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.)

Richard Nordquist recently drew my attention to free online style guides. I’ve heard of several of these, but only used the ABC and Economist ones. If you use any of these, which ones do you like? And do you know of any others?

American online style guides
National Geographic Style Manual
Tameri Guide for Writers
Wikipedia: Manual of Style

British online style guides
The BBC News Style Guide
The Economist Style Guide
The Guardian and Observer Style Guide
Telegraph Style Book

Canadian online style guide
The Canadian Style

Another one I have heard of is The Reuters Style Guide


Chair or chairman
Question: Why is the word ‘chairman’ used for either males or females who chair committees or boards?

Answer: In my opinion, ‘chair’ or ‘chairperson’ would be a better term for either a male or female person chairing a committee or board, but old habits die hard and the use of ‘chairman’ for both genders is persisting.

To me, this makes no sense because most people now say ‘firefighter’ rather than ‘fireman’, and ‘police officer’ rather than ‘policeman’.

Quotes within quotes
Question: How do I punctuate a quote within a quote?

Answer: You use a different style of quotation marks. If you are using double quotation marks to indicate direct speech, you use single quotation marks for the quote within the quote. And vice versa.

“I wish I had invented Nike’s ‘Just do it’ slogan,” said Jane.
‘I wish I had invented Nike’s “Just do it” slogan,’ said Jane.

You can read more about punctuation in my Punctuation Guide.

If you write board papers, you may be interested in public workshops I am facilitating for the Governance Institute of Australia in:
• Melbourne on 12 May
• Perth on 10 June

For more information visit the Governance Institute’s website.


Writing around gender
Many of us avoid the generic ‘he’ these days, but what if the person you’re writing about does not identify themselves as either male or female? Read how Julie Scelfo handled this challenge.

Grammar controversy during NSW state election
Talk-back radio callers were more concerned about one of the leader’s use of pronouns than what he had to say. Read the article.

Hard questions, not easy answers
To mark National Grammar Day in America (4 March), The Economist addressed three grammar questions:
1. This is one of those things that drive (or drives?) me crazy
2. Plurals of foreign words (e.g. data and ultimatums)
3. Which and that
Read more

A quirky US rule around quotation marks
Where boards fall short

This month’s pet peeves from a reader are:

• General public
• Moving forward

‘The scariest moment is always just before you start.’
Stephen King, On Writing


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