SC01VA1 AU Writing And Style Guide (Instructor Student Reference)



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The Intellectual and Leadership
Center of the Air Force
Writing Style Guide
Current as of 16 Jun 14
***This Writing & Style Guide is being used to augment the Airman Leadership School Bullet Writing Lesson Plan***
Use your unit and/or wing's Writing & Style Guide after you graduate from Airman Leadership School.
Repurposed as SC01VA1for Airman Leadership School
The purpose of this guide is to establish uniform guidance in terms of writing style, reduce
commonly-made mistakes and foster compliance with established Air Force (AF) guidance. The
following AF resources have been used in establishing this guide:
- Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, Jt Pub 1-02
- AF Tongue and Quill
- AFI 36-2406, Officer and Enlisted Evaluation Systems
- AFI 36-2803, The Air Force Military Awards and Decorations Programs
This guide consists of:
- Evaluations Rules/Style Guidance
- Decorations Rules/Style Guidance
- Commonly Used Acronyms
- Abbreviations
- Hyphenated Words
- Commonly Used Words
The intent of this guide is not to be all-inclusive or exhaustive; rather to serve as a common
baseline for accomplishing evaluation reports and decorations. Also, this should not be
considered the absolute authority for all military correspondence. It is designed to help
standardize abbreviations and minimize returns for corrections on OPRs and EPRs.
Please remember OPRs/EPRs should accurately reflect the performance and accomplishments of
an individual. They must paint a picture of an individual’s performance that is understandable
across AFSCs. The reader should not have to “figure out” what the writer is saying.
OPRs/EPRs/IMT Forms 1206 can be difficult to analyze due to the overuse of abbreviations and
acronyms. The objective of this guide is to create an abbreviation listing that is common AF-
wide (not squadron, wing, NAF, or even MAJCOM specific).
Evaluations Rules/Style Guidance
1. Spelling errors are unacceptable. Use spell-check and/or a dictionary. IMT Forms have a
spell check function…use it!
2. Ensure applicable sections of the form match the OPR/EPR notice.
3. Ensure bullets align properly on the form.
4. Do not check the AU/CC’s concur/non-concur blocks on a form.
5. If physically signing an OPR/EPR, date the document with the actual date; do not back
date documents.
6. If physically signing an OPR/EPR, use a pen that will not show through the opposite side
of the document.
7. Spell out all uncommon acronyms on the back page of an OPR. Acronyms that are not
spelled out should be commonly used AF-wide. Acronyms that are only common within
an AFSC must be spelled out.
8. For stratification, keep in mind that unless the person is an award winner or is in a unique
position where they “compete” AU-wide, AU/CC will stratify only to the level that he is
the senior rater. AU/CCE or AU/A1L can clarify the “out of” number if you want to put
a stratification in AU/CC comments.
9. Stratification statements will only be used on EPRs for SNCOs who are time-in-grade
eligible for senior rater endorsement. Stratification statements on all other performance
reports, to include CMSgt reports, are strictly prohibited.
10. In Section I, Block 5 (EPRs), Block 7 (OPRs), there is no comma between AFB, ARB,
and ANG (e.g., MAXWELL AFB AL)
a. Do not add component (AD) if member is active duty.
11. Section II (EPRs & OPRs), Duty Title, should be ALL CAPS.
12. Blank rating blocks:
a. “THIS SECTION NOT USED” (all caps) on EPRs in Section VII, if AU/CC is
the Additional Rater.
OPRs if AU/CC is the additional rater.
c. THE RATER IS ALSO THE REVIEWER.” (all caps) is used on OPRs if
AU/CC serves as both rater and additional rater.
1. Two-line bullets are authorized, but discouraged. These can send the wrong message,
unless that is the author’s intent.
2. Apply the use of symbols and abbreviations consistently throughout the document.
3. In signature blocks, if one rank must be abbreviated for space, then all ranks should be
abbreviated. If there is room to spell out all ranks, then ensure they are all spelled out.
