Grammar & Mechanics
Adhering to certain rules of grammar and mechanics helps us keep our writing clear and consistent. This section will lay out our house style, which applies to all of our content unless otherwise noted in this guide.
- Write for all readers. Some people will read every word you write. Others will just skim. Help everyone read better by grouping related ideas together and using descriptive headers and subheaders.
- Focus your message. Create a hierarchy of information. Lead with the main point or the most important content, in sentences, paragraphs, sections, and pages.
- Be concise. Use short words and sentences. Avoid unnecessary modifiers.
- Be specific. Avoid vague language. Cut the fluff.
- Be consistent. Stick to the copy patterns and style points outlined in this guide.
BACK TO TOP
Abbreviations & Acronyms
If there’s a chance your reader won’t recognize an abbreviation or acronym, spell it out the first time you mention it. Then use the short version for all other references. If the abbreviation isn’t clearly related to the full version, specify in parentheses.
- First use: Village Championships Downhill Series
- Second use: VCDH
If the abbreviation or acronym is well known, like PDF or HTML, use it instead (and don’t worry about spelling it out).
Do not abbreviate proper names or business, like using MMI for Mammoth Mountain Inn, or MSBG for Mountainside Bar & Grill
Use active voice. Avoid passive voice.
In active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it.
- Yes: Marti logged into the account.
- No: The account was logged into by Marti.
Words like “was” and “by” may indicate that you’re writing in passive voice. Scan for these words and rework sentences where they appear.
One exception is when you want to specifically emphasize the action over the subject. In some cases, this is fine.
- Your account was flagged by our abuse team.
We use a few different forms of capitalization. Title case capitalizes the first letter of every word except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. Sentence case capitalizes the first letter of the first word.
When writing out an email address or website URL, capitalize all the words to help identify them better.
Don't capitalize random words in the middle of sentences. Here are some words that we never capitalize in a sentence. For more, see the Word List.
- pro (unless part of a proper name, like Pro GRT)
- bike park (unless using the full name: Mammoth Bike Park)
- sport discipline categories (cross country, downhill, enduro, super-G, halfpipe, slopestyle)
- terrain park (unless using the full name: Unbound Terrain Park)
- happy hour
They’re great! They give your writing an informal, friendly tone. In most cases, use them as you see fit. Avoid them if you're writing content that will be translation translated for an international audience.
Do not use emojis on the web.
Spell out a number when it begins a sentence. Otherwise, use the numeral, as it is easier for the reader to scan quicker. This includes ordinals, too.
- Ten inches of snow fell today after the 16 we received yesterday.
- The shuttle departs every 5 minutes.
- Kelly Clark won 1st place in women’s half pipe.
- We hosted a group of 8th graders who are learning to ski.
Numbers over three digits get commas:
Write out big numbers in full. Abbreviate them if there are space restraints, as in a tweet or a chart: 1k, 150k.
Generally, spell out the day of the week and the month. Abbreviate only if space is an issue in the app, but keep consistent (all or none). Do not use st/nd/rd/th after dates, as it just adds unnecessary characters.
- Yes: Saturday, January 24
- Yes: Sat., Jan 24
- No: Saturday, Jan 24th
Decimals & Fractions
Spell out fractions.
Use decimal points when a number can’t be easily written out as a fraction, like 1.375 or 47.2.
Use the % symbol instead of spelling out "percent."
Ranges & Spans
Use an en dash (–) with no spaces around it to indicate a range or span of numbers, dates or days.
- Open Monday–Friday
- Feb 20–27
When writing about US currency, use the dollar sign before the amount. Include a decimal and number of cents if more than 0.
If writing a pricing range, use the dollar sign on both prices separated with an en dash
When writing about other currencies, follow the same symbol-amount format:
Use periods without spaces between numbers. Use a country code if your reader is in another country.
- 800.MAMMOTH (Mammoth should always be in all caps)
Use the degree symbol and the capital F abbreviation for Fahrenheit, or the word “degrees.”
To generalize the temperature, you can say "the temps are in the 60s" (no apostrophe).
Use numerals and capital AM or PM, WITHOUT a space in between. Don’t use minutes for on-the-hour time. If time a range is all within the morning or afternoon, only use the AM/PM on the last time. Use an en dash without spaces to indicate a time period..
Specify time zones when writing about an event or something else people would need to schedule. Since Mammoth is in California, we default to PT.
Abbreviate time zones within the continental United States as follows:
- Eastern time: ET
- Central time: CT
- Mountain time: MT
- Pacific time: PT
When referring to international time zones, spell them out: Nepal Standard Time, Australian Eastern Time. If a time zone does not have a set name, use its Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) offset.
Abbreviate decades when referring to those within the past 100 years.
