Tag Archives: capitalization

French fries or french fries? How to Capitalize Food Names

www.RuthlessEditor.comI thought the geographic locations of food names such as French (fries), Swiss (cheese) and Russian (dressing) always were capitalized. I just learned that this Ruthless Editor was wrong … sort of.

When searching online for clarification, I found this wonderful post on one of my favorite websites: grammarphobia.com

Hosted by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman, it provides a comprehensive explanation of what to capitalize when.

The post: How to Capitalize Food Names Continue

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Graduation Grammar: Alumn, Cum Laude, Emeritus … And More

www.RuthlessEditor.comSpring brings graduations, along with confusion about use and misuse of related terms. Let’s clear up a few.

Do you say: “Seth graduated Harvard University last week.”

What about: “Becca will graduate Clemmons High School in May.”

Neither is correct. Why? Continue

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Happy New Year (or new year?) 2017!

new_year_2017Happy New Year! … almost.

Starting a new year poses two grammatical challenges: First, how do we refer to the exact time we begin a new year?

The answer: not 12:00 p.m., not 12:00 a.m., not 12 midnight, but simply midnight.

A favorite grammar site, grammarphobia.com, concurs with my primary reference, The Associated Press Stylebook: Continue

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Got Grammar Pet Peeves? You’re Not Alone

annoyed_grammar_pet_peevesI invited those of you on my email list to share your grammar pet peeves, and the results are in!

First: What is grammar? Grammar encompasses the words we choose and how we punctuate them — how we string them together.

Words give our sentences meaning, and punctuation marks tell us when to pause or stop, when to raise our voice or show emotion, when we’re asking a question versus making a statement.

Here are your pet peeves: ways others speak and write that you find annoying. They’re alphabetized so you can skim and select what interests or resonates with you. I’ve commented here and there and added examples. Continue

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What Do You Say: Lie Or Lay?

lie-vs-lay-on-beachDo you lie down or lay down? Do you lie the book on the table or lay the book on the table?

Lie vs. lay is one of our most confusing word choices.

You might want to lie down when you finish reading this blog, but I’m going to lay it on you anyway. I’m counting on my examples to help you make the right choices. Continue

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When To Capitalize Groups: Board, Company, Department, Committee

Organizations sometimes have their own writing style for internal documents — board of directors meetings Organizations sometimes have their own style guide for internal documents — annual reports, board of directors meetings notes, newsletters or emails, for example — in which capitalization use varies from external public documents.

For example, you might see Bank or Company capitalized throughout an internal piece, even in absence of the full official name.

The following guidelines will help you know when, in general, to capitalize and when to use lower case for business-related terms. Continue

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Confused about Earth vs. earth? You’re Not Alone!

Eart from outerpaceMy last blog dealt with word use that I and many others find confusing: different from vs. different than and compared to vs. compared with.

Here’s another word puzzle I’d like to solve. After spending considerable time online trying to understand when to capitalize Earth and when to use a lowercase e, I’m still not sure. Here’s what I found. Continue

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The RNC: Abbreviations, Acronyms and Parentheses

Republican ElephantAlways searching for grammar lessons, I caught this online report about the Republican candidates and the presidential debates. It’s an example of how not to use an abbreviation or an acronym.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus sent a letter to the chairman of NBC on behalf of the Republican National Committee. The excerpt that follows shows how Priebus put the committee’s abbreviation (RNC) in parentheses as though the reader, the head of NBC, might not recognize it on second mention.

The chairman of NBC might not recognize the abbreviation RNC in that context? Really?

Different style guides make different recommendations. Let’s first look at the Priebus’ letter (bolding is mine): Continue

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Grammar & Online Dating: R U Mr/Ms Rite?

Online DatingA CEO client who values skilled language usage as much as I do sent me a link to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal about grammar and online dating sites:

What’s Really Hot on Dating Sites? Proper Grammar

I know what you’re thinking: What? I can’t be creative and just express myself, grammar shortcuts and all?! Do I need to hire an editor for my online profile? Continue

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