Inclusive Language Style Guide (2023)

Custom entries within the UB Style Guide that reflect UB’s values. Our house style takes precedence in all written communications.

Chicano, Hispanic, Latino and related terms

This entry consists of umbrella terms for people living in the U.S. whose ethnic origin is a Spanish-speaking country and/or who are of Latin American descent. While there is overlap among these terms, they each have distinct meanings, and usage should depend to a large extent on the preferences of individuals. Please read the full entry before using any of the termsbelow.

Chicano/Chicana (noun/adj.) refers to Mexican Americans living in the U.S. Chicana is the feminine form. The plural Chicanos refers to groups of males or of mixed gender; Chicanas refers to groups of females.

Hispanic (noun/adj.) refers to people living in the U.S. whose ethnic origin is a Spanish-speaking country, including Spain.

(Video) Inclusive Language Guide

Latino/Latina (noun/adj.) refers to people of Latin American descent who live in the U.S. Latin America includes Mexico, Central America, South America and certain Caribbean islands. Latina is the feminine form. The plural Latinos refers to groups of males or of mixed gender; Latinas refers to groups of females. Some use the term Latino/a (plural Latinos/as) or Latina/o (plural Latinas/os).

Afro- is a prefix used to acknowledge a subject’s African ancestry when that is the preference of the subject. It can be used together with an umbrella term (e.g., Afro-Latina, Afro-Chicanx) or in combination with a specific nationality (e.g., Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian).

Chicana/o/x, Chicanx, Latina/o/x, Latine, Latinidad, Latinx (not a complete list) are gender-neutral or gender-inclusive forms of the above. Plural forms are Chicanas/os/xs, Chicanxs, Latinas/os/xs, Latines, Latinidades, Latinxs.

All of these terms have complex and often political histories and implications, requiring an extra level of sensitivity when using them. When possible, and unless otherwise preferred by the subject, use specific terminology (e.g., Puerto Rican, Peruvian American, etc.) instead of an umbrella term. If you’re using an umbrella term, the subject’s preference should be the main driver; you should never substitute a subject’s preferred term with one that you believe is more current or politically correct.

When it is not possible to obtain a subject’s preference, there are people of multiple ethnicities within a group, and/or there is no clear subject, our preference is Latinx, because it is gaining traction as an emerging umbrella term, or Latina/o/x, because it is gender-inclusive without being gender-blind. However, another term may be more appropriate given a particular context and/or audience. We advise you to use your judgment.

They, them, their as a singular/gender-neutral pronoun

Use “they/them/their” as a singular pronoun in the following cases:

  • When referring to a person who prefers “they” as a personal pronoun.I’ll attend Michelle’s talk if they send me an invitation.
  • When used with a singular antecedent like “everyone,” though in a plural sense.Everyone thinks their own children are special.
  • When used to describe a hypothetical individual.A good boss doesn’t hide out in their office all day.
  • When used to describe a real but unnamed individual whose pronouns are unknown.The student who was supposed to kick off the meeting forgot their notes.

In the above cases, rewording in order to avoid the singular, gender-neutral “they” (which some style guides, including the main AP Stylebook, recommend) is not only unnecessary; it fails to reflect current language trends and the increasing recognition that “he” and “she” cannot cover the full range of persons. Furthermore, the singular “they” is deeply rooted in the English language and is currently gaining widespread acceptance in everyday speech—as well as in several style guides—as the preferred pronoun for promoting inclusion and respect for all.

However, when referring to a real and named person whose gender pronouns are unknown, it is preferable to reword if possible. Until “they” is universally accepted as a singular/gender-neutral pronoun, using it in this case may invite unnecessary (or unwarranted) assumptions.

(Video) Why inclusive language is so important! | Personal Politics | Episode 04

Original:Lea Goldman’s resume is impressive. I’m going to schedule an interview with them for the writing job.

Reworded:Lea Goldman’s resume is impressive. I’m going to schedule an interview with this candidate for the writing job.

In all cases, the singular, gender-neutral “they” takes a plural verb (“they are”), analogous to the use of “you are” when referring to an individual. Similarly, the reflexive form of the pronoun is “themself,” analogous to the use of “yourself” when “you” is used as a singular pronoun.

View the AP Stylebook entry on they, them, their as gender-neutral pronouns.

