English has many troublesome pairs that often perplex writers, because many words in English are similar to others but are not synonyms. Here are some “twins” that often leave a writer wondering which one is appropriate and why. i.e. and e.g. — Using these two-letter abbreviations might be convenient, but many people don’t know what either… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Punctuation and Grammar
In an essay titled Writing in the 21st Century (Skip the first six paragraphs), Steven Pinker, the famous psycholinguist, notes that there are hundreds of grammar rules, and some are valuable. But he says they should not be the first things to concentrate on when we think about improving our writing style. Steven Pinker, now… Read more »
Excessive capitalization is widespread in business, and one place is in job titles. A person’s title warrants capitalization because it is a special professional designation, but the widely accepted business writing style calls for capitalizing it only when it appears directly before a name. Examples are President Obama, Pope Francis, Doctor Smith, or Senior Vice President… Read more »
We could live without some commas, but eliminating all of them would hinder clarity, and people would waste time rewriting the sentence just to avoid using them.
Anyone who thinks the comma before “and” is not important, a federal court says otherwise. People have strong opinions about the need for a comma before “and” in a series of three or more things. Some people insist on it, and others feel just as strongly that it’s not necessary, but a court case in… Read more »