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Editorial Style Guide

Word List and Usage A–Z

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J–K   L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X–Z



ID, IDs Acceptable in all references for identification.

i.e., e.g. The first is the abbreviation for the Latin id est (“that is”); the second is the abbreviation for the Latin exempli gratia (“for example”). The English equivalents are preferable in formal prose, although the abbreviations are typically used in course descriptions. Always put a comma after these abbreviations.

IM (n.) Acceptable in second references for instant messaging. Do not use in verb formations (IMing, IMed).

impact (n.), impacted (adj.) Use only as a noun or adjective, not as a verb. (“The use of impact in this sense is unacceptable to many because of its association with bureaucratic language or technical jargon.” Merriam-Webster.) Try using affect or influence as a verb: His pioneering research reveals how genes and environmental chemicals affect our health.

imply, infer The writer or speaker implies (hints, suggests); the reader or listener infers (deduces).

in- No hyphen is used with this prefix when it means “not”: inaccurate, insufferable. Most other uses are also without a hyphen: inbound, inbox, indoor, infield, inpatient (n. and adj.), infighting. A few combinations take a hyphen, however: in-depth, in-group, in-house, in-law. Consult Merriam-Webster’s when in doubt.

in, into The word in indicates location: The class meets in Room 2016. The word into indicates motion: They moved into their new home in August.

include, not limited to Use include when what follows is only part of the total: We offer tutoring in many subjects, including French, Italian, Hebrew, conversational ESL, precalculus and calculus, and writing in all subject areas. Do not add the redundant phrase but not limited to (a series that follows include is not exhaustive by definition).

Examples:
 
Keynote speakers for the conference include John Doe, professor of psychology at New York University, and Jane Smith, executive director of the Music Therapy Institute.
 
Keynote speakers for the conference are John Doe, professor of psychology at New York University, and Jane Smith, executive director of the Music Therapy Institute.
 
The first sentence above tells us that the conference has more than two keynote speakers. The second sentence tells us that the conference has only these two keynote speakers.

in connection with Avoid; try replacing the phrase with of, related to, or associated with (she explained the financial consequences of the transaction), about (a liking for everything about baseball), or for (he was compensated for his research).

incorporated Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as part of a corporate name. Do not set off with commas: Time Warner Inc.

indicate When possible, use a more direct verb: state, comment, show, suggest, or say.

in excess of Try replacing this vague phrase with more than or over.

infra- In general, no hyphen after this prefix: infrastructure, infrared. See Words Formed with Prefixes under General Style Preferences.

initials Use periods and no space when an individual name uses initials instead of a first name: H.L. Mencken. Do not give a name with a single initial (J. Jones) unless it is the person’s preference or a first name cannot be learned.

injuries They are suffered, not sustained or received.

input (n.) Do not use as a verb to describe the introduction of data into a computer (AP style). Try enter instead: To log in, enter your Purchase College email address and password.

inquire, inquiry Not enquire, enquiry.

in regard to Not in regards to. Try a single-word substitute instead: about, regarding, concerning.

in spite of Use despite instead.

instructor At Purchase College, this is a tenure-track faculty title; however, if the appointment is part time, it is not on the tenure track.

inter-, intra- In general, no hyphen after these prefixes: interconnected, intercontinental, intranet, interoffice, interracial, interstate; intramural, intraparty. See Words Formed with Prefixes under General Style Preferences.

Internet Capitalize; but: intranet (a network operating like the World Wide Web but with access restricted to a limited group of authorized users, e.g., a company’s employees). Also see Web.

IP address Acceptable in all references for Internet Protocol address.

IQ Acceptable in all references for intelligence quotient.

irregardless A double negative; use regardless (or possibly irrespective) instead.

IRS Acceptable in second references for Internal Revenue Service.

IT Acceptable in second references for information technology.

It goes without saying Avoid this phrase; if it truly goes without saying, don’t say it.

it’s, its It’s is a contraction for it is or it has: It’s been a month since we met. The word its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun: The college had its accreditation renewed.

IV Acceptable in all references for intravenous.

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