The Grammar Factor: spacing after end punctuation, capitals

Spacing after end punctuation Question: Should you use one or two spaces after end punctuation? Answer: One space. The Australian Commonwealth Style manual: for authors, editors and printers says: ‘In typewritten (as distinct from typeset) material, it was customary to place two spaces after a colon, semicolon, full stop or other sentence-closing punctuation. Programs for word-processingContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: writing styles, apostrophes, appendices/appendixes

Do styles matter for internal documents? Someone recently asked me what to do if you’re working with different managers who have their own preferred styles, for example, on list punctuation and whether a page should be right-ragged or fully justified. If your organisation has a style guide, the obvious answer is to follow its guidelines.Continue reading

The Grammar Factor: writing in the third person, double possessive

Third person writing A reader’s comment about the conversational use of ‘you’ (see ‘Pet peeve’ below), and the article referenced below about ‘we’, made me think about the use of third person writing. In formal business writing, such as board papers and business cases, most writing guidelines encourage writers to use the third person. TheContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: hanging hyphens, compound adjectives, 20 years’ or years experience

Hanging hyphens A colleague consulted me this month about hanging hyphens (also called suspended or floating hyphens). For example: ‘short- and long-term plans’. I don’t like hanging hyphens, so I would write ‘short and long-term plans’. I think omitting the hanging hyphen is cleaner, but since that is not a justification, I researched the topic.Continue reading

The Grammar Factor: commas with ‘and’, ‘myself’, ‘whose’ for things

Commas with ‘and’ Several business writers have told me they were taught never to put a comma before ‘and’. Now, I could understand if they’d been told not to put one after ‘and’, but before? So I decided to look at occasions when we can use a comma before ‘and’. There are two occasions whereContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: writing standards, while/whilst, can?

Writing standards for clear communication Dana Skopal, PhD, wrote a blog for my Write to Govern website recently, but what she says applies to all writing. Here’s an excerpt from the blog: ‘Many people would view writing as putting sentences together and using correct grammar and punctuation. Sentences, grammar and punctuation may have been howContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: acronyms in summaries, media is/are

By Mary Morel, May 2015 Windows is shutting down By Clive James Windows is shutting down, and grammar are On their last leg. So what am we to do? A letter of complaint go just so far, Proving the only one in step are you. Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes. A sentence haveContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: numbers in business writing, apostrophes in place names

Online course offer Just a reminder that the 25% discount with the coupon 25offapril is available until the end of the month. This offer is to celebrate relaunching the website. You enter this coupon when you reach the cart. NUMBERING CONVENTIONS IN BUSINESS WRITING The terms ‘numbers’ and ‘numerals’ are often used interchangeably, but thereContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: website relaunch offer, quotes within quotes

Online Writing Training relaunch offer To celebrate the relaunch of my online writing training website, I’m offering you 25% off all my online courses from today until the end of April with the promo code 25offapril. (This offer does not include the Business Grammar class, which is booked out.) ONLINE STYLE GUIDES Richard Nordquist recentlyContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: florid language of political reporting, notes and note

Politics attracts florid language Australian federal politics have been volatile this year and the reporting has been too. A reader commented that in just one day in The Sydney Morning Herald, journalists referred to: ‘A brace of broken election promises…’ (Reader’s comment: a brace is only two.) ‘Abbott is safe as long as the forcesContinue reading


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