Style Guide



makeup (n.)

MANOVA = Multivariate analysis of variance

mark up / markup / marked-up

  1. Mark up is a verb: The conferees met to mark up the legislation. Our dealership does not mark up the price of new automobiles.
  2. The noun form is markup: The conferees have completed their markup of the legislation. The dealership tried to convince customers that their pricing of new automobiles contained no hidden markup.
  3. The hyphenated form marked-up is correct for an adjective preceding the noun it modifies. The marked-up legislation will be introduced on the floor of the House. The marked-up prices were advertised as dealer costs.

marketplace / Marketplace (see Online Marketplace)

Bill Martin Jr
(Note: no period after Jr, except at the end of sentence or in reference list; no comma between Martin and Jr)

Master of Science degree = MS degree

master's degree

MasterCard (According to EEI, we should not be using the ®.)

MBD = minimal brain dysfunction

meaning making (n.)

meaning-making (adj.)


Member / Membership

Lowercase m in ILA member / ILA membership except when describing specific membership categories or membership types or when employing title style in headlines or other copy.

Membership products retain capital M as part of a proper name:

  • Regular Member or Regular Membership
  • Online Member or Online Membership
  • Student Member or Student Membership
  • Retired Member or Retired Membership

Examples of title-style caps for headlines or envelope copy: Renew Your ILA Membership Now! / Spotlight on ILA Members

member of the Board, Board member

member of Congress

meta tag

Compounds with the prefix meta- are usually closed (CMS 17th, 7.89):
metacognition, metadiscourse, metacognitive, metaphysics, metaknowledge
but meta-analysis (not metanalysis)

A figure of speech in which one object or activity is defined as if it were another. Common examples: ideas as seeds, planted in the fertile soil of a child's imagination; skills as tools that need to be honed or kept sharp; reading as a journey into new territory, and so on. See mixed metaphor.

Mexican American (no hyphen)

MI = multiple intelligences






but mid–19th century

midday (Closed as adjective or noun. We didn't believe this one, but our dictionaries were agreed.)

middle class

middle grade

middle school
This phrase, like high school and elementary school, should not be hyphenated, even when used as an adjective. Thus, She is a teacher of high school English and middle school language arts.

middle years (no hyphen as adjective)




milieus (preferred plural form of milieu)



Millennials (alternate name for Generation Y)


mind read (v.)

mind reading (n.)

mind-reading (adj.)

mind-set (n.)

Compounds formed with the prefix mini- are normally closed (CMS 17th, 7.89):
miniconference, minilesson, minicourse, minisession, minigrant, miniworkshop, miniproject
but mini-unit

minimal brain dysfunction = MBD

mixed-abilitiy group

mixed metaphor
An error in coherence that occurs when illogical, inconsistent, or inappropriate metaphorical characteristics are ascribed to an object or action. Example:

  • This groundbreaking study covers only the tip of the iceberg, but it gives us all something to build on. By leaving no stone unturned, the author sheds light on a slippery topic, giving us plenty of food for thought along the way.
  • Sometimes, even a single metaphor can be used in an incoherent or illogical manner. Consider the following title, for example: "Unlocking the Keys to Success."

mixed-method study/research/model/approach

mixed-research design


moneys / monies Both forms are acceptable.


MOO = MUD, Object Oriented

moon (not capitalized)

more than / over
A distinction was formerly made between more than and over, in which more than was used with countable items and over with noncountable amounts. But most dictionaries, commentators, and writers now consider the two interchangeable. Use whichever you prefer.

morphological-awareness task

MS degree = Master of Science degree

MUD = multi-user domain

MUD, Object Oriented = MOO

Compounds beginning with the prefix multi- are normally closed (CMS 17th, 7.89):
multicultural, multilevel, multiethnic, multimedia, multifaceted, multiphase, multilingual, multimodal


multiple intelligences = MI


multi-user domain = MUD


Multivariate analysis of variance = MANOVA



  1. Of all the reflexive pronouns, myself is the most commonly misused. As a reflexive pronoun, myself cannot be used as the subject of a clause or a sentence (although it can be used as an appositive of the subject). Use "I" instead:
    • incorrect: The other investigators and myself visited the classroom frequently.
    • correct: The other investigators and I visited....
    • correct: As lead investigator, I, myself, rarely visited....
  2. Myself and other reflexive pronouns cannot be used as direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of prepositions, unless the subject refers to the same person. Use "me" instead:
    • incorrect: The university honored my coworkers and myself for our achievement.
    • correct: The university honored my coworkers and me....
    • correct: I surprised even myself with that accomplishment.
    • incorrect: No one will know your score but myself
    • correct: No one will know your score but me.