“We’re judged by the way we write and speak,” I often say.
Jeff Rubin, who founded National Punctuation Day in 2004, agrees:
“People judge us by the way we present ourselves — how we act, how we look, how we speak and how we write. When we are professional in all of these areas, we get our feet in the door for our choice of college, scholarship, job, promotion or business deal. If you’re unprofessional in any of these areas, it can cost you.”
As National Punctuation Day approaches — Monday, Sept. 24 — I’m sharing what I’ve found online about which punctuation mark is misused most often. Continue →
Bullet points help readers scan what you’ve written, quickly drawing attention to key issues and facts. They can tell readers what needs to be done, provide step-by-step instructions, highlight important elements, or list features.
Bullets can be round, square, triangular, diamond, or even customized or whimsical graphics. When listing steps to take, numbers can serve as bullet points to emphasize the correct sequence.
There are no fixed rules of grammar about how to use bullet points, but here are some guidelines. Continue →
What is grammar? It encompasses the words you choose, how you string them together, and how you punctuate them to give them meaning.
To recognize National Grammar Day, which this year falls on March 4, the following post examines 11 sentences that demonstrate why grammar matters. I point out the grammatical errors in each and offer a suggested rewrite.
When you have two complete sentences — also called independent clauses — and you connect them with a conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so, for example), you need to insert a comma before the conjunction.
But if the second clause that makes up the sentence is a dependent clause (lacks a subject), no comma is necessary.
These are complete sentences / independent clauses that can stand alone. Each has a subject and verb: Continue →
Sleep late. Go out for coffee and a bagel. Read a newspaper and use a red pen to circle all the punctuation errors. Visit a grocery store and make a list of all the “grocer’s apostrophes” you see (apple’s anyone?).
But I’d rather devote my time and this space to something helpful and constructive for you, my valued readers. Continue →
Grammar encompasses the words we use as well as how we string them together and punctuate them. Confusion about comma use abounds.
My book, Grammar for People Who Hate Rules, addresses four scenarios of this often used — and often misused — punctuation mark: with Latin abbreviations (chapter 29), with academic degrees (chapter 30), with conjunctions (chapter 41), and with but (chapter 42).
This post focuses on commas when they are used to separate clauses, both independent and dependent. Continue →
Email continues to be the predominant form of business communication, yet many business climates are becoming even more casual. What’s the best way to start a message? How formal or informal should your salutation be?
The best answer: It depends.
An email opening consists of a greeting and a name. It can set a formal, respectful tone or an informal, friendly tone.
Dear Mr. Lee:
Good morning, Brad.
A reader questioned whether to include a comma between an informal greeting and the person’s name: Continue →