The only American thing to do is use double quotation marks. Single quotes are for the British. American punctuation rules stipulate that the only time to surround a word with single quote marks is if the text is already within double quote marks. BY WHICH I MEAN: “The American editor told me, ‘The British have … Continue reading
Don’t let conciseness get in the way of clarity. Often, a neat trick to pare down a sentence is to take a descriptive clause, turn it into a tidy little modifier, and tuck it in front of a noun. Say what? LOOSE: The company, which is based in Roanoke, was founded in 1978. TIGHT: The … Continue reading
The preferred spelling is ambience, not ambiance. When you place it before a noun, the phrase is written multimillion-dollar (note hyphen usage). The phrase period of time can be shortened to time in every instance.
The name of the season will suffice. WORDY: Setting your heat lower during the winter months will save you money. CONCISE: Setting your heat lower during the winter will save you money.
Writing with exactness is crucial when you’re working with numbers. As written on the screen, the phrase between $120 and $130 millon means just that: the lowest figure is $120 and the highest figure is $130 million. But if each figure is actually in the millions, you need to write between $120 million and $130 … Continue reading
When critically reading what you’ve written, consider if each statement works when put through its logical paces. THINK ABOUT IT: Unlike other towns, there was no bakery serving croissants in Portland. The writer could probably get away with this sentence, but it will annoy a careful reader. It can be taken to mean: “Other towns … Continue reading
Don’t repeat an idea within a sentence. If a single word conveys something, there’s no need to also insert a phrase that acts as a redundancy or overly apparent definition. NO KIDDING: There are requirements that must be met to work directly with the major casinos. BETTER: There are requirements for working directly with the … Continue reading