4. Using a serial comma is optional. Apply this decision consistently throughout the
document (e.g., schools, institutions, and organizations” or “schools, institutions, and
5. Any ratings such as “Outstanding” or “Excellent” should be in quotes and the first letter
6. Names of official operations should appear in this format: Operation ENDURING
FREEDOM; Operation NOBLE EAGLE. Abbreviations (e.g., OEF) are acceptable.
7. Keep abbreviations to a minimum.
8. Spell out Headquarters in all signature blocks, with the exception of the AU/CC’s
signature block which does not have Headquarters in his signature block.
9. Numbers
a. When a sentence contains numbers in a related series and any numbers in the
series are 10 or more, then express all in numbers (9 hamburgers, 12 hot dogs, 6
b. When using the full organization name, include a “th” or “d” with the number
(e.g., 42d Mission Support Group, Ninth Air Force). When using the abbreviated
organizational name, do not include the “th” or “d” (42 MSG, 9 AF).
c. Always use numerals for:
i. Percentages, scores, ratios (10%, not ten % except in decorations which
has to be spelled out).
ii. Dimension, size, and temperature (size 11 shoe).
iii. Numbers referred to as numbers (No 1, #1, number 1).
iv. Measurements.
v. Age.
d. If using dollar amounts or numbers in the thousands or millions, you can also
express that number in K or M, such as $4M or $4K.
e. In OPRs/EPRs, an actual number can be used if requiring space.
10. If spelled out, the terms “professional military education” and “professional continuing
education” are not capitalized. Exception: if part of a title (e.g., College of Enlisted
Professional Military Education), then it is capitalized.
Decorations Rules/Style Guidance
1. Spelling errors are unacceptable. Use spell-check and/or a dictionary.
2. Abbreviations and acronyms are not allowed in decorations.
3. Do not separate rank and name between succeeding lines.
4. Meritorious Service Medal and Commendation Medal citations are 14 lines maximum.
5. Achievement Medal citations are 11 or 12 lines maximum.
1. Attempt to alternate between rank/last name and personal pronouns at the beginning of
2. Names of official operations should appear in this format: Operation ENDURING
FREEDOM; Operation NOBLE EAGLE. Abbreviations are not acceptable.
3. Spell out numbers under 10. When a sentence contains numbers in a series and any
numbers in the series are 10 or more, express all in numerals (9 hamburgers, 12 hot dogs,
6 cookies).
4. Symbols are not allowed in decorations (spell out “percent” and “dollars”).
Commonly Used Acronyms:
Reports and AF IMT 1206
Acronyms that are commonly used AF-wide do not need to be spelled out. This list is a guide
and is not all inclusive. Acronyms that are not commonly used outside an organization or AFSC
should be spelled out.
AF Air Force
AFPC Air Force Personnel Center
CGO Company Grade Officer
CSAF Chief of Staff of the Air Force
CMSAF Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
DOD or DoD Department of Defense
FGO Field Grade Officer
GO General Officer
HAF Headquarters Air Force
IDE Intermediate Developmental Education
IA Information Assurance
IG Inspector General
IT Information Technology
MAJCOM Major Command
NCO Non Commission Officer
PME Professional Military Education
POTUS President of the United States
SDE Senior Developmental Education
SecAF, SAF Secretary of the Air Force
SecDef Secretary of Defense
SME Subject matter expert
SNCO Senior Non Commissioned Officer
USAF United States Air Force
MAJCOMs and COCOMs do not need to be spelled out.
Decoration Citations
Spell out all acronyms in decorations.
General Correspondence
Spell out acronyms the first time they are used on all general correspondence to include
memorandums and letters.
Use of abbreviations should be minimized to avoid misinterpretation and ease readability. Just
because an abbreviation is on this list does not mean it will automatically make sense in the
context of the bullet. Read it as the panel will read it.
