsin; Midwest; Northern
accent; northern France but South Korea.
draft environmental impact statements (DEIS)
Use lowercase for the term, but use capital letters for
the acronym. The same would apply to environmental impact
statement (EIS) and other long terms that are used
repeatedly. (Shorter terms, such as environmental assessment
and needs assessment, should always be spelled out.)
dotnet, not DOTNET
U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Milwaukee), U.S. Rep. or Rep.
Baldwin (D-Madison); State Rep. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River
Capitalize only at the beginning of a sentence; no
Never capitalize. This is a company or agency web site
made available to external customers or organizations for
electronic commerce. A password may be required to gain
access to the more sensitive information.
Don't capitalize. Use FY 09-10 in second reference.
This is the name of a fund so it is capitalized.
General Transportation Aids (GTA)
This is the name of a program.
geographical and infrastructure names
Rock River, Great River Road, Fox Lake, Lake Michigan,
Bong Bridge, Badger Interchange, Marquette Interchange.
When a generic term is used in the plural following more
than one name, it is lowercased:
Between the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers
At the intersection of Mineral Point and Segoe roads
Dane and Sauk counties
When a generic term precedes more than one name, it is
Lakes Superior and Michigan
Capitalize the full proper name of governmental agencies,
departments and offices: Alcohol-Drug Review Unit; Bureau of
Driver Services; Bureau of Transportation Safety. The U.S.
Department of Transportation for first reference; U.S. DOT
on second reference.
Governor Scott Walker, not Gov. Walker; the Governor; the
Capitalize them: Christmas Day, New Year's Eve. The legal
holidays in state law are: New Year's, Martin Luther King
Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day ( or Fourth of
July), Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Always capitalize these words. However,
write dotnet, not DOTNET.
Do not capitalize.
Capitalize when preceded by the name of the state.
Lowercase when used generically and for all plural
The Wisconsin Legislature
Both houses of the legislature
No legislature has approved the amendment
The Wisconsin and Illinois legislatures
Use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before
one or more names in regular text. Spell out and capitalize
these titles before one or more names in a direct quotation.
Spell out and lowercase representative and senator when the
follow a name, and in other uses. Spell out other
legislative titles in all uses. Capitalize formal titles
such as assemblyman, assemblywoman, city councilor,
delegate, etc., when they are used before a name. Lowercase
when they follow a name, and in other uses. Add U.S. or
state before a title only if necessary to avoid confusion:
U.S. Sen. Russell Feingold spoke with state Sen. Fred
Capitalize: Green Bay rest area; but Travel Information
Center at Hudson.
Major Highways Program
This is the name of a program and should be capitalized
when it is used as such. Do not refer to major highways as
"majors," but rather identify specific highway names and
nationalities and races
Capitalize nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc.
Native American, African American, Caucasian, Chinese; but
black, white, tribe and tribal.
political parties-historical documents
Capitalize both the name of the party and the word party
if it is customarily used as part of the organization's
proper name: the Democratic Party, the Republican Party.
Capitalize Communist, Conservative, Democrat, Liberal,
Republican, Socialist, etc., when they refer to a specific
party or its members. Lowercase these words when they refer
to political philosophy.
Capitalize: General Transportation Aids, Transportation
Fund, General Fund.
Federal Highway Administration; Transportation Projects
Commission; Assembly Highways Committee; but the committee,
council, circuit court.
Regions within WisDOT:
Use North Central, Northeast, Northwest,
Southeast and Southwest.
Abbreviate regions as: NC Region, NE Region, NW
Region, SE Region, SW Region (all caps for the
Capitalize region when used as a name-proper
noun: Southeast Region or SE Region.
When used as an adjective, the reference is the
regional office rather than the region office.
When listing regions, list in alphabetical order
NC, NE, NW, SE, SW.
When referring to a regional office: the
Southwest Region, Madison office.
For the Hill Farms office, use Central Office,
lower case except in reference to a specific rideshare
Capitalize names of schools, colleges and universities,
but not departments or courses unless proper
nouns-adjectives: College of Agriculture, Law School,
history department, but department of French.
Do not capitalize seasons: spring, summer, fall, autumn,
Always capitalize when referring to the head of a state
or federal department (such as WisDOT or US DOT). (This is a
style peculiarity of Wisconsin government.)