When referring to decades more than 100 years ago, be more specific:
When referring to specific ski seasons, use the full year opening day falls on followed by a backslash, then the last two digits of year the ski season ends in.
Just the last two digits can be used on second reference
BACK TO TOP
The apostrophe’s most common use is making a word possessive. If the word already ends in an s and it’s singular, you also add an ‘s. If the word ends in an s and is plural, just add an apostrophe.
- The donut thief ate Sam’s donut.
- The donut thief ate Chris’s donut.
- The donut thief ate the managers’ donuts.
Apostrophes can also be used to denote that you’ve dropped some letters from a word, usually for humor or emphasis. This is fine, but do it sparingly.
In some cases, it's not clear on whether it should be plural and possessive, or just possessive, so it is cleanest to simply omit the apostrophe.
Use a colon (rather than an ellipsis, em dash, or comma) to offset a list.
- Erin ordered 3 kinds of donuts: glazed, chocolate, and pumpkin.
You can also use a colon to join 2 related phrases. If a complete sentence follows the colon, capitalize the 1st word.
- I was faced with a dilemma: I wanted a donut, but I’d just eaten a bagel.
When writing a list, use the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma).
- Yes: David admires his parents, Oprah, and Justin Timberlake.
- No: David admires his parents, Oprah and Justin Timberlake.
Otherwise, use common sense. If you’re unsure, read the sentence out loud. Where you find yourself taking a breath, use a comma.
Dashes & Hyphens
Use a hyphen (-) without spaces on either side to link words into single phrase.
- first-time user
- family-friendly activities
Use an en dash (–) with spaces on either side to offset an aside. Use a true en dash, not hyphens (-).
- Choose the resort where you want to ride – Mammoth or Snow Summit – and save big this season.
- Get the lowest lodging rates of the season – starting at $119/person.
(Hint: en dash short cut on PC is holding down the alt button while typing 0150)
Do not use ellipses (…) on the web.
Periods go inside quotation marks. They go outside parentheses when the parenthetical is part of a larger sentence, and inside parentheses when the parenthetical stands alone.
- Christy said, “I ate a donut.”
- I ate a donut (and I ate a bagel, too).
- I ate a donut and a bagel. (The donut was Sam’s.)
Leave a single space between sentences.
Question marks go inside quotation marks if they’re part of the quote. Like periods, they go outside parentheses when the parenthetical is part of a larger sentence, and inside parentheses when the parenthetical stands alone.
Don’t use exclamation points on the web.
Periods and commas go within quotation marks. Question marks within quotes follow logic—if the question mark is part of the quotation, it goes within. If you’re asking a question that ends with a quote, it goes outside the quote.
Go easy on semicolons. They usually support long, complicated sentences that could easily be simplified. Try an en dash (–) instead, or simply start a new sentence.
They can be used in titles and headlines instead of the word “and” to cut the character count, but ampersands should never be used in body copy unless one is part of a company or brand name.
- Tickets & Passes
- Stay & Gondola Package
- Rentals, Demos & More
- Yodler Restaurant & Bar
- Mountainside Bar & Grill
- Mammoth Ski & Snowboard School
The + sign should NOT be substituted for the ampersand, unless one is part of a name.
BACK TO TOP
- Lift+Lodging package
- Mammoth + Summit Bike Park Pass
People, Places & Things
If your subject’s gender is unknown or irrelevant, use “they,” “them,” and “their” as a singular pronoun. Use “he/him/his” and “she/her/hers” pronouns as appropriate. Don’t use “one” as a pronoun.
Cities, States & Countries
Spell out all city and country names (except the U.S); states should be abbreviated.
Websites & URLs
When linking to 3rd party sites, don’t just use the URL as the link. Tell the them where you are linking to and capitalize the website name. If you have to use the exact URL, then leave off the “http://www.”
Honor companies’ own names for themselves and their products. Go by what’s used on their official website.
Refer to a company or product as “it” (not “they”).
BACK TO TOP
Slang & Jargon
Write in plain English. If you need to use a technical term, briefly define it so everyone can understand.
- Leave one space between sentences, never two.
- Never center or right-align text (unless the type of content block you’re using is preset that way).
- Don’t use underline formatting unless it’s to distinguish a hyperlink.
- Don’t use any combination of italic, bold, caps, and underline – only one!
- Do not italicize, bold or underline preset heading fonts (h1, h2, etc.)
- To emphasize a single word, use all capitals; do not bold or italicize the word: Save on lodging AND lift tickets / Save 25% now PLUS kids ski free.
- Also, use all capital letters when referencing button and navigation labels in step-by-step instructions: When you're all done, click SEND.
Use positive language rather than negative language. One way to detect negative language is to look for words like “can’t,” “don’t,” etc.
