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 →
In the typewriter age, titles were set off with quotation marks or underlining:
To Kill a Mockingbird
Underlining seems ancient today. Typographer and design expert Robin Williams puts it this way:
“Never underline. Underlining is for typewriters.”
How, then, should you denote book, magazine, movie and song titles, CDs and works of art, poems and websites? What about book chapters, magazine articles, speeches and statues? Style guides differ, but here are general guidelines. Continue →
A recent email from an aspiring author had two spaces at the end of each sentence. Among the suggestions I gave her about publishing was to change the double spaces to single spaces throughout her manuscript. (Microsoft Word makes this easy with the FIND and REPLACE function under the toolbar’s Edit choice.)
Seeing two spaces after a period or other closing punctuation can hint at a writer’s age. If you learned keyboarding on a computer, you most likely learned that one space at the end of a sentence is the rule. If you learned keystrokes on a typewriter, you might be dating yourself by continuing the double-space habit. Continue →
Headlines provide never-ending examples of incorrect grammar, whether in word choice, word order or punctuation.
Reminder: I define grammar as the words we choose, how we string them together, and how we use punctuation to give them meaning.
News stories and their headlines should be examples of excellent writing. They also should conform to Standard English, defined as the way educated people write and speak. Writing in haste is no excuse for careless errors. 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 →