Capitalize only when it is part of a proper name: the
State of Wisconsin; state legislature, but Wisconsin
Capitalize State Patrol, Wisconsin State Patrol, but do
not capitalize the patrol. (After the first reference, lower
case common nouns that are an integral part of the full name
of a person, place or thing.)
Capitalize and spell out: Eastern Standard Time, Central
Standard Time, Daylight Savings Time, etc.
Capitalize principal words in books, plays, lectures,
pictures, etc., including first "A" or "The" if it is the
first or last word in the title.
In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used
directly before an individual's name.
President Barack Obama
Senator Herb Kohl
In general, do not capitalize a formal title when it
appears after a name. However for very high officials, when
you are referring to a specific person, capitalize the
Barack Obama, President of the United States; the
The Secretary of State just entered the room.
Herb Kohl, senator from Wisconsin; the senator
It may be appropriate to capitalize all titles on certain
documents (agendas, certificates, etc.). Be consistent
throughout the document.
Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used
with an individual's name: The president issued a statement.
Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set
them off from a name by commas: The vice president, Nelson
Rockefeller, declined to run again.
A formal title generally is one that denotes a scope of
authority, professional activity or academic activity.
Capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately
before one or more names: Pope Paul, President Washington.
town of Burke; village of Barneveld; city of Madison. Use
just the town, village or city name (Burke, Barneveld,
Madison), unless there is a chance it may be confused with
(608) xxx-xxxx or 1-800-xxx-xxxx or (608) xxx-xxxx, ext.
Use the term toll-free before any toll-free number except
800 so readers know it is a toll-free number: "Call
toll-free 888-368-9556 anytime to make a road test
2-lane, 4-lane, etc.
Round a number up if it is 5 or more, and down if it is
less than 5: $2.6 million, not $2,594,697.40.
Spell out numbers when they start a sentence.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. 8:30 a.m., 9
p.m., (not 9:00 p.m.). Avoid redundancies such as: 10 a.m.
this morning. Use 10 a.m. today. 4 o'clock is acceptable but
4 p.m. is preferred. Put the time after the verb in a
sentence. The Governor announced today...
Use when the toll-free number is anything but 800 so
readers know it is a toll-free number.
Call toll-free 888-368-9556 anytime to make a road
Early '60s, not 60's; 1980s (Don't use an apostrophe when
making figures plural). Do not start sentences with a year.
Always include the year on first reference of a date in a
Use an apostrophe when creating a contraction
(indicates omission of letters): don't (do not),
couldn't (could not), it's (it is).
Use an apostrophe to indicate possessive case of
nouns: the dog's toy; the car's horn.
Use an apostrophe to indicate omission of figures:
the '90s; class of '97.
When you make a noun or number plural by adding "s,"
don't use an apostrophe: 1990s.
Always use parallel construction.
In most cases, it is best to capitalize the first
letter of the first word in each bullet.
Only use periods when bulleted items form complete
Use a colon to signal to the reader that a series or a
list will follow.
The use of punctuation marks often confuses
students: comma, semicolon, colon, hyphen and dash.
Use a colon to separate an explanation, rule or example
from a preceding independent clause.
The Marquette Interchange is not just another
highway project: it is the largest infrastructure
project in the history of Wisconsin.
Use a colon to introduce a long quotation.
The governor noted: "Transportation touches
every Wisconsinite every day. Whether going to
work school, or recreational activities, the citizens of
this state use our products and services all the time."
Only capitalize the first word after a colon if it is a
proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.
As with all punctuation, use a comma when not using it
could cause confusion or misunderstanding. Don't use
it if you don't need it.
Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not
put a comma before the conjunction (and, or) in a simple
You can get there by car, bus or train.
lights now come in red, yellow and green.
However, if one element of the series has a conjunction
in it, put a comma before the last element:
I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.
funds covered resurfacing pavement, replacing curb and
gutter, and adding new guardrail.
When a conjunction such as and, but or for links two
clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences, use a
comma before the conjunction, in most cases.
people often drive too fast, and sometimes they don’t wear
their seat belts.