  1. Singular They Continues to be the Focus of Language Change
  2. Singular ‘they’ and novel pronouns: gender-neutral, nonbinary, or both?
  3. Singular “They” Now Endorsed by MLA
  4. A brief history of singular ‘they’
  5. Words We’re Watching: Singular 'They'
  6. Does Traditional Grammar Matter When It Comes To Singular “They” And “Themself”?
  7. Welcome, singular “they”
  8. People Have Invented More Than 200 Gender-Neutral Pronouns. Here's Why 'They' Is Here to Stay
  9. This Is Why Singular ‘They’ Is Such a Controversial Subject
  10. SINGULAR THEY: Nonbinary Language in the Historical Community
  11. Stylebooks finally embrace the single ‘they’
  12. Call Them What They Wants
  13. We Should All Use They/Them Pronouns
  14. “Actually, we should not all use they/them pronouns”
  15. 2020 update to “they” entry (scroll down for “Usage note for ‘They’”)
  16. Asking everyone their preferred personal pronoun is not a good idea, argues Rachel N. Levin.
  17. MLA guidance with specific examples for references to a hypothetical or anonymous person
  18. Article on 2019 APA update to use “they” in reference to a hypothetical person
  19. Indiana University Bloomington Academic Style Guides on the Singular Pronoun 'They'
  20. Purdue Online Writing Lab: Gendered Pronouns & Singular “They” What is a pronoun? Why do people use different ones? Why are he and she not enough?
  21. Chicago Manual of Style
  23. Princeton University
  24. Fordham University
  25. Brown University
  26. LaScotte, D. K. (2016). Singular they: An empirical study of generic pronoun use. American Speech, 91(1), 62-80.

Class levels

first-year. Use first-year to describe students in their first academic year, i.e., in their first or second semester of college.

Avoid the term freshman (pl. freshmen), as it is not gender-inclusive and does not reflect the diversity of the student population in its allusion to traditional “fresh out of high school” college students. However, if an abrupt switch will cause confusion in your communications, you may include the term in parenthesis on a transitional basis. The deadline for first-year students (freshmen) to sign up for housing is approaching.

Do not use first-year to refer to transfer students who are new to UB but in their second or subsequent academic year. Instead, use “new,” which refers to any student who is new to UB regardless of their academic year. All new students are invited to the Get To Know UB ice cream social. You can use first-year transfer student to refer to transfer students in their first year of college.

Hyphenate first-year when it precedes the noun it is modifying. A large group of first-year students showed up early for the pregame concert. Do not hyphenate when it follows the noun: A large group of students, all first year, showed up early for the pregame concert. An exception is if you are using first-year as a noun, an acceptable usage in informal contexts: A large group of students, all first-years, showed up early for the pregame concert.

Although not required, it is acceptable to use second-year, third-year, fourth-year, etc., in lieu of the traditional sophomore, junior and senior.

upper-year/upper-division/upper-level. Use upper-year, upper-division or upper-level to describe students in their second or subsequent academic year. Program leaders are upper-year students who are committed to mentoring first-year students. You may also use upper-year/upper-division/upper-level to describe students in their third or subsequent academic year, in which case you may use lower-year/lower-division/lower-level to describe first- and second-year students. These terms can also be used to describe courses. When using any of these terms, be careful to provide clarity as to the range of years included.

Avoid the following terms, as they are not gender-inclusive: upperclassmen, lowerclassmen, underclassmen. However, if an abrupt switch will cause confusion in your communications, you may include in parenthesis on a transitional basis. This seminar is for upper-division students (upperclassmen) only. Never use the following terms, as they can easily be misconstrued to indicate socioeconomic status: lowerclass students, underclass students, upperclass students.

Hyphenate each of these terms if it precedes the noun it is modifying. A large group of upper-level students showed up early for the pregame concert. Do not hyphenate when it follows the noun: A large group of students, all upper level, showed up early for the pregame concert.

(Video) The Importance of Inclusive Language with Jackie Ferguson

Degree designations


Our preferred style is to avoid the courtesy title Dr. for both medical doctors and PhDs. However, you can use it in first reference if doing so could serve to counter any negative assumptions about a person’s educational qualifications, although our preference in this situation is to include the person’s degree instead. In either case, be consistent throughout the communication re: others. See academic degrees. (For guidance on other courtesy titles, see courtesy titles.)

academic degrees

In general, it is preferable to indicate a person’s title rather than their degree(s). For example: Fatima Khan, assistant professor of molecular biology, is a prolific researcher. (Note: The term professor on its own should be used only for a full professor.)

