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Editorial Guide: Geographic Information

America

Remember that America is more than just the United States. A number of countries comprise North, Central, and South America. When you mean the United States of America, use United States instead of just America. Be as specific as possible in your references to countries and their citizens. When abbreviating the United States, use U.S. (with periods). USA, however, when used has no periods.

State names

When a state name is used in text with a town but no street address, it is spelled out.

  • The student was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania.

When a state name is used as part of a mailing address, use the two-letter post office abbreviation.

  • Send applications to: Marywood University, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton PA 18509

Do not use the two-letter post office abbreviations in lists, tables, notes, bibliographies, or indexes. For the correct abbreviations to use in these cases, see section 14.17 of the Chicago Manual.

United States/U.S.

Spell out when used as a noun; abbreviate when used as an adjective.

  • After their move, they spent a lot of time adjusting to the United States.
  • U.S. policy in Europe was the topic of discussion.

Use of comma with state names

Use a comma before and after a state name when it's used with a town or city name in text.

  • We were already in East Brunswick, New Jersey, by the time we discovered that we needed more fuel.

 



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