Abbreviation abbr
Academic; Academy acad
Accommodate; Accommodation; accom
Accompanied; Accompany “
Accomplish accomp
Account; Accountant; Accounting acct
Accreditation accred
Active Duty; Administratively Determined AD
Additional add’l; addn
Administer; Administration; admin
Administrative; Administrate
Advance; Advancement adv
Air Force AF
Air Force Specialty Code AFSC
Agency agcy
Acknowledge ack
Aircraft acft
Airman Amn
Airman Basic AB
Airman First Class A1C
Allocate; Allocation alloc
Alphabetical alpha
Alternate alt
Ammunition ammo
Amount amt
Analysis; analyst analy
And &
Air National Guard ANG
Application app; applic
Appointment appt
Approval; Approve appr
Approximate approx
Air Guard Program ARG
Arrival; Arrive arr
Associate; Association assoc
Assignment asgn
Assist; Assistant asst
Attach; Attachment atch
Attention attn
Attorney atty
Authority; Authorization; Authorize auth
Automatic auto
Auxiliary aux
Available; Availability avail
Avenue ave
Average avg
Award awd
Balance bal
Board bd
Boulevard blvd
Brigadier General Brig Gen (USAF)
Building bldg
Business bus
Calculate calc
Cancel canx
Capital; Capacity cap
Captain Capt
Category cat
Center ctr; cen
Certificate; Certification cert
Certified cert’d
Chairman Chmn
Change chg
Chaplain; Chief ch
Chapter chap
Charge chrg
Check; Checked ck; chk
Chief Master Sergeant CMSgt
Chronological chrono
Civil; Civilian civ
Clear clr
Colonel Col
Combat cmbt
Command; Commandant cmd; comdt
Commander CC; cdr; cmdr; comdr
Committee cmte
Communication(s) comm
Company co
Conference conf
Construction ; Construct const
Continue cont
Contract ; Contractor contr
Control ctl; ctrl
Coordinate ; Coordination coord
Copy cy
Corporate corp
Country ctry
Course; Courses crs; crses
Currency curr
Customer cust
Decoration dec
Deduct ded
Defense def
Degree deg
Delete del
Depart; Departure; Depot; Deputy dep
Department dept
Department of Defense DoD; DOD
Develop; Development dev
Disbursement disb
Discipline dspln
Discount; Discontinue disc
Disposition disp
Distribute; Distribution dist
Director; Directorate dir
Division div
Document; Documentation doc
Down dn
Dozen doz; dz
Duplicate dup
Each ea
Edition; Editor ed
Education educ
Effect; Effective eff
Eligible elig
Eliminate elim
Emergency emerg
End-of-term EOT
Endorsement endr
English engl
Engineer; Engineering engn
Entitle; Entitlement entl
Equal eq
Equipment equip
Equivalent equiv
Estimate est
Etcetera etc
Evacuation evac
Evaluate; Evaluation eval
Examination exam
Exchange exch; exchg
Executive exec
Exercise ex; exer
Expedite exped
Expense exp
Experiment; Experimental exper
Extend; Extension ext
Facility; Faculty fac
Facsimile fax
Faculty fac; facu
Favorable fav
February Feb
Federal fed
Field fld
Figure fig
Finance; Financial fin
First Lieutenant 1st Lt; 1 Lt
Fiscal Year FY
Fitness fit
Flight flt
Flight Plan flt pln
Foreign fgn
Form frm; fm
Format fmt
Forward fwd
Fraudulent fraud
Frequency; frequent freq
Friday Fri
General Gen (USAF)
Geography; Geographic geog
Governor gov
Government govt
Grade Point Average GPA
Graduate grad
Ground gnd
Group grp; gp
Guarantee guar
Headquarters HQ
Health hlth
Height ht
High School HS
Highway hwy
History hist
Honorable hon
Hospital hosp
Hours hrs
Identification ident
Identified ID’d
Immediate immed
Immunization immun
Implementation impl
Include incl
Incorporate inc; incorp
Increase; Increment incr
Industry; Indorsement ind
Indefinite indef
Independent indep
Individual indiv
Indoctrinate indoc
Indorsement; Industry ind
Information info
Initial; Initialize init
Injury inj
Inoperative inop
Inquiry inq
Inspect; Inspector insp
Institute; Institution inst
Instructor instr
Insurance ins
Intelligence intel
International intl; int’l
Introduced; Introduction intro
Inventory inv
Itinerary itin
Joint jt; jnt
Journal jour
July Jul
June Jun
Junior Jr.