BACK TO TOP
- Yes: To get a donut, stand in line.
- No: You can’t get a donut if you don’t stand in line.
These words and phrases can be slippery. Here’s how we write them.
après / après-ski
Means “after” in French. Use a hyphen when connecting the word “ski.”
No need to spell out Bar-B-Que
Blackout dates apply.
Blackout is one word. Numerical dates should follow statement inside parenthesis, with dates/ranges separate by a semicolon: (12/18/17–1/12/18; 2/2/18; 2/22/18–3/2/18)
All hyphenated with capital letters except “tickets.” Not called points or vouchers. Never abbreviate with BAF.
buy one, get one (BOGO)
No hyphens. Separated with a comma.
Always needs the accent. Lowercase, unless part of a name (Eleven53 Café or The Mill Café).
Always use full name: Campo Mammoth. Can say Campo with second reference.
One word; referring to as “lift” ok. When referring to a specific one, capitalize the C and use the number
- Chair 23: If the chairlift has a proper name, use the name followed by the chair number in parenthesis with a capital C
- Broadway Express (Chair 1)
check-in (noun or adjective) / check in (verb)
You will receive your tickets at check-in (noun). Visit the check-in counter (adj.). To check in, visit the front desk (verb).
check-out (noun or adjective) / check out (verb) / checkout
- check-out: hyphenate; means to leave a hotel
- check out: two words; means to investigate.
- checkout: one word; means to pay at a retail location:
Two words; no hyphen. Can use “XC” on second reference; must be capitalized.
As in a halfpipe or terrain park. Two words; no hyphen.
Two words, both capitalized; no hyphen.
Capitalized with numerical 53. Should never be used alone.
- No: Located at Eleven53.
- Yes: Located near the Eleven53 Interpretive Center & Café.
- Yes: Located inside the Eleven53 Interpretive Center.
- Yes: Dine at the Eleven53 Café.
No hyphen; lowercase.
fly fish / fly fishing
freeride / freeriding
full-price (adjective) / full price (noun)
- A full-price lift ticket.
- Get a ticket at full price.
Only capitalized if using a proper name.
- Village Gondola
- Panorama Gondola (not Panormic)
half-price (adjective) / half price (noun)
- A full-price lift-ticket.
- Get a ticket at full price.
Two words; not capitalized.
Not spa (indicates spa services), not Jacuzzi (brand name), not whirlpool.
Abbreviation for identification; no periods (I.D.).
Capitalized. Should be called Mammoth Lakes Basin on first reference; can be called Lakes Basin on second reference.
Use + sign with no spaces around it. Capitalize both Ls, but not the P in package.
Can call them “tickets” on second reference.
Use numerals; hyphenate and capitalize (ex: 1-Day Lift Ticket, 2-Day Lift Ticket)
- 1-Day Lift Ticket
- 2-Day Lift Ticket
- 2 of 3 Day Lift Ticket
- 3 of 4 Day Lift Ticket
Both words capitalized.
Mammoth Lodging Collection
All words are capitalized. Can be followed by the word “property/properties,” which is not capitalized.
Never use on any guest-facing pages; only appropriate use is for B2B content. If needing to include content about all 4 resorts, generalize without calling they
- No: Welcome to Mammoth Resorts web chat.
- Yes: Welcome to Mammoth Mountain. How can we assist you?
- No: Now available at all Mammoth Resorts: (list out 4 resorts)
- Yes: Now available at these resorts: (list out 4 resorts)
Mammoth + Summit Bike Park Pass
All capitalized with spaces around the + sign (unlike Lift+Lodging). Can be called Mammoth + Summit Pass or bike park pass on second reference.
Hyphenated. Capitalize when in a name/product (Mid-Week Pass).
national park/ national monument
Only capitalized if naming a specific place (Yosemite National Park).
Lowercase. Only capitalized when in an actual name (Cali4nia Pass, Mid-Week Pass).
One word. P and C capitalized.
Lowercase. Only capitalized if following a pass name (Cali4nia Passholder).
Premiere (noun or verb) / premier (adjective)
With an ‘e’ – means first/initial (Movie premiere).
Without an ‘e’ – means best or first in rank/status (Mammoth is California’s premier resort).
Lowercase; no hyphen. Pronounced "pre fix."
Lowercase; two words.
Lowercase when referring to a region. Capitalize when in a title.
- Mammoth Lakes is a resort town.
- Juniper Springs Resort
Lowercase unless in a headline.
- Yes. Savings are…
- No: Savings is…
Always capitalized; never plural.
• Yes: The Sierra
• No: The Sierras
Can also be used as in High Sierra, Eastern Sierra, Sierra Nevada, the Sierra Nevada mountains (never capitalize “mountains”).
