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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Earth, earth

Just as we capitalize the names of other planets (Mars, Venus, Ceres, Eris, Pluto), we capitalize the name of our planet.

Not every person on Earth has access to clean water.

When referring to soil or land, we do not capitalize the term.

No one can be truly happy without a little earth under her fingernails.

East Pakistan

See Bangladesh.

Eastern Standard Time, Eastern Daylight Time

The abbreviations for Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) should be in all-caps without periods.

e.g. and i.e. 

Follow each with a comma and do not italicize.

E.g. stands for exempli gratia, Latin for for example; thus, the list of items following e.g. will not be complete.

I.e. stands for id est, meaning that is, or in other words; thus the list of items following i.e. must include all possible items.

Elderly, the

Do not use the elderly; use instead elderly people or senior citizens (usually those over age 65). Avoid seniors, which may be confused with fourth-year students.


Ellipses in running copy

Ellipsis points are on the line, like periods, and are usually separated from each other and from the text by spaces. Our policy is to smoosh together the three dots into its own "ellipses" character.

     Of the mayfly's many mating tactics, lying in wait atop an emerging dun is ... aggressive.

If one sentence ends, and the following sentence uses ellipses at the start, put a space between the period and the ellipses character, as well as a space before the new sentence.

     Katydids are omnipresent in July. ... cicadas drown them out.

If one sentence trails off, and the following sentence starts at the beginning, place a space + a period after the end of the ellipses character, and place a space before the new sentence.

     Pill bugs and earwigs are a dime a dozen ... . Nothing, however, beats a firefly.

Ellipses in quotations

Ellipsis points are not used (1) before the first word of a quotation, even if the beginning of the orginial sentence has been omitted; or (2) after the last word of a quotation, even if the end of the original sentence has been omitted, unless the sentence as quoted is deliberately incomplete.

Em dash

Em dashes (—) are used when indicating an abrupt change in thought, or where a period is too strong and a comma is too weak. Do not put a space on either side of the em dash. [In MS Word, make an em dash by pressing Alt+Ctrl+_]

The gift—$100 million—came from an anonymous donor.


We use email, not e-mail.

Emeritus, emeriti

professor emeritus of Biochemistry (male)
professor emerita of Epidemiology (female)
professors emeriti (group of men, or group of men + women)
professors emeritae (group of women)

En dash

The en dash ( ) is longer than a hyphen (-) but shorter than an em dash (—). It, and not the hyphen, is used as a substitute for the word "to" in ranges of numbers and years. [In MS Word, make an en dash by pressing Ctrl+_]

There were 100–125 students in the program.
The chapter is on pages 65–67.
8 a.m.–5 p.m.
7–10 p.m.

When joining a phrase + a word, use an en dash, as follows.

The Gates Institute–funded scholar ...
The Health Department–initiated program ...


In the 21st century, this term is considered antiquated and pejorative.

For usage regarding a population, see Alaska and Inuit.
For usage in terms such as "Eskimo kiss," use your best judgment.

Ex officio

Meaning, by virtue or because of an office.
Two words, no hyphen, italicized in running copy.

Dean Klag serves ex officio on the Steering Committee of the Sommer Scholars.

Council on Education for Public Health

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