Style Guide

n and N
According to APA 6th, 4.45, an italic capital N is used to indicate the total number of subjects in an experiment. The lowercase italic n refers to the number of subjects in a limited portion of the sample. Thus, "The entire class (N = 33) participated in the study. Nearly twice as many students passed the test (n = 21) as failed it (n = 12).

NAA = Newspaper Association of America

NAEP = National Assessment of Educational Progress

NAESP = National Association of Elementary School Principals (

NAEYC = National Association for the Education of Young Children


NALS = National Adult Literacy Survey

NAS = National Academy of Sciences (

National Academy of Sciences = NAS

National Adult Literacy Survey = NALS

national affiliate

National Assessment of Educational Progress = NAEP

National Association of Elementary School Principals = NAESP

National Association for the Education of Young Children = NAEYC

National Center for Education Statistics = NCES

National Center on Adult Literacy = NCAL

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education  = NCATE

National Council of Teachers of English = NCTE

National Education Association = NEA

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development = NICHD

National Institute of Education = NIE

National Institutes of Health = NIH

National Public Radio = NPR (as of July 2010 the official name is NPR; use this initialism over spelled-out form)

National Reading Conference = NRC

National Reading Research Center = NRRC

National Research Council = NRC

Native Americans (see indigenous peoples)

NCAL = National Center on Adult Literacy

NCATE = National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

NCES = National Center for Education Statistics (

NCLB = No Child Left Behind

NCTE = National Council of Teachers of English (

n.d. = no date of publication given (be sure to include the periods)

NEA = National Education Association


the Netherlands (preferred over The Netherlands)


Newbery Medal / Honor / award
The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to "the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association. Newbery Honor Books are runners-up in that competition. Authors and editors are advised to use the terms "Newbery Medal" and "Newbery Honor" accurately in referring to particular books, and to avoid the term "Newbery award" whenever possible. A list of Medal- and Honor-winning titles may be found at the ALA website. (see also Caldecott Medal / Honor / award)

New Media Age

Newspaper Association of America = NAA

newspapers, titles
From "Copy Editor's Guide to Major U.S. Daily Newspapers," (n.d.). When in doubt, follow the style presented on the newspaper's masthead.

The Atlanta Constitution
The Atlanta Journal
The Boston Globe
Boston Herald
The Charlotte Observer
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Daily News (New York)
The Denver Post
Los Angeles Times
The Miami Herald
Le Monde (Paris)
The New York Times
The News Journal (Wilmington, DE.)
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Sun (Baltimore)
The Times (London)
USA Today
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post

New York

New York City (n.)

New York state (n.)

The New York Times Best Seller List

NGO = nongovernmental organization

NICHD = National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

NIE = National Institute of Education (of U.S. Dept. of Education)

NIEW = Newspapers in Education Week

NIH = National Institutes of Health

Ning (an online social network)

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush in January 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 sets U.S. federal policy on education. In-text reference to NCLB need not include a citation date unless wording from the legislation is cited. Otherwise, editors should refer to it only as "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" or "No Child Left Behind." If no direct citation is included, there should be no entry in the reference list; where necessary, the publication date of NCLB is 2002.

Compounds formed with the prefix non- are usually closed (CMS 15th, 7.90):

  • Nonessential, nonphonetic, nonformal, nonreader,
  • Noninstructional, nonsequential, nonliterate, nonsignificant,
  • Nonnative, nonstandard, nonprofit, nonfluent, noninformation


  • Non-Czech (hyphenate if second part of the compound begins with a capital letter)
  • Non–English proficient (use en-dash to connect non- to an already-existing compound)
  • Non-European
  • Non-ELL
  • Non–Indo-European (first mark is an en-dash; second is a hyphen)
  • Non sequitur

nongovernmental organization = NGO

nonstandard English

north / North, northern / Northern (see directional terms)

not only. . . but also. . .
The word group not only... but also... is a correlative conjunction, used to join two sentence elements of equal grammatical weight: a word to a word, a phrase to a phrase, a clause to a clause, etc. (See correlative conjunctions.)

note (i.e., using the word note in tables)
ILA policy here follows APA 6th, 5.16:

  • If the note that follows a table is a general note (i.e., it refers to the entire table or to several sections), insert the word Note. (italic, with period, not hyphen) at the beginning of the note.
  • If the note refers only to a particular column, row, cell, or cells within the table, it is a specific note. In these cases, do not include the word note. Instead, begin with the superscript lowercase letter a, b, c, or other symbol ( &, °) that denotes its referent in the table
  • The probability note is a variety of specific note. It usually begins with an asterisk followed by an italic p (*p).

note-taking (n. and adj.)

NPR = National Public Radio (as of July 2010 the official name is NPR; use this initialism over spelled-out form)

NRC = National Reading Conference

NRC = National Research Council (an arm of the National Academy of Sciences)

NRRC = National Reading Research Center

no. / #
If it is ever necessary to abbreviate the word number in running text, the preferred abbreviation is no., not #.

numbers (spelled out) and numerals (APA 6th, 4.31–4.38; CMS 15th, Ch. 9) Follow APA 6th style wherever possible. Follow CMS 15th style when APA 6th is silent.

General Rules:

  1. Use numerals to express numbers 10 and above. Spell out numbers below 10.
  2. Spell out numbers below 10 that appear with units of time. (This is a departure from earlier ILA style). Examples: two months, four years, three hours, 64 years, 21 months. Also, ninth century, 14th century, ninth grade, 11th grade.

Special Cases / Exceptions:

  1. Use numerals
    • for specific quantities and precise measurements: a score of 6 out of a possible 9;
      multiply by 2; a factor of 4; x = 7.03; 5.61 grams; a gain of less than 1 grade level
    • for dates: April 18, 1775
    • use numerals to denote ages, even those below 10. Theresa is 8 years old; Bonnie is 18. She taught a class of 4-year-olds.
    • for numbers that denote a place in a numbered series: steps 1 through 4; group 2;
      page 8; Table 1; grade 7, grades 1–3; Part 4, Vol. 2. (See APA 6th, 4.31f; CMS 15th, 9.30–9.32). NOTE: Chapter 7 (capital "c" is a departure from earlier ILA style—see book parts or sections).
    • for ratios if one or both numbers is above 10 (e.g., 10:2 odds).
  2. Spell out numbers
    • at the beginning of a sentence: Ninety-one publications appear on the censors' list, including 24 that have won major prizes for literature.
    • for common fractions: one eighth of the population; over half the class; a two-thirds majority (use hyphen if fraction is an adjective preceding the noun it modifies).
    • for ratios if both numbers are under 10.
  3. Combine numerals and spelled out forms
    • in broad approximations (1 million or more): expected sales of over 2 million copies;
      a state budget of $2.8 billion; the U.S. population will surpass 265 million
    • for back-to-back modifiers: a class of 21 six-year-olds (APA 6th, 4.33)

numerals and numbers, forming plurals
Do not use apostrophes to form plurals of numbers and numerals. Simply add s or es: twos and threes; fifties and hundreds; 1980s and 1990s; Gay '90s, Roaring '20s