Cities

The city of...

Always lowercase the word city in constructions such as, "the city of Kalamazoo." In general, the construction the "city of" is unnecessary, except as a nonspecific reference to the government of a city.

Use: "Funding was provided by the city of Kalamazoo." (meaning the government).
Use: "He was born in Kalamazoo" rather than, "He was born in the city of Kalamazoo."
See similar style under states.

Do not abbreviate names of cities

Use: Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Los Angeles
Not: Chi., Det., NYC, L.A.

Use: Mount Pleasant, Fort Wayne
Not: Mt. Pleasant, Ft. Wayne (except in addresses)

Exception: Use the abbreviation for "Saint" in city names such as St. Louis and St. Paul. Note: Sault Ste. Marie is abbreviated "Ste." because the full spelling is "Sainte."

Which cities need to be identified by state

Certain cities do not need to be identified by state in most contexts. Because WMU is based in Kalamazoo, you may always assume that readers of our University's communications will know you mean Kalamazoo, Mich. Similarly, you do not need to identify by state, cities of international prominence. It is not necessary, and may be unintentionally patronizing, to explain that Chicago is in Illinois.

U.S. cities that generally do not need to be identified by state

Atlanta
Baltimore
Boston
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Dallas
Denver
Detroit
Honolulu
Houston
Indianapolis
Kalamazoo
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Miami
Milwaukee
Minneapolis
New Orleans
New York
Oklahoma City
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Pittsburgh
St. Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
Seattle

Most other cities must be identified by state, at least in the first reference. That includes Kalamazoo-area communities such as Battle Creek, Portage, Galesburg, Vicksburg, Richland, and Paw Paw, Mich.

The scope and perspective of Western Michigan University is national and international, and so are the audiences to which we write. There are 16 states that have cities named Rochester, including Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. The largest and probably best known U.S. city named Rochester is in New York. If you write, "The students traveled to Rochester, Mich.," there is no question which Rochester you mean, even for readers in Rochester, N.Y.