The Grammar Factor: online board paper course, v. for versus, punctuation with viz.

By Mary Morel, September 2016 Online board paper courses I’m creating two new online courses, which will be available in October: Taming Templates: How to use your board templates well Write to Govern: How to write an effective board paper These courses are based on my book, Write to Govern, and the work I’ve doneContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: punctuation with abbreviations, collective nouns, podcasts

By Mary Morel | August 2016 Podcasts about writing I was a laggard when it came to podcasting because I couldn’t get my head around the technology. Now I record over Skype, I can’t understand why I dithered for so long. Since I started podcasting, I have started listening to them more often. What aContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: parts of speech/word classes, initial capital letters

By Mary Morel, July 2016 ‘Word classes’ or ‘parts of speech’? I read an article about word classes recently. Now, I know that the term ‘parts of speech’ has gone out of fashion in favour of ‘word classes’, but wasn’t aware that two other competing terms are ‘lexical categories’ and ‘syntactic categories’. The rationale forContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: avoid overusing initial capitals, write effective emails

By Mary Morel, June 2016 Avoid overusing initial capitals Most editors will tell you they hate the overuse and inconsistent use of initial capitals in business documents – they are unnecessary and ugly. You can avoid overusing initial capitals by thinking of lower case as the norm and using initial capitals only when appropriate. Obviously,Continue reading

The Grammar Factor: capitals in titles and headings, punctuation with brackets

By Mary Morel | May 2016 Capital letters in titles and headings There are two ways of using capital letters in titles and headings: In title case, the first and last words, proper nouns (name of people and places) and ‘important’ words have initial capitals. (‘Important’ words are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and someContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: styles with lists, gender-neutral pronoun, tree failure

By Mary Morel | April 2016 Styles for bulleted lists I’m sure we’ve all read documents that use different list styles within a few pages. I sometimes wonder if writers have copied and pasted material from elsewhere and forgotten to proofread it. Some of the inconsistencies include: Type of bullet point, e.g. round black, roundContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: shortened words, email greetings, dependent/dependant

By Mary Morel | March 2016 Styles for shortened words Last month I looked at acronyms, and this month I am looking at shortened words and contractions. Shortened words When a word is abbreviated after the first few letters, the traditional rule is to put a full stop after the abbreviation. If the abbreviation comesContinue reading

The Grammar Factor: acronyms, missing and hated words, taming templates

By Mary Morel | February 2016 Acronyms The common convention if you want to use an acronym is to spell out the full term the first time and put the acronym in brackets. Then you can use the acronym for the rest of the document. Australian Taxation Office (ATO) All acronyms are abbreviated with capitals,Continue reading

The Grammar Factor: spacing after end punctuation, capitals

By Mary Morel | January 2016 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 orContinue reading

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

By Mary Morel | December 2015 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 obviousContinue reading


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