The Write Stuff
October 2013 Volume 9 Issue 10
Did you miss National Punctuation Day on September 24? I did, too. We can belatedly celebrate by focusing on two routinely misused punctuation marks.
1. Apostrophes. Apostrophes should be used to denote possession, not make words plural. They also replace letters in contractions (thus it’s is always short for it is).
Wrong: My client’s expect superlative work from me.
Right: My client’s office isn’t far from mine. (one client)
Right: My clients’ offices aren’t far from mine. (more than one client)
Also, apostrophes aren’t needed to make acronyms or numbers plural, so all of the following are correct: CEOs, DVDs, 1970s and 20s.
2. Semicolons. Semicolons are used to separate two independent clauses (or complete sentences) that are closely related. They can also be used to separate items that contain commas within a series.
Right: The Sharks have started the season 5-0; could this be their year?
Right: After growing up in Illinois and before moving to California, I lived in Dallas, Texas; Kingwood, Texas; and Aurora, Colo.
Congratulations to Julie Seal of Mirus Promotions, who’s been named a finalist in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year-Business Services-10 or Less Employees category in the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. She’ll find out on November 8 whether she’s a Gold, Silver or Bronze Stevie Award winner. I’m proud to say I helped Julie with her nomination, which was put forth by another fabulous San Diego female entrepreneur, Kathryn Cloward.
One of my friends has become obsessed with pointing out people’s grammar and spelling errors on social media–something that could prove to be a full-time job. Believe it or not, I don’t routinely do that–but I will note friends’ or clients’ glaring errors, and they’re usually grateful. You must do it smartly, educating rather than chastising, and remember this: wouldn’t you want to know if you had spinach in your teeth?
Know someone who needs a book editor or a company that can benefit from using my writing or editing services? Your referrals will be greatly appreciated.
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