Two words; no hyphen.
Two words. Not capitalized unless part of a name (Mammoth Mountain Ski Area).
Hyphenate both with a comma in between.
Lowercase; one word.
Two words. Only capitalize in name (Woolly’s Tube Park & Snow Play).
Abbreviation for Southern California. Two words; capitalize S and C.
One word. Only capitalize when referring to a specific place (Steeps Sundeck or Main Lodge Sundeck).
Two words; not capitalized.
One word; capitalized because it comes from the Telemark region of Norway.
Lower case, unless referring to proper name. (Unbound Terrain Parks).
- halfpipe: one word; lowercase.
- minipipe: one word; lowercase.
- superpipe: one word; lowercase.
- Super Duper Pipe: three words; capitalized.
- airbag: one word; lowercase.
- boardercross: one word; lowercase.
- skiercross: one word; lowercase.
two-for-one / 2-for-1
The Village at Mammoth
Always include and capitalize ”The.” Can say “The Village” if needed for space, or on second reference.
Hyphenated when used as adjective (wood-burning stove).
Two words; no hyphen.
One word; lowercase.
Hyphenated with capital W and F.
Always capitalized. Two Os and two Ls. Do not use pronouns when writing about (he/his, etc.) – it’s hard, but get creative.
Not “The Yodler,” but can use lowercase “the” before the name when talking about it.
Words to avoid
BACK TO TOP
- killing it
- epic (too closely tied to Vail Resorts)
- puking/puked (when referring to snowfall)
Every piece of content we publish is supported by a number of smaller pieces. This section lays out our style in regards to these web elements, and explains our approach to the tricky art of SEO.
Buttons should always contain actions. The language should be clear and concise with no more than four words. Text should be all capitals (default setting). Use an ampersand in button copy, if needed, to limit characters.
Standard website buttons include:
- BUY NOW
- BOOK NOW
- LEARN MORE
- CHECK IT OUT
+ More Dropdown
Dropdown button should be clear and concise telling users exactly what information lives in that section. Use an ampersand in button copy, if needed, to limit characters. Use title case.
- Details & Restrictions (or one or the other if both types of information are not present).
- View Full List
Use sentence case for checkboxes.
Use title case for menu names and sentence case for menu items.
- Form titles should clearly and quickly explain the purpose of the form.
- Use title case for form titles and sentence case for form fields.
- Keep forms as short as possible.
- Only request information that we need and intend to use. Don’t ask for information that could be considered private or personal, including gender. If you need to ask for gender, provide a field the user can fill in on their own, not a drop-down menu.
Headings & Subheadings (See also Headers & Typography)
- Headings and subheadings organize content for readers. Be generous and descriptive.
- Headings (h1) give people a taste of what they’re about to read. Use them for page and blog titles.
- Subheadings (h2, h3, etc.) break the page information into smaller, more specific sections. They give readers avenues into your content and make it more scannable.
- Include the most relevant keywords in your headings and subheadings, and make sure you cover the main point of the content.
- Use all capital letters for the heading (default setting). Use title case for subheadings with no punctuation.
Provide a link whenever you’re referring to something on an external website. Use links to point users to relevant content and trusted external resources.
Don’t include preceding articles (a, an, the, our) when you link text. For example:
If a link comes at the end of a sentence or before a comma, don’t link the punctuation mark.
Don’t say things like “Click here!” or “Click for more information” or “Read this.” Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.
Links should look different than regular copy, strong text, or emphasis text. They should have a hover state that communicates they’re interactive, and should have a distinct active and visited state. When setting the hover state of links, be sure to include focus state as well, to help readers using assistive technologies and touch devices.
Use lists to present steps, groups, or sets of information. Give context for the list with a brief introduction. Number lists when the order is important, like when you’re describing steps of a process. Don’t use numbers when the list’s order doesn’t matter.
If one of the list items is a complete sentence, use proper punctuation and capitalization on all of the items. If list items are not complete sentences, don’t use punctuation, but do capitalize the first word of each item.
- Use title case for all navigation.
- Navigation links should be clear and concise.
Use title case for headings and sentence case for button fields.
Titles organize pages and guide readers. A title appears at the beginning of a page or section and briefly describes the content that follows.
- Titles are (you guessed it) in title case.
- Don’t use punctuation in a title unless the title is a question.
We write for humans, not machines. We don't use gross SEO techniques like keyword stuffing to bump search results. But we also want to make it easy for people and search engines to find and share our content. Here are some not-icky ways to do this:
BACK TO TOP
- Organize your page around one topic. Use clear, descriptive terms in titles and headings that relate to the topic at hand.
- Use descriptive headings to structure your page and highlight important information.
- Give every image descriptive alt text.