However, it is acceptable to indicate a person’s terminal degree following their name in direct quotes, in professional directories, in press releases, and in cases where doing so could serve to counter any negative assumptions about a person’s educational qualifications. Whenever a decision is made to use degree information for one individual, be consistent throughout the communication re: others.

Abbreviations are preferred when referencing degrees. Use abbreviations only after a full name—never after just a last name—and do not use punctuation: BS, EdM, MBA, PhD. Use only in first reference, and set the degree off by commas: John Snow, PhD, spoke. Do not use both a courtesy title before a name and an academic degree after the name in the same reference.

References to a person’s degree are also acceptable when pertinent to a story line in an article or profile. In this case, it is preferable to write out the degree after the name and include the person’s specialty. Candace Kim, who holds a doctorate in behavioral sciences, led the study. (Note: In this case, it is not necessary to be consistent re: others mentioned in the article). Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but not in associate degree and never in the formal degree name; it’s Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, etc.

The rule for alumni publications is to include only UB degrees, always as abbreviations, in combination with the year received. For example: Valentina Hernández (BA ’93) recently published a book. In instances where alumni have two UB degrees, use a comma to separate the degrees. In instances where alumni have three or more UB degrees, use commas to separate the first two degrees and an ampersand to separate the second-last and last degree. List degrees in chronological or reverse chronological order, staying consistent within a publication: Valentina Hernández (BA ’93, MSW ’00 & PhD ’03) recently published a book; or Valentina Hernández (PhD ’03, MSW ’00 & BA ’93) recently published a book. In all cases, the degree precedes the year it was awarded.

(Video) Inclusive Language | Camelia Bui | TEDxYouth@SSIS

Community Engagement

Use community engagement to describe UB’s partnership with local communities to enrich the student experience and to contribute to stronger and healthier communities across Western New York. Unlike the term community relations, which should be avoided, community engagement implies that we are equal partners in the work of lifting up our communities and attaining equity and social justice across the region.

(Video) Comedian on Oxfam inclusive language guide


Inclusive Language Style Guide? ›

Avoid words and phrases that indicate gender bias, such as irrelevant descriptions of appearance. Use descriptors of gender identity or sexual orientation as modifiers, not as nouns (for example, transgender person, cisgender person, or lesbian woman). Avoid guessing sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

What is an inclusive language guide? ›

The Inclusive Language Guide is a resource to support people in our sector who have to communicate in English to think about how the way they write can subvert or inadvertently reinforce intersecting forms of inequality that we work to end.

What are the 4 criteria for inclusive language? ›

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) in its Guidelines for Inclusive Language, defines inclusive language as “language that acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities.”

How do you write an inclusive language guide? ›

Use person-first or identity-first language as is appropriate for the community or person being discussed. The language used should be selected with the understanding that disabled people's expressed preferences regarding identification supersede matters of style. Avoid terms that are condescending or patronizing.

What are 2 examples of inclusive language? ›

Examples of Inclusive Language
  • Using the culturally appropriate and correct language when referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Using gendered language only when necessary, and always asking for preferred pronouns and using them.
  • Not referencing age unless absolutely necessary.
Aug 15, 2022

What not to say in inclusive language? ›

These reflect the principles of inclusive language: use gender-neutral terms; avoid ableist language; focus on people not disabilities or circumstances; avoid generalizations about people, regions, cultures and countries; and avoid slang, idioms, metaphors and other words with layers of meaning and a negative history.

What are the 3 C's of inclusive? ›

The 3 Cs Inclusive Practices Model – Culture, Collaboration, and Coaching.

What are the three key elements of inclusive practices? ›

Best practice in inclusive education requires access to and implementation of three major components: academic inclusion, social inclusion, physical inclusion.

What are the three defining features of inclusive? ›

The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports.”

What terms should be avoided in diversity and inclusion? ›

Exclusive terms and phrases to avoid

Replace with: Gender-neutral language such as: folks, people, you all, etc. Women over 18 are not “girls,” while “ladies” and “gals” are both potentially patronizing. Disability rights activists question the use of these terms.

What are the characteristics of using inclusive language? ›

Avoid the stereotype that gender is binary. Put people before a disability, diagnosis, or disorder because it doesn't make up their identity. Capitalize the names of cultures, nationalities, and religions.