Use a comma to separate an introductory clause or phrase
from the main clause:
retirement age, many people who haven't ridden for years
take up the bicycle again.
If the information in a parenthetical phrase relates
closely to the sentence, enclose it in commas.
most scenic way to cross the country, if you have the time,
is to travel by train.
Use a comma to introduce a complete one-sentence
quotation within a paragraph.
officer said, “Stay with your vehicle; a tow truck will be
Use a comma to set off a transitional word or expression.
contrary, a driver's license does not guarantee good driving
more driving you do, however, the easier it will be to react
intuitively in difficult situations.
A comma should follow yes, no, why, well, etc., when one
of these words begins a sentence.
they didn’t close the Sun Prairie exit after the
Hyphens are primarily used to
connect words, whereas dashes are most often used to set
words — or phrases — apart. Here are some rules for
when to use hyphens:
In compound numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine
and when used in larger numbers, such as three hundred
forty-six. Ordinal numbers, such as twenty-fifth and
sixty-third need hyphens, too.
In compound adjectives in which the last word is
capitalized, such as un-American, mid-Atlantic.
To join a word to a past participle to create a single
adjective preceding the noun it modifies.
We held the program kick-off event last Friday.
This is a
But do not hyphenate the same phrase when it follows the
When do they plan to kick off the program?
The program is
In a compound adjective that is a fraction
The bill passed with a two-thirds majority.
But fractions treated as nouns are not hyphenated.
I ate two thirds of my sandwich.
With compounds beginning with the prefix self and all,
such as self-confident and all-knowing.
In compounds made up of two or more words used as an
adjective before a noun
He made a last-minute decision.
But do not use a hyphen when one of the words is an
adverb ending in “-ly.”
We saw an amazingly good movie.
With ages, when they are adjective phrases involving a
unit of measurement.
My ten-year-old car broke down.
But do not use a hyphen when the phrase comes after the
My car is ten years old.
In phrases composed of a noun and a present participle
The heat-seeking missile found its target.
mid- No hyphen unless a
capitalized word follows: mid-April, mid-Atlantic, midterm,
midsemester. Use a hyphen when mid- precedes a figure:
multi. The rules in prefixes apply
but in general, use no hyphen: multimodal, multilateral,
right of way; rights of way; right of ways Do not hyphenate.
Use quotes at the beginning of each paragraph of a
continuous quote of several paragraphs, but at the end of
the last paragraph only.
Titles of shorter works should be enclosed in double
quotation marks. This particularly applies to works that
exist as a smaller part of a larger work. (Italics
are generally used for titles of longer works; see below.) Examples of titles that are quoted:
Articles, essays or papers
Chapters of a longer work
Entries in a longer work (dictionary, encyclopedia,
Short films and documentaries
Single episodes of a television series
Songs and singles
Quote a word being introduced to readers the first time,
but not in subsequent references.
Don’t quote names of newspapers or periodicals: the
Wisconsin State Journal.
Don’t quote characters in plays.
Don’t quote names of automobiles, horses, dogs, vessels,
Use single quotes for quotations within quotations and in
headlines. "I know the public will 'rage' at the design."
The period and the comma always go within the quotation
Italic type is generally used for the following: certain
scientific names, court cases, named vehicles, books, comic
strips, computer and video games (but not other software),
feature-length films and documentaries, long or epic poems,
television series and serials, music albums, musicals,
operas, orchestral works, paintings (and other works of
visual art), periodicals (journals and magazines), plays.
Use a semicolon between independent clauses to indicate
separation stronger than a comma, but less than a period.
The Marquette Interchange project was on time and
under budget; it is our showcase project.
Use a semicolon to separate clauses joined by such
transitional words as hence, moreover, however, also,
therefore, and consequently. Follow these words with a
The rains were extraordinary; however, the road did
not wash away.
Use a semicolon to separate lengthy statements following
a colon, and when commas are used within these clauses or
Division and office meetings with the executive
assistant took place on specific days: DMV, DTIM and
DTSD on Mondays; DSP and DBM on Tuesdays; and OPA, OPBF
and OGC on Wednesdays.
Use a semicolon to precede "for example," "namely," "for
instance," "i.e.," and others when they introduce a list of
examples that you don’t feel belong in parentheses. Follow these words with a comma.