Laboratory lab
Language lang
Large lrg
Latitude lat
Leader ldr
Leadership ldrsp; ldrshp
Leave lv
Legal lgl
Lesson(s) lsn(s)
Letter ltr
Level lvl
Library lib
License lic
Lieutenant Lt
Lieutenant General Lt Gen (USAF)
Limited ltd
Limited Active Duty Orders LEAD
Liquid liq
Locate loc
Logistic log
Longitude long
Magazine mag
Maintenance maint
Major Maj
Manufacturing mfg
Manager mgr
Managed manag’d
Management mgt; mgmt
March Mar
Master Sergeant MSgt
Maximum max
Measure mea
Member mbr
Medical; Medium; Median med
Meeting mtg
Membership mbrshp; mbrsp
Memorandum memo
Message msg
Method meth
Military mil
Minimum; Minute min
Miscellaneous misc
Mission msn
Mobilization; Mobilize mob
Modification; Modify mod
Monday Mon
Month; Months mo; mos
Multiple mult
National nat’l; natl
Negative neg
Next of Kin NOK
Nominate; Nominee nom
Normal norm
Not Applicable N/A
November Nov
Nuclear nuc
Number; Numerical num
Object obj
Obsolete obs
Occupation occup
October Oct
Office ofc
Officer(s) ofcr(s)
Officership ofcrsp; ofcrshp
On-The-Job Training OJT
Operations ops
Opportunity oppor
Option opt
Order; Ordnance ord
Organization org
Original orig
Overtime OT
Page pg
Pamphlet pam
Paragraph para
Parenthesis; Parentheses paren
Patient; Point pt
Payment (s) pmt (s)
Percent pct
Performance perf
Perimeter perim
Period pd
Permanent perm
Personnel pers; psnl
Physical phys
Package pkg
Plan pln
Planning plng
Please pls
Pledge pldg
Population pop
Positive pos
Position posn
Possession; Possible poss
Potential pot
Preference pref
Preliminary prelim
Premium prem
Prepare prep
President; Presentation pres
Previous prev
Priority pri
Primary prim
Principal prin
Private priv
Problem prob
Process proc
Professional; Professor prof
Program; Programmers prog; prgm; prgmrs
Project; Projectile proj
Promotion promo
Psychology psych
Publication pub
Purchase; Purchasing pur
Purpose purp
Quality qual
Quantity qty
Quart qt
Quarter qtr
Quarterly qtrly
Range rng
Rank rnk
Received rec’d
Recommendation rec; rcmdt
Reconnaissance recce; recon
Recognition; Recognize recog
Re-enlist re-enl
Re-examination re-exam
Refer; Reference ref
Regional rgnl
Registrar regr
Regular; Regulation reg
Reject rej
Religion relig
Reorganize reorg
Report rpt
Representative; Represent rep
Request req
Research rsch
Reserve res; resrv
Reserve Airman Not on Active Duty Orders Non-EAD
Resignation resig
Responsible resp; respon
Result rslt
Retired ret
Return rtn
Review(ed) rvw(‘d)
Require rqr
Requirements rqmts
Route rte
Runway rwy
Saturday Sat
Schedule; School sch; sched
Science sci
Screen scrn
Search srch
Second; Section sec
Secretary secy
Security scty
Select; Selection sel
Semester sem
Senate sen
Senior sr
Senior Airman SrA
Senior Master Sergeant SMSgt
Separate sep
September Sep
Sequence seq
Service svc
Signal; Signature sig
Situation sit
Size sz
Software s/w
Society soc
Specification; Specify spec
Sponsor spon
Squadron; Square sq; sqd; sqdn
Staff Sergeant SSgt
Standard std
Statistic stat
Storage stor
Strategic; Stratification; Strategy strat
Street st
Student stu
Structure strc
Subject subj
Subordinate subor
Subparagraph subpara
Substitute sub
Summary sum
Sunday Sun
Superintendent supt
Supervisor supv
Supplement supp
Supply; superior sup
Support spt
Surgeon; Surgical surg
Survey sur
Survival surv
Suspense susp
System sys
Target tgt
Tax tx
Team tm
Technical tech
Technical Sergeant TSgt
Telecommunications telecom
Telephone tel; tele
Telephone Conference telecon
Temperature; Temporary temp
Terminate; Termination term
Territory terr
Text txt
Theater thtr
Thousand thou
Thursday Thurs
Total tot
Traditional trad
Training tng; trng