What is the purpose of inclusive language? ›

Inclusive language is more than just avoiding the use of a few antiquated or offensive terms and phrases. It is about embracing communication that acknowledges the power differentials and dynamics of our society and their deleterious effects.

What are examples of sentences with inclusive? ›

A standard double room is 278 a night inclusive of breakfast and dinner. I've gone to great lengths to be inclusive of all viewpoints. You have to be inclusive of everybody. 4,790 for a three-night stay, inclusive of flights.

What is inclusive example? ›

Being inclusive means that you act based on the belief that everyone has inalienable rights. For example, people have the right to: Express themselves without being penalised for certain differences. Choose an occupation and engage in work that pays a competitive wage and allows them to use their abilities.

How do you use inclusive language in the classroom? ›

Using gendered language such as “girls and boys”, “ladies and gentlemen” can be alienating for gender non-conforming and gender diverse students. Avoid this by using vocabulary such as “students”, “class”, “crew”, “everyone”, “people” or “year X”, which is more inclusive.

What is an example of inclusive in the classroom? ›

Examples of Inclusion in the Classroom
  • All students can access the curriculum through differing strategies and methods.
  • Multiple ways of learning through various presentation models.
  • Various assessment types to showcase understanding.
  • Multiple teachers helping to create content and aide students.

What are the rules of inclusive communication? ›

Inclusive language acknowledges diversity, demonstrates respect and promotes equitable opportunities for everyone. Inclusive language should not demean, insult or exclude people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, religion, age, or immigration or veteran status.

What are the 7 pillars of inclusion? ›

The seven pillars are:
  • Access.
  • Attitude.
  • Choice.
  • Partnerships.
  • Communication.
  • Policy.
  • Opportunities.

What are the six signature traits of inclusion? ›

Six signature traits of inclusive leadership
  • Cognizance. ...
  • Curiosity. ...
  • Courage. ...
  • Cultural intelligence. ...
  • Commitment. ...
  • Collaboration.
Feb 4, 2022

What are the 5 barrier to inclusion? ›

There are seven barriers to Inclusive Education: Attitudinal Barriers, Physical Barriers, Inappropriate Curriculum, Untrained Teachers, Inadequate Funding, Poor Organization of the education system, and Policies as barriers.

What is the 3 D model of inclusion? ›

The three dimensions of the framework are: Recognize, respect, and design for human uniqueness and variability. Use inclusive, open & transparent processes, and co-design with people who have a diversity of perspectives, including people that can't use or have difficulty using the current designs.

What are 3 strategies for inclusive communication? ›

When speaking, face the light and look directly at the person, keeping your hands away from your mouth. Avoid smoking or chewing gun during conversations. Use short simple sentences and avoid writing and speaking at the same time. Be especially patient when talking with a person with a speech impairment.

What top 3 actions would create a more inclusive culture? ›

To get you started, here are some strategies to promote inclusiveness of culture:
  • Use inclusive language. ...
  • Create safe spaces for your employees. ...
  • Be open to employees' feedback. ...
  • Expand the company holiday calendar (include holidays that represent different religious beliefs) ...
  • Provide diversity training for everyone.
Sep 19, 2022

What are the basic elements of inclusive? ›

They identified 4 key principles that are common to both inclusion and best practice:
  • Instructional practices. Both the inclusion and best practices models highlight the importance of instructional practices. ...
  • Student and staff supports. ...
  • Multi-disciplinary, multi-site collaboration. ...
  • Family involvement.

What are the key values of inclusive? ›

  • The values of inclusion.
  • Everyone is born in. We are all born as equal citizens and part of a community, we are only later excluded.
  • All means all. ...
  • Everyone needs to be in. ...
  • Everyone needs to be with. ...
  • Everyone is ready. ...
  • Everyone needs support - and some need more support than others. ...
  • Everyone can communicate.

What are the 4 C's of diversity and inclusion? ›

Creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable company starts with what I like to call the “Four Cs” – careers, connections, community, and capital.

What hinders inclusion? ›

Unconscious bias

Most commonly, it means that we automatically have a preference or affinity to those who are similar to us. This could be in terms of race, gender or sexual orientation. This automatic stereotyping or judging is a huge barrier to workplace inclusion and diversity.

What is the language of inclusion? ›

So, what is inclusive language? Inclusive language is the recognition that words matter and that word choice can be used, intentionally or unintentionally, to include or exclude others. Using inclusive language communicates with people in a way that is respectful and brings everyone into the conversation.