Many factors are considered before a highway is
built; for instance, available funding, environmental
assessment and community needs.
spacing after period
Use two spaces after a period at the end of a
sentence. When writing for the Web, use only one space after
When quoting shorter statutory material, just put it in
quotation marks and identify the statute in the following
The law requires the Department of Transportation to,
"maintain its principal office at Madison and district
offices at such other cities, villages and towns as the
necessities of the work demand." Section 84.30, Wis. Stats.
When quoting longer statutory material, a colon should
follow introductory material with the quoted materials set
in an indented block of text, without quotation marks:
Example: The law generally requires the Department to keep bidder
information confidential, except as provided in s. 84.01
(32)(b), Wis. Stats.: 84.01 (32)(b) This subsection does not
prohibit the department from disclosing information to any
of the following persons:
The person to whom the information relates.
who has the written consent of the person to whom the
information relates to receive such information.
to whom 49 CFR 26, as that section existed on October 1,
1999, requires or specifically authorizes the department to
disclose such information.
or: The Department's duty to advise local authorities is
clear: The department shall advise towns, villages,
cities and counties with regard to the construction and
maintenance of any highway or bridge, when requested. On the
request of any town, village, city or county board, or
county highway committee, any supervision or engineering
work necessary in connection with highway improvements by
any town, village, city or county may be performed by the
department and charged at cost to such town, village, city
or county. Section 84.01(5), Wis. Stats.
If you are simply citing to statutory authority, without
quoting any material: Billboards cannot be erected adjacent
to state trunk highways without a permit. Section 84.30,
When authoring for the Web, only hyperlinked words should
be underlined. Italicizing words is the preferred
alternative. Books, magazines, periodicals and newspapers
should be italicized.
Use a before consonant sounds: a historic event, a one-year term
(sounds like it begins with a "w".) Use an before vowel sounds: an
energy crisis, an honorable man (silent h).
When a motor vehicle makes contact with something with force, such
as another vehicle or a tree, it is a crash, not an accident.
Use the word. Avoid use of the ampersand symbol.
adopt, approve, enact, pass
Amendments, ordinances, resolutions and rules are adopted or
approved. Bills are passed. Laws are enacted.
adviser or advisor
Both spellings are acceptable, but be consistent within each
afterward or afterwards
Both spellings are acceptable, but be consistent within each
all time, all-time
An all-time high, but the greatest administrator of all time.
alright / all right
Alright is not a word; it's a common misspelling of all right,
which means all correct. Some people prefer yes, acceptable, or
satisfactory instead of all right.
alot / a lot / allot
Alot is not a word; it is a common misspelling of a lot. A lot is
colloquial and vague; choose a more precise word, when possible. Allot
(verb) means to assign a share, to allocate.
Do not refer to an event as annual until it has been held in at
least two successive years. Don't use first annual, but sponsors plan
to hold the fair annually. Never capitalize annual meeting.
anybody, any body, anyone, any one
Use anybody or anyone for an indefinite reference: Anybody
could do that. Use any body or any one when you single out one element
of a group: Any one of them could speak up.
Because bimonthly can mean every two months or twice a month, and
biweekly can mean every two weeks or twice a week, these are confusing
word. Semi- only means twice, so avoid confusion by writing
semimonthly or semiweekly; or write twice a week or month.
Include either Wisconsin Department of Transportation or the
triskelion logo in all publications. You don't need both. Also include
in small size print an item/publication number or initial and a
version/revision date (WB-O0), and "Printed on recycled paper." Every
publication should also include information on how to contact WisDOT
on the subject: WisDOT, address, email address, Web site address,
phone, fax, TTY and/or a contact phone number.
bus, buses, bused, busing. It is acceptable to double the "s" in
these words, but be consistent within a document.
cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation
car pool, carpool
Both spellings are acceptable, but be consistent within each
Include either Wisconsin Department of Transportation or the
triskelion in all publications. You don't need both. Also include in
small size print an item/publication number or initial and the current
year, date: SWG-1/01 (Stylebook (and) Writing Guide-October 2004)
Every publication should also include information on how to contact
WisDOT on the subject: Unit name, address, e-mail address, Web site
address for the information (if applicable), phone, fax, TTY and/or a
contact phone number.