Transaction; Transport; Transportation trans
Transfer xfer
Travel tvl
Transmit; transmittal xmit
Treatment trmt
Tuesday Tues
Unclassified unclas
Unfavorable unfav
Universal; University univ
Unknown unk
Unsecure unsec
Urgent urg
Ultimately ult
Vacant; Vacate vac
Vehicle veh
Vertical vert
Veteran vet
Vice President VP
Visibility; Visual vis
Volume; Volunteer vol
Volunteered vol’d
Weapon wpn
Wednesday Wed
Week wk
Weight wt
With w/
Wing wg
Withdrawn wd
Workgroup(s) wkgp(s)
Workshop wkshp
Year yr
Hyphenated Words
Air Force-wide As shown
decision-making (adj) As shown (decision-making process)
decision making (n) (process of decision making)
e-mail As shown
Force-multiplier As shown
forward-thinking (adj) As shown
hand selected (v) As shown
or hand-selected (adj)
high-tech or hi-tech As shown
in-residence use - when referring to school
attendance, otherwise can be 2 words
on-line; online As shown
single-handedly As shown
2-star or two-star As shown
Commonly Used Words
Air Force’s As shown
Airman; Airmen As shown
Counterinsurgency As shown
follow-up (adj/noun) Not followup
follow up (verb)
general officer As shown
groundbreaking As shown
handpicked (verb) As shown
hand-picked (adj/noun)
interservice As shown defined as: between or
amongst various services
intraservice As shown defined as: within the confines
of one service
joint Not capitalized unless part of
a title, i.e., Joint Chiefs of Staff. Otherwise
written joint air campaign or joint doctrine
linchpin; lynchpin As shown; either is acceptable
multi In forming compounds, multi is normally
joined to the following word or element
without a space or hyphen; multitalented,
multimedia, multinational, etc. However,
if the second element begins with “I,” it is
separated with a hyphen: multi-infection
nationwide As shown
non In forming compounds, non is normally
joined to the following word or element
without a space or hyphen:
noncommissioned, noncompliance,
nonproliferation, etc. However; if the
second element begins with a capital letter,
it is separated with a hyphen: non-French
point man As shown
professional military education Do not capitalize when referring to PME in
(PME) general. Capitalize when part of a title, i.e.,
College for Enlisted Professional Military
Education (CEPME)
re In forming compounds, “re” is normally
joined to the following word or element
without a space or hyphen: reopen, rearm,
recapture, redress, reissue, etc. However,
if the second element begins with “e” it is
separated with a hyphen: re-entry
self When self if joined with a word that can
stand alone, it is joined by a hyphen:
self-deception, self-confident, self-
motivated. In the rare cases when self
is joined with a word that cannot stand
alone, it is joined without a space or hyphen
topnotch; top-notch; As shown; all are acceptable
top notch
trans In forming compounds, “trans” is normally
joined to the following word or element
without a space or hyphen: transcontinental,
etc. However, if the second element begins
with a capital letter, it is usually separated
by a hyphen: trans-Canadian. Note “certain
compounds have become one word over a
period of time: transatlantic, so check the
dictionary if in doubt
Total Force Capitalize when referring to an inclusive
Air Force perspective (active duty, guard,
reserves, civilian, etc)
unwavering As shown
web master As shown
web page As shown
website; web site As shown; either is acceptable
worldwide As shown
warfighter; warfighting As shown unless, of course, if the fighting is
a verb (she is in the war fighting insurgents)

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