What is an example of a culturally inclusive word? ›

Some examples of inclusive language are:

Avoiding terms like “guys” for everyone and using gender neutral terms staff members, folks, volunteers, visitors or members. Examples like man vs the moon, are adaptable to humankind vs the moon.

What is culturally inclusive language? ›

choosing language that includes rather than excludes; choosing language that acknowledges, accepts and celebrates differences; choosing language that is welcoming to everyone.

Is inclusive language a technique? ›

Inclusive language aims to directly address the reader, either personally or as a member of a shared group. This involves using such words as us, we, you, our. Example text: It is time for us to show our belief in the value of mateship and a fair go, and give generously to the Good Friday Appeal.

Why not to use inclusive language? ›

An inclusive language guide oversimplifies things and can lead to incorrect assumptions. It can lead to well-meaning hiring team members thinking they're creating inclusive job posts when they aren't.

What is another name for inclusive language? ›

Person-centered language and person-first language are other terms that fall under the inclusive language umbrella. They are commonly used in health care settings and in the world of education.

What is the best example of inclusive design? ›

Inclusive design products are accessible to as many users as possible without requiring disabled persons to buy a special model. Some examples include smartphones, automatic doors, large-grip kitchen utensils, e-readers with adjustable print sizes, and everyday voice assistants.

What are examples of inclusive language in healthcare? ›

Other examples include using “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person” and “person living with diabetes” instead of “diabetes patient” and avoiding “suffers from” when referring to people with chronic diseases.

What is the inclusive language guide for Neurodiversity? ›

When we use inclusive language, we show respect and understanding for all individuals regardless of their intellectual disabilities, sexual orientation, gender, race, or neurodiversity. We acknowledge that everyone has unique strengths and challenges.

What is a language guide? ›

Language Guide hopes to help eliminate economic barriers to computer assisted language learning, which promises to revolutionize language learning, promote cultural understanding, and reduce excessive identification with a particular culture or county. It is a registered non-profit organization.

What is inclusive language in healthcare? ›

Valuing, respecting, and affirming an individual's identity contribute to improved health outcomes, and the language used to communicate with individuals about themselves and their communities plays a critical role in affirming identity.

Why is inclusive language important in healthcare? ›

Using inclusive language in healthcare can help reduce stigma, address social determinants of health, and improve health outcomes. All of this can lead to a decrease in inequitable treatment for patients—and society as a whole.

Which of the examples is a example of inclusive design? ›

Installing gender-neutral restrooms provides an inclusive space where people don't need to label their gender and choose based on it.

How do you demonstrate inclusion in healthcare? ›

Encourage training and development: Don't overlook formal training. Training and development programs can educate staff about recognizing unconscious biases to challenge assumptions. Create development opportunities for women and minorities: Women and minorities receive fewer assignments that can spur career growth.

What is inclusive language in medical education? ›

It's language that makes people feel included—language that doesn't discriminate based on a person's race or ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, ability, or socioeconomic status.

How to make the workplace more inclusive for neurodivergent? ›

How to Build a Neurodivergent-Inclusive Workplace
  1. — Offer Workplace Accommodations.
  2. — Use Clear Communication.
  3. — Recognize Individual Differences.
  4. — Provide Training.

What is mental illness inclusive language? ›

A key to fighting the stigma around mental illness is to use inclusive language. This is also known as person-first language and de-stigmatizing language. It conveys that someone is not defined by their condition. How you speak about mental health should reflect that.

What are the five guidelines of language? ›

Characteristics of Effective Language
  • Concrete and Specific Language. Concrete language includes descriptions which create tangible images with details the reader can visualize. ...
  • Concise Language. ...
  • Familiar Language. ...
  • Precise and Clear Language. ...
  • Constructive Language.

What are the 4 language views? ›

There are four basic aspects of language that have been studied: phonology, syn- tax, semantics, and pragmatics. Phonology is the study of the sounds of a language.

What is the equitable language guide? ›

Equitable language means not only using (and avoiding) particular words but paying attention to whom you write about, how you tell their stories, whose points of view are included and whose are absent — whose voices are amplified and whose perspective is assumed.

What is inclusive language and why does it matter? ›

What is inclusive language and why does it matter? Inclusive language is a language that avoids stereotypes and biases by avoiding assumptions and employing the use of gender-neutral words.

What is inclusive language and why do we use it? ›

Inclusive language is language that is free from words, phrases or tones that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups. It is also language that does not deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted.


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