Refer to both men and women by first and last name: Susan Smith or
Robert Smith. Use the courtesy titles Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. only in
direct quotations or in other special situations: 1) When it is
necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last
name, as in married couples or brothers and sisters, use the first and
last name; 2) When a woman specifically requests it; for example,
where a woman prefers to be known as Mrs. Susan Smith or Ms. Susan
Not different than.
A person with disabilities works for DMV. Not "a disabled, or
handicapped person" or "she is disabled, handicapped, etc." Do not use
unless it is clearly pertinent to a story.
employee or employe
Employee is preferred. Be consistent within documents.
Interstate highways. Interstate means between states.
Capitalize Interstate when referring to a specific highway. There
are seven Interstate highways in Wisconsin: I-39, I-43, I-90,
I-94, I-535, I-794, and I-894. Or write “the Interstate,” or “the
U.S. highways. U.S. highways in Wisconsin include: US 2, US 8,
US 10, US 12, US 14, US 18, US 41, US 45, US 51, US 53, US 61, US
63, US 141 and US 151.
State and county highways. State highways are designated as
“WIS,” as in WIS 29. County highways are designated as (for
example) County H. Do not refer to a specific state highway as STH
or state trunk highway. Do not refer to specific a county highway
as CTH or county trunk highway.
logo for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
The ARRA logo is to appear on all technical documents related to
ARRA-funded projects. This is not a legal requirement, but a
preference of state and federal agencies to help identify ARRA
projects. The logo need only appear on the front page of any document
that will be stapled together as one document. Documents include:
Advertisements for bids
Bid awards and consultant selection documents
Contracts, including amendments and attachments
Agendas for technical meetings
The ARRA logo may appear on various public information documents,
such as newsletters, handouts and Web pages. When the logo appears, it
should appear in full color.
Preferred over 12 a.m.; and not 12 midnight.
In general, use last names only on second reference.
news release not press release
Noon is preferred over 12 p.m.; and not 12 noon.
OK, OK’d, or okay
One word in all cases for computer connection term.
It generally refers to spatial relationships: The plane flew
over the city. More than is preferred with numerals: Their salaries
went up more than $20 a week.
Use left justification for copy, not full. It is informal,
friendly, and easier to read than the more formal fully justified
Spell out in text; use symbol in charts and graphs and in materials
written specifically for the Web. When two numbers are used to
designate a range, use the word or symbol with each number: "The
project is 20 percent to 30 percent complete." Or in a chart or
table: "20% - 30%." Be consistent throughout document.
Safety belt is the preferred term.
Means twice a month.
Keep them short — average 15 to 20 words. A sentence is too long if
you have to take a breath before you finish reading it.
soon or recently
Avoid using these words on the Web as the timing
is too vague.
Use descriptive subheads to break up long stretches of
text. They help readers find the information they’re looking
for. Use active verbs to describe the copy that follows.
Don’t use labels as subheads. At least two paragraphs should
follow each subhead.
Part of WisDOT’s logo; a figure of three curved lines or
branches radiating from a common center.
For publications: Choose a type size appropriate for your
audience. Serif (type face characters that have serifs or strokes
at the ends of the lines that form the characters) is easier to
read than sans serif (no strokes, as in the print you are reading)
on a printed page, but sans serif is easier to read on a computer
monitor. No more than three type styles in a publication.
For the Web: Verdana must be used on the dotnet (WisDOT
employees only). Fonts
should not be used on WisDOT's Internet site and extranet pages.
WisDOT's Internet and extranet fonts are controlled by style
For correspondence: WisDOT’s official type face for
correspondence is Arial, 12 point (or 11 point, if necessary to
make copy fit).
Use who and whom for references to human beings and animals with a
name. Use that for inanimate objects and animals without a name.
Who is the word when someone is the subject of a sentence, clause
or phrase (Examples: The woman who rented the room left the window
open. Who is there?) Use who whenever he, she, they, I, or we could be
substituted in the who clause.
Whom is the word when someone is the object of a verb or
preposition. (Examples: The woman to whom the room was rented left the
window open. Whom do you wish to see?) Use whom whenever him, her,
them, me, or us could be substituted as the